Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Do I have you confused yet with all these names? :)
There is a difference between all the names mentioned. Many call all bubbly wine "champagne." But after this post, you'll know most of the time it is "sparkling wine."
Champagne is technically only from the region of Champagne in France. Only bubbly wine that follows the regulations of making champagne may label their bottles as Champagne. Champagne follows the remuage process in which the bottles are placed downward and slowly rotated. A very long process.
Korbel began to make sparkling wine before champagne was legally protected. Therefore, you'll see champagne on their bottles, but it must appear next to California.
Sparkling wine comes from the 'New World' region. New World is referred to the countries that make wine outside of the traditional Europe. New World includes the United States, Australia, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa, and Canada. Sparkling wine is what is mostly found at grocery stores.
Cava comes from Spain and Prosecco comes from Italy. More information on these later.
I happen to have a bottle of Champagne that I've been saving for a special occasion. :)
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Anyone who is into preparing food has probably seen cooking shows on the Food Network. A while back I was watching a holiday special with the Neelys. They made ornaments using hard candy such as jolly ranchers that made the ornaments look like stained glass. This year I thought, what candy can I use to make them look more festive?
I used peppermints.
Things you will need:
metal cookie cutters
small cake decorating tip (I used tip #12)
Spray cookie cutters with cooking spray to avoid candy getting stuck to the cutter later. Place cookie cutters on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put hard candy in the cutters. I also crushed some candies to stick in the slim areas of the cookie cutter. Place decorating tip where you would like to put string through the ornament.
Place in the oven heated at 325 degrees. Mine took about 3 minutes to melt. You may want to watch yours for 3 to 5 minutes.
This is what they look like right out of the oven...
Once you can touch the ornament without feeling too hot (about one minute), carefully remove the cookie cutter and decorating tip. I then dabbed the ornament with a napkin to remove any excess cooking spray.
Then you can string the ornament and place on your tree, or eat it. :)
The Neely's recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/neelys/hard-candy-ornaments-recipe/index.html
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
To celebrate the pomegranate, the Madera Chamber of Commerce held its first annual Pomegranate Festival and Celebration. It was a weeklong of events to celebrate the pomegranate in the valley, including a kick off run, evening dinners and a festival.
To take part in the celebration, I attended the Pomegranate Festival last Saturday at Appellation California. Over 1,000 people attended the festival to enjoy pomegranate infused meals, juice drinks, honey, and of course, wine! Families, don't be discouraged to attend next year, this was also a family event. Children could enjoy coloring, dancing, games, and a large sling shot to throw pomegranates at a target. What kid doesn't like playing with a sling shot?
The infused food I enjoyed the most was You Sweet Thing Pomegranate Wine Jelly with Twin Pomegranate Wine. It was sweet and delicious like Twin Pomegranate Sweetie wine. Unlike other infused foods, there was no searching for pomegranate flavor. As soon as you took your first bite of the cracker with the jelly, full pomegranate flavor and full wine flavor. Yummy!
Twin Pomegranates Wine was also present at the festival with the Sweetie and Sparkling Wine available for tasting. The Sweetie wine is their recent released wine. It is not as sweet as other dessert wines but "semi-sweet" and "slightly tart" like a pomegranate. Forget picking at a pomegranate for its seeds, drink a glass of Sweetie wine and you've got the pomegranate taste you are looking for...plus the good feeling you get from wine. :)
A new pomegranate wine to taste at Appellation California is the Pomegranate Sangria. It is so new; they are still making it right now. They are yet unsure where they will carry it other than at Appellation California. The sangria is fruity; it is like pomegranate seeds juice plus some sugar to avoid the tart flavor. This would be great to go along with thanksgiving desserts.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
I've got a solution to this candy overload. Make cookies!
You've seen M&M cookies, so why not Kit-Kat cookies? Reese's cookies? Whopper cookies? Maybe Kit-Kat, Reese's, M&Ms and Whoppers in one cookie!
