Saturday, October 13, 2018

Coffee-Rubbed Lamb Tagine with Seven Hills Merlot #MerlotMe #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf Seven Hills Winery, one of the #MerlotMe event sponsors.
Complimentary wine was provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links.
However, all opinions expressed here are my own.

As I started researching for this post, I realized that this is the first non-California Merlot that I am sharing for this year's #MerlotMe. You can see several of my other pairings rounded-up in my post: So Many Merlots, So Many Pairings. When the wines starting rolling in from the event sponsors*, I posted the photo below and a friend, who was familiar with the winery, immediately chimed in with a flavor profile that had my mouth watering: lamb, coffee, and vanilla. That was it. No link to a recipe. Nothing. Just the suggestion. I ran with it!

Seven Hills Merlot

Seven Hills Winery was a new one to me. So, I did some reading. Located in the heart of Walla Walla, Washington, it's one of the area’s oldest wineries. And, as a fourth-generation farmer who worked alongside his father to plant the founding estate blocks, founder and winemaker Casey McClellan has played an important role in the viticultural history of the Walla Walla Valley appellation (AVA). 

From McClellan: "This wine is drawn from the original Merlot blocks at Seven Hills Vineyard that I planted with my father in the summer of 1982. 2015 marks the 28th vintage I have made Merlot from these same vines. This vintage exhibits a beautiful, dark ruby color and enticing aromas of red cherry, raspberry, mocha, and rose petals. The palate is supple and generous with loads of red fruits accentuated with vanilla and spice and finishing with both supple fruit and firm, spicy tannins. While drinking well at release, it will improve considerably with a few years of bottle age and should cellar well for up to ten years from vintage."

I could definitely see the pairing of the lamb, coffee, and vanilla being spot-on. I considered roasting a coffee-rubbed leg of lamb, but I still had some boneless roasts in my freezer from the micro-share of lamb we bought. So, I opted to rub the lamb and cook it in my tagine.


A tajine or tagine is a Maghrebi dish named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked. So, it refers to both the cooking vessel and the resulting food; it is also called a maraq/marqa in North Africa and the Middle East.

Mentions of the tagine date back to Harun al-Rashid who was a ruler of the Early Muslim conquests and it appears in the 9th century collection of stories One Thousand and One Nights. At the same time, it was noted during the Islamic reign of the Abbasid Empire that stretched from the Middle East/Asia to North Africa and Andalusia. 

The dish was used by nomadic Bedouin people of the Arabian Peninsula, who added dried fruits such as dates, apricots and plums to it. Tagine is traditionally cooked over hot charcoal with the shape of the lid acting as a self-basting tool. The circular base is flat with low sides and the cover is a large cone-shape that sits on the base during cooking. The cover is designed to collect all condensation and re-direct to back to the bottom.

It's a pretty amazing pot. I love that I put the lamb in the tagine, ran back to work for the afternoon, did a ton of errands with my older son, and when we came home, the lamb was so tender I could cut it with a spoon.

Coffee-Rubbed Lamb Tagine

  • 2 pounds boneless lamb (I had two roasts, butterflied)
  • 4 to 5 T finely ground coffee (I used a decaf, light roast bean)
  • 1 T sumac
  • 1 T smoked paprika
  • 1 T ground turmeric
  • 1 t + 1 T ground cinnamon
  • 1 t + 1 T ground coriander
  • 2 t ground vanilla bean powder
  • 1 t crushed Aleppo pepper
  • olive oil as needed
  • 2 onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1-1/2 C beef stock
  • 1-1/2 C red wine
  • 1 C brewed coffee (I used decaf)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • freshly ground salt, as needed
  • freshly ground pepper, as needed
  • mashed potatoes for serving

Sprinkle lamb with 1 t ground cinnamon and 1 t ground coriander and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight. In a small mixing bowl blend all of your spices - ground coffee, sumac, smoked paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, coriander, vanilla bean powder, and crushed Aleppo pepper. Add in enough olive oil to create a thick paste. Massage the paste over the entire surface of the lamb, reserving 1 T of the paste.

