As a writer and now editor of Live in Italy Magazine, every day I receive many press releases. Typically if the subject is about art exhibitions; food and wine; or anything related to Italy, I have a quick look and store them in a Potential Editorial folder. For all other subjects, the messages go directly to trash. However, last week, a fashion related email stayed in my inbox. It was an invitation to see the Spring/Summer 2021 Collection of Beautiisoles at Faena Bazaar. Because I run and also have flat feet, finding the right shoes (never mind good looking and fashionable shoes), is always a challenge. However, after meeting Robyn Shreiber, I think my “sole searching” days are over.
Who is Robyn Shreiber?
Petit Robyn Shreiber is effervescent. She attentively greets her guests while dashing back and forth to check the shoe inventory, returns to update them and take down their contact details. If you manage to keep her in one spot for a few minutes, you’ll soon be inspired by her success story.
I have to giggle every time someone tells me about ‘the other jobs’ (I have a few too)! By day, Robyn is the Vice President of J&J Snack Foods: the nation’s leading leader in providing nutritious and affordable niche snack foods to foodservice and retail supermarket outlets across the U.S. I just love the company’s slogan, Born of Ashes, Dusted by Destiny®.
By all other moments in the day and night, Robyn runs Beautiisoles with her partner, Danielle Clarke. And, if that’s not enough for you to imagine managing, she is also a competitive ballroom dancer! To escape the stress of work, you may find Robyn Cha Cha Cha-ing and losing herself in ¾ time, the Waltz.
In all respects, Robyn is a living example of the expression:
“If you want something done, ask a busy person.”
One can only imagine that someone so busy needs a comfortable pair of shoes. However, Robyn’s story goes further. After years of wearing uncomfortable shoes, she developed a severe foot injury that eventually led to emergency surgery. Not fully recovered, Robyn went on a planned safari to Tanzania for her non-profit organization. Upon her return, Robyn decided that she was determined to develop a comfortable, yet affordable luxury shoe brand.
You can read the full story on the Beautiisoles website.
My comfortable, yet stylish ‘sole’ searching days may just be over. While it’s still hard for me to wear flat shoes, I greatly enjoyed slipping my feet into the boots, mules and pumps. Seldom, do I try on a pair of shoes and automatically feel comfortable.
I am looking forward to owning my first pair and watching for the Beautiisoles Fall Collection. After all, Art Basel Miami is around the corner. Since I will cover as many fairs as possible for the UK arts publication that I write for, I’ll be in need of some comfortable shoes that can be used all day and into the night.
Thank You Robyn!
I am always energized by smart, independent women because they keep me motivated. Robyn is dancing her way to the top of the high fashion shoe world! Most importantly, Robyn: you have a beautiful soul (sole) and it was a pleasure meeting you!
Spring is here and we have much to celebrate! There’s the gift of anticipation and we will now push forward and work harder than ever. For over one year people, far and wide, have been imprisoned both physically and emotionally. It is now time to repair both body and mind. Like always, I turn to nature: the garden and vineyard show signs of new growth. To celebrate, here is a simple wine and food pairing idea: Recipe homage to the Rite of Spring. Like Stravinsky’s seminal work, let’s celebrate dissonance rather than comfort in harmonious familiarity. We must embrace a new modernism.
While you prepare this Fennel Salad with Apple and sip on Blazic 2018 Ribolla Gialla, listen to Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. Let’s test the limits of what our new lease on life gives us.
Fennel and Apple Salad
Based on recipe from the NY Times Cooking App.) I substituted slivered almonds for walnuts and a Macintosh apple for Granny Smith.
3 tablespoons lemon juice, plus more to taste
½ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 large fennel bulbs, thinly sliced on a mandoline slicer
2 Granny Smith apples, halved and cored, thinly sliced on a mandoline
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced on a mandoline
⅓ cup fennel fronds or roughly chopped parsley leaves
½ cup toasted walnuts
2 ½ ounces Parmesan, shaved with a vegetable peeler (about 2/3 cup)
Add the salt and pepper to the lemon juice and then add the olive oil slowly while whisking to emulsify the dressing. Combine all ingredients and top with Parmesan when serving.
