Posted by: French Wine Girl Travels | June 9, 2015

Wednesday in the Park With Bonnie Brae for CHARITY: Let’s Party

Bonnie Brae Wine & Liquor Presents:
Wednesdays in the Park with Bonnie Brae
5-8 pm
 June 24, July 8, August 26, September 16, October 14, 2015
Washington Park Boat House
Featuring various local charities:
We Don’t Waste, VFW 1, Project Sanctuary, Fisher House, Women Warriors, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Max Fund, Alley Cat Alliance, Warrior Dogs, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
It is ALL for a Great Cause!!!
Wine, Beer, Appetizers by Catering by Design, Live Local Music,
Give Away’s…and more…
TICKETS FOR SALE ON EVENT BRITE OR AT BONNIE BRAE WINE & LIQUOR
785 S UNIVERSITY BLVD
DENVER, CO 80209
303-733-7261

I hope to see YOU there!!!!
Posted by: French Wine Girl Travels | January 28, 2015

“This Bread Will Change Your Life”

photo 5

When I was in Europe a few months ago, I fell in love with Copenhagen. I enjoy their healthy lifestyle of clean and natural food, athleticism, and camaraderie. Every day, droves of Danes gather in street side cafes under heaters and red blankets, even on the cold and dark evenings, laughing, nibbling and sipping for hours. While their lifestyle is similar to the one found here in Colorado, I think their way of life is happier, enjoyment focused, and less driven, which is something I aspire to.

So, as I tend to do, I began thinking often about the Danish and broader Scandinavian culture. A few dozen internet searches and sessions later, of following link after link; I stumbled on a fun blog. “My New Roots” is written by Sarah Britton, a nutritionist from Canada living in Denmark. While raising her family and writing her blog, she explores healthy alternatives to mainstream food choices. She first tried this bread at a friend’s home and since featured it on her blog.Bread and Tea

As a lifelong food lover and home cook, losing my sense of smell as the result of another person’s carelessness, has been particularly heart breaking. After two years of being completely disgusted by food, I have slowly learned to appreciate other aspects of food, such as texture. Nothing will ever replace the complete experience of smelling, tasting, and savoring delicious food, but this bread goes a long way toward gratification. The bread is heavy, grainy, dark, moist and chewy just like traditional Scandinavian rye. It is filling and very satisfying. One slice for breakfast gives me energy for hours. The recipe is simple, versatile, and I have no doubt you will enjoy it. I suggest you double the recipe and make two loaves because it is going to go fast.

Use fresh, raw, organic ingredients whenever possible

1 cup freshly chopped, raw, sunflower seeds

1/2 cup freshly ground, raw, flax seeds

1/2 cup freshly chopped, raw nuts: almonds, hazels, walnuts-pick one or blend them

1 1/2 cups, gluten free rolled oats

1/4 cup psyllium husks

1/4 cup caraway seeds

2 tablespoons chia seeds

2 tablespoons hemp hearts

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon maple syrup, raw sugar or stevia (I use maple)

3 tablespoons olive, coconut, canola, walnut, or Udo 3-6-9 oil blend (I use Udo oil)

1 1/2 cups filtered water

 

photo 3Combine dry ingredients in a bowl or directly in the loaf pan. Whisk liquids together and add to dry ingredients. Mixture will be stiff. Transfer the mixture to loaf pan (if necessary) and smooth it out without pressing it down too much. Cover with a piece of waxed paper and let the loaf rest at room temperature for 4-8 hours to soften the nuts.

Preheat oven to 350’F and grease your loaf pan with coconut oil.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from pan and place on a baking sheet. Return to the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the loaf sound hollow when tapped. Over baking will dry the loaf out and make it tough.  Cool the loaf on a rack and wrap it in waxed paper.

I find the loaf will maintain its moisture and texture if kept wrapped and refrigerated for five days.

photo 4You can omit the caraway if you don’t enjoy this flavor.

You may add garlic, rosemary, basil and oregano for a Mediterranean loaf.

You may also consider adding cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, allspice and dried fruit for a breakfast loaf.

