When I think of Pinot Noir, I can’t help but think of the pivotal scene in the 2004 film Sideways as seen below. Paul Giamatti’s performance in this scene epitomizes how romantic one can get when talking about this extraordinary red wine.
Although sipping on a beautiful bottle of Pinot Noir is fantastic itself, with National Pinot Noir Day coming up here on Saturday, August 18th, I wanted to try something on the unconventional side with our friends at Winc.
Since Winc’s most popular Pinot Noir, Folly of the Beast, is coined after the famous Moby Dick quote “For there is no folly of the beast of the earth that is not infinitely outdone by the madness of men,” I wanted to play around with the idea of pairing it with one of the tastiest beasts of the sea- lobster!
Pinot Noir cultivates in cooler climates, especially around the west coast, I got inspiration for this Folly of the Beast pairing from my idea of a perfect whale watching barbecue. Note: sand and sea are not required for this pairing.
Some of you out there may be scratching your head, wondering how a Pinot Noir would pair with anything seafood related. Lighter bodied reds, like this Pinot Noir, pair well with grilled fish and crustaceans, due to the smokiness from the barbecue process, which plays with the notes of spice from the oak aging process.
In addition to my instructions for barbecuing lobster, I have also included 2 different butters to either spoon on while you’re cooking, or to keep handy on the side to dip the meat in. Both butters will pair with the Folly of the Beast Pinot Noir as well.
Barbecued Lobster Tail
Purchase lobster tails from any market that follows safety and HACCP regulations. My local butcher butterflies the lobster for me, but if you’re not able to have them do it, cut the shell with a pair of kitchen shears.
Heat barbecue grill to a medium-high heat.
Open the lobster and grill directly onto heat for 5 minutes each, flesh side up. I basted each lobster meat with one of the 2 different butters below.
Remove from heat and pair with roasted potatoes, dipping butters from below and a bottle of Folly of the Beast.
For the butter recipes below, combine specified melted butters with the ingredients and mix. Easy!
Classic Lobster Butter
1 cup of salted butter
2 tbsp of minced garlic
2 tbsp finely chopped Italian parsley
Zest of lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Smokey Lobster Butter
1 cup of salted butter
1 tbsp of olive oil
2 tbsp canned chipotle chiles en adobo, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 tbsp of minced garlic
1 tbsp finely chopped green onion
1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
Zest of lime
Salt and Pepper to taste
One of the many things we love about this wine club is the mix in selection. Winc offers a variety of higher and lower priced bottles of wine and none of them skim on quality. Lobster may be a pricer crustacean, but a bottle of Folly of the Beast is only $18 through Winc (and between us, that’s less expensive than Whole Foods’ price) so you can keep your backyard barbecue party within your budget.
When it comes to pairing foods with your Winc box, think outside the box!
That’s right. I said it. Today we’re making a corned beef and cabbage pizza.
Why? Because tradition isn’t the boss of me. Because Wolfgang Puck made himself a household name by putting duck on a pizza. And because I believe that if you aren’t willing to lose every friend you have over a friendly competition, you aren’t playing hard enough.
Last St. Patty’s Day I was invited to a corned beef and cabbage cook off, and as maturity obviously hasn’t cured me of my insatiable need to win at everything – whether or not everyone else has any idea that we are competing – I wasn’t about to show up with a crockpot full of mushy carrots, and sad, wet cabbage.
No. I was going to up my game. I was going to do something new, something fresh. With a cool new POS for a pizza store (https://toppossystem.com/best-pizza-pos-system/) if I got that far. As Coco Chanel once said, I was going to be the lady in red when everyone else was wearing tan.*
I was going to give the people something they’d love. Something that would enter the annals of Irish folklore, giving birth to songs and rituals that would be sung around campfires and passed down, generation to generation for time immemorial.
And what do the people love? The people love pizza. Who doesn’t look forward to getting a pizza delivered after a long day at work? No one.
This recipe sounds a little odd at first but if you consider the elements – crunchy, pillowy pizza dough, buttery potatoes, creamy irish cheddar, salty corned beef, the sweetness of the caramelized, roasted cabbage – it begins to make sense. This pizza was such a hit that my incredibly picky husband not only loved it, but tried to convince me to serve it at Easter brunch. The pizza ultimately lost to a bacon, cheddar and mushroom quiche, but it has worked its way into our St. Patrick’s Day traditions permanently, and if you give it a chance, I think it might just find its way into yours.
So without further ado, I present you with corned beef and cabbage pizza. Let’s get to it.
