Today is a momentous occasion for a blogging friend of mine. Shelby of The Life & Love of Grumpy’s Honeybunch is celebrating her fourth blogiversary and has invited a bunch of us to help her celebrate. And to make it even more fun and special, she is including a GIVEAWAY! Yep, that’s right. You get a chance to win a wonderful prize just for helping us celebrate her achievements. How sweet is that!
Like me, Shelby was strongly influenced by the warm embrace of her “Nanny” Mae Iris Whitton. Like Mimi had for me, there was a profound influence on her life and a role model for her cooking adventures. If you spend much time on her blog, you will discover a true sense of who Shelby is and how her Nanny affected her life. For many, many years they spent afternoons baking and decorating sugar cookies and making stuffed teddy bears for a local charity.
And just as Shelby has created her blog as a way of sharing her stories and documenting her life, so is The Heritage Cook for me. I learned from my Mimi just as Shelby had Nanny. The next generation of my family grew up on the East Coast and I never had the chance to pass along the lessons learned from Mimi. So, you my friends, are the recipients of the stories and inspiration passed to me from Mimi. I hope that you take these stories and recipes, put your own personal stamp on them, and pass them along to your children and grandchildren. In that way, my own Mimi lives on in the lives of people all over the world!
With Shelby’s celebration in full swing and New Year’s Eve just a few days away, I thought we could all do with a little refresher course on food and sparkling wine aka champagne pairings!
Sparklings are absolutely perfect for anything salty, creamy, cheesy, eggy (think quiche for example), or fatty. They cut right through and cleanse your palate. Fried foods like onion rings, fritters, hush puppies and tempura all benefit from sparkling wines. If you are looking for options for a cheese platter, consider including Manchego, Parmesan, Camembert, baked brie, gouda, cheddar and goat cheeses.
The nationally renown wine expert Andrea Immer calls champagne the “scrubbing bubbles for your palate.” If you are serving the classic Brut champagnes, try these food pairings:
- Scrambled eggs
- Any mushroom dish
- Nuts, especially almonds
- Popcorn and potato chips
- Cheese. The best are aged, hard cheeses such as Parmesan, gouda or cheddar. Goat cheese goes very well with blanc de blancs.
- Any pasta or risotto, especially with cream or mushroom sauce. Avoid heavy tomato-based sauces. The tomatoes clash with the high acidity of the champagne.
- Fish and seafood, especially lobster
There are different styles of champagnes and sparkling wines. Each has their best matches:
French Champagne and U.S. Sparkling wines:
Brie & Gouda, buttered popcorn, shrimp and shellfish, salami, veggies, smoked salmon, stuffed mushrooms, sweet bread and marscapone cheese, fruit-based desserts, shortbread cookies (really fun pairing combo. as the acidity in Champagne cuts through the butter of the cookie).
Rosé Sparkling Wines:
Brie, Prosciutto, smoked salmon, chocolate, raspberries, chocolate covered berries
Brie & Gouda, olives, almonds, potato chips, smoked salmon, Prosciutto
Almonds, cheesecake, raspberries, cookies
Almonds, Brie & Gouda, Prosciutto, smoked salmon
These pairings are courtesy of About Wine.com
Now for the details on the Giveaway and how to enter – Good Luck!
- Leave a comment on this blog post telling me who is your inspiration in life and what special part that person plays in your everyday existence.
- Visit the blog links that will take you to my blogging buddies page where they have joined in the celebration party and leave a comment on their post. Each comment will count as One (1) entry.
- Giveaway will end on January 7th at 5 PM EST.
- Winner will be announced on January 8th via blog post on The Life & Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybunch.
- Winner will be chosen via random drawing – drawing to be done by Grumpy.
- Value of giftcard will be $50 and is your choice of ONE of the options listed below:
- Marshalls / T.J. Maxx
- Bed, Bath & Beyond
- Macaroni Grill
- Olive Garden
- Barnes & Noble
I hope everyone goes hog wild and posts comments on every single post in today’s Blog Hop (click on the images below) so you get every single opportunity to win the Gift Card!
Happy Holidays and Congratulations to Shelby on an amazing four years of blogging superstardom! Here’s to forty more!!!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
If you are going to pipe the gougeres, use plastic disposable piping bags. They are easy to fill and best of all don’t have to be cleaned when you are done. Just remove the tips and throw them away. Now you’re talking my kind of clean up!
Kitchen Skill: The Importance of Preheating Your Oven
It may seem like a waste of energy and money to preheat your oven when baking, but trust me when I say that if you don’t you will waste more time and energy by having to remake your failures. There is a very good reason that nearly every recipe starts by telling you to preheat your oven. If your oven isn’t at full temperature, your baked goods won’t get that initial blast of hot air that causes the leaveners to react. I usually let the oven preheat at least 15 to 20 minutes beyond when it hits the desired temperature before baking anything. If an oven is properly preheated, your baked goods will rise exponentially higher, brown more evenly, and bake in the time indicated in recipes.
- 1/2 lb wheel of Brie (about 4-inch diameter), at room temperature
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1/3 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped (see Note)
- 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Slice off the top rind of the Brie and discard.
- On a sheet of waxed paper or parchment, roll the pastry out to a 12-inch square and cut two 6-inch rounds from it. Put one of the rounds on a small rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with half of the dried cherries and thyme, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge, and gently press so they adhere.
- Set the Brie, rind side down, on top of the pastry, sprinkle with the remaining cherries and thyme, and cover with the other pastry. Crimp the edges together to seal in the cheese. Brush the top of the dough with the butter. Bake until the pastry browns, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 15 to 20 minutes and then serve.
- This is best served warm with crisp neutral-flavored crackers, baked slices of baguette or other similar wafer.
- For a little more pop and pizazz, you can macerate the cherries in a little cherry liqueur, white wine, or other alcohol of your choice until moistened and softened. Drain and use as directed in the recipe.
- 1/4 cup organic olive oil
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
- 1 lb frozen baby peas (3 cups), thawed
- 3 tbsp yellow miso
- In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the scallions, ginger and jalapeño and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the peas and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes.
- Transfer the pea mixture to a food processor and let cool slightly. Add the miso and 1/4 cup of water and puree until smooth. Spoon the spread into a bowl.
- Make Ahead: The spread can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Serve with rice crackers or flatbreads.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1-1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 3 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp ice water
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- In a food processor, pulse the flour with the baking powder and 11/2 tsp of salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles small peas. With the machine on, add the ice water and process just until the dough comes together.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and pat it into a 1-inch-thick rectangle. Roll out the dough to a 10-by-12-inch rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick strips.
- Gently roll each strip into a 14-inch-long stick. Brush 1 stick with water and twist it with another stick, pressing at the top and the bottom. Arrange the twists on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining sticks.
- Brush the twists with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 25 minutes, until golden. Let cool before serving.
- To make “flavored” breadstick twists, add 2 tbsp of fennel seeds, 2 tsp of smoked sweet paprika or 2 tsp of curry powder to the flour.
Check out these other wonderful sites for even more opportunities to win the Giveaway and discover new recipes!!