Easy Make-Ahead Brunch. Everyone knows brunch is a great way to celebrate anything…but especially around a holiday. Make these recipes as you have time and pop them in the fridge where they will be ready to go when YOU areRead More
Want the perfect dish to serve this St. Patricks Day? How about this amazing mac and cheese with a hint of Guinness?? With our without the Guinness, this will be your go to Mac ands Cheese!Read More
My best mussels recipe to date. The End.
Oh…and don’t forget the crusty bread drizzled with Cervasi Olive oil for dipping! #delish
Chocolate Budino. Perfect for easy entertaining!Read More
Pasta and Sausage…yes, you heard me!! Here is the second course of my Restaurant Week Inspired menu! The first course was the beautiful tart, sweet, tangy blood orange salad on the post below!
But this pasta dish is the PERFECT dish to follow! There is nothing better on a cold winter night (really, ANY night..who am I kidding) than a big bowl of pasta that’s quick to put together. This dish is comfort food at its finest. This classic pasta (use any type of short cut Cervasi pasta that you love) is served with Italian Sausage, garlic, wine and a luscious cream sauce. I like to add some fresh spinach and toasted pine nuts for a little color and crunch. But trust me…this dish will soon be a regular in your pasta rotation!
On the recipe below I also give you several variations and all the tips and tricks as well!
Lazia in Kansas City. A lovely Simi Wine featured in KC Restaurant Weeks Menu. This visit inspired my own special Menu!Read More
Olive oil biscotti is the perfect biscotti! Made with extra virgin olive oil it’s heart healthy and delicious. Great for gift giving and entertaining.Read More
Hey friends! This month I’m going to share with you my 3 favorite Holiday side dishes. These dishes I go back to year after year because they are so good and super easy to prepare.
My favorite Thanksgiving side dish is something that I REFUSED to touch as a kid. As a kid, I hated Brussels sprouts and there was NO WAY I would eat them, no way -no how…. I’m never going to put those things in mouth-not ever, not going to happen!
Then something changed. I think maybe my taste buds matured? (haha…probably not) Or maybe I lost a bet and had to pop one in my mouth (maybe more likely) Or…..I discovered a delicious way to make them….ummm, bacon, garlic and good olive oil (cervasi.please:)
The life changing moment when I discovered that a Brussel sprout was actually edible, was in Italy. In Italy, my sister ordered them and since I was in Italy, I had to try one. In Italy, I’ll try ANYTHING…. (ok…. not anything…. don’t go there.) I stabbed my fork in one and popped that green little thing into my mouth……OMG….my hatred for Brussels sprouts ENDED right then and there. Was it the charred bits of sprouts, the aromatic garlic, the bits or crunchy sea salt or the pancetta (aka Italian bacon)? I will never know (OK…. maybe I know but won’t tell) but all together it was so divine that I cannot even properly explain it….so let’s just move on!
Brussels Sprouts (yes it’s with a S…….Given my spelling acumen it’s kinda impressive that i know that don’t you think?) Anyway,,,the sprouts is a member of the Gemmifera Group of cabbages and grown for its edible bud (who really cares about this-just a fun fact that I needed to share)
I CANNOT tell you how many haters I have converted (probably close to a million?!) with this recipe…. you will be a lover not a hater-I promise!
This recipe is one of my “effortless entertaining” favorites. It is a perfect recipe because you can prep the Brussel Sprouts a day or two beforehand, have them laid out in the fridge on a cookie sheet and just POP them in the oven while you carve the turkey (or drink wine)….boom….……tasty PERFECTION!
Add this to your Holiday feast and your family will love you even more. So that’s all folks……one of my favs! Tell me what you think!
Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half or quartered depending on size
3 ounces pancetta or bacon, chopped
2 cloves of chopped garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (Cervasi recommended)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar glaze (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut off the hard ends of the Brussels sprouts. Cut them in half. If larger sprouts, cut them quarters.
Mix sprouts in a bowl with the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan (don’t crowd them, use 2 pans if making a double batch) and roast for 25 to 35 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. You should have some brown charred parts around the edges….I like mine reeeeeealy chared) Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt if desired ...I usually desire;).