Posted by: French Wine Girl Travels | December 27, 2014

Christmas Eve 2014 Chestnut Torte with Chocolate Buttercream

photo 5

Chestnut Torte with Chocolate Mocha Butter Cream

For the torte:

6 large eggs, separated

1 1/2 cups raw sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 cups ground chestnuts, from a jar is fine, ground in a food processor

1 cup raw almonds, ground

For the buttercream:

8 oz bittersweet chocolate pieces

1/4 cup strong coffee

4 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces

3 tablespoons dark rum

For garnish:

8 glazed or regular roasted chestnuts

Preheat oven to 350’F, Butter and flour two, 10 inch, spring form pans

 photo 2

To prepare torte:

Place the egg yolks and 1 cup of the sugar in a bowl and set the bowl over a pan of hot water to warm. Whisk well. Remove from hot water and beat on high with an electric mixer until the mixture is pale, thick and when drizzled from the beaters, it leaves a ribbon on the surface. About 8 minutes.

Beat in the vanilla.

Fold in the chestnuts and almonds with a large, wooden spoon.

Set aside.

Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form and then add remaining 1/2 cup of the sugar. Beat on high until stiff, dry peaks form. Gently stir 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the chestnut mixture. Very gently fold the remaining egg whites into the chestnut batter.

Divide the batter between the two cake pans smoothing the surface.

Bake until golden and sides separate from the pan, about 40-50 minutes. Watch closely at the end so as to avoid over baking.

Remove from oven and cool on a rack. Once cool, gently remove the spring form sides and the base from the cakes. Place one cake on a cake stand or plate and the other on waxed paper.

photo 1 

For the icing:

Combine chocolate and coffee in the top portion of a double boiler and slowly melt the chocolate, stirring to prevent scorching. Set aside and keep warm.

Place the egg yolks in a mixing bowl and warm over a pan of hot water while whisking to warm. Once warm, remove from hot water and beat on high until pall and thick.

Meanwhile, combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves and the temperature comes to 236′ F on a candy thermometer. With the mixer on low, beat a tablespoon of the hot syrup into the egg yolks to temper them then slowly pour the remaining syrup into the egg yolks increasing the speed to medium low. Fold in the warm chocolate and then gradually beat in the butter a few pieces at a time. Once all the butter is blended, mix in the dark rum.

Chill the icing until firm.

To assemble the torte:

Using just less than half of the buttercream, frost the bottom layer. Carefully position the second layer on top of the first and frost the top and sides of the torte. Garnish with the glazed chestnuts by placing each of them symmetrically around the outer rim.

Refrigerate briefly to set the icing.

Best served at room temperature with coffee, tawny port, or oloroso sherry.

 photo 4

*Williams Sonoma Complete Entertaining Cookbook

Posted by: French Wine Girl Travels | March 11, 2014

Grand Vin, Chalon, and Monday night in Denver

Last night at Chalon with the delightful guys from Grand Vin…Rick Fajohn, Lucas, Travis, Jason, Quinn McCandless…and William Davis, I had them all to myself for awhile…Lucky girl!

Grand Vin has always been my one of my favorite portfolios and not just because the guys are all gorgeous gentlemen-Scott Mitchell and Kevin Arndt-you missed out!

Double Eagle and Grieve verticals, and Vance-interesting story, interesting wines…and, the lovely Chalon specialties.

Thank you for including me William!!
xox

Posted by: French Wine Girl Travels | December 24, 2013

Happy Christmas : Exquisite Chocolate Soufflé Cupcakes

Exquisite Chocolate Soufflé Cupcakes

Exquisite Chocolate Soufflé Cupcakes

Exquisite Chocolate Soufflé Cupcakes

One of my all-time favorite recipes that I have ever created is a chocolate cupcake that is at once reminiscent of a soufflé and a rich brownie. The cupcakes are very simple, quick to prepare, and require only a few superb ingredients. They are deliciously rich with complex, spiced, nut and floral flavors. Yet they are delicately textured and very light. I only make these cupcakes for Christmas, birthdays, and Valentine’s Day, because they are impossible not to eat every one.

Give them a try, you won’t be sorry!

Preheat your oven to 375’ F.

