Tag Archives: food and wine

In The Southern Tradition ~ Country Ham Pretzel Rolls

My “go to” for holiday hors d’oeuvres? Country Ham Biscuits of course!  Did you know that the perfect size for a country ham biscuit is the circumference of the top of a champagne flute? (1 3/4 inches round).  Coincidence, I think not.  Salty country ham and a chardonnay predominant champagne make a perfect pairing!

I am always looking for creative ways to change up my traditional hors d’oeuvre menu. When I saw these yummy pretzel rolls I immediately thought filling them with country ham.

To make these yummy Country Ham Pretzel Rolls, I preheated my oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  I split the pretzel rolls in half lengthwise and spread on side with Duke’s mayonnaise and the other side with Pommery whole grain mustard.  Then I topped the mustard side with shaved Smithfield (country) ham and slices of swiss cheese, placing the mayonnaise side on top of the cheese.  Then I brushed the rolls with melted butter and sprinkled the tops with black sesame seeds (optional). Bake the rolls for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.  Remove from oven, cool slightly and cut into 4 slices horizontally. Serve warm.

Jeeper champagne

As soon as we devoured the pretzel rolls we sat back and enjoyed a tasting of Jeeper Champagne.  60% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir, and 15% Pinot Meunier handpicked grapes. $60 range.

The story of this champagne begins in 1949.  It was then that Armand Goutorbe, son of Victor Goutorbe, on his return from the Second World War, decided to produce and sell his Champagne.

Armand Goutorbe christened his brand Champagne JEEPER, with an eye to making himself stand out from the many wine growers of the region also named Goutorbe and in reference to the Jeep bestowed upon him (he returned from the war to his native Champagne disabled)  by the local authorities to help him ascend the vineyard slopes with ease.

You can see why this champagne appealed to me, knowing that I love Jeeps. My own Jeep Overland is named “Dolly D”, for Dolly Dawn who was known as the “Champagne of Big Band Singers”!

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/dolly-dawn-mn0000172847/biography

Jeeper Champagne has a light golden color with tiny bubbles dancing around the flute.  Elegant with glazed apple notes.  This champagne lends itself to pairing with food and we found a fabulous pairing…

crisps with package

crisps

Adams Reserve New York Extra Sharp Cheddar (made in upstate New York) paired with Virginia Gold Orchard Asian Pear Marmalade. The marmalade was a special gift from my bubbly friend Cindy.  Their Asian Pears are homegrown & handpicked in Rockbridge County, Virginia and they are delicious! I put a smear of the marmalade on top of the cheddar cheese on a Apricot and Ginger Raincoast Crisp Cracker. Oh la la…it was a “pearfect” pairing with the Jeeper champagne.

apples

http://www.virginiagoldorchard.com

mug with ginger beermug

Roundng out the weekend…these crisp Fall days are perfect for a chilled Moscow Mule made with BundAberg Spiced Ginger Beer.

Here’s a link to BundAberg Brews Cocktail Recipes:

https://www.bundaberg.com/en-us/mixology-2/?mixer=ginger-beer&alcohol=

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Perfect Pairings For Your Thanksgiving Dinner ~ Virginia Wines and Spiced Pear Cocktail

mr bills VA wine sign

mr bills VA wines

These are the wines that our neighbors make.

Virginia Wine Class ~ Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar ~ Roanoke, Virginia

mr bills VA wine 2mr Bills VA rose

 

Ox-Eye Winery Riesling and Shy Ox Rosé  and were my favorite of the wines we tasted in the Virginia Wine Class.    $20 range.  The Riesling  was smooth, clean and bright with crisp apple notes. The Shy Ox Rosé has a lovely pink color and tasty crisp apple notes that seem to  give the wine a bit of effervesce.

 

The Ox-Eye Riesling will be a lovely pairing for Thanksgiving turkey.

mr bills apple 2mr bills apple 1mr bills apple

A yummy pairing to begin a holiday meal ~  Ox-Eye Riesling or Shy Ox Rosé served with this little nosh ~ Cabot Clothbound Cheddar (balanced sharpness, slight nuttiness, caramel sweetness), Murray’s Heirloom Apple Butter on Firehook Cinnamon Baked Crackers.

champange Shenandoah Club

Grande Réserve Brut, Héritage Familial NV

66% Pinot Noir
33% Chardonnay

Smooth mousse with rich pear, brioche and spice notes.  A delightful aperitif leading into Thanksgiving dinner.

http://www.champagne-barnaut.com

Here’s my favorite recipe for green beans ~ always on my Thanksgiving table…enjoy!

