Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Book Review: My Beverly Hills Kitchen ~ Classic Southern Cooking with a French Twist by Alex Hitz

Well  let me first say the cover says it all. You don't have to have fancy food, you need good food served on beautiful serve ware. I love the concept of "relaxed elegance" when it comes to food, entertaining and interior design. Just look at the cover, a silver platter of Southern Fried Chicken and homemade biscuits; it just exudes comfort food served on a beautiful table, which describes a traditional southern host or hostesses equation for a wonderful time. This book reminded me of how we have beautiful things that we may have inherited from our mother or grandmother or pieces we bought ourselves that we feel are too precious to use; please use them. I think after looking through this cookbook you will start looking in the house for all those treasures, and begin to use them.

I also love how he allows you to get to know about his family, and when he began to love food. He also shows pictures of the African American women who had an influence in his life, especially Dorothy Williams Davis. He always gives a tribute to her; she was the family cook for forty years, and he notes that she inspired many of the recipes in the book. Alex, did come from a family of affluence, but if you listen to him in any interview, he has great humility and charm.

He talks about how to taste food, or the three stages of the palate. He is not afraid of salt or salted butter, and gives all kinds of tips on what equipment you need in a kitchen to make the cooking process a success. I agree about getting the best ingredients that you can afford. I am particular about extracts, cocoa, and spices, so I agree with him 100%, that it does make a difference in the finished product. He also likes the idea of doing Southern Classics that would please a sophisticated foodies palate. That is where the French twist comes in to play in some of the recipes. He uses wine and bourbon and other libations in his cooking, which I just love. I think it adds an additional layer of flavor in the finished dish.

The cookbook has so many recipes that look like you may have to be a chef to cook, but when you read the recipes, you see that "you" can do it. Most ingredients are easily found, and the tips are great. The Hors d' Oeuvres are simple and beautiful. He has a belief you just need a few, and I agree, especially if they are a starter for a formal dinner. They should make you want to see what is next to come, not fill you up! Next is soups, all served in nice bowls, then salads, Eggs, and Cheese, and Grits, and Quiche. Then we move on to sauces, vegetables and side dishes, Seafood, Chicken, Turkey, and, of All Things, Pheasant. I've never had Pheasant before, maybe I should after seeing the recipe.

Next stop, Beef, Veal, Lamb, and Pork. He really shows you how to take a piece of meat and turn it into something special. Well we can't forget Biscuits, Rolls, Breads, Pastry, and Crepes. I think I want to make a few of these things, especially the biscuits. I'm from New Orleans and we love our biscuits. I love how his biscuits looked in the cookbook, so I am going to try them.

And last but not least Desserts. I love how he makes vanilla ice cream with homemade chocolate sauce served in a beautiful bowl look decadent! I want to try his New Orleans Bread Pudding with Vanilla Bourbon Sauce and his Chocolate Mousse. Alex always adds little tips on how he garnishes dishes to just give them that crowning of elegance.

 The photos of the food makes you want to cook. I know, I am a sucker for good and pretty food. But I have to admit that this is a wonderful Christmas gift or hostess gift for foodies who like good food, with that touch of " relaxed elegance."

This book is beautiful, the photos of food and the table settings make you want to cook and entertain. This is one to add to collection of coveted cookbooks.

Note: This book was provided for review by Alfred A Knopf, Publisher,York k and check out Alex's website This book can also be purchased on SRP $35.00. Tip: Amazon has a great price now, so it will be an affordable Christmas gift. So hurry to get it ordered for the foodie on your list.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Wine Review: Jordan 2010 Chardonnay Russian River Valley

This wine is a light straw color. The nose is filled with notes of spice which adds an unusual warmth in this chardonnay, along with fruit notes of green apple, a hint of pear and citrus notes. The palate is round, with the those flavors of green apple, pear, citrus and spice. There is a nice acidity in this wine that makes it beg to be paired with food. This wine is balanced with oak, but the oak does not overpower the fruit flavors in this wine. The finish has a nice length with the the fruit and spice in harmony. This wine is "elegant" and would pair well with poultry that will grace your holiday table. I would also pair this wine with grilled fish, and appetizers with spinach and artichokes in puff pastry.  Note: This wine was a sample provided by Jordan Winery SRP $29.00

Friday, November 30, 2012

Wine Review: Hahn Winery 2011 Pinot Noir

This wine is a deep garnet color. The nose is filled with dark fruit aromas, primarily dark cherries. There is also an herbal, earthy note in the nose. The wine has a nice mouth feel and the flavors are of that dark red fruit that is found in the nose, dark cherries, along with a hint of earth and a hint of tobacco, which provides some balance and structure. There is also a warm whisper of oak that rounds this wine out nicely on the finish. I could see this wine paired with poultry, even fried chicken (I'm from the South), pork, ham, grilled salmon, and even a dish that contains mushrooms, like the bacon wrapped mushroom filled chicken breast that I bought from my local Kroger's grocery store. It is okay to cheat in the food world when you find a great product! Note: This wine was a sample provided by Hahn Winery SRP $14.00

