food and wine

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Since we moved to the Lower Mills/Milton area, we have really enjoyed discovering all of the wonderful businesses and people that surround us, and we are constantly amazed at how much is going on down here. On Friday, we had the pleasure of being guests of Fruit Center Marketplace in Milton for one of their monthly wine dinners. We had visited Fruit Center Marketplace several times before for groceries, but we had no idea that there was a large upstairs area for events like the wine dinner.

The wines being poured for this particular wine dinner were perfect for Oscar weekend because they were all from Francis Ford Coppola’s winery. Years ago, we spent a magical morning at Coppola’s Rubicon Estate, but we didn’t know much about his Sonoma County winery. This wine dinner was a perfect way to learn and to taste some new wines.

The evening was led by Tim Paulus from Fruit Center Marketplace. Tim did an amazing job with the food and wine pairings, and throughout the evening shared with us how he made all of the courses.

Tim PaulusUpon arrival, guests were greeted with Sofia Blanc de Blancs 2012, the bubbly in the cute pink cans. I think this idea is genius; the little cans are perfect for parties or getting ready for a girls’ night out. However, I will fully disclose that this was the one wine I did not taste, because I have had it before and felt it had a little harshness to it.

While we waited for the pairings to begin, we got to know the other couples at our table, and we had an absolute blast talking with them. What better to break the ice than talking about wine and all of our travels to Napa and Sonoma?

When the food started coming, the room was filled with praise for chef’s creations and the wines chosen to pair.

We started with Pizza with Brussels Sprouts, Crispy Pancetta and Apple  served with Arugula Salad, paired with Rosso y Rosso Pinot Grigio and Pavilion Chardonnay. The pizza crust was a simple naan bread from the store. This simple dish was all about great ingredients, and the apple on the pizza and lemony salad both popped with the wines and their own bright acidity.

 

Brussels sprouts pizzaThe next course brought summer into the room on a biting cold evening.

Sofia Rosé

We were served Marinated Roast Vegetable Stacks with San Marzano Gravy and Fresh Mozzarella, paired with Sofia Rosé and Votre Sante Pinot Noir. I could eat these vegetable stacks every single day, and I plan on giving it a go once it’s a little warmer out. The gravy, which we wanted to lick from the plates, was a simple sauce made with San Marzano tomatoes, butter, and an onion, blended and then chilled. The Sofia Rosé was a beautiful wine pairing, dry with nice fruit and spice notes, the perfect boat wine. The Pinot was also a great pairing, less expected, but was certainly light enough to go with this course. Everything about it said California to me, and I buried my nose in the glass to take it all in. I miss California.

roasted vegetable stackMid-way through the meal, we were treated to Coppola Claret with an Herbed Cabernet Granita. The granita was refreshing and delicious, sweet and savory, and the perfect palate cleanser. Tim said he uses a melon baller to scoop granita into Champagne flutes in the summer, then tops it with bubbly. The Coppola Claret is a simply gorgeous wine, with dark fruit and cocoa notes, elegant, smooth, and perfect for cold weather sipping.

Cabernet GranitaOur main course was a Short Rib Style’ Braised Roast Beef with Garlic Mashed Potato Paired with Eleanor Red Blend and Director’s Cut Zinfandel. The tender beef melted in my mouth, and the potatoes were creamy and garlicky and heavenly. I am a Zinfandel lover, and this wine was out of this world full of jam and cocoa notes. The Eleanor was another wine that just shouted Napa and Sonoma from the glass. It’s hard to explain, but also amazing how a smell can bring you back to a place. The wine had all sorts of layers, lots of cherry and blackberry notes, as well as a hint of black tea. Delicious.

‘Short Rib Style’ Braised Roast Beef with Garlic Mashed Potato Our final course was Dark Chocolate Torte with Sea Salt Caramels served  with Stewed Berries and Lemon Whipped Cream Paired with Coppola Port, which is only available at the winery. The dessert, including the caramels was made in house, and it was so decadent! The lemon whipped cream really added something special to the rich chocolate. The Port was off the charts.