Add a splash of olive oil to the bottom of the tagine. Brown the lamb on all sides over medium-high heat. Stir in the remaining spice paste and pour in the stock, wine, and coffee. Nestle the quartered onions, cinnamon sticks, and vanilla bean around the meat.

Bring to a boil, place the cover on the tagine, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 to 6 hours. The meat should be tender and cooked through. Every hour or so, you might want to ensure there is still enough liquid in the pan. If needed, add more stock or wine. Check occasionally to make sure the bottom doesn't burn. Stir, as needed. 

Season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, spoon mashed potatoes on to individual serving plates. Top with lamb and the onions. serve immediately.

Find Seven Hills Winery
on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram
*Disclosure: I received compensation in the form of wine samples for recipe development and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizer and sponsors of this event.

Friday, October 12, 2018

So Many Merlots, So Many Pairings for #WinePW #MerlotMe #Sponsored

 This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the #MerlotMe event sponsors.
Complimentary wine was provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links.
However, all opinions expressed here are my own.

This is my fourth year participating in #MerlotMe and, once again, Wine Pairing Weekend - #WinePW - collides with the event. Jeff of FoodWineClick! invited us to jump on the #MerlotMe bandwagon with him again this year Click to read his invitation.

The MerlotMe website encourages wine lovers to "celebrate the greatness of Merlot throughout the month of October." So, we are. In addition, all of the #winePW bloggers were offered bottles of Merlot to try, taste, and pair for this event.* Complimentary wine? You bet. I'm in. 

So, I have to admit as the wine bottles started arriving, I was simultaneously excited and more than a little intimidated. My first year in, I received three bottles. And the generous sampling has grown; every year more bottles show up with this year being a record. Ten. Ten bottles of Merlot to open, pair, and enjoy! Needless to say, my pairings spanned several weeks and are included in multiple posts. And they will continue throughout the month of October. It's a good thing we're only at the second weekend of the month.

So, if you're reading this early enough, feel free to join us on Twitter as we chat about all things Merlot. We'll be live on Saturday, October 13th, 8am Pacific time. Follow the hashtag #WinePW and chime in. Or just search for the hashtag and read the posts at your leisure.

Our Wine Pairing Weekend group loves to find creative, new pairings of wines with food. Take a look at all these great ideas when they go live on Friday and Saturday this week. You can tell from the titles that everyone else was also grappling with how to feature all these wines for this event!

And as an extra-added, no additional cost to you, here's a video post from Nick Goldschmidt, winemaker at Goldschmidt Vineyards in Napa Valley! Finally, join us in November with our theme "Together We Rise: Wines from Fire Struck Regions in California, Spain, Portugal" Gwen from Wine Predator will host. See you then

Eschew the Fancy Foods

One of the things that lots of wine choices allows: you don't have to save it for a fancy dinner. With all the bottles from which to choose, I paired everyday foods with pricey wines!

On a Friday night, after a crazy week, I picked up burgers and opened up a bottle of 2016 Sonoma County Merlot from Decoy Wines. A blend of 97% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine is lush and inviting with silky tannins and a balanced acidity. The warm cocoa notes paired nicely with the sauteed mushrooms on my lettuce-wrapped burger. And hints of vanilla were a nice foil for the salty fries, onion rings, and tempura green beans.

For a working dinner, mid-week, I opened up the 2015 Napa Valley Merlot from Cakebread Cellars. We noshed on Tear-Apart Garlic Bread and Garlicky Stuffed Tomatoes while planning the inaugural FIRST Monterey Bay Regional competition coming up in March 2019.

A quick look at their website shows that the 2015 Merlot isn't yet available for purchase - just yet -but the '13 and '14 retail for $54, so I would guess that this bottle is similarly priced. This is a 95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc blend with 79% estate grapes from their Napa Valley Vineyard. After it was harvested in August and September 2015, it spend 17 months in French oak. The resulting wine has a 14.9% alcohol content and winemaker Julianne Laks comments that "Rich, concentrated flavors of ripe blackberry, black plum and blackcurrant fill the lush palate...."