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Look Into The World Of Prosecco

For starters, I love bubbles. I don't have to have a reason to drink bubbly; I think being alive and healthy is a reason for anyone to celebrate. The great thing about Prosecco, is that there are some really good quality ones on the market at a reasonable price. Sometimes I think in another life I was Italian. I love Italian inspired decor, I call it" relaxed elegance." Okay, and I will admit to loving The Housewives of New Jersey. I just love the feel of their homes which are just designed to enjoy family, friends, and of course wine and food.

 Now Let us get back to Prosecco! I was so pleased to get samples of Valdo Prosecco from Pasternak Imports. The three prosecco's they sent me amazed me in the quality. I hope after you read my reviews that you will buy a bottle or more and sample them to experience what I experienced. I'd love to know what you think.

This wine has a beautiful light salmon color. The nose has notes of rose petals with berry notes, primarily raspberries. The palate has those same flavors noted in the nose, along with delightful tiny ongoing bubbles tickling your palate. This is a fine example of a Brut Rose` Prosecco. I would pair this wine with "Purple Haze" goat cheese, light appetizers with prosciutto as an ingredient, grilled salmon and ham. SRP $12.99
This wine has a straw color. The nose has notes of bread, apple and pear. The palate has those same fruit favors of apple and pear, along with tiny ongoing bubbles tickling the palate. This prosecco reminds me of a California sparkling wine. I was impressed! This wine would be great to sip alone or to pair with fresh goat cheese on a thin slice of french bread, light appetizers, and seafood. Would be great with oysters. SRP $10.00 Also at this price point, I call it a "bang for the buck" wine.
This wine is a deep straw color. The nose is filled with notes of citrus, pear and apple. The palate has those same flavors reflected in the nose, but I noted a hint of honey on the mid palate, along with the tickling of those tiny ongoing bubbles. This wine would be great to sip alone, but would also pair well with light appetizers and apricot glazed chicken. SRP $19.99
All three of these Italian sparklers would really be a great alternative to champagne or a more expensive California sparkling wine. Try them and tell me what you think. I also want to note that all of the wines had great balance, and are at a great price point for holiday gatherings and throughout the year when entertaining.  Note: These wines were samples provided by Pasternak Imports

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Wine Review:Rodney Strong 2011 Charlotte's Home Sauvignon Blanc Estate Vineyards

First of all, I want to say, I am not one of those people who think that Sauvignon Blanc only needs to be consumed in the warmer months. I think Saugivon Blanc made in the style of this wine is a winner all year round. I am so lucky to be able to see the slight variations of this wine from vintage to vintage. I have to say that the fruit in this vintage is just "superb."  Another thing I like about this wine is that it has a screw cap. I know some people feel that the screw cap is not classy. I want you to close your eyes and imagine this; a classy, sexy dress, which has easy access ( ladies, and gentlemen, you know what I mean...), meets a wine bottle with a screw cap!
This wine is a light straw color. The nose is filled with ripe, and extremely aromatic notes of melon, pear, and citrus. The palate just exudes those juicy, ripe fruit flavors of pear, melon and citrus along with herbal and mineral notes. But the fruit is the star of this wine. I just adore this vintage. It is a wine that you just can't have one glass; the acidity is nice, as well as the finish in this Sauvignon Blanc. It has the qualities that I like in a wine; it is great to sip alone or to be paired with light appetizers, fresh goat cheese or with a meal. This wine would pair well with a crab cake or orange or apricot glazed shrimp on skewers. The indoor grill or grill pan can come out in the cooler months to make this wonderful pairing. You just make sure in either method of grilling that you soak wooden skewers the allotted time that is printed on the package. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Rodney Strong Vineyards SRP $15.00
Another pairing suggestion, with a recipe thanks to Chef Anne Burrell.
I love these bites on their own as an appetizer. This is a recipe by Chef Anne Burrell of the Food Network  This appetizer would pair well with this ripe and juicy Sauvignon Blanc, due to the goat cheese and figs.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wine Review: Lions Drift 2009 Pinotage, South Africa

This was my first opportunity to sample a Pinotage.  This Pinotage is 100% pinotage. After sampling it, I realized that it is a great alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon. Not that it takes the place of Cabernet Sauvignon, but it is a great alternative red wine for any red wine lover to try. Sometimes we have to spread our wings and fly in the world of wine, there are so many wines to explore and add to our personal wine world. My definition of a " personal wine world" means that I know about it, I liked it and I will purchase it. That is how I grow ans a wine lover. I enjoy moving out of my comfort zone when it comes to wine; you never know what you may find inside the bottle. I was lucky this time!

