Wilted Frisée with Coarse Grain Mustard Vinaigrette and Granny Smith Apples

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No meal is complete without something green so when putting together a 3 course wine dinner, I knew we needed a little something fresh that would be a perfect pairing with Chardonnay. While I was bouncing around ideas with our Sommelier, she threw out the idea of a wilted frisée salad.  Honestly, I was skeptical.  Frisée are the little bitter greens that I’ve always picked out of a mixed green salad simply because they’re always a little too tough or frankly, bitter (which they are by nature). I’ve never been a fan. Creating a salad comprised of all frisée scared me, but she convinced me when she suggested slightly wilting it to make it easier to eat and to help meld the flavors of a course grain mustard vinaigrette. I decided to take the chance and I’m so glad I did. I could not believe how much I LOVED this salad – I actually went back for seconds! The combination of light, slightly bitter greens, mustard vinaigrette and apples are the prefect compliment to our California Chardonnay. The chopped, granny smith apples bring out the hint of apple and pear in the wine while the mustard vinaigrette offers the perfect touch of acidity to compliment the bitterness of the greens. This is a delicious, light and crisp salad to enjoy before a hearty main course (coming tomorrow). YUM! Give it a try this weekend for your Valentine and I promise you’ll love it.  Just be sure to pair it with a little Chardonnay. The combo is pretty spectacular.  Scroll down to view the recipe!

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Yield: 2 salads

Ingredients

1 head frisée
1 tablespoon coarse grain mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup feta
1/2 medium granny smith apple (chopped)

Directions

1. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
2. Toss greens in pan until slightly wilted and just starting to brown.
3. To make your vinaigrette, whisk together mustard, red wine vinegar, black pepper, salt and remaining olive oil.
4. In a large bowl, toss greens, chopped apple, feta and drizzle with vinaigrette.  Serve with a crisp chardonnay.

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Brie + Fig + Walnut Cups

Brie-Fig-FeatureIf there is anything in the world that I absolutely love, it’s great food and wine.  Some of my fondest memories are with friends and family sharing a great bottle of wine and a simple cheese platter or dishes to pass.  The art of food and wine pairings is one that I’m slowly trying to master since so much of my life revolves around wine.  It can be really intimidating, but a quick google search and reading the tasting notes on the bottle get you halfway there already.  The rest is acquired over time with drinking more wine and experimenting – not a bad deal ;-)

For our Pink Party, I was on the hunt for some great simple recipes that would pair well with Chardonnay and this was was such a winner.  The combination of brie, candied walnuts and figs all wrapped up in buttery, flaky phyllo dough was so delicious with a well balanced Chardonnay (lightly oaked with a slightly sweet/caramel finish).  I’m dying for an excuse to make these again.  Enjoy!

Prep: 20 minutes
Serves: 12

Ingredients

1 package phyllo dough sheets (available in the dessert freezer aisle)
4 tablespoons butter (melted)
1 – 10-14 oz. wheel of brie cheese (cut into 12 wedges)
Fig spread (available in this set)
Walnuts (I use Fresh Gourmet Glazed Walnuts)

Instructions

1.  Allow phyllo dough to thaw for time designated on the package and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough on wax paper and brush with melted butter.  Layer another piece of phyllo dough on top and repeat until you have 6 layers.

3.  Cut the phyllo dough into 12 sections.

4.  Butter the bottoms and sides of each well of a cupcake pan and place each section of 6 layers of phyllo dough into individual wells.  You need to have enough phyllo to wrap around the contents and close on the top so it’s sometimes easier to save one of the 6 layers for covering the top.

5.  Place one wedge of brie into the bottom of each cup and layer 3 tablespoons of fig spread and 1 tablespoon of walnuts into each cup.  You should use all of your fig spread so if you have extra, add it to your pastries.  If you prefer to remove the rind from the brie, do that at this time.

6. Close each cup and brush the tops with melted butter.

7. Place on bottom rack of oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until phyllo is slightly browned and crispy.

8. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Gently scoop each cup out being careful not to tear the layers and place on serving dish.  Serve while warm with ONEHOPE Chardonnay – DELICIOUS!

Recipe inspired by this.

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Salad Wars – Quinoa Salad

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Happy Tuesday!  I meant to post the second salad of Salad Wars last week, but things got crazy at work and there was just no darn time for blogging.  You know how that goes!

