Tag Archives: champagne

Just Another Tazmanian Sparkling Rosé!

We have a new grocery store in Roanoke, Virginia…Earth Fare!  “Healthy Food For Everyone”   Their food philosophy: “We pledge that our food is free of added hormones, antibiotics, artificial fats and trans-fats, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners and preservatives, bleached or bromated flour, artificial colors or flavors”.

Their prepared foods section is amazing…let’s take a tour…starting at the cheese case where I met Aaron who gave me a taste of the most delicious “Brie” cheese…

EF Cheese case

EF Brie cheeseEF Brie Cheese with bread

Jasper Hill Farm Harbison ~ soft and decadent brie-style cheese is wrapped with spruce for structure and flavor.  Made in Greensboro, Vermont. Amazing buttery taste. https://www.jasperhillfarm.com/harbison

EF Baguette sign

I served it on freshly baked baguette (sold at Earth Fare daily for 98 cents…mine was still warm when I purchased it…yum).

I paired this lovely cheese with Jansz Rosé, sparkling wine from Tasmania.  The first wine I’ve tried from Tasmania.  Delightful!  I found this bubbly at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar in Roanoke, Virginia.   http://mrbillswinecellar.com

Jansz Tasmania is a pioneer of deluxe sparkling wine in Australia. Jansz is made by the méthode champenoise.   Pale salmon in color, with a fine bead, this wine has a rich floral bouquet of strawberries with a soft and creamy palate. $26 range.

tazmanian champagne

Ef shrimp saladEF salads

EF shrimpEF shrimp on grillEF shrimp on plate

Grilled Shrimp Quesadillas 

Earth Fare Herb Shrimp Salad with red and yellow bell peppers and lots of seafood seasoning makes fabulous Grilled Shrimp Quesadillas.  So easy to prepare…spray grill with vegetable spray. Top a taco size flour tortilla with shrimp salad and finely grated Monterrey Jack cheese. Top with another flour tortilla and grill until cheese is melted and tortilla is toasted. Flip once. Remove from grill and cut into triangles. Serve warm.

avocadoEF guacamole

Guacamole!  

I love Earth Fare Fire Roasted Corn Salad.  Fabulous addition to homemade Guacamole.

EF chips

Late July Organic Sea Salt and Lime Tortilla Chips are my new favorite…crispy yet sturdy enough to hold up to chunky guacamole.

Ef pretzels

EF bloody mary mix

Another Earth Fare treat  for Sunday Brunch…Pretzilla Smithfield Ham Swiss Cheese Bites.  Cut a little bit of the bottom off of each pretzel bite so the bites will sit up straight, then cut the bites in half. Spread one half with whole grain mustard and the other half with Duke’s mayonnaise.  Fill the pretzel bites with thinly sliced Smithfield ham and Swiss cheese. (I found that  since the Smithfield ham is salty I did not need to top the pretzel bites with the salt that was included in the package.) Heat the pretzel bites in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven until cheese is melted.  Serve warm.

And to finish the weekend…

champagne bottle

  • This vintage Millesime champagne has 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay grape varieties from a unique, single harvest year. Well refined on the nose, with notes of gingerbread and croissants. A complex and very assertive mouth. A champagne to enjoy as an aperitif or set to accompany gourmet dishes.  

    Millésime

    kitty catkitty on shoe
    signkitty Artie
    Our kitties are growing! So happy !

 

 

 

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Celebrate National Deviled Egg Day ~ November 2, 2017

egg Bacon and Balsamic Deviled Eggs 

Follow this easy recipe (originally published in The Roanoke Times ~ Gretchen Mckay  Pittsburg Post Gazette – TNS)  to make the most delicious Deviled Eggs…

Bacon and Balsamic Deviled Eggs

12 hard-cooked eggs

The original recipe called for 1/2 of the amounts of the following ingredients. I doubled the amounts because I LOVE bacon and I found the original recipe for the filling to be just a bit dry.

