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Funghi Pizza + Ribolla Gialla…

Everyone is entitled to a few guilty pleasures from time to time + this is one of our favorites…

In my last post I recommended Piccino’s in the Dogpatch where the funghi pizza is to die for. After moving to NYC we missed our little pizza joint until I met Jim Lahey the owner + chef at Co. + Sullivan Street Bakery. His vegan mushroom pizza was the star at an event he was cooking at + I was gobbling slices up like everyone else. This recipe is an hybrid adaptation combining the technique from the Master himself + the delicious topping from our favorite haunt. We served this at home with my friends family’s wine…The 2010 Grassi Ribolla Gialla.  A gorgeous wine with notes of meyer lemon, white flowers,  a touch of earthiness + minerality with a lasting finish. The Grassi Ribolla Gialla is a beautiful example of what a solid producer can do with an indigenous Italian varietal in Napa Valley.

FUNGI PIZZA WITH SPICY ROASTED GARLIC + GRASSI RIBOLLA GIALLA

1 portion Pizza dough (store bought or Jim Lahey’s recipe*)

*Here’s a link to Jim Lahey’s No Knead Pizza Dough + a video on how to knuckle it out!

4-6 cups of mixed mushrooms (shiitake, button, portobello etc)

1/4 more or less of quality olive oil

1-2 shallots

1-2 garlic cloves

1 tsp fresh thyme, plus extra for garnish

Pinch of red chili pepper flakes

Salt & Pepper to taste

*Set up is key with this recipe!

Bring pizza dough to room temperature  about 2 hours before baking…this will make for a crispier more bubbly crust.

Place a clean pizza stone (such as this one) about 4-5 inches from the broiler feature in your oven. Ours is electric but this works the same for gas.

Preheat oven to it’s highest temperature, usually 500 degrees F with stone in oven.  Heat oven for 1 hour then switch on the broiler to 500 degrees. Some ovens have a failsafe switch preventing the oven from getting hotter than 500 so to trick it open the oven door slightly for a moment or two.

In a food processor blend 4-6 cups of raw or sautéed mushrooms, shallots, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme + red chili pepper flakes until consistency of chunky tapenade. You can add walnuts like Chef Lahey does if you want a heartier pie. (Note: sautéing the mushrooms, garlic + shallots will result in a richer paste)

Flour all work surfaces well.

Walk out your pizza dough onto a pizza peel by stretching the edges out first…then “knuckling” the dough until it’s thin + slightly see through.

Spread a mushroom mixture over the pizza dough leaving some small spots of dough peeking through.

Slip the pizza off your pizza peel or plate onto the hot stone. Cook until crust is bubbling with burnt little bubbles.

Remove + place onto your peel again, slicing into pieces. Top with fresh thyme + a drizzle of truffle or olive oil.

Enjoy!

Cheers to everyone this 4th of July! Have a wonderful + safe holiday!

xx

Meg

Napa…how to eat, drink + see the valley

As a native Californian + former Bay Area resident, I am often asked where is it that I go when back in Napa. So here is my ideal weekend trip to San Francisco + Napa. *Note: You have to make appointments at the wineries listed!

Off Minnesota Street in the Dogpatch is my favorite cafe, called Piccino’s. Order a bottle of white burgundy or the like, the fungi pizza, whatever salad is fresh that day + a plate of the pickled veggies.

Next up, The Ferry Building! Mecca to all SF foodies. Just go and wonder…

Next, make your way North to Napa via the Embarcadero. As you breach the Golden Gate, roll the windows down even if it’s foggy, it is some of the freshest air you can breath! Once you head up the hill, make sure to look back at the City…

As you drive through the Marin Headlands up toward Napa Valley you’ll hit Highway 37 which brings you to Sonoma/Napa. Once in Napa stay at The Westin Verasa, it’s not as posh as Meadowood but it’s centrally located and a block from the Oxbow Public Market. At the Oxbow, make sure to try, The Hog Island Oyster Co. The sweetwaters are their specialty…Another Napa hot spot not far from Oxbow, is Oenotri, fantastic charcuterie + perfect hand slung flatbread pizzas!

A morning tasting is to be desired at Domaine Carneros. Owned by Taittinger, this house is my personal favorite when it comes to bubbles in California + it has one of the most peaceful views of surrounding vineyards. Try a little smoked salmon plate to pair with their wines…

Escaping the tourist route, head up to Chappellet Winery. One of the most impressive vineyards overlooking Lake Hennessy. Just follow their directions online to avoid getting lost.

