Sunday Roast at Raven and Rose

This time of year always brings the focus on spending quality time with your loved ones. This puts me in a cooking mood, but I understand that sometimes you want to be able to enjoy a family style dinner without having to do all that prep and cleanup, and certainly not for every get together. And besides, shouldn’t quality time not just be during the holidays?

Raven and Rose certainly thinks so, which is why they have been offering their Sunday Roast Supper every Sunday before, during, and after the holidays on Sundays. So you don’t have to necessarily wait for those big holiday buffets to enjoy some amazing roast for dinner at all – you can have it any week!

If you haven’t been before, the restaurant of Raven and Rose, as well as their upstairs bar area called The Rookery upstairs, is literally housed in a 132 year old historic house – well a Carriage House. It’s grand and homey if you possibly are someone who grew up on an estate, or like me we can at least can pretend to be that kind of titled family for the length of dinner.
Raven and Rose sign

I recently was able to enjoy a Sunday