I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Showing posts with label Drinks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Drinks. Show all posts

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Bourbon Milkshakes

The temperatures are rising and the sun is beating down. Time to think about all the ways to keep cool this summer. My new favorite way is with a boozy milkshake in hand. This decadent treat is so simple to throw together and goes down almost too easily. You'll want to enjoy one after another, but try to show some restraint...it is swimsuit season after all.

Bourbon Milkshakes

adapted from Imbibe Magazine
makes 2 "grown-up sized" milkshakes
3 c. vanilla ice cream
1/4 c. vanilla soy milk (or whole milk)
1 t. vanilla extract
5 TB bourbon

Add all of the ingredients to a blender and mix until combined yet the mixture is still thick and creamy. Pour into 2 pint glasses to serve.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Tour of Burgundy

One more trip into France here on the blog, this time with a sip bottle of wine thanks to a lovely tour of Burgundy with Ivan of Authentica Tours. I learned so much on this wonderful tour and hope to pass some of that along to you without completely bogging you down with too many confusing details.
Burgundy is one of the most renowned wine regions in the world, known for its gorgeous pinot noirs and elegant chardonnays. The terroir (the land, climate, soil, etc. that contributes to the wine's flavor) is known for producing the best wine possible out of these grapes and they've been doing it for hundreds of years so they know what they are doing. French wine regions and distinctions can be a little difficult to wrap your head around, and is a lot of info to try to fit into one blog post, but "Wine for Normal People" has a great 101 tutorial for Burgundy here.

The gist of it all? If you are drinking a wine from Burgundy it is either Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, or Gamay (if drinking a Beaujolais). There are different classifications, which are based on terroir and history, which can help to guide you in terms of the quality of the wine you are about to drink right there on the bottle and can tell you exactly where the grapes in your wine are coming from: starting with the top at Grand Cru level, to Premiere Cru, Village, and ending with Regional.

This tour completely schooled me on my knowledge of Burgundy wines--which I thought was decent but realized quickly was not quite so. I had very little idea of the specifics, which are what make these wines truly spectacular. As we took the tour, we drove the back roads through many Premier and Grand Cru vineyards of the Cotes Nuits (a decent map of the region here. We drove the back roads from Fixin to Ladoix and then the highway to Beaune for a little personal wandering time). I learned that all of the villages and the vineyards bump right up next to one another--barely discernible to the normal eye. And within each vineyard there were multiple owners--one person does not own a whole plot of land. Because of certain laws within Burgundy, a parent's plot of land is divided up among all of their children, meaning there are certain plots that only contain a few rows. And barely noticeable changes in the land make up the different sub-regions, so many times nothing but a small road or a few feet separate a grand cru from a premiere cru vineyard.

We pulled onto the back roads of the vineyards near Fixin, the village where Ivan our tour guide grew up. A tiny, charming village on the hill.

 In Burgundy the rows are planted 1 meter apart and the vines are planted 1 meter apart. The vines are kept low to the ground (only at knee height) to help keep production low and to allow the soil keep the vines warm during the colder months. There are only two branches kept on each vine--one long to grow the grapes and one short to use the following year. This also helps keep grape production low, which means each grape gets more nutrients and is packed with more flavor. Even with so much pruning back of the vines, they still cull some of the bunches from each vine as they grow. Two vines will make one bottle of wine.
Our guide, Ivan, talking about the reasoning behind the height of the vines in comparison with those in California.

Old French vines grafted onto American roots.
 You can see the graft where the French vines are attached to the American roots--necessary after the Phylloxera outbreak wiped out grape vines all over Europe. European roots are susceptible to the blight, but the American roots are immune.

You can tell by the thickness of the vines that these are a little older. If taken care of a vine can live for 80-90 years. Then the growers will pull up the old vines, let the ground sit vacant for at least 5 years to allow the soil to regenerate some of the nutrients. They they will not use the grapes from the newly planted vines until they are at least 5 years old since older vines produce more flavorful grapes and better wine.

"Downtown" Fixin

This church dates back to 902.

These trees remind me of the Whomping Willow...

The land is so valuable, no bit is wasted. Vines grow right up to the edge of cemeteries throughout the countryside.

Just a road divides the terroir of these two vineyards.

Chateau de Vougeot

 This tiny plot of land is part of a Grand Cru plot that extends on the other side of the road. The terroir of this plot is worth so much that a grower did not want to waste any bit of land.

Romanee Conti. The wine from these vines is the most expensive to come out of Burgundy. You have to get on a waiting list of a few years just to have the honor of spending thousands of euros on a case that has 1 or 2 bottles of this mixed with other bottles from Burgundy.

You can see the differences between some plots showing how each grower has a different manner of caring for their vines.

A closer look at the soil--where it all begins.

The cross that is shows the edge of the Romanee Conti vineyard and is displayed on its bottles. This vineyard, whose wines are worth so much, is only 4.3 acres.

Chateau de Corton-Andre. Where we would finally taste some wine.

The line-up. The wines are all from Pierre Andre.
When we finally made it to the chateau we tasted two whites and three reds from Pierre Andre.
Savigny-Les-Beaune 2007 Lemon, floral, big on the nose. Finishes like a lemon Starburst.