Parmesan Prosciutto Green Beans

A family favorite! You’ll find this dish on my holiday table often.  Easy to prepare and full of flavor. Here’s the recipe:

1.5 pounds fresh green beans
3 oz prosciutto (I use the packaged Boar’s Head brand.  Prosciutto sliced in the deli may not fry very well)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup shaved Parmesan
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 stick butter, cut into small pats

Wash green beans and remove stems. Place in large pot of boiling water (no need to add salt since this recipe has lots of salty ingredients).  Cook beans until they are just tender.  Drain and set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place olive oil in a frying pan and place over medium-high heat. When oil is hot place prosciutto slices in the pan and fry, turning once, until prosciutto is crispy. Remove slices from pan and place on a plate lined with paper towels.

In a bowl combine parmesan and panko bread crumbs.  Place green beans in a baking dish and sprinkle with panko bread crumb mixture, toss to combine.  Dot the green beans with the butter pats.  Crumble the prosciutto and sprinkle it over the green beans. Place green beans in oven and bake for 30 minutes.

And a lovely cocktail to sip as all of the Thanksgiving frivolity has begun to curtail…

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Spiced Orchard Pear

Recipe from the Culinary Institute of America ~ as published in the October 18, 2017 issue of The Roanoke Times

Scotch is the star in this crisp Fall cocktail recipe!

Servings 1

2 ounces blended scotch

1/4 ounce pear puree

1/2 ounce orange liqueur

1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 ounce Winter Syrup (recipe below)

1 cinnamon stick for garnish

In a cocktail shaker, combine the scotch, pear puree, orange liqueur, and syrup.  Add ice, then shake until well-combined.  Strain into a rocks glass, over fresh ice, and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Chef’s note:  If desired, lightly burn on end of the cinnamon stick with a torch.  Invert the rocks glass over the cinnamon stick on a heat-safe surface or plate while you prepare the cocktail.)

Bubblybee note:  This will envelop the interior of the glass in cinnamon smoke which will give a cinnamon spicy note to the cocktail.

Chef’s note:   You can find pear puree in the freezer section of some grocery stores, but if not, just put 3 to 4 pears in a saucepan with about 1/4 cup of water. Cook until the pears are soft, then blend them to a smooth puree.

Bubblybee note:  To make pear puree I put the peeled and cored ripe pear in my blender with the other ingredients and pureed the mixture until very smooth.  Then I put the mixture in my cocktail shaker with ice to complete the recipe.

Winter Syrup

Makes about 3 cups syrup

2 cups water

2 cups sugar

the peel of 1 orange, white pith removed (I used the peel of 2 clementines. Then I used the clementine segments as a garnish for the cocktail.)

1 star anise (note: star anise and cardamom pods can be quite expensive when purchased by the jar.   I purchased mine by the ounce at our local natural foods co-op, purchasing only what I needed, which was much less expensive.)

3 whole cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

5 cardamom pods

Combine water, sugar, orange peel, anise, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Cook until mixture is simmering and the sugar has dissolved. Set aside until cool, then strain.  Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

Happy Thanksgiving Y’all!

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Champagne Baron-Fuénte ~ Perfect Food Pairings For Champagne

Where there is no wine there is no love.

                        …Euripides

On a warm summer evening my husband treated me to a tasting of Baron Fuénte Champagne.

It is always tons of fun to delve into food pairings to match champagnes. I use the book WHAT to DRINK with WHAT you EAT by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page to help get my creative food pairing juices going.

I decided on these champagne and food pairings for our champagne tasting:

Pan Fried Rainbow Trout with Fresh Dill Butter / Baron-Fuénte Grands Cepages Chardonnay Champagne NV

Black Currant Glazed Pork Barbecue on Brioche Buns / Baron-Fuénte Esprit Champagne Grand Cru Brut NV

Saint-André Triple Crème Cheese with Flatbread Crackers / Baron Fuénte Baron S Champagne NV

Baron-Fuénte Grands Cepages Chardonnay Champagne NV served with Pan Fried Rainbow Trout with Fresh Dill Butter.  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.