This wine has a dark garnet color. The nose is unique because it has those dark fruit aromas like black currant and plum, but there were notes of spice and a hint of almond. The palate has those same dark fruit flavors, along with that vanilla and spice from the oak barrels. But here is a hint of coffee, slight herbal notes (which provides that "something interesting note" on the palate), and a bit of earth (terroir) in this interesting red wine. The mouth feel is round and has a nice weight on the palate, and a nice length in regards to its finish.

This wine begs to be paired with food, especially beef. I paired it with a burger, which I felt brought out the wonderful lush dark fruit flavors of this wine and some of its unique herbal notes. I would love to see this wine poured at a party, with beef burger sliders as the perfect pairing. I think this would be a fun way to introduce your friends to this wine. I love sharing new wines and great foods pairings with my readers. I would also pair this wine with a grilled steak topped with sage or rosemary compound butter. Cahill Porter cheese or a Sharp Cheddar would be great pairings as well. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Silkbush Mountain Vineyards Western Cape, South Africa  SRP $18.00 For further information, contact

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wine Review: Bogle Vineyards 2009 Essential Red, CA

Well, I want to start out with the label of this wine. At first I did not notice the texture of the label; it is very textural, especially the old vine, which is up front and center. The wine is a deep garnet color. The nose is filled with dark fruit aromas, along with a hint of dust and oak. The palate is juicy, and has those same dark fruit flavors from the blending of Cabernet Sauvignon, Old Vine Zinfandel, Syrah and Petite Syrah. There is also hints of cedar and a hint of lead on the mid palate, along with the right amount of oak. This wine has a bit of acidity that makes it perfect for pairing with steaks and burgers. There are some tannins in this big and juicy wine, so I feel it can benefit from some decanting in a decanter or just your glass. The wine has nice fruit, and the tannins give this wine a lot of backbone. I paired this wine with a rib eye steak, that was marinated in Stubb's Beef Marinade for a little over an hour, and then pan seared it a bit of olive oil with a few sprigs of rosemary and sprinkled Victoria Taylor's Cracked Black Pepper Rub on each side of my steaks. I like the peppery notes this seasoning added to my steaks.
I would also pair this wine with burgers stuffed with rosemary or sage compound butter. Due to Syrah pairing well with sage and Cabernet Sauvignon pairing well with rosemary, so either butter will do with this big red wine blend. Now, I have to say, you have to be a big wine woman to handle this one, but then again, I'm a woman that can handle it! Another pairing would be an aged or sharp cheddar cheese or Cahill Porter cheese. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Bogle Vineyards SRP $11.00

Saturday, August 25, 2012

La Petite Perriere 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, France

I want to apologize for this label image. When I get a better one, I will replace it. This wine is a great example of Sauvignon Blanc. The wine is a light straw color. The aromas are wonderful; notes of melon, apricot, citrus, grapefruit filled the glass. The palate mirrored the nose with those same wonderful fruit flavors, along with a nice round mouth feel. I paired this wine with a Tilapia fish wrap and it was wonderful! This wine would pair well with seafood, fresh goat cheese and light appetizers. I would have loved to have prepared crab cakes with this wine to see the concept of wine pairing and culinary delight in motion! According to the information on this wine, it is a Certified Green wine.  Note: This wine was a sample provided by Pasternak Wine Imports

Los Vascos 20011 Sauvignon Blanc, Chile

This wine is a light straw color. The nose has aromas of citrus, primarily grapefruit and grassy notes. The palate mirrors the nose with all the grassy and citrus flavors along with some mineral notes on the finish. There is a nice amount of acidity which makes this a great wine to pair with fresh goat cheese, oysters and grilled fish. Note:  This wine was a sample provided by Pasternak Wine Imports

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Rodney Strong Vineyards 2010 Chalk Hill, Estate Chardonnay

I must admit Chardonnay has not been one of my favorite wines to consume for a while. Why do you ask; because most of them have been unbalanced due to the "oak monster." I hate to have a glass of chardonnay and feel like I'm taking a "lick" of a cut oak tree. This wine was the opposite. The wine was a straw color. The nose was filled with notes of apple, lemon, a hint of pear and vanilla spice. The palate has those same flavors that you experience in the nose. The mouth feel was creamy , yet still had a freshness, which to me says that it is a "balanced" wine. This wine also has a nice finish, it lingers for a while. I really enjoyed this wine, because it restored my faith in chardonnay. The fruit was the star and the oak influence gave the wine balance, not a ton of oak. I like a wine, any wine that can stand on its own or be paired with food. This wine can do both! I would pair this wine with seafood, chicken and light cheeses. I can truly see this as a wine that I would put a little in my roasting pan when I roast an herb infused chicken. It would keep my chicken moist and add some flavor. Can you imagine how the pan drippings would taste if you thickened it to make gravy? Hint:  I use celery stalks as a roasting rack in my roasting pan, and add a bay leaf and a bit of wine if I have some on hand or water to add flavor and moisture when I roast a chicken. Well, thank you Rodney Strong Vineyards for restoring my faith in chardonnay. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Rodney Strong Vineyards SRP $20.00

