Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry merry!

Merry Christmas, everyone! I'm enjoying a cup of coffee in my Christmas cup before heading over to my brother's place to open gifts and have some waffles, bacon and insanely delicious maple syrup.

If you're celebrating today, I hope you and yours have a great one. And, if you're not, you should go see Young Adult. I hear it's truly awesome.

Photo from the early 1980s. My grandparents' living room; my first kitchen.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Adorable and caffeinated.

Healdsburg is one of my very favorite places in all of Napa and Sonoma. It's small and charming, but chock full of excellent shopping, food and coffee. And they decorate the pine trees in the park in the center of town, too. So freaking adorable!

On this trip, we made a stop at Flying Goat Coffee before making a circuit of the town. I haven't made an exhaustive survey or anything, but I feel comfortable saying it's unlikely you'll find a better cup in the area. I had a bittersweet mocha, and it was delightful. Rich and interesting, and not at all too sweet. My friend Jeff had the Mexican version, with a whole host of ingredients that sounded overcomplicated, but actually turned out to join together and sign in perfect, delicate harmony.

And such pretty machines, too.

Flying Goat Coffee
324 Center Street
Healdsburg, California

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Under construction.

This weekend, I'll be building a gingerbread house! I'll be joined by my friends Caroline and Ellie, and it's going to be a blast, no doubt. Caroline and I used to do these every Christmas, back when we were growing up a block apart in our picture-perfect (especially at the holidays) little Connecticut town.

I'm thinking about doing a pink-and-white house this year, since I have some lovely, sparkly sanding sugars in those very colors. A final decision will be made once I peruse the candy on offer at Duane Reade and Dean & Deluca, but I've already got a copy of my template ready to go! I still work off of the version Caroline's mom Charlotte made 25-ish years ago, and have finally scanned it in for posterity.

Which, of course, means that if you wish to join us, you can check out the template (plus recipes for the cookie and icing/glue) right over here! Just print the images (size large) out on 8.5 x 11 inch paper, and you'll be good to go.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Take two.

A couple of weeks ago, I ventured out to the Sonoma Valley for a friend's 30th birthday extravaganza. Many a good time was had (with many a detail to come), but one of the highlights was revisiting the amazing taco truck I discovered back in 2009, when I visited Sonoma for my 30th.

While the truck is no longer named Angelina's, the food is just as spectacular - and, trust me, we ordered enough of it to be sure of its consistency. Something like 12 tacos and two burritos - not to mention the tlayuda the staff insisted on making us. It's a sort of giant tostada, and it's a popular food in Oaxaca, where the staff come from. It was pretty freaking good, guys, and I wouldn't recommend leaving the truck without ordering one. Carnitas, tomatoes, avocado and cheese adorned a huge, fried tortilla. Between the six of us, it went so fast that I couldn't even get a shot of the thing.

The tacos were stupendous as well, with the chorizo coming out ahead as a favorite. I ate everyone's radishes, since they didn't see fit to do so themselves.

And, finally, the burritos. You have to go supreme, because you need that crema, trust. And make sure to get the lengua. It's rich, flavorful and just a touch on the chewy side of tender, which is exactly what I like in a piece of meat. (I always go sirloin over tenderloin.) While the carne asada burrito was tasty, the lengua burrito brought us to our knees, to the point where we just repeated the word "lengua" at random throughout the weekend.

Lengua. Lengua. LENGUA.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

And the winner is...

The winner of our Creminelli giveaway is one Tara Bellucci! Tara had the fabulous idea of using the salami on a pizza; I, for one, support this wholeheartedly.

Congrats to Tara, and many thanks to all of you who entered - your salami-riffic ideas were much appreciated! Tara, an email with the giveaway details is headed your way.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Giveaway: Creminelli Fine Meats

As loyal readers know, I am a huge (huge) fan of pretty much anything the fine folks at Creminelli see fit to produce. Their artisanal meats are just too good to pass up; I find myself drawn to their display at Fairway more than is probably healthy.

And so, when they reached out to me a couple of weeks ago to offer a giveaway to my lovely readers, how could I refuse? I promptly got down to sampling some of their latest wares, the better to ensure you are all informed about the giveaway for which you're volunteering. You know, just in case. For you, readers. I ate the salami for you.

I'm a simple woman, so the Casalingo, simply cured with salt and pepper, has to be my favorite. I imagine it would best be enjoyed with a plate of fresh and pickled vegetables, and maybe some roasted peppers to boot. A big glass of red wine wouldn't hurt, either.

The Tartufo I think I'll use in scrambled eggs, eggs being ever so delightful with a truffle or two. And lots of white pepper. And maybe some creme fraiche.

And, finally, the Barolo. This one is rich and musky, and demands to be served alongside some hard, salty cheese and a hunk of fabulous bread as part of a late, fireside supper. No, really - it does. It told me so.

My friends, there's no two ways about it: this is some damn fine salami. If you're interested in scoring one of Creminelli's Gourmet Artisan Salami assortments for yourself (you'll get the Tartufo, the Wild boar and the Barolo), here's how you can enter this most excellent giveaway:
  1. Leave a comment below telling me how you'll serve your Creminelli salamis this holiday season (and don't forget to leave an email address) (One entry.)
  2. Tweet about the giveaway using the hashtag #queeniecreminelli. (One entry.)
I'll choose a winner at random on Saturday, so be sure to enter by midnight on Friday, December 16th. Good luck, my porkers!

The fine print: Creminelli can only ship this gorgeous meat to physical addresses (no P.O. boxes), and only to the U.S.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Oldie, but goodie.

Forgive me for rehashing old content, but nothing beats Gourmet's 2008 holiday issue for sheer holiday inspiration. Luxe, lovely and delicious.

I'm only including a couple of photos here, but you can check out this 2009 Queenie post for the full shebang.

Monday, December 5, 2011

What I've been up to.

Mostly this, which is Thomas Keller's fried chicken from his restaurant Ad Hoc in Yountville. I've been in California for several days, visiting a dear friend and celebrating another's 30th birthday.

I'm in a bit of a fried chicken fog, but I'll be back with far more very, very soon. In the meantime, get your holiday shopping done and leave a comment or two letting me know how your meal planning is coming along. I'm really feeling fancy latkes this year, and can't wait for my annual sticky toffee pudding.
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