Just follow this recipe then add any candy of your choice.
Cookie recipe modified from Cake Boss: Stories and Recipes from Mia Famiglia:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
candy of your choice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Put butter, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer. Paddle at medium speed until ingredients come together.
- Add eggs one at a time. Add flour and mix until thoroughly integrated.
- Chop the candy that will be used for the cookies and mix into batter.
- Spoon batter into baking trays covered with parchment paper.
- Bake 12 to 15 minutes.
I used Whoppers, Reese’s, chocolate M&Ms and peanut butter M&Ms. I also placed some batter in a separate bowl before adding all the candy to make different cookies.
Whopper cookies, Whopper and M&M’s cookies, Reese’s cookies, Reese’s and peanut butter M&Ms cookies.
What’s your favorite Halloween candy?
Monday, October 31, 2011
For my work's Halloween party, I signed up to take dessert. Surprised? Chocolate is popular at work so I made chocolate cupcakes. To give them a Halloween twist, I used chocolate "dirt" and creepy worms for decoration.
What's your favorite Halloween treat?
Worms and dirt cupcakes:
Bake chocolate cupcakes according to directions and wait for them to cool before decorating. (If you don't, the icing will melt) Then ice the cupcakes with the frosting of your choice.
Finely chop chocolate cookies (I used chocolate Oreos.) to be used as dirt. Spread cookie crumbs on frosted cupcake. Then place a gummy worm on top.
You're done! It is an easy idea to dress up your Halloween cupcakes.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Last weekend I attended my favorite wine event by the San Joaquin Valley Winegrowers Association, the Fall Wine Cornucopia at Chukchansi Park, Fresno. It's the closest wine event to home and at a reasonable price.
As you enter the park, you are given a glass to roam free in wine playground. With over 25 wineries present, and unlimited servings, where to begin? I begin tasting the white wines as I've seen in other events. In between your tasting, there are restaurants giving food samples, great to slow down the effects of alcohol. :) While sipping your wine, you can view local artists work of images of the valley, wine production and nature.
Do you remember the I Love Lucy episode where they are stomping on grapes? Well, you can do a reenactment of the scene at the event. Large tubs are available for you to stomp on grapes and a kiddy pool to rinse your feet and get back to the drinking...I mean, tasting, of course.
The winery employees present are all knowledgeable on their wines. If you like their wines, you may sign up for their newsletters or take brochures describing their great wines so you can purchase them at a later time. Also, as you leave the park some wines are available for purchase.
Our all around favorite is the Quady Winery, which specializes in dessert wines. They offer an excellent Orange Muscat, Electra, refreshing and great for a summer gathering. For more information check out their Facebook page or website.
Hopefully I've encouraged you to attend next year's event on Saturday, October 27, 2012. Mark your calendars!
Monday, October 24, 2011
It’s National Dessert month, and it was my birthday yesterday. I’m starting a new year with a blog sharing my sweet encounters with desserts and wine. My favs!
On Sweet Sundays, I will post dessert recipes that I try, and come with delicious results. Maybe it will become an addition to your recipe collection! When I visit sweet shops, I’ll review the desserts I taste and give you the 411. You’ll get to see the behind the scenes and how-to’s on some of the custom sweets I create. This is a special treat for my blog followers and not seen on my facebook page. :)
I also enjoy tasting new wines. I am a beginner when it comes to wine and wish to become knowledgeable on the subject. Every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month will be Wine Wednesday. You’ll join me as I travel the road to understanding the complexity of wine. I will share information on wine tasting events, wineries and trying new wines. Fortunately, I live in the San Joaquin Valley which is surrounded by many vineyards. I travel to the central coast throughout the year, giving me the perfect chance to visit vineyards and try wines from the central coast!
I hope I’ve peeked your interest!
See you Wednesday for an overview of Fresno's Fall Wine Cornucopia...