Tag Archives: foodie

Carrabba’s Sausage And Lentil Soup Recipe For Father’s Day

Potatoes Picante, Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Peaches, Charred Corn Burrata Salad…find fabulous tapas recipes on the Roanoker Magazine blog. Here’s the link:

https://theroanoker.com/blogs/behind/it%E2%80%99s-time-for-tapas/

Did someone say SOUP?!

Here’s the most delicious soup you can serve Dad on his special day.  Tastes like a yummy chili with the spicy addition of Italian sausage.  Our bubbly friends Judy and Bill served this to us for an Italian themed dinner and I loved it so much I made it for dinner the very next evening!  Bill found the recipe on Copykat.com:

Carrabba’s Sausage and Lentil Soup

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup diced white onion
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 48 ounce package low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (I used Cavender’s Greek Seasoning)
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup brown lentils (I used red lentils)

Directions

In a large pot add onions, carrots, garlic, and celery and either butter or vegetable oil. Saute until the onions are transparent. Add sausage, and cook until browned. If the sausage is fairly lean drain the excess oil.

Add chicken broth, Italian seasoning, diced tomatoes and brown lentils. Cover with lid. And simmer for about 1 hour. You may want to add some additional water if too much water cooks out during the cooking process.

We found this 2016 Izadi Blanco Rioja to be an excellent pairing with the sausage and lentil soup. A blend of 80% Viura and 20% Malvasía grapes. Creamy texture with a fruit-driven freshness that balances well with the spicy flavors in the soup. Available on-line or locally at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar.

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Sparkling Strawberry Shrub Cocktail ~ Just In Time For The Weekend!

Sparkling Strawberry Shrub

 A shrub is a vinegar-based syrup, referred to as “Drinking Vinegar”. Drinking vinegar is vinegar which is often infused with fruit juice, herbs and spices for use in mixed drinks.

I was so happy to find the recipe for Front Porch Chillin’” Sparkling Strawberry Shrub in the April/May 2018 issue of Chilled Magazine It is absolutely delicious and fruity. Do not let the idea of vinegar in a cocktail stop you from making this fabulous drink this weekend!

I was very happy to find the Cava that the magazine recommended for this cocktail in my local grocery store. You can always substitute your favorite rosé cava.

Segura Viudas Brut Rosé

The wine tastes of sweet strawberry, cherry and citrus and has lots of fun bubbles. In the $15 range.

Situated on an estate that dates back to the 11th century, Segura Viudas draws on its rich Spanish heritage, blending its legacy with modern winemaking practices to create sophisticated yet approachable Cavas.  Its award winning Cava uses distinct méthode champenoise sparkling wine by the Ferrer family of Sant Sadurni d’Anola (near Barcelona). Segura Viudas is part of the Freixenet Group, a world leader in sparkling wine production. 

To make a very good sparkly shrub:

  • Invest in a muddler. You can find a muddler for around $5. It will help you muddle up the fresh fruit with sugar and vinegar to make the shrub.
  • Plant fresh mint in your garden to use for cocktail garnishes – I particularly enjoy pineapple mint and spearmint. Fresh rosemary sprigs also make a flavorful and aromatic garnish.

Sparkling Strawberry Shrub

To make the shrub:

1 cup strawberries, chopped

1 cup water

1 1/2 cup sugar (I like to use extra fine sugar for this recipe because it dissolves very quickly, but granulated sugar works just fine too.)

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

Muddle the strawberries in a large mason jar. Add water and sugar and stir to combine. After the sugar has begun to dissolve,  add the rice wine vinegar and stir to combine all ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate. The shrub can be stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to one week.

To make the Strawberry Shrub Cocktail:

Makes one cocktail:

1 ounce strawberry shrub

Segura Viudas Brut Rosé

2 large ice cubes

Rosemary Sprig or Fresh Mint and Strawberry for garnish

Place all ingredients into a snifter and add ice cubes. Stir and top with Rosé Cava; give it another little stir,  garnish with rosemary sprig or mint and a strawberry.

Saludos!

 

National Cheese Day ~ Comeback Cow!

Cheese Glorious Cheese!

In celebration of National Cheese Day – June 4, 2018 – I am tasting a new cheese and it is delicious!

Dorothy’s Comeback Cow Soft Ripened Cheese

A pleasant surprise!

Dorothy was known to work tirelessly or, as they say, until the cows came home, perfecting her soft-ripened cheeses. Comeback Cow is one of her most unusual cheese –– a true creation. Nestled in the shape of freshly sprung flowers—this bloomy rind cheese is tinged orange with age. It’s made from cow’s milk with rustic, fragrant notes in every bite.