10 bacon slices, cooked crisp and crumbled

2/3 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon very finely chopped shallot (the original recipe called for onion. I find shallot to have a bit less of a bite than onion which I prefer for this recipe)

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons Balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cornichon or sweet midget pickle for garnish, sliced into thin slices

paprika for garnish

To cook the perfect hard-cooked egg:  Fill large pot with water (enough to cover the eggs you are going to cook). Add a little salt.  Bring water to a rolling boil.  Place eggs in boiling water and cover pot. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and drain water out of pot.  Add ice to eggs to immediately stop cooking and allow to cool quickly for peeling.

Peel eggs and rinse well to remove any bits of shell.  Cut eggs in half lengthwise and scoop out the yolks. Put yolks in separate bowl and mash.  Add bacon, mayonnaise, shallot, mustard, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Stir until well combined. Spoon the mixture in the egg halves evenly. Garnish each egg half with a slice of cornichon and sprinkle with paprika.

Makes 24

  • reference: The Ultimate Paleo Cookbook, by Arsy Vartanian (Page Street Publishing)

tailgate eggs

SC fried deviled eggs

Fried Deviled Eggs!

Thank you to Chef Roger Light, Executive Chef, Shenandoah Club, Roanoke, Virginia, for sharing this perfectly delicious and unique Deviled Egg recipe:

sc chef Carlos

Super Delicious!!! Chef Carlos demonstrated how to make fried deviled eggs, starting with hard-boiled eggs. Cut the eggs in two and place the yolks in a mixing bowl.  Place the white halves on a paper towel lined baking sheet. Blot the egg white halves gently with paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible.

Grind panko bread crumbs in a food processor or blender to make the crumbs more like the consistency of flour.  Place flour in one bowl, egg whites mixed with a little water in another bowl and panko bread crumbs in a third bowl. Dip the egg white halves into flour, then egg white wash, then panko bread crumbs.  Place them on the paper towel lined baking sheet (replace paper towels if the towels are moist). Press the crumb mixture into the egg so that it adheres well.

Heat canola oil in a large pot on the stove.  Fry the egg white halves in hot oil until they are light golden brown. Remove the eggs from the oil with a slotted spoon or tongs and place on the paper towel lined baking sheet.  Allow to cool.

Using the hard-boiled egg yolks, prepare a deviled egg filling the same way you prepare your favorite deviled egg filling recipe. Add mayonnaise, pickle relish, mustard, or balsamic vinegar.  Sprinkle some crisp crumbled bacon in each fried egg half and then fill with the deviled egg filling. Garnish with smoked paprika or chopped chives.

SC ME and eggs

Go ahead and ask, you know you’ve always wanted to ask…

What Champagne Should I  Serve With Deviled Eggs?!

Baron champagne

Champagne Pairing For Deviled Eggs:

Baron-Fuenté Esprit Champagne Grand Cru

92 points Wine Spectator

30% each of  Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier grapes resulting in a creamy, rich brioche, lemon curd and almond flavors.  Delightful and elegant. $30 range.

happy-refrigerator

“Always keep a bottle of Champagne in the fridge for special occasions. Sometimes, the special occasion is that you’ve got a bottle of Champagne in the fridge.”
― Hester Browne

cats two

cat artie

These Fall days are getting a bit cooler and Daylight Savings Time is right around the corner, so our days are getting less productive by the minute!

Happy Deviled Egg Day!

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Dinner In 10 Minutes ~ PORK AU POIVRE ~ With Champagne Pairing

As much as I love to cook, sometimes I don’t have time to do all of the chopping and mixing and fussing to make a delicious dinner, so I look for shortcuts.  I’ve found the roasted pork tenderloin at Fresh Market to be a saving grace in dinner preparation. Here’s one of my favorite “go to” recipes that takes 10 minutes to prepare and plate:

pork

PORK AU POIVRE

Serves 4

4  (1/2 inch thick) slices pork tenderloin (I purchase the pork loin already roasted in the deli section of Fresh Market)

1 tablespoon black peppercorns, freshly ground

1/2 teaspoon salt (or a little more to taste)

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup cognac

1/3 cup heavy cream

  1. Melt butter in a frying pan.  Place pork tenderloin slices in the pan and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  2. Heat the pork over medium heat, turning once, for 2 or 3 minutes, until pork is browned.
  3. Carefully remove the pork slices from pan and place on a plate.  Add cognac to pan and warm slightly. Add cream to cognac and stir, warming for a minute or two.  Place the pork back into the pan and spoon the sauce over the pork. Serve warm.

