St. Germain Champagne Cocktail

photo-159While Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of all time because the whole day is centered around food and cooking (which I obviously love!) I have to remember its also a day to be thankful for everything we have, whether its friends, family, health or wealth. Hopefully all of you are spending the day in good company and hopefully you all take just one moment to count your blessings- large or small. photo-160I am thankful for all of my friends, family and readers that have supported me through this blogging journey over the last year! Thank you for making my recipes, sharing them with your favorite people and enjoying good food and drink! That being said, this is one of my favorite holiday cocktails made with St. Germain Elderflower liquor! Its a light and refreshing cocktail that’s delightful anytime of year! Cheers & Happy Thanksgiving!

St. Germain Cocktail
(Makes 1 drink)

  • 1.5 oz St. Germain
  • 4 oz Champagne or Prosecco
  • 1-2 oz sparkling water
  1. Pour St. Germain into a wine glass with a hand full of ice, top with Prosecco and sparkling water. Enjoy!
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Cabernet Cranberry-Kumquat Sauce

photo-447Happy Thanksgiving Week! Its Monday but technically its Wednesday since its a 3 day work week! Bonus! This weekend I did some Thanksgiving prep by making cranberry sauce and getting some grocery shopping done. We also had a Friendsgiving feast on Saturday night. It was a non-traditional potluck style Thanksgiving with ham and beef tenderloin in place of turkey but with all the traditional sides and fixing!

Everyone brought their A game with favorite family recipes and cocktails including multiple varieties of sweet potato dishes, scalloped and classic potatoes, Brussels sprouts, squash gratin, mac & cheese, cranberry sauce and stuffing- it was quite a spread and everything was delicious! photo-449We had a big crew, 32 people to be exact! It was the perfect way to kick off the holiday season with great friends and food! For our friendsgiving feast I made sausage, apple and pecan stuffing and Cabernet Cranberry Kumquat Sauce. I used Pepperidge farm herb stuffing mix as a base and added maple breakfast sausage, crisp apples and crunchy pecans for a delicious salty-sweet mix. The Cabernet Cranberry-Kumquat Sauce is a great recipe to make a few days ahead and is a fun flavorful twist on your classic cranberry sauce. The tartness of the kumquats and the rich sweetness of the wine combine to make the perfect side that will please all your guests!

Cabernet Cranberry-Kumquat Sauce

  • 2½ cups fresh (or frozen, thawed) cranberries (one 8-oz. bag)
  • 1 cup dry red wine (such as Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup seeded sliced fresh kumquats

Directions:

  1. Wash cranberries and pick through them, discarding any that are bruised or rotten.
  2. Combine cranberries, wine, sugar and kumquats in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often, until cranberries burst and release juices, 15–20 minutes. Let cool.

DO AHEAD: Sauce can be made 5 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Cabernet Cranberry-Kumquat Sauce from Bon Appetit, November 2013

Thanksgiving & Holiday Menu Ideas

funny-sayings-580I realized today that there was no way on Earth that I was going to make all the amazing looking recipes that I wanted to before next Thursday. Its become seriously stressful, I’m thinking about taking the advice from the picture above. Every morning I wake up with my inbox full of new delicious dishes from cocktails, to turkeys and all the fixings in between. In the process of trying to planning my own holiday menu I put together about 30 others… But how do I choose what to make?! If I could have it my way we’d do 3 stuffings, potatoes 3 ways, Brussels sprouts 9 ways and I haven’t even got to dessert yet! So I decided to put together a few menu ideas. Mix and match from each menu, or supplement a few dishes on your own menu! I’ll be sure to let you know which ones make it onto my table! Happy cooking!

Traditional

Unconventional

Healthy

Favorite Holiday Dishes from Ski Boots in the Kitchen


Wine Wednesday: Thanksgiving Reds

Happy hump day y’all! What’s better than starting your day off with a glass of wine? Beats me! Well if you haven’t realized, Thanksgiving is just over a week away! Don’t panic… there are plenty of things you can do ahead of time to make your day more relaxing! Buying wine (and lots of it) this week is one more thing checked off your list! Also think about your holiday table decor. If you’re planning on pulling out the nice silver and china- check now to see if you need to pull out the sliver polish! photo-437My table this year is a mix of vintage china, family silver and some new wine glasses (thanks to the wedding registry!) Its never to early to think about table settings – if you need some ideas, check out Martha Stewarts guide, she’s got your back. My motto is, the simpler the better! If you missed my post last week on Thanksgiving white wines, check it out. But now… on to the reds! Enjoy!