Cooks note: because I invented this recipe myself, and because of the nature of pizza, you should feel free to experiment with the amounts and toppings to find a final product that uniquely suits your palette. I like a thick crusted, crunchy, cheesy pizza with a lot of toppings. If you don’t, you’re obviously wrong, but I’ll never know, so play around and have a good time!
Like all the best recipes, it starts with butter, cheese, and carbs.
I use a pizza stone for homemade pizza because I’ve found it to be the best way to get that chewy, crunchy, pizza shop consistency I love so much. If you’re doing the same, toss yours in the oven at 450 or 475 (depending on your comfort zone with a wildly hot oven) and let it heat up while you slice the potatoes. A metal pizza pan or baking sheet will work just fine too.
Set the butter to melting in a large saute pan over medium heat, and then toss in the potatoes. Season very liberally with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Potatoes can take a lot of seasoning and with all these delicious toppings to compete against, they need it in this recipe.
While the potatoes are cooking through, shred your Irish cheddar using an old fashioned grater or your food processor. This is also the time to prep your cabbage. Slice the cabbage into 1/4-1/2 inch slices, then toss with the oil in brown sugar. Place on a baking sheet and set aside.
Once you’ve cooked the potatoes through – you want them nice and tender – roll or stretch your pizza dough and place it on the hot stone or pizza pan. Now it’s time to top the dough with your delicious, buttery, salty potatoes.
Feel free to layer the potatoes thinly or to double up, as suits your preference. My Irish soul says the more potatoes the better, but this is a personal choice only you can make. Search your heart.
Now, gentle reader, it’s time to top the potatoes with that gorgeous pile of shredded cheddar. Did your pulse just speed up? Mine did too.
I was ready to call it a day after we topped the potatoes with the cheese, but since I’ve committed to this post, we now need to add the corned beef. This is your art. Fling that meat like you’re Jackson Pollack and that corned beef is your paint. Unless you aren’t the one who cleans the kitchen, then you should probably just place it gently on top of the cheese.
The corned beef gets topped with a generous layer of mozzarella, and then this belt buster is ready to meet the oven. Place it on the bottom rack, then place your sheet pan of cabbage on the top rack at the same time.
Once the crust has browned and the cheese is melted and golden, pull the pizza out of the oven. Let it rest for a few moments while the cabbage continues cooking. You want the cabbage to begin to caramelize and brown. Once the cabbage is done, give it a sprinkle of salt and pepper and it’s ready to meet its doughy, cheesy soulmate.
Once the pizza has cooled enough to cut, slice that baby up and top each piece with a helping of the caramelized cabbage. If you’re really extra you can make a Guinness reduction or a creamy mustard sauce to accompany it, but I’ve already moved on to the part where we drink Jameson so you’re on your own now.
Slainte, my friends! Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all!
Corned beef and Cabbage Pizza
1 pound fresh pizza dough (note: For best results, proof the dough in a warm place for one hour, for let it rise on your kitchen counter for 2-3 hours)
2/3 – 3/4 pound of deli corned beef, shredded
2 C Irish cheddar, shredded
1 1/2 C shredded mozzarella
4 C thinly sliced Yukon Gold potatoes
6 T butter
1 head fresh cabbage
3 T avocado or olive oil
1 1/2 T brown sugar
salt and pepper
Special equipment recommended: a mandolin and a pizza stone or metal pizza pan
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. If using a pizza stone, place the stone in the oven to preheat for at least 15 minutes.
While the oven is preheating, slice your potatoes. Melt the butter in a large skillet and toss in the potatoes. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
Next, slice the cabbage into 1/4 – 1/2 inch strips, then toss with the avocado oil and brown sugar, place on a baking sheet and set aside.
Once the potatoes are cooked through and the stone is hot, roll, press or stretch out your pizza dough and place on the hot stone. Top with the potatoes, and then all of the Irish cheddar. Next, distribute the corned beef evenly over the cheddar. Top with the mozzarella and place the pizza in the oven, on the bottom rack.
Place the cabbage on the top rack of the oven right along with the pizza. Cook the pizza for 10-12 minutes, or until the crust has browned and the cheese is melted and golden.
Let the pizza rest while the cabbage continues to cook for another 5-7 minutes, tossing once with a spatula. The cabbage is done when it is tender but not mushy, and starting to brown.
Slice the pizza, top with the cabbage, and enjoy!
*Haha, just kidding, that was actually Fran Drescher as The Nanny. But you get the point.
This post was sponsored by S&W Beans as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
Being a pregnant foodie is tough! Upon finding out I was pregnant, I was shocked to learn how many foods I would be discouraged from eating. I’ve been working on finding substitutes for items like pasta, which is full of carbs but lacking in nutrients. I’ve been replacing the pasta in some of my favorite recipes with healthier starches likes beans.