To complete my Pork Au Poivre dinner I serve a Fresh Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing (also purchased at Fresh Market).  Minimal cooking with maximum flavor!

With less time in the kitchen I can enjoy nap time with these two little rascals…

cats

The champagne pairing which was absolutely fabulous with the Pork Au Poivre was Francoise Bedel  Dis, “Vin Secret” Champagne.  Beautiful golden color with a delicate bead of fine bubbles. Ripe fruit and baked apple, with hints of tropical fruit.  86% Pinot Meunier, 8% Pinot Noir and 6% Chardonnay, the earthiness of the Pinot Meuneir makes this champagne a lovely pairing for roasted pork.  My husband proclaimed it a “Perfect Pairing”!  $50 range. Available locally at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar or on-line.  http://mrbillswinecellar.com

Treveri Cellars Sparkling Rosé

I  found this gem at one of our local grocery stores, Tinnell’s Finer Foods ~ http://tinnells.com

A lovely weekend sparkling!  It’s fresh, it’s pink, it’s peachy, it’s fizzy, and it’s only $13.99.  A blend of Syrah and Chardonnay from the Yakima Valley in Washington State.  http://www.trevericellars.com

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The Valencia Champagne Cocktail

I love to find Cocktail Cookbooks with cocktail recipes from the “golden age of libation”.  I found this fabulous Valencia Champagne Cocktail recipe in Cocktail Hour by Susan Waggoner and Robert Markel:

naan cocktail

Valencia

This delightful champagne cocktail was an international favorite.  It cast its golden glow on Europe between the wars, and was a popular specialty of the house at the Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles. One sip and you’ll understand why.

2 ounces Apricot Brandy

1 ounce chilled Orange Juice

4 dashes Orange Bitters

3 ounces ice cold Champagne

Pour brandy, orange juice, and orange bitters into a cocktail shaker with cracked ice.  Shake and strain into a chilled champagne flute or wineglass. Immediately top with cold champagne.

bitters

Orange bitters are a cocktail flavoring made from the peels of Seville oranges,  cardamom,  caraway seed, coriander and burnt sugar in an alcohol base. These bitters have a definite orange flavor with a bit of an evergreen taste to me. Pungent but pleasant, adds the perfect “pop” of orange to orange based cocktails.

And here’s a yummy, easy to prepare appetizer to pair with your Valencia Champagne Cocktail…I’ve fallen in love with these Naan Dippers. I call them “Baby Naan” because they are so cute.

naan bacon

Bacon, Avocado and Tomato Baby Naans

Toast the baby naans lightly and allow to cool to room temperature.  Spread mayonnaise on each baby naan. Spread each baby naan with fresh ripe avocado.  Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.  Top with crumbled crisp bacon and one thin slice of Roma tomato.  Cheers!

naan strawberry

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naan kitty

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Sun, Surf and Champagne!

One of my favorite photos of “George Gershwin” our 18-year-old kitty. Sadly he passed away this week. He was an inside kitty but loved to play out on our deck whenever we were out there. He kept a good eye on our champagne glasses to make sure they were always full.  Miss you my sweet boy!

For years we’ve named our kitty cats after big band musicians (we love big band!)…

Ginger Rogersmaxinekitty cat

Ginger Rogers, Maxine Andrews, Cole Porter, George Gershwin…but we are starting to run short on names, so maybe we should start naming our kitties after champagnes… Charles Heidsieck, Henri Giraud,  Pol Roger perhaps?

