Tasty Sips – Tognetti Wines

The holiday season is my favorite time of year but for the past month our house has been pretty sick. With two toddlers we expect to have runny noses and coughs during the winter season, but it’s been Mike and I who can’t seem to beat this bug. So I apologize for being absent from the blog last week but I’m back! I’ve been brewing up a new blog series for a while and I’m excited to bring y’all – Tasty Sips! My husband has become quit the wine connoisseur over the years and is often a resource for friends and family when choosing wines. His passion and enthusiasm for wine is something we share together! So it seemed perfect for my first Tasty Sips post to be about wine!

Today’s Tasty Sip is from the Tognetti Family Winery. If you’ve never heard of the Tognetti Family Winery I had the great pleasure of connecting with granddaughter, Christina, who shared more about the family’s background and growing business. Grandpa Jack has been in the wine industry for over 30 years and is Schramberg’s top grower but it was his youngest son, Robert, that finally achieved the family dream and founded the Tognetti Family Winery in 2012. Mike and I opened the 2013 Chardonnay and enjoyed the brightness of this wine. The grapes are sourced from the family owned vineyard in the Carneros region of Napa Valley. With citrus and tropical notes it’s a balanced Chardonnay that drinks well now, but can also be aged to develop the characteristics of the wine. The Chardonnay would pair beautifully with various cheeses, a light pasta dish, fish, and most any salad. We love when friends bring a wine to dinner that we don’t know about. It always feels a bit more special and exciting to open something different than the usual grocery store choices. Take advantage of the 35% off Holiday Special the winery is offering for the 2013 Chardonnay.  If you wish to try it, grab a bottle here for only $35!

What to expect from the Tasty Sips series? Entertaining inspiration with great wine reviews, craft brews, delicious cocktail recipes, and kid-friendly ideas! Stay tuned!

Tasty Sips - Tognetti Wines

Tasty Sips - Tognetti Wines

Tasty Sips - Tognetti Wines

Tasty Sips - Tognetti Wines

Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a full recipe, and it’s not because I lost my love for cooking. The truth is, raising a family can make homemade cooking a bit challenging. Life is different when my day is full of commitments for the entire family. Gone are the baby days when the children used to nap and I had no problem being in the kitchen for two hours. Lately I find myself scrambling for healthy and delicious recipes that aren’t time-consuming. I’m guessing many people can relate! So, when Mike decided he wanted to embrace the Paleo diet, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get out of my cooking rut. As I continue to research recipes and learn about the diet, I’ve also become inspired to cook again. I still believe balance + moderation is the key to eating healthy, so while we are focused on clean eating, with less sugar and dairy, I’ll still post recipe’s that don’t always fit the Paleo diet. We enjoy eating too much to completely eliminate any food group from our diet! That being said, I’m excited to research, test, tweak, and share some delicious and healthy meals with you all. This chicken and sweet potato curry was the first Paleo recipe I made, and it was delicious! The recipe came from the Ultimate Paleo Guide and it’s super easy and full of flavor. So here we go with the steps.

Ingredients

  • 1lb chicken breast (cut into 1 inch chunks)
  • 2tbsp of olive oil or coconut oil
  • 2 large sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks)
  • ½ onion (diced)
  • 1tbsp curry powder
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Step 1 –> Chop vegetables and chicken.

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Step 2 –> Add 1 tbsp of oil to pan. Season and brown the chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove chicken and set aside.

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Step 3 –> Add 1 tbsp of oil and diced onions to pan. Cook until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.

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Step 4 –> Add garlic, ground ginger, and ground curry to onions. Cook while stirring for 1-2 minutes. Next add chicken stock and deglaze pan. Make sure to scrape all the brown bits for added flavor.

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Step 5 –> Add the coconut milk, sweet potatoes, and chicken.

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Step 6 –> Bring to a simmer and cover with lid. Cook on low for 15-20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender. Serve and enjoy!

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If you love curry and sweet potatoes then this is your dish!

Truffle Deviled Eggs

Egg_1Ahh the beloved deviled egg! Anytime a host offers deviled eggs, you have to grab one quick because they are always the first to be gobbled up. Two years ago, I decided to put a spin on the classic recipe by adding black truffle oil, and the results were delicious. I’ve brought these to several events/parties and they continue to be a hit. A shining moment for this wanna-be-chef was at a partially catered event last year. I brought my Truffle Deviled Eggs and the catering staff asked me for the recipe, and mentioned guests were loving these little gems. How cool is that?! So, a girls gotta share a winner when she has one. Here we go.

