Happy Thanksgiving!

Yup, I ate it all. Everything on the plate, and then dessert. It was all delicious…. and for that I am thankful. I’m also thankful for everyone out there who is following along. I hope that you too had a pleasant day filled with family and friends. Cheers!

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Let’s try another animation. You may have to click to view. Now where is that couch?

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Mean and Nasty. Add Choklat. Not so mean and nasty.

Here I go messing around with those “usual” pairings again. But I had the beer…and I had the cheese, and I thought….why not??? It turned out to be a really good idea!

In this case, the cheese came first…..from a June trip to the Thousand Islands. How can you resist a cheese called Mean and Nasty? It’s a super aged cheddar from River Rat cheese. (Even thought I can’t find any information on their website.) Our oldest son spotted it in a gift shop in Alexandria Bay, saying he’d had it before and liked it. He wanted us to try it, so we picked it up. It sat in the fridge until the right pairing came along.  The cheese has a definite sharp bite, but being a fan of sharp cheddar It’s hard to call it nasty. It has a lot of creaminess hidden under the sharpness and plenty of calcium lactate crystals hidden throughout.

The river brought back lots of great memories for me, from the many months I spent on the river during my youth.

The river brought back lots of great memories for me, from the many months I spent on the river during my youth.

I discovered the beer during a photo shoot. (Yes…I love my job!) I poured 9 different beers for the shots and since there was a touch left in each bottle I got to try them all. The Southern Tier Brewing Choklat was a standout for me. It’s a stout brewed with chocolate….and it’s delicious on its own. The scent of chocolate and caramel fills your nose as you bring your glass up. The taste is very creamy to start, with caramel malt, and finishes with bittersweet chocolate and hops. Together…..it’s creamy chocolate bliss. The bite of the sharp cheddar pairs well with the hops. The creaminess in both blend together, while the chocolate shines through. Yum!

2eat2drink_meanandnasty-p2eat2drink-meanandnasty choklat-p2eat2drink-choklat-pHere are a few highlights from our trip!

Happy Egg Bake Easter!

Don’t you just want to dive right into this…in all of its straight out of the oven fluffy cheese and egg glory??

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I know I do…even though I just did, and I’m really full! But this wonderful egg bake that Heather made for Easter brunch will settle flat in about 15 seconds, so now is the time! Sliced up, it’s a great way to satisfy your whole Easter brunch crew, and it can bake away while the Easter egg hunt is going on.

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Grapefruit and mimosas are a good pairing!

The recipe is super simple and is prepared the day before.

  • 10 slices Pepperidge Farm white sandwich bread, cubed
  • 1 lb. grated cheddar cheese
  • 8 eggs, beaten
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper

Grease a 9×13 baking dish. Alternate layers of bread and cheese. Mix remaining ingredients together and pour mixture over layers. Refrigerate overnight. Bake uncovered at 325˚ for 1 hour.

It should look like this before baking.

It should look like this before baking. Count flavor not calories! 🙂

A tip from my wonderful chef: the Pepperidge Farm bread is a key ingredient, and other bread doesn’t work as well. Heather kept this egg bake kid friendly, but don’t be afraid to add any pre-cooked ingredients such as ham, peppers, onions, sausage, or anything else you can dream up. You could also experiment with different kinds of cheese. Let us know what you come up with!

Enjoy your Easter! Cheers!

Fabulous fresh figs

It’s quite difficult to improve upon a fresh fig. The slightly sweet, almost honeyed, jammy fruit is amazing. We love eating plain fresh figs whenever we can find them, but the balsamic rosemary prosciutto wrapped fig is another great way to enjoy them. Halve the figs. Wrap each half with a small piece of prosciutto, then coat it lightly with balsamic glaze and rosemary. Sear them in a medium skillet until they just start to crisp. After plating, drizzle with a little more balsamic glaze and enjoy. Simple and fun!

Fresh figs. Yum!

Balsamic rosemary prosciutto wrapped figs.

Trugole, Castelvetrano and prosciutto….oh my!

WOW! Cheese is one of my weaknesses. And Trugole is one of Heather and my favorites. It’s made in the Asiago region of the Italian Alps, where the cows graze in certain rich pastures. This creates its unique and wonderful flavor. The semi-firm cheese is rich, yet mild  at the same time, and creamy with almost a hint of fruit.

The super bright green olives pictured are from Castelvetrano, Sicily. And, like the cheese, I find them to be rich, flavorful and mild all at the same time.  They have a mellow buttery flavor that went nicely with the cheese.  If you claim not to like olives…these will change your mind. Seriously….try one.

Lacking an Italian  wine, we chose a French (from the Loire Valley) 2009 Chateau la Noe muscadet out of the wine fridge. The wine was medium bodied and slightly spicy with a crisp finish. Its earthiness paired well with the rich textures of the cheese and olives.

Add some dry-cured prosciutto and you have a treat (or meal) fit for a king!

Trugole cheese....one of our favorites!

Castelvetrano olives. O.M.G.

2009 Chateau la Noe Muscadet. Excellent choice.

Who would have thought carrots and cake go together?

Whoever decided it was a good idea to create carrot cake was a genius! I photographed the Chocolate Peanut Butter Bliss cupcake, but my favorite flavor I was lucky enough to sample (after the kids devoured most of the cupcakes) was the rich and creamy carrot cake. This delightful selection of treats (for the eyes and the palate) came from Dolce Cupcakery in Pittsford….via my sister (who raves about Dolce). We’re going to have to find a chance to get back there soon to try such intriguing flavors as Foxy Lady, French Toast, Granny Apple Spice, Pucker Up, and Mocha Latte….37 flavors in all! (8-10 available fresh daily.) Let me know what your favorite cupcake flavor is…

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bliss!

My niece trying to pick her favorite!

Heavenly clouds of cotton candy

Quick! Go to your neighborhood fireman’s carnival! We are first night Mendon fireman’s carnival junkies. I suggest you get hooked as well. 🙂 I figured I’d try and entice you with cotton candy and a few funky iPhone pictures. I would have taken pictures of our Italian sausage and fried dough, but they were gone almost before we got them. Hope you enjoy!

Cotton candy trifecta!

Fluffy Circus cotton candy. Mmmmm!

Don't forget a ride on the ferris wheel!