BenMarco Malbec 2011: $19 IMG_5965

  • Winemaker’s Notes: Beautiful deep purple color with perfumed aromas of ripe red fruits and roasted coffee beans. It is lush and fullbodied with bright acidity. This wine really unfolds with some air so try not to slurp it down in a rush, and it shows why the Argentine people are in love with Malbec. Some Bonarda was blended in for greater complexity and to achieve better balance. Pairs well with a wide range of foods including beef, sausages, spiced or grilled pork, veal, medium-strong cheeses, and meat-based pasta sauces.
  • Grape: 95% Malbec and 5% Bonarda from Mendoza, Argentina
  • Rating: 90 points from International Wine Cellar

Belle Glos Meiomi Pinot Noir 2012: $20 IMG_3003

  • Winemaker’s Notes: Meiomi (May-oh-mee) is a Pinot Noir that gets its fruit from the most noteworthy coastal areas in California. The wine is crafted, lush, balanced and luxurious. Three of the California’s most sought after coastal growing regions brilliantly meld together in this deeply flavored, stylish and truly balanced Pinot Noir; The wine opens up with aromas of ripe berries, fresh cranberry, candy apple and malted vanilla. At its most fundamental core, it is an approachable, food friendly wine with a style and place all its own.
  • Grape: 100% Pinot Noir from Monterey County (35%), Santa Barbara County (34%) and Sonoma County (31%), California.
  • Rating: 92 points from the Wine Spectator

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Italo Pietrantonj 2009: $13 
photo-439

  • Winemakers Notes: This is great, rustic, and gulp-able Montepulciano from the oldest winery in Abruzzi. Lovely floral fruit on the nose mingles with the characteristic pencil and earth notes of the grape. The wine is unfined, unfiltered, and fermented in cement tanks. A fantastic wine and an excellent value.
  • Grape: 100% Montepulciano
  • Rating: 87 Cellar Tracker

Looking for more? Check out Bon Appetit’s article on California Wine Legends in the Making

Appy Hour: Baba Ghanoush & Ricotta Dip with Pesto & Sun Dried Tomatoes

Let the count down to Thanksgiving begin! I’ve been getting more and more in to the holiday spirit these last few weeks. The Christmas lights around Park City are starting to pop up everywhere, lighting up the hillsides and making the town look festive. photo-429The snow we got over the weekend has helped make town look like a winter snow globe. I was feeling so festive the other night I dressed Piper up like an elf. She was not impressed. photo-430When getting ready for the holidays its important to have a plan when it comes to cooking at parties. Planning ahead of time for things you can make the day before will save you time, oven space and your sanity Thanksgiving day. Don’t have a plan yet? Check out Food 52’s “How to Hike a Mountain and Serve Thanksgiving Dinner on the Same Day” or see Bon Appetit’s Thanksgiving Checklist. Most importantly when planning for your big feast, remember that your oven will be occupied most of the day with the Turkey – Making hot appetizers hard to serve. The greatest thing about these two appetizers? They can be made a day in advance and require little to no oven time! That means more football, friends and family and less time in the kitchen! photo-425Baba Ghanoush is a classic Middle Eastern dish made from roasted or grilled eggplant which is pureed to make a delicious hummus like dip that can be served with fresh veggies, crackers or pita chips.

I always think this dip is better the next day, which makes it the perfect make ahead appetizer! It’s time to mix up the classic appetizer table and give your guests a surprising treat- plus Baba Ghanoush is fun to say!

Baba Ghanoush (Makes 1 1/2 cups)

  • 1 large or 2 small eggplant(s)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2+ tablespoons olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. Place eggplant on baking sheet, and make holes in the skin with a knife or fork. Roast it for 35 to 45 minutes, turning occasionally, or until soft. Remove from oven, and allow it to cool before peeling the skin off or scooping the flesh from the skin.
  3. Place eggplant, lemon juice, tahini, sesame seeds, and garlic in a food processor or electric blender, and puree. Slowly drizzle olive oil into mixture until smooth and creamy (you may need more than 2 tablespoons of oil for this). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer eggplant mixture to a medium size mixing bowl, and drizzle with more olive oil. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.

Pesto Ricotta Dip with Sun Dried Tomatoes

photo-424This ricotta dip is another super easy & quick app. Serve it with sugar snap peas, bagel chips or pita chips for a wildly delicious snack! For more than 6 people double the recipe- it goes quickly!

Pesto Ricotta Spread with Sun Dried Tomatoes (Makes 1 cup)

  • 1 cup whole milk or part skim ricotta
  • 2 tablespoons fresh pesto
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine ricotta and pesto in a bowl until fully incorporated. Add chopped sun dried tomatoes and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with bagel chips, pita chips or cut vegetables. If making the day before, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

Tuscan White Bean & Garlic Soup

photo-421Normally I am the one posting pictures of snow in the mountains but this week those of you back East are enduring the winter weather while here in Park City we are enjoying unusually warm days. Not so good for the mountains that are suppose to open on November 23rd!

