Happy New Year!
How did you spend your New Years?
One of our good friends, Peter (who has guest-posted on this blog before), decided to host an Italian wine tasting event. We started at 4PM and began pairing Italian wines with a variety of Italian dishes for the whole night! (I guess it's best to space out 8 bottles of wine when you have 10 people!). Peter even gave a slide presentation throughout the evening teaching us about the different kinds of wines, regions in which they are made, and grape varieties from which they come. We studied wine tasting notes, aromas, etc. and how they paired with the flavor elements in the food. It was informative, casual, and really fun!
Of course, I'm sure the excellent wine, delicious food, and good company didn't hurt!
Antipasti elements (marinated mushrooms, olives) and Lobster Ravioli in a Crab Sauce
2010 St. Michael-Eppan Pinot Grigio (WS 90)
*tasting note: the acidity of the pinot grigio pairs well with food that take well to acid, such as things on which you would want to squeeze a lemon (e.g., fish, oysters, clams, light pasta)
Romano-stuffed Tomatoes (pictured above) and Bolognese pasta (pictured above)
2007 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva (WS92; 2011 #31)
2006 Luce La Vite Lucente Toscana IGT (WS 91)
*tasting note: the bright acidity of chianti goes well with foods that are slightly acidic, like red pastas.
Grilled Lamb Chop and Steak
2006 Campogiovanni (San Felice) Brunello di Montalcino (WS 96; 2011 #4)
2006 Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Brunello di Montalcino Vigna di Pianrosso (WS 95)
*tasting note: Brunellos have velvety tannins balanced by some acidity. These are big wines that are matched with hearty food such as red meat, flavorful hard cheese, and mushrooms
Beef Shank Osso Bucco
2006 Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno Toscana IGT (WS 96; 2008 #15)
*Tasting note: Super Tuscans are blends that contain non-Italian wines. This particular wine is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet, and Merlot. Sangiovese produces a medium-bodied wine high in acidity. Cabernets are full-flavored, fruit-forward, and semi-tannic, thus pair well with red meats. Similarly, Merlots also have deep fruit flavors, with tannic overtones as well.
Beeramisu (tiramisu but made with beer!)
NV Mionetto Sergio Prosecco
NEW YEARS TOAST
NV Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco
TOP 10 POSTS of 2012
In the past two years, I've summarized my "most popular posts of the year" on New Years Day. As my blog has matured over the years, I've found that this year, many of the "top 10" posts are actually old posts that have high search rankings, and thus are still popular. In fact, many of the top 10 posts this year are the same as the top ten last year (thought pretty different from top ten in 2009).
In order to share some new posts, I've limited this top 10 list to posts that were actually written in 2011. Accordingly . . .I now present you with the TOP 10 NEW posts written in 2011!
I have always loved salmon, but after trying Copper River Salmon, it's hard for me to go back to the bland, overcooked, farm-raised salmon that is so prevalent in grocery stores these days. This salmon has TONS of flavor, and tastes fantastic on the grill (or any other way, in fact!). I partnered with the Copper River Salmon organization in Alaska this summer. It was a great way to try many different types of Copper River Salmon (King, Coho, Sockeye). My favorite is King, which, unfortunately, is only available fresh for about a month and is also quite expensive!)
#9: Tomato Vodka Cream Sauce with Bacon
This is one of my classic go-to recipes when I'm at home during the winter with no fresh produce. It makes great use of canned tomatoes, vodka, and cream (which I often have lying around since I like to make ice cream!). As long as you have some great quality pasta (ideally fresh, but good dried pasta is also fine), you've got a winner of a dish.
|Mustard Greens||Sauteed Chinese Watercress|
|Spicy Pork with Sour String Beans||Chinese Chives and 5-Spice Tofu|
Chinese New Year is a HUGE holiday in Asia. People take vacation for weeks and travel back to their hometowns to visit family. Of course, the holiday is filled with lots of food. This post essentially provided a nice, graphical interface (filled with pictures) of all the Chinese recipes on this site. I eventually moved it over to the Chinese food gallery so that all could access the recipes more easily.
#7: Jean Philippe Patisserie
Last year in Las Vegas I saw the most amazing cakes at Jean Philippe Patisserie inside the Bellagio. This bakery also boasts the largest chocolate fountain in the world! Come check out this post to see other fantastic cakes and also pictures of that crazy fountain.
#6: Sushi Kanesaka
I'm always ruined for sushi when I come back to the States after some extended time in Japan. The sushi in Japan is incredible and still so much better than anything I've had in the US (and I've had some pretty good sushi here!). Sushi Kanesaka was one of the more interesting omakases that we had in Japan, complete with exotic offerings like fish sperm sac! Of course, there were also many, many delicious courses, my favorite of all being the slightly grilled tuna cheek.
#5: My Favorite Date Restaurants
I've had dates in many, many restaurants (Bryan and I eat out a lot). Here are some of my favorite places that do a good job of combining excellent food, great service, and a really nice ambiance.
#4: Sous Vide Chicken with Pesto
I got a sous vide machine last fall and have been experimenting with it ever since. I've used it most for steak, actually, though most meats taste pretty amazing when cooked sous vide. Chicken is one of those meats that turns out plump, juicy, and ever so soft (never dry!) when cooked sous vide.
#3: Oven Roasted Golden Beets
I love beets, and I'm surprised it took me so long to realize that beets aren't just deep purple! These diced golden beets caramelize beautifully and taste even better than roasted whole beets (which essentially just steam in the oven). Definitely give them a try if you've never had them before!
#2: Homemade Oreos (TKO's)
Oreos are one of my favorite cookies and Bouchon is one of my favorite bakeries. So, it's no surprise that the Thomas Keller Oreo (aka "TKO") is one of my all time favorite bakery items at Bouchon. I was thrilled to find a recipe for these, and I can attest that these are fantastic. I still like the Bouchon ones better (I guess I'm still not that skilled of a baker). However, these are great when I'm getting that itch for a TKO and don't feel like traveling to NYC to get one!
#1: Meyer Lemon Shortbread Cookies
I love my Tiny Urban Kitchen stamp! I made these cookies for an annual Boston-based blogger cookie swap last year. It's a simple shortbread recipe but the addition of Meyer lemons adds a gorgeous floral note that I love. These are great as gifts because they pack and store easily!
That's it! It's been a crazy year filled with lots of travel (Las Vegas, Napa Valley, Tokyo, London, Greece, and NYC), moving to a new house, arrival of my sister's new baby, celebrating my 10th wedding anniversary, and serving and fundraising for the Boston Rescue Mission.
Here's to an awesome 2012!
Happy New Year!
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