Bogle Vineyards 2010 Pinot Noir, CA

This wine is a deep garnet color. The nose is filled with aromas of sour cherries, raspberries, cola notes along with hints of earth and spice. The palate is filled with those flavors exhibited in the nose of berries, cola, hints of cedar, earth and vanilla. There are some tannins, but they help this wine to be big enough to be paired with grilled meats as well as salmon. This Pinot Noir has some weight on the palate, and is a big enough Pinot Noir that I paired it with grilled flank steak. It was a wonderful pairing. This wine is also a "bang for the buck" wine, so you can keep a few bottles on hand for entertaining or to pair with your dinner. Note: This was a sample provided by Bogle Winery SRP $11.00

When I prepared my flank steak, I gave it a pounding with my meat mallet and let it marinate in Stubb's Beef Marinade for at least an hour or so and used Victoria Taylor's Cracked Black Pepper Rub http://www.vgourmet.comon each side when grilling my flank steak. I grilled my flank steak inside on a cast iron grill pan due to the summer heat. Cook until your desired doneness; but flank steak does not need to be grilled too long, and it should be sliced against the grain. Try this pairing and tell me what you think!



Bogle Vineyards 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, California

Before I write this review, I would like to tell my readers and the wineries who provide samples to me, that the reason why I have not posted in a while is because I had a tumor removed from my right eye last month. I have endured many challenges with my sight for some time now. It has been 4 weeks since the surgery and well lets just say, I have to check for typos more than the ordinary person. So, please don't think that you are forgotten; you are never forgotten. With that said, and a eye that needs a lot more healing, I'm going to post today, and everyday ( if the eye permits) until I catch up. Thank God for tasting notes, pen and paper. I also thank God that my eye was cancer free. Red wine must really help in fighting cancer. If that is the case, I thank all red wines, each and every one of you!

Okay, summertime is my time for Sauvignon Blancs. The temperatures have been so high in Little Rock, AR, I have been drinking lots of Sauvignon Blanc. This Sauvignon Blanc by Bogle is what I call a "bang for the buck" wine.

The wine is a light straw color. The nose has aromas of citrus zest, primarily grapefruit zest with hints of lemon grass. The lemon grass is the grassy notes that you find in most Sauvignon Blancs. The palate was filled with those same citrus, grapefruit , key lime flavors with a clean, fresh mouth feel along with a nice amount of acidity. The price point makes it great wine to serve at a pool party or any summer entertaining event, because it is a crowd pleaser.

 This wine would be great to sip alone or pair with food. I am still on my fresh goat cheese on a thin slice of french bread kick, for a quick no cook pairing. But this wine would pair well with a grilled white fish like Tilapia with a squeeze of lemon juice, or any grilled or pan seared white fish. I also think a great pairing would be any appetizer with spinach and artichokes in puff pastry or fillo dough. You can purchase the sheets and cut them into small squares and place them in mini muffin tins and fill them with whatever you want, and pop them into the oven. The instructions are on the back of the fillo dough package. I use Athens brand, they have wonderful suggestions for appetizers on their site.

Note:  This wine was a sample provided by Bogle Winery SRP $10.00
Try it and let me know what you think!



Monday, June 25, 2012

le jaja de jau 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, France

This wine is a light straw color. The nose is filled with notes of citrus zest, primarily lemon and grapefruit. The palate has those same flavors of lemon and grapefruit, with a hint of white pepper on the finish, which I found interesting. There are also notes of minerality on the finish, with a nice level of acidity which makes it a great wine to pair with food. This wine would be great to sip alone on a warm summer day or night. I just love Sauvignon Blanc because it is so refreshing. This wine would pair well with fresh goat cheese on a thin slice of French bread or spread on a cracker, fish and seafood. It would also pair well with appetizers that contain oysters as the main ingredient, because of the lemon notes and great acidity.  In addition, it would pair well with appetizers with spinach and artichokes as the main ingredients wrapped in puff pastry. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Pasternak Wine Imports