Take a stroll through Yountville, on your way to lunch at Bouchon. Thomas Keller’s favorite food is french bistro style cuisine + as a long time resident of Yountville, he does dine there from time to time.

The epitome of high design, Cade Winery sits at 1,800 feet of elevation + promises to be the gem in your memory box with it’s breathtaking views almost 60 miles south down the valley.

If you find yourself in St. Helena, try to pull up a chair fireside at Farmstead. Everything is grown or cultivated in house at the Long Meadow Ranch so relax while you nibble on freshly baked potato rolls right out of the oven.

Lastly, don’t forget to be a responsible drinker…

Cheers!

Meagan

Miss Piggy say’s “thank you…”

As my journey back to veganism unfolded, I found myself diving deeper into the pool of raw foodism…

When I say I dove in, I really dove in…I invested in the greatest raw foodie kitchen device, the dehydrator! Armed with a Excalibur 9 tray dehydrator I was ready to take the plunge.  Surprisingly, it’s been easier than being vegan and what shocks me the most is how simple and delicious it has been!

For some reason the stigma of being vegan is that of weird earthy crunchy freaks who cover their walls with PETA posters and rally outside of wholefoods…but being vegan for me initially was for health reasons, morphing into more of an empathy for the entire food chain. It’s difficult to gobble down a BBQ’d pulled pork sandwich when you know how it got to your plate. So for me, the decision has been simple…every day someone tells me I have great skin, hair or a glow, and everyday I feel more energized and alive with not a single bit of bloating, constipation or headaches. That is enough for me to not miss eating little Miss Piggy one bit. Besides, she was always my favorite character. :)

That’s why for this post I wanted to give you one of the first recipes I tried and experienced my ah-ha moment.

Carrot Ginger soup has often be my go-to soup of choice when the weather sucks, I have a cold, or if I am trying to “be good” pre vegan/raw. A soup of boiled carrots blended with freshly grated ginger in a broth of veggie stock. Super easy, but it always felt a bit one-dimensional to me. So when I tried this live recipe, I fell in love.

Raw (Live) Carrot Ginger Soup *recipe adapted from Raw Food Real World by Sarma Melngailis

3 cups raw organic carrot juice (freshly juiced if possible)

1/2 cup raw organic young Thai coconut meat  (you can learn about & buy it here)

1 ripe organic avocado peeled + cubed

1-2 inch chunk of fresh ginger root, grated

1/4 cup raw organic agave syrup

1 1/2 +/_  cups raw organic coconut water (harmless harvest my favorite brand)

1-2 organic limes juiced with a reamer

Couple of pinches of cayenne pepper to taste

1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt or to taste

Drizzle of your favorite oil to garnish (I used a basil infused olive oil)

Add all the ingredients to a big mixing bowl or blender. Blend until creamy and smooth with an immersion blender or high-speed blender. Garnish with oil or fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley. Stores in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in a glass mason jar or plastic container as metal will spoil this soup almost immediately (found this out the hard way).

Note: If you want this soup warm, try warming the serving bowl first in the microwave or dehydrator or oven.

Since this soup has a bit of a kick, try it with a glass of Riesling or a cold glass of coconut water.

Enjoy!

Love,

M

New Chapter…Veganism

With lots to fill you in on, I’ll start from the beginning.

I have dabbled with vegetarian/veganism for several years with some success but would usually fall off the wagon due to feelings of embarrassment in social situations. However, the straw that broke this camels back was an unfavorable blood test back in November. With pretty much every disease a risk for me due to family history it was the first real warning signal from my body. Fortunately I have a wonderful and open-minded doctor who is a cardiologist as well. With his advice to cut out animal products and embrace a plant-based diet, I embarked on a new chapter with food…

Keep in mind the timing of this news was right before holidays when butter, meat and excess are at their peak. I roughed through the holidays with a vegetarian regiment except for the real holiday meals until after the new year and our move. Once settled into our new place I scrapped all the “fat” and headed to the book store.

Now I’m a very visual person, so food has to look AMAZING or my taste buds won’t get excited. I’ve always loved bright colorful dishes and generally cook that way but something in my mind kept telling me this might be harder than before. To my surprise (and my husbands), a plant-based diet has been fun, delicious and easy even when eating at non-vegan restaurants! I even  managed to get my 50-year-old parents to try it while visiting us in NY. (Besides, it gave them something to talk about when they returned home, “can you believe we ate tofu sausage!”)

But, I must confess, this isn’t my first rodeo with veganism leaving little shock reason for me. However, I did learn from the last time that you should go easy on the soy products since they tend to pack on the pounds if not balanced with tons of greens and grains.

