Panetini, Fig & Cheese

Trio

Have you ever felt a deep desire to acquire some snacks that would delight your palate and joyfully meld with a bottle of wine? My dearest friend Mo was coming for a visit last fall and I felt the need to gather the appropriate sustenance for an evening of laughs and good conversation. My perusing at the local grocer led me to these three very delightful guests to join our little soiree.

Panetini
The first new friend is this delightful toast – Panetini. Oven Baked Italian Toast. Baked twice in the tradition of Old World Italy. This is all noted on the package. Having traveled to Italy on our honeymoon, I get just a wee bit nostalgic about anything Italian-related. Seriously. What’s not to love about Italy or Italian food? I honestly can’t think of anything.

Garlic? Parmesan? Yes! Yes! I like those too..

Fig Spread

The second guest is this Fig Spread. Oh the JOY! Fig! Sweet. Perfect. Delicious.

Did I mention the JOY?

No particular connotation of country here.

Except for the fact that it was made in the good ol’ U.S. of A.

Dubliner
The third to make its acquaintance is this delicious Dubliner cheese. Imported straight from Ireland. Ahh…Ireland. Mo and I had been for a visit back in 2001. She’s been to Italy too. Not with me the little bugger but I guess sometimes husbands trump best friends. Sometimes.

All three together. OH. MY. Oh me! Oh my! I could die. It tastes like a bit of heaven.

{and please accept my apologies for the slight Dr.Seuss-ian excursion above}

This trio speaks to my soul. They say “Ang, we are good together.” And so, I am forced to put them in my belly. (After all, if food talks to you, you should listen to it.)

bottle12_pinot_grigio

For the celebration with Mo, we enjoyed the Rosso & Bianco Pinot Grigio from the Francis Ford Coppola Winery. It was a perfect choice to accompany the Panetini, Fig and Cheese. Please click here for tasting profile and winemaker’s notes.

NVEVO-2012-transparent

On my most recent Panetini, Fig & Cheese adventure I engaged this very lovely Evolution white.

I’ll admit it. I am a sucker for pretty packaging. This bottle drew me in. Then, it sucked me in. Then it told me, solely based on its looks, that it would taste good. So I bought it.

Great work on the marketing, my friends at Sokol Blosser Winery.

Just look at the cork.

evolution cork

They included life-saving directions! *smiles* *winks* *bursts with admiration at the ingenuity*

I am also happy to report my affirmation of cracker, sweet preserves and cheese as a winning combination were confirmed when we had dinner at our neighbors a few weeks ago. Jan graciously served crackers with pear preserves and cheese. I could barely contain my excitement. My insides were shouting with infinite glee.

If you need a little pick me up, or you need to pick up something to share with a friend, I can just hear the Panetini, Fig Spread and Dubliner cheese saying “Pick Me!”.

Enjoy!

Spinach Dip

I’m pretty sure I have printed off or pinned a few recipes for Spinach/Artichoke dip or variations thereof but I have never actually made it. I order it at restaurants. I eat it whenever and wherever it is available. I do, in fact, love it. Which is why when I discovered a box of frozen spinach in the New Year Purge of my freezer, I had an epiphany. After all, it was New Year’s Day and holidays induce a certain desire for scrumptious appetizers – or for me more of an impending need. So, I dug into my Pinterest pins and found this one from Martha Stewart and decided to use it as my guideline.

After evaluating the required ingredients, I discovered that I had no bacon in the house so I was forced to forgo that savory addition. {insert sad face} I was also too lazy to cut up onion {it was, after all, a holiday!} and used some minced onion I had in my pantry instead. I also didn’t have regular cream cheese but a lovely brick of Neufchatel Cream Cheese, which I no-doubt purchased because it touted a “less fat” option.  {oh, the tricks I have to play with my mind to consider naughty things “healthy”!} I think this may have worked in my favor because the Neufchatel gave it a really lovely creamy texture. I also had these delicious flatbread crackers to accompany the dip. They joyfully deepened the flavor, which is always a good thing.  Martha’s Version looked a bit spinach heavy so I cut the spinach in half but kept about the same cream cheese/sour cream amounts.

Spinach Dip

Ingredients:

8 oz Neufchatel
¾ cup sour cream
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1-2 Tbsp minced onion
8 oz Parmesan
Splash of milk

Directions:

Melt the Neufchatel in a saucepan over low/medium heat with the sour cream and add milk to obtain a nice cream texture. Add about ½ the grated parmesan and the spinach.  Season with a bit of salt and pepper too. Transfer to a glass pie plate (or other small baking dish) and top with remaining parmesan. Bake for 14 minutes at 375 degrees and then broil it for 3 minutes.

Voila!

spinach dip

This with the flatbread crackers and a glass of vino? Perfection.

Happy New Year!

Bogle Vineyards

I love surprises.  Good surprises.  Happy surprises.  Surprises that give joy, gladness, and excitement.

I was recently surprised (and experienced all of the emotions listed above) by a dear friend’s visit back home.

We celebrated by enjoying an evening out at a local establishment

Our destination is a favorite of mine. (And so is my friend!)

We held our groom’s dinner here and have celebrated many special occasions over the years. 

They indulge their patrons in what my husband terms “feel-good food”.   

It is also a place I enjoy spending time with dear ladies in my life, taking in a lovely lunch or a mom’s night out.

So, it goes without saying that when dear said friend ordered a bottle of wine, it would also be lovely.

I was eager to try a new label and have happily added this to my wine list.

I wanted to share the discovery with you, in the event that you may be looking for a new winemaker to try.

Without further ado, I introduce you to Bogle Vineyards.  We thoroughly enjoyed the Chardonnay.

During a family dinner at another local restaurant, we tried the Riesling by accident.

I had requested a bottle of Bogle Chardonnay and our server delivered the Bogle Riesling

We were happy to have been privy to the mistake.

I am clearly favoring whites here but Bogle also carries gorgeous reds.  Summer just calls for white.  For me.

Cheers to a new favorite!

Details below and photo above courtesy of the Bogle Vineyards site.

Bogle Winery - Phantom
WINEMAKER NOTES
Winemaking is both an art and a science, and Bogle winemakers have again hand-crafted a perfectly balanced, yet complex Chardonnay. Using the techniques of barrel fermentation, sur-lie aging and partial malolactic fermentation, winemakers have layered flavor upon flavor, creating an easy-to-enjoy wine with generous character.Generous aromas of fruit and toasty oak entice the senses as you first encounter this Chardonnay. Green apples and juicy pears give way to elegant hints of lemon meringue, and finish ripe and refreshing on the palate. Created by aging on the lees, the rich and velvety mouthfeel adds complexity to the fruit, allowing the flavors to sink softly into toasty notes of American oak. The finish, lingering and graceful, is coupled by a mouthwatering acidity that creates a longing for just one more sip….
SERVED BEST WITH
Enjoy this wine with just about everything!
Bogle Winery - Phantom
WINEMAKER NOTES
Our 2011 Riesling will seduce you from the very first sip. Grown in the cool microclimate of Monterey, these grapes showcase fruit full of expression and concentration, leading to a well-balanced white wine.Ripe yellow peaches and fresh pears spring from the glass, while juicy mango and other tropical notes show off in the background. Though 100% stainless steel fermented, the grape’s spicy tendencies show through, with touches of nutmeg melding with the stone fruits. Honeyed and lingering, the finish fills the palate, yet refreshes with its acidity.
SERVED BEST WITH
Riesling is a great food wine…it can partner with spicy Asian dishes, fresh fruits and soft cheeses. Enjoy chilled…