The butter sauce made the champagne taste even more buttery…yum!  Dill pairs very well with chardonnay.

The Baron- Fuénte Grands Cepages Chardonnay Champagne NV was my favorite champagne of the three champagnes we tasted that evening.

porkchampagne baron

Our next pairing was our favorite pairing of the evening.   Baron-Fuénte Esprit Champagne Grand Cru Brut NV ($35 range) served with Black Currant Glazed Pork Barbecue on Brioche Buns.  This champagne had red currant flavors and consists of 55% chardonnay and 45% pinot noir grapes.  Pork is a good pairing for chardonnay, so I set out to create a recipe that would showcase the pork and red currant flavors.

I’ve found that the quality of ingredients in making a sandwich is of utmost importance. Purchase the best quality pork loin available for this sandwich.

I could not find red currant jam, but I did find a delicious black currant jam at our local Fresh Market. I glazed very thin slices of pork with the jam, added a few “secret” ingredients and served on toasted brioche buns. The brioche buns are where it’s at baby!  This pairing was over the top yummilish!

As I was cooking the pork I noticed that someone else was very interested in the aroma of the pork:

cat cat

champagne flightcheese

The final pairing of the evening was Baron Fuénte Baron S Champagne NV served with Saint-André Triple Crème Cheese with Flatbread Crackers.  The Baron S ($30 range) is composed of 60% pinot meunier and 40% chardonnay grapes.  Lots of tiny bubbles with a fine mousse.  The pinot meunier grapes give this bubbly a bit of earthiness which pairs well with the cheese.

I enjoyed finding this website that has tasting notes and fun photos from Baron Fuénte vineyard:  https://baronfuente.com/en/

Each of these champagnes could serve as an aperitif (alcoholic drink served just prior to a meal to stimulate the appetite) as well as a pairing with food.

fiancier boxfinancier

For dessert I served “Financiers”, tiny pound cakes that a bubbly friend of mine sent me from France.  They are the perfect little buttery bite after a rich meal.

champagne napkin

kitty cat

Relaxing after the champagne tasting…

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Make Summer Sparkle With Sparkling Wine!

summer sign.jpg

Summer Sparkles!

Wolfberger cremant d alsace

NV Wolfberger Cremant d’Alsace Rose Brut

Pale salmon color with lots of tiny bubbles and a fine mousse.   100% Pinot Noir grapes. Hints of red cherry and raspberry.  A Crémant Rosé bubbly that is fun to sip with a fun price… $17 range.

bugey champagneBugsey champange

Montagnieu NV Bugey, France

Montagnieu is a beautiful village of Bugey dominating the Rhône River in the eastern Alpine mountains.

Montagnieu sparkling is made using the traditional method (like Champagne) ; wine after a first fermentation is kept almost 12 month on its lees before final corking of the bottle.

This lovely bubbly is made from a minimum of 70% of Altesse, Chardonnay and Mondeuse Noire grapes, with Jacquère, Pinot Noir, Gamay and Molette allowed as accessory grapes. Balanced with notes of toasted almond and brioche.  $50 range (restaurant price).

My bubbly friend and I enjoyed a bottle of Montagnieu Bugey with a local cheese plate at River and Rail Restaurant.  http://riverandrailrestaurant.com  I love the little pickled mushrooms, carrot jam and honey that they serve with the Farmstead Cheese Selection.

mushrooms

cheese

prosecco butterfly

Tocco Prosecco D.O.C.

Tocco Prosecco has nice little bubbles…Tocco has more effervescence than other Prosecco  I’ve tasted recently. Notes of baked apple, a touch of citrus and a creamy finish.  $14 range.

cider

Domaine du Verger Rosé Cidre Bouche

So pretty in the glass…cider made from red-fleshed French cider apples which gives it a delicate rosy color.   Just enough effervescence to tickle your nose.   This cider is fairly sweet with lots of fruit (notes of raspberry and red currant) and just a hint of ginger.  I found it to be a delightful sippin’ cider on a hot summer day. $10 range (750 ml bottle).   Here’s a link to an interesting article about rosé ciders and red flesh apples:

http://drinks.seriouseats.com/2013/08/rose-cider-how-it-gets-pink-what-to-try-uncle-johns-lukeluk-traditions.html

rose sign

peaches 1

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Homemade Potato Chips And Rosé = Happy Summer!

potato chip

Summertime is Potato Chip Time!

