Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wine Wednesdays - 2013 Orin Swift Machete + Pear Tarte Tatin

Last month we gathered the "friendsgiving" group for one last girls' dinner chez moi before Sarah moved west to that other coast.  

For a spin on spring friendsgiving, I made this roasted turkey breast which was so easy and so tasty!

For dessert, I made this pear tarte tatin with red wine caramel sauce.  I had an open bottle of 2013 Orin Swift Machete with just enough to use for the red wine caramel.  It was such a delicious combination!  

I had opened the wine 2 nights prior for taco night.  This wine is the richest, purple color I've ever seen in a glass!  Lucious like velvet; it literally stained my mouth!  A mix of syrah, grenache, and petit syrah, the wine is full of dark, rich fruit and big bold flavor.  At 15.5% alcohol one glass will sneak up on you!   

The tarte was incredibly simple but seriously impressive.  We start by making the red wine caramel.  Sugar and water boil together until a light amber-colored caramel forms.  This gets added to the red wine that has reduced down to a dark syrup.  

Then we add the pear halves and cook until syrupy and tender.  

Once caramelized, we cover the skillet with frozen puff pastry, I splurged for Dufour's and I really think it made all the difference.

Pop in the oven for about an hour until the crust is a golden brown.

After letting the tarte cool, we invert onto a plate to reveal the beautiful pears.

Cut and serve with fresh whipped cream!

Pear Tarte Tatin with Red-Wine Caramel
Recipe courtesy of Food and Wine

2 cups dry red wine
2 cinnamon sticks (I used 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp unsalted butter
5 firm, ripe Bartlett pears - peeled, cored, and halved (I could have used a 6th)
One 14oz all-butter puff pastry, chilled


In a small saucepan, boil the wine and cinnamon over moderately high heat until reduced to 1/4 cup.  Approx. 15 minutes.

In a 12 inch skillet (I used my cast iron that is slightly bigger) combine the sugar and water.  Cook over moderately high heat, swirling pan occasionally until a light amber caramel forms, approx. 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add the red wine syrup along with butter and stir to dissolve the hardened caramel.  Add the pear halves to the skillet and cook over low heat, turning occasionally, until the pears are tender and pan juices are syrupy, about 20 minutes.  Arrange pears cut side up in the skillet with thin ends pointing to the center.  Let cool for 30 minutes.  (I let my pears cool completely and then covered with foil and refrigerated until the next day).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  On a lightly floured surface roll out the puff pastry to a 13 inch square.  Drape pastry over top of skillet and tuck ends around the pears.  Cut four 2-inch vents across the top.  Bake for 1 hour or until pastry is deeply golden and risen.  Let the tarte cool in the skillet for 15 minutes then invert onto a large serving platter.  Cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream would be lovely too!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Wine Wednesdays Tasting Series - Come Join Us 4/29 in NYC!

I'm very excited to announce that the girls from Crop Tops and Kale and I have partnered together for a night of wine tasting.  I hope you'll join us for what is sure to be a fabulous evening!

Click here to purchase, tickets are very limited!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wine Wednesdays - Domaine Des Braves 2013 Beaujolais + Flourless Chocolate Cake

This week is moving along.  I'm still dreaming about our perfect weekend out East.  I promised you the recipe to the flourless chocolate cake we whipped up on Saturday night.  Literally whipped up, 10 minutes flat, so easy, so tasty, sure to impress any dinner party guests!

But first, let's talk wine, it is Wine Wednesday afterall!  The sun was out this weekend but it was still a bit chilly.  We wanted a red wine but something light enough to pair with our flounder fillets for dinner.  The wine store recommended this 2013 Beaujolais from Domaine Des Braves.  Hailing from Régnié, one of the few Grand Cru villages in in the Beaujolais, the wine is 100% Gamay and aged in tanks as to preserve the natural aromatics.

  It was a beautiful bright red color, the nose was full of cranberry and tart cherry.  The mouth was bursting with juicy, ripe fruit, a touch of black pepper on the finish, it was light enough, easy to drink, and extremely food friendly.

We finished our meal with this wine and this flourless chocolate cake, topped with a quick layer of stewed raspberries.  The rich chocolate was well-balanced with the fruit on top and the fruit in the wine.  A bite of acidity really helped it stand up to the intense chocolate.  

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Stewed Raspberries
Recipe adapted from here  

4 ounces fine quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Raspberry Sauce:
1 pint fresh raspberries
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar

Vanilla ice cream for serving


Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line 8 inch round or springform pan with a circle of parchment paper.  Butter pan and parchment paper to coat.  

Chop chocolate into small pieces, place in metal bowl, add butter and melt over a double boiler.  Stir until smooth.  Remove from heat and whisk in sugar.  Add eggs, 1 at a time and whisk.  Sift 1/2 cup of cocoa powder into mixture and whisk until just combined, do not over mix.  Pour batter in to pan.  Option to stop at this step and then bake right before eating as we did.  Once ready to bake, pop in to center of over for 20-25 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust.  Cool cake on a rack for 5 minutes and then invert on to a serving platter.  