Behold, a tasteful artisan brie that surprises A lovely blend crafted with sheer love Flavor with a kick (that just keeps kicking) And creaminess that will keep you coming back… Until the cows come home!

I paired the Comeback Cow Cheese with Runamok Maple Syrups.  Made in northern Vermont these maple syrups are fabulous drizzled over soft-ripened cheese, in cocktails, and in many sweet and savory recipes. Here’s a link to Runamok’s recipes on-line: https://runamokmaple.com/recipes/

We found the Smoked with Pecan Wood Maple Syrup to be especially delicious.

Holmsted Fines Peach Chutney was another amazing pairing with the Comeback Cow cheese. It tastes so much like my mom’s homemade peach chutney, yum!

 

Holmsted Fines Chutney is uniquely different from other chutneys on the market. It is an English based recipe that Owner and Creator Rebecca Williamson developed after graduating  Le Cordon Bleu. The balance between sweetness and acidity make Holmsted Fines the perfect condiment for any meats, cheese and vegetables even can be added to cocktails or desserts.  https://holmstedfines.com/

I am always looking for quick and delicious appetizers to serve with wine and these syrups and chutneys paired with cheese was the perfect combination ~ so easy to prepare and serve.

Comeback Cow!

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Wine ~ Spirits Infused Grilling Planks For Father’s Day!

My blogger friend Anatoli sent me some Beyond Salt and Pepper wine infused cedar grilling planks to try on my grill. Please visit his blog

https://talk-a-vino.com/

to experience his inspiring stories about wine and food.

I was couldn’t wait to get grillin’… then it started to rain and rain and rain. Every day it rained buckets.  So it was difficult to find a time to grill. Then finally the sun peeked through the clouds  we decided NOW we grill!  As soon as we put the food on the grill it started to…you guessed it…rain!  We did not let the raindrops deter us, we were bound and determined to grill.

My sweet husband grilled under the cover of his umbrella.

 

Fresh swordfish sprinkled with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, drizzled with olive oil,

topped with fresh lemon slices, ready for the grill.

Since the planks are soaked for 48 hours in their respective wines or spirits there is no need to pre-soak the planks.  I seasoned the plank by lightly toasting each side on the grill  before cooking the fish.  This imparts more intense flavor and helps prevent warping.

We tested the fish for doneness with a cake tester. This is a favorite chef’s secret:  Insert a cake tester into the thickest part of the fish and leave it there for three seconds. Immediately after removing the cake tester, touch the tip to the skin under your bottom lip for three seconds. (the skin under your lip is especially sensitive to temperature).  If the metal is warm, the fish is done. If it’s hot, the fish is probably overcooked, and if the metal is still cool, keep the fish on the grill awhile longer.

We kept a water bottle close by to spritz on any little flames as the plank got nice and hot. The aroma of the chardonnay coming off the grill was fabulous!

A simple sauce of fresh dill and melted butter was the perfect flavor for the chardonnay infused fish.  The chardonnay plank helped to keep the fish moist and tender.

The perfect pairing ~ Dill Butter Chardonnay Infused Grilled Swordfish with Delamotte Champagne.  Cheers!

Here’s a link to Anatoli’s blog post with more information about Beyond Salt and Pepper Grilling Planks:  https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/4534732/posts/19754

I am looking forward to trying the other plank flavors ~ champagne, merlot, bourbon, rum and beer.  They are easy to order directly from the website, or on Amazon (the website offers a bit wider selection).  For more inspiring grilling ideas follow Beyond Salt and Pepper on Instagram.  There are lots of fun recipes (grilled vegetable recipes for my vegetarian friends too!) on their website.  Recipes include Chardonnay Infused Cedar Planked Shrimps With Blood Orange And Peppercorns, Lamb Chops And Gnocchi On Chardonnay Infused Cedar Planked, Ginger-Marinated Pork Tenderloin On Bourbon Infused Cedar Plank…yum! Let’s get grillin’!

These flavor infused grilling planks will make a fun gift for Dad for Father’s Day on June 17, 2018!

 The planks can be used in the oven. Recommended to preheat the oven to between 360°F. To 420°F depending on the type of food you cook. Always place the planks inside the oven safe tray to prevent juices from splashing all over the oven.
Pop over to the Roanoker Magazine Blog to find some fun rosé wines to enjoy while you grill!

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Irish Boxty Meets The Flora Dora Cocktail In Dublin Ireland

Let’s lift a pint to Dublin!

