Thursday, December 29, 2011

Glimmer in the New Year

We hope everyone had wonderful holidays this season!!! It's almost time to ring in the New Year!  2012 is on our heels!!

Plans to be made, resolutions to begin and a new beginning for all.  Whether you're out on the town or snuggled up at home with family and friends it's time to reflect on 2011 to make 2012 the best yet!

This year if you're staying home make it the best time by bringing the ambiance to you minus the herds of people!  It's simple and easy with just some appetizers to throw in the oven, pop open a chilled bottle of champagne, light the candles and watch the ball begin its descent at 11:59pm!

Let's get out the list and check it twice for all the essentials!

1.  Gourmet Appetizers from Rastellli Direct:

Brie & Raspberry in Phyllo
Chicken Pineapple  Brochette
Crispy Asparagus w/ Asiago Cheese
2.  Candle Light by Pink Zebra:

A great way to personalize your New Years is by creating your own scent with all natural Soy.  I found a unique company that allows you to use your senses and create scents...  (Click on a photo to have more fun!)

Creating your scents with sprinkles is fun and you can enjoy doing this with your family and friends making it a New Years activity...

3.  That Good Old Traditional Bubbly Champagne:

Now since we're staying in we splurged on one of our favorites Paul Goerg Cuvee Lady... It's a french champagne blend of three grapes (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Meunier) with an aroma like Granny Smith Apples...


New Year's Eve is now complete!  Sit back, relax and enjoy!!!!

Have a very Happy New Year and see you in 2012!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Just Wing It

Crispy, Spicy, Mild, Honey or BBQ'd....... Chicken wings.....  A must have accompaniment to a sports game....  Fantasy teams, foam fingers, body painting, the ceremonial victory dance and yes wings....   The staple of the perfect Sunday afternoon or Monday night spirited game. A time the men digress into cave-like behavior, grunting and groaning, jumping and dancing all for a leather ball being chased around a field.  The only time they will get up at 3am to pack the vehicle full of the necessities for the ritual tailgating... A word I have yet to understand or find the right meaning for.   Tailgating - the art of eating and drinking in a parking lot... Hmmmmm.... 
I will admit to my occasional afternoon of sitting in a chair with a beverage in hand in a parking lot full of cars.... I may not understand it fully, but it has been quite entertaining.  Observations have shown that the game itself is not the competition but it is the items on the grill, the most decorated vehicle or costumes adorned that are of utmost importance.  Holding a foam finger high in the air with the flames raging at the tip... Yes you are on fire!   That was a grill you were standing near!  No, not fear of being burned but cheers for running in between cars chanting your teams name with a flaming foam tip.... but wait... a feeling of warmth reaches the hand and the foam finger now a fist goes flying through the air to land in a bucket of ice..... A moment of silence.. they hear the sizzle.....then cheers and more beers!
In the spirit of the competition, wing recipes flood the lot.... But who has the winning recipe?  Look no further because if you Just Wing It, you might Win It!  It's the Madden Challenge for the quest of the Wing King... or Queen in my case..
It might very well be I was the first Wing Queen and it is my duty to pass on the foam finger to the next in line....Beware the the fame is glorious and the duties are endless for you will be in charge of wings for the next year to come....

Spanish Smoked Paprika Wings

4 Tsp. ground cumin
2 Tsp. granulated garlic
2 Tsp. dried marjoram crushed
2 Tsp. Spanish smoked paprika
2 Tsp. Salt
4 lbs. chicken wing pieces
4 Tbls. olive oil

Preheat oven 425.  Mix together the spices in a small bowl.  Rinse the chicken pieces and pat dry.  Rub the spice mixture all over the chicken.  Pour the olive oil onto a baking sheet and spread it all around.  Roll the chicken pieces in the oil until lightly coated on all sides, then arrange in a single layer without touching.
Bake 20 mins. then flip the pieces and bake 20 to 25 mins.  They should be crisp and golden.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Get SANTAfied This Season

"Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas."
 -Peg Bracken

The holiday season is officially in full swing.... Shopping, cookie swaps, holiday parties, family and friends....

Wishes are made, dishes are created and gifts are given...

Another year has passed, families and friends blessed with another year celebrating... 

In the hustle and bustle of it all, the simplicities become difficulties....  Time to find gifts, decorate, bake, travel or prepare for events overwhelm....

A fruitful season is not far from grasp.... Choose your wish and a dish.... 

Most wishes made are for the family to spend time together in peace and harmony... When bringing the family together a celebration is prepared... i.e. a DISH! 

