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Jacob’s Creek introduces Two Lands

24 Apr

On April 9, Jacob’s Creek hosted a digital wine tasting. No, there is no technology that allows you to drink through your device… yet. I was sent a bottle of the Chardonnay (2014), Pinot Grigio (2014), Shiraz (2013) and Cabernet Sauvignon (2013), and Jacob’s Creek broadcasted a wine tasting session via a video streaming service.

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Two gentleman, Bernard Hickin, chief winemaker of Australia’s Jacob’s Creek and Ehren Jordan, a boutique winemaker from Napa Valley (Failla Wines) joined forces to create Two Lands, which is described as “California Craftsmanship meets Australian Character.” The best of both worlds.

 

We started off by tasting the Pinot Grigio and right away, I could tell this would be my summer white of choice. It had great pear, apple and citrus flavors, but it wasn’t too sweet. To me, that is perfection. The Chardonnay had an elegance to it and had a great balance of fruit and oak with hints of vanilla, nutmeg and spice. Next up was the Cabernet Sauvignon, which had a good texture, was soft and had some current flavors. Erhen said he wanted to make a cab that tasted like a cab. He believed that American cabs got away from making a real cab and so he got out of the habit of drinking it, but now he wants to drink cab again because of his collaboration. They both agreed that this would pair well with a rib-eye steak. The Shiraz had an intensity to it, but had a softness because of the tannins, and it was full of fruit flavors – plum, red fruits. Some tasters also described it with the following words, “bacon, rosemary, mulberry, dark plum, black pepper with a cedar on finish.” You had me at bacon.

One thing that stood out to me was that Berndard and Ehren just wanted to make good wines that they would want to drink and they did this by doing less to the wines. They said that sometimes people try to add too much or do too much to a wine and they didn’t want to do that.

The wines were produced in a limited quantity and are only available in the U.S. For the whites, about 7,000 cases were shipped and for the reds about 10,000-12,000 cases were shipped. All four wines sell for under $15 a bottle and can be found across the country. We may or may not have seen the Cabernet Sauvignon at Wegmans this weekend for $10.

Blue sky delights in the Barossa last week.

A post shared by Jacobs Creek Wine (@jacobscreekwine) on

 

We ended the wine tasting on a nice existential note. Ehren reflected on the surreality of the situation he was experiencing. He got on a plane in San Francisco, arrived in Australia a day later and knew that he was there to indulge in an extremely old craft, but was talking about it via live streaming video to people on the other side of the world, that were a day behind. Technology.

Follow Jacob’s Creek on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Thanks to Jacob’s Creek for letting me “attend” its wine tasting. Now go out and buy some Two Lands or better yet, come over this summer and we’ll enjoy a glass of Pinot Grigio together!

For tasting notes on each wine, please find the fact sheets below. (I apologize for not providing more detailed notes on the flavors. I do not claim to be a expert in wine tasting.)

Two Lands Cabernet

Two Lands Shiraz

Two Lands Pinot Grigio

Two Lands Chardonnay

Holy Moly, It’s National Guacamole Day on Sept. 16!

9 Sep

I love guac. It is as simple as that. Fresh avocados, tomatoes, lime juice, cilantro… just perfection. Well, who knew that September 16 was National Guacamole Day!? I certainly did not, but boy am I glad I know now. Is there something unusual that you like to add to your guac, like lobster or goat cheese? If you’ve ever wanted to try something new, now is the time. Thanks to Chef Ivy Stark of Dos Caminos for providing these awesome, different recipes and cocktail pairings!

Dos Caminos Guacamole

Pairing 1

The sweet and fruity flavors of the Marvelous Mango Margarita provide the perfect complement to the smoky heat of the Chipotle-Goat Cheese Guacamole.

mango margarita

Pairing 2

Turn your cocktail up a notch this National Guacamole Day with the Spicy Sauza®-Rita.  This spicy cocktail brings the heat with red and chili pepper flavors and pairs well with the mild flavors of the Artichoke Guacamole with Toasted Pine Nuts.

Spicy Sauzarita

Pairing 3

Try the Strawberry Sparkler with the Lobster Guacamole for a fresh take on the traditional lobster/champagne pairing.

