Thursday, April 21, 2016

Luxurious wines at Taste Washington

The Taste Washington event is well behind us but the marvelous wines of the State are here and ready to be consumed. This year during the tasting I decided to go for the wines with the higher price tag ($60+), the luxurious and difficult to find otherwise - in certain cases only if you are a member of a wine club.




Of course they were served with amazing food made from local chefs. This year I noticed chefs played more with fresh fish rather than meat and their miniature creations were as tasty in the mouth as pleasing for the eye. Here are some photos for you to share with me with my comments on those amazing wines.


The 2012 Champoux Vineyard Red Bordeaux Blend from Horse Heaven Hills at $83 is the perfect Bordeaux blend of  64% Cabernet Franc, 22% Merlot and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon. Full-bodied, pure and refined features aromas of black current and sweet dark berries and it is the wine you serve not only to impress but also to indulge.




The 2013 Estate Carménère from Red Mountain at $80 is only available to club members so I am lucky enough to have tasted it. This soft and silky, with black peppercorn aromas is one of a kind wine that will soon sell out.






The 2012 Estate Red Bordeaux blend from Walla Walla at $85 is irresistible.  Dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon but blended with Petit Verdot and Merlot, this Bordeaux is full-bodied and balanced. Its silkiness brings also aromas of black and red berries and spices. Not to be missed.


The 2012 Estate Bottled Old Block Cabernet Sauvignon from Red Mountain at $65, is elegant and rich. It has aromas of red fruits and light spices and you will taste the old-vines grapes as well. It is a great wine.





The 2013 GSM Red Rhone Blend from Columbia Valley at $70 is a blend of 40% Grenache, 35% Syrah and 25% Mourvèdre. Its superb color and its complexity with aromas of black berries and strawberry and its tones of licorice - all come together nicely in this full-bodied blend that has a great aging potential.




The 2013 Ruckus Syrah from Red Mountain at $62 is a magnificent Syrah from the Washington State. The style is unique with black fruit and cedar and the 11% of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend makes this wine rich, supple and amazing (89% Syrah).




For more information about the menus and wines click here: http://tastewashington.org/2016-taste-washington-program/

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Jewish flavors and dishes from around the world in Seattle

If you live in Seattle and you want to explore Israeli cuisine and Jewish dishes around the world, you are in a good spot. During the next few weeks, Seattle will stage the Seattle Jewish Film Festival and will host several events with top Jewish chefs and culinary experts.



On Sunday April 3, start your day with the culinary movie Dough, a charming and funny cross-cultural British dramatic comedy that will teach audiences about Jewish breads and baking goods. The movie describes the relationship between a Jewish baker widower and his youngest Muslim apprentice and their close relationship. Directed by John Goldschmidt, this dramedy will make audiences laugh and cry in unexpected places.

On Thursday, April 7, In Search of Israeli Cuisine, a documentary by director Roger Sherman, is about  Israeli’s fusion and dynamic cuisine through the eyes of James Award winner chef Micheal Solomonov. Attendees will be treated to a “taste of Zahav” after the screening.  On April 6, Solomonov will do a ZAHAV demonstration class at Hot Stove Society and will offer his culinary creations.

On April 16, Joan Nathan, a well-known culinary anthropologist and chef will teach a World Passover class at Hot Stove Society and will offer dishes from her spring Passover recipes. The following day, she will speak about Passover recipes from around the world at the Stroum Jewish Community Center on Mercer Island. Attendees will have the chance to grab copies of her signed book Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France.

Finally on May 15, James Beard Award finalist Einat Admony will demonstrate her famous cauliflower recipe, and will reveal a new side of Mediterranean fusion cooking at the Stroum Jewish Community Center. Admony will also teach the Balaboosta Way at Hot Stove Society on Monday, May 16. Some of her Mediterranean meets Middle East recipes include pomegranate chicken with walnuts, eggplant escabeche, and Persian rice. 

