June 24, 2011

WinoBee is in Cabos

Lil' Miss WinoBee is enjoying the sun, the sand
and the drinks in her hand this week in Cabos!

Adventures in drinking upon return...

June 23, 2011

Pairing Party: Stuffed Peppers & Bordeaux

It's not like we haven't been indulging in deliciousness, we've just been too busy to write about it! So today (even though its not Monday) we're making time, as we're long overdue for a Pairing Party.

Check out this fabulicious recipe for Stuffed Peppers from Lisa at The Novice Nosher, accompanied by a vino selection from yours truly. Bordeaux, baby, Bordeaux!

Stuffed Peppers

  • 5-6 bell peppers (any color)
  • 1 package lean ground beef (between 1 and 2 lbs)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 bag of boil-in-a-bag rice, cooked
  • 1 small package of dill, mince
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • chicken broth or stock
  • salt and pepper
  • Optional: Tabasco or your favorite hot sauce
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the top of the peppers and remove the seeds so that each pepper is like a cup. Keep the tops. Set peppers aside.

Mix the diced onion, ground beef, rice, dill, about a tablespoon each of salt and pepper, and all but 1 tablespoon of the tomato paste in a large mixing bowl. Mash and combine thoroughly with your hands.

Stuff the peppers with the beef mixture. There should be enough beef mixture so that you’ll have some overflow – no need to pack it in so that it’s all inside the pepper. Place each pepper in a shallow glass pan or baking dish.

In another mixing bowl, combine ¾ cup of stock with the remaining tomato paste and mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle about a tablespoon each of liquid onto the stuffed peppers. Place the pepper tops back onto the peppers to cover the beef a little.

Pour the remaining liquid into the dish; it should reach about halfway up the pepper (if it doesn’t, you can add more stock or broth into the dish). Cover the dish with foil and carefully place into the oven. Bake for 1 hour.

Remove the dish and spoon more of the liquid onto the cooked peppers. Serve warm and add Tabasco or hot sauce to your liking.

A Note From Lisa:
This is a recipe my mom recently made while she was visiting me here in DC. She adapted it slightly after learning it from a Greek friend. She's also made these before with different types of peppers, hot or mild, so as long as they're big enough to stuff, you can put this beef mixture into any kind of pepper. And because this is basically protein and grains inside a vegetable, it makes for an easy and filling dish, especially if you have a family or visitors over for dinner - we were able to stuff 6 large peppers with the amount of mixture we made. Plus all you would need to accompany this is just a side salad, and of course a glass of red wine, like the one Miss Winobee has suggested below.

Pairing Party
The combination of protein and acid in this dish will lend well to a wine that offers the same attributes, that's why we went with a #Bordeaux!

Try this '03 Chateau Tour de Guiet which is just as big on flavors as your Stuffed Peppers dish. You'll experience cocoa, black cherry and even some floral notes on the nose, but you'll be greeted with balanced earth tones and an essence of driftwood on the taste. Its medium-bodied with light, smooth tannins and a velvety finish.

Cost: $16/bottle
Where to Buy: Morrell's Wine

June 22, 2011

Happy Summer Solstice!

In honor of yesterday's summer solstice, its time we officially kick off the summer season with a bit of sexy and spicy, while keeping on the skinny. Check out this sultry Chile Martini from the mixologists at the Hyatt Tamaya Resort & Spa in New Mexico... its sure to light a fire in more places than your mouth!

  • 2.5 oz of Tequila
  • 1 tsp of Mango Chile Puree
  • Splash of Fresh Lime Juice (to taste)
  • Cayenne Salt (for the rim)
  • Chile Pepper (for garnish)
Place in shaker over ice, shake and strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with small chili pepper.

Why chiles?
  • Buh-bye OJ! Red chiles contain high amounts of vitamin C and carotene and one fresh, medium sized green chile is equivalent to the Vitamin C in six oranges.*
  • Chile peppers are a good source of most B vitamins, and vitamin B6 in particular!*
  • They are very high in potassium, magnesium, and iron.*
*Source: Wikipedia
**Photo provided by Cocktail Culture

June 10, 2011

Bellini Week: The Sweet & Sassy

Meet Amy...
I think this picture speaks a thousand words, how about you? Amy is one of my closest friends in the city and also my "partner-in-crime." Our time together is normally spent bypassing the gym to hit up #WineDownWednesdays at our fav go-to-spot, The Palm (don't ask, sometimes we think we're rich and in our 40's I guess) where we indulge on Hearts of Palm salads and overpriced bottles of Justin. Amy's not just a friend though -- she's a confidant, a goofball, an intellect and a career bulldog all wrapped into one #gfree sandwich. So with a personality like Amy's, I didn't know where to begin...

  • Amy has a rich characteristics (as exhibited in photo A above) so that called for a cocktail that was just as decadent!
  • Amy packs a punch when she needs to (e.g. don't ever try to steal Ike Davis of the Mets from her - that's her man!) so I needed to spice things up a bit!
  • She was with me when I got this Godiva vodka, so it was a practical decision to use it here. DEFAULT (hehe!)
  • It's gluten-free, just like Amy!
  • 1 shot of Godiva vodka
  • 1 tsp of chocolate syrup
  • cayenne pepper
  • Sparkling white wine
Layer 1 tsp. of chocolate syrup on the bottom of your champagne flute. Add 1 shot of Godiva Vodka and stir. Top and fill with sparkling white wine of choice. Pepper in cayenne pepper to taste. Rim glass with chocolate syrup and additional cayenne pepper for extra spice.