Armed with several new cookbooks and a few new kitchen items, I made the switch to Vegan. A month and a half has passed with a vibrancy I can’t even begin to explain, oh yeah, and you are going to eat and love hearty breads & grains again…in moderation of course! Just remember, you control your body through the foods you eat so why not give it the best you possibly can?

Here’s my list of books:

The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone One of my favorites for those of you dabbling with the idea and all the way to full fledge vegan. Her website is a fabulous resource too… http://www.thekindlife.com/

Detox 4 Women by Natalia Rose The book that changed my thinking and started this path a few years back.

Raw Food/Real World: 100 Recipes to Get the Glow by Matthew Kenney Super delicious and really sexy vegan raw food, a perfect book for those of you foodie types.

BabyCakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York’s Most Talked-About Bakery by Erin McKenna Honestly, I can’t make enough when I bake from this book. Try the raspberry scones, you won’t be disappointed!

Veganomicon: The ultimate vegan cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz Not a ton of pretty pictures for inspiration however, the “ricotta” recipe can fool any non vegan. Try making lasagna with this next time and you’ll see what I mean…

And my list of cool vegan stuff I’ve found along the way:

Dr. Cow Cheese Ridiculously yummy stuff, try the Go Granola as well as the cheeses!

Korin Japanese Kitchen Tools + Knives This is where you can order your Suribachi!

Breville 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite 1000-Watt Juice Extractor Your new BFF if you don’t have a neighborhood juice bar…I’ve had my juicer for 4 years now and LOVE it!

 

Next week, the dish on vegan wines, what that really means and why I don’t worry too much when it doesn’t say that on the label….

 

Cardboard + Crudité…

The holidays were a blur segueing into January with little reprieve from our busy schedules, not to mention we were moving! I know, we just got to our New York apartment in March but our landlord was selling his place so that meant while you were enjoying your holidays, I was searching for new apartments between my husbands busy travel schedule and holiday parties… ugh!

With all of this, comes crazy stress so my culinary juices were pretty dried up and frankly I’d drink just about any bottle of wine that was around because shopping for that “great bottle” was simply too much of a bother. Procrastination was rampant as the mountain of cardboard and packing paper plagued me from across the room. Two weeks out the packing started and the daunting task of what stays and what goes began. I made one last trip to dean & deluca for some green juice and veggies to energize our efforts without sacrificing the gourmet experience.

Two recipes for your disaster day, I mean moving day, that are going to rock your world next time you move and all you need is one pot, a microwave and some paper picnic ware. Light a candle and pop some champagne cause it’s packing time!

One Pot Veg Soup:

1 head of cauliflower

1 white onion

1 clove garlic

1 bay leaf

Himalayan Salt

Fresh cracked pepper

Water

Olive oil

Grab that large dutch oven one last time before packing the kitchen… drizzle some olive oil in the bottom and crank up the heat to medium. Chop the onions into bits and smash the garlic (take out your frustrations of packing on this onion/garlic if you like…it’s going to all get pulverized later) Add the onions, garlic, bay leaf, pinch of salt/pepper to the pot and cover with a parchment lid (make like a 6 year old and cut out a pretty circle same size as your pot with a hole in the middle) Sweat them until they are soft and clear, about 10 minutes or so, just make sure they don’t color. Discard the parchment lid and bay leaf…Clean the head of cauliflower and remove the green bits. Pop the whole head into the pot and pour in a cup or so of water. Cover with the lid to steam for 15 minutes. Add the rest of the water and boil it until the cauliflower is tender and falling apart. Now get your immersion blender (or regular blender) and blend all of this to a beautiful silky smooth soup. Serve it in whatever dishes are not packed with a hunk of baguette and a drizzle of olive oil. Save the rest for the next couple of nights, it will beat the hell out of take-out!

Serve it with the Raventos Brut Rose, http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1062060 no corkscrew needed and at under $20 a bottle you can’t go wrong.

Crudite Salad (It will save your life)

1 small bag of baby carrots

1 bunch of celery

1 avocado

1 bunch of radishes

1 bunch of grapes

1 box of cheery tomatoes

1 cucumber

1 package of hummus

Now the french have it right, this “salad” is my lifesaver when life is getting a bit overwhelming and I just need to eat “something” but really don’t want to skimp on my healthy eating habits. It’s all finger friendly, great for kids too. You can change up the veggies to suit your own tastes or seasons but this is what we have been living on while wallowing in our sea of boxes.