While cake is cooling, place raspberries (or any berry) into a small saucepan over medium heat.  Stir with a wooden spoon until berries start to break down.  Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and a sprinkling of sugar, I didn't exactly measure but it was about 1 teaspoon.  Continue to stir until berries become soft and jammy.  

Once cake is inverted on serving platter, pour warm berry mixture on top.  Slice and serve with your favorite vanilla ice cream or whipped cream!

Wine:  2013 Domaine Des Braves Régnié Beaujolais
Purchased:  Park Place Wines - East Hampton
Price:  $18.99
Would Buy Again:  Yes

Monday, April 13, 2015

Weekend Things - Hamptons Girls Getaway

I spent the weekend enjoying the first taste of spring out in East Hampton with some amazing girlfriends.  So much to celebrate, from promotions, engagements, babies, exciting life-changes, it's amazing how time flies.  Feels like just yesterday that we were all embarking on our first summer share out there.  Now a little older, (and wiser), we may not have closed down Talkhouse, but we did enjoy some home-cooked meals, walks on the beach, so many laughs and a few too many glasses of wine, just like the old times but wiser for sure ;-)

Friday dinner at Fresno

First lobster roll of the season at Bostwick's!
A home-cooked meal in a proper kitchen - so grown up!
Amazing flourless chocolate cake - recipe coming soon!
"Soul Sunday" - Bruce Springsteen vs. Billy Joel Ride

Just one of the girls at brunch

Can't wait for next year!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Wine Wednesdays - La Pépie 2013 Rosé

It's almost here, I can feel it.  Spring, maybe?  Is that you?

I tasted my first glass of rosé of the season this past weekend.  Maybe a bit ambitious as today looks to be a high of 45 degrees.  

As for the wine, it was a bit heavy for my taste.  La Pépie, or the "funky chicken" 2013 rosé hails from the Loire Valley in France.  The wine is made by Marc Ollivier, one of the predominant Muscadet producers in the region, known for minimal winemaker intervention, natural fermentation and stainless steel aging.  The wine was medium bodied, predominantly Cabernet Franc, which was definitely apparent in the palette, with notes of earth and a hint of pepper.  It was still very much fruit forward tasting of bright, sour cherries and juicy strawberries.  While not my favorite rosé, it was a nod to the upcoming season!

Purchased:  Backlabel Wines
Price:  $13
Would Buy Again:  No

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wine Wednesdays - Wine and Food at Semilla Brooklyn

I've been meaning to share the epic tasting menu dinner Mom and I enjoyed at Semilla during our Brooklyn staycation.  The restaurant is the brainchild of Jose Ramirez-Ruiz and began as a temporary pop-up before turning in to a full time restaurant.  They offer 2 seatings per night, limited to 18 guests seated around their U-shaped central bar.  It was so fun to simply show up and leave the work in their very capable hands, no menu to pour over, no decisions to be made.

Except for the wine, but turns out that decision was relatively easy.  The somm helped us choose a lovely Chardonnay from the Saint-Veran appellation in Burgundy.  Denis Jeandeau is the 5th generation winemaker in his family; cultivating the family estate with a passion for organic and biodynamic farming, hand harvesting, and natural fermentation.  Wines are aged in neutral oak, fully allowing the true expression of the terroir and grape shine through.    

The wine was right up our ally, and was a perfect pairing with each incredible dish.

Dinners at Semilla are vegetable focused, but you would hardly know it based on the intricate layers and thoughtfulness that go in to each dish, I didn't even miss the meat.  You'd think 10+ courses could be come a bit much, but each course was light enough and just the right bite to prevent getting overly stuffed.  What accounted for getting overly stuffed was the amazing bread that is served with the meal, hot out of the oven with a side of salted butter in a tiny pool of creamy, sour buttermilk.  It's just as good as every restaurant review calls it out to be!

Below is a plate by plate photo-documentation of our meal, excuse the poor lighting and iphone photos!

Lentil cracker with sunchoke, trout roe, and sorrel
Rutabaga Spring Roll with an Orange Reduction
Cabbage Sandwich, Buckwheat groats
Rutabaga and Cippolini Onion with Salt Cod and Lovage
Chef Jose!
Beets, Beef, and Bone Marrow
Cabbage. Beans, Pork Fat - quite possibly my favorite dish of the night, I mean powdered pork-fat??  
Plating in action
Roasted Butternut Squash, Serrano Cream, Chickpeas and Preserved Berries
Colza Oil ice cream, Meyer Lemon
Satsuma Granita with Poppyseed and Yogurt
Even if you have to use the bathroom during the meal, you won't miss a minute of the action in the kitchen thanks to a one-way mirrored window!

If you're looking for a fun and different dining experience and a prix-fixe menu that won't break the bank I'd highly recommend Semilla!  

Purchased:  Semilla Brooklyn
Price:  $17 retail
Would Buy Again:  Yes


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