Hot Pocket with Wine

I noticed it one day walking home from school.  There in my shadow was the making of a rounder than normal 10 year old butt.  I had teased my mom for years about having a large backside.  There were occasions when we walked down the street that men would honk their horn at the site of my mom's backside.  I never imagined that I would end up inheriting it.  Yet sure enough, I did.  As I entered high school I was so embarrassed by it that I would tie my sweater around my waist for fear of being teased.  It wasn't as if I had an abnormal behind, it was just slightly more obvious than others.  One day I forgot my sweater at home and a boy walking behind me said, "Wow Courtney!  What have you been eating, cornbread?" I had no idea what he meant but I figured he was referring to my backside.  After high school I shed a few pounds and suddenly missed my butt.  The very thing I was always so shy about now made me feel insecure without it.  Today I don't mind having a little "junk in my trunk". I happen to believe it's one of my greatest assets;-)

Instead of a traditional ham dinner this Easter Sunday, why not think outside the box and try a ham and cheese hot pocket.  Of course I'm being funny here, but hey, they're ready to eat in 3o minutes and delicious with a glass of wine.  Kabinett German Riesling to be exact.  This is one wine you should have in your wine fridge at all times because of it's food friendliness.  It works with fried foods, spicy foods, sour foods, salty foods, and slightly sweet foods due to it's high acidity, touch of sugar and low alcohol.  Basically the whole kitchen cabinet!  Kabinett refers to the lowest (in terms of sugar and ripeness) of the 6 subcategories of quality German wine and means that the wine has almost no sugar or just a pinch.  Therefore these wines are usually the driest and least expensive.  After a bite of the food and then sip of the wine I notice the intense acidity in the wine is now tamed by the creaminess of the cheese and cuts through the grease, cleansing the palate.  I also like the play on salty and sweet.  The tinge of sweetness in the wine counteracts the salty/buttery dough, offsets the sharpness of the cheddar cheese, and helps to compliment the sweetness of the ham.  Together the wine and food seem silky on the palate and the buttery flavor of the dough springs to life.  Other wines to try with a ham and cheese Hot Pocket are German Gewurtztraminer, Prosecco, un-oaked Chardonnay, dry Rose Champagne/Sparkling wine, Beaujolais and Pinot Noir. Cheers!

Fruit Roll-Ups with Wine

At the start of first grade I experienced my first crush.  His name was Andrew Finch and we sat next to each other in Mrs. Dunkin's class.  Oddly enough, we all lived on the same block.  Mrs. Dunkin wasn't the nicest of teachers.  She was a big woman who didn't seem to have a soft spot for children.  I think I was so enamored with Andrew that I completely forgot about how mean Mrs. Dunkin was.  As 2nd grade rolled around, Andrew and I entered the same class once again.  We would often walk home together since we lived on the same street.  I still have a diary entry that reads, "April 3, 1991 - Today Andrew walked by me.  I love him and I dream about him!"  On many occasions we'd sit together at lunch.  I'd wrap my strawberry fruit roll-up around my finger or try to make shapes out of it while we ate and laughed with our friends.  The day finally came that he announced in front of the class that I was his girlfriend.  I couldn't believe it!  I ran to my friends after school to tell them what happened.  Come to find out he also told both of my friends, Sophia and Bridgett that they were his girlfriend as well.  Andrew turned out to be not only my first crush, but my first heartbreak too.

Most kids growing up in the 1990's had a fruit roll-up packed in their lunch bag.  It was fun to be silly with the snack and as you can see, I'm still having fun with it today.  Fruit roll-ups aren't over the top sweet.  They have a slight sourness to them and a smooth, rubbery texture.  Strawberry is still my favorite flavor and I absolutely love this snack with German "Kabinett" Riesling.  Kabinett refers to the lowest level of sugar in the 6 subcategories of high quality German wine.  These wines are typically low in alcohol and extremely food friendly.  After a bite of the food and then a sip of the wine I notice the acidity in the wine mirrors the tart flavors of the fruit roll-up.  The acidity in both also cancel each other out and you're left with a strawberry explosion in your mouth.  Other wines to try with a fruit roll-up are off-dry sparkling wine (esp. rose), demi-sec Champagne (esp. rose), still/sparkling demi-sec Vouvray, Moscato d'Asti and Brachetto d'Acqui. Cheers!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries with Wine

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!  In the city of sin, New Years is a wild spectacle comprised of drunken people walking up and down the strip, nightclubs hosted by celebrities and people throwing their hard earned money away at the black jack tables.  Fireworks blast off the top of casinos in an orchestrated light show along the strip.  Besides New York, Las Vegas is the place to be to ring in 2011.   And what would New Years be without a bottle of bubbly to celebrate the occasion?  This New Years, make it a night to remember by opening a bottle of dry Rose sparkling wine.  Guests will be treated to a rare sparkling wine and the ladies will love that it’s pink.  Better yet, spend the evening in with your significant other and serve it alongside dark chocolate covered strawberries.  Rose sparkling wine and chocolate covered strawberries are not only a perfect pairing, but help to create the most romantic New Years yet!

What better way to start out the New Year than with three of my most favorite things, chocolate, strawberries and Rose sparkling wine!  Most people think of pairing strawberries with dry golden Champagne.  This isn't always a good idea.  Dry Champagne is too delicate for strong fruit flavors and can end up making the wine seem extremely acidic.  However, when pairing strawberries with Rose or demi-sec Champagne/sparkling wine, the food and wine come to life.  I prefer dark chocolate covered strawberries.  The wine is tart and the chocolate is bitter, complementing each other.  In addition after a bite of the food, the strawberry flavor in the wine springs to life and the acidity from the sparkling wine helps to wash the chocolate flavors off the tongue.  If you prefer milk or white chocolate covered strawberries, I would suggest a demi-sec sparkling wine that is slightly sweet to match the sweetness of the chocolate.  Port is also incredible with this pairing!

Buffalo Wings

My nephew loves buffalo wings. The spicier the better! He’s only 9 but he can eat a couple dozen in one sitting. Every now and again, he and my niece have a sleepover at my house. So you can only imagine what I order for dinner. When the wings arrive I throw the paper towels on the table and set a few aside for myself. While they chow down on the wings, I pour myself a nice glass of demi sec sparkling Rose or Zinfandel, and savor the moment with my two favorite kids. Afterwards we grab a blanket and cuddle up on the couch to watch a movie. These are the moments you never forget!

For a finger-licking good food like Buffalo wings, you need a wine that can stand up to the spice! A demi sec sparkling rose does this perfectly. The sugar in the wine helps to temper the heat and the bubbles help to cut through the grease. The palate feels refreshed and ready for the next bite. Zinfandel works well with buffalo wings too. Zinfandel is inherently spicy and when you pair it with buffalo wings, the fruit in the wine shows beautifully. However, be careful about how spicy you order your wings since Zinfandel is a high alcohol wine. If the wings are too spicy, you'll feel like there's a fire in your mouth!