For more info click here: Seattle Jewish Film Festival

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Kalot Superfood Nut Butter

While experimenting with the paleo diet, I look for new paleo diet friendly snacks, energy bars, mixed nuts and nut butter. Most of them are tasty, low in carbs and higher in fat and protein -there are of course exceptions so keep an eye on that super protein bar.


I recently discover the Kalot Superfood line of almond, cashew and seed butters that are mixed with fruits and seeds. The Fruit & Almond Butter with Espresso Beans and Hazelnuts was the jar that I tried and here is my honest but modest opinion.




The Fruit & Almond Butter with Espresso Beans and Hazelnuts (12-oz. jar) is said to have 50% of the recommended daily value of vitamins per serving. It is free from sugar, gluten, dairy and GMOs,  vegan and paleo friendly. It is made with dry roasted almonds, hazelnuts, dates, coconut oil, cinnamon, ground espresso and sea salt. In addition, it contains a blend of vitamins including A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, D2, E, K,  biotin, folic acid and pantothenic acid.

Let's take a look at the nutrition facts. Each serving of 2 tablespoons (32 g) has 180 calories, 140 of which is fat. The total fat is 15g per serving, 8g carbohydrates, 3g sugar and 6g protein; it is free from cholesterol and sodium is low at 10mg. Overall, it is a good nut butter choice with low sugars and carbs. Nut butters are high in calories due to their fat quantities, therefore they should be eaten in moderation or in smaller portions. 

The Fruit & Almond Butter with Espresso Beans and Hazelnuts tastes really good for someone who loves almonds, hazelnuts, and espresso beans. I actually love coffee and nuts so this is the perfect blend. The texture is crunchy and nutty and it melts smoothly in a few bites in your mouth. For those who also like coconut oil, is one of the healthiest almond butters currently available. I would like it more with less coconut oil or none but I am not a great fan of coconut oil (and one of the few downsides of the paleo diet) so not really objective.

So far, I eat it plain or as a spread on top of favorite fruits. I'd like to use it for healthy desserts. I will keep you posted!

Learn more about Kalot Superfood and their line of products here: http://kalotsuperfood.com/about/#

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentine's Day with Chuao Chocolates

It is a rather commonly agreed tradition that Valentine's Day is celebrated with chocolate and red roses. I followed it religiously this year with favorite Chuao Chocolatier and their special The Aphrodisiac Heart Bonbon Collection - a delicious assortment of Salt Butter Caramel, Sweet Passion, Meyer Lemon Mojito, Strawberry Seduction and Rosemary Salted Caramel. 

I haven't tried them all yet but the Sweet Passion does the job for today- a nice pairing of exotic passion fruit cooked into soft caramel in milk chocolate. Unusual, unexpected and delicious! 




You can take a look but can't take a bite -if you want to get a box click here:
http://chuaochocolatier.com/valentines.html







Thursday, December 31, 2015

Enlighten Yourself, my gifts for the holidays

I only gave two gifts to myself this holiday season. I don't count of course the unlimited investments I  make monthly for my education, travels, professional development and some fashion items of course!


Two gifts  that I love and are pretty and precious:

My new Moka Bialetti in red color for even better espressos, Americanos and cappuccinos:



and the newly discovered Mini Buddha Board to master the art of letting go...




I recommend them both for those who want to try something new and inspiring -in red- this year!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas cookie baking

Making cookies for Christmas is the quintessential activity for both kids and adult alike.  Many make their own dough but I opted for the Krusteaz cookie easy-to-make mixes, specially made for the holiday season.

I picked the Krusteaz Gingerbread Mix and the Snickerdoodle Mix both very popular.



The recipe is super easy to make. For the Gingerbread Cookies:



Ingredients

1 Egg
6 Tablespoons of butter, softened

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F. 

Stir together egg, butter and the Krusteaz Gingerbread Cookie.

Mix until dough forms, hand kneading if necessary. Dough may be sticky. For easier handling, you and cover and refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes.

