Category Archives: wine

pancetta-wrapped peaches & vinho verde

A topic I’ve been longing to learn more about is wine and of course along with that comes wine and food pairings. While I can easily say that wine is my favorite liquid, I will admit that it is something I don’t know much about. I’ve got books, I’ve got a BF who sold wine for a short stint and yet I can barely determine if something is “oaky” or not.  But what I do know? I know that a vinho verde tastes just perfect with peaches & pancetta.

With a short ingredient list and the use of cured pork I was sold on this recipe when I came across it on the Food & Wine website. Although I’m almost convinced you could wrap anything in pancetta and it would turn out delicious.  

And until my wine palette is more refined, I’ll just have to stick with what tastes good. I think I can handle that.

Pancetta -Wrapped Peaches from Food & Wine, serves 4 as an appetizer

  • 2 ripe peaches, sliced into wedges
  • a few basil leaves, torn into about 12 pieces
  • 12 slices pancetta

Roll pancetta in half. Place basil leaf and peach on one end and wrap pancetta around peach. Fasten with a toothpick if necessary.

Coat pan with cooking spray. Heat to medium-high heat. Add peaches and cook on both sides until pancetta is crispy. 

Serve!

Do you know of any good wine resources to help me out?

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Filed under appetizers, fruit, herbs, in season, Uncategorized, wine

4th of July Menu

Still need some menu ideas for 4th of July celebrations? Look no further! I’ve rounded up some of my favorite recipes along with others from the blog world!

Appetizers:

Guacamole with Basil & Shallots

Roasted Vegetable Cheese Spread

Cheese Filled Endeive Leaves from MommyRD

Main:

Chicken Satay with Coconut Peanut Sauce

Grilled Pizzas from Fake Food Free

Prosciutto Chihuahua Panini from Eating for England

Sides:

Artichoke Ravioli Pasta Salad

Greek Potato Salad

Arugula & Apple Salad

Lynn’s Cabbage Slaw with Mango from The Actors Diet

Drinks:

White Wine Mojito

Pomegranate Champagne – add some blueberries for the 4th!

Desserts:

Strawberry & Mascarpone-filled Cupcakes

Banana & Blueberry Popsicles – perfect for little ones – from Weekly Bite

What’s on your weekend menu? If you have some good recipes,  please share below with a link!  Have a safe & happy 4th!

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Filed under antioxidants, appetizers, blog friends, cheese, cocktails, dessert, entertaining, fruit, great meals, in season, Recipes, salad, vegetables, whole foods, whole grains, wine

entertaining: how to plan a cocktail party

By no means am I claiming to be an expert, but throwing and attending cocktail parties is one of my favorite things to do! I think it has a little to do with my love for hors d’oeuvres but it can also be easy to build a healthy meal with cocktail party fare, while enjoying delicious food and great company.

Choosing the Menu:

Choosing your Cocktails:

Setting Everything Up:

  • Fresh flowers are a must!
  • Set aside a specific bar area: glasses, bottle openers, wine, pitcher of signature cocktail, ice, etc.
  • Have 2 or 3 different food areas so the guests can mingle
  • Area of plates, napkins and necessary utensils

Planning Ahead:

  • Choose things that can be made ahead and don’t need to be served immediately as they will be sitting out for a few hours
  • Make everything as much ahead as you can and give yourself an hour for last minute things that will come up (they always do)
  • Make a great playlist
  • Have your friends help!

Make sure to have fun! That is the whole point after-all, isn’t it?

What are your tips for throwing a great party?

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Filed under appetizers, cheese, cheese tray, cocktails, crackers, entertaining, olives, Recipes, wine

entertaining:butter & salts

A few years back, I met the tasters sister Amy at a great little wine bar in Chicago and one of the items that we had was butter with various salts. I’ve never forgotten how delicious it was and I’ve been building my salt collection ever since. When the truffle salt made its way into my collection, I knew I was ready for my own butter and salt experience.


The concept is simple and the preparation is minimal – simply sprinkle the salt over pieces of high-quality butter and serve with bread or crackers. Wine is optional but highly recommended 😉 Although I love red, I think a crisp white would pair beautifully with the saltiness and creamy butter.