You will need two standard sized cupcake / muffin tins with 12 cupcake slots each.  Line the pans with 18 paper liners. You may need a few more.

1 ½ cup dark chocolate, I use XOXO 70%, broken into tiny squares

1 cup unsalted, fresh cream, European style butter

            Melt in a double boiler over medium heat. Stir constantly so the chocolate doesn’t burn. Remove from double boiler and heat to cool slightly.

4 eggs

4 egg yolks

½ cup raw sugar

1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

½ teaspoon real almond extract

½ teaspoon real hazelnut extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon chili powder


            Blend for 2 minutes with a hand mixer or stationary mixer.

            With the mixer running on low: drizzle several spoonfuls of the chocolate very slowly into the sugar and egg mixture to temper the eggs. If you rush this step the eggs will cook and clump together, ruining the entire batch of cupcakes. Once the eggs are tempered, slowly pour the remaining chocolate into the eggs with the mixer on low. Make sure to scrape the double boiler pan of the remaining chocolate. The mixture will quickly thicken.

2 tablespoons sifted cocoa

            Fold the cocoa into the batter very gently. The cocoa acts as a binder giving the soufflé more of a cupcake structure.  Spoon the thick batter into the cupcake liners, filling each 2/3’s full. There should be enough batter for 18 cupcakes.

            Bake for 17 to 20 minutes max, just until the surface springs when touched.  If the cupcakes over bake, they will become a bit dry. Remove from the baking tins and cool on a rack.

½ teaspoon each: sifted cocoa, cinnamon, vanilla powder, ground chocolate powder,

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

a dash of chili powder

            Blend and sift these ingredients together. Sprinkle on top of each cupcake. You may choose to add a simple frosting but I never do. I feel that frosting would be too heavy for the feather light texture of these cupcakes.

***

Serve warm with espresso or a cappuccino or pair with vanilla bean ice cream and a sprinkling of chopped walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts. Delicious!

Posted by: French Wine Girl Travels | December 3, 2013

December 2, 2012-December 2, 2013

The past 365 days have come and gone so quickly and I am much stronger for it.                                                                                                                    What will the next turn of the wheel hold for me? What do I want it to hold? What will be random and what will be controlled?
I am in a better place in every way.
I can only hope for continued progress, perpetuated by my drive and efforts, layered with the torque of the universe.
Not one for New Year’s resolutions, I am making some firm commitments today for the future year…to propel me into a greater and broader future beyond 2014…
Looking forward to the journey and the ride! Let’s hope it is wild.

Posted by: French Wine Girl Travels | December 3, 2013

European Wine Economists to Meet in Lyons — May 2014

French Wine Girl Travels:

I’d love to attend this conference, maybe I could speak about Aesthetics and Wine…..

Originally posted on The Wine Economist:

Update 17 December 2014. The date of this conference has changed — now scheduled for June 4-7, 2014.

Our friends at the European Association of Wine Economists have asked us to announce the “Call for Papers” for their upcoming annual conference. As you can see below, they are interested in broadening the academic discussion of wine economics to include scholars from other fields — a great idea! And Lyons is great location for wine and food. Interested? See details below.

call_1_EuAWE

  For more information please click through to these websites:

Vineyard Data Quantification Society – VDQS http:// www.vdqs.net

European Association of Wine Economists – EuAWE http://www.EuAWE.org

Society for Quantification in Gastronomy – SQG http://www.gastronometrica.org.

View original

Posted by: French Wine Girl Travels | October 12, 2013

Welcome to Autumn in Denver

Welcome to Autumn

Fall is well on it’s way, actually, it is here, and I am finally feeling the need to return to discipline. It is something ingrained though hundreds of years of academic structure, but it is also a natural change, an unconscious reaction, It is a change of season logic.

Autumn brings, as autumn does, shorter days, cooler nights, and a reminder that the fun loving, sun soaked days of summer have swiftly passed. Autumn is a time to prepare for the long, cold, dark days of winter. Days when solace comes from indoor activities, books, movies, board games and something delicious to warm us up.