2018 Blazic Ribolla Gialla Collio
Blazic Wine Estate is a family run winery nestled in the heart of the hills of Cormòns, in Zegla located in Italy’s Friuli Venezia Giulia region. They have been making wine since 1923. Read more about this unique territory and magnificent wines here.
Note: I also grilled pork and made gnocchi in a sage sauce.
It’s been three months since I have posted a blog. During that time, traffic to my website has taken a deep dive and Pinterest went from 40,000 to 3,000 monthly viewers. However, analytics haven’t stopped me from cooking and baking. Each experience has been deliciously satisfying and that to me, has been more important than worrying about insights or an Instagram post. Today, I’m sharing a recipe for a Pumpkin Cake Roll, a perfect Thanksgiving dessert.
This year has been challenging and the time that I have neglected my blog has been dedicated to new projects. As this year closes, today’s Thanksgiving dessert brings to mind a few things that I’m grateful for.
Flour: Sounds silly, but flour is now easily found.
Work: I am thankful for new and different opportunities where I’m not subjected to so many deadlines.
Time: With less work, I have more time to pursue projects that I thought that I wouldn’t get to until retirement.
Friends: I have more time for people now and that’s nice. Can’t wait until I can see more of them in person.
Recognition: I am thankful for being interviewed by Shoutout Miami. Please read it to get to know me a little better.
Connections and Community: One of my new projects, Live in Italy Magazine has allowed me to meet new people and learn new traditions. (Something that has been lost during these times that we can’t travel.)
Pumpkin Cake Roll Recipe
This Pumpkin Cake Roll is delicious and easy. There are a few different versions, but the one that I used can be found here. Per request, I’ve also translated it into Italian. Click here.
3 large eggs, separated, room temperature
1 cup sugar, divided
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Additional confectioners’ sugar, optional
Line a 15x10x1-in. baking pan with waxed paper; grease the paper and set aside. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks on high speed until thick and lemon-colored. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and pumpkin, beating on high until sugar is almost dissolved.
In a small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold into egg yolk mixture. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; gently fold into pumpkin mixture. Spread into prepared pan.
Bake at 375° until cake springs back when lightly touched, 12-15 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes.
Turn cake onto a kitchen towel dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Gently peel off waxed paper.
Roll up cake in the towel jelly-roll style, starting with a short side. Cool completely on a wire rack.
In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until smooth.
Unroll cake; spread filling evenly to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up again, without towel. Cover and freeze until firm. May be frozen for up to 3 months. Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before cutting. If desired, dust with confectioners’ sugar.
I’m currently re-reading The Alchemist, so it seems appropriate to end with a quote from Paulo Coelho’s book.
And, when you can’t go back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward.
I’m not sure when I’ll have time to blog again, but in the meantime, please subscribe to one of my newest projects: Live in Italy Magazine.
Be sure to let me know what you’re thankful for and what’s your favorite Thanksgiving dessert in a comment below. 👇🏼
Lemon Ricotta Cake is a Perfect Finish to the Summer BBQ Dinner!
Here’s the perfect way to use up leftover Ricotta cheese. This Lemon Ricotta Cake recipe is the ideal finish to the summer BBQ dinner. The “secret sauce” is the lemon rind which means that you need real lemons. Please don’t use bottled lemon juice! Keep scrolling to read where you’ll find the best lemons in the world. 👇🏼
A Little History
It was impossible for me to find the Lemon Ricotta Cake’s true origin despite the many versions that are available on the internet. I am going to guess Sicily, because that area of Italy claims to be the founder of ricotta cheese. (Since my readership is largely based in Italy, feel free to comment at the end of the blog should you know differently. 👇🏼)
I love how in traditional Italian Cuisine, you can find innovative and tasty examples of how nothing went to waste. Ricotta (it’s really a curd rather than cheese) came about when someone wanted to find a way to use the whey leftover from other cheeses. In fact, Ricotta translates to “re-cooked.” One of the earliest references to ricotta was made by a Sicilian history professor.
Curious about how Ricotta is made? I suggest that you watch this video.