Left to right: Truffle Salt, Himalayan Sea Salt, Smoked Sea Salt, Citrus Sea Salt

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Filed under appetizers, entertaining, fats, great meals, restaurants, Uncategorized, whole grains, wine

Colorado

The trip to Colorado was a wonderful one! The taster and I walked around Denver so much that my legs actually hurt! (Sedentary job much?) The food was fantastic, some interesting drinks were had (a cucumber mojito that will have to be re-created) and I love that flip flops and a fleece are totally acceptable for pretty much everything! I’ll spare you every last detail and get right to my favorites:

Dinner at Rioja was amazing to say the least. It was recommended to us by friends and we would have gone back every night if not for the sake of variety. My favorite was the paella gnocchi: “rice crusted saffron gnocchi, PEI mussels, Hawaiin blue prawn, calamari, orange scented chicken sausage, artichoke hearts, smoked paprika tomato broth.” Could be a strong contender for the best thing I ever ate.

Daily trips to Larimer Square (Mary Beth I thought you would like the anthro-like banners in the street)

Rockies Game

Pictures around Denver


Day trip to Estes Park

Fondue & Flowers in Boulder, which I’m convinced is the hippiest city ever, in addition to being the home of many of my favorite food brands: Justin’s Nut Butter, Simply Boulder Sauces, Skinny Crisps, Celestial Seasonings, etc…

Red Rocks Amphitheater and some very necessary stair-climbing.

 

The Denver Art Museum

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Filed under bacon, beans, eating local, great meals, restaurants, travel, Uncategorized, wine

an antioxidant cocktail

Ever since my friend Mercedes introduced me to Valdoro Prosecco a few weeks ago, I have been finding myself straying from the beloved red for the crisp, fresh bubbly.  Now don’t get me wrong, I would never leave red behind, but I know I will be enjoying some more prosecco on the up-coming summer nights.

Prosecco is a dry sparkling wine from the prosecco grape (grown in the Veneto region of Italy).

I love it on its own, but I also love adding some fruit to my bubbles every now and then. Mixing some prosecco with a splash of juice proved to be delicious, extra-pink, pretty & full of antioxidants. (Ok, full of might be a stretch)

Prosecco Cocktail:

Here is a toast to Friday and the weekend!

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Filed under antioxidants, cocktails, fruit, wine

restaurant: butcher block

For the tasters Birthday he decided on a new restaurant in our neighborhood called The Butcher Block. “Where meat is our passion; organic, grass-fed & sustainable are our principles; and serving great-tasting food – with or without meat – is our priority.” And meat we had. I love the more “traditional” Italian restaurants complete with separate courses of chewy pasta and tender meat. The prices were very reasonable and they had a number of bottles of wine for $15. So we had a $15 bottle of Chianti. Was it the best bottle of wine I’ve ever had? Obvy not but I’m no wine snob so it worked.

Get ready for a ridiculous amount of food. I’m just warning 😉

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Grilled Octopus: Haven’t had this since Greece and while we are sadly no where near the ocean here in MN, it was surprisingly good. It pretty much melted.

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Romanesca Salad: Romaine, cucumber, tomato, anchovy vinaigrette – some greens were definitely needed in this meat-centric meal.

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Lamb Sausage: this is freshly ground and prepared on-site and it is to. die. for. literally. The taster and I were dreaming of putting this on pizza and pretty much just eating it as often as possible.

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Fettuccine alla Bolognese: ground pork and beef, tomato – definitely not something I would generally order but it wasn’t my birthday 🙂 This dish was so straight-forwardly delicious- nothing fancy here and nothing fancy needed.

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Pork & Ricotta Meatballs: we ordered these along with pasta (why? I’m still not really sure) but they were amazing none the less

While we have already tried about 3/4 of the menu, I can’t wait to get back to the Butcher Block. Who knows, maybe once it thaws we can actually walk there!

the favorite present

the favorite birthday present

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Filed under appetizers, cheese, eating local, great meals, pasta, restaurants, tomatoes, Uncategorized, vegetables, wine