Not surprisingly, 'lush' would have been my first word pick, too. But, since she chose it, I'll go with supple and lithe. Deep fruit aromas are tempered with a light floral note. And it definitely fills the palate with lingering fruit and mineral highlights. What a delicious wine...and a great match with garlicky goodness.

The 2015 Mt. Brave Merlot escorted us through multiple courses one night. With a retail price of $80 this bottle of wine isn't cheap and we found it a little tight. But, after decanting, it opened up and revealed its subtle power. It doesn't explode with flavor, but sip after sip showed herbs and cedar balanced with dark fruit and a cocoa finish. We uncorked this and lingered over it with multiple courses.

We started with late summer blackberries, pickled green walnuts, multigrain baguette, and Tomme de Savoie cheese. Then we moved on to the main dish, Shepherd's Pie. The wine paired seamlessly with both courses and I even tried a sip or two with the apple-pear pie that D baked for dessert!

After watching The Princess and the Frog for my Food'N'Flix cooking group, I decided to try a Merlot paired with swamp cuisine. 

I uncorked the 2015 Merlot from Trefethen and poured it with my version of a Cajun Courtbouillon. This 2015 Merlot blends 95% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2% Malbec for a wine that is both earthy and elegant. Its notes of plum with black pepper made it a solid match with the spiced tomato sauce of the dish.

When a friend saw me post this photo of my shipment from Seven Hills Winery, he immediately messaged me with a suggestion that made my mouth water just reading the flavor profile. Think roasted lamb, coffee, and vanilla. Yes, I did. Here's my Coffee-Rubbed Lamb Tagine.

Let me just end by saying that four years ago Merlot wasn't really on my wine-radar. It wasn't that I had anything against the varietal; I just didn't have much exposure to it. After four years of participating in this #MerlotMe, I am always pleasantly surprised at how food-friendly and versatile it is. And you don't even have to be fancy...I really enjoyed pairing it with everyday meals.

Many thanks to the participating wineries who sponsor the event and send samples to bloggers. And a shoutout of gratitude, again, to Jeff of FoodWineClick! for wrangling all of us to explore and shine the spotlight on Merlot. Cheers!

*Disclosure: I received compensation in the form of wine samples for recipe development and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizer and sponsors of this event.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Spicy Prawn and Freaky Fruits Noodle Salad #FreakyFruitsFriday #MelissasProduce #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Melissa's Produce.
I received complimentary product for the purpose of review and recipe development,
but all opinions are honest and they are my own. This page may contain affiliate links.

Last Halloween I noticed that Melissa's Produce had a section on their website for 'Freaky Fruits.' I really wanted to have some of the other Festive Foodies to join me in an event this year featuring those unique fruits. So, I reached out to my contacts at Melissa's Produce to see if they would want to sponsor the event. And they did!

As the produce boxes started arriving, I realized that we had waaaaaaaay more produce than I could feature in just two Fridays in October. So, I decided that I would create some additional recipes and call it 'recipe testing.' The boys helped me brainstorm some ideas. You'll see most of these on the blog in the next month. But today is the group's first official posting day - #FreakyFruitsFriday, take one.

You can follow along with the hashtag #FreakyFruitsFriday. As a side note, my Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf objects to the name. "They aren't freaky, Mom," he admonished me. "We eat them all the time. They're just fruits." He's right....but I explained that they are freaky to some people and we're going to try to inspire people to come to the freaky side. He chuckled at that. But first...

The Other #FreakyFruitsFriday Creations

Meet Today's Freaky Fruits

Dragonfruit grows on a vining cactus and has a vibrantly colored rind that houses a juicy flesh flecked with tiny, edible black seeds. The fruit is similar in texture to a cantaloupe or a kiwi; its flavor runs the gamut from sweet to tart to virtually non-existent. I prefer ones that are somewhere in between the first two. But, honestly, I haven't been able to figure out how to pick 'em. So, I usually just go for the color that I want on my plate.

The White Dragons are large with a creamy interior while the Red Dragons are also magenta on the outside, but a bright, deep pink on the inside. Note that the flavor is more intense when it's chilled. So, I usually slice or cube, then refrigerate before serving. 