World’s Most Famous Lemons
Probably the biggest and best lemons in the world come from the Amalfi Coast and Sorrento. Have you been there? If so, tag #LiveinItalyMag @LiveinItalyMag in your photos for re-gram consideration.
Now despite Sorrento’s claim to lemon fame, it’s believed that this citrus fruit’s roots go back to Northern India, China and Malaysia. It was the Medici’s of Florence that brought lemons to Italy and started cultivating lemons in the 16th Century. Read more here.
This cake is called Migliaccio (pudding) in Naples. The name is indicative of the Lemon Ricotta Cake’s texture. In this version, semolina is used rather than flour. Here again, is a great example of making something delicious of ingredients readily on hand.
1 1/3 cups (188g) all-purpose flour (scoop and level to measure)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 Tbsp lemon zest
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (356g) whole milk ricotta cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, line bottom with a round of parchment paper and butter parchment.
In a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together sugar, butter and lemon zest until pale and fluffy.
Mix in eggs one at a time (mixture will appear lumpy), blend in vanilla.
Add in half of the flour mixture and mix just until combined, add ricotta and mix just until combined.
Add in last half of the flour mixture and mix just until combined. Gently fold batter to ensure ingredients are evenly incorporated.
Pour batter into prepared springform pan and spread into an even layer. Bake in preheated oven until cake is set (a toothpick can come out moist but no batter), about 45 – 50 minutes.
Let cake cool 10 minutes then run a knife around edge to loosen any edges that may have stuck slightly, remove springform ring and continue to let cool.
Once cool, dust the Lemon Ricotta Cake with powdered sugar and serve it with fresh fruit and whipped cream, if desired.
A Ricotta Life Lesson
I’m enjoying this journey to discover the history of some of the ingredients that go into Italian dishes and desserts that I love. I hope you will enjoy joining me on this food journey too.
Quality ingredients are key. However, being mindful and not letting anything go to waste strengthens our appreciation of what we make.
Cu’ non mancia ccu’ so’ cucchiaru lassa tutto ‘o zammataru. (Those who don’t eat with a spoon will leave all their ricotta behind.) ~ Professor Santi Correnti, chairman of the history department of the University of Catania and a preeminent historian of Sicily.
If you like lemon desserts, check out this easy, No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake recipe.
Combine las migas de galletas Graham y los azúcares en un tazón mediano. Agregue mantequilla derretida y use un tenedor para combinar bien los ingredientes.
Vierta la mezcla en un molde de resorte de 9 “o 10”. Use el fondo (¡limpio!) De una taza de medir para empacar firmemente las migajas en el fondo de la sartén y presione suavemente hacia los lados. Usa tus dedos para empacar las migajas firmemente en los lados de la sartén.
Coloque en el refrigerador o congelador mientras prepara el relleno de tarta de queso.
Vierta la mezcla de gelatina de gelatina de limón en 1 taza de agua muy caliente y revuelva bien. Ponga a un lado para enfriar.
Mientras tanto, revuelva el queso crema y el azúcar en polvo hasta que quede suave y bien combinado.
Agregue la crema agria y revuelva bien.
Mezclar en extracto de vainilla.
Solo una vez que la mezcla de gelatina ya no esté caliente al tacto, vierta gradualmente en la mezcla de queso crema. Revuelva lentamente al principio (para evitar salpicaduras) y luego aumente la velocidad hasta que la mezcla esté completamente combinada (haga una pausa para raspar los lados del tazón periódicamente). Revuelva muy bien.
En un tazón separado, vierta su crema espesa y use una batidora eléctrica con un batidor para batir a picos rígidos.
Doble la crema batida en la mezcla de pastel de queso hasta que esté bien combinada.
Doblar en la ralladura de limón, si se usa.
Vierte sobre la corteza de galletas Graham y transfiérelas al refrigerador por al menos 6 horas o toda la noche para que se enfríen.
Si lo desea, cubra con crema batida antes de cortar y servir.
There’s nothing pleasant about living in South Florida these days. This year, the stifling heat and humidity are minor burdens compared to the reality of living in Florida, the COVID-19 epicenter. We’re just sitting and watching our impending, pandemic doom. Read it to believe it here. So, when life gives you lemons, make an easy no-bake lemon cheesecake.