We have some winter weather in the forecast for this weekend. Meanwhile, Park City Mountain is busy blowing snow, although they will probably only have enough for one or two trails on opening day- also known as the “white ribbon of death”! I am always looking for something cozy and easy for dinner when it snows, especially that first snow fall of the season.

I don’t feel like I’m ever really ready for that first snowfall, or when it gets cold enough to turn on the heat for the first time! Its that transition from Fall to Winter that is the hardest, once all the lovely snow blankets the ground, I’m a happy camper! This white bean and garlic soup is super easy and only takes about 20 minutes to whip up. Serve it with some hearty whole wheat bread or rosemary focaccia and dinner is done! Enjoy!

Tuscan White Bean & Garlic Soup (Serves 4 to 6)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 sage leaves
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 5 cloves garlic, cut in 1/2
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. In a medium to large pot, add the butter, olive oil, and shallots. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until the shallots are softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the sage, beans and stock and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the garlic and continue simmering until the garlic is softened, about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Using an immersion blender or if using a regular blender, blend in batches, and puree the soup. Be careful to hold the lid of the blender tightly, as hot liquids expand when they are blended.
  4. Once all the soup is blended, pour it back into the soup pan, add the cream, salt and pepper (add more salt and pepper to taste as necessary). Keep warm, covered, over very low heat until ready to serve. Serve with fresh bread warmed in the oven.

Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Chicken Suzanne

photo-414You know those days you crave your favorite childhood meal? Maybe its spaghetti and meatballs or buttery macaroni and cheese- mine is most definitely Chicken Suzanne. This was a dish my mother used to make all the time growing up because its simple and tasty. It only takes half an hour to whip up, it freezes easily and its a comforting dish for cozy cold nights.

The combination of mushrooms, artichokes and cream with tender chicken and crispy almonds is the perfect culmination of delicious ingredients. It’s also a great way to use up some leftover Thanksgiving turkey! Substitute 2 1/2- 3 cups of shredded turkey for the chicken and you’ve got a creative dish for all those leftovers! photo-417I found this great card shopping over the weekend- I do wish that all life’s problems could be solved with a stick of butter! Sometimes all it takes to turn around a bad day is some classic comfort food to warm your soul and make you feel at home. Serve with a fresh baguette and your favorite glass of red wine! Enjoy!

Chicken Suzanne (Serves 8)

  • 1 box long grain and wild rice
  • 1 3 to 4 pound rotisserie chicken or 3 to 4 broiled chicken breasts
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 1 large can artichoke hearts
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup whipping cream (you can sub half & half if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons sherry or white wine
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • slivered almonds (about 1/2 cup, optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Make rice to package directions. Butter a 4 quart casserole or baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Remove the meat from the bones of the rotisserie chicken and cut into pieces.
  3. Cut the artichoke hearts into bite size pieces. Combine chicken, rice and artichoke hearts in large bowl.
  4. Saute the diced onion in the butter. When the onion becomes transparent, add the flour. Cook for 1 minute over low heat.
  5. Add the chicken broth, milk and cream and stir until thickened. The mixture should be the consistency of heavy cream.
  6. Stir in the seasonings. combine the completed sauce with the chicken, rice and artichoke mixture. Add the sliced mushrooms.
  7. Pour mixture into prepared casserole dish and top with slivered almonds.
  8. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
  9. Can be frozen or made the day before serving.

Wine Wednesday- Thanksgiving Whites

photo-409Well now that Halloween is over based on all the stores and shops you’d think it was almost Christmas. Pottery Barn looks like the North Pole and Starbucks is already pushing their festive red holiday cups. Lets not move so quickly! Thanksgiving comes next! What is the only other thing on your Thanksgiving table as important as the turkey? WINE! Don’t forget in your holiday planning process that good wine is the most important part of the meal (to me at least!) Plus, its probably the only way you’ll get through those painfully awkward conversations with that aunt or uncle you haven’t seen in years- when they telling you about their beloved cat that passed away over the summer or how they’ve taken up cattle farming in Amish Pennsylvanian. Maybe that’s extreme but you get the idea. So for this weeks wine Wednesday I’ve pick three, awesome, all under $20 bottles of wine for your Thanksgiving table.

