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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

The Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey + Gravy

Thanksgiving is probably my most favorite time of year for cooking. I adore roasting chestnuts and brining my turkey for days. This recipe will become your family tradition as it has become mine thanks to Chef, Mark Sullivan of Spruce in San Francisco. This recipe was gifted to a few aspiring chefs and home cooks a few years back and I couldn’t have Thanksgiving without it! Thanks again Mark, you are the best!!!

THE BRINE:

Prep Time: 30-45 minutes

Rest Time: 2-3 days

INGREDIENTS:

3 onions, sliced

3 fennel bulbs, sliced

30 cloves of fresh garlic, sliced

3 oranges, sliced

3 lemons, sliced seeds discarded

1/2 cup olive oil

1 gallon water, brought to a boil

18 oz. kosher salt

12 oz. honey

3 tbsp fennel seeds, toasted

4 bay leaves

3 sprigs rosemary, bruised

12 sprigs of thyme, bruised

6 juniper berries, bruised

2 gallons of ice water

1 16-18 pound  organic turkey

* see bottom for cooking temperatures and recommended USDA temperatures

Preparing the Brine….

Sweat the onions, fennel and garlic in olive oil for 20 minutes over medium heat in a covered stock pot, careful to not color them.

Cover with the boiling water and whisk in the salt and honey so that they disperse into the water. Add all the other ingredients ( citrus, herbs and spices) then turn off the heat to steep for 30 minutes.

Chill the brine by adding 2 gallons of ice water.

Rinse your turkey under cold water and place in a large vessel or pot. Pour the chilled brine over the bird and refrigerate for two or three days.

Roasting the Bird….

Remove the bird from the brine and place in a vessel covered for one hour.

Heat your oven to convection heat at 400 degrees. If using a still oven add 50 degrees to all the temperatures for this recipe. Note: use a quality thermometer preferably with a timer to gauge internal temperature.

To properly roast a 16 pound bird you can plan on a 5 hour time span from start to finish. One hour to temper the bird by bringing it up to room temperature after removing it from the brine, 2  1/2 – 3 hours to cook the bird and a final hour to rest the bird after roasting. Tempering, roasting, and resting are the key to a perfectly roasted turkey or poultry for that matter.

Stuff your bird with your preferred stuffing (I use a wild rice stuffing that I’ll post next), truss the bird with kitchen string. Season the bird liberally with salt and pepper. Roll out aluminum foil with parchment paper  rolled out on-top of it. Then place the bird breast side down on the paper. Wrap the parchment around the bird and then the aluminum foil around that. It should look like a silver ball of sorts when done. Place the bird again breast side down into your roasting pan rack.

Place the bird in the oven for 30 minutes only… then turn the oven down to 200 degrees for one hour.

After one hour at 200 degrees, remove the turkey from the oven and open the foil and parchment. Flip the bird over and tightly close up the parchment and foil again. Return to the oven at 200 degrees and roast for another hour.

After this next hour, you’ll need to be especially aware of the internal temperature before finishing the bird in the oven. Measure the temperature by piercing deep into the thigh. Look for a final temperature of 142-148 degrees. (148-160 for more doneness)

Remove the bird after the two hours at 200 degrees and remove the parchment and foil allowing the juices to pool in the roasting pan. Crank the oven up to 375 (425 for non convection) and return the bird (breast side up again) to the oven until well browned and cooked to your desired cooking temp of 142-148.  Expect a touch of pink near the joints for these temps but if you prefer a less moist bird you can cook it further. See above.

Note: USDA recommends 180 for poultry, sadly this will result in the dried out birds of our childhoods…

Once the bird has reached temp remove and place the turkey on a wood cutting board or platter to rest for one hour! Don’t forget to tip the bird in the roasting pan, you want to make sure to get all of those juices out for gravy… Resting for an hour will allow all the juices to disperse back into the flesh and give you the perfect crown jewel of the table this holiday, so don’t skip.  If you can keep the bird in a warm area while resting (90-105 degrees) it’s best but if not tent it lightly with foil.

Carving the Bird…

Make a cut along the middle of the breast bone, let your knife slice just the side of the bone releasing the breast from the carcass. remove the entire breast and slice on the bias, plating on the platter. Repeat on the other side. Remove the legs using the tip of your knife to release it from the joint. Remove the wings and any under meat if you like or save those parts for left overs.