 

We recently visited Gallagher’s Boxty Totally Irish Restaurant  in the Temple Bar area Dublin, Ireland

Our restaurant has been at the beating heart of a dynamic, contemporary community for over 25 years. Our customers experience a genuine taste of modern Ireland, full of eclectic talking points and the warmth of that country kitchen down the west. Today, our restaurant caters for up to 2000 local and international customers a week. The relaxed, warm atmosphere provides a natural habitat for conversation to flow easily and to share stories.

Crazy delicious and refreshing Flora Dora Cocktail served at the Boxty Restaurant in Dublin, Ireland. The cocktail was named after the first Broadway musical hit “Floradora” which made it’s debut at the Lyric Theater in London 1899  followed by a long run in New York.  So fantastic that I couldn’t wait to get home to make one.  Here’s my recipe:

Flora Dora Cocktail

makes one cocktail

1 1/2 ounce fresh raspberry puree (to make the puree:  Place fresh raspberries in a blender and blend until pureed.  Strain the raspberry puree through a fine sieve to remove any seed particles.  I keep my raspberry puree in a mason jar in the refrigerator.)

1 1/2 ounce vodka

A good squeeze of fresh lime juice

1 cup chilled ginger beer

lots of little ice cubes (I make miniature ice cubes in an ice tray that makes perfect little cubes, remove them from the tray and place in a plastic freezer bag in the freezer.)

Fresh spearmint and raspberries for garnish.

Place raspberry puree in a cocktail glass. Add vodka and lime juice and stir to combine.  Top with chilled ginger beer and ice cubes.  Stir gently to combine all ingredients.  Garnish with spearmint and raspberries. Cheers!

 

Boxty is a traditional Irish potato pancake.

Boxty on the griddle,

Boxty in the pan,

If you can’t make boxty,

You’ll never get a man.

Boxty on the griddle,

Boxty in the pan,

The wee one in the middle,

That’s the one for Mary Anne.

(Traditional Irish Rhyme)

 

http://boxtyhouse.ie/

Luncheon Specialties of the Boxty House:

Bacon Ribs

Slow-Cooked Bacon Ribs with House BBQ Sauce and Celeriac and Apple Slaw

Traditional Fish and Chips

Seafood Chowder served with Stout and Treacle Bread and fine Irish Butter + a pint

Fresh and Smoked Fish, Potato and Fennel Broth

Irish Pub Activities List!

Seriously Shamrocks are in these chips!

Our Shamrock & Sour Cream Potato Crisps are hand cooked in small batches using potatoes grown on our farm, the finest quality sunflower oil and seasoned with ingredients sourced from local Irish suppliers. They combine the delicious tangy taste of Sour Cream with the freshness of traditional Irish Shamrock. Our shamrock is grown in Ballinskelligs, Co. Kerry by Livingshamrock. This area has produced fresh Shamrock for the American President for St Patrick’s Day since 1952.

AND FOR DESSERT…

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Spring Fun With Champagne And Chocolate Lace Cookies!

It’s Spring…time to get out of the house and have some FUN!

Oatmeal Lace Cookies are THE BEST COOKIES!  Perfect for a Spring picnic.  The recipe is compliments of Gloria Smiley, Food Stylist Extraordinaire.  She served them for lunch when we visited her in Atlanta, Georgia and I didn’t want to look like a piglet, but I just could not stop eating them. They are so GOOD!  Thank you Gloria for sharing your recipe! 

OATMEAL LACE COOKIES

        These cookies are adapted from Nick Malgieri’s Lace Cookies.  There are many variations and substitutions, such as ground nuts instead of oatmeal; maple sugar instead of regular sugar, and sandwiched with bittersweet chocolate, yum.

8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 cup rolled oats, finely chopped – pulse in a food processor

1 cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon orange juice

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl, stir together melted butter, oatmeal, maple sugar, salt, egg, vanilla extract and orange juice.  Stir until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  1. Using a½ teaspoon measure, drop the batter onto sheet pans either lined with Silpat or buttered foil.  The cookies will spread, so leave at least 2 inches between each cookie.
  1. Bake the cookies for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are brown around the edges.  Remove from oven and slide the Silpat or foil onto a cooling rack.
  1. When the cookies are cool, lift them off the Silpat or foil and store in between sheets of parchment or wax paper in a container with a tight fitting lid.
  1. To make sandwiches, melt 6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate and spread on the bottom side of half the cookies; then cover with another cookie, top side up.  Store in the same manner as above.

Chambong!

$35 on-line or locally at Wine Gourmet in Roanoke, Virginia.  What is it?!  The Chambong is used for the rapid and enhanced
experience of sparkling wine / champagne consumption.  http://www.chambong.co/about/

Here’s their story from their website…they say it’s magical!

