Cherry Bombe is out!

20130514-170346.jpgFinally something in print with style and food & serious stories for us old ladies that still like to enjoy some things in print.  Muah Cherry Bombe! Subscribe at http://www.cherrybombe.com/

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Hiatus

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I took a few months hiatus.  It felt wonderful and it felt equally as awful not to be sharing.  You see, there’s been a lot happening, most notably – we adopted a pup, Shenandoah, from Badass Brooklyn – and moved on top of all the normal stress of the holidays.  There hasn’t been as much time for writing because a puppy is a lot more work than I expected and any of my extra time has been walking, playing, training, and snuggling with the little monster (she’s resting on top of my feet as I write this now).

We also took a little break from this chilly NYC winter to Barbados for 9 days of pure relaxation. It’s been a long time since I’ve completely logged off.  Our days were filled with Piña Coladas, Rum sours, freshly-caught fish grilled in the cozy little apartment we rented, swimming and sunshine all day long.  It was dreamy.  I have vowed to never suffer through another miserable city winter without a visit to a warm destination.

Now that we’re back and into gear my head is feeling a little flustered.  It’s exciting to see the city really bounce back finally post-Hurricane Sandy and post a dismal holiday season.  We just had a round of fantastic winemaker visitors, which are my favorite kind, of course, and another successful NYS wine event here in Manhattan – NY Drinks NY (an event focused around getting more NYC folk to appreciate and imbibe some of our local wines).  I had visitors from every stretch of our empire state – Finger Lakes, Niagara Escarpment, Hudson Valley, & Long Island in town.   It’s thrilling to have all of the passionate forces in the local wine scene together in the Big Apple and it gave me a re-surgence of excitement for the growing season, summer & harvest to come – Spring is just about here barring any more major snowstorms!  I hope that you’ll join us for next year’s round of events & tasting, or at the very least sip on some local wine in honor of it for the rest of this month of March.

So here’s to a new year with all of you, here’s to Spring – may it be filled with many new surprises, lots of local wine & sprinkled with a few recipes & stories.

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Here she is with her wine bottle buddies: Shenandoah

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This interview explains a lot of what I do.

Recently one of my Manhattan shop clients asked a few (awesome) questions about what Upstate Wine Co. is all about. I think it explains a lot. 

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Picking apples, baking pie.

I’m not usually the type of girl that likes to take shortcuts when it comes to cooking.  I love the slow processes, and cooking to me is almost a therapy – a creative release – a canvas to which I can paint flavors & colors with whatever I’ve got.  Since I’ve learned the nutritional value and tastiness factor of cooking with the freshest ingredients, there’s not much I don’t buy fresh.  However, I just cannot make pie crust.

As hard as I’ve tried over the years, on the phone with my mom, my aunt coaching me, a chef friend giving me secret tips, I just always seem to mess up pie crust.  Last year was possibly the first year I gave in completely and succumbed to my friend’s advice to just buy the Pillsbury pre-made roll-out crusts and I can’t say that I don’t very much enjoy them.  In my opinion, it’s no harm since they taste much better than any rendition of pie crust that I could ever make and they saved me a lot of frustration.   Then, a couple of weeks ago I found my new best pie friendImmaculate Baking Co. crusts – at my local natural food store.  I’ve also found them at Whole Foods for cheaper, now that I’ve got my eyes peeled.  They are much tastier than the Pillsbury version and all of the ingredients are legit.

And so in an ode to Fall’s pickings, here’s a quick little apple pie filling that you can’t screw up.  Just get some pre-made crusts and fill ‘em up.  You won’t regret the time you’ve saved after you’ve had one bite.

Simple Apple Pie Filling

5-6 apples, medium-sized of different varieties (to give it some dimension)
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. (teaspoon) cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg, plus a dash extra
1/4 t. ginger
pinch of ground red chili pepper
pinch of salt
2 T. fresh lemon juice (or half of a freshly juiced lemon)
2 T. butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

Thinly slice the apples.  I like to use a mandolin slicer, but slices should be like thin sheets.

Roll out first crust (it must sit at room temp for about 10-15 min. but not too much longer) and place in either tin or glass pie dish.  Mold the crust to the plate and make sure to push together any little pockets or cracks so that it’s one uniform piece.  

In a large mixing bowl combine apples, sugar, spices, salt, and lemon juice. 

Add this to the pie crust (in the dish , duhhh).  Place 4 pats of butter at the top in the center. 

Roll out the second crust and gently pick up and place on top.  Push the two crusts together around the edges.  You can do this with the dips like we all know or just press it together in any fashion you like.  (Nobody really cares about how those edges look, do they?) 