Dark Chocolate Torte with Sea Salt Caramels We haven’t enjoyed an evening out like this in a long time. Our table mates were so much fun, and by the time we left my face was hurting from smiling. These wine dinners are a fabulous deal; this one was $50 and included the food and wine and also a $10 gift card to Fruit Center Marketplace! They sell out quickly, and it’s easy to see why. They are really well-planned, and it’s easy to see a lot of love goes into the food and wine.

I look forward to attending these wine dinners on a regular basis, if I can get in! Many thanks to Fruit Center Marketplace for inviting us and creating such a fun evening.

Dinner was complimentary, but I was not required to review it, and all opinions are my own.

 

 

 

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Tags: cooking, Coppola wine, Dining out, dinner, events, food and wine, food and wine pairing, Milton, Sonoma County, wine, wine dinner, wine tasting, winery

Summer is for strawberries, and a couple of weeks ago, I had the delicious pleasure of joining Post 390 for their Farm to Post dinner with Ward’s Berry Farm. Post 390 features a different farm every month; you may remember when I dined with the cheese farmers from 5Spoke Creamery. One of the things I love about these dinners is that they really introduce guests to the farm, its products, and the people behind them. It’s a warm and wonderful way to enjoy food while learning where it comes from. The Post 390 does an amazing job with the ingredients they select, and their wine pairings are always excellent.

Lin and I arrived and were welcomed with the cocktail of the evening, the “Strawberry Ward”. This delicious blend of Pisco Porton, Cherry Heering, Ward’s Farm strawberries, balsamic, ad lemon offered a refreshing, natural berry taste without too much sweetness.

Strawberry Ward Cocktail The cocktail was paired with Sea Scallop and Tuna Sashimi and Maine Crab Stuffed Monkfish Cheek. We then received an introduction to the guests from Ward’s Berry Farm and watched a video taken when the Post 390 staff visited the farm. Everyone had great things to say about the experience, and I now definitely want to plan a day trip there.

Ward's Berry Farm The first course of our tasting menu was Hot Smoked Salmon with Ward’s Berry Farm chioggia beets, herbed chevre, strawberry salsa, and candied pignole, paired with Domaine Pascal Pibaleau Crémant de Loire Rosé. This course was a favorite of many; the components just went so well together and made for an unforgettable dish. The wine’s strawberry notes complimented the flavors in the dish, and fine, abundant bubbles made it feel celebratory.

hot smoked salmon with beetscremant de loire Next up, we were treated to Ricotta and Arugula Ravioli Carbonara with sugar snap peas, spring onion, and house bacon, paired with Laporte Pouilly-Fume. Again, a perfect pairing, matching a rich, creamy and flavorful ravioli dish with a tart wine with minerality and acidity that brought out the flavors of the food really nicely.

ricotta and arugula ravioli carbonara Our third course was Skillet Seared Hailbut with German butterball potato vichyssoise, gremoulada braised romaine lettuce, baby carrots and baby peas, paired with St. Urbans-Hof Riesling. Light and flaky fish with the spring veggies. went well with a light, crispy, and fruity Riesling.

skillet seared halibut And there was more! Carved Saddle of Spring Lamb with the most delicious Cherokee and Two Star Lettuce salad with feta, oregano, and mustard vinaigrette. I could eat simple, zesty salads like this every day and wish the salads I made came close. A spicy, earthy red, Mas de la Dame La Stele was paired with this dish, and I could not stop sticking my nose in the glass. The nose of the wine was simply beautiful and required lots of time to stop and breathe it in.

lamb The final course of the night was a Strawberry Crème Fraiche Tart, paired with Chambers Muscat. As stuffed as I was from all of the other courses, I found eating this dessert easy (and necessary!). The tartness of the crème fraiche made it seem light and fresh; the strawberries added pure summer.

strawberry creme fraiche tart

My dining companions were a ton of fun, as they always are at Post 390. They have a great team that puts a lot of thought and love into the work they do, and they are happy to share. I would definitely recommend checking out a Farm to Post dinner soon.