This fall, I am reading two books in addition to studying for my WSET diploma exams. The Taste Culture Reader and Making Sense of Taste, both by Carolyn Korsmeyer, analyze the hierarchy of the senses utilizing an aesthetic philosophy. Korsmeyer focuses primarily on taste but ventures in to the analysis of smell and retro-nasal taste.
The information I gain from these fascinating books is leading to an amazing organoleptic experiential study . Cooking has always been my private passion. It is becoming an experimental obsession. By simplifying each dish down to a few prominent and secondary flavors and combining that ole experience with an interesting if not perfect wine pairing, I am creating the most purely aesthetic experience I can. With careful calculation and consideration I am attempting the most fully satisfying and least subjective pairings I can.
Are these aesthetic experiments worthy of being called art? Time, study, and further exploration will tell.

Today’s experiment:

Fried duck eggs with fresh thyme and tarragon
Exquisitely ripe Palisade peaches, thinly sliced
Udi’s millet & chia gf bread, toasted and drizzled with olive oil
Lingonberry preserves

paired with Ruffino Moscato d’Asti
and finished with a cafe au lait made with steamed almond milk

I hate to cook eggs because I can never master the no stick thing. I bought a ScanPan from Denmark and my eggs came out perfectly! I highly recommend the aluminum glazed with a non stick ceramic coating. I will never use cast iron or stainless steal for my eggs again.

Posted by: French Wine Girl Travels | July 28, 2013

Moving and moving on

It isn’t so much downsizing as much as it is streamlining. I am moving again (uuhhggg). It seems as though every two years I move. This time I am moving back to me, back to my comfort zone. For the last three years I have been living further afield than ever before. I moved for solitude and for love but neither were that forthcoming in fact, both were an illusion. I’ve learned that solitude comes from within and not a location and love, well, I can’t say I have learned anything about love…I still will never understand love.  Perhaps love is the greatest illusion of all. Does it even exist?

The last two years I was on the fringes of the city in Morrison. I absolutely love many things about living here, my apartment is cool, the proximity to the mountains and Red Rocks…a mile or two away. Fresh air, open space, wild life (hawks, foxes, and bunnies), great walking paths for the dogs and for me, near water… Bike trails, quiet and clean.

But, I miss walking to a destination. There isn’t a thing around, nothing. I miss sitting in coffee shops or book stores reading the paper with my dogs at my feet. I miss walking to work and to the market. I miss wandering in the streets window shopping and gathering ideas. I miss the essence of city.

That said, I have a strong aversion to the middle ground, the suburbs are not for me. I either want to be completely in it or completely out of it-downtown or out of town.

So…I am going back downtown. Riverfront Park. I have always love the area, even before it was re-done, shiny, new and trendy… and have always wanted to spend more time there. It is home to my favorite coffee shops, great restaurants, boutiques, and a great city park with a river or two running through it. It is near Larimer Square, light rail, campus, and the freeway. Easy access. It is down town but it is quiet and protected, it feels healthy and safe. We will walk everywhere, every day. My boys already approve. They adore the park!

I am wondering and worrying just how will I fit 44 years and 1100 square feet into my new Paris sized apartment? 675 square feet.  Pretty tight. Large windows, high ceilings, open plan…but, teeny tiny. There is a large balcony for the boys and for my cafe table…espresso in the mornings and wine in the evening under twinkly fairy lights. There is a double sided fire place, in the living room and bedroom-romantic and cozy! Parking for the Mini, a washer and dryer, a pool, and great common area with Wi-Fi and an office center…The kitchen, dining, and living room are all an open format which I love. Very little storage, a small closet… Where will I put my shoes?…I am going to have to pare down, way down, to the essentials and the things I love.

Where do I begin?

I will keep my cushy chair and by antique desk. My wrought iron bed and Bellagio mirrored dressers will definitely stay. I have a beautiful dining table and six chairs. I will keep that in case I have a dinner party. I love dinner parties. I traded two cases of expensive wine for an Asian armoire, which I will keep; it holds most of my clothes. My dad’s Navy chest and my grandmothers’ hand painted table are keepers. I have a beautiful bedroom chair, an antique coffee table and an old baker’s rack ( I think I will paint it black)..hopefully I can make room for those things too, and, my antique brass lamps from the Oxford Hotel. My art, my paintings, and a few knick knacks…my Persian rug. Oh yes, most of my books will make the move. I treasure my books. Do I take the dozens of wooden wine boxes I use to shelf my books or will I make a trip to Ikea? Everything else must go, I think. Everything else I have collected as hand be downs or cast offs…must be cast off once again.