Here’s the recipe below and some history about this famous saying at the end 👇🏼 – just keep scrolling if you’re not making this dessert. However, I suggest that you do because it’s a great finish to a BBQ dinner.
Combine graham cracker crumbs and sugars in a medium-sized bowl. Add melted butter and use a fork to combine ingredients well.
Pour mixture into a 9″ or 10″ springform pan. Use the (clean!) bottom of a measuring cup to firmly pack crumbs into the bottom of the pan and gently press up the sides. Use your fingers to pack crumbs tightly into the sides of the pan.
Place in refrigerator or freezer while you prepare cheesecake filling.
Pour Lemon Jello gelatin mix into 1 cup very hot water and stir well. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, stir cream cheese and powdered sugar together until smooth and well-combined.
Add sour cream and stir well.
Mix in vanilla extract.
Only once Jello mixture is no longer hot to the touch, gradually pour into cream cheese mixture. Stir slowly at first (to avoid splashing) and then increase speed until mixture is completely combined (pause to scrape down sides of the bowl periodically). Stir very well.
In a separate bowl, pour your heavy cream and use an electric mixer with whisk attachment to beat to stiff peaks.
Fold whipped cream into cheesecake mixture until well-combined.
Fold in lemon zest, if using.
Pour over graham cracker crust and transfer to refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight to chill.
If desired, top with whipped cream before cutting and serving.
I made two versions. For the second one, I used strawberry Jello because I needed a July 4th dessert. It came out pink, so I added a strawberry to the center and outlined the no-bake cheesecake with blueberries and whipped cream. Hooray for the red, but really pink, white and blue! 😊
The lemon version is a much tastier and more sophisticated dessert, because it doesn’t taste at all like Jello. Next year, I’ll just add some red food color to the original, no-bake lemon cheesecake recipe.
When Life Gives You Lemons
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” is a memorable proverbial phrase that many of us like to pull out of our pocket and slap on like a Band-Aid, when something goes wrong. The phrase originates from a obituary titled, “The King of Jesters” penned by Elbert Hubbard who was inspired by the life of a disabled, but highly successful, dwarf actor.
In stressful times such as now, we turn to these words of wisdom and hopefully, find positive ways to escape. For me, it would be a visit to a museum, walk on the beach, or lunch with a friend. However, these simple solutions are now like unattainable luxuries as Floridians struggle to stay healthy and economically stable.
I’ll continue to temporarily forget by escaping to my kitchen and “make lemonade (or lemon cheesecake) from lemons.” However, it’s getting harder…
P.S. I am very thankful for all you who have shared this recipe. I was asked to post it in Spanish and Italian, so there are links at the top of the recipe. I am not fluent in Spanish or in Italian, so I used Google Translator. So, excuse any typos! 😊
Ricci Curbastro Guided Wine Tasting Seminar: History, Area, and Wines
If you haven’t had an opportunity to try Franciacorta, know that there are many reasons to do so. Once you’ve had just a few sips, I can almost guarantee that you’ll fall in love and possibly make this style of wine you’re preferred choice of bubbly. Today’s blog post is solely dedicated to the wine presented at the Ricci Curbastro guided wine tasting seminar.
Yes, I’ll mention the suggested pairings at the end and possibly in a future post. However, today I’ll recap the one hour, World Wine Web Masterclass seminar led by wine expert, Lyn Farmer and featuring Riccardo and Gualberto Ricci Curbastro of Ricci Curbastro Farm Estate Winery. A group of about twenty-five guests including lucky me, had a chance to learn about the history, vineyards and wines.
What is Franciacorta?
Franciacorta is a small wine-producing area in Lombardy, Italy and is also a style of high-quality sparkling wine made using the Traditional Method or when speaking about Champagne, Méthode Champenoise. Now is not the time to compare ‘apples and oranges,’ because Franciacorta has its own unique identity, so let’s first dive into some history.
