Three, two, one, party! With 2013 around the corner, do you have your New Year’s Eve celebration plans set? Are you painting the town red? Hosting a soirée at your house? Attending a friend’s bash? Relaxing in front of television with a glass of champagne and ringing in the New Year with Ryan Seacrest? No matter what plans you have, as long as you are authentic in your celebratory plans and do what makes you happy, then that is the best way to ring in the New Year.
Last year at this time I was preparing for an intimate New Years Eve soiree that I was hosting at our house. Entertaining for me is an opportunity to let my creative juices flow, gather good friends together and share in great conversation and many laughs. One of my long time friends Denise came to the Bay Area for the holidays, so it was a perfect reason to host a wine and appetizer party at our house for her and about a dozen plus other friends. A good time was had by all with good friends, great conversations, tasty food, special wines and indelible memories.
This year Hubby and I decided to celebrate with just the two of us by enjoying a wonderful bottle of bubbly and sharing tasty appetizers. Perhaps to ring in 2014, we will host a bash at our house. Until then, I am looking forward to having a party for two and ringing in the New Year with my hubby. We will be feasting on an array of appetizers along with enjoying a few glasses of French bubbly. I have featured a few of the tasty appetizers we will be enjoying.
Speaking of bubbly, thought I would share with all of you a Quick Guide to
and Sparkling Wine: Champagne
Authentic champagne, a sparkling wine must come from the
Champagne region of and must be made using the “methode
champenoise”, in which secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle. Other sparkling wines are made using “methode
traditionelle”, “bottle fermented” or methode champenoise” on the label. France
Sparkling Wines such as Roederer Estates (by Champagne Louis Roederer), Domaine
Chandon (by Moet & Chandon) and Domaine Carneros (by Tattinger) are a few
French producers in
- Cremant are
sparkling wines made outside of the
Champagneregion in and still utilize the methode champenoise to produce these sparkling wines. Brut Rose is a perfect example of Cremant with it’s lovely coral color, berry aromas and a dry finish. France
- Cava is
and is the sparkling wine that is primarily produced in the Penedes region in Spain . Catalonia
one of my favorites is made from the Moscato Bianco grape in the Peidmont
- Blanc de Blancs is made only with chardonnay grapes and goes well with light foods
- Blanc de Noirs is made solely from pinot noir and pinot meunier grapes and often have a deeper color which pair well with meats and cheeses.
- Rose can be all pinot noir, pinot noir & pinot meunier or a blend of all three grapes. The color comes from leaving the skin on during the fermentation process for a period of time and is called “saignee” which means bleeding. Rose pairs well with food.
Review the label to determine the level of sweetness:
- Extra Brut – totally dry
- Brut – dry
- Extra Dry – Medium dry
- Sec – slightly sweet
- Demi – Sec: Fairly sweet
- Doux – Sweet
According to the French, the correct way to chill a bottle is to use a champagne bucket filled with a combination of water and ice should reach the perfect temperature in 15 to 20 minutes.
cheeses – Cheddar,
and Parmesan Gouda
- Breaded and fried mushrooms with a Srirachi dipping sauce
- Gruyere Gougeres
- Mac and Cheese
- Truffled Popcorn
- Deviled Eggs
- Handmade Potato Chips with Sea Salt
- Crab Cakes
- Butternut Squash Risotto
- Mini Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwiches
- Chinese Egg Rolls
- Classic Cheese Fondue
- Individual Baked Cheese Soufflés
- Figs wrapped with Prosciutto
- Duck Fat Fried French Fries with Rosemary
A toast to you!! I want to raise my virtual glass of champagne and toast each of you and wish you all the best in 2013. May it be a year filled with much happiness, good health and your own personal prosperity. May you have many new learning experiences, expand your imagination, be grateful for every day, accept new challenges and recognize opportunities. Of course, may it be filled with delicious food and wine! Cheers!
Blue Cheese Shortbread Bites
Makes 36 Shortbreads
½ Cup Sharp Blue Cheese, room temperature
3 Tablespoon Butter, room temperature
½ Cup Flour
¼ Cup Cornstarch
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 Cup Walnuts, chopped
Combine the blue cheese and butter in a food processor; process until creamy. Add the flour, cornstarch, pepper and salt to the processor and pulse to combine. Next add the walnut nuts and process until incorporated. Do not over process. Remove the dough from the food processor and shape into a ball and then flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for one hour until firm.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Place the chilled dough on a piece of plastic wrap and cover with another piece of plastic wrap. Roll the dough out to about ¼ inch thick. Remove the top plastic wrap and cut into 1-inch circles using a fluted cookie cutter. Place on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Repeat until all the dough is used. Bake until light brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool.
To assemble, spread about 1 teaspoon of ricotta cheese on top of each shortbread and place a small dollop of mango chutney on top of ricotta then garnish with a small candied walnut piece. Enjoy!
Note: Blue Cheese Shortbread recipe from Cocktail Food by Mary Corpening Barber and Sara Corpening Whiteford