Joanie Loves Bocce – Game 2 “All Balls”

April 27, 2008 at 8:04 pm (Napa Valley) ()

Yummy!Thursday’s are definitely my favorite day of the week.  That is the night I load Dixie into the car, chill down some wine and play some bocce.  This weeks bocce food theme was “All Balls”, everything and anything edible in the shape of a ball.  I made Captain’s Mouthwatering Bite-Size Blue Ball Cheese Balls.  They were a bonifide hit!

B and Tony, James and Paulito played the first game.  A casino was scored and we won 12-8.  I played the second game with K-Balls, and Helen Jane played with Tom.  We beat the team 12-0 and Tom and Helen scored 2 casinos!  It was the quickest game of bocce I have ever played.  Unfortunately, we lost the 3rd game, but hey, we still improved over last weeks only one win!

Here is the recipe for the cheese balls.  Seriously, make them, they are delicious and a crowd pleaser.

Captain’s Mouthwatering Bite-Size Blue Ball Cheese Balls
From Amy Sedaris book “I Like You – Hospitality Under the Influence”
1 C   Grated Cheddar Cheese
4 oz  Cream Cheese
2 oz  Crumbled Blue Cheese
1 T    Copped Green Onions
1/2 t Worcestershire Sauce
1 T    Wine
Dash or two of hot sauce
1/4 C Chopped Walnuts

Bring all cheeses to room temperature.  Add cheese, worcestershire sauce, and wine to mixer or food processor and mix together.  Add onions and mix again.  Chill overnight.  Shape mixture into tumor-size balls.  Roll in chopped nuts.  Serve with Ritz crackers.

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Roomie Night – Good Food, Even Better TV

April 24, 2008 at 9:26 pm (Napa Valley) ()

After a long day at work I came home to boys in my kitchen making treats for Bocce the next day.  Looks like dinner was going to be a family affair.  What are we having for dinner they asked…Lamb Tagine was my response.  So we got to work, and because the original recipe was going to take two hours and we were way too hungry for that, we cooked up this modified version which took a little over an hour.

Lamb Tagine with Prunes and Cinnamon
Gourmet Magazine, May 2008

2 1/2 #   Lamb stew meat
1             Red onion, thinly sliced
3             Cinnamon Sticks    
1 t          Ground Ginger
1 t          Turmeric
1            Pinch Saffron threads
1 T         Wine
About 2 1/2 C Water – (I used 1/2 wine, 1/2 water)
1/2 #     Prunes (cut in half)
3 T        Honey
1 T        Sesame Seeds

1.  Saute onions and lamb in 3 T Olive Oil.  Add all spices (except for Saffron).  Season with Salt and Pepper.
2.  While the onion and lamb mixture sautes toast saffron in dry, small skillet.  When fragrant add the 1 T of white wine and remove from heat.  Let stand one minute.  Add wine to onion and lamb mixture, and then add enough wine/water to cover lamb.  Gently simmer (partially covered), stirring occasionally for 45 minutes.
3.  Stire in prunes and honey and simmer until sauce has thickened (15-20 minutes).
4.  While tagine thickens toast sesame seeds in a dry, hot skillet until pale and golden in color.
5.  Serve Tagine sprinkled with Sesame Seeds and Couscous

And not only was the food delicious, but we enjoyed it with a bottle of Bond wine and reruns of The Tudors (the best show ever!)

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The Spectacular Six

April 23, 2008 at 10:42 pm (Napa Valley) ()

I have had a star sighting in St. Helena – and this one is huge!  I have to preface the whole scenario by giving some info about where the star sighting took place…Meadowood.  One of my favorite places in the world. 

Meadowood is a super exclusive resort in the middle of wine country.  There is tennis and golf, a two Michelin star restaurant, and pool.  Needless to say – it is fabulous!

