Vino First!

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Recently I have been so busy. Working for the restaurant and bakery. Wine tastings for the restaurant. Idea sessions with my boss for business ideas, plans and wine. WE LOVE to talk about wine.

Trying to find time for my friends isn’t so hard. I work with some great people and we have so much fun in the late hours of the evening. All my boys can keep me laughing until about 3 am on a weekly basis. I couldn’t be luckier. I love that they are winos also and love me to teach them.

In lieu of my recent profession and fondness of wine, a fondness that grows everyday, I will be starting to focus on wines, spirits & sometimes food for pairing on this blog. Learning about viticulture is very complex and takes a lot of time and practice. It is a wonderful life.

Every two weeks I am hosting a session of Wine Regions to further my education and everyone who wants to learn also! I will keep my blog up to date using this schedule and informing the social media world all about wine from the standpoint of a chemist, a server, and obviously a certified Wine student.

Being a server at a very upscale restaurant has helped me learn so much and begin my journey in this profession as well as keep up with classes for my Master’s Degree. My boss and co-workers are wonderful and very educated. They are teaching me so much!! He says working for him is like a semester at culinary school of knowledge. It is not easy and expectations are high. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This week in wines I started Italy. So stay tuned for my post all about Italy!!

Drink up.

Cheers!

Farm to Table

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Recently I have taken a position with two delightful establishments run by the most amazing people I have met in a long time. Utica Bread and The Tailor & The Cook. We take much pride in our service and quality of product. Both places use local NY State local farms for produce and all other products we use to make you your delicious foods!

Utica Bread is a brand new bakery with such delicious treats for a quick on the go, healthy and local meal. We do have a case of pastries to die for that aren’t healthy per say but a treat once in a while is never a bad thing. The bakery uses no preservatives and there is always a wonderful happy face there to greet you and inform you of all the lovely products we offer. From cheeses, breads, pastries and deli salads, you will never walk away without a smile on your face. It’s a lovely place in Baggs Square, Utica. We want you to stop by and support the local community!!

UB EarlyUB Later The Tailor & The Cook has just been rated one of the top 100 restaurants in America. THAT IS AMAZING. I am so proud to be apart of all of this we some of the most talented and beautiful people I have been around in a while. The menu is to die for and changes based on availability of products and the season. The servers are all so wonderful and smiling all of the time. You will enter and leave with a smile on your face. As I learn more and more, so will you!

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The Italian Wonders of Utica, NY

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For those of you who did not grow up or ever visit central NY, there are a few delicacies that came out of the Italian aspects of Utica. Reasons that Utica is known for it’s many Italian assets is due to the Mafia. The Italian Mafia ran the greater portion for a long time and all their old, rich familial traditions stuck with the area.

Here are my favorite Italian Utican delicacies. I hope you all enjoy!

1. Chicken Riggies – I made my own Riggies yesterday. They were so freaking delicious. Cream and red sauce, peppers and onions, lots of spices and slow roasted chicken, all poured over a bed of Rigatoni. SO AMAZING!

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2. Half Moons – The infamous black and white cookie. The only truy good kind can be found in Utica.

3. Italian Wedding Soup – Became very big in Utica when the ‘Wedding Soup’ was introduced. Originally came from a Spanish nation, they definitely knew what they were doing. Italian wedding soup contains meat and greens in a clear broth; the meats either sausage or small meatballs, the greens escarole, chard, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, rabe, chicory, endive, lettuce, or kale.

4. Utica Greens – My favorite dish. The way some restaurants cook these greens, there is no explanation of the delicious flavors. It is just that good. Buttery and spicy, this appetizer NEEDS to be eaten with every meal. ESCAROLE WITH PROSCUITTO, HOT PEPPERS, GRATED CHEESE, AND BREADCRUMBS.

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5. Tomato Pie – A cold, pizza like baked good. Tomato sauce and a lot of Italian spices, with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. Certain bakeries in Utica make some so delicious, you want to eat the whole sheet.