Making the Gravy…

Drippings from the roasted turkey

1 1/2 cups dry white wine 

1/4 cup flour

2 1/2 – 3 cups broth or potato water (super easy if you are making mashed potatoes with your turkey)

3-4 shallots, minced

2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped fine

Pour the drippings from your roasting pan into a sauce pot, set aside.

Set the roasting pan directly over medium high heat on your stove.

Add the white wine to the pan, careful it will sizzle and pop. Scrape the pan with a wooden spoon while the wine is sizzling, this will deglaze the pan releasing all the little bits into the liquid.

Add the shallots and thyme, keep scrapping and stirring for 5-6 minutes…

Place the sauce pot on a medium-high heat burner. Once hot add the flour and stir until well combined and the flour is smooth.

Continue to stir briskly while slowly adding the wine and shallots mixture. Add in 1/2 cup increments the  potato water to achieve the desired consistency. Keep in mind you may need to adjust the temperature to keep the gravy gently bubbling.

Let the gravy simmer for about 10 minutes before tasting and seasoning with salt and pepper.

The gravy will thicken when cooled at the table but adjust thickness with flour or water for thicker or thinner gravy.

Serve alongside of your perfectly roasted turkey and don’t blame me (or Chef Sullivan) if your guests are not much for conversation, they will be too busy enjoying your turkey!

Cheers,

M

The “R” word… Riesling, a Pre Holiday Guide to Wine

Quite frankly this year has flown by, in a true “New York minute” , so I can’t believe it’s already October with Halloween around the corner! This marks the start of the holiday season which is fun, wonderful, stressful and sometimes overwhelming so I wanted to share some wine tips along with a time-saving recipe that will leave you with time to relax.

During the holidays we often say to ourselves, “if I only had more hours in the day…” but how often do we say, “me, myself and I are going on a break!”? It’s challenging with all of life’s responsibilities to be thoughtful about ourselves, however, without this precious luxury we fall out of balance. Now I know we all experience a little guilt when taking “me time” but trust me, it will be your saving grace this season and with this recipe you’ll find you might just have that time… to relax!

For this recipe make a batch on Sunday and you’ll have lunch/dinner ready in minutes leaving time for that glass of wine!!!

EAT

ROASTED CARROT + YAM SOUP

6-8 large carrots, peeled

2-3 large yams or sweet potatoes

4 cups vegetable stock

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

1-2 large shallots

1-2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup pure maple syrup (skip/add to taste)

1 teaspoon ground ginger (add more to taste)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1 handful of flat leaf parsley

1 package fresh goats cheese

2 baking sheets

1 blender or food processor

1 sauce pot

Set your oven to 400 degrees.  Rinse the yams and place them on a baking sheet completely naked. Peel the carrots and place them on another baking sheet again naked. Roast the yams and carrots until when pierced with a knife there is no resistance. (I found that my carrots took longer than my yams so keeping them separate will give you better control) Although, if you like your soup a bit more rustic, cook the carrots until they are almost done, they will grind up a bit courser than the potatoes.  Once the vegetables are cooked to perfection, take a pairing knife to slit open the yam skins and peel them off, careful to not burn yourself. Set aside…

In a saucepan, add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Set the pan to medium high. Zest the garlic and shallots with a microplane into the olive oil (now you don’t have to chop or blend up the  mixture!) Once it’s lightly golden brown you can reduce the heat to low and begin blending the soup.

Adding the carrots and yams in batches, blend with enough stock to make it loose. Once all the carrots, yams and stock are blended together, return the soup to the saucepan with the garlic and onions. Add the spices except for the salt and pepper, stir to combine. Add the maple syrup and taste…then add the salt/pepper. Return heat to medium to heat through.

At this point you could spoon yourself a bowl but this soup will only benefit from a night in the fridge…just cool before storing.

Serve with a garnish of goat cheese, basil oil, and fresh parsley, serve hot!

DRINK

RIESLING….