Mersault Premier Cru 2009 Honeysuckle, round, long finish.

Ladoix 2005 Pepper, garlic, like Provence on the nose. Light, easy drinking, easy tannins, slightly tart, rose and nutmeg.

Corton Grand Cru 2009 Plum, violet, slightly more tannic. Long finish.

Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2007 Brick colored, tannic, pepper and tomato jam.

Creme de Cassis We also got a taste of the sweet liquor made by the winery. It is mixed with the cheap white wine (aligote) of the region for an aperitif, or is used to drizzle on desserts or in recipes. Actually pretty lovely in small doses if you find the right producer--the one from Pierre Andre was luscious, thick and perfect for drizzling over a scoop of ice cream.
Ivan explains how the shape of the glass can affect how you taste the wine.
"Everything matters when you are tasting wine: temperature, the shape of the glass; if you are with a good friend the wine can taste better!" --Ivan

Our tour group excited to finally taste the wine we've been learning about all day.

Wine being aged in the cave below the Chateaux. The temperature down here is nice and cool all year round despite the weather outside, perfect for keeping the wines at an even temperature.

Unlabeled wine aging in the cellars.

The gorgeous tasting room in the caves.

The view from the front door of the Chateaux. We tasted wine made from the grapes right beyond the trees/car (Ladoix).

Wandering around Beaune for an hour before our return trip to Dijon
The tour was so packed with information that my head was left full and spinning when it was over (though the wine perhaps lent a little to that...). I highly, highly recommend it to anyone who will be spending any time in Dijon or Burgundy (just a short trip from Paris!).

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Vin D'Orange

It's that time of year when New Yorkers can't help but dream of far-away places. The cold feels like it will never end, the wind whipping off the rivers is relentless. We are tired of being cooped up in our tiny apartments but the weather is too rough for a stroll around the neighborhood or a trip to the park.

There are a few ways to deal with this restlessness. One of the cheapest is to whip up some dishes from the locale you'd prefer to escape to. The fact that citrus fruits are in season right now on the west coast helps to conjure thoughts of warm, beach-side trips. I used a batch of particularly gorgeous oranges to make Vin D'Orange: a light, citrusy aperitif that hails from France. I used gin instead of vodka in my version to add some more floral notes. Unfortunately I won't get to try the result for a few more weeks. Luckily this does give me something to look forward to through the cold weeks to come.

Another way to deal with the winter blues? Plan an actual trip to get out of town. Joe and I have decided it has been far too long since we have taken a true vacation and therefore are off to Paris come spring. So I would love any suggestions you can offer up: places to see, things to do, and most importantly: things/places to eat! We are planning on spending most of the time in Paris but may spend a couple of days in a smaller town--perhaps in the Loire? Any advice here would be great, too. Thanks for any guidance you can give me!

Vin D'Orange
recipe adapted from Gourmantine's Blog
3 large oranges
7/8 c. sugar
3/4 c. gin
1/2 vanilla bean
1 bottle white or rose wine

Make sure the oranges are very clean and then slice and place into a large pitcher. Sprinkle with the sugar and then pour over the gin. Split the vanilla bean in half and add it to the pitcher along with the bottle of wine. Stir the whole mixture together and then cover and refrigerate. Allow to macerate for about 40 days, stirring every few days or so.

After the mixture has soaked for weeks, you want to strain it through a coffee filter or 3 layers of cheese cloth and re-bottle. Allow this to age for another few weeks before serving.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holiday Sangria

Christmas music is spinning on the record player (perhaps "A Very She and Him Christmas"), the "fireside candle" is lit, ornaments are scattered across the coffee table. We have assembled the faux tree that may look a little sad but has been adorned in our apartment every year that we have lived together. Vegetables and bread are chopped and cubed and lined up on platters next to the fondue pot that gets pulled out at this time every year and is of course filled with cheesy goodness. With a cocktail in hand we toast to our favorite of holiday traditions, the decorating of the Christmas tree.

I love that every year we make a point to make a night of it, indulging our inner children. Remembering where and when each ornament came from. Taking breaks to nibble on the food spread. Stepping back to admire the work so far and to decide which parts of the tree are lacking proper distribution. When finished all of the lights in the apartment get turned out to appreciate the work we just lovingly completed. Then we usually cuddle up to watch a Christmas movie (often Love Actually because I just can't get enough of it).

The drink is usually one made to really get us in the spirit of the holidays: eggnog, mulled wine, or spiked hot cocoa. This year, however, we changed things up a bit with a new take on sangria that is perfect for entertaining this time of year. It has some similar flavors as the mulled wine but apple cider lends a light note that helps it to be easier to drink more than one glass, which makes it perfect for a signature cocktail at your holiday gathering. I didn't have an orange on hand to create my version but added it here because I think it can add even more delicious notes to an already tasty blend of flavors.

Holiday Sangria
about 8 glasses
1 bottle of red wine
1 apple, cored and sliced thinly
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1 orange, sliced (optional)
1 cinnamon stick
1 (22 oz.) bottle of hard apple cider

In a large pitcher, combine the wine, apple, cranberries, orange and cinnamon stick. Refrigerate for at least 4-5 hours. Just before serving stir in the apple cider. Serve in wine glasses.