One of my favorite recipes is from Lesley Téllez’s Eat Mexico cookbook, her Pasta with Ancho Chiles, Mushrooms and Garlic is fantastic with fettuccine noodles, but I decided to try it out with S&W Black Beans instead. Using canned black beans really helps in this recipe.
First off, cooking with canned beans is so much easier than cooking fresh pasta, the time shaved off made cooking this dish speedier. Also, S&W Black Beans are versatile as a good carbohydrate category and as a source of protein (8 grams per serving). These beans are also rich in essential nutrients, such as fiber (9 grams per serving) and folate (40% daily value). They have different varieties in their black beans including their main black beans and low-sodium. I chose to use S&W Organic Black Beans specifically because I feel good about eating food that is sourced in natural soil.
S&W Beans have been in my life since I was young. My mom cooked with them when I was a kid and now I’m passing these beans onto my kid. The quality of the beans from their cans have always been solid, beans are in full form with skins still on and never have I gotten a can of mushed beans from them. So not only are they tasty and nutrient-packed, they make every dish look Pinterest-ready.
Get $1 off 2 cans of S&W Beans in any variety here.
This recipe can be made as a side dish, but it also makes a great vegetarian cool-down meal if you’re hungry after a workout.
S&W Organic Black Beans with Ancho Chiles, Mushrooms and Garlic
3 large dried ancho chiles
11 cloves of garlic
1 can S&W Organic Black Beans
1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra if needed
1 large bunch (about 13 1/2 ounces) oyster mushrooms, torn into very thin strips (any mushrooms work here)
1/2 cup chopped, lightly briny black olives
1/2 cup grated queso añejo for garnish
Salt to taste
Snip the stems off the anchos and cut an incision in each. Scrape out the seeds and veins with a spoon or knife. Place the chiles in a bowl and cover with warm water. Let sit for about 20 minutes, until the flesh has softened.
Meanwhile, peel the garlic cloves and slice thinly.
Cut the softened chiles into 1/2-inch strips-I do this by rolling them up like a burrito first, and then chopping width-wise.
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until slightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the chiles and stir quickly, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Lower the heat if you need to.
Once the chiles have become aromatic, stir in the mushrooms and cook until softened, 5 to 10 minutes, adding salt once the mushrooms have released their juices.
Drain 1 can S&W Organic Black Beans and add to your mushroom mixture, with a little extra oil if you like. Serve immediately in shallow bowls, topped with chopped olives and a dusting of cheese.
The night before I found out I was pregnant, I was out at happy hour enjoying a nice glass (or two) of sangria. That was about 5 months ago, and I now find myself sometimes missing the good ol’ days when I could indulge in a nice glass of that beautiful red or white fruity-with-a-kick glass of goodness! Can any of you mom-to-be’s relate?
Now at restaurants, instead of ordering wine, I’m asking the waiter if the bartender can whip up a mocktail. It’s actually fun seeing what fun drink they can come up with. Recently, I decided to try out my own mocktails and I’ve been experimenting with different flavors to find fun “fancy” juices that I can drink out of classy glasses. I’m telling you, even drinking water out of a champagne or wine glass really helps you not care that you have to give up the good stuff for the next nine (cough **ten** cough) months.
This past weekend I tried my hand at a white sangria and was pleasantly surprised with the results. I combined a non-alcoholic Moscato, peach juice and ginger beer for a sweet but spicy concoction. The non-alcoholic Moscato can be found in the grocery store in the section where they sell cocktail mixers and it’s called FRE. If your local store doesn’t sell it, white grape juice would be a good substitute.
Ginger Peach White Sangria Mocktail
The recipe as is will provide a sangria on the sweeter side. If you like a really strong ginger taste, just add a bit more ginger beer.
750ml bottle of FRE non-alcoholic Moscato (or about 3 cups of white grape juice)
2 cups peach juice
1 cup ginger beer
1 cup frozen peaches
1 cup frozen mangos
1 cup frozen strawberries
Step 1: Add frozen fruit to a pitcher.
Step 2: Add the non-alcoholic Moscato or grape juice, peach juice and ginger beer to the pitcher and mix well.
Step 3: Refrigerate for about 2 hours.
Step 4: Pour sangria into a fancy glass and top with a splash of seltzer water and more frozen fruit.
Step 5: Put your feet up and enjoy!
This recipe is so easy and really really good! Enjoy 🙂
Whole roasting a fish intimidated me for a long time. Clean out the insides? No thanks. It sounded a little too chef-y. Far beyond my capabilities. Or, so I told myself.