Riesling is best known for its German roots however, other countries like France produce some amazing bottles. Feel free to explore, you will find Riesling from all over the world  with benchmarks coming from Germany and France… Things to keep in mind, not all Riesling is sweet but it is generally high in acid and sugar with low alcohol.

On the label you will find one of these terms. This will give you insight to how ripe these grapes were at harvest and respectively, that equates to sugar content.

Trocken = dry

Tafelwein = Table wine…a bit harder to find as most imported Riesling is at least Qualitatswein or higher.

Qualitatswein = Quality wine…somewhat subjective here so ask your wine shop geek if they have tasted this before buying

Kabinett = First off the block in delicious dry quality Riesling. It’s dry, not sweet and generally fantastic with seafood or light game, hint, hint, like turkey.

Spatlese = Harvested riper than Kabinett, the term Spatlese means “late picking”. It’s sometimes sweet and sometimes not, so ask your wine shop if a particular bottle is sweet.  Try pairing the dry with poultry and lobster and the sweet with indian food, the sweet plays well with heat!

Auslese = Almost like a late harvest wine, its name means “out picked” since the berries harvested are hand-picked berry by berry. Most often, this wine is sweet and slightly fuller bodied (thicker) but some are dry and incredibly complex. The acid in this wine disguises the sugars so feel free to experiment with pairings…Perfect for spicy foods, but the dry could charm a pork or veal chop beautifully.

Berenauslese = A favorite of mine…this sweet high acid wine is the perfect pairing for rich foods like foie gras and pork belly.

Trockenberenauslese = Alas, this wine get’s its intense consentrative flavors from botrytis, a noble rot that sucks the moisture out leaving a perfect raisin in its place. Once pressed this tiny berry has just a drop or two to give but what it gives is legendary! Referred to as the “Sauterne” of Germany, entirely botrytised, this super sweet wine is amazingly balanced with striking acid, it’s perfection in a glass.  Savor this wine with a cheese plate post Thanksgiving dinner and your guests will be raving about it for years! (If you want to save a few bucks, go for a similar approach with the berenauslese, just make sure it’s sweet)

So there you have it, Riesling is not that complicated now that you know what to look for and since you have a spare moment thanks to my time-saving soup recipe, you can finally relax!

Cheers!

xx

Meg

Discovering the soul of summer…in Iowa?

As the landing gear embarked from the bottom on the plane, I found myself excited to be touching down in Des Moines. In less than a few hours we had left the big apple and were now headed deep into the heartland. This is where food GROWS, massive fields of corn and soy beans flanking the roadside, people wave when they drive past, and small railroad towns hang on with yesterday’s charm. We were in Iowa and I was ready for some family time. My husband grew up in Iowa, moving away as an adult some years back. For him Iowa holds the same hum-drum feeling that Hawaii does for me. Once you live there a while the shine wears off and it becomes mundane. That’s why I however, LOVE Iowa, with its clean air, fireflies, undulating fields and its family atmosphere. It is nothing like Manhattan that’s for sure. Regardless, I was happy to be there. This visit to Iowa was two-fold, on the upswing of life we were visiting two new additions to the family and on the down swing for a funeral. It’s amazing experiencing the circle of life so purely… However, this is not a life blog, this is a food & wine blog so let’s switch it back to what you all should know about Iowa’s’ bounty.

The next morning after arriving in town, I awoke with my nieces and my mother & sister-in-law to head north on a mission to harvest our own blueberries at The Berry Patch Farm.

http://www.berrypatchfarm.com/

The Berry Patch Farm is a small family owned farm northeast of Des Moines and oh, how excited I was to visit them because to pick your own is to pick the best! The entire way there I was contemplating recipes while carrying on a conversation with my almost three-year-old niece. It was pure heaven…Once there we were standing in the middle of a huge blueberry farm, settled into a routine, picking handfuls of plump little blueberries and dumping them into plastic buckets. All of us sweating, tasting and grinning while the morning sun beat down on our backs. We finished up before the morning sun made its way toward lunch, bellies rumbling, we had managed to pick enough berries for all of us to bring some home. Believe me folks, when I say those containers of berries for $5 at the grocery store are worth every penny! It is backbreaking labor to harvest these little gems and I couldn’t wait to use them. We packed up the blueberries, savored fresh peaches at the farm stand and headed home. The next couple of days were filled with blueberries, some in smoothies, some alone, but I was saving mine for when I returned to New York…

