Tuesday, March 28, 2017

My Worthless Opinion: Wine and Chocolate Festival at the Desmond March 18, 2017

Jammed into the hallways, lining up before the first session opened at 1:00, $25 tickets plus fee in hand - ah, the smell of humanity. The waiting crowd snaked through the corridors for what seemed miles. We were a polite crowd so at least we didn't moo when it started to move.
Lovely venue
OK I'm not 29 again but they were checking everyone's IDs at the door as we burst into the central courtyards at the Desmond Hotel, not far from the airport on Albany Shaker Road. The area was very warm and sunny on one of our first mild days of the impending spring, with balloons and vendors all around. Of course we went right for the wine, all of which, I think, were from NYS. However, of the 80 plus vendors only about 25 were wineries, including a few that were, well, just OK. The chocolate tastings were few and far between, although the homemade chocolates from G&A Sweet Treats that I bought for my colleagues I ended up eating all by myself - try the peanut butter patties if you ever get a chance. Otherwise alot of jerky and scarves and jewelry and sauces and body tonics - not why I was there.

Friendly vendors

The best thing I had was a gingery Sundog Cider, but the Adirondack Wildfire cinnamon whisky from Lake George Distilling Company was also amazing. I guess I like that spikey stuff. East Hill Creamery Underhill Pass Reserve cheese was a revelation, tart, creamy, inspired.
Love the ginger cider from Sundog (Chatham, NY)
Adirondack Wildfire shots. Nuff said. 

Lovely cheese from East Hill Creamery (Perry NY)
After about an hour and a half of fighting crowds to get to the vendors to taste the wine and nibble on stuff we were hot and tired and buzzless. Time for a REAL glass of wine, so we went into The Tavern and loved a couple of cold glasses of sauvignon blanc, great service, laughter and conversation, and that we had a DD. I'd never been before but it was a wonderful bar, and only a few miles from home....

OK these things are always hit and miss - some are more crowded than others, the price can be high, the takeaway limited, some are a genuine hoot and I learn alot.  I liked trying the NY wines but none impressed - too bad. Mostly I hope that next year the organizers focus on WINE AND CHOCOLATE and maybe a few ciders and let the rest go - it dilutes the event, one with so much potential.

Zena, Goddess of Fire

PS: I'd link you to the event but 2017 is down and 2018 is already up. Sheesh.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Happy Pi Day!!! My Trip to "At Home"

I don't decorate. The cats are just too good at knocking things over for that to ever happen.

Still, I was curious about the new "At Home" store, located in Crossgates Commons. Wear your sneakers - it's big.
At least fake plants don't got bugs
Stretch and I set out to explore. Right now there are miles and miles of outdoor furniture with every color and pattern of polyester cushioning you can imagine. Man that would be a GREAT place to fight the forces of evil!!!
Bad Art
Chairs and stools and tables and mattresses and couches and bad art, lots of bad art, kitchenwares and towels and rugs and vases and "bowl fillers" (sheesh) and clocks and frames and a garden of fake plants. Maybe a bit pricey compared to Tuesday Morning or Walmart but a great place to get ideas if nothing else, like "I don't decorate" because I have no idea how to separate the good stuff from the crap.
Likin' the love seat
Anyway, naturally I spent most of my time pouring over kitchen stuff, because that's what I do. I came away with two 6" glass pie pans.

So now it's 3.14, Pi Day, and I'm "at home", watching a snowstorm bear down on the region. So what did I do???  OF COURSE!!!  I made pies!!!

A classic butter crust from Cook's Illustrated, using all butter because if you know me I don't eat anything with the word "short" in it (half the recipe).

Quiche (recipe follows) - made with beautiful farm eggs from Kruzinski Farm, whole organic milk, emmentaler cheese, coarse sea salt, fresh ground pepper, topped with roasted cherry tomatoes. Two perfect little pies just the right size for one goddess ignoring the fact that she isn't working out today except for shoveling snow.
That's my pepper grinder on the left, FYI...
Oh right, and with the leftover crust I made a little blueberry pie, just homemade blueberry jam mixed with a bunch of frozen ones, topped and buttered and sprinkled with sugar and baked until gooey. It better snow ALOT to burn this baby off. I ate the whole thing.

So with me everything in the end comes back to food. HAPPY PI DAY!!!

18 cherry tomatoes, pierced once with a fork, tossed with salt and pepper and a bit of olive oil and baked in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Allow to cool.

1 2" yellow onion (about 2/3 cup), chopped fine, sauteed in 1 T butter with 1 teaspoon of salt until lightly browned. Allow to cool.

Whisk together 4 eggs, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 cup whole milk.

Fill two 6" uncooked pie crusts with 1 cup each shredded emmetaler cheese (about 1/2 lb. total). Divide the onions on top and then add the egg mixture, divided. Top with cherry tomatoes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes until set.

You can also do this in a 9" pan just don't divide anything.

Zena, Goddess of Fire
Lots of swiss

2" onion

Sauteed with salt to help them soften. Medium heat, please.

Gorgeous yellow yolk!

Roast those winter tomatoes if you have any sense whatsoever