You can now drizzle them with a balsamic glaze if you’d like and serve. The balsamic glaze adds a sweet touch to savory dish that just takes it over the top.
Sub bacon for pancetta as an option
This recipe can be made up to "tossing with olive oil" 2 days before. Keep the prepped ingredients in the refrigerator until ready to roast.
Add dried cranberries or nuts after the sprouts are roasted for a fun seasonal additional.
Leftovers are great in pasta or omelets.
Balsamic glaze is a balsamic vinegar that has been reduced to a thicker, fuller flavor. It’s great to drizzle over veggies, breads, even sweet dishes. You can buy it in the vinegar aisle or make it using regular vinegar.
Balsamic Glaze Recipe:
Mix balsamic vinegar with brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until glaze is reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Glaze should coat the back of a spoon. Let cool and pour into a jar with a lid; store in refrigerator.
Here is your guide to a perfectly imperfect, unpretentious and EASY Wine and Cheese Party.
You know I love to host epic yet breezy dinner parties, but sometimes it’s just great to throw a casual, fun, mingling kind of party, and a wine and cheese fits this perfectly.
So WHY host a Wine and Cheese Party?
Well first of all, you get to explore more wines…because yes….wine is good! I would drink it with breakfast if it was socially acceptable! (Bye-bye coffee…hello wine!).
It’s kind of adventurous and you get to explore and nom on cheese and all the delicious accompaniments
There is no cooking so it’s EASY, and can be prepped totally in advance.
It’s super simple to make it look gorgeous, and you can add your own beautiful sassy style or even change it up with the seasons.
Your friends will leave with their tummies filled and their spirits happier than when they came to your lovely soiree.
And here I’ll show you how EASY it really is.
There are a ton of so-called “right and wrong” ways to host a wine and cheese party…so they say, but to tell you the truth, it doesn’t have to be so complicated. And I’m here to tell you, no prior wine and cheese buying experience necessary.
So let’s do this!
The CHEESE please:
Choose 3-5 cheeses (pick from each of these categories and you will have a lovely range of flavors and textures)
Fresh: Mild slightly Tangy (Serve soft cheeses whole)
Mozzarella, Burrata, Chevre, Fresh Ricotta
Soft Cheese: Creamy, Buttery, Mild (Serve soft cheeses whole)
Brie, Camembert, Crescenza, Goat cheese
Pungent Cheese: AKA Stinky in a good way cheese (Serve stinky cheeses whole)
Blue, Taleggio, Gorongzola, Roquefort and Stilton
Hard and Semi Hard Cheese: Nutty, Firm (Serve hard cheeses whole but cut a few slices to get them started)
Pecorino, Manchego, Grana-Padano, Cheddar, Gouda….and, Parmesan Reggiano. (Parm is the king of cheeses and Cervasi imports a yummy traditional Parmesan. You can find it at these stores.
For each type of cheese, buy one to 1 1/2 ounces per person depending on how many accompaniments you will have. But hey…leftovers aren’t a bad thing, hellooo, an incredible mac and cheese the next day…yay:)
Bring all cheeses to room temperature about a half hour before serving to enhance their flavor. Don’t forget this part friend…it really helps to bring out all the delicious flavors.
Find a local cheese store in your area (or on line)…they are super cool places to explore and the folks that work there will always steer you in the right direction while considering your budget. Just mention you would like a range of mild, medium and stinky cheeses. Thats all folk’s, easy peasy.
Choose 1-2 from each category. (take a peek at my cheese-paring guide for a few combinations that I’m obsessed with) [click here]
Fruit: grapes, figs, dried apricots or dates, apples, melons, and pears.
Meats: Genoa salami, Slices of prosciutto, soppressata, rolled Slices of hard salami, capicola, Slices of Capocollo
Nuts: Hazelnuts, Marcona (my fav) or Cashews.
A good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil in a cute bowl. (Locally owned and imported Cervasi of course)
Spreads: Varietal honey, Jams, Chutney, Mustard, Fruit Compotes
Bread: Artisan cracker crisps, crusty bread such as baguette, rustic multigrain, and artisan rye bread or Cervasi pre-made bruschetta.. You don’t even have to heat the oven.