EAT:

Hazelnut Meal Crusted Blueberry + Maple Tartlets

*adapted from the Clean Start Cookbook by Terry Walters

Serves 8-10 | Prep time: 30 minutes | Rest time: 1 hour

The Crust:

2 Cups Hazelnut Meal (you could also use almond, if using whole nuts, blanc, de-skin and pulse in a food processor)

1 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp Maple Syrup

1 tsp Almond Extract

1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 Good Pinch of Sea Salt

Filling:

2 Cups Fresh Organic Blueberries

1 Cup Apple Juice (I actually juiced two pink lady apples for mine)

1/3 Cup Maple Syrup

2 tbsp Arrow-Root Powder

Zest of 1 Organic Lemon

Juice of 1/2 Lemon

1/2 tsp Almond Extract

1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 Good Pinch of Sea Salt (I used Himalayan Sea Salt)

Heat your oven to 350 degrees F and brush a tart pan or shallow ramekins with coconut oil.

To prepare the crust, combine in a large bowl, the almond meal, maple syrup, coconut oil (if solid heat the coconut butter in a pan until melted), salt, almond & vanilla extracts and mix thoroughly with a fork until well combined. Tip the crumbly dough into the tart pan and press to form the crust. Place the pan in the oven and bake for roughly 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool while you make the filling.

For the filling, whisk 1/2 cup of the apple juice and the arrow-root powder together and set aside. In a saucepan over med low heat, combine the remaining apple juice, lemon zest, lemon juice, almond & vanilla extracts, salt and half of the blueberries. Bring to a simmer and once the liquid turns blueish red, and the apple juice and arrow-root mixture. Stirring the entire time this should thicken up pretty quickly. Once thickened to your preference add the remaining blueberries. Pour the mixture into the cooled crust and refrigerate for at least an hour. I actually waited just an hour because I like tarts slightly warm. Then enjoy!!

DRINK:

Now to wash it all down or to sip on a hot day, maybe after a long morning of gardening…or if you want something festive sans alcohol.

Sparkling Thai Basil + Lime Agua Fresca

I large (32 oz.) mason jar (could use individual size pint jars)

A couple of sprigs of Thai Basil or any other basil for that matter

Juice of 1 lime

1 part sparkling San Pellegrino or sparkling water

1 part pure filtered cold tap water

A dash of agave syrup if you like it sweet

Add everything to the mason jar, shake it up, taste for sweetness and pour over fresh ice! Enjoy!

Kelsey Byus + Fred Scott of Locally Grown Clothing

SEE:

Now for some other notable places to check out while in the Des Moines area. The local farmers market on Saturday morning. This farmers’ market showcases incredible farm raised meats and fresh produce abound, not to mention a plethora of street food vendors. Although I would like to see more organic produce available, it is the perfect place to take the kids, they won’t even know you are teaching them about vegetables! And if you are really wanting to support the slow food, green, organic, whatever-is-healthiest-for-us-and-the-environment-movement then head over to see these guys…

http://www.locallygrownclothing.com/

Kelsey Byus and Fred Scott of Locally Grown Clothing Co. are hip, young and very much into the grassroots message driven lifestyle. They rally behind the resurgence of Farmers’ Markets and the renaissance of local agriculture across the country. Supporting local business and empowering folks to think about what they wear, buy, and eat are at the core of their message. Feel free to check them out and support some very cool midwest boys, and of course the environment!

Enjoy the sunshine this summer, eat your blueberries, and sip some of that delicious aqua fresca we talked about, I’m off to the park!

xx

Meg

Chocolate and the Beet…

How do I even begin to explain myself? Putting puréed beets into a beautiful and already delicious chocolate cake!