Love, love, LOVE homemade potato chips! So easy to make. I use my 4-sided mandoline box grater (has a mandoline on one side, graters on the other three sides) to slice (or Yukon Gold) potatoes very thinly (no need to peel the potatoes). Many years ago my husband bought this box grater for me and I thought I would never use it…wouldn’t you know it is one of the most useful gadgets I have in my kitchen!

grater

raw potato chip

After slicing the potatoes, soak the slices in cold water for 30 minutes (soaking removes excess starch).  Lay the potato slices in a single layer on paper towels then cover with another layer of paper towels. Press the paper towels lightly on the potato slices to absorb excess moisture.

Place enough vegetable oil in a large heavy pot (make sure the pot has high sides to avoid spattering or spilling any hot oil) to cover potato slices (about 1 inch) and heat until potatoes sizzle when they hit the oil (350 degrees Fahrenheit).  (Test hot oil by placing one potato slice in the oil to see if it sizzles.) Place potatoes in single layer in oil to fry. Potatoes will begin to turn light brown and float in the oil when they are finished cooking.  Remove potatoes with slotted spoon onto plate lined with paper towels to drain.  Sprinkle with sea salt. Allow to cool just a bit and then serve as quickly as possible.  (Chips straight out of the hot oil need a minute or two to “crisp up”.)

rose om fence

Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosato 2015

I love rosé with potato chips! We thoroughly enjoyed this rosé on a warm summer’s eve sitting on the porch.  As the winemaker so eloquently explains about this lovely Italian wine:    The rosé that has the body of a white and the soul of a red.  A wine that’s joyful without being frivolous; that has tension, but is not austere.

Notes from the manager of my favorite local wine store: Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar:

Here is a little write up from the vineyards website. My rep loves this wine and even said it may be her favorite rosé! It’s from Mt. Etna, made of two indigenous grapes Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio. The production is always changing because the vineyard lies on an active volcano. This is actually a rose that you could lay down for a year or two. 🙂

Delicious notes of strawberry, pink and white flowers, with a slightly creamy texture. $25 range.

http://www.tenutaterrenere.com/en/wine-etna-rosato-doc-wines-grapes-nerello-mascalese-cappuccio-sicily.php

gouda

rose in a bucket

J. Mourat 2016 Collection Rose Val de Loire, Loire Valley

Made from a unique blend of Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Gamay and Negrette grapes.  Dry, crisp, refreshing.  $14 range.

Herbs de Provence

…flavors that will take you to Southern France this summer…

I like to get my favorite dried herbs at our local natural foods co-op (sold in bulk) to make my own Herbs de Provence.  My favorite way to enjoy this herb mixture is sprinkled on pizza right before I toss it on the grill.   Also delcious on grilled or roasted chicken, potatoes and fish (sprinkle on before cooking, not after).

Herbs

(All herbs in this recipe are dried)

Mix these herbs together and store in an airtight container in the pantry.

2 tablespoons Savory

3 tablespoons Oregano

1 tablespoon Rosemary

1 tablespoon Basil

2 tablespoons culinary lavender

2 tablespoons thyme

1 tablespoon sage

1 bay leaf crumbled

Herbs de Provence

lamp

When my friends were in the islands recently they enjoyed Veuve Clicquot champagne served out of this gorgeous lamp/champagne bucket. They sent me this photo…I have the bestest bubbly friends!

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The Chocolate Experience + Champagne!

peaches

This Summer Is Just Peachy!