2011 J Pinot Gris, California

This wine is a very light straw color. The nose has notes of apple, melon and a hint of apricot. The palate has hints of honeysuckle and orange blossoms. This white wine is light on the palate and has the right amount of acidity on the finish, that makes it pair well with fresh goat cheese and seafood. This wine is also a great wine for outdoor entertaining in the warm days and nights of summer. This wine would also pair well with light appetizers. Note:  This wine was a sample provided by J Vineyards & Winery SRP $15.00

Goat Cheese

Saturday, May 26, 2012

News from J Vineyards & Winery: Pinot & Pizza

For Immediate Release


George Rose                                                                                      

Communications Consultant                                                                                      

707.431.5233 (Direct)                                                                                                         


J Vineyards & Winery

11447 Old Redwood Highway

Healdsburg, CA 95448

A Celebration of Pinot & Pizza at J Vineyards & Winery

Saturday, June 16, 2012 — 11a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

HEALDSBURG, CALIFORNIA (May 1, 2012) — J Vineyards & Winery teams up once again with Healdsburg-based chef and author, Andrea Mugnaini, for a "Pinot & Pizza" food and wine celebration at the J Visitor Center. Mugnaini will be employing a large wood-fired pizza oven, and along with J Executive Chef Mark E. Caldwell, will create a variety of tasty pizzas featuring farm-fresh organic vegetables, Bellwether Farms artisanal cheeses, and Merchants & Millers olive oil.

All pizzas will be paired with J Vineyards Russian River Valley Estate Pinot Noir wines. Mugnaini will also sign copies of her book, "
The Art of Wood Fired Cooking."

The cost is $20 per person for Club J members, and $40 per person for the general public.

For tickets, please call (707) 431-5479 or (707) 431-5430. Tickets can also be purchased online at


J Vineyards & Winery is located at 11447 Old Redwood Highway south of Healdsburg. The winery focuses on Brut and Brut Rosé sparkling wines, as well as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris Estate varietal wines, produced from grapes farmed primarily within Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley appellation.

Founded by Judy Jordan in 1986, J Vineyards & Winery is an independently-owned Sonoma County winery. The winery has "Certified Sustainable" status through the California Sustainable Winegrowers Alliance To learn more, or to join the J Wine Club, go to

J Executive Chef Mark E. Caldwell and Andrea Mugnaini

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wine Review: Hess Select 2011 North Coast Sauvignon Blanc

This wine is a pale straw color. The nose has aromas of citrus, and beautiful tropical fruit notes. The palate has those same flavors of lemon, grapefruit, but a hint of tropical fruit flavors, which seems like a whisper of pineapple on the mid palate. This wine has the crispness and freshness found in most well made Sauvignon Blancs, along with a nice finish. This wine is a spring and summertime keeper. I also love that the bottle is a screw cap. I like easy access, and the screw cap allows for saving any leftovers with ease; but I doubt that you have any leftovers with this wine.

This wine is great to sip on its own on a warm day, or to be paired with fresh goat cheese on a thin slice of baguette, grilled chicken or grilled pork with a citrus based glaze.  I'd also love this wine with a crab cake. Note:  This wine was a sample provided by The Hess Collection http://www.HESSCOLLECTION.COM SRP $11.00

Lorrie’s Crab Cakes


1lb of jumbo crab meat (check for shells)
2 teaspoons of good Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon of New Orleans Seasoning
1 pinch of sea salt
½ of lemon
½ of a small red bell pepper (if bell pepper is large ¼ of red bell pepper)
2 tablespoon of mix seasonings (flat leaf parsley, celery, and sweet onions)
3 stalks of chopped green onions
3 tablespoons of olive oil *(1 tablespoon for the seasoning and 2 tablespoons to fry the crab cakes)
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter *(divided in half, 1 tablespoon is for cooking the mixed seasoning, the other tablespoon is for frying the crab cakes))
¼ cup of mayonnaise (I use Blue Plate brand mayonnaise )
1 egg
1 ½ cup of Panko Bread crumbs (1/2 cup for the mixture and 1 cup to coat the crab cakes before frying)

Check crab meat for any shells. Saute` the mixed seasoning, red bell pepper, and green onions in a pat of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil. Allow the seasoning mixture to cool. Mix, the crab meat, mixed seasoning, New Orleans seasoning, salt, lemon juice, egg, ½ cup of Panko crumbs, and mayonnaise. Form the mixture into 12 patties. Chill for at least 30 minutes; the longer the better. Note: Chilling helps the crab cakes stay together. Coat the crab cakes in Panko crumbs. Place a pat of butter and a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a frying pan on medium high heat and brown crab cakes on each side; repeat until all the crab cakes are browned. Place the crab cakes on paper towels to drain any excess oil. I like serving this as an appetizer or with angel hair pasta and a salad to make a meal.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The World of Bruschetta and Wine

There is just something satisfying about toasted slices of baguette topped with an array of goodness paired with the right glass of wine. I just love Bruschetta. This is a fun way to share small bites with friends that are simple and easy to make.