Well, I have mentioned before, that I am trying out some recipes from my favorite cookbook Tender by Nigel Slater, adapting some of the recipes to suit my gluten-free kick. So far I had worked up the lamb and beet meatballs with fresh tzatziki sauce, which left me with plenty of beets in the fridge. Working with beets is fun and I love the pretty colors and how much they stain your hands. However, up to this point, I had added raw shaved beets to salads, roasted them to perfection, and gently boiled them, but never had I actually baked with them. Now adding beets to sweet treats is not total insanity or an I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-these-leftovers crisis. Most of us have turned over our favorite Wholefoods treat or even cereal to find beet sugar in the ingredients list. Beets are super sweet and of course a natural replacement for refined sugars which I really like as a healthy alternative. The really great part about using them in this recipe is that the cake stays incredibly moist even if not enjoyed in one day! It will surprise you how elusive the beet is once married to the intensity of the chocolate.

So why not give some boiled beets a whirl around the blender and try this recipe out next time you have a hankering for a hunk of cake! (this recipe was approved by my husband, the doorman, and two unsuspecting neighbors)

Raw Cocoa + Beet Cake with Crème Fraîche Icing (serves 8-10)

Adapted from the recipe in Tender

8 oz of fresh beets

7 oz of fine dark chocolate, I used Valrhona 61% chocolate but you could easily use 70% or more

4 tbsp of hot espresso, I used Dean & Deluca’s espresso

200 grams of butter, cubed, I used goats milk butter and a touch of olive oil equal to 200 g

135 g all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour mix (add xanthan gum)

1 heaping tsp baking powder

3 heaping tbsp raw cocoa powder

5 fresh farm eggs

1 scant cup of super fine sugar

Topping

1 small container of quality crème fraîche

Blue poppy seeds to sprinkle over top

Grease an 8 inch spring form pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350F/180C

Boil the beets whole, in unsalted water until you can pierce them with a knife, usually 20-40 minutes depending on size. Drain and let cool under cool water. Then peel them with your fingers (the skins should just slip off) and remove stems. Drop them into a blender or food processor and spin to a coarse purée.

On the stove top, prepare a double broiler (sauce pan with an inch or two of water, with a glass bowl over top careful not to have the bowl touch the water). Since I broke my glass bowl a few weeks back I used my two sauce pans with the larger one on-top of the smaller one. Add the chocolate chunks to the bowl while simmering the water on low-ish heat. Do not stir! When the chocolate looks close to melted, pour the hot espresso over it and stir once, add the olive oil and cubed butter pushing it underneath the chocolate. Let the butter soften in the chocolate bath.

Sift the flour, baking powder and raw cocoa powder in a large bowl. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer, I beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and reserved the yolks, slightly mixed, for the chocolate. Once the butter has melted, let it sit to cool. Then add the egg yolks quickly, firmly, mix to combine. Fold in the beet purée, set aside.

Fold in the powdered sugar to the egg whites, then fold the egg white mixture to the chocolate mixture. Careful not to over mix and deflate the egg whites. Lastly, fold in the flour mixture and transfer to a the spring form pan.

Pop the pan in the oven and decrease the temperature to 325F/160C and bake for 45 – 55 minutes. The middle will be a little giggly when the pan is wiggled. Let the cake cool completely! This will be challenging since your kitchen will smell divine but hang in there, it only gets better!

Once cooled, loosen the edges and remove the outer form. Place the cake on plate or cake stand. (I iced my slices individually since my husband didn’t care for the tartness of the crème fraîche. Alternatively you could sweeten the crème fraîche with a little sugar if you prefer.) Slice or leave the cake whole, then dress with the crème fraîche and liberally sprinkle the poppy seeds all over. Enjoy!!!

You could make this recipe in cupcake or silicon forms for individual size portions and for a fun and healthy kids treat.

Feel free to share your pictures of this cake on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/How-to-Eat-n-Drink/203052986380379

Cheers,

M

Light up the sparklers! 4th of July Wine+Toast…

The Wine…

For this star-spangled relaxed weekend spent grilling while the neighborhood kids play with snap-pops and sparklers, I will be drinking two wines. One a pinot noir from California and a rosé from France. This particular Pinot Noir is more “new world” in it profile than “old world”. Let me explain, basically new world refers to the US, Chile, Argentina, Africa, and a few other countries. In a general sense, these wines are typically “fruitier” and less acidic due to weather, production methods and physical location. However, not all new world wines are made big, bold, with heavy oak and sometimes a little sweet so knowing something about a specific winery/producer really helps here. If unsure about a wine, ASK! Most local wine shops or even your local Trader Joe’s/Whole Foods can help out when deciding. Now the French wine I am in favor of is “old world”. In fact, France has been the benchmark for wine production for so long, no one can remember a time when they weren’t the leaders. Now depending on where in france the wine is from, a different result is achieved. Wines from the northern regions will be “brighter”, more crisp and acidic and wines from the southern parts is obviously less. Of course all are considerably different by comparison so I encourage you to TASTE! TASTE!! TASTE!!! This will only help you choose the right wines for your palate, because we all like different things and that’s okay.