How have you been enjoying summer strawberries? Have you had strawberries in a savory course?

 

 

My dinner was hosted by Post 390, however all opinions are my own.

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Tags: Boston, dinner, events, farm to post, farm to table, Food, food and wine, food and wine pairings, Post 390, strawberries

Goes great with this  Guinness Beef Stew recipe!

I tweeted that it was ugly, but the end result was authentically perfect. With today being St. Patrick’s Day and having an Irish husband, I may feel a little extra pressure to make something as close to home as possible. Earlier in the week I made Irish stew, and we eat Kerrygold butter and cheese like it’s going out of style, but I thought a St. Patrick’s Day breakfast of brown bread and Kerrygold butter would be a nice start to the day. Too bad I was like a total zombie this morning and slept liked I was drugged until 9:00! I literally could not open my eyes this morning and kept drifting back to sleep which never ever happens.  Still, the sentiment was there, and I think he took some bread to go.

The recipe I used was from Food and Wine and could not have been easier. The entire recipe is at the bottom of the post, and I would highly recommend making it if you are into wheat breads.

King Arthur Flour

Any good bread starts with good flour, and I used King Arthur All Purpose and Whole Wheat Flours. Ever since our trip to King Arthur, I have only purchased their flour.

The recipe also called for buttermilk. I didn’t have any in the house, and it was absolutely pouring, so I made my own using the milk called for in the recipe and a few spoons of white vinegar. It works like a charm.

buttermilk

The other wet ingredient was one egg, whipped up in a little cup. Side note, I got these little cups at Crate and Barrel years ago, and I love them.

egg

I first mixed together all of the dry ingredients, then slowly worked in the milk and egg. The dough was kind of a mess and took me a little while to get it into one piece. I was a little sad at this point. But I went ahead and made the cross in the bread for whatever reason the Irish do this.

P.S. I looked it up, and here was what I found:

There are several theories as to the significance of the cross in Irish soda bread. Some believe that the cross was placed in the bread to ward off evil (the devil) or to let the fairies out of the bread. However, it is probable that the cross is used to help with the cooking of the bread by allowing air circulation so that the bread rises better.

Obviously it’s for the fairies. Glad I know that now, and I am glad I put the cross in so that we didn’t eat them. Smile

brown bread

I wished for a little bit of luck, put the loaf into the oven for 50 minutes, and out came this:

brown bread

It’s kind of bumpy, but it actually is pretty close to what you would see by the dozens in an Irish bakery

Irish brown bread

When my husband got home, he was absolutely delighted. A man who probably wouldn’t notice if I moved the furniture to opposite sides of the house noticed that I remembered to put the cross in the bread Smile

Irish brown bread

Even more exciting, it had that nice crust on the outside and was cooked all the way through. I was a little worried that because of the thickness it would be doughy in the middle. Not so!

I love baking recipes with just a few ingredients like this. It was a great rainy day activity!

But it’s not raining anymore! It is an absolutely gorgeous day here in Boston. Our windows are open, and I am going to try to jam work/job hunting into the evening and maybe a little over the weekend in order to take advantage of the sunlight. I need Vitamin D!

Is it beautiful out where you are? What’s on tap for the weekend?

Irish Brown Bread from Food and Wine, Recipe by Cathal Armstrong

  • ACTIVE: 10 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME: 1 HR
  • SERVINGS: makes one 8-by-5-inch loaf
  • MAKE-AHEAD
  • STAFF-FAVORITE
  • VEGETARIAN
  • FAST
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups whole wheat flour
  2. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  3. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  6. 1 large egg, lightly beaten
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter an 8-by-5-inch metal loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk both flours with the baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the egg; stir into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon until a rough dough forms.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth. Form the dough into a loaf and put it in the prepared pan. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the bread has risen about 1/2 inch above the rim of the pan. Once unmolded, the loaf should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let cool to warm or room temperature, then slice and serve.
Serve With

Irish farmhouse cheeses.

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Tags: baking, bread, brown bread, Food, food and wine, Irish recipes, recipe, Vegetarian

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