Pol Roger NV Brut Champagne ~ $40 – $50 range.  Consists of one-third pinot noir, one-third pinot meunier and one-third chardonnay grapes. Pear, honeysuckle and toast notes. Nicely balanced with tiny bubbles dancing around the glass.

Pol Roger’s Philosophy: 

There is that moment
when the spirit of Pol Roger is revealed.

One may think one knows champagne and yet, that day, one truly discovers it.

Pol Roger was Winston Churchill’s favorite champagne house.

My tastes are simple: I am easily satisfied with the best. ~ Winston Churchill

Food and Wine Magazine recommends pairing Pol Roger Champagne with Grilled Chicken Breasts with Grapefruit Glaze. Here’s a link to the recipe:  http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/grilled-chicken-breasts-with-grapefruit-glaze

pol roger champagne

squirrel sign

Always love our local wine shops creative signs…thank you Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar!  http://mrbillswinecellar.com

Sun and surf is always good for the soul and we had lots of both last week.

I found these Limited Batch Cape Cod Roasted Black Garlic Potato Chips at the beach. Delicious!

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Wine, one sip of this will bathe the drooping spirits beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wise and taste.  ~ John Milton

We had fun tasting J Vineyards & Winery NV Brut Rosé, Russian River Valley while we were enjoying sun and surf.  $40 range.  66% Pinot Noir, 33% Chardonnay & 1% Pinot Meunier. Pretty salmon color with lots of little bubbles dancing around in the glass. Slightly acidic with a dry finish. Elegant mouth-feel with notes of strawberry, ripe red apples and toasted hazelnuts.

veuve at the beachsunglasses

 Veuve Clicquot sunglasses!

robe

Veuve Clicquot robe and matching slippers. A fabulous surprise from my wonderful husband.

champagne tops

wine sign

Now back at home I am looking forward to Fall (begins September 22!) with my favorite hot tea…The Republic of Tea Hot Apple Cider Tea. $11 per container…may seem expensive, but each container has 36 tea bags in it which equates to .30 per cup. Yummmmmm…

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Bartender My Drink Is On Fire! Fun Facts About Vodka

Shane Lumpp, Bar Manager, River and Rail Restaurant, Roanoke, VA, presented “Cocktails 101” on Sunday evening.

r and r shane lightr and r char citrus

One of my favorite parts of the class was when Shane set the citrus peel garnish for the Cosmopolitan on fire. He explained that he always has a purpose for the garnish, it is not just for looks.  Lighting the citrus peel caramelized the citrus oil and gave the drink a tiny bit of a smokey aroma.

Celebrity Mixologist Cheryl Cook invented the Cosmopolitan Cocktail in 1985 at the Strand Restaurant in South Beach.

cosmo r and r

The River and Rail Cosmopolitan

For each cocktail:

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice

3/4 ounce Cointreau

3/4 ounce cranberry juice

1 1/2 ounce vodka

Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Garnish:  Caramelized citrus strip

vodka

Deep Eddy is River and Rail Restaurant’s house vodka. Corn based vodka from Austin Texas. Any infused vodkas that River and Rail serves will be infused in-house at the River and Rail bar…such as their basil infused Luksusowa vodka in their Something About Mary Lennox cocktail.

http://riverandrailrestaurant.com/menus

Some fun facts about vodka from Shane’s class:

Shane recommends starting with the least expensive ingredient in a cocktail first. If you mess up at the beginning you can throw it out and start again without throwing out expensive ingredients.

Vodka, the word, appears to be a Russian diminutive of a Polish phrase, woda zycia, which means “water of life”.

Vodka really gained its momentum with the marketing strategy from John Martin of Smirnoff with the slogan “Smirnoff…it’ll leave you breathless”. 

By the 1950’s vodka was roaring into popularity with the addition of Bloody Mary’s, Screwdrivers and of course the Three Martini Lunch.

By 1967 vodka surpassed Gin as the highest seller of white spirits in the US and by 1976 vodka was the number one purchased spirit overall. Vodka still remains the most popularly consumed and purchased spirit in the US.

