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Basic Creme Brûlée Recipe

Creme Brulee is typically a vanilla custard topped off with a burnt sugar topping.

The absolute best part of this dessert is that to get the sugar topping all burnt and crackly, you get to scorch the top with a mini-butane kitchen torch (though you may want to think twice before you consume carcinogens). It’s also a dessert that is reasonably easy to prep and make, but super impressive when you serve it.

Cracking through the candy shell into the decadent custard below is what makes this dessert so much fun to eat. Once you have mastered the basic vanilla base recipe, you can start playing around to create your own masterpieces. Add 8 ounces of melted chocolate chips and you’ve got chocolate Creme Brulee. Or infuse the basic Creme Brulee recipe with fresh herbs like basil or spices like star anise or cinnamon. Then add a little citrus with zest of lemon, lime, or oranges, for an array of delectable creamy desserts.

Typically this is prepared in individual ramekins and eaten with a spoon (photo credit via avlxyz on Flickr)

Continue Reading “Basic Creme Brulee Recipe” on Food Republic.

Hard Work Pays Off

I receive, on average, three phone calls/texts a week from family, friends, and colleagues who find themselves in a wine shop with a question. Last Friday night after exiting the movie theatre and turning my phone back on, the incessant buzzing erupted as if there was a true emergency. Upon retrieving messages I found not one, not two, but four messages in regard to the above-mentioned quandary. I am honored to be the “go to wine girl,” especially when those messages are coming from celebrity decorators, TV hosts, and members of a certain family whose compound you’re familiar with. To them I say- Sorry I missed your calls. I have no excuse other than I was watching Alvin and the Chipmunks-the Squeakquel.

Yes, your wine girl was taking the night off. It’s fun to take a break from the serious side of work and just kick back as if nothing matters but you and your popcorn. While I don’t highly recommend sitting through this particular film, I do recommend you take a time- out. I know many of you work 24-7, but the truth is you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow, so take time to stop and smell the rose wines today. With the new year comes promise of new adventures and new experiences. So don’t let another one pass you by. Take that road trip to the North Fork you’ve always thought about, or head to Napa for a long girls’ weekend. If you’re looking for adventure close to home, wine is just the thing. Splurge on something you normally wouldn’t at the wine shop, or next time you’re out to dinner, order a bottle from the Reserve or Library List. A Grand Cru may cost you upwards of $100 a bottle, but you get to taste luxury. Besides, what is it you’re working so hard for anyway? Go ahead, indulge. You deserve it.

One to Splurge on: Tenuta di Biserno, Il Pino, 2005, Tuscany, Italy, $65 This is what they call a Super Tuscan, an Italian wine that doesn’t follow the typical blending rules. In this case, they are using some Bordeaux varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot.

This is like a giant mouthful of rubies and garnets. This is luxury in a glass. If I could I would wear this wine on the red carpet. Stunning, and suitable for when you feel like you could use a little pampering. This sip is all about balance. From first glance to the final sip she’s worth every penny, and will leave you feeling like a million bucks.

Not all BBQ Begs for Red

With summer comes the beloved backyard barbeque and inevitably talk of wines to go with. Initially, thoughts of bold char-grilled flavors, beefy burgers, and barbeque sauce bombard my wine savvy conscience but the lingering struggle of taste vs. temperature endures all summer long. It’s not likely you’ll crave a monster Zinfandel on a 90- degree day, but you are likely to be poking the charcoals instead of steaming up your kitchen.

Not everything that hits the bricks of a BBQ is slathered with sauce. In fact, last night our dinner off the grill consisted of dijon-glazed Sockeye salmon, lightly grilled slices of ciabatta, and a side of buttery egg noodles with cracked black pepper sprinkled with dill and marjoram from the garden, simply sliced heirloom tomatoes, and an Arugula salad squirted with fresh lemon juice, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and topped with shaved Parmesan. Not one thing on the list lent itself to red wine, except the charred edges of the Ciabatta. This meal from the Bar-B wasn’t about the sauce, it was about the ease of cooking over coals, the subtle smoky and fresh vibrant flavors of food, all sans BBQ sauce. So when choosing wines for your BBQ first, you must decide whether your “Q is about the sauce or the simplicity of grilling.

If your meal for the BBQ mirrors mine, go for a simple wine and leave the reds behind. This wine lavishes refreshing salads and grilled fish with its light and lively acidity, and it goes great with simple slingbacks and flirty summer frocks.

Les Charmes Chardonnay 2007, $11 This French Chardonnay has a butterscotch finish that pairs perfectly with buttery rich textured fish from the grill. It’s not all butter, though: it’s balanced with vibrant acidity that tingles your tongue and cheeks. From sip to sip this wine changes so don’t always sip the same way. Swish and swirl and you’ll find this to be a most enjoyable summer white.