Strawberry Sparklers

Check out the recipes below:

Pairing 1

Marvelous Mango Margarita

  • 1 part Sauza® Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila
  • ½ part JDK & Sons™ O3 Premium Orange Liqueur
  • ½ large ripe mango
  • 2 parts fresh orange juice
  • ⅔ part lime juice
  • ½ part simple syrup
  • 4 parts ice

Preparation: Peel, seed and chop your mango. If you have time you can freeze your prepared mango at this point. Otherwise, put all ingredients except for the ice into your blender and blend until smooth. Then add the ice. Pour the margarita into a glass and enjoy!

 Chipotle-Goat Cheese Guacamole

  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped white onion
  • 2 tsp. minced jalapeño or Serrano chilies (Optional: remove seeds and membranes)
  • ½ tsp. teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2  large ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
  • 1 small plum tomato, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 4 oz. crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 tbsp. chopped canned chipotle chilies

 Preparation:

  1. In a medium size bowl, use the back of a spoon to mash 1 tablespoon of the cilantro, 1 teaspoon onion, 1 teaspoon of minced chile, and ½ teaspoon salt together against the bottom of the bowl.
  2. Add the avocados and gently mash them with a fork until chunky-smooth.
  3. Add 4 oz. crumbled goat cheese and 2 tablespoons of chopped canned chipotle chilles.
  4. Fold the remaining cilantro, onion, and chile into the mixture.
  5. Stir in tomatoes and lime juice, taste to adjust the seasonings.
  6. Serve with warm corn tortilla chips.

 **Makes 4 Servings

 Pairing 2

 Spicy Sauza-Rita

  • 1 part Sauza® Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila
  • 2 parts beer
  • 1 part frozen limeade concentrate
  • 1 part water
  • A dash of hot sauce
  • Sugar (for garnish)
  • Salt (for garnish)
  • Red pepper (for garnish)
  • Chili pepper (for garnish)

 Preparation: In a glass, combine all ingredients. Chill and serve in glasses rimmed with sugar, salt and red pepper. Garnish with a chili.Enjoy!

 Artichoke Guacamole with Toasted Pine Nuts

  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped white onion
  • 2 tsp. minced jalapeño or Serrano chilies (Optional: remove seeds and membranes)
  • ½ tsp. teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2  large ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
  • 1 small plum tomato, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts

Preparation:

  1. In a medium size bowl, use the back of a spoon to mash 1 tablespoon of the cilantro, 1 teaspoon onion, 1 teaspoon of minced chile, and ½ teaspoon salt together against the bottom of the bowl.
  2. Add the avocados and gently mash them with a fork until chunky-smooth.
  3. Add 1 cup of marinated artichoke hearts chopped with ¼ cup of toasted pine nuts and stir.
  4. Fold the remaining cilantro, onion, and chile into the mixture.
  5. Stir in tomatoes and lime juice, taste to adjust the seasonings.
  6. Serve with warm corn tortilla chips.

**Makes 4 Servings

Pairing 3

 Strawberry Sparkler

  • 1 part Sauza® Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila
  • ½ part DeKuyper® Strawberry Liqueur
  • ½ part (chilled) rose champagne
  • ½ part limeade
  • 3 strawberries
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 lime wedge

 Preparation:  Wash, stem, quarter and freeze strawberries for at least 1 hour (can be done the day ahead). Run a wedge of lime around the rim of your champagne flute and dip in a plate of sugar to coat rim. Place 3 frozen strawberries in the bottom of the prepared flute.  Pour champagne into the glass. In a shaker filled with ice, combine tequila, limeade, and strawberry liqueur. Shake and pour into glass. Add a squeeze of fresh lime if desired and serve immediately.