The origins of the first Chambong came about in early 2014, during a moment preempting the Super Bowl. We had an epiphany the week prior of the big event to create a “Super…Bowl.” The resulting device of our imagination harnessed an ability to hold an extraordinary amount of cannabis, however was sadly non-functional as a smoking apparatus. Fortune would prevail several evening later, while onlookers examining the piece remarked at how it looked like a fantastic wine “shooter”.  They promptly filled it with Champagne and experienced the resulting magic…And thus was born the glory that is — The Chambong.

Pop A Ball!

https://popaball.co.uk/

These fun little balls are made in the UK. I found the peach and strawberry flavors to be delightful. I enjoyed watching the balls dance around in my glass, but the set only came with one straw which would be awkward if serving more than one flute at a time. Fun for a one time party trick if you want to spend around $15 for a pack of two. I purchased them on eBay since Popaball in the UK does not ship to the United States.

MIMI ROSÉ SPARKLING WINE 

Grenache varietal. Notes of white flowers, fleshy white fruits, and citrus too. Serve as an aperitif or with dessert.  Perfect for porch sippin’ on a warm sunny day. Available on-line and locally at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar in Roanoke, Virginia.

River and Rail Restaurant

Cure For Sorrow Cocktail

Coconut Infused Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Bonal QuinQuina, House Tepache, Banana-Cream Syrup, Lime, Tiki Bitters. Pineapple, Coconut, and hints of spice. Shaken and served over a large ice cube. Grated cinnamon and pineapple wedge garnish. YUM!

Pop over to the Roanoker Magazine blog to enjoy my Beets, Bacon and Blue Salad (blue cheese and blueberries) recipe. Here’s the link:

https://theroanoker.com/blogs/behind/beets-bacon-and-blue-salad-with-ingredients-from-grandin-vil/

Happy Spring!

 

 

Making My Brand Sparkle With Professional Photography

I love photographs of food!  The more colorful and animated the better. When I was just a tiny tot I would sit in my Mom’s kitchen looking at all of the photographs in her cookbooks even before I could read the recipes.  I still choose books not by the cover so much as the number of photos inside. So when I had the opportunity to have a professional photographer photograph me and my culinary creations I jumped at the chance! I was pleasantly surprised at how relaxed I felt as the shutter snapped.

My neighbor’s daughter owns Megapixie Photography, a professional photography studio based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  When I saw her photography on the Megapixie website ~ http://megapixie.com ~ something sparked and I couldn’t wait to start putting together a portfolio.    Megapixie offers a small business package that was perfect for my needs.

Established in 2010, the owner of Megapixie is Annemie Tonken.    Annemie is the Dutch version of Anne Marie and is pronounced like the “onomy” in economy or autonomy.  Annemie specializes in fine art child and family photography. A visit to her website with photos of lots of happy bubbly babies and children will make you smile!  Fortunately she enjoys the art of food photography too.  She made me feel completely at ease by  spending some time getting to know me and my expectations prior to the photo session.  She asked me to send examples of the types of photographs I enjoy ~ photos of food and cooks/chefs.  She was encouraging and gently nudged me towards some things that she knew would work well from her wealth of experience.  I love color and she encouraged me to have several “wardrobe changes” because some colors reflect different levels of light better than others.

I had lots of props ready and we  had great fun changing up the set as she clicked the shutter.   The first thing I did that morning to get ready for the photo session was to collect Spring flowers from my garden…Red Bud branches and tiny Grape Hyacinth flowers.  Did you know that Red Bud flower buds are edible?  They have a fresh, slightly sweet tart flavor.

And of course we had several bottles of champagne ready to pop open over the course of the sunny Friday morning…but just for snappin’ photos not for sippin!  Since country ham biscuits are my signature dish I made some to photograph.

Here’s Annemie taking photos in my kitchen.

 

One of the first photos she took was a photo of a champagne glass and some blue hyacinths on an antique cobblers bench. My mother bought the bench in the 1950’s at an antique store when they first moved to Roanoke, Virginia.  It made a beautiful backdrop for the photographs.   I was tickled that Annemie chose the cobblers bench because it has always been one of my favorite pieces of furniture. I can just imagine a cobbler sitting on the bench thoughtfully making shoes.  Annemie sat on the floor and then climbed on a stool to get just the right shot.

Here she staged the pouring of champagne into a champagne flute. By using candles lit behind the flute she made it look like an evening of celebration.

I anticipate many uses for my photographs. I will use this photo for future submissions to magazines and other publications.  Thank you Megapixie for this fabulously fun  photo session!

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