But, a few years back, I was craving a dish my family made for years. So, I decided if my Nonni can do it, so can I. Now whole-roasting is one of my absolute favorite ways to prepare multiple types of fish! Overcoming kitchen fears is the best!
If you are new to whole roasting fish, branzino (also, called Mediterranean sea bass) is a great place to start! It’s small in size and has a wonderful flaky white flesh! Due to prevalence on restaurant menus and increasing popularity, its easy to find at fish markets and specialty grocers year-round – regardless of where you live!
Branzino are native to Mediterranean waters although most of what’s available in North America is farmed off the coast of Greece. Nonetheless, this fish and method of preparation are extremely popular throughout the Mediterranean region – including where my family is from in Sicily! Using a simple salt crust technique to lock in the moisture, we can roast a moist, tender, flaky, and flavorful result every time! Gorgeous, healthy, flavorful, and roasts to perfection in only 20 minutes; what’s not to love?
Lets get started! The video shows the step-by-step method, and the full recipe is listed below!
Whole Roasted Sicilian Style Branzino
35 minutes, 2 servings per fish
For the Branzino:
1 – 1.5 lb. whole branzino (per 2 persons)*
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ sliced small lemon
½ small shallot, thinly sliced
2 fresh mint sprigs
parchment lined baking sheet
For salt crust:
2 large egg whites
~ 1 lb. kosher salt
2 tbsp. balsamic reduction**
1 tbsp. + drizzle high quality extra virgin olive oil (about 1 tsp.)
2 tbsp. freshly chopped mint leaves
juice from ½ lemon, divided
zest from ½ lemon
freshly cracked black pepper
½ tsp. plus more for seasoning
pinch of Himalayan pink salt
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
½ lb. asparagus spears, ends trimmed
2 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
mint leaves for garnish
*At most seafood markets and specialty grocers, you can request that they gut the fish for you. Just make sure that they leave the tail and head alone! The fish must remain whole to lock in moisture!
**To make balsamic reduction, place ¼ c. balsamic vinegar on stovetop over medium high heat. Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to medium, swirling every minute or so, continue to simmer for 4-5 more minutes until balsamic has reduced by about half (this will yield 2 tbsp.). Immediately transfer to a heatproof bowl and set aside. This can be done up to 2 days ahead if desired. Store in an airtight container if making ahead.
Arrange oven racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
If your fish has not already been gutted: make an incision from the belly side beginning just below the head and continuing to the tail end. Remove all guts and organs. Rinse inside and outside of the fish clean.
Once your fish has been gutted, season the inside of cleaned branzino with salt. Arrange slices of lemon, sprigs of mint, and thin slices of shallots inside each fish. Secure by wrapping fish with kitchen twine. (This step can be completed up to 2 hours ahead if wrapped and refrigerated.)
On a separate rimmed baking sheet, place trimmed asparagus, 1 tbsp. olive oil, ½ tsp. kosher salt, minced garlic cloves, and the small sliced shallot. Toss to coat asparagus. Set aside.
To make the paste for the salt crust, use a fork to combine about 1 lb. of salt with enough egg white to form a paste in a bowl. For me, this was 2 large egg whites. Spread a thin layer of the salt paste on the parchment paper lining the prepared baking sheet. You only need to cover the surface area where the fish will lay. This should use about 1/2 of the salt paste. Then place fish on top of salt paste layer and arrange remaining salt paste over the top of the fish in a thin layer. You want to cover the entire surface area of fish because the paste forms the crust that locks in both flavor and moisture.
Transfer both baking sheets to the oven and roast for about 20 minutes. Roast fish on top rack and asparagus on bottom rack. After 20 minutes, remove fish from oven! Give asparagus a turn and roast 5 minutes longer.
Allow fish to rest for 4-5 minutes before removing the salt crust. Use your hands and dull knife to peel away the salt crust. It should come off very easily and often in large sections. Discard salt crust.
Remove asparagus form the oven.
Remove the twine and try to remove as many additional bits of the salt crust as possible from the fish. Work carefully so that the fish doesn’t completely fall apart.
Transfer branzino onto the baking sheet with the asparagus. Working with one side at a time, make an incision down the spine of the fish and near the fish’s tail, so that the skin can easily be peeled and rolled away from the meat. Roll the skin away until you reach the fin/gill region. The fish’s skin worked hard to lock in the fish’s moisture and flavor in the oven. The combination of the steamed flesh and the skin’s contact with the salt paste will make it very easily peel off of the fish’s tender flaky tasty flesh. Carefully flip the fish over and repeat this step on the other side.
On a 1 – 1.5 lb. fish, the meat from one side of the fish is about one serving.