 Lobster Guacamole

  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped white onion
  • 2 tsp. minced jalapeño or Serrano chilies (Optional: remove seeds and membranes)
  • ½ tsp. teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2  large ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
  • 1 small plum tomato, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 lb. whole lobster or 4 oz. lobster meat, steamed, cleaned and rough chopped
  • Japanese pickled ginger for garnish (Optional)

 Preparation:

  1. In a medium size bowl, use the back of a spoon to mash 1 tablespoon of the cilantro, 1 teaspoon onion, 1 teaspoon of minced chile, and ½ teaspoon salt together against the bottom of the bowl.
  2. Steam, cool and pick meat from lobster and rough chop. Then add to bowl.
  3. Add the avocados and gently mash them with a fork until chunky-smooth.
  4. Fold the remaining cilantro, onion, and chile into the mixture.
  5. Stir in tomatoes and lime juice, taste to adjust the seasonings.
  6. Add Japanese pickled ginger for garnish (optional).
  7. Serve with warm corn tortilla chips.

 **Makes 4 Servings

National Cake Day!

26 Nov

Guys, it is National Cake Day! I love days like today becuase it allows me to channel my inner fat-kid and talk about the greatness of cake. I am pretty picky about the type of cake I will eat, which is making for some interesting cake tastings for our wedding cake.

Here are a few of my all-time favorite cakes:

Party Favors, Brookline, MA – the buttercream frosting on their cakes is the most sinful thing ever, but it is sooooo good. My sister got me hooked on these cakes and we have one for every Kline/Boucher occasion. In fact, we just had one for our engagement party on Saturday. Check this out…

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I even brought a Party Favors cake with me to South Carolina for my mom’s birthday, several years ago. I took it on the airplane with me and stowed it under the seat.

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Then there are Publix cakes: For those of you that don’t know Publix, it is a grocery store chain in the Southeast region. Not only do they have great cakes, they have an amazing sub-sandwich station. So Publix cake also has butter cream frosting and the cake is extremely moist. I hate that word, but it is the only way to describe the cake. It is just delicious. This cake is from my best friend’s wedding:

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And the last cake I will present is my favorite cake of all time! My mom makes it and yes, it comes from a box and yes, it may be funfetti, but the chocolate frosting she makes is the absolute best. She makes this cake for me each year on my birthday! I can’t remember a birthday that I haven’t had this cake. My mom loves me!

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In honor of National Cake Day, I say, “Let them eat cake!”

Toro, Toro, Where for Art Though Toro?

13 Nov

It’s in the South End and it is delicious. Stud Muffin and I went to Toro with my sister and her hubby a few weeks ago and obviously it left an impression because I am still thinking about it.

Seven words: Maiz Asado con Alioli y Queso Cotija. Just listen to this description: Grilled corn with alioli, lime, espellette pepper and aged cheese. I can’t even begin to describe how amazing this corn on the cob truly was. I had heard about it before from people, but was always like, “yeah, right, it is just corn on the cob. how good could that be?” Boy, was I in for a pleasant surprise and from that first bite, I decided that I will try not to doubt those who explain good eats to me.

Heavenly corn. Photo cred: Instagram: Toro, NYC

Heavenly corn. Photo cred: Instagram: Toro, NYC

The word tapas makes me smile because I know that I get to eat a little bit of a lot of things, and that is exactly what we did. We had dates filled with marcona almonds and cabrales blue cheese, wrapped in ham; we had Tortilla Espanola (egg, potato and onion omelet with alioli); crispy pork belly; olives; and the guys had bone marrow. There was so much good food and I did try it all, but personal opinion, bone marrow is supposed to stay in the bone. 

If you are looking for a great place to try some great new food, I definitely recommend Toro. Disclaimer, warning, whatever you’d like to call it: THERE WILL BE A WAIT. We went on a Saturday at 6:15 p.m., we weren’t seated until 8:10 p.m. The service was great and the atmosphere was young and loud.

Good news for those not in Boston, Toro just opened up a location in New York at 85 10th Ave. 

Check them out on Facebook and Twitter or on Instagram (NY location).

And if you go to the location in Boston, for goodness sake, invite me!

Stud Muffin and me before we were full.

Stud Muffin and me before we were full. Photo cred: AMK

Tabasco Gets Classy…

6 Nov

You know what I love? Lamp. You know what I can’t wait for? Anchorman Dos. I know sequels aren’t typically as good as the first, but I have a good feeling about this one.

Photo Cred: Anchor Man 2 Official Movie Site

Photo Cred: Anchor Man 2 Official Movie Site

So if you are as excited as I am, here are four cocktail recipes from Tabasco, yes the hot sauce. It is getting classy for the return, and I think you should practice your class as well.

