Sunday, June 29, 2014

Introducing.....Decanted!

Today was a big day around these parts!  I have been playing with the idea of doing some videos for you all for a while and today, I can finally launch my new segment- Decanted!  I'm so excited to use this space to answer any and all wine questions you may have so please send them on over- and definitely check out my first video!  

Thursday, June 26, 2014

City Wine Tours, and Their New Ambassador!

Have you ever wanted to take a fun tour of the different neighborhoods of Boston?  Meandering through them, learning their rich history....maybe drinking some wine along the way?

If you haven't heard, City Wine Tours offers explorations of the Back Bay, South End, North End and Harvard Square each and every weekend.  Each tour is two hours and takes you to three different destinations which includes multiple glasses of wine and tasty snacks.  All along the way your guide will talk you through the wines you're tasting, relay some handy dandy tips for how to order wine in a restaurant or what to look for at a wine store, and even throw in some fun facts about the neighborhood your in.  

Now the super fun part?  Earlier this month I joined the team at City Wine Tours as a Wine Ambassador- meaning that you may even get to tour an area with me!  I'll warn you though- I get pretty geeky about wine and can definitely get into a lot of detail about different aspects, but, like all the ambassadors- I love answering questions and making wine so much less complex!

Definitely check out CityWineTours.com and sign up for your favorite neighborhood- a good time awaits!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

ScoreBig.com- The BEST Ticket Agency Around!

As much as there is fantastic food here in Boston there are some amazing concerts, games, and shows to take in between meals.  Over the last few years a new ticket sourcing agency has been taking the city by storm. 



ScoreBig.com isn't your generic ticketing agency.  Here you name your price for the tickets you want, allowing you to get steep discounts on some of the hottest seats in town!  The system couldn't be simpler, and the whole thing takes just a couple of minutes!  

First off- browse their incredible selection of available events.  Itching to cheer on those champion Red Sox?  They've got seats to almost every game! How about that Justin Timberlake concert coming up?  Or maybe one of those amazing Broadway style productions that we are blessed to have visit us?  Yeah- they can help you out with that.

Then, once you've found your perfect event, pick your date and time, and then
your seat level.  All of their tickets fall into different levels of seats/prices and their handy dandy tool will show you which area the levels fall into.  Pick which is best for you and then name your price!  The system will show you how likely it is that you will get your tickets for the named price by a red to green slider.  Click accept and within a couple of minutes you will know what kind of a discount you get!


Tickets are inclusive of taxes and shipping, and so just a few days later they will arrive and you will be on your way!  ScoreBig has become my favorite way to purchase tickets to any event- super easy and I feel like Im playing a game looking for the best bargain- what could be better??  

Next time you're looking for tickets to any event- check them out!  

Please note, this is a sponsored post by Scorebig.com

Monday, June 16, 2014

Garden Party Recap- Partying Down with Hood Cottage Cheese

There are very few things better than sitting outside, in gorgeous weather, with good friends, good food and good wine.  Really, there just aren't that many things that make the world more enjoyable.  So when Hood contacted me about hosting a summer garden party, focusing on their awesome new Cottage Cheese flavors, I immediately accepted.

Earlier this year, Hood released their delicious, creamy, high protein and nutrient rich Cottage Cheese in new flavors of Garden Veggie and Cucumber Dill.   These are classic flavors, but here, they are deliciously done and perfect for making all sorts of brand new creations.  Now when I'm creating a party menu, I love to make finger foods- items that are easy to eat, easy to mingle with, ones that are small bites but full of flavor and textures.  

First up, I concentrated on
the cucumber dill.  For whatever reason, whenever I think of this combination of flavors, I immediately think of something spicy to contrast the cooling nature of the cucumber, and even more so the dairy that was present here with the Cottage Cheese.  I decided on spicy chicken, set in convenient boats made out of endive and topped with the Cucumber Dill Cottage Cheese.  Simple to make, and perfectly easy to eat the endive creates a satisfying crunch with just a bit of refreshing water to cool the heat from the chicken, and then further with the cottage cheese.  Paired with a glass of slightly sweet Riesling, or a nice, acidic Sauvignon Blanc- these bites were both filling and light.

Next I concentrated on the Garden Veggie.  I'll be honest, I was anticipating rather flat flavors from this variety- the delicacy of vegetable flavors overcome by the dairy.  However, instead it is full of real flavors- peppers, herbs, zucchini...and somewhere just a little bit of a kick of spice.  The flavors in the cheese demanded being the star of the show, so I made two simple recipes with them.  The first was a similar "boat" experience as the endive, but instead here I decided hollow out the insides of a few small zucchini, and then fill it with sauteed ground turkey breast, and topped it with the cottage cheese.  Minimizing the seasoning here on the turkey meat allowed the cottage cheese to take center stage and the delicate flavors within to come into their own.  The flavors here are so rich and powerful, I loved pairing this with a full bodied glass of Grenache based Rose.  

Finally, I riffed a recipe that the team at Hood sent me.  Easiest recipe ever,
with maximum deliciousness.  Hollow out just a couple of cherry tomatoes, fill the center with Garden Vegetable Cottage Cheese, and here is where I differed the recipe- top with freshly fried pieces of bacon. Yup- I went there.  

I found all of the flavors to be highly adaptable and easy to work with.  Each contributes its own unique flavors- flavors that are fresh, natural, and completely delicious.  Hood Cottage Cheese is full of awesome nutrients and is a fantastic addition to a balanced diet.

Spicy Chicken Endive Bites
2 chicken breasts
1 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less dependent on your taste)
1 tsp garlic powder
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Salt
10 Endive leaves, washed but kept whole
1 1/2 cups Cucumber Dill Cottage Cheese

Pre Heat oven to 375.  Blend together the cayenne pepper, garlic powder, black pepper and salt and rub into the chicken breasts.  Bake until done, then dice the chicken.  Distribute the chicken between the endive leaves and top with the cottage cheese.

Zucchini Turkey Boats
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 Lb Ground Turkey
1/4 of a white onion, diced
1 cup Garden Vegetable Cottage Cheese
4 small zucchini
Salt and Pepper

Pre Heat the oven to 300.  In a small pan over medium heat, add the olive oil, and saute the onions, and then add the ground turkey, salt and pepper.  While that cooks, slice the zucchini in half lengthwise, and then, with a small, sharp knife score the inside into small pieces being careful not to cut all the way through the skin.  Remove the pieces, leaving the space to fill with the turkey meat.  Add the pieces to the sautee pan with the turkey meat.  When the turkey is done cooking, shovel the mixture into the cavities in the zucchini, top with cottage cheese and serve!      


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