I have the great pleasure of preparing a meal for Thanksgiving 2015, for my family. There are few greater honors than opening my home and honoring long held traditions on this special day. Let’s give thanks for our abundance, creativity, our health, well-being, and our hopes for the future.
I am thankful to be in the position to celebrate this day with my loved ones. In safety, in luxury, and in fondness.
Perrier Jouët Brut Champagne
La Tur Hillaire Triple Cream
Cantine Gallura Vermentino
Roasted Squash, Cipollini Onions, and Baby Beets, on a bed of sautéed Baby Spinach, Arugula and Kale
Smoked Rocky Mountain Trout blended with Crème Fraiche and Fresh Herbs
Enrico Serafino Barbaresco
Roasted Turkey with Herbs and Caramelized Sage Butter
Pancetta and Garlic Gravy
Spiced Pumpkin Mousse
Spiced Cranberry Chutney
Peg’s Green Bean Casserole
Josh’s Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Morel Mushroom Risotto Milanese
French Baguettes and Savory Pumpkin Muffins
1950 Colheita Port
Mama’s Pumpkin Pie
Chestnut and Chocolate Mocha Torte
Gorgonzola Dolce Gelato with Walnuts
pictures to follow….
Posted in Celebrations, Chasing Grapes, Delicious, Every Last Drop, Food & Wine, For the love of Art, Friendship, Ma Vie ici | Tags: Alley Cat Alliance, Beer, Bonnie Brae Wine & Liquor, Catering by Design, Charities, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Craft Beer, Denver, Fisher House, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Max Fund, Party in the Park, Project Sanctuary, Rose, Summer, VFW1, Warrior Dogs, Washington Park Boat House, We Don't Waste, Wine, Women Veterans of Colorado
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.
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
Combine 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.
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.
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
8 glazed or regular roasted chestnuts
Preheat oven to 350’F, Butter and flour two, 10 inch, spring form pans
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.
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.
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.
*Williams Sonoma Complete Entertaining Cookbook
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!!
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 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!
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.
I’d love to attend this conference, maybe I could speak about Aesthetics and Wine…..
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.
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.
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.
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
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.