Maybe you're shy on your kitchen skills or time has become your enemy.. Now you may be wishing for ease with that dish...  Take a moment... sit down.... pour a glass of wine and fire up ....... the computer... Let the ease of technology Santafie your event...  Yes, Santafie!  Everyone deserves Santa, adults and children...

Whether it's a turkey, chateaubriand, prime rib or fish..... Or maybe all four!  Make a wish and let it come to your door...

Turn those hours in shopping cart jams and bumper to bumper lines into minutes of pure bliss...

Become SANTAFIED..... What's on your list?

A Turkey for 20? Seasoned and ready to go?  Click!

Chateaubriand for 10?  Click!

Boneless Prime Rib Roast for 10?  Click!

All Natural Cedar Plank Scottish Salmon for 8?  Click!!

There you have it!  You have been Santafied!!

Santa also knows no meal can go without your favorite wines.... The splendor of wines from Faustini, Domodimonti and more throughout my blog are the perfect accompaniment to your Santafied feast!

Wishing everyone the best this season & many more delicious dishes!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Taste of Giorgio G

Gucci is name well known all around the globe..... Gucci clothing, handbags, sunglasses and more!  Just a few of the popular branded items in demand!

Many don't know, but Giorgio G has something more exquisite and tantalizing than clothing or purses... Giorgio G Cognac, created from the renowned chalky sloping vineyard grapes in the Grande Champagne Area of France.... The cognac is blended from old beaux-de-vie duly selected and patiently matured in Limousine oak barrels.  Giorgio G partnered with Emperors Brand a luxurious importer.

Giorgio's collections exude class, sophistication and style.  The cognac is no exception in its personalized numbered decanter handcrafted and decorated in 24k gold.  The decanter is hand engraved and officially registered as a Limited Edition "Giorgio G" Cognac and guaranteed authenticity of 100% Cognac Grand Champagne from the Cognac Grande Champagne region of France.

I've been told I'm wise beyond my years which is why I believe the over 50 years old Premier Cru, Special Limited Edition delighted my senses... With scents of dried plums, elder and light vanilla.  Jasmine, butter and honeysuckle notes and traps flower aroma.... The taste is described as soft and easy to swallow with nutmeg, vanilla and licorice notes.  Full-bodied..

The Grand Cru, Limited Edition is 50 years old with the scents of crystallized dried fruits such as grape, plum and apricot with smoked oak notes and light vanilla aroma.  Notes of jasmine and honeysuckle.  The taste is powerful, well balanced and smooth.  Slightly spicy bouquet with pepper notes.

Giorgo G XO Limited Edition is over 35 years old with a deep mahogany color accented by brilliant glints of red flames.  The first wave of aromas and flavors offers a dense fruity overtone of orange and passion fruit.  Its composed almond bouquet has floral overtones of wild rose, then evolves into more concentrated notes of Chocolate, Coffee.  XO is a powerful cognac with long structure, fruits and spices that makes a full bodied and refined cognac.  It has excellent lingering qualities in the mouth for over 20 minutes after drinking.

The Giorgio G spirit collection is produced by EGE and imported by Emperor's Brand.

Giorgio G can be found to order in a few locations I have found:

Trump's International Golf Course Philadelphia in Pine Hill, NJ.

Hops & Grapes, Glassboro, NJ


Roger Wilco, Pennsauken, NJ

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Can You Say Opakapaka?

Tis' the season.  Family and friends come together looking to enjoy company, delicious meals and wine.   Entertaining doesn't have to be a chore nor expensive.. You can bring the elegance of restaurant dining right into your home and surprise guests! The recipe created here is simple, delicious and will leave your guests begging for more... But remember to have perfection you have to have the perfect product! I don't get through the holiday without Rastelli Direct.

For less than $8 a serving your guests will be amazed!  But remember the product must perform and Rastelli's Hawaiin Pink Snapper is the only choice to make!  Steam up some veggies for a side and pour a Chardonnay unlike no other....

The 2010 Faustini Playdate Chardonnay was made for this dish!

Tasting Notes:  Pear, apricots, jasmine, honeysuckle, and vanilla define the perfumed nose that also shows hints of orange peel and tobacco. A red pear attack transitions smoothly into a complex, juicy mouth of green apple, white peach, pineapple, and traces of chestnut and nutmeg. An orange blossom silky transition releases the vanilla finish with hints of coffee that cleans out with a lingering lemon-lime.

With all the holidays around the corner, make the most of your time with the best.... Create simple yet delightful meals this season with the help of Rastelli Direct.

Monday, October 31, 2011

It's a Boo-licious Day!