Ricotta, Fig & Prosciutto Bruschetta

  I like to do a light spread of fig jam, fresh goat cheese, crushed red pepper flakes, a few drops of balsamic vinegar on top each thin slice of baguette, that has been brushed with EVOO, and baked in a 350 degree oven to just get slightly toasted. Then I finish with each small bite with lightly fried pieces of prosciutto, then put them back in the oven to warm the fresh goat cheese. This pairs so well with Rose` wines still and of course my favorite, sparkling Rose` wine. Try this with these two recommendations and tell me what you think.

Here is a link to some great Bruschetta recipes.



Wine Review: Girasole Vineyards 2010 Chardonnay, Medocino

This wine is a straw color. The nose is filled with aromas of citrus and apples. The palate has those same fruit flavors with a bit of toasty oak integrated into the wine. I found the mouth feel to be medium to full, creamy and round. The oak influence is found on the finish along with the fruit.  This is a wine that begs to be paired with food. I sampled it with a bite of roasted chicken breast that was seasoned with herbs, which was a nice pairing. But, I then paired it with a piece of fried catfish. The fried catfish brought all the fruit flavors alive. I think this wine would pair well with fried or grilled seafood, chicken and creamy pasta dishes. There needs to be richness in the foods to compliment the richness of the mouth feel of this wine. This wine is also Estate Grown, Hand Picked Family owned since 1955 and Vegan Made with Certified Organic GrapesNote: This wine was a sample provided by Girasole Vineyards. SRP $13.00

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I Spy Wine With My Little Eye

I love it when I get home magazines, and home catalogs and see wine as a part of a room display. So, is wine a part of our everyday culture? I say yes, and apparently so do the magazines, Hoda and Kathy Lee love wine; they always have wine, and wine experts to discuss wine on television. Also, most of the local newspapers have a small section on wine in the Food section; I think it is because wine has always been a part of some peoples lives, and it is a large part of the food world.

 I just got my May 2012 issue of the Ballard Designs catalog, and on page 45, I spied a white wine that I reviewed a while back, or it looks like it! I have wanted to do a post on how you see wine, wine glasses and wine accessories in all kinds of print ads, TV commercials and TV shows. They usually turn the bottle, so they don't provide any endorsement for any brand; at least that is why I think that they do it. What do you think? Let me know; I love hearing from my readers.

I love when the world of wine and interior design link together. I also spied a bottle of Rose` wine on the cover of the May 2012 issue of House Beautiful Magazine. Rose` is wonderful to look at, and sip in spring and summer. Note: Real men are not afraid to drink pink!  In that same issue on page 26, there were a a few pages allotted for "the Best", and I spied a Wine glass called Chateau Baccarat Red Wine Glass SRP $85.00

Check out this video; Mario loves wine as well.

Well, hope that you enjoy the read.



Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wine Review: Ceja Vineyards 2009 Blanc de Noir

This Blanc de Noir sparkling wine is a wonderful salmon hue. The nose has aromas of brioche, apples and berries. The palate has flavors of berries, mostly cherries and a hint of cranberry, orange zest and a bit of cooking spice. This wine is 88% Pinot Noir, and 12% Chardonnay. It has a creamy and full mouth feel, with a bit of structure and acidity. The flavor profile of this wine makes it a great wine to pair with food. I would pair this wine with Purple Haze goat cheese on a thin slice of baguette, orange glazed salmon, Grilled salmon coated with sea salt,black pepper and Herbes de Provence, and chicken breast chunks wrapped in bacon coated in a brown sugar and spice mixture (include a pinch of cayenne pepper), then baked until the bacon is crisp.

 Another pairing would be a salad, made with Herbes de Provence and a pinch of sea salt sprinkled in Panko bread crumbs coated goat cheese rounds; that are put in the freezer to get firm enough to pan fry in extra virgin olive oil until lightly browned. You want the cheese rounds to stay intact, that is why you should allow them to get very firm before frying.  Then put the goat cheese rounds on your favorite salad greens and a light vinaigrette. This would make for a nice pairing.  Check out the Ceja Vineyards video tasting of this wine  Note:  This wine was a sample provided by Ceja Vineyards SRP $40.00 This wine is on sale now for $26.00, so check it out!

Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps
Serves: 12-15 appetizer servings


1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (about 4 breasts)
1 (1 pound) package of sliced bacon
1 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
¼ teaspoon of Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning
1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Cut chicken into 1 inch cubes. Cut each bacon slice into thirds. Dredge chicken into mixture, then wrap each chicken cube with bacon and secure with a wooden tooth pick. Coat a rack and broiler with nonstick kitchen spray. Place chicken on rack in broiler pan. Bake 350 for 30 to 35 minutes or until bacon is crisp. Note: You can also use a baking pan lined with release foil paper if you don't own a rack. With this method you may need to let the chicken wraps drain on paper towels before putting them on your serving platter.
Life is good, so we should celebrate life! What a better way to celebrate life than with a bottle of sparkling wine, and a wonderful gourmet food pairing.