Hilarity is sure to ensue as we watch our favorite news team reclaim their legendary status.

Below are four recipes for The Burgundy, It’s So Damn Hot, You Know I Don’t Speak Spanish, and Brick’s Hand Grenade.

The Burgundy
Serves 6

1 Quart tomato juice
1 Cup vodka
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 Teaspoon Tabasco brand Original Red Sauce
Lime slices or celery stalks

Combine tomato juice, vodka, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice, and Tabasco Sauce in a 2-quart pitcher; stir well. Serve over ice. Garnish with lime or celery.

The Burgundy

It’s So Damn Hot
Serves 1

2 Ounces quality vodka or gin
7 Ounces tomato juice
1/2 Ounce Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
1 Heaping teaspoon horseradish mustard
10-20 dashes Tabasco brand Original Red Sauce
1/2 Teaspoon sea salt
1/8 Teaspoon white pepper
1/8 Teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 Teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 Teaspoon garlic powder
1 Pinch of cumin
1/2 Lemon, juiced
1/2 Lime, juiced
1 Chicory leaf
1 Cornichon
2 Tabasco brand Spicy Beans

Spicy Seasoned Garlic Sea Salt
6 Dashes Tabasco brand Original Red Sauce
1/8 Cup sea salt
1/2 Tablespoon toasted garlic

Combine all Spicy Seasoned Garlic Sea Salt ingredients and mix well. Fill a pint glass with ice and rim with Spicy Seasoned Garlic Sea Salt. Combine all ingredients into mixing glass. “Roll” ingredients back and forth from mixing glass to shaker several times; mix well. Pour into ice-filled, salt-rimmed pint glass. Garnish with chicory leaf, a cornichon and Tabasco Spicy Beans.

It's So Damn Hot

You Know I Don’t Speak Spanish
Serves 1

1/2 Lime
Coarse salt
1 1/4 Ounces gold tequila
3/4 Ounce Grand Marnier
1/2 to 1 Teaspoon Tabasco brand Green Jalapeño Pepper Sauce

Rub rim of a goblet with cut side of lime, then dip rim into saucer of salt. Fill glass with ice. Squeeze juice from lime. Pour lime juice, tequila, Grand Marnier, and Tabasco Green Sauce into an ice-filled cocktail shaker or pitcher and shake or stir vigorously. Strain into ice-filled glass and garnish with a slice of lime.

Variation: Use Margarita or sweet and sour mix to make drink as directed on label. Shake in 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Tabasco Green Sauce per drink and stir.

You Know I Don't Speak Spanish

Brick’s Hand Grenade
Serves 1

2 Tablespoons pineapple juice
2 Tablespoons lemon-lime carbonated beverage
1 Tablespoon light rum
1 Tablespoon tequila
1 Tablespoon vodka
1 Tablespoon gin
3 Drops Tabasco brand Original Red Sauce

Combine all ingredients and pour into a 12-ounce highball glass filled with ice; stir. If desired, garnish glass with a wedge of pineapple or lime.

Brick's Hand Grenade

Guest Blog: Drink Up The Drambuie

4 Nov

By: Stud Muffin

Drambuie – a spirit that tastes as extraordinary as its name suggests.  Before I get too far ahead of myself, which happens when talking scotch, it is best that I introduce myself as it is my first appearance on the blog and most definitely not my last.

They call me FM (Funny Man) or Stud Muffin (thanks, Kteb). Now that we are officially introduced, I can begin to tell you a bit about Drambuie and why it should be a staple of any bar, home or otherwise.

Drambuie is a spirit made from scotch as a base and then a special mixture of heather honey, spices and herbs are added to give its characteristic taste.  Not surprisingly, it is this unique taste that born its name:  a local, upon first tasting it, commented in Gaelic “an dram buidheach”.  This was later shortened to “Drambuie” and thus the brand was born.

What was a Scotsman doing speaking Gaelic?  Well, I’ll have you know that the Irish and Scottish are closer than you may think.  In fact, it is believed that Scotland was first inhabited by Irish in the 4th century, and since then both developed a disdain towards the English.  But, I digress.