Transfer dough to a floured surface and roll to ¼-inch thickness. Cut to desired shapes with a floured cookie cutter (small or big, is your choice). Place 1 inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 9 minutes or until light golden brown around edges. Cool cookies 5 minutes before removing from cookie sheet. Decorate cookies as desired.





Ingredients

1.     1 package Krusteaz Snickerdoodle Cookie Mix (1 pouch each cookie mix and cinnamon-sugar topping)
2.     ½ cup butter, softened
3.     1 egg
4.     I tablespoon cocoa powder

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a medium bowl, stir together Krusteaz Snickerdoodle Cookie Mix, the cocoa powder, butter and egg until dough forms. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, place the cinnamon-sugar. For each cookie, scoop 1 rounded tablespoon dough and place in cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Roll dough gently into balls, coating thoroughly with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 10 minutes or until golden. Cookies should have a brown-ish color from the cocoa powder.

Gift your cookies

Instead of buying a packaged box with commercial brands, you can offer your freshly baked cookies as a gift to family and friends.

Some creative ideas for packaging:

1.     The simplest way is to put the cookies in a cellophane bag and just wrap-up with a ribbon. Alternatively,  place the cookies in a cellophane bag and just add the decorative cardstock paper

2.     Place cookies in mason jars for a nostalgic look. Add a ribbon to make it even nicer





3.     Many like old-fashioned pastry store boxes with pale colors. Just place cookies in the box and wrap-up or just add your decorations

4.     To give a seasonal look, buy wrapping paper that represents the holiday season or something similar that you like

5.     I like old, cookie “vintage” tins. You can find them in thrift shops and occasionally in modern kitchenware stores as a comebacks.









Giveaway

I have a giveaway for the most innovative Christmas cookies decorations. Reply to the post with description and photo. Open to all, including kids. You will get Krusteaz cookie mixes and some other goodies! You must be based in the USA. Last day is 12.31.2015 at midnight PST.
For a free coupon, click here: http://www.krusteaz.com/get-savin

Disclose: This post was sponsored by Krusteaz.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

The Ubiquitous Maple Syrup and some Notable Maple Syrup Products -

The last few years, Maple syrup is found everywhere: in breakfast cereals, energy bars and even sausages. You can also find maple syrup flavored yogurts, chocolate, potato chips, cakes and cookies that have a hint or large portions of it. It seems that maple syrup has become ubiquitous.  I will discuss its healthy benefits in a different article (and that it won't mention the maple glazed bacon doughnuts).

Today, I will present some notable products made with maple syrup in different shapes or forms.
Creams, flakes and cubes
Tonewood company features luxurious items including Maple Cream, Maple Flakes and gift sets of Maple Cube and Grater for the holiday season
Tonewood: Maple Cream

Tonewood: Maple Flakes

Great packaging and flavors  made from a company that values sustainability in Vermont
Tonewood: Maple Cube and Grater
Pearls and Fleur de Sel
From Quebec, the largest maple syrup producer in the world you can find one-of-a-kind products.
The iSens.ca company offers a variety of maple butters, maple and tea fleur de sel, and the not found elsewhere vinegar maple pearls that can give your salad not only a different flavor but also a different look!

iSens.ca -pearls of maple vinegar

maple and tea infused fleur de sel
Gum
Simple Gum launched its natural gums selection earlier this year and the maple flavored gum is now available
Chocolate
Lake Champlain Chocolates offer a maple leaf chocolate bag blending nicely cocoa beans with hints of maple syrup


Vinegar
The Noble Handcrafted Maple Matured Sherry Bourbon Oak 03 Vinegar is  Spanish sherry vinegar aged at the same Bourbon barrels as the Noble maple syrup and contains Medium Amber grade maple syrup 
Whiskey
The Canadian Maple Rye Whiskey is available in certain US States -a great way to give your cocktails a makeover!