Match these vodka slogans to the vodka they represent: (answers at the bottom of this post)

Slogans:

  1. The world’s best tasting vodka.
  2. The greatest name in Vodka.
  3. As you like it.
  4. Pure Perfection.
  5. Unleash the Raspberry!
  6. The Purest Expression of Vodka
  7. Outrageously Smooth

Vodkas:

A.  Blavod black vodka  B.Boru  C. Romanov  D.   Smirnoff  E.  Absolut Raspberri  F. Grey Goose  G. Stolichnaya

ham biscuit river and railsnack plate r and r

We always know the bar snacks will be delicious at River and Rail (country ham biscuit with whole grain mustard, Gryere cheese, house-made Asiago crackers, homemade pickled green beans and carrots.  I am especially partial to the country ham biscuits with whole grain mustard.

blood orange liquer

I have a new favorite liqueur:  Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur… made with Sicilian Sanguinello blood oranges. Add a splash or two to sparkling wine or try these lovely cocktials:

chilledmagazine.com/solerno-blood-orange-liqueur-cocktails

Eclipse

On Monday, August 21, 2017 we celebrated the Eclipse of the Sun in style!

Answers to quiz:  1. F. – 2. D.-  3. C. – 4. D. – 5. E. 6. B. – 7. A.

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Let’s Drink Champagne And Celebrate With The World’s Most Expensive Sandwich!

August is National Sandwich Month. Let’s celebrate with champagne and sandwiches!

2005 Dom champagne

Facts about the world’s MOST EXPENSIVE SANDWICH:

  1.  In 2014 the Guinness Book of World Records recognized the “Quintessential Grilled Cheese” as the world’s most expensive sandwich.
  2. This sandwich was created by Joe Calderon, Chef at the Serendipity 3 Restaurant, New York City.
  3. This sandwich is made with two pieces of French Pullman champagne bread which is made with Dom Perignon champagne and edible gold flakes, with white truffle butter and the very rare Caciocavallo Podolico cheese. The sandwich is served with South African Lobster Tomato Bisque for dipping.
  4. Price: $214
  5. The Quintessential Grilled Cheese has to be ordered 48 hours in advance in order to source the ingredients needed to make such a fancy-dancy sandwich.
  6. The Serendipity 3 Restaurant has been the scene of several films, including one of my favorite romantic comedies that came out in  2001: Serendipity.

Here’s a link with cool photos of this expensive sandwich:

The most expensive sandwich in the world!

sandwich

My favorite summer sandwiches which pair perfectly with bubbly are fresh tomato and cucumber sandwiches. If you live in the South as I do, then you know the elements of these sandwiches are extremely important…just sayin’

Pepperidge Farm Very Thin White Bread

Thinly Sliced Garden Fresh Tomatoes

Thinly Sliced (sliced on a mandoline) peeled cucumbers

Fresh dill, chopped (for the cucumber sandwiches)

Duke’s Mayonnaise

Freshly ground black pepper

Spread each piece of bread liberally with mayonnaise.  Top mayonnaise with a good sprinkling of black pepper and either tomato slices or cucumber slices. Top the cucumber slices with chopped fresh dill. Top the tomato slices and cucumber slices with another slice of mayonnaise slathered bread.  Cut each sandwich in half to make two triangles, then cut the triangles in half to make small triangle sandwiches. Place sandwiches on a chilled platter.   Serve immediately.

Champagne is a perfect pairing for potato chips and potato chips are the perfect accompaniment to sandwiches. This was one of Marilyn Monroe’s favorite flavor combinations.

potato chip

I recommend Baron-Fuénte Grands Cepages Chardonnay Champagne NV to pair with these summery sandwiches.   This champagne is composed of 100% chardonnay grapes. I love the shape of this bubbly bottle.  $45 range.  Notes of citrus (lemon zest), creamy, nice tiny bubbles dancing around the flute, finishing with a touch of toasted almond. Dill pairs very well with chardonnay so the cucumber dill sandwiches will be a treat paired with this champagne.  Cheers!

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