Let’s get to the point – there are people who don’t like the way scotch tastes and that’s fine.  I personally didn’t at first, but that was because I was young and couldn’t appreciate it.  But, Drambuie is a little different and because of this, is appealing to a wider audience.  It’s a little sweet, has a slight herbal notes and finishes clean on your palate.

Apparently Kteb didn’t realize this, but I was first introduced to Drambuie through a drink called the Rusty Nail a few years ago by my best friend’s father.  It was love at first sip (I mean, how manly is it, mix 2 scotches together and call it a cocktail) and have enjoyed them ever since.

Rusty Nail

Here is my one caveat when it comes to Drambuie:  It is fairly sweet, due to the honey, and is not something that I would personally drink straight-up.  However, because it is such versatile liquor, it should be a part of any bar.  Some examples:

  • Rusty Nail:  1 part Scotch and 1 part Drambuie.  I prefer a more Scotch to Drambuie ratio, but to each their own.  My personal favorite.
  • Wheelbarrow:  1 part Rum and 1 part Drambuie.  Same as the Rusty Nail, mix to your liking.
  • Rusty Cola: 1 part Drambuie, 3 parts cola.  Add a little lime juice and your good to go.  By the way, the acid in the cola and the lime juice complements the sweetness of the Drambuie perfectly.
  • Rusty Mule: 1 part Drambuie, 3 parts ginger beer, lime juice.  Delicious on a warm day.
  • Drambuie and Lime:  Muddle 4 lime wedges, add ice and pour in some Drambuie.  What’s does muddling mean?  Just a fancy word for crush.
  • Rusty Buck: 1 part Drambuie, 3 parts ginger ale, lime juice.

If it is cold and you want something to warm you up, Drambuie has you covered there too:

  • Rusty Apple Toddy:  1 part Drambuie, 3 parts hot apple juice or cider, lemon and you can add a cinnamon stick for garnish.  Or, add a dash of cinnamon on top.

Rusty Toddy

All this reference to “rusty” is making me think of National Lampoon’s vacation movies.  I bet Clark Griswold would drink Drambuie.  In fact, I’d like to think that’s how he named his son, Rusty.

Thanks to Drambuie (and Daddi Brand Communications) for providing me with this goodness to enjoy a few Rusty Nails, a Rusty Cola or two and I even tried the Rusty Buck.

For those on social media, check Drambuie out on Facebook and Twitter. Their website is awesome as well.

From Boston Bartenders with Love!

10 Oct

Fall is here. Time to soak in the last hours of sunshine and foliage. Time to prepare ourselves for the darkness of winter ahead. If you are like me, a good fall cocktail can ease the pain. Check out these great fall cocktails with rum from two local Boston bartenders. I personally love Eastern Standard and will be making my way there soon to try this deliciousness.

Do you have a favorite fall cocktail in Boston? Share with us!

Dominican Old Fashioned3 (credit Emmanuel Cayere)

Photo cred: Emmanuel Cayere

Dominican Old Fashioned

Created by Kevin Martin, Eastern Standard

1.5 oz. Brugal Extra Dry Rum

.5 oz. Santa Maria Al Monte

1 Barspoon St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram

1 Barspoon Sugar

2 Dashes Angostura Bitters

2 Dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

In a mixing glass combine sugar, Angostura, Peychaud’s with a splash (.25oz) of soda water, stir to make a paste. Add Brugal Rum, Santa Maria Al Monte and Dram with ice, stir until properly diluted and chilled. Strain cocktail into a chilled lowball over fresh ice, garnish with a long orange twist.

Old Orchard Style

Created by John Henderson, Tavern Road

2 oz. Brugal 1888 Rum

.25 oz. Demerara Syrup (2:1 Demerara or raw sugar to water)

1/8 of Granny Smith Apple

1/8 oz. Allspice Dram

Old Orchard Style6 (credit Emmanuel Cayere)

Photo cred: Emmanuel Cayere

Muddle apple in a mixing glass, add other ingredients and stir with ice until well-chilled. Fine strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass, top with freshly grated cinnamon and a thin slice of apple.

Interested in more cocktails and recipes? Follow Brugal Rum on Twitter.

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