Happy Halloween everyone! It's time for the age old tradition of "trick or treating"!  Staying with the tradition and saying "trick or treat give me something good to eat"... I'm gonna do just that!
Today my treat is a boo-licious main course that will electrify your senses!  While you're out trick or treating, skipping from home to home in search of your treat, at home your meal to warm your chilled bones awaits.

Slow Cooked Spezzatino

Crock Pot, large braising pan
Pan searing flour
2 lbs Rastelli All Natural Black Angus Beef Cubes
4 Tbsp Pure Olive Oil
1 pkg Mirepoix
1 bag (1.5 lbs) Baby White, Dutch or Red Potatoes, halved
1 cup Dry Red Wine
1 can (28 oz) Crushed Tomatoes
2 Tbsp stemmed and chopped rosemary
1 Cup Low Sodium Free Range Beef Culinary Stock
1 pkg (16 oz) frozen Peas and Pearl Onions
Salt/Pepper to taste

1.  Dust beef with pan searing flour; pat off excess
2.  Heat oil in large braising pan on Medium until oil faintly smokes.  Add beef (1 lb at a time); sear 8-10min until all sides are paper-bag brown.  Transfer beef to slow cooker.
3.  Add mirepoix and potatoes to braising pan; cook, stirring, 3-4 mins.
4.  Add wine.  Cook, stirring to loosen browned bits on bottom of pan.  Simmer 3-5 min to reduce liquid by a third.  Transfer to slow cooker.
5.  Add tomatoes, rosemary, and beef stock.  Cook on High 4-6 hours or LOW 8-10 hours.  Carefully remove cover to avoid steam.  Turn slow-cooker to High if not already.  Stir in peas and onions.
Cook 5-15 mins or until onions are thoroughly heated.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serves 6

As the candy is counted and the stew is ready to be served, a glass of red to take the fall chill away is in order.  My personal pick for this hearty stew is Picens by Domodimonti.

Marche, Red, Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT)
Grape varieties
Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon
Fairly intense purplish ruby.
Fine and expressive nose of blackberries, leather, mild spices and menthol.
Supple attack on the palate with a pleasing tannic structure. An ample yet elegant wine.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bringing The Chile to Chili

September is coming to a close and the air is slowly becoming brisk cleansing the senses....  The windows are open and the cool breeze flows through the house.. It's Sunday with the tradition of gathering to watch the football games and consume spicy foods with friends has begun.  Whether you're curled up on the couch with a snuggly blanket or in a room full of friends and family, a treat to take the "Chill" out of the air adds just the perfect comfort to Sunday game day...

We have many favorites in our house but our favorite on a "chilly" Sunday is a seasonably spicy homemade chili to warm the soul.  To change up the game plan you have to change kick it up a notch with a play change... Being creative in the kitchen will make or break that extra point in the last seconds of play.

Let's add a new play to our Chili this weekend by making:

Chili Brisket in A Crock Pot


1 Rastelli Direct Heat & Serve Beef Brisket (thawed)
1/2 Cup Chopped Onions
1/2 Cup Chopped Green Peppers
1 JalapeƱo chopped fine
1 Tsp. Koscher Salt
1 Tsp. Cracked Black Pepper
1 Tsp. Chili powder
                                                      1 Tsp honey
                                                      2 Garlic Cloves Crushed
                                                      12 oz. Chili sauce
                                                      1 can Pork and Beans

Place the Brisket with the fat side down in the crock pot with it's gravy.  Sprinkle the Salt, Pepper and Chili Powder over the top of the brisket.  Pour the chili sauce over top and drizzle the honey over the brisket.  Mix together the onions, peppers, garlic and pork and beans and layer over top of the brisket.  Cook on low about 2 hours and increase to high for 20-30 mins.  Shred the brisket with a fork.   And get creative with serving!  Cut out a round sour dough bread and fill the center with the chili. (have fun adjusting the spices to your taste too!)

Game day is not complete without our favorite beverage... In the spirit of the "Chill", we enjoyed an amazing wine from Chile with this dish....

2009 Pinot Noir from Casas Del Bosque  

Vineyard : 100% Pinot noir from the Casablanca Valley cropped at an average of 7 tons per hectare (2.8 tons per acre). Blend composition: 100% “Valdivieso” field selection (sourced from hillside blocks planted on a red clay mixed with decomposed granite).
Tasting Notes : Bright ruby red in colour, on the nose intense aromas of red cherry, citrus peel and fresh ginger dominate. In the mouth lashings of strawberry, cinnamon and nutmeg give way to an underlying 
note of damp earth. Fresh acidity along with firm tannins combine to give a taut structure and good length.