The cultivation of vines in Franciacorta goes back very far. Think about evidence of prehistoric grape seeds and mentions in the writings of Pliny the Elder. You can read more here.
The agricultural tradition of the Ricci Curbastro family dates back to the thirteenth century. Eighteen generations later, Riccardo leads the business alongside his eldest son Gualberto who bears his grandfather’s name.
Franciacorta received its DOCG status* in 1995 and was the first Italian sparkling wine to achieve this designation. The region consists of about 120 producers. Gualberto explained at that time, the term Traditional or Classical Method was no longer used and replaced with Franciacorta as the only word to describe the wine style.
*Read about Italian Wine Classifications here.
There’s Something About Soil
A few years ago when Riccardo was sorting through papers, he discovered a map that dated back to 1908. It documented the research that his grandfather and great grandfather made to decide what was the best combination in terms of grafting American roots and European varieties after the phylloxera epidemic.
“Franciacorta is the stratification of great patience and a lot of research in getting always better and better quality,” remarked Riccardo with a tone of admiration and appreciation for his forefathers. “And, we started a long time ago.”
He explains that Franciacorta has over sixty soil profiles. For this reason it is very important that Ricci Curbastro has vineyards in three different villages because of the variations in soil. Plus, the microclimates are different between the three. I suggest you watch the full video on the World Wine Web’s Masterclass Facebook page to understand more.
“There is something pretty unique in terms of characteristics: soil and climate,” says Riccardo when explaining the area, located at the foot of the Alps and north by the shores of Lake Iseo. The area has an unusual mix of climates, including Mediterranean.
One of the ingredients of our wine is time. ~ Riccardo Ricci Curbastro
We tasted three wines: Franciacorta Brut NV (60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Blanc, 10% Pinot Noir); Franciacorta Brut Satèn 2014 (100% Chardonnay); and Franciacorta Rosé Brut NV (80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay.) You can read the wine specs here.
What engages me the most about wine seminars is to hear from people who create the wines. The insights and anecdotes are a trajectory from what’s in my glass to the vineyard and history.
For example, I learned that the word Satèn (silk) is a name that is typically only from Franciacorta and infers Franciacorta’s past when they were producing a lot of silk, as well as wine. Silk is a perfect metaphor for Franciacorta Satèn: “When you touch a scarf you have the sensation of something that is smooth but, at the same time, it is a very strong cloth,” explains Riccardo noting that the first parachutes were made of silk. “The wine’s strength is like roundness and very good structure.”
Not Just for Toasting
Lyn, Riccardo and Gualberto emphasized that the Ricci Curbastro wines go well with food and are not just for toasting at special occasions. Gualberto who grew up with Franciacorta at the table said when speaking of the Rosé Brut: “We’ve tried the best and worst with Franciacorta, but barbeque is always a good combination.”
Riccardo refers to the Rosé Brut as a “light red” and explained that the dryness, acidity and elegance of the wine balances with the richness of grilled meat.
We were drooling, when Lyn presented his 11:00 am “perfect pairing” – Smoked Salmon and Bacon-Wrapped Scallops. Yum and I need to hurry back into the kitchen lab!
Falling In Love
While I won’t write about it today, I suggest you watch the video and learn more about the Sustainable Winery 3E logo that is on the back label of Ricci Curbastro wines. You can also read more here.
Lyn commented on one of my Instagram posts that “Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta is the ultimate postcard in a glass.” I couldn’t agree more!
Once you’ve watched the seminar, read the Ricci Curbastro website to learn more, and drink the wines, I suggest that you watch this film: “F is for Franciacorta.” If you’re anything like me, you too will be ‘falling in love’ with Franciacorta.
Falling in love consists merely in uncorking the imagination and bottling the common sense. ~ Helen Rowland
A Very Special Thanks for the Invitation to this Virtual Event💕
Roast Pork Loin with Apricot Sauce Recipe Paired with 2015 Jean- Baptiste Riesling Kabinett by Weingut Gunderloch
Today’s recipe and pairing wine is taking me out of my comfort zone. This Roast Pork Loin with Apricot Sauce recipe nicely complements the 2015 Jean- Baptiste Riesling Kabinett by Weingut Gunderloch and is a perfect Sunday meal that will give you more time to relax than spent in the kitchen.