Add a squeeze of lemon juice, drizzle of olive oil, pinch of kosher salt and Himalayan pink salt, chopped mint leaves, lemon zest, and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve with roasted asparagus and crispy shallots. Garnish with slice of lemon and a few mint leaves.
I’ve finally hit 35 weeks of pregnancy and I can confirm the fast food and other gluttonous urges are hitting me pretty hard! But I have been in the kitchen creating recipes that are meat/poultry-free, clean and using sustainability conscious ingredients.
It’s snowing outside and all I want is a smoothie. Is that wrong?
The other day I found out that my favorite vitamin store was going out of business and everything was 30 – 50% off. So of course I stocked up on Guyaki Yerba Mate, Ashwaghanda to help me sleep and Spirulina. What is Spirulina you might ask? It’s a blue-green algae that’s rich in protein, vitamins and antioxidants. You might have seen “blue magic” type drinks at your favorite health cafe and they get that color from the Spirulina.
Ever since I started taking Spirulina on a regular basis, I feel so much better! And if you’re not convinced, here’s a guide to some more health benefits of this magical powder!
I scored at the store and found a choco-mint flavored spirulina powder and instantly thought – SMOOTHIE. I don’t think you could ever have enough smoothie ideas and it’s the best on the go breakfast. So I now present you another delicious smoothie recipe:
Britt’s Mint Chocolate Spirulina Smoothie
2 frozen bananas
1 cup spinach
1 cup honey greek yogurt
2 tbsp choco-mint spirulina powder
1 cup coconut milk
BLEND AWAY AND BAM! There you have it! Having frozen bananas on deck helps make the smoothie so much creamier. If you don’t have frozen bananas you can use fresh ones, just add ice! You also get this beautiful green color that’s almost too pretty to drink!
“No thanks, I don’t care for chili.” – Sad, unenlightened me
After years of turning my nose up at bowl after bowl of those ubiquitous beef, bean and (heaven help us) green pepper concoctions, this recipe totally flipped the script on chili for me (as did realizing that chili provided an excellent opportunity to eat Fritos for dinner #winning). Many will argue that without beans or beef this isn’t really chili, that it is instead some kind of unholy union between chili and soup, or maybe stew. To them I say, it must be wonderful to have so much free time.
As soon as the holidays are over, the seasonal aisle is letting us all know Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. While I’m not much for Valentine’s Day, I don’t know what I would have done without my best ladies these past couple years! So, I’ll be celebrating them this Galentine’s Day!
I can’t think of a sweeter way to spread a little love to my best gals than French Macarons (or Macaroons).
Being a 31-week pregnant lady, I’m hitting that point where I’m realizing:
A) “pregnancy brain” is very real
B) waddling isn’t exclusive to penguins
C) everything is just becoming so much harder.
Not only am I carrying more weight than I am used to, but carrying items of heavier weight has become tougher for me. Even everyday kitchen items like my standard glass mixing bowls are becoming a pain to carry.
When our friends at The Culinary Junction reached out to me to product-test their 6-Piece Stainless Steel Nesting Bowls, the timing couldn’t be more perfect! I had an inkling to get a head start on prepping my recipes to help boost lactation (for when the time comes), so I knew I’d make great use of these bowls.
New year, new me … right? Kind of. I went on a 3 week cleanse right after Christmas to detox of all the hot chocolates, cookies and mac and cheese I consumed during the holidays! This detox consisted of no alcohol, and no pork or red meat and very minimal dairy products. A friend of mine adds a spritz of glutathione to their morning routine to boost their detox routine, but I prefer to go down the food and drink route. Plus, they’re much more stringent about theirs.
During this time I fell in love with mushrooms and had a weird obsession with smoked fish! My skin cleared up and I lost some weight! This wellness bowl became my best friend and I made over 10 variations of it. I took several trips to Trader Joe’s as they made my shopping experience so much easier! This one was my favorite.
Sure, pumpkin pie may seem like a strictly Thanksgiving-time treat but then poof…its gone. What happens for the rest of the year? Especially during late-winter when we’re craving that delicious, warm, treat? I think I found something to tie us over in these frigid months, especially in this Canadian -10 weather.
Now, I’m not a total “pumpkinhead.” Pumpkin is a hit or miss ingredient for me as well. Pumpkin pie= hit. Pumpkin latte= miss. I also don’t like raisins on their own (that’s a hard no from me) but I love them when they’re baked, cooked or thrown into a dish with any other ingredients. Combining pumpkin and raisins together is a combination I’m so glad I found. That’s when I fell in love with Baked Pumpkin Spice Pudding.