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SPICY SPICY SPICY

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There are a lot of benefits to eating spicy foods. I myself love spicy everything, perhaps even carry around Hot Sauce packets in my school bag in case of a low HEAT emergency. All International Food is my favorite. Some of the best food is the little random markets and diners that you find in the middle of cities, ‘hidden gems’ you could say.

This is the chemistry behind spice and its ‘capsicum’ levels and how as you approach 100% capsaicin, how the heat becomes a poison:

Capsaicin is present in large quantities in the placental tissue (seed location), the internal membranes and, to a lesser extent, the other fleshy parts of the fruits of plants in the genus Capsicum. The seeds themselves do not produce any capsaicin, although the highest concentration of capsaicin can be found in the white pith of the inner wall, where the seeds are attached.

CAPSAICIN

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The burning sensation caused by capsaicin when it comes in contact with mucous membranes is commonly used in food products to give them added spice (piquancy). In high concentrations, capsaicin will also cause a burning effect on other sensitive areas of skin. The degree of heat found within a food is often measured on the Scoville scale.

Bell peppers are structured so that they eliminate capsaicin, hence why they do not have any spice.

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Certain wines use ‘capsicum’ to add flavor and certain heats to wines. It gives certain wines that peppery taste. Look on the descriptions of the bottles or ask a sales associate!

Here are a few of my favorite recipes:

Peppers: ALL PEPPERS – There are so many amazing peppers to cook with out there. 

Indian Food/Curry: Indian Green Bell Pepper And Chicken Curry

https://en.cookpad.com/recipe/1100519

Cumin: Southwestern Roasted Cauliflower Recipe with Cumin & Paprika

http://www.cookincanuck.com/2013/10/southwestern-roasted-cauliflower-recipe-with-cumin-paprika/

Mexican/Spanish Heat: Grilled Mexican Corn Salad

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/grilled-mexican-corn-salad-50400000135558/

Stuffed Peppers: Spicy Quinoa Poblano Stuffed Peppers

http://www.colleens-kitchen.com/2013/06/spicy-quinoa-stuffed-poblano-peppers.html

Everyone should start adding spice to everything in their life. Give all your food a little kick. It boosts your metabolism and makes everything taste so much better. Sriracha is my personal favorite hot sauce. It’s got a very complex flavor that goes well with many things (eggs, sandwiches, asian spiced foods).

SPICE up your life my people. 😉

Fresh Food and Justified Laziness

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Now I know that I say that I am living breathing proof that you can be a successful and powerful person while giving into your devilish side too, but there are some days, weekends, or even weeks that you need to just give it all up. This weekend was certainly that for me. After working so much, such ridiculous hours and all the crazy expectations the past few weeks, I haven’t had a moment to relax. Not one. I took this weekend to do nothing. I couldn’t even write a new post!! I used to feel so weird if I wasn’t being productive or partying my life away on a weekend but now? I use it for rest and relaxation that I never seem to achieve.

Besides sleeping for most of the weekend… (when I say sleeping, I mean knocked out for most of the day and night), I use weekends that I am home and being lazy good for grocery shopping, meal planning and binging on the fresh produce you can find at Farmer’s Markets.

Especially making fresh fruit, veggie and protein salads for the summer that you can take out and snack on at anytime. Below are two salads that I frequently make and use as leafy green salad toppers. Kale, romaine, mesclun, and baby spinach are all different greens filled with fiber, nutrients and a lot of flavor.


Summer Corn Salad – Corn, red onions, peppers, parsley, cilantro, garlic, onion powder, sriracha, butter.

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Cucumber Dill Salad – Cucumber, red onion, garbanzo beans, dill, greek yogurt, garlic cloves, onion powder, celery salt.

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I have MANY recipes for fresh salads if anyone finds them to be of there liking with specific ingredient amounts and such. I was trained in the kitchen and have a spectacular eye for culinary expertise! I will be starting to post the best recipes I can come up with to keep better track of the things that I love! It will also go along with my challenge for the week. Eat fresh everyone! 🙂