How Do You Like Your Wine?
Typically, I like white wines that are bone dry and red wines with some ‘oomph.’ When it comes to food, I prefer dishes that are savory and avoid anything sweet that goes alongside them like turkey with cranberry sauce.
Just like last week, I still have my nose in a glass and in a pile of books. If you’re not making these recipes, scroll down for some Weingut Gunderloch history and some introductory German wine vocabulary too. 👇🏼
10 to 12 ounces apricot preserves (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons chicken broth (or dry sherry)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
In a large food storage bag or glass bowl, combine 1/2 cup chicken broth, the soy sauce, minced garlic, dry mustard, thyme, and ginger.
Add pork roast, turning to coat well.
Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours, turning occasionally.
Remove pork roast and discard the marinade.
Heat the oven to 325 F.
Place pork roast, fat side up, on a rack in a foil-lined roasting pan.
Bake in the preheated oven, uncovered, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until a meat thermometer or instant-read food thermometer registers at least 145 F when inserted into the center of the roast.
Remove the roast from the oven, tent loosely with a sheet of foil, and let it stand for 15 minutes before slicing.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, combine the preserves, 2 tablespoons of chicken broth or sherry, and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce.
Bring the sauce to a boil and turn the heat to low. Simmer for 1 minute.
Slice the pork loin thinly and serve it with the apricot sauce.
The Wine: 2015 Jean- Baptiste Riesling Kabinett by Weingut Gunderloch
The Weingut Gunderloch vineyards are in an area called Roter Hang which means ‘red slope’ and located in Germany’s Rheinhessen, Germany’s largest wine region. This area had been known for producing average wines, but this reputation is being redefined by wineries such as Weingut Gunderloch. You can find out more about this area here, but to put it into a better perspective, I suggest that you watch this video.
I found this wine at Wine by the Bay in Miami and a great write-up with descriptor here. I’ll dive briefly into Riesling and sweetness below, but here are Tim Lemke’s notes:
“The nose is powerfully floral and lemony. It smells absolutely wonderful. The palate offers crisp lemon, apple and peach flavors with good balance, perfect acidity and a pleasant mouthfeel. It has plenty of fruit, and is more tart than sweet. The finish is plenty long, and features lingering peach flavors. This is a pretty tasty Riesling.”
Just How Sweet is Sweet?
As Tim Lemke describes, the 2015 Jean- Baptiste Riesling Kabinett is somewhere between dry and sweet. That hint of sweetness means that it pairs very well with the Roast Pork Loin with Apricot Sauce. Although designated as “Kabinett,” I feel that this wine is much more complex than the definition of Kabinett implies. Possibly, the aging in this case made the difference and Wine Newbie me feels like it drinks more like a Spätlese. If you disagree, feel free to leave a comment at the end. 👇🏼
Speaking of sweet, if you’re practicing for the WSET 2 exam and struggling with the Riesling classifications, here is a short breakdown of some of the things we must know: “Sprechen Sie Deutch?”
Landwein: Table wine and generally low quality. Like the category, “Protected Geographical Indication” it means that there are regulations in place.
Qualitätswein: Like the category, “Protected Designation of Origin.” Read more here.
Prädikatswein: Same as, “Protected Designation of Origin, but” this category is divided into subdivisions by levels of ripeness (sweetness.) I found it hard to memorize at first, but generally with repeated practice, it began to register:
Kabinett: Usually light wines made of fully ripe grapes.
Spätlese: Literally means “late harvest” and are more intense in flavor and concentration than the latter categories.
Auslese: Select picking of very ripe bunches.
Eiswein: Ice Wine – Wines of at least BA intensity are harvested while frozen
Neither the wine or this recipe would have been at the top of my “kitchen lab” list, but I needed to try Riesling as part of my wine education journey. I enjoyed getting out of my comfort zone. And, once again the wine inspired the dish. There are many “Reasons for Riesling” and future wine pairings too!