Wine Review: Ceja Vineyards 2009 Brut Sparkling Wine

This Brut sparkling wine was a joy to sample. The wine is a light straw color. The nose is filled with ripe fruit flavors of apple and citrus; it was almost like a sweetness like berries and honey with the first sniff, which is unusual to experience in a sparkling wine because of its serving temperature being a little colder than still white wines. The sweet smell was delightful and quite different in a wonderful way. The palate has flavors of apples, and citrus, with lemon notes on the finish. This wine has a wonderful mouth feel, and enough crispness and acidity to pair well with food. I loved looking at this wine; the bubbles were so tight and ongoing in my glass. 

I did an experiment in my pairing to show that diversity is a good thing on so many levels, even in the world of wine and food. I paired it with one of my favorite store bought appetizers from my local Kroger food store, Spanakopita. Spanakopita is a Greek food. This wine paired so well with the flaky phyllo dough appetizer filled with a blend of spinach, cottage cheese, onion and dill. So, a sparkling wine made by a family of people of Hispanic decent paired well with a Greek appetizer. I so love diversity, as much as I enjoyed this sparkling wine and food pairing. Note:  This wine was a sample provided by Ceja Vineyards  SRP $40.00


Try this sparkling wine and food pairing and tell me what you think. I would also pair this wine with fresh goat cheese on a thin slice of baguette, or oysters prepared almost any way! Salud!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Aging Like Fine Wine

Okay, today I felt I needed to change my look. So, this is my new Facebook picture. Just as the seasons change, we may want to make changes in how we look. I like to think of myself as a bottle of fine wine; only getting better with age. I've realized that not many things in life are permanent; so,  I just want to live life like it is golden...

I want to become creative in the kitchen to match my new look. So, when you think about trying something new, don't run away, embrace it .....

This wine is a dark garnet color. The aromas are of dark ripe fruit like blackberry and plums along with hints of dusty cocoa. The mouth feel is soft and lush. This wine has soft supple tannins, making for a great wine to sip alone or pair with food. The palate's flavors mirrored the nose. I always am amazed how well this wine tastes each vintage. It has yet to disappoint me! I would pair this wine with Fall appetizers, gourmet burgers, maybe a burger stuffed with Castello blue cheese. I'd also pair this wine with a steak or aged cheddar cheese. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Rodney Strong Vineyards SRP $25.00

Lorrie's Super Bruschetta

1 head of roasted garlic (recipe will follow)

(1) 8 oz package of cream cheese

½ cup of sharp cheddar cheese

1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon of Creole seasoning

2 tablespoons of melted I can't believe it's not butter

¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil

20 diagonally sliced pieces of French bread

(1) 12 oz jar of roasted red peppers

½ lb. of thinly sliced beef pastrami

(1) 8 oz. block of Fontina cheese

dried chives for garnish

To roast garlic: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the top off the head of garlic, just enough to see the garlic toes exposed. Put in a square of aluminum foil. Put olive oil on top and add about a teaspoon of water on the bottom of the foil, close up and bake for an hour. After the garlic has cooled, squeeze the roasted garlic toes in a small bowl. This can be done ahead of time to save in prep time.

In addition, the cream cheese mixture can be made ahead as well.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix melted margarine and olive oil together in a cup. Brush the bread with the olive oil mixture and bake for about 5-7 minutes.

In a food processor, combine cream cheese, roasted garlic, cheddar cheese, cayenne pepper and Creole seasoning and pulse until blended.

Remove the bread slices from oven and spread a teaspoon of cream cheese mixture on each slice of bread. Then add a piece of roasted red pepper. Then add a small piece of pastrami, then a thin slice of Fontina cheese, and a drop of oil on each slice of bread. Sprinkle with chives. Bake in oven until the cheese is melted. About 5 minutes.