Cover the edges with some tin foil.  Take 2 inch strips of foil and gently mold around the edge of the crust, so that this doesn’t burn in the baking process.  

Bake for 30 min.  Remove foil and continue to bake for 15-20 min. until the top is golden brown. 

Let the pie rest for a half hour or so until serving.  Then dish up with either some fresh whipped cream (my personal fave) or ice cream or cheddar, whatever is your delight. 

Sometimes I omit the lemon juice and add brandy, applejack or bourbon (2 T.) instead.  Sometimes you want a little kick. I’m just saying

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If you can’t get to the FLX for harvest this Fall: Here’s Where to Drink some Local Wine in the City

I normally like to keep this blog fairly separate from my work life as a space to tackle some of those thoughts that flutter through my brain, but as I was putting this list together I realize that it might be beneficial to all of you out there that might be interested in checking out some wonderful Fall events.  So, instead of sending out an email to all of my friends, here’s my list of local wine events in the next week or so that I urge you all to check out:

Sunday, September 16th 11am-4pm: Riesling Launch at the New Amsterdam Market  - free tastings 

Tuesday, September 18th: Cider Salon at Astor Center - both Bellwether & Leonard Oakes will be showing off here

Wednesday, September 19th 5-7pm: FLX Wines at Astor Wine & Spirits stop by for a taste and to meet Brandon Seager from Red Newt Cellars, Fox Run Vineyards and Sheldrake Point wines

Thursday, September 20th 7pm-11pm: Harvest in the Square at Union Square

Friday, September 21st 8pm: Summer of Riesling Grande Finale at Hearth

Wednesday, October 3rd: Just Food‘s Let Us Eat Local 

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Pinot, Pie, Oregon. September is here.

Wow. So, I feel like I’ve been pummeled by a few things.  First off, extreme midsummer laziness that I thought was a result of the heat but hasn’t subsided since it’s cooled down a bit.  I’ve also given in and have actually taken a few days to vacation over the past few weeks.  All of that glorious refreshing time that I thought would fuel my engines to get some things done has only made me dreamy of jetting off even farther.

I’m doing a lot of reading lately about Pinot Noir in an effort to really get what we’ve got going on in the Finger Lakes and how we can get more wineries on board to make a successful rendition of the grape.  It seems to me that there are such huge variances between the good and the really really awful.  It’s not such a shabby place to grow it with all of the limestone in our soils and I’ve been curious about the grape’s American successes over the past few years.

A recent trip to Oregon re-kindled my curiosity.  I set out in April to visit two of my favorite people on this planet, Carrie & Jannie, who made the Portland move a couple of years ago and have fixed themselves into all of the culinary magic that’s happening there.  They have a foodie-geared PR company Little Green Pickle (www.littlegreenpickle.com/) and Carrie is a co-founder of Feast Portland (http://feastportland.com/), a festival that thrills to be the best of the Northwest food (versus some of our NYC chef all-stars).  Feast Portland kicks off it’s first round this September 20-23rd.  Needless to say, these ladies were unsurprisingly a breadth of inspiration in my adventures – basking me with wonderful small production wines from producers I’d never heard of and food, lots of amazing food.  I should also tell you that Jannie is a really amazing chef herself and that they treated me to a few of Portland’s restaurant gems on this trip.

A friend from my hometown, Rya, made the trip out from Bend in central Oregon to take me out to wine country – the Willamette Valley – with all of its dazzling Pinots. We hadn’t seen each other in at least 8 years, but it wasn’t hard to pick up where we left off and both of us are excited and super passionate about wine. Rya works in the restaurant sphere out in Bend and I was beaming when she told me the places we had planned to stop that day. It was a real treat to see how meticulous and thoughtful each producer we visited was, caring for the finicky grape like a prince, and even more fun to veer a little off course and make some new discoveries.

Out of all of the Pinots that I tasted on my trip there’s one that I just can’t get out of my mind – a bottle that Carrie & Jannie treated me to on the night of my arrival – Matello‘s Lazarus Pinot Noir ’09.  They are a winery that sources from a few family-owned farms in the region and this was one of the rawest, cleanest expressions of Pinot Noir that I tasted in Oregon.  They aren’t distributed here in NYC yet, but I’m hoping that they get here very soon.

I have secretly been counting down the days until September, with it’s cool breezes and its surge of energy and ideas, changing leaves, grapes and apples, and pie. Yes, PIE. Harvest has started in the Finger Lakes after what was another beautiful growing season. We’ll see what September has in store for us this time around.

Matello Lazarus 2009

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Where has the summer gone?

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