wine

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Yesterday evening Jonathan and I hosted a little wine and cheese tasting garden party for the Jewish holiday of Shavuot (the one where you are supposed to eat dairy- basically, my favorite holiday ever!). A friend brought plums from her tree and it was fun to see the early fruits of the garden, including blackberries that will arrive in a month or two.

I am no wine connoisseur, but I did some research online to find wine/cheese combinations that went well together, and then came up with simple, no-cook appetizer ideas using each cheese to pair with 5 different wines (ranging from bubbly to after-dinner port). I learned that when pairing cheese and wine, it’s best to match similarities in flavor (like a light fruity wine with a light cheese/fruit appetizer) or go for complete contrast, (like a sweet robust port paired with a pungent blue cheese like gorgonzola). It’s fun to take your time and pay attention to how the flavors dance in your mouth! I think they are best enjoyed in this order:

  1. Prosecco: spread camembert (a brie-like) cheese on a toasted piece of baguette, top with a peach slice, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
  2. Pinot Grigio: spread fresh whole milk ricotta cheese on a toasted piece of baguette and top with lemon zest and honey. See more details on that recipe in this post.
  3. Pinot Noir: stack a cube of watermelon, a cube of feta and a leaf of mint on a toothpick.
  4. Cabernet Sauvignon: top a slice of sharp white cheddar with a slice of crisp green apple, then sprinkle with honey and black pepper.
  5. Port: put a smear of creamy gorgonzola on a leaf of purple endive and top with a red grape or 2.

Happy summer entertaining!

xx Erin

Champagne Cocktails!

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In 2013, I am so excited to be devoting myself to the creation of my first cookbook, which seemed like a pipe dream last year at this time. I am so grateful to everyone who has inspired and supported me creatively up to this point! In this new year, I encourage you to take a creative leap, start a new project (even if it seems crazy) and make time for something you’ve been wanting to do- you never know where it may lead.


Happy New Year!

xo,

Erin

PS- I found this video by Tina Roth Eisenberg on “the importance of side projects” especially inspiring. You might, too!

Passover Seder in the Woods

Spring has sprung in the woods! Passover is this week and to kick it off, we hosted a first-night Seder.  We spent 2 days cooking all the traditional Jewish dishes: Matzah ball soup, Haroset (a paste of dried fruit and nuts), Farfel (quiche-like squares), Tzimmes (a sweet potato carrot dish), plus a roasted chicken with rosemary and lemon. The seder plate has items that represent different parts of the meal and the Passover story of slavery and freedom, including a hard boiled egg, horseradish, parsley, matzah, a shank bone and the modern addition of an orange. In this story of Exodus, when the Jews fled Egypt, they didn’t have time for their bread to rise, so this week we eat matzah instead of bread as a reminder that there are still people today who seek freedom. Chag Sameach and Happy Passover!

Photos and illustration by Erin Gleeson

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