Try this pairing and tell me what you think!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Wine Review: Dashwood 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand

Well, Earth Day will be celebrated on April 22, 2012. I can remember when I was a young woman in New Orleans, planting marigolds around my mailbox to celebrate Earth day and add beauty to the front of my first home. But as I got older and realized how the earth sustains us, and that is when the concept of "going green" had finally taken on a whole new meaning to me. Wineries have become aware how important it is to preserve the earth, because it provides us with all the things we need. This New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is a Certified NZ Sustainable wine.
This wine is a light straw color. The aromas of gooseberry, citrus, stone fruit, and wonderful tropical fruit notes just jump out of the glass. Those same bright fruit flavors are on the palate, all in harmony to create this refreshing wine. The finish is nice and has some mineral notes, and just the amount of acidity to make this wine pair well with food. This wine is just what you need to sip on a spring or summer day. I would pair this wine with fresh goat cheese, grilled shrimp or chicken skewers, fish, and crab cakes. I also love the fact that this wine has a screw cap!  Note: This wine was a sample provided by Pasternak Wine Imports SRP $14.99

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wine Review: Les Charmes Chardonnay Macon-Lugny, France

This wine is a straw color. The nose is filled with beautiful aromas of ripe citrus fruit, a hint of peach and floral notes. The palate is lush, and has those same ripe citrus fruit flavors, peach notes, and hint of lemon zest on the finish. The wine has some mineral notes along with a nice dose of acidity. It was like I was transported to France, or maybe I just got a bit of France in my wine glass. This wine would be great to sip alone or be paired with light appetizers, light cheeses, grilled shrimp or fish, crab cakes, grilled chicken on skewers. I think it be wonderful paired with fresh goat cheese coated with Panko bread crumbs and pan fried until lightly brown, and then placed on top of your favorite salad greens with a light salad dressing. This would make a wonderful spring or summer salad. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Pasternak Wine Imports  I also love that this wine has a screw cap!

I had this wine in my Fleur De Lis wine glass from Ballard Designs   How French of me! 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Wine Review: Trumpeter Rutini Wines 2010 Torrontes, Mendoza Argentina

This was a wonderful white wine to sample. The color is a light straw. The nose has beautiful aromas of peach and floral notes, similar to a Viognier or Pinot Gris. The palate has citrus notes, hints of peach, grapefruit and mineral notes, that makes you just want to keep on sipping.  The wine also has a wonderful fruit and mineral infused finish. This wine reminds me of a cross between Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc. The mineral notes do add that Sauvignon Blanc flavor profile to this wine! So, as you can imagine, this is a white wine begging to be sipped in spring or summer. I would sip this wine alone or pair it with fresh goat cheese on a thin slice of french bread, grilled fish, crab cakes, grilled shrimp with a sweet glaze or orange glazed pork or chicken.  Note:  This wine was a sample provided by Pasternak Wine Imports

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wine Review: Valdo Nerello Mascalese Brut Rose`, Italy

Valdo Nerello Mascalese Brut Rosé - Holiday Sparklers

Let me first say, I love the beautiful salmon pink hue of this sparkling wine. This Prosecco has aromas of strawberries, raspberries and hints of breadiness which is found often in sparkling wines. The palate has the same fruit profile, along with hints of citrus notes on the mid-palate and finish. This wine is dry, dry in a pleasant way. This wine would be great to sip alone on a spring or summer day. I would pair this wine with fresh goat cheese spread on a thin slice of french bread, appetizers wrapped with bacon, and grilled salmon with an orange glaze. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Pasternak Wine Imports

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wine Review: Colome` 2010 Estate Malbec, Argentina

Colome` is a red wine blend of 85% Malbec, 8% Tannat, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Syrah and 2% Petit Verdot. This wine has a deep dark garnet color. The nose is filled with dark fruit aromas like blackberries, black cherries and raspberries. There is a floral aroma that smells like the cutting of a flower stem. I know this may seem strange, but it added a complexity to the nose. There are also some spice notes to round out the nose of this delightful wine. The palate has those same dark fruit flavors with a hint of cocoa and tobacco to create structure, and those spice notes that are found in the finish. This is serious Malbec, one that could rival a Cabernet Sauvignon with its depth of color, mouth feel and structure. I would pair this wine with a steak, gourmet burger stuffed with aged cheddar or rosemary compound butter, duck, aged cheddar or Cahill Porter Cheese. Note: This wine was a sample provided by the Hess Family SRP $30.00

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Wine Review: Amalaya 2010 Red Wine Blend, Argentina

This wine is a blend of primarily Malbec 75%, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah and 5% Tannat. The wine is a wonderful dark ruby color. The nose is filled with ripe dark fruit aromas of black cherries and raspberries and hints of cocoa. The palate has those ripe dark fruit flavors, which makes this wine approachable to drink alone or to be paired with food. The palate also has hints of dusty cocoa, and a hint of lead, which gives this juicy red wine some structure. There are also notes of white pepper on the finish. The tannins are smooth, making this an easy wine to sip while cooking dinner. This wine would be great with a slow cooked pork roast with a few sage leaves in the pan. It would also pair well with barbecue ribs glazed with a sweet and smokey barbecue sauce. Grilled burgers, and pork chops, especially on a charcoal grill would be an excellent pairing along with mild cheeses. Note: This wine was a sample provided by the Hess Family SRP $17.00