2011 Chehalem Inox Chardonnay: $19 photo-410 The Chehalem Chard is the most expensive of the wines in this post but totally worth it. We are talking about Thanksgiving here so you want something special and something you wouldn’t drink every day. This wine is named after the French abbreviation for “stainless steel” and its crisp, bright flavors are hallmark of an unoaked Chardonnay. This is a crowd pleasing wine that will win over Chardonnay haters and please Chardonnay lovers. If you’re going to have one white wine at your table- I recommend this one!

  • Winemakers’ Notes: Bright, clean, flinty-briney, with mineral, lime and tropical fruit aromatics, this wine is all about freshness, bracing and balanced acidity and flavors that are linear, including ginger, white pepper, stone fruit, apple pie and slate. May be the best INOX we’ve made. (See full notes here)
  • Grape: 100% Estate-Grown Chardonnay from Willamette Valley AVA, Oregon.
  • Rating: Robert Parker & Wine Enthusiast: 88 Points

2012 Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc: $10 photo-407Another wine produced in stainless steel barrels, the Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc is an affordable and refreshing table wine. With a slightly more reasonable price point then the Chehalem, this wine is refreshing, bright, and pairs well with food. It’s perfect for large parties thanks to its price and versatility and will please any white wine drinker!

  • Winemakers’ Notes: The 2012 Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc has aromatics of guava, papaya, white peach, mandarin, Meyer lemon and lime. The wine fills the palate with fruit flavors and a round fullness, finishing with crisp, refreshing acidity. (See full notes here)
  • Grape: 100% Sauvignon Blanc from California
  • Rating: Wine Spectator: 89 Points

2012 Aveleda Vinho Verde: $8aveledaIf you have never tried Vinho Verde you are truly missing out. This Portuguese wine has a light fizz to it (less than sparkling wine but still very noticeable) and makes for a perfect apéritif (pre-dinner drink) that pairs nicely with meats and cheeses and other appetizers. This wine is a light, refreshing and budget friendly alternative to champagne and a great way to start off your evening!

  • Winemakers’ Notes: Aveleda Vinho Verde is a fresh, fruity light wine that offers freshness to the palate and romanticism to the spirit. Its simple label and the deep green bottle reveal what you are about to experience: a vivacious and smooth white Vinho Verde that can be the perfect match for light meals, seafood or served as an appetizer. (See full notes here).
  • Grapes: Trajadura, Loureiro, Arinto, Azal
  • Rating: Wine Spectator: 87 Points

Check back next week for Wine Wednesday Thanksgiving Reds! You can also see the Bon Appetit article on how to pair your wine with classic dinner party dishes. (Read it here)

Baked Eggs with Country Toast

photo-404It was such a wonderful fall weekend! I hope you enjoyed the good weather (on Saturday least), maybe if you’re lucky enough to live in Boston you checked out the Red Sox parade and of course that extra hour of glorious sleep. Fall daylight savings is one of my favorite weekends of the year- your body thinks its late but you realize its early and you can roll over and go back to bed. There is nothing better! Except realizing that extra hour of sleep has also allowed you an extra hour for breakfast, my favorite meal of the day!

Breakfast literally makes my day- I mean seriously, breakfast is the best in the morning… but who doesn’t love pancakes or eggs for dinner to? It’s the ultimate meal and it always makes me happy. It’s also a time where you can catch up or wind down with friends or alone with the morning paper. My best friend Connie and I always had crazy schedules when we lived together, but breakfast was our time to catch up, drink some coffee and start our day off right; if we had breakfast together, I knew it was going to be a great day.

As a kid my mother used to make me baked eggs, they are simple but they are so satisfying and delicious. My favorite part about them? You pop them in the oven, set the timer and there ready before you know it! photo-401There is no worry or fuss like there is with scrambled, poached or fried eggs. Simple, easy and delicious- just the way breakfast should be on Sunday mornings so you can sit back and enjoy it with the ones you’re with! Red Bicycle Breadworks is a local Park City company. They sell their bread out of The Market in town and it’s totally delicious.

Their gold creek cheddar bread is the perfect breakfast toast. They also make an amazing sea salt and olive oil bread that we’ve started calling ‘crack’ bread. We have to buy two loaves at a time because we inevitably eat one loaf before we even leave the grocery store- its that good (if you’ve had it you know what I’m talking about!). If you live in Park City I highly recommend checking out their bread- if you don’t (that’s too bad for you!) but any good fresh bread will do! Enjoy!

Baked Eggs with Country Toast

  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon heavy cream
  • 2 farm fresh eggs
  • 1 dash paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Parmigiano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • country bread, toasted with butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put 1 tablespoon olive oil into the cocotte (baking dish, small tart pan or souffle dish), followed by the eggs and cream. Season with dash of paprika, salt and pepper. Cover with 1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and bake just until the white is set, about 15 minutes. Serve with toast.