Now back to salads…

This salad probably takes the cake as one of the best everyday salad I’ve ever had.  Jake and I visited some friends last summer when they got engaged and moved into their first place together.  Lauren whipped this up for everyone and I was sold.  I had to have the recipe.  Thankfully she sent it over a few days later and I’ve been making it ever since and it’s such a hit every time.  What’s really great is that it’s so simple to make ahead of time too and these days I’m all about easy lunches.  Usually on Sunday or Monday night I’ll make a great big batch of quinoa (2 cups of quinoa in 4 cups of chicken stock) and then I have a ton of it for the week to throw into anything that needs a little extra something.  Pre-chop the veggies (peppers, onion and cucumber) and you’re good to go.  Simple lunches FOR. THE. WIN.  Huge thanks to Lauren for changing my salad life and turning me on to quinoa!

Prep: 30 minutes
Serves: 2 people (entree sized portion)

Ingredients

4 cups of fresh spinach
1 cucumber (peeled and chopped)
1 red bell pepper (seeded and chopped)
1 green bell pepper (seeded and chopped)
1/4 red onion (chopped)
1 avocado
1/2 cup feta
1 lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken stock
2 cloves garlic (minced)
salt & pepper to taste

Directions

1.  In a small pot, combine chicken stock with quinoa, garlic, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.

2.  While cooking the quinoa, chop all of your veggies.

3.  Once quinoa has absorbed all of the chicken stock (about 20 minutes) remove from heat for 5 minutes and fluff with a fork.

4.  Combine spinach, veggies and feta and pour quinoa over top.  Juice lemon and add olive oil and balsamic.  Toss and serve.

5.  Two great wines to pair… this one and this one :-)

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White Peach Sangria

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If there is anything in the entire world that I love about summer, it’s peaches.  Growing up, my grandma and grandpa who had retired and moved to Florida, would move to Michigan for the summer to watch my cousin Mike and I during the day while our parents were at work.  Since my aunt and uncle had a larger home on the lake, my grandparents would live there and my mom would drop me off every morning to spend my days running through sprinklers, swimming in the lake or having water balloon fights with the neighborhood kids.  I remember my grandma always buying peaches and she would heat them up for just a few seconds before putting them over vanilla ice cream.  The combination was so simple and heavenly and is one of my favorite memories from growing up.

When searching for sangria recipes for the summer, I knew we needed to include one with peaches and this was it!  The quintessential summer sangria!  Cheers!

PS: If I were to make this again, I would probably omit the apples and the lime to bring out more of that peachy flavor, but that’s just my two cents :-)  Xo

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Ingredients

1 bottle of ONEHOPE Sauvignon Blanc
1 bottle ONEHOPE Sparkling Wine (optional topper just before serving)
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
1 cup raspberries
lime slices (1/2 lime)
orange slices (1/2 large navel orange)
2 ripe peaches (cut into wedges)
2 apples (seeded and cut into slices)
orange juice (from 2nd half of large navel orange or ~1/4 cup)

*Consider extra fruit for garnishing glasses if desired

Directions

1) Combine all ingredients in one of your sangria bar carafes and cover tightly. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

2) Fill glasses with crushed ice and garnish with fresh orange slices, raspberries, and peaches. Top with sparkling before serving (if desired).

Yield: 4-6 servings

Recipe adapted from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/white-sangria-recipe.html

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Blood Orange Sangria

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Happy almost Friday!  Whew… it’s been a while, y’all!  Life has been insane for the most part and I consistently feel like a chicken with my head cut off, but I just couldn’t stay away any longer ;-)  With summer rapidly approaching, I created a bunch of sangria recipes for work and this one was one of my favorites.  Blood oranges are SO good, their color is incredible and when combined with wine, strawberries and blackberries, the combination is to die for.  As a huge lover of Pinot Noir, this recipe, which includes my favorite varietal, allows me to sip on a delicious red without completely overheating on a hot summer day.  I can’t wait to make this again!  Stay tuned for a few more recipes to add to your list of entertaining ideas for summer :-)  Cheers!

PS: Huge thanks to The Nest and Inspired By This for featuring this recipe!

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Ingredients

1 bottle ONEHOPE Pinot Noir
1 cup ONEHOPE Sparkling Wine (optional if you would like it bubbly)
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup blackberries
2 blood oranges (sliced)
Lemon slices (optional)
Lime slices (optional)
2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 cup sugar

Directions

1) Combine all ingredients (except Sparkling) into a carafe, cover and refrigerate for 4-24 hours. The longer your sangria mixture sits, the more infused the flavors become :-)

2) Before serving fill each glass with crushed ice and allow guests to garnish with their own fruits.

3) Top with sparkling if desired

Yield: 4-6 servings

Recipe adapted from: http://fabtasticeats.com/2013/01/29/blood-orange-blackberry-sangria/

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