2009 Luli Pinot Noir, St. Lucia Highlands, California (great with grilled meats & fishes)

2010 Moulin Gassac Guilhem Rosé, Languedoc, France (perfect all around wine, but excels with veggies, eggs, fishes, poultry)

The Toast…

OUR COUNTRY

To her we drink, for her we pray,

Our voices silent never;

For her we’ll fight, come what may,

The stars and stripes forever!

~Anonymous

Gluten-Free Popovers with Strawberry + Citrus Honey Mash

Ah the popover, one of the most amazing culinary marvels to grace tables. It’s fluffy texture is a freak of nature really, its loose runny dough expands to great heights once placed into a piping hot oven only to emerge this golden puff of doughy goodness…

So in the name of research for the cookbook along with holistic inspiration from my dear friend Heather Hudak, I embarked on a mission this week to make three amazing dishes all gluten-free! First up, POPOVERS! I thought about this long and hard, of course I LOVE bread and even more so, my knees go weak for warm bread. Wanting to make something incredibly delicious for the GF fans of How to Eat n’ Drink, I gave popovers a go… Now this popover had to be perfect with a beautiful golden crust on the outside and gorgeously tender on the inside. It also had to smell like a popover and taste like one too… Here it goes.

For the flour, you can mix your own blend of various gluten-free flours like fava or garbanzo bean flour or you can buy a pre-mixed blend like Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose flour. I used Bob’s mainly because I’m somewhat new to GF baking, and since no one wants to choke down a rubbery popover! All of the other ingredients are from various local dairy farms in my area, which makes for a very fresh tasting popover. Now you can leave the recipe as is or mix in fresh herbs to compliment your main dish, since we were testing this recipe I wanted to make sure it was successful in its purest form. (Of course after eating a few, my husband and I muddled strawberries and honey together for an after dinner treat)

Note: You do NOT need a popover pan! Use a muffin pan or silicon mold or even ramekins set on a baking tray. If you really are in a pinch, a clean aluminum can greased up will do, just make sure to use small cans or your popover will be huge! Feel free to double this recipe if you need more based on the size of mold used.

Gluten-Free Popovers

Gluten-Free Popovers (makes 24 small popovers or 12 standard size)

3 Large Farm Eggs

1 Cup Whole Milk or Whole Goats Milk

3 Tablespoons Butter* or Goats Milk Butter, melted + a little extra for brushing

1 Cup GF All Purpose Flour

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

*olive oil could be used for brushing

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Arrange the silicon molds or ramekins on a baking sheet. Brush the inside of the molds with butter or olive oil so the popovers don’t stick. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and beat until uniform in color and throughly combined. Then add the milk and melted butter mixing again to combine. Gradually stir in the flour and salt just until smooth, careful not to over mix. If your batter was lumpy like mine try passing it through a sieve to smooth it out. Pour the mixture into the molds filling almost to the top. Carefully place the trays into the oven and bake for roughly 40-50 minutes depending on the size of your molds. DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR!!! I know, it’s tempting but seriously, leave it! Watch them carefully so they don’t burn. Remove from the oven, then tip them out once they are cooled slightly. (They will have doubled in size and should be golden brown) Serve warm in a bread basket or wooden dish.

Strawberry + Citrus Honey Mash

Several very ripe strawberries (I used the almost “dead” ones in my fridge)

1 teaspoon of quality citrus blossom honey

Muddle the strawberries and honey together in a small bowl and allow to macerate for 5 minutes. Spoon over the cracked open popovers and enjoy!

 

Note: Where you can find amazing holistic healthy advice from Heather Hudak is:  http://hudakholistichealth.blogspot.com/

Next up: Beet & Lamb GF Meatballs!!!!!