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Neale Donald Walsch
I’m so antsy, aren’t you? South Florida summers aren’t pleasant, so since I won’t be hopping on a plane any time soon, I need to find ways to bring travel to the table.
Two Spanish Tapas Recipes and Rioja Wine
Take me back to Spain! It’s time relive vacation memories by making two classic Spanish recipes: Huevos Rotas (Potatoes with Broken Eggs,) Espinacas con Garbanzos (Chickpeas with Spinach,) and drink a Rioja Gran Reserva (Tempranillo.)
I’ll get to the WSET 2 studying part near the bottom of this blog 👇🏼. It’s important too, so keep reading…
Traditionally, this is a Tapas dish and not a side or breakfast!
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
½ teaspoon red-pepper flakes or 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 pounds new potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces if necessary
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Lemon wedges, for serving
Flaky sea salt, for serving
In a measuring cup, combine the olive oil, paprika, red-pepper flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, a generous grind of pepper and 1 cup water. Put the potatoes in a large skillet and pour the olive oil mixture over them. Then, bring the potatoes to a boil, then cover and cook on high until the potatoes are fork-tender, 6 to 9 minutes.
Uncover and turn the heat to low. If the potatoes are sticking or dry, add more olive oil. Next, arrange the potatoes in an even layer, cut side down if halved, then add the onion and garlic surrounding the potatoes. Finally, cover and cook until the potatoes are golden-brown and the onions are softened, 4 to 6 minutes.
Stir the potatoes (if they’re sticking, add more oil). Make 4 nests in the potatoes and crack an egg into each. Season with salt and pepper and then, cover and cook until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny, 4 to 6 minutes.
To serve, break the yolks gently with a serving spoon, then scoop some potatoes and an egg onto plates or into shallow bowls. Serve with a squeeze of lemon and flaky salt.
1/2 cup prosciutto cut into strips (optional) – I skipped this part and substituted baby spinach
Salt and black pepper to taste
In a medium-size saucepan over medium heat, simmer the onions and garlic in olive oil until they are soft but not browned. Add the chickpeas, crushed tomatoes, parsley, oregano, cumin and prosciutto, if using, and simmer for 30 minutes more.
Taste the mixture and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper. If it does not seem moist enough, add a little of the reserved chickpea liquid or some olive oil, or both. Serve lukewarm with a green salad and good bread and butter or garlic oil.
Note: Since I was serving Serrano ham and Manchego cheese on the side, I skipped that part and substituted baby spinach instead. Simply stir in about 2-3 cups into the chickpea mix until the spinach wilts, but still keeps a bright green color.
The Pairing Wine: 2004 Viña Olabarri Gran Reserva
80% Tempranillo, 12% Graciano, 8% Mazuelo
I love Spanish wines, but the majority that I’ve tried are quite powerful. They work well with Spanish and Latin food that’s not spicy, but seldom would I think to drink one without food. However, the 2004 Viña Olabarri Gran Reserva is definitely a Rioja wine that I’d sip while reading a good book. I’ve never had a Gran Reserva wine before, so it was a treat to experience a wine that had been aged for 36 months in French and American oak barrels, plus cellar aged for another 36 months!
Here are the tasting notes provided by Viña Olabarri:
Color: Deep ruby red color with subtle brick red hues on the rim from the ageing process.
Bouquet: Intense aromas of black fruit and spices, with a mineral hint.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, integrating beautifully the rich ripe fruit with the sweet spices provided by the oak.
A pleasant, clean aftertaste of remarkable harmony.
A Little History
Viña Olabarri was founded by Pablo Olabarri Bikandi, who since 1958 spent long periods of time in Haro; due to his love of Rioja wines, in 1985 he decided to buy an old 19th century winery in Calle las Bodegas, in Anguciana.
As a result, the need for bigger, more modern facilities to make the wines took him to build a new winery in the outskirts of Haro in 1989, with capacity to hold 4,000 barrels and up to 800,000 bottles.
His son, Luis Olabarri is currently in charge of the winery.
It’s Test Time!
If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I’ve had my nose in a glass and a pile of wine books for some time. I started the Society of Wine Educators Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) course, but was finding it difficult. Although I can master self-study, I really needed to begin my wine journey with some guidance.