Historic City Market, Roanoke, Virginia

http://www.downtownroanoke.org/explore/farmers-market

Altus Chocolate Envelope

chocolate nibs

Another reason to love Downtown Roanoke:

Altus Chocolate

http://www.altuschocolate.com

Campbell Avenue, Downtown Roanoke

The Altus Story is posted in their chocolate shop:

After watching the movie “Chocolat”, Carl and Mary (now the owners of Altus Chocolate) were enamoured by the idea that chocolate could be made in small batches.  The molcajete (Mexican version of the mortar and pestle) pictured above is similar to the one they used to grind their first batch of chocolate.  It took them roughly 24 hours to grind that first batch and it was, as they describe it, “incredible”.

Their chocolate lounges are in Lynchburg and Roanoke, Virginia.  What they love about making chocolate:

  1. Dancing in the kitchen.
  2.  Sharing the best chocolate with the best of friends.
  3. Watching faces light up when others experience a single origin tasting for the first time.

They are sharing a chocolate experience!

The best way to find out about happenings (such as the chocolate tasting on July 15) at this lovely chocolate shop is by Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/altuschocolateroanoke

Altus features handmade chocolates, gelato, delicious pastries, unique chocolate bars, drinking chocolate, espresso and specialty coffee drinks (wine coming soon!).

chocolate firechocolate peach

Altus handmade chocolate flavors include Mango Mint Coriander, Summer Sangria, Strawberry Balsamic, Madagascar Vanilla, Chai Spice, Virginia Peanut…

gelato

Altus also serves one of my favorites…Affogato…a shot of fresh espresso over your choice of gelato.  DELIZIOSO!

champagne at wines

And I always enjoy some sips of bubbly with my chocolate…such as this delightful Fluteau Cuvée Symbiose Brut 2006.  50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir grapes from Gye-Sur-Seine in the southernmost part of Champagne. Balanced and vibrant with lots of bubbles in the flute.   Toasty notes with a hint of lemon and spice.  $50 range.

This Summer I could…

rose

Our bubbly friends are in the islands during this 4th of July holiday and here’s what they are enjoying…

rose mary ellen

While here at home I am enjoying…

rose french

Provence Rosé 2016 Chateau Paradis ‘La Grande Terre’

Crisp and refreshing. Juicy peach notes with just a touch of minerality.  I love the label on this one!  40% Syrah, 30% Grenache and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. $13 range.

Please comment to let me know the name of your favorite Rosé!

flower

Happy 4th of July!

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Chilled Jumbo Lump Crab And Corn Bisque Paired With Uriondo Txakoli Bizkaiko Txakolina

soup

Jumbo Lumb Crab and Corn Bisque

6 servings

Place shallow soup bowls and soup spoons in freezer to chill.

3 tablespoons butter

1 small shallot, chopped

2 tablespoons Italian parsley

1 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 ears of corn, cooked and kernels removed from the cob (save kernels from 1/2 ear of corn for garnish)

2 Russet potatoes, peeled, boiled until tender and chopped

1 cup vegetable stock

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup heavy cream

Jumb lump crabmeat and chopped chives for garnish

Fresh peas, cooked with a little butter, for garnish (if available)

Melt butter in a small saucepan.  Add shallot and saute over medium heat until the shallots are translucent.  Remove from heat and add the parsley, Old Bay Seasoning, pepper, corn and potatoes. Stir to combine all ingredients.

Place mixture in a food processor or blender. Add vegetable stock, cream and salt to the mixture.  Process/blend until the mixture is pureed.  Pour pureed soup through a fine sieve, pressing the soup through the sieve with a large spoon. Discard any bits that are left in the sieve.  Chill soup until ready for service.

To serve, place approximately 1/4 cup of soup into each chilled shallow soup bowl. Garnish each bowl of soup with 2 heaping tablespoons jumbo lump crab meat, 2 heaping tablespoons corn kernels, chopped fresh chives and fresh peas. Sprinkle with Old Bay seasoning.

soupwine

Uriondo Txakoli Bizkaiko Txakolina
Fresh green apple notes.  The flavors on the palate are refreshing and almost salty which makes this wine a perfect pairing for crab.
Txakoli Uriondo is a small family winery founded in 1987 located in the Basque Region of Spain.

$19 range.   This light and crisp wine was fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and bottled with residual carbon to give it its signature natural spritz.  70% Hondarribi Zuri, 20% Mune Mahatsa, and 10% Txori Mahatsa grapes.

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