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Posts tagged ‘french wine’


The long summer days and warm summer nights we have been enjoying here in New York have me thinking about summers past. When I spent a summer up in Napa while working at a winery, we had lots of friends who wanted to visit. We would grill and play bocci ball in the yard, drinking chilled wine and laughing. Occasionally it would be too hot to grill so I want to share one of my favorite recipes for backyard parties ~ sans grill. Whip this up the day before so you can enjoy a cold glass of rosé with your friends!

summer salad


(serves 4 people)

1 bunch asparagus (sliced and blanched)

1 cup peas thawed (blanched if fresh)

1 cup snap peas or fava beans (blanched & shelled if fava)

5-8 leave of fresh basil sliced into thin ribbons

5-8 leaves of fresh mint sliced into thin ribbons

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

Zest of one lemon

Juice of half a lemon

Drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil

A few cracks of fresh pepper

Good pinch of salt

0.3 LB Pecorino Foja De Noce (or any pecorino) Sliced thin and served over the salad)

20 slices of  prosciutto

4 slice of rustic bread charred on the grill or in the oven, (you could also serve this without charring)

This salad is something that you can make either the day before or an hour before you expect people to arrive. Just let it come up to room temperature before serving.

Boil water in a large saucepan. When bubbling, blanch the fresh peas, asparagus, fava beans/ snap peas individually until bright green. Careful not to over cook them as you want them to have “snap” when cooled. Remove from boiling water and shock in ice bath until cooled, drain. Then pile them into a big serving bowl. Toast the pine nuts in a skillet over medium high heat, careful not to burn them. Remove from heat, cool the nuts and add them to the bowl.  Zest one lemon over the top of the veggies and squeeze the juice of half over as well. Drizzle some olive oil over the top and season with salt & pepper. Thinly slice the mint & basil and add to the salad. Mix to combine.

Grab a large platter or plate for the prosciutto and other charcuterie. Plate them up nicely and drizzle with a touch of olive oil salt and pepper.  Plate the cheese on a cheese board and serve it room temperature. If charring the bread, prepare it while toasting the pine nuts, otherwise serve sliced as is with olive oil to dip in.

I usually serve this with a bottle of rosé from France or a white wine from Italy like a vermentino.

Also, feel free to make lots of this salad if you want to make great left overs. Maybe grilled shrimp or calamari would be ideal for a day after compliment.

Paris in 3 hours

Moules Frites


Paris in 3 hours…

So I have been putting together some really great posts for you all but needed a little break to let my minds legs wander. So after a successful meeting with a lovely Non-Profit named Free Arts NYC I headed back to my neighborhood for a little French get-a-way.

Balthazar Restaurant is where I was headed. Table for one!

Since I adore this place it’s evident that the food, wine & service are top-notch so I’ll spare you the details and just share with you what I ate so you can replicate this experience at your local French brasserie!





oysters at balthazar


Wine: BORDEAUX BLANC “Vin Passion” Champ des Treilles ‘09

To start: Half dozen oysters: Kumamotos from California & Island Creeks from Massachusetts.

Entrée: Moules Frites, deliciously cooked mussels in a delicate broth of white wine, garlic, herbs & butter served with frites as you can see in the above photo.

Dessert: Profiteroles drizzled with an incredible warm chocolate sauce.

Dessert apéritif: Gardet “Premier Cru, Blanc de Noirs” Brut NV

So after this overwhelmingly decadent and long lunch I felt worlds away from my regular life in Manhattan and more like I was in Paris enjoying the afternoon.

So at home a fabulous and healthy alternative to this experience would be my escarole salad & fresh oysters on the half shell recipe. This is my go-to dressing and one of my favorite meals at home!

Escarole salad:

1 head organic escarole washed, leaves trimmed (if escarole is not in season, try frisée or something green and crunchy)

3 tablespoons roasted garlic, mustard & champagne dressing (recipe below)

1 tbsp chopped fresh chives

Healthy shaving of pecorino romano (just use a veggie peeler to shave with)

12 beautiful fresh oysters of your choice

A few wedges of lemon


1 tbsp plain mayonnaise or roasted garlic mayonnaise

1 tsp roasted garlic

1 tbsp whole grain mustard

1 tbsp champagne vinegar

A few drops of fresh lemon juice

1 tsp honey (raw if you can find it)

1 tbsp hazelnut oil

1 tbsp good olive oil

1 pinch kosher salt

A few cracks of good pepper

Mix all the ingredient in a bowl with a whisk until emulsified and completely combined

Drizzle over the escarole, combine then sprinkle the herbs over top and shave some pecorino to garnish. Serve and enjoy with the freshly shucked oysters, a wedge of lemon and a bottle of Bordeaux Blanc!