And how did I come to be there you may ask…luckily my friend Tina works the bar in The Restaurant at Meadowood and last night Paulito and I went to see her and have some snacks and drinks.  So while I was enjoying my customary glass of Sauvignon Blanc with the Scallop and Blue Hawaiian Prawn with White Soy, Cauliflower Puree, and Quail Egg in walks in the spectacular six: Becks and Posh, TomKat, and Seal and Heidi Klum.  Six people so beautiful that even if they weren’t famous I would take notice.  It was only a glimpse for a split second because they were immediately whisked to a table where cold bubbles awaited them, but wow did that make my night.  I really hope they enjoy their sojourn in the Napa Valley and come back soon!

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A Bocce State of Mind

April 23, 2008 at 2:28 am (Napa Valley) ()

 

Joanie Loves Bocce logo 1Bocce season has finally began – my life once again feels complete.  The kick-off to the Joanie Loves Bocce season was last Thursday.  The food theme:  Southern Aristocracy.  We had pulled pork sandwhiches, black-eyed peas, KFC.  I made Tailgate Coleslaw with Bacon and Candied Walnuts – needless to say we ate well.  Unfortunately, our playing wasn’t as successful since we only won 1 out of 3 games.  But, we have 24 more weeks of Bocce bliss and this makes me smile.

Thursday night didn’t end bocce playing for a few of us.  Tony T., Helen Jane, James, Britt and I played in the St. Helena Chamber of Comerce fundraiser on Friday.  Six games – undefeated – we took the day and have the GOLD medals to prove it!  Redemption!

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The Yale Club

April 10, 2008 at 3:53 am (Travel) ()

So Mav and I are staying at the Yale Club in NYC.  Business attire required – to walk in, to have a cocktail, to probably just sneeze.  Really, I’ve been traveling for 2 plus weeks, business attire is not in my program.  Slothy is more my speed at this point.  Today I totally had a Mary Kate Olsen outfit on – 5 colors no harmony! 

Had a Prohibition Punch drink tonight and some SB for dinner.  At the hotel…

So I went to the bar to get a glass of SB and lo and behold, at the Yale Clube they have a pictue of G. W. Bush over the fireplace.  Really!  A portrait like he is some military commader from the Napoleonic wars…got my wine and went back to the room.  The portrait completely freaked me out!

nw

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NYC vs. Italian Pizza

April 8, 2008 at 10:22 pm (Travel) ()

I really can’t say that the stuff where pizza originated is better.  Had some damn good pizza today this side of the Atlantic at a little restaurant on the Upper East side of NYC – Serafina.  The pizza was loaded with homemade mozarella, tomotoes and a layer of prosciutto…needless to say it was delicious!

In Italy my favorite pizza (because lets face it, I had it way more than once) had mushrooms and radicchio with fresh mozarella.  Simple, but delightful.

I really think the key is the fresh mozarella, not the kind of stuff you can buy in big plastic bags at Costco.

nw

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La Dolce Vida

April 5, 2008 at 6:34 am (Travel) ()

Ahh, there is nothing quite like Italy.  Fast cars, late dinners, boys in beautiful suits.  Everyone is talking and smoking and drinking and eating.  I could get used to this, oh yes I could.

I am in Italy for a wine tasting, the second largest wine tasting in the world – VinItaly.  It is mind boggling.  Each Italian wine region has a BUILDING and each producer has a booth.  One booth that I saw was built to replicate a castle in Tuscany.  There are VIP rooms and food, I love it!  How many people might you ask? Just the entire population of St. Helena (yes 5,000 people) are bopping around. 

My favorite producer so far is Valle dell’Asso from the region of Puglia.  All of their wines are 100% organic and they produce a red wine called Negramaro which I had never had before.  The Il Macaro (the magic) is a dessert wine that they served with chocolate covered gorgonzola.  Sounds weird, but it was delicious!  Besides the wine being great, I love the logo of a little owl which was taken from a greek coin dating back to 350 BC – a symbol of the region.  I love the owl so much that if I were to get another tattoo, it would be him!

Thats all for now!  Got to shower and be on my way to taste some more wine!

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