June 9, 2011

Bellini Week: The Clarabelle

Meet Clara...
Clara, Clara, Clara - where does one begin with Clara? Oh, I know... about 9 years ago and embarking on my first days as a collegiate. That's right, Clara was my "randomly assigned" dorm-mate in the halls roaming West Ambler Johnston at Virginia Tech (RIP Henry, our pet fish). Unlike most of my friends who had traumatic roommate stories, I lucked out, cuz' seven years after we first met, we became roommates once again... this time in the city that never sleeps! Sometimes we joke that I'll live in her guesthouse when we're old, gray and I'm a spinster. But we'll live in the now... for now... which means its Bellini time!

  • When I think "Clara," I immediately picture popped collars and Polo shirts (c'mon, we weren't all born to love hoodrat music and have "honky tonk" boyfriends - see photo above for proof) Fact is, she's a traditionalist, so she needed a cocktail that evoked those same simple, tasteful characteristics.
  • When we have roommate dinners, I literally have to hide veggies in her meal, and then lie about it when she asks me. She's like my own personal 4-year-old, so naturally I had to include things I knew she would never eat. I probably even lied when she asked me the ingredients as I was making it. Guess you know the truth now -- oops, sorry C!

  • 1 half mango
  • 1 half peeled cucumber (remove seeds)
  • Mint leaves, muddled to taste
  • Mionetto Prosecco (or other sparkling white wine)
Pure mango, cucumber and mint leaves using a food processor. Add mixture 1/4 of the way up your champagne flute. Top with prosecco and garnish with additional mint. For strong flavor, add diced cucumber following.

June 8, 2011

Bellini Week: The Pearnut

Meet Kristin!
Kristin is not just one of my many fabulous co-workers, she's also an amazing friend whom I've grown very close to over the past year. She's a young woman with so many creative talents and an appetite for life that keeps her adventurous and spry. Not only does she inspire me (and keep me feeling like I'm in my "mid-twenities" again, hehe!) but she teaches me to go outside my comfort zone and make discoveries all my own... and so thats how "The Pearnut" was born!

  • Kristin is one of the most beautifully eclectic people I know so naturally I had to select ingredients that were just the same.
  • Her adventurous nature, particularly when it comes to her culinary side inspired me to channel my own "inner-Kristin" by trying something completely out of my ordinary and seeing if I could come up with something fabulous.
  • One time Kristin decided to give up sweets for a month, and naturally I harassed her with desserts nearly every day... here's another one!
  • (1) Asian Pear
  • 1 Tbsp sugar; 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • (10) Walnuts, crushed
  • 3 pitted Dates, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg, sprinkle
  • Sparkling Wine
  • Cinnamon stick, optional
  1. Slice up pear and dates and crush walnuts using a food processor.
  2. Add coconut oil to sauté pan over medium heat, followed by pear, walnut and dates.
  3. Add sugars and cook for approximately five minutes.
  4. Put pear and nut mixture into a food processor to puree until smooth. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg to taste.
  5. Add mixture to 1/4 of the way up a champagne flute. Fill with sparkling wine of choice.
  6. Garnish with cinnamon stick.

June 7, 2011

Bellini Week: The Lovebird

Meet Alycia and Mike!
Also know has my best friend and her amazing fiance. They are both gearing up for their BIG DAY in just over four months, so when I decided to implement Bellini Week, I immediately knew I wanted to create a wine cocktail that possessed the same passionate attributes that these two individuals do -- not just for each other, but for life in general... and so "The Lovebird" was birthed.

  • Nothing says love like a bright burst of pinks and reds, so naturally I swayed toward delicious, in-season red fruits.
  • They're a Florida-based couple and exude the sunshine they breathe so I wanted to make sure the cocktail was refreshing and filled with pleasant bursts of flavor.
  • Aly's infectious personality calls for a little extra pizzazz, which meant we need to add some liquor!
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Fresh strawberries
  • Dark plum, peeled
  • POM pomegranate juice
  • Chambord liquor
  • Prosecco, or other sparkling white (I used Mionetto)
  • Fresh mint, optional
  1. Puree blueberries, strawberries and plum with a splash of water and splash of pomegranate juice.
  2. Add about 2 Tbsp of pureed fruit mixture to champagne flute.
  3. Add 1 additional Tbsp of POM juice to flute.
  4. Add 1 Tbsp of Chambord.
  5. Fill remaining portion of glass with sparkling white wine and accent with fresh mint.

June 6, 2011

Bellini Week: Classic Bellini from Harry's Bar - Venice

One of the things that has recently sparked my interest is extending the wine experience beyond the basic sipping of a classic Chianti or ripe Rose. What if we could make wine less of a traditional experience and take it up the trendsetting ladder?

Truth is, wine is versatile so its somewhat easy to do if your willing to get adventurous by creating your own wine cocktails. In a world consumed with customization, why shouldn't we parlay this into our wine drinking experience? Wine cocktails are exciting, as they can express so much about you - they can be sexy, flirty, colorful, full of flavor and perfect for entertaining. Your personality can be shine through in every wine cocktail you make and it can also reflect the emotion you may be feeling at the time of creation. Use your personal flare and maybe you'll discover something new.

Using a basic Bellini as your foundation can be a great way to start the path of exploration, as the interpretations you can devise with them are nearly endless. Bellinis are a long drink cocktail that originated in Venice and blend sparkling wine (traditionally Prosecco, but you can use Cava or even Champagne) and peach puree.
This week, we're going to make some discoveries of our own and I'm using some of the WinoBee swarm as my muse. Sound fun?

To get things kickstarted, let's toast to a fun week with a classic Bellini recipe invented at Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy:

  • 2 ripe peaches, peeled and pitted
  • 1 bottle of sparkling white wine
1) In a blender, process the peaches until smooth.
2) Pour into a champagne flute about 1/4 of the way, then fill with the remainder with sparkling wine.