Where will I put my bicycles, golf clubs, Christmas tree and ornaments, and things like that? hhmmm…this is going to be a challenge. But a challenge that is worth it. I believe this is the right decision. It feels good, like home, like me…this is the right place for this next phase of my life.  I am leaving the past and all of its entanglements in my old apartment. Everything about the past three years is over or dead, it is time. I lost everything and then everything I’d gained back was stolen from me again. It is finally time for me to bid adieu and move on, move forward, to the present and future just waiting to embrace me and nurture me. This new apartment is a new life with new associations. I am ready and it is necessary. My life is waiting for me. It is time for me to step back into the game, so to speak. Life is meant to lived and lived to its fullest, and I haven’t been doing that. Not even close.

I am ready, I am willing and I am making all of the necessary changes. Here I am life…let’s see where this goes!

Posted by: French Wine Girl Travels | April 28, 2013

Be Fearless and Passionate About Food and Life

My essay:  Anthony Bourdain’s Medium Raw book challenge: summer 2010

Rank #475 of 1949 voted on by other contestants.

Cooking is the ultimate expression of true sensuality, passion, and love. It is the essence of a life well lived. Eating and drinking are among life’s greatest pleasures.  Preparing a meal is the beginning.

A well-prepared, thoughtful meal is a celebration of life and of love.  Cooking is the ultimate expression of true sensuality, passion, and love. When it is done well, it is the essence of a life well lived. Eating and drinking are among the greatest pleasures in life.  Preparing a meal is the beginning.  When we take the time to cook food well, we take the time to eat slowly, taste our food, engage in conversation, experience with one another, and enjoy the moment.  Nothing is more primal than the desire for love and connecting with what it means to be human. Sustenance is intrinsically linked to that connection.  Emotion is felt in the stomach: sadness, fear, happiness, passion, and bliss.  Hunger feels reminiscent of butterflies in the stomach.

Being fearless and adventurous with ingredients and preparations is the key to passionate cooking. Dare to throw away your recipes and ‘paint with food,’ be creative, be bold, be an artist. It’s not about necessarily about training, but paying attention helps.  My favorite food is fairly restrained and simple but it is still creative. Not everything needs to be a complicated fusion mess of flavors and textures.  Pairing a fresh watercress salad with steamed asparagus, leeks, crumbled bacon, and a couple of over easy, fried eggs sprinkled with tarragon is simple and delicious.  Add a crisp, cool glass of Chablis and it is heavenly.

Cooking well is about knowing yourself and knowing your surroundings. Being connected to your food is about being connected to the land; it’s about something real. Don’t be afraid to taste some dirt. Plant some herbs or visit a farm.  Know where your food comes from.  Cooking well implies opening yourself up to diversity in culture, flavor, texture, scent, and color from the world.  Perhaps you are traveling to foreign lands or simply traveling vicariously through the cuisine you prepare. It’s about exploring. Living.

When I am dreaming of France I cook simply, yet beautifully.  Every time I braise coq au vin or taste a gorgeous Chinon I am transported.  While fantasizing about Italy, I make a frothy cappuccino, sprinkled with cocoa and nibble on a crunchy, handcrafted, pinon nut biscotti or I sip smoky Aglianico.

If I crave Spain, I prepare Paella.  I painstakingly select every ingredient from the fragrant saffron threads to the freshest scallops, mussels and clams I can find in my mid-western desert. I play Paco de Lucia in the background and serve my guests cool, floral, Albarino.  We dine on my creation, drizzled with Vinegar de Jerez and smoked paprika, garnished with lemon and a bit of ripe, red pepper…and we dream.

Living in the city can be isolated and lonely at times.  We are busy.  We are stressed. Cooking a meal is a perfect time to reconnect with humanity and our loved ones.  It begins when I select the dish or menu.  I visit the markets to select the freshest ingredients.  And then, I cook, and I cook well.

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