You've got a TOUCHDOWN with this play!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Break Up the Mono"tini"

Sometimes after a long day I like to break up the monotony with a "tini'!  The clock says 5 o'clock and I'm ready for some adult time with my favorite martini!  Ok, so let's check Facebook and Twitter to see where everyone is headed..... Send a text or two and off to meet my martini maker...
The secret to the best martini is of course the Vodka!  We can mix anything up but when it comes down to it the vodka is the key ingredient!  The choice martini for me is a chocolate martini.... I search high and low for great chocolate concoctions..... It doesn't take a mixologist to create the perfect "tini", it takes the perfect blend...  Emperor's has just that perfectness to create perfection in my martini choices...  In particular Winter Palace has attracted my taste buds..  The Emperor's are ultra-premium vodkas distilled 6 times and the only vodkas to be backed by certificates of authenticity from the union of all French distillers....  There are no glycerin's....Ladies glycerin is a carbohydrate so no glycerin no carbohydrate! Another plus it's also made from 100% pure grain wheat....  Emperor's Brand was featured in our VIP room at the 2011 Atlantic City Food and Wine Show and was a hit... We even had a visit from Napoleon who was gracious in offering photo opps for us!  

Since we are in the spirit of recipes here (no pun intended) I figured I'd offer one of my favorite chocolate martini recipes.....

3 Parts Winter Palace vodka
1 part Godiva milk chocolate liqueur
1/2 oz Godiva dark chocolate liqueur
1 part cream

Shake with ice and serve into a chilled martini glass with a chocolate rim garnished with a mint leaf.

If you'd like to try excellence and experience Emperor's Brand ultra-premium vodka let us know and I will pass it along and ask to have it carried at your favorite establishments or retailers in your area.....

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

When Life Hands You Lemons Make A Dish

Everyday may not be what we hope it should be and a lemon or two gets thrown our way...  I'm not a huge lemonade fan, so making that is out of the question... Plus I would much rather make a tasty meal to ease the tensions of the day!  Nothing like a satisfied tummy to put a smile on your face! (Food makes me smile!)

So what did I do with my lemon from last week?  I came home opened the freezer and looked through all the delicious chicken and seafood and picked out Tilapia....  We all know a little lemon a fish goes a long way!!  The Tilapia thawed out and I searched my books and the internet for a recipe from a dinner I had a year ago... (Yes, I have a great memory when it comes to food!)  The lemon and the Tilapia are in hand and I'm ready to go!!  Here's a modified recipe:

Garlic-Parmesan Tilapia
Preheat oven to 400 degrees

- Garlic Butter (4 Tbsp Butter mixed with 2 crushed garlic gloves, I pulse in the Magic Bullet to blend)
- 3/4 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
- 2 Tbsp Shredded Italian Blend Cheese
- 1 tsp. Basting Oil
- 4 Tilapia Filets 
- 1 8oz package of Bouillabaisse Seafood Sauce warmed
- Fresh lemon

While I preparing the Tilapia coating.. I drizzle lemon over the Tilapia and put it aside.
1.  Melt garlic butter in saucepan on Low and remove from heat immediately upon it melting
2.  Combine melted butter and panko bread crumbs in a bowl, mix well, add cheese, mixing well.
3.  Coat a baking sheet thinly with basting oil.  Place Tilapia on the baking sheet, season with salt and pepper.
4.  Top each filet with about 3 Tbsp of bread crumb mixture; press to cover entire filet.
5.  Bake 12-15 mins or until internal temp reaches 130 degrees.  Remove from oven and rest 2 mins.
6.  Serve with Bouillabaisse Sauce.  ( you can substitute with a sauce of your choice)

Serve with your favorite steamed vegetable or a simple Arugula Salad...

Wash and dry Arugula... Squeeze juice of 1.2 lemon into a bowl with 1 Tbsp vinegar (I'm partial to balsamic)... Whisk lemon juice and vinegar while drizzling in 1/4 cup of olive oil until the dressing begins to blend.. Season with salt and pepper, add Arugla and toss!

There was a great way to take that lemon handed to me and create a masterpiece....

We enjoyed one of our favorite wines I've blogged about with this dish, Beach House 34 by Faustini.

This wine has explosive aromas and crisp citrus flavors. Immediately you notice a strong scent of grapefruit but over time you begin to notice the aroma of white peaches. Finally, you notice a hint of nature which is common in a traditional Sauvignon Blanc. The long finish of this wine is a surprising treat that continues to remind you of your favorite summer.