Recipes, products and tasty morsels that move me.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Lovely Bubbly

There's something about champagne. Yes, it can produce the world's worst hangovers. But, headaches be damned, I love to drink the bubbly. Up until a year ago champage was considered a special occasion drink in our house. We drank it at our wedding and to celebrate major milestones, but never just for the fun of it. And then our friend Sara got engaged.

I understand being excited about getting married. I'm sure there are numerous people that were exceptionally tired of discussing wedding plans with me between the months of May 2005 and May 2006. When Sara and Jay got engaged we celebrated with champange from the engagement dinner all the way through to the wedding.......and now that they are married the Champagne Train doesn't seem to be stopping. It has become the unofficial drink amongst our group of friends and, frankly - I love it. We pride ourselves on finding delicious, reasonably priced bottles and we've got a running list of our favorites.

To ring in 2010 tonight we'll be celebrating with our dear friends, enjoying a warm and comforting winter meal and no doubt drinking many glasses of champers (yes, we call it champers). I hope your New Years Eve is fun and safe and to help you celebratehere is a list of sparkling wines, proseccos and champagnes that I recommend. I'm not savvy enough to describe these to you in wine terms - I just know that we enjoy them.

Raise a glass and enjoy.

  • Segura Viudas Brut Rose, retails for about $7.99
  • Zonin Prosecco, available at Trader Joe's, $6.99
  • Mumm Napa Cuvee, retails for about $16.00
  • Domaine Ste. Michelle Cuvee Brut, retails for about $15.00
  • Veuve Clicquot Champagne, retails for about $40, a bit of a splurge but my top pick for big celebrations

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Haute Chocolate

I used to work for a company where 90% of the staff had an unhealthy obsession with bacon. We would take our lunch at ten in the morning sometimes just so we could go down to a local brunch spot and devour the crispy bacon during the "happy hour" special. Even before working in such a swine friendly atmosphere I've always had a healthy respect for fried pork product. My stepfather is southern and it seems we always had pork rinds around our house. Yes, I like pork rinds and No, I don't want to hear what it really is.

You can imagine my delight when my friend Laura showed up for Christmas dinner with a Mo's Bacon Bar all wrapped up for me. This is one candy bar that isn't going to appeal to everybody but it certainly appeals to me. Decadent milk chocolate, bits of applewood smoked bacon and Alder wood smoked salt all combine to make the perfect salty/sweet confection.

Vosges Haute Chocolate has created a variety of chocolate bars with unique ingrediants. Now that I've experienced the wonder that is Mo's Bacon Bar I am anxious to try the Red Fire Exotic Candy Bar made with Mexican ancho, chipotle chiles, Ceylon cinnamon and dark chocolate or maybe the Creole Exotic Candy Bar with Chicory coffee, cocoa nibs and 70% Sao Thome chocolate.

In Seattle you can find Vosges Haute Chocolat at Chocolate Box, 108 Pine Street, 206-443-3900.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A delicious use of leftovers

I am terrible about buying produce and only using part of it. There are usually a half dozen red peppers, bunches of green onions and packets of herbs that I've used a bit of for one recipe and just leave the remainder to rot in my refrigerator - eventually making their way to the compost bin when I muster up the desire to clean out the fridge (or to be more honest, when my husband insists I clean the fridge).

This recipe is a great way to use up produce in your fridge because almost anything is good in it and you don't need a certain amount of any one ingredient. I have made this a hundred different ways and it's always good because the base is a creamy garlic sauce - and who doesn't love a creamy garlic sauce? Below is how I made the dish last night, but feel free to add in different fresh herbs and vegetables depending on what you have on hand.

Creamy Shrimp Pasta
Servings: 4
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 red pepper, cut into 1" or so pieces
2 large cloves garlic, minced
6-8 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup cream (half-n-half or 2% milk would work, too)
1/2 cup white wine (I use Chardonnay but anything dry should work)
1 cup chicken stock or broth
pinch cayenne and/or red pepper flakes
2-3 tablespoons flour
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined (any size shrimp works, I typically just buy what is on sale, you can also use scallops, chicken works too)
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 a fresh lemon, cut in wedges
1 bag egg noodles (any pasta works, I just use whatever I have on hand)
salt & pepper to taste
*this is also great topped with a bit of feta cheese, but I didn't have any on hand yesterday so I omitted it and it was still delicious

In a large saute pan heat oil over medium heat (about a 5 on most stove nobs). Saute onion, red pepper, mushrooms and garlic for about 5-10 minutes or until onion starts to become translucent. Add in cayenne and/or red pepper flakes, cream, wine and broth and bring to a boil. Toss peeled shrimp in the flour and add to pot. Cook shrimp in cream sauce for about 5 minutes or until shrimp is cooked through. If sauce isn't think enough, whisk in a tablespoon of cornstarch and continue to cook for a five minutes or so. Serve over warm noodles. Top with a bit of parsley and a spritz of lemon. Serve with crusty bread for sopping up the sauce.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Delicious Food Is All Around Us

I am admittedly very late to the blogging game. I realize at this point it is practically passe` to start a blog. But, over the course of the past six months or so, I have found myself saying, on several occasions, to friends and family that I've shared amazing meals with "I should start a blog about food that I eat, I love food." In these crazy financial times that we've been experiencing it is easy to overlook the simple pleasures. A good piece of cheese or chocolate or an excellent piece of artisan bread are enough to lift my spirits on any given day. And good food really is all around us - we just have to look past the ease of picking up a McD's hamburger and spend a couple extra minutes seeking out the little sandwich shop that uses fresh ingredients from local suppliers or the bakery that crafts each loaf, scone or croissant.

And so, here it is. A blog dedicated to delicious things I ate today. Sometimes it will be food I made and I will share recipes and other times it might be something wonderful I bought or that someone made for me. I can't promise flawless grammar or witty writing - but I can promise there will be lots of discussions about food. I also hope some of my other food-loving friends will provide posts about delicious things they've eaten.

Without further ado, here is the first recipe. It was given to me by my boss so I will name it after her as she did not have a name for it. I made this for Christmas morning this year and it was a big hit at my house. They were even excellent the next day as leftovers, just heat a piece up for 15-20 seconds in the microwave before eating it.

Sharon's Christmas Pecan Rolls

Servings: 6-8
Active time: 5 minutes
Total time: 8-12 hours

1 package Rhodes frozen white dinner rolls
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/2 package butterscotch instant pudding
1/2 cup brown sugar (dark or light)
1 cup chopped pecans

Spread the chopped pecans around the bottom of an ungreased bundt pan.
Place 12-14 Rhodes rolls over the nuts, staggered so they are evenly distributed.
Sprinkle pudding mix and brown sugar over the rolls and pecans.
Melt the butter and pour over the mixture.
Let pan sit overnight in cold oven, the rolls will rise as they thaw.
In the morning, bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
When still warm, invert pan onto platter or cutting board.