One good thing that’s come from the COVID-19 pandemic, is that there has been a plethora of new opportunities to learn online. I’ve wanted to take a Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) course for some time, but found it difficult to find the time. Also, since Florida Wine Academy is located in Downtown Miami, getting there once I finished my workday would have been a challenge. Shortly after participating in a couple Florida Wine Academy’s free Zoom webinars, they announced that the WSET 2 would be offered online. I immediately registered!
Registrants have the option to purchase the wine packs through them, but I found the required wines either near my home or at Wine by the Bay in Miami.
The course is six weeks and I’ve completed that part and now am studying for the exam. It’s been an exciting journey so far and the most important thing I’ve discovered, is that I’m still a Wine Newbie and loving it. This trip will take a lifetime and just when I’ve mastered one part, I realized that there’s so much more to discover.
This education is brain stimulation and tasty and I look forward to many more food and wine pairing weekends!
Wine Newbie Resources
Here are some additional resources that I found useful to enhance the WSET text and workbooks:
“The discovery of a wine is of greater moment than the discovery of a constellation. The universe is too full of stars.”
― Benjamin Franklin
If you have a useful wine education resource to share, feel free to post it in a comment below. Plus, if you have your own Spanish tapas recipes or a Rioja wine to share, tag me in your photos on Instagram! Or, let me know how you bring travel to your table.
Miami, FL…June 8, 2020…The Home Design and Remodeling Show now offers a variety of virtual experiences to respond to the surge of online shoppers since the start of the stay-at-home order mandated by the State of Florida.
The “At Home with the Home Show” (#AtHomewiththeHomeShow) online showcase is designed to help South Florida homeowners connect with home remodeling and improvement businesses, while giving reputable companies a platform to speak about product offerings and services by educating the consumer. The online amenities will continue to expand and serve as an additional resource to in-person Home Shows.
Although many businesses are back open, consumers have become reliant on, plus feel safer initiating their purchase decisions through online shopping. With so many choices, the search can be daunting and making the best selection also depends on selecting trusted and recommended sources.
The Home Design and Remodeling Show has been featuring businesses that would typically exhibit at either the Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach Home Shows. Select companies will be showcased by way of video interviews with their owners; blog posts, social media and Instagram lives. The video interviews take place each Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. on the Home Show’s Facebook page.
A resource guide is available via the Home Show’s YouTube channel covering topics such as:
All About Impact Windows
How Much Will Solar Power Cost?
The Many Benefits of Living Walls
Types of Hinges for Modern Interior Doors
How Consumer Habits Have Changed Since Coronavirus
Add Luxury Style to Your Home by Replacing Boring Doors
Top Ways to Create a Stylish Patio
Best Ways to Upgrade Popcorn and Ugly Ceilings
This month, the Home Show will focus on hurricane preparedness and how to protect the home.
The Home Design and Remodeling Show’s digital platform has grown to over 30,000 followers on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter combined and has thousands of email subscribers; plus includes a multimedia advertising campaign, sponsors and cross-promotional partnerships. For more information, visit www.homeshows.net.
About the Home Design and Remodeling Show
For the SIXTH consecutive year, BizBash named the Home Design and Remodeling Show as one of Miami/South Florida’s Top 100 Events and placed fourth in the Trade Shows, Expos & Conventions category. The Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach Home Design and Remodeling Shows have been South Florida’s largest and premier home improvement expos for over forty years. Homeowners can find a diverse range of products and solutions tailored specifically to the Florida housing market. Plus, encounter some of South Florida’s most prominent home designers and home remodeling companies. Because the Home Show features superior vendors, tens of thousands of excited homeowners attend the Home Show every year.
The Virtual Home Design and Remodeling Show
Initiated in 2020, Home Show Management has expanded to include an online showcase of some of the best home design products and services in South Florida and beyond. Home Show’s multimedia platform is your first step in home improvement. Connect with trusted sources by watching, “At Home with the Home Show” interviews and business spotlights on YouTube and Instagram Live.
Follow @FLHomeShows on Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter; and FloridaHomeShow on Facebook.