Wash all the veggies unless they are already washed of course. Cut up any that need it like the cucumbers or avocado. (Asparagus is another good one, just snap the woody ends off and enjoy raw) Open the package of hummus…take the slices of avocado and  drizzle  with olive oil, salt and pepper. Gobble up the veggies with the hummus and treat yourself to some grapes in the end. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated while packing…I promise it will all be over soon!

Toasts You Ought To Know…Thanksgiving

On the table spread the cloth,

Let the knives be sharp and clean;

Pickles get and salad, both,

Let them each be fresh and green,

With small beer, good ale and wine.

O, ye gods! How we will dine!

~anonymous

 

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Cheers,

M

Pilgrims love Pinot…

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for the fortunate blessings in our lives, and most of us spend this holiday rushing around the kitchen or cheering for our favorite team while the smell of turkey hangs in the air. But this year, I encourage you get serious about the wine you serve. It’s a simple upgrade you can give yourself and your guests while elevating your thanksgiving meal to perfection.

First off, welcome your guests with a well chilled glass of sparkling wine. It will waken the taste buds and get your guests in the mood for food! Most sparkling wines you’ll find at the market are dry and not sweet, which is a good thing since we don’t want to sugar up our guests too early.

To start, I recommend my personal go-to for sparkling wine, the 2007 Domaine Carneros Brut Cuvée.  An exceptional value at $20 a bottle this perfectly balanced wine has just the right amount of bright crisp flavor and tiny bubbles making it the perfect choice for those delicate savory hors d’oeuvres. Made in Carneros California, Domaine Carneros is the US arm of the French Champagne House known as Taittinger.These grapes are grown organically and made in the traditional french method giving you an affordable “champagne” taste without breaking the bank. A true pleasure to drink alone or with food, enjoy well chilled.

Once your guests are seated and the celebration has begun, try pouring this dry white wine to start the meal off right. The 2009 Chateau du Champ des Treilles “Vin Passion” is a mouthful but I promise you it’s a crowd pleaser. This Bordeaux Blanc (white Bordeaux) is made up of three grape varietals, muscadelle, sauvignon blanc and semillon which give this wine tons of deep layered flavor. It’s bright citrusy notes and clean finish are excellent with light fish dishes or even turkey and stuffing. One sip and you will see why this budget friendly wine at $15.99 a bottle will be on my table this year.

For the pièce de résistance this Thanksgiving, I urge you to try the 2007 Willakenzie Estate Pinot Noir Dijon Clone 113. The tasting notes read like a thanksgiving menu…”aromas of red and black fruit including cranberry, blueberry and blackberry with some smokiness and subtle floral tones with concentrated fruit flavors of plum, cherry, and raspberry, while notes of cedar and pepper linger on the finish” With flavors like that why bother with the bargain bin wines? Now this wine is a bit more expensive at $38 a bottle but worth the splurge. Made from one specific type of pinot noir grape, hence the name, know as Dijon Clone 113 this wine will impress even your most discerning wine critic at the table this year.

With bellies full, why not sit back and relax by the fire with a sultry glass of port from Heitz Cellar. The non-vintage Ink Grade Port from Heitz Cellars is a real treat after a long day of cooking and entertaining with its dark mysterious color and rich flavor. This wine is a bargain at $15 a half bottle and since it’s fortified with additional alcohol you only need a little bit to take the edge off. Perfect with cheese or warm spiced nuts it will be the ideal companion for last moments of Thanksgiving. Just don’t blame me if your guests stick around for this one.

Here’s where to buy them… Cheers!

Domaine Carneros 2007 Brut Cuveé $26.00 pb

Wine comprises of 60% Pinot Noir + 40% Chardonnay

http://www.domainecarneros.com/2007Brut

Chateau du Champ des Treilles, 2009 “Vin Passion” Bordeaux Blanc $15.99 pb

Blend of Muscadelle, Sauvignon Blanc + Semillon

http://www.shop.appellationnyc.com/r/products/chateau-du-champ-des-treilles-vin-passion-2009

Willakenzie Estate 2007 Pinot Noir Dijon Clone 113 $38.00 pb

100% Pinot Noir, Dijon Clone 113

http://www.willakenzie.com/our-wines/estate-pinot-noirs/dijon-clone-113/

Heitz Cellar Ink Grade Port, 375ml (half bottle) $15.00 pb

Blend of classic port varietals, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Sauzao, Tinta Cao, Tinta Bairrada, Tinta Madeira, Tinta Amarela and Bastardo

http://www.heitzcellar.com/store/index.cfm?fuseaction=view&category_id=33