Closely related to the lychee and longan fruits, the Rambutan has wiry hairs protruding from its husk. In fact, my boys have always just called them 'the hairy lychees.' Okay, that's not totally accurate, but I always knew what they wanted. The fruit gets its name from the Malaysian word for hair, "rambut." 

Like its relative, it has a juicy texture with an almost cloying sweetness. They remind me of fragrant, floral grapes.

Strawberry Papaya
Native to tropical regions, Strawberry Papayas have a lovely salmon-hued flesh that tastes like strawberries mixed with peaches. While it was tempting to just scoop out the seeds and eat the fruit with a spoon, I decided to incorporate it into a fresh, freaky fruits salsa.

Spicy Prawn and Freaky Fruits Noodle Salad

There were so many possibilities with all of these Freaky Fruits. But, as I usually do, I lean towards the savory and decided to make a simple noodle salad with spicy prawns, barely wilted greens, and a fresh, freaky fruits salsa. It was delicious.

Ingredients serves 4

Spicy Prawns
  • 1 pound prawns, peeled and deveined
  • 2 T oil (I used canola)
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 to 2 T hot sauce, depends on your tastes
  • 2 t toasted sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed
  • 1" knob fresh ginger, grated
  • juice from 1 organic lime
  • 1/4 C fresh cilantro

Freaky Fruits Salsa
  • 1 dragonfruit, chilled and cubed (approximately 1 C)
  • 1/2 strawberry papaya, cubed (approximately 1 C)
  • 1/2 C diced tomatoes
  • 3 to 4 rambutan, peeled, deseeded, and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 t jalapeno, deseeded and finely diced 
  • juice from 1 organic lime

  • 15 ounces dried rice noodles (I used Forbidden Rice noodles for the blackish purple color)
  • 1 to 2 t toasted sesame oil
  • 1/3 C rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 C soy sauce
  • 1 T dark brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and pressed
  • 1" knob fresh ginger, grated
  • juice from 1 organic lime

For Serving
  • blanched Asian greens (I used the tops of bok choy)
  • more hot sauce, if needed
  • more soy sauce, if needed

Spicy Prawns
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, hot sauce, garlic, ginger, and lime juice. Add in the prawns and stir to coat. Let stand for at least 10 minutes. Pour everything - prawns and  marinade into a hot skillet and cook until prawns are just opaque. Remove the prawns and keep simmering the sauce until thickened. Stir the prawn and sauce together again and let cool completely. Just before serving, toss the prawns with chopped cilantro.

Freaky Fruits Salsa
In a medium mixing bowl, toss all of the ingredients together. Let stand for at least 20 minutes before serving so the flavors have time to meld.

Cook noodles according to package directions. In the meantime, whisk together the dressing ingredients in a mixing bowl. Once the noodles have cooked, drain them and add them to the dressing. Toss to coat completely.

For Serving
Assemble your bowls. Noodles on the bottom. Then arrange however you'd like. I did greens, salsa, and prawns in separate sections. But you can pile them all together. Offer more hot sauce and soy sauce for diners tastes. Enjoy!

You may find Melissa's...
on the web, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram

*Disclosure: I received product for free from the sponsor for recipe development, however, I have received no additional compensation for my post. My opinion is 100% my own and 100% accurate.

Six Wines for a Wednesday #VillaMariaVT #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me in conjunction with a virtual wine tasting event hosted by 
Snooth for Villa Maria Winery. Wine samples were provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links.

When I received an email from a contact at Snooth about taking part in a virtual wine tasting, featuring wines from New Zealand, I was intrigued. First, because I was completely unfamiliar with the winery - Villa Maria - itself and, second, because I can't think of many other wines that I've tried from New Zealand. I always love learning more about a new-to-me area. Besides, I love an excuse to have a wine pairing dinner.

At first I was hesitant to ask my friends because it was mid-week, but with the boys out of school anyway for Fall Break, she said it wasn't a problem. And because I didn't want to leave her husband out of the fun and games (he's in a boot after surgery and my stairs are hard to manage), I barged over to her house. Thank goodness we've been best friends for over three decades...she just rolls with it.

