Recently I was asked this question by someone. What are the 30 products that you can't live without. Or the 30 products you would want to sell if you had your choice. I've never been asked that before. Sure I've wasted many a moment dwelling on the wines and spirits that I love but I've never actually taken to my keyboard and compiled them into a list. So here it is. In no particular order.
Patricia Green Cellars Ana Vineyard Pinot Noir
Carpano Antica Vermouth Rouge
Corsair Artisan Distillery Gin
Casanova di Neri Rosso di Neri
Vilmart & Cie Brut Premier Cru Coeur de Cuvee
Argyle Winery Brut
Cooper Mountain Vineyards Pinot Gris
Clefs Legats Cotes du Rhone
Ciacci Piccolomini Brunello di Montalcino
Tenuta Delle Terre Nere Calderara Sottana Etna Rosso
Clear Creek Distillery Grappa of Pinot Noir
Vietti Roero Arneis
Sleight of Hand Cellars Stoney Vines Vineyard Grenache
Elk Cove Vineyards La Boheme Vineyard Pinot Noir
Prichard’s Distillery Tennessee Whiskey
Clos Rougeard Saumur-Champigny
Champagne Chartogne Taillet Cuvee Sainte Anne
Clear Creek Distillery Oregon Brandy
Cooper Mountain Vineyards Mountain Terroir Pinot Noir
Flor de Caña 7 year old Rum
Cocchi Americano Aperitivo
Gonzalez Byass Viña AB Amontillado Seco
Unti Vineyards Rosé
Black Maple Hill Small Batch Bourbon
Dolin Rouge Vermouth
Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Noir Estate
Stadt Krems Grüner Veltliner
I really put myself through the ringer on this one because I've had many fabulous spirits and wines that I truly adore. I'm sure that if I didn't force myself to stop editing the list I would never finish it.
I've been working hard creating some new drinks for my friend Felicia Willett's new bar menu at her amazing restaurant Felicia Suzanne's. They are unique delicious drinks that are straightforward & employ some of the best regional & national craft spirits. I'm proud of them all but one that I know I'm going to be enjoying quite often is the Main Line Bianco which is essentially a Negroni but dressed down for summer. It's made with Corsair Gin, Cocchi Americano & Dolin Dry vermouth. Just three ingredients come together to make something bitter, sweet & herbal that makes the mouth water & readies the drinker for a bite or another sip. Or both really. Stop on by for a few cocktails & some of the outstanding bar menu items!
So I took a break from blogging. Now it's over.
There are few dishes in this world that get me worked up as much as paella does. To me it's a bit of home, it tastes of family, it intoxicates with memories. The alluring aroma of saffron haunts me. Paella always makes me miss my mother, father & especially my grandmother. The parents love paella as much as I do so whenever we cook it its always special.
This past 4th of July our dearest friends Justin & Amy invited us to have lunch with them. Anytime they invite us over we jump at the chance because we not only laugh like fools but what we eat is always uber-delicious. I suggested that I could make paella to which Justin replied "uhh YEAH". Last year for my birthday they gave me a new paella pan which I've made very good use of. I've even taken it to Washington State to cook paella at a vineyard. However, I've yet to cook for them in said pan.
Whenever Justin & I get together to cook most of our communication is non-verbal. We just seem to know exactly what the other one is doing & needs & we just do it. We immediately got to work in the outdoor kitchen chopping, dicing etc. I whipped up the sofrito with sherry vinegar, garlic, onion, yellow pepper, celery, smoked paprika, a bit of water, white wine, tomato & tomato paste. Justin toasted the rice in olive oil while I bloomed the saffron in stock & wine. We washed & chopped kale, olives, hearts of palm & artichoke hearts. Justin charred up some scallions with a little olive oil on the grill.
While we waited for the sofrito & saffron infused stock to cook down into the rice we laughed, chatted & laughed & chatted. Justin had the brilliant idea to saute the artichokes, hearts of palm, olives & red pepper to warm them through. I absolutely adore warm olives. He cracked some luscious looking eggs into the paella for a little extra richness. We garnished with the sauteed veggies & charred scallions.