Ingredients for 12 Truffle Deviled Eggs

Directions

Step 1- Boil your eggs (great site for the perfect boiled egg). Allow your eggs to completely cool in the refrigerator. Next, peel and slice your eggs in half, scooping out the yolks into a separate bowl. Be careful to keep your whites intact.

Step 2 – Make the yolk filling

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This is an important step. I used to hand mix the yolks with a fork, but discovered that beating the yolks with a mixer creates a much creamier texture. I’ve also used a hand blender (different from a hand-held beater) which makes it fluffy and creamier, so try both. This is where you must taste as you go. I start with a 1/4 cup of mayo and a tablespoon of the truffle oil. Add your dijon and season with sea salt and a little pepper. Whip the mixture, then sample. Decide if you want more mayo and truffle oil. I like the truffle oil to really stand out, so I use closer to 1 ½ tablespoons.

Step 3 – Fill your eggs

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Using a pastry bag, spoon your filling inside the bag, and begin to pipe the yolk mixture into the eggs halves. You can also use a plastic sandwich bag. Just fill the mixture into the bag and snip the corner. Audrey helped me do the piping here, so they weren’t picture perfect but definitely made with love!

Step 4 – Plate, Season, and Garnish

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Plate your eggs. Season each with the truffle salt. I make these with and without a garnish. My suggested garnish would be a piece of bacon and chives, but my chef friend also suggested pork belly, or a piece of a fried oyster. Yumm!

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These are perfect for football season, holidays, book club, or any event. I hope you try the recipe! Especially, if you love truffles or want to bring something unexpected to the party. These are a winner!

New York-Style Crumb Cake

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If you are looking for something sweet to round out your Father’s Day brunch, then look no further. I mentioned this ahhhhmazing coffee cake/crumb cake last week, and let me just tell you it really is that good! It’s so divine that one of my best guy friends recently requested I bake this for his birthday. I think the ratio of crumb to cake is what makes this so delicious. Not to mention it’s super moist, and prefect with your favorite cup of coffee.

After trying several recipe’s, I discovered The Baked Guys, as in Matt Lewis and Remato Poliafito, who kick ass. So, bravo to the boys for creating one fabulous New York-Style Crumb Cake, and let’s get baking.

Ingredients

For the crumb topping

  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup ( 2 sticks ) unsalted butter, melted and warm
  • 2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

For the cake

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Step 1 – Make the Topping (but first preheat your over at 350 and butter a 9×13 baking dish)

Mix together both sugars, salt, and cinnamon. Next, add melted butter and whisk until combined. Fold in the flour until it is absorbed. Set aside.

Sugars

Step 2 – Make the cake

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter until completely smooth. Scrape down the bowl and add the sugar. Beat until it starts to look fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat. Remember to scrape the sides down. Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Next, add the dry ingredients in three parts, beating until incorporated.

Beaters

Step 3 – Assemble cake

Pour the batter into a buttered pan. Using your hands scoop the topping, handful at a time, and sprinkle over the batter. The topping should have some large chunks. Note – the topping layer will look very thick! This is good, I promise.

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Step 4 – Bake the cake at 350 for 45-55 minutes. Cool and serve.

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Enjoy, and if you give this recipe a whirl, I’d love to hear your feedback. Happy Father’s Day to all you amazing Dads. May your hearts be full of love and tummies be oh-so-happy on your special day!

Restaurant-Style Mexican Rice

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I’ve tried many times to replicate restaurant-style Mexican rice, but have always been disappointed. So, when my good friend, Johanna, shared her family recipe for making the perfect Mexican rice, I was thrilled. The trick to making the rice flavorful, fluffy, and authentic isn’t a special ingredient, it’s using a grater for the garlic and onion. This gives the flavor profile you desire, without weighing the rice down, or having any small bits of the onion and garlic. I wish I knew this long ago, because it truly makes a difference.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of rice
  • 2 tbsp of canola oil
  • ½ can of tomato sauce
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 grated garlic cloves
  • 1/4 yellow onion grated

Rice_before

{ When browning the rice, it should look similar to the above picture }

In a medium-sized pot, heat the canola oil and rice for a few minutes. You want the rice to turn a golden brown. Next add your tomato sauce and chicken stock. Finally, grate 1/4 cup of a yellow onion, and 1-2 garlic cloves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cover for 20 minutes. Season with a bit of salt, and enjoy!

rice_close_up { 20 minutes later you have fluffy Mexican rice }

If you wanted to spice things up, adding a bit of Jalapeño or chili powder would be delicious. But, I love the recipe on its own. As always..cook with love, eat well, and laugh often!