(sorry, I need to insert a weird sorry here. Ok, I hate rye bread, I mean, it’s like the only food I reeeeeally don’t like. Well, I was visiting my sister and was telling her all this, and she started laughing and saying she is the EXACT same way. We both like most everything except rye bread..how WEIRD huh? We must have had a tragic rye experience in our childhood.
Don’t go crazy serving all of these accompaniment options on your grazing board. Pick one or two from each category and leave it at that. Grazing boards look better when they have larger groupings of foods as opposed to a little of this and a little of that.
Don’t let this scare you. I am by no means a wine expert...not even close, but the good news is we don't have to be!
Choose from a variety of wines like these: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and of course a bottle or 3 of Prosecco! Because we all need a few bubbles in our life.
Some people will say that you should drink specific wines with specific cheeses, but you know what? The more wine tastings I attend, the more I hear it’s all in the eyes of the beholder. I say drink what you like, try a few new ones and make up your own mind.
Talk to the guy/gal at your local wine store. They LOVE to help. They know the best wines under $15 per bottle too! I have had a TON of great lower-priced wines, and I’ve had some not-so-good wines at $80…so there. You don’t need to spend a lot.
Oh, and when your friends say what can I bring, say “well yes, “WINE, please!” It gives them something to contribute, they have wine they are sure to like, and it will get others to explore different wines at the same time.
I read somewhere that if you are having 12 people you should have four bottles of wine….BAHAHAHAHA. That would be a very short party with my friends! I suggest everyone (or maybe every couple) should bring a bottle…and we should all be a-ok!
On that note, be sure to have a pitcher of water and glasses out. And UBER is also a very good thing.
Choose a serving platter. It could be a basic everyday platter, an antique family platter, a marble slab, slate, or in my case; it’s always a rustic wood board. CLICK here for boards I make. Just choose what makes your heart sing!
Arrange the platter. Try to add height by piling grapes or stacking bread. Larger clusters of ingredients are more visually appealing.
Have little knives out for each of the cheeses, so you keep them separated. You know, those cute small short stubby knives. But I don’ have any of those, so I just use my Laguiole butter knives, and I haven’t been shot yet.
Sometimes I sprinkle my board with some fresh herbs or even some whole seasonal fruit for a pop of color…or I add olives in cute little mason jars or wood bowls, so look around your kitchen, find thing you love and add them to your spread. It really can be that easy.
So there it is, simple huh? But trust me when I tell you this will be the most carefree party to host, and everyone will be relaxed and have a great time. When friends start trying all the different cheese and accompaniments, the conversations go something like this….“OMG, did you try that cheese with THAT wine?? oh and the honey, soooo gooood, OR, “taste that wine and that jam on that cheese…to die for”. It’s kinda fun.
This is great for anytime of year, but I especially love to have these grazing boards out around the holidays when I want to have friends over but don’t feel like going to any trouble. A party I can pick up on the way home is perfect sometimes.
So now go be awesome and Have.Yo.Self.A.Party! And if you do, snap a pic of your creation and let me seeeeees:)
(This post is in partnership with Cervasi, but all opinions and wine sipping, typos and cheese noshing are totally my own)
I love traditional risotto. It's made with Arborio rice and is truly a labor of love. It takes 35-45 minutes and you need to stay near your stove the entire time to carefully stir in each cup of warm broth.
I’m not however a huge fan of restaurant risotto, which they par-boil the rice and finish later when it's ordered by you:). Although I LOVE risotto done right, I’m not a fan of thick, sticky par-cooked versions served at restaurants. SO I wanted something that had the creamy, cheesy rich flavor risotto is so known for, but wanted to create something more conducive to quick meals and of course entertaining.
Enter…Orzo “Risotto”. Orzo is a cute little rice shaped pasta. Replacing the rice with Orzo pasta, (Cervasi if you’re in KC:) made this dish way less labor intensive but still incredibly creamy, cheesy and oh so versatile. This is a perfect side-dish or paired with a salad it’s a meal on its own. It is also great when other ingredients are added to it, like roasted vegetables, chicken or really anything. This time of year I like to add a bit of butternut squash, omg…just.so.good.
So whip up a batch…and let me know what you think. I think you’re gonna love love love i