We had a few technological difficulties logging into the virtual tasting from cell phones - and it would have helped if I remembered my password for the website - so I completely missed the online part of the tasting, but I did read the comments and posts after the fact. And, at least, I had my wines. Lori of Dracaena Wines was in New Jersey while her wines were delivered to California; she cursed her bicoastal life!

In any case, the tasting consisted of six Villa Maria's wines...
  • Bubbly Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand SRP $15.00
  • Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough SRP $14.00
  • Private Bin Rosé, Hawkes Bay SRP $15.00
  • Private Bin Pinot Noir, Marlborough SRP $18.00
  • Taylors Pass Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough SRP $26.00
  • Taylors Pass Pinot Noir, Marlborough SRP $42.00

Picture four boys, three gals, and two guys on the back patio. The kids are trying to pick tomatoes for the crostini. The guys are busily grilling sausages. And the girls are trying to pay attention to the virtual tasting while chatting about school, work, and life in general. Add to that a dog and a cat and you can imagine the chaotic hilarity that ensued. We didn't taste anything in order.

And everything was almost completely derailed when my husband opened up the Taylors Pass Pinot Noir and exclaimed, "Wow!" All heads turned to the table, "Which one is 'wow!'?" No, no, no, I bellowed. We have to taste them all.  Greg from Tales of the Cork was more eloquent that just 'wow.' He chimed in with: "Pomegranate, dark fruit, spice--great to be paired with duck and pan seared salmon--my favorite. Yes, walnut and cranberry salad with stuffed mushrooms on the side." Now I need another bottle because that sounds amazing.

So, I started off with the Taylors Pass Sauvignon Blanc. It got a wow...without the exclamation mark. One said, "Whoa," but I don't know if that had an exclamation mark or not! When we started naming off what we detected. we got grapefruit, passionfruit, guava, and pistachio that opens up to kiwi. We decided it was definitely a complex which wine that was beautifully aromatic. Lauren of The Swirling Dervish commented an agreeable contrast with the tropical fruit and herbs and queried, "Do I have to share this one???" Nope, Lauren, it's all yours because we have our own bottles.

After the kids finished picking tomatoes, we poured more of the Taylors Pass Sauvignon Blanc and declared it a great fit for the Italian bite.

As the sun started to set, I didn't take very many other photos of the festivities. But the Private Bin Rosé poured to mixed reviews. The gals enjoyed it; the guys that it was too floral. We tasted the Private Bin Pinot Noir with grilled sausages; we poured the Taylors Pass Pinot Noir with shredded beef tacos and fresh salsa. Mike from Life at Table said, "This is the type of Rosé that you open with dinner, and before you know it you are slurring your words. In other words, DANGEROUS." Ha. So true. Jen of Vino Travels shared, "I love color with my Rosé and was a perfect day to open this on this warm day in Boston."

But the pairing that stole the show for us was actually my son's Unexpected Beignet Delight that we ate with the Bubbly Sauvignon Blanc. Really you can't go wrong with this...

and this.... 

The delicate bubbles of this wine were enlivened with vibrant citrus notes and a slightly floral aroma. Life at Table Mike called it 'frisky.' Winemaker Kathrin Jankowiec agreed, echoing 'frisky and sassy.' Love those descriptors! So apt. And while I went with a dessert pairing, Martin of ENOFYLZ Wine Blog said, "The sparkling Sauvignon Blanc has me craving...a goat cheese quiche with herbs!" I can totally see that, too.

What a fun evening full of delicious wines. A handwritten note on one of the tech sheet packets I had on the table read: "I approve of these wines. - MG" Me, too!

Find the Sponsors...

Villa Maria on the web, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram
Snooth on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram

*Disclosure: I received sample wines for recipe development, pairing, and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizer and sponsors of this event.

Unexpected Beignet Delight #FoodieReads

The Unexpected Cajun Kitchen: Classic Cuisine with a Twist of Farm-to-Table Freshness by Leigh Ann Chatagnier* has been on my bookshelf for almost two years. I used it as inspiration for several dishes for D's 13th birthday dinner. But, I guess, I've never written about it. That changes today.

After watching The Princess and the Frog with me for this month's Food'N'Flix project (we ended up making Cajun Courtbouillon), my Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf was determined to make beignets. And it turned out that I needed a dessert for a wine pairing dinner. I thought: beignets would go well with the sparkling Sauvignon Blanc.

So, he pulled this book off the shelf and whipped up the dough. It rose on our way over to our friends' house and during the dinner. After dinner, he made himself at home in their kitchen and cranked these out.

Let me admit at the get-go: I am not a huge fan of beignets. Jake and I made our way over to Café du Monde, when we were in New Orleans, for the obligatory beignet order dunked in chicory coffee. And I wasn't sold. We've had them at a local restaurant and, while they're okay, it's not how I would choose to ingest calories if I had my druthers.

However, these beignets are an unexpected delight. I still limited myself to one because I don't run enough miles in a week to justify gorging myself. But others had seconds, thirds, and even fourth servings. They were that good! And, best yet, they aren't that difficult.

On the Page
Before we get to the recipe, however, I'm going to say a few words about this book. In her introduction, Chatagnier writes, "Food is love, and I have so much I want to share. My hope for this cookbook is that it inspires people to spend a little more time eating dinner with their families and breaking bread with friends, and that it encourages you to get into the kitchen to try something new." Yes, indeed!

This book, and this recipe, certainly did that. And I can see us trying out several of her other creations, too. The book is comprised of seven different sections: The Essentials, including Remoulade Sauce and Cajun Seasoning; Brunch, with an intriguing Boudin Omelette and Crawfish Eggs Benedict; Everyday Dish, such as Seafood Pastalaya and Cajun Spiced Pork Burgers; Date Night with Jambalaya Pot Pies for Two and Chicory Coffee Rubbed NY Strips and Skillet Haricot Verts; Small Bites, including Mufalletta Sliders and Baked Cajun Empanadas; and, finally, Sweet Tooth, with a Satsuma Bundt Cake and Bananas Foster Banana Bread. All look delicious as the photography in this book is delectable, too.

On the Plate
very slightly adapted from Chatagnier's Almond Beignet Bites

Ingredients makes approximately 2 dozen, but his were larger than bite-sized

  • 1 table active dry yeast
  • 3 T granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 C warm water
  • 3 C flour
  • 1/2 t vanilla salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 t pure almond extract
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • canola oil for frying + 2 T for dough
  • powdered sugar for serving

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 T sugar and warm water. Sprinkle yeast on the top and let stand until bubbly and frothy, approximately 5 minutes.

In another mixing bowl, stir together 2 T sugar, flour, cinnamon, and vanilla salt.

After the yeast has bloomed, whisk in eggs, almond extract, and 2 T oil. As you whisk, incorporated the dry ingredients until the dough comes together in a ball. Place in an oiled container, cover, and let rise for 2 hours or until doubled in size.

When you're read to cook, fill a skillet with at least an inch of canola oil covering the bottom of the pan. Heat oil over medium-high heat until it sizzles when you add a drop of water. Pull off bite-sized pieces - or use two tablespoons to pull off the pieces - and drop them into the  hot oil.

Cook on each side for 2 to 3 minutes. The boys tell me that some of them flipped over by themselves. But, I didn't see that.

Once nicely browned, remove from the oil and place on a paper towel-lined platter or wire rack.

Dust the beignets generously with powdered sugar and serve immediately. I let the kids dust their own...what fun!

And some of the adults, yes, it started with my husband, wanted a whole bowl full of powdered sugar so he could roll them around in their for full coverage!

I paired this unexpected beignet delight with a bubbly Sauvignon Blanc from Villa Maria wines in New Zealand. D's beignets have been requested for our next dinner party and, in fact, he had so much fun making them, we're doing an encore for tonight's dessert.

These beignets were a delicious end to an evening of breaking bread with friends as Chatagnier hoped her recipes would inspire. Cheers!

*This blog currently has a partnership with in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to and search for the item of your choice.

Here's what everyone else read in October 2018: here.

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