Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wine Wednesday - Kim Crawford 2014 Sauvignon Blanc

Sunday night was the second annual girls' holiday dinner and white elephant exchange.  We all met uptown to enjoy Tracy's beautiful apartment, roaring fire, and delicious salmon dinner with roasted veggies!

I also thoroughly enjoyed Erin's wine selection, Kim Crawford 2014 Sauvignon Blanc.  I first tasted Kim Crawford back in August as it was one of the wines in the bachelorette tasting I threw, but I forgot how much I liked it!  Super bright and crisp, but still fruity, not too acidic, which lately I've had more and more aversion to in Sauvignon Blancs.  

To end the night I brought these Peppermint Pattie Cookies - made GF by subbing Better Batter flour for AP.  They turned out delicious, although not the prettiest!

Peppermint Patty Cookies
*Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) of unsalted butter, melted and cooled 1 cup loosely brown sugar 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1 egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Peppermint Pattie Cream:
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 3 tablespoons evaporated milk (I mistakenly thought I had evaporated but turns out it was sweetened condensed milk, I used 2 tablespoons of that with 2 tablespoons of almond milk) 1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil (I used coconut oil) 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

3.5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped 2.5 tablespoons heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix the flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mix the cooled butter and sugars until they are combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and stir until mixed. Gradually add in dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms.  Fold in chocolate chunks.
Roll dough into 1-1 1/2-inch balls and place on a nonstick baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the middles are just set (I ended up going for 12 minutes).  Let cool completely.  Drizzle ganache over tops and enjoy!
Why can't the holiday season last just a bit longer?  It really is the best time of the year! 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Art Baseling in Miami

Last weekend a few girlfriends and I made the jaunt down to Miami for Art Basel.  One of the largest art shows in the world, it's a week full of fun, sun, sand, gorgeous art, people, culture and of course parties!  We had a blast running all over town, indulging in some old favorites (dinner at Scarpetta) and new experiences like touring the Wynwood neighborhood, and an epic, pop-up dinner party of never-ending sushi in an art gallery.

The weekend was so much fun we've actually already booked our hotel for next year!  Too early to start counting??

We started the weekend off with a pool party at Soho Beach House - pool toys as art, brilliant!

We spent Saturday afternoon enjoying the party at Freehand Miami - the coolest "hostel" I've ever seen.

Saturday night was an epic foodie adventure - Sushi Belly Tower is a pop-up supperclub that started in LA.  Location details are sent day of with a secret password to enter the event.  Once we arrived, we whispered the magic words to the doorman and we're poured a cocktail by their master mixologist before indulging in an epic 10-course feast of fresh cut sashimi, waygu beef, and teriyaki chicken.  The space was the beautiful Anthony Liggins Gallery in the heart of South Beach.  

This roll-up right here takes "sushi" to a whole new level - salmon, 2 kinds of tuna, scallops, waygu beef and uni rolled into one.  And I thought turducken was for the 1%!
Who knew real wasabi came from a root that gets ground on a shark-skin lined wooden board??  Apparently what we eat in sushi restaurants is horseradish dyed green!
"Food is Art"
Sunday morning we needed some sustenance after our sushi belly night out.  All that raw fish and protein was dying for some carbs ;-)

We headed to Puerto Sagua - our driver recommended as one of the best authentic Cuba restaurants in the area.  Ever since I watched the movie "Chef" over Thanksgiving I've been dying for a Cuban sandwich - craving satisfied!  We also sampled delicious fried yucca and ham croquettes, delicious! 

In a food-coma we headed to the beach for a perfect afternoon of napping and reading in the sun.  

Can't wait to return next year!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Book Club - Flight Behavior + White Elephant

This week we had our first annual holiday book club and white elephant exchange.  It was so much fun I had to share.  Everyone brought two wrapped books, the only rule was that they had to be a physical book.  Our lovely unofficial book club president, Sarah, suggested bringing one book you had been wanting to read and one of your all-time favorites.

I went with two of my loves, food and wine, obviously.  While our group was fairly tame and did not engage in much stealing, these gifts did induce some oohs and aahhs and would be an easy gift to grab for your upcoming white elephant or last minute holiday gifts!

Who doesn't love Nutella??  
The complete wine guide for any wine-lover, paired with a local Chardonnay from the North Fork.
As for the book of the month, Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver, I was a delinquent and only made it halfway through.  From those 200 pages I did read, I can't say it was my favorite.  A little slow, immense detail, but the majority of the group that did finish it enjoyed it so maybe I'll give it another shot.

I could not have been happier with my loot!  Can't wait to try some of these beautiful recipes!

We had an epic spread, I brought my new favorite winter salad, which paired perfectly with chili and the most insane bloomin' pesto mozzarella bread, perfect for the snowy night.

Next up, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wine Wednesdays - Sherwin Family Vineyards Cellar Scraps

One night over Thanksgiving break we bribed our friends with promise of yummy nibbles in exchange for access to their incredible wine cellar.  They did not disappoint by bringing out an old favorite, Flowers Chardonnay, as well as not one, but two bottles of Sherwin Family Vineyards Cellar Scraps.  

They knew who was coming over and immediately pulled out the magnum - no fooling around!

I love the concept of Cellar Scraps, named in order of release, these wines are a blend of all of the "leftovers" - nonvintage and a different blend every year.  These are fun wines made for drinking now.  We started with #6, then went back to #2.  Both were delicious.  Bursting with dark fruit, smooth tannins, good structure and a long finish.  There was surprisingly quite a bit of commonality between the two even though they were from different years and different blends, speaks to the quality of the fruit I guess!

We brought some naughty bites including baked brie with cranberry chutney, artichoke dip stuffed mushrooms, and if you're ever wondering what to do with leftover stuffing - WRAP IT IN BACON!

Forgot to get a "before" pic - but this just goes to show how amazing this easy appetizer is!
Dinner of champions!
The perfect night - and the perfect pairing!

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