Thursday, February 26, 2015

Wine Wednesday At Uplift - March 4th

Hi!  I'm so excited to announce I'll be partnering with Uplift Fitness Studio to host a wine tasting event next Wednesday March 4th.  Uplift is a women-only boutique fitness studio located in flatiron.  They're classes focus on HIIT and strength training, I've taken a few and best part is they are unintimidating and fun (just how wine education should be)!    

Tickets are $25 and you will get to enjoy 4 wines chosen by yours truly!  It should be a fun night and a great opportunity to learn a little something new! 

Click here to purchase tickets, hope to see you there!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wine Wednesdays - Brooks 2012 Pinot Noir + "Cheater Cassoulet"

I was browsing my recent issue of Food & Wine and came across this recipe for duck confit and white bean stew.  Perfect for a cold Sunday night Oscar viewing party, I was inspired!  My friend Sarah volunteered to bring the wine and on the suggestion of Food & Wine (to keep with the theme) she brought over a Willamette Valley 2012 Pinot Noir from Brooks Winery.

Literally bursting with red fruit!  Strawberries, cherries, raspberries oh my!  A hint of earthiness, structured acidity, it stood up perfectly to the rich duck stew.  It wasn't overly ripe or green, a perfect balance and a nice smooth finish, very easy to drink!

"Cheater Cassoulet" Duck Confit and White Bean Stew
Slightly adapted from Food & Wine
Serves 6

6 cups chicken broth
2 15oz cans cannellini beans
4 confit duck legs
6 large shallots
5 multi-colored carrots
2 cloves garlic
3-4 thyme sprigs
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence (I used a mix of rosemary, oregano, and dried thyme)
1 small head of radicchio sliced into thin strips

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Once hot, place the duck legs, skin side down.  Cook until skin is crispy and heated through, approx. 15 minutes flipping half-way through.  Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to cool and drain.  Once cool, shred meat and put aside.

Drain skillet and return to heat.  Add sliced carrots, shallots, garlic, thyme sprigs, and herbes de Provence.  Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until carrots are softened and shallots are caramelized, approx. 20 minutes.  Add 2 tablespoons of water to the skillet and stir, scraping up any browned bits.  Remove thyme sprigs.

Add beans and chicken broth to a large pot and bring to a boil.  Add carrot/shallot mixture and simmer on low for 15-20 minutes.  Add pulled duck meat and continue to simmer.  Add radicchio and stir to combine just before serving.

My secret weapon and kitchen "cheat" - precooked duck confit in a can!  I have yet to find this in the US, but I make it a point to bring a few tins back with me whenever I visit France.  
Don't turn too quickly to ensure skin gets nice and crispy!

Sarah spoiled us with dessert, so simple yet so delicious, coconut ice cream with fresh berries!  A perfect Sunday indeed.

Wine:  2012 Brooks Pinot Noir
Purchased:  La Vid Wine Shop NYC
Price:  $22 retail
Would Buy Again:  Yes

Monday, February 23, 2015

Staycation - 48 Hours in Brooklyn

For Christmas I gave my mom what some might consider a rather selfish gift - a flight to visit me in NYC.  I planned a weekend full of surprises and took full advantage of an opportunity to play tour-guide and tourist in my own city.  

She landed around 5pm on Friday so our first night was a restaurant crawl in my neighborhood.  We started with a drink at the new branch of a favorite go-to restaurant Aria.  Cotenna opened earlier this fall and I've been wanting to check it out.  We had a quick drink then headed to dinner at Charlie Bird.  This just might be my new favorite restaurant; I never order chicken in a restaurant but on the waiter's suggestion we went for it and it was unreal.  We ended the night with dessert and one last glass of wine at Minetta Tavern.  Ever in search of the best Grand Marnier souffle, I think we finally found it!  

On Saturday we started our day with breakfast at favorite haunt, Buvette.  

Then we jumped in a cab and made our way over the bridge to Brooklyn.  Our home base was the Urban Cowboy B&B in Williamsburg.  Described as "the only B&B in Williamsburg" the Cowboy is one of a kind.  A 3 floor town-house decked out like an Adirondack cabin, complete with a hot tub in back!  

We spent two nights in the "Vision Quest" room; airy and white with views of the giant Blue Spruce in the front yard.  

We explored the antique shops along Atlantic Ave and made our way to Cobble Hill for an afternoon. Hit up the Brooklyn Flea, spent some time wandering Park Slope, and a morning in Williamsburg; with lots of eating and drinking along the way.  It was a fun way to get a different perspective on NYC and to discover new neighborhoods and fun finds.  

No Sleep 'til…...
One favorite find was Collier West.  Their motto says it all, "home chic home".  Needless to say I wanted 1 of everything, and some day hope to decorate my home with one of their beautiful chandeliers.  

Another fun spot for knickknacks and antiques was Fork+Pencil in Cobble Hill.

Pretty brunch cocktail garnish
Deviled egg tasting at Clover Club

We picked up some cheese and charcuterie to enjoy back at the Cowboy from Stinky's

One of the best parts of the B&B was the hot tub out back.  We bundled up and made the walk out back to enjoy cocktail hour.

Epic dinner at Semilla

On Sunday we headed to the Brooklyn Flea to check out it's new winter indoor home.  

I spy,,,,,,,, <3

Post flea we headed to Park Slope for a delicious lunch at Al Di La.

The great thing about The Cowboy is that they encourage you to make yourselves at home.  Since my apartment seriously lacks social entertaining space, I used this opportunity to invite a few friends over to hang with my mom.  We brought out the cheese from Stinky's and wine from Brooklyn Wine Exchange.  

We had a late dinner at the Chef's counter at St. Anselm.  While the axe-handle rib eye was tempting…..we went for the classic butcher's steak, a side of mashed potatoes, and a chocolate pot de creme to finish.  

The morning light was just right, a welcoming breakfast awaited us each morning.

True definition of "bed & breakfast" 

Finally got to try Five Leaves for brunch, it did not disappoint
We packed a lot in to just 48 hours.  The best part was the quick 20 minute return home on the L train.  The perfect kind of getaway!


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