Showing posts with label wine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wine. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

wine cork garland

pinterest gets the best of you sometimes, "making" you save all these tiny scraps of stuff so you can (forget to) finish a project in the distant future.  i think my husband might burst if i save the scraps of any more crafty projects (though i can never have enough yarn, i do everything BUT knit with it lately!)

one that finally came to fruition this past holiday season was wine cork garland! sure you can go to a thrift store or ebay or amazon and buy wine corks and make it now, but what's the fun in that? don't you want to DRINK the wine the corks came from?  i had been saving them for about 3 years, and i finally had enough to string them and hang them on the tree!

DIY wine cork christmas tree garland

it's as simple as drilling a hole through the long end of the cork and slipping a long piece of fishing line through it (i bought the 50 lb fishing line, but now that i have it maybe that was overkill.  the good thing is that the fishing line is stiff so it usually went through the hole in the cork without a needle).  i started off holding the corks with pliers to keep my fingers away from the drill bit, but ended up just using my fingers to go faster (oops!).  i also started off with the tiniest drill bit, but soon realized that a larger hole didn't hinder the cork, and the fishing line was WAY easier to slip through without a needle if i used a bigger drill bit.

DIY wine cork christmas tree garland DIY wine cork christmas tree garland

i drilled a few corks, threaded them on the line, drilled a few more, threaded them on the line....  i didn't want to get too far ahead of myself because sometimes i would need to redrill the hole if the fishing line got stuck.  i just tied the end of the string in a knot around the wine cork on each end to finish the string of garland.

the finished project turned out so awesome! well... for about an hour and a half worth of my time anyways.  maybe next year i will take it apart and put some poms between some of the corks or something fun like that ;)

nearly free and lots of character. those are the kinds of projects i like to do!  it's such a simple project that i didn't think it needed a lot of explaining, but if you have further questions, just ask!

pin this now, so you remember it next year when you have enough corks to string on your tree ;)

cheers.
jenn

Friday, November 21, 2014

chef after dark

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"taking a cooking class with your husband."  it sounds like a fun date night, right?  while it was a blast to go to, it was hardly a date night.  i guess the point of "date night" though, is to force ourselves out of the house and do something fun together.  so last night "technically" still fit our requirements.  it just happened to be with people we "know" (more on that later) and ended in a hangover the next morning.

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jersey city is a funny place.  people are so welcoming and interested in meeting new people that we all start following each other on instagram and social media before we meet in person.  before you know it, 6 months (or more) go by, and you still haven't met each other in person.  when you finally do it's like
"hey i'm jenn" 
"yes i know, nice to finally meet you in person, i'm renee"
"yes i know, nice to meet you too"
"i love your blue sofa!"
in a round about way, that's pretty much the conversation we had last night.  maybe we never met in person yet, and maybe we've been stalking following each other on instagram for quite some time, but we felt like we already knew each other!  it's sort of weird, right? when i talk about it, it's weird.  but it doesn't feel weird. that's the cool part about it.  social media is a wonderful thing.

anyways, about this cooking class we took! it was hosted by bambino chef and lourdes of the vine.  lou lou from lourdes of the vine provided the wine (and the awesome wine tasting lessons!), while renee of bambino chef provided the rest with the help of chef joyce.  the night started off with some sparkling wine to help us through getting to know one another.  once everyone arrived and suited up, we were split into 2 groups.  hung's group made cheesy savory cookies, and my group made garlic sausage with puff pastry (i forget what each item was called, i'm terrible with my french food!!) once everything went into the oven, both groups started assembling the figs with blue cheese! since it's not fig season, chef joyce rehydrated dried figs with port wine, red wine, and water so we could stuff them with blue cheese, bake, and drizzle with a port wine reduction.

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guys.  it.  was.  so.  good.

the cheesy cookies were amazing (how could you not enjoy it when 2 of the 3 main ingredients were butter and parmesan!?)  the garlic sausage with puff pastry tasted like "pigs in a blanket" to me, but with the nicer meat (i.e. NOT hotdogs) and puff pastry instead of croissants. served sliced with mustard, they were the perfect little one-bite snack.  lastly the figs.  omg the figs.  not a new flavor to us, we've been making pizzas with dried fruit and blue cheese for a while, but when it was in one-bite form with the sticky delicious port wine reduction, i could have eaten the entire plate.

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each dish we made was paired with a french wine.  i've always read about how to pair wine with food, and i've read about how to properly do a wine tasting, but i've never actually done it.  i had never been taught to do it.  last night i learned that swirling the wine in the glass, indeed, does make the smell come out better, and slurping the wine, indeed, does bring out the flavors.  (i felt so fancy doing all those fancy wine things and actually understanding why instead of doing it because that's what i see people do when they get a bottle of wine in a restaurant).

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what a great group of chefs after dark last night!! we were all basically best friends by the end of the night.  maybe the wine helped.  but this is why i love doing things like this.  lou lou and renee weren't exactly strangers to us, but the rest of the group definitely were strangers to us when they walked in the door at the beginning of the night.  by the end of the night we hugged goodbye like best friends.

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while bambino chef focuses on children's cooking classes, kids birthday parties, and occasionally a private party for adults and families, i have to say the first adult class open to the public was quite the success!! 

just wait.... you're gonna see those savory cookies again soon.  like, maybe, on that holiday coming up, that one where it's ok to indulge in butter and cheese.... and nearly everything else.

cheers.
jenn

p.s. can you tell we had a great time? i'm posting this literally hours after the event when i haven't posted in, well, almost 2 weeks! i'm a terrible blogger....

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

masquerade soiree with e.tittlemouse and co.

the idea of a masquerade party seemed so distant to me.  my only two visions of it were scenes from breakfast at tiffany's and from gossip girl (who DOESN'T remember that episode where lil J gets smooched by nate for looking like serena?!).  i was so excited to go to this party with e.tittlemouse, because it was going to be my first one!

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it's rare for us to show up to an event like this empty-handed, so we (ahem, hung) decided to make meatballs! nowadays we can't make hardly anything without making a vegetarian version (if the dish isn't vegetarian already).  he's been using this recipe from smitten kitchen (modified with beef and baked on 450F for 20 minutes) for the real meatballs, and this recipe from serious eats for the vegetarian ones.  the recipe for the vegetarian ones is supposed to be for veggie burgers, but this is practically the same thing, right? since the veggie ones don't really have to be cooked (well, sort of, the egg I suppose has to be cooked through), he just tossed them in the oven with the real meatballs, just on a different pan. the cook time and temperature isn't SO important for the veggie ones. 

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i couldn't let hung get ALL of the attention though.  after a failed attempt at creating a "super simple nutella stuffed baked wontons" i decided to go with a tried and true recipe for chocolate banana bread (i'm ACTUALLY starting to use the recipes on my pinterest!!).  but for this event, we needed bite-sized everything, so i turned them into chocolate banana mini muffins!  i suppose all 3 dishes were a hit, considering everything was gone exept for one last mini muffin that got splashed in vodka (oops! party foul).

see more party photos after the jump!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

april date night: BYOB painting class

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i think everytime i plan a date night from now on, i will only think that no date will top our march date (hint: that's when hung proposed!)

...however, last night was pretty fun too.  trying to err on the cheaper side of things these days while we save up for a wedding and a kitchen remodel, i planned a night at the art studio NY for a painting class! i felt it was a little cliché when i signed us up.  it seems that everyone is doing the BYOB painting classes, but now i know why! they really are fun!  and we came home with two clearly amateur beautiful paintings to find a place in our home.

Friday, March 14, 2014

happy friday, life is good

sipping on a glass of wine
at a restaurant on the water
overlooking the manhattan skyline
the buildings of lower manhattan to the east
reflecting the sun as it sets in the west
dining with my one and only on a random thursday evening
with blood orange and sea bass crudo and mussels to share
and homemade bread with truffled honey butter and olive oil
located just walking distance from home....

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last night was a perfect setting to reflect.
we're lucky to live in such a wonderful place.
and i'm lucky enough to spend it with someone so special...

cheers, friends.
it's friday!

jenn

p.s.  the restaurant is battello, jersey city's newest restaurant, a modern italian place on a pier overlooking lower manhattan, nestled amongst the newport yacht club slips in the newport neighborhood, designed by anthony carrino of local brunelleschi construction and hgtv's cousins undercover.

Friday, February 21, 2014

crimora mine retreat, weekend in virginia

hey friends! it's almost the weekend! no better way to celebrate than finding out more fun ways to entertain yourself right? right.  speaking of, here's a fun weekend we had in virginia now nearly two weeks ago.

hung and i drove over 6 hours to celebrate a friend's 30th birthday in middle of nowhere virginia at a place called crimora mine retreat.  it was a huge, beautiful cabin, set on over 100 acres with a lake, a hot tub (need i say more?).  the twelve of us ate a lot, drank a lot, and spent a whole day playing our own "olympic" games themed entirely around the birthday boy (we've got some creative friends on our hands, folks). for each main meal we all sat down together at the huge dining table, and teams took turns cooking the food.  our team was team "new america" (originally team USA, but hung decided his food was more like "new american" restaurant food).  mr p prepped everything at home, searing beef shank for wine-braised beef shank in the crock pot and making creamy lemon sauce for lemon pasta.  team greece, team italy, and team honduras also stepped up their game for their meals.

mr p and i made it to the house LATE thursday night, and friday afternoon most of us took off to visit a few wineries in the area (gosh that area is PACKED with wineries! it would be dangerous if i lived there!!) and a local brewery.

first stop was blenheim vineyards, where we learned that the owner is dave matthews, who also designed all the labels for the current list of wines. although i think my favorite wine of the day was from blenheim, i didn't want to overdo it buying wines, so i regretfully said no to buying any wine there (sad face).

next stop was trump winery, where we DID buy wine! bottles that, though delicious, were almost double the price (oops!)  we will save those for a special occasion or something ;)  we bought their cru wine, which is made from chardonnay juice and chardonnay brandy and has been aged in bourbon barrels!

a pit stop at starr hill brewery, and we were out, ready to eat food from team new america!  a special opening ceremony was held with glow sticks around the fire, shenanigans happened, and the night was over.

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saturday started off with team greece cooking breakfast, followed by olympic games including a t-rex relay, whitney houston lyric challenge, and a siamese-turtleneck, popsicle-stick-and-one-direction-duck-tape, bridge-building challenge.  team italy followed through with the last meal together, and we were off to closing ceremonies in fancy-fied togas.

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i can only wish my 30th birthday will be that fun (three years from now! bahaha).  mucho thanks to the organizers for letting us two from new jersey into your awesome virginia group for the weekend!

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and... of course... happy birthday to the birthday boy :)

cheers.
jenn

p.s. wanna know the best part about this place? there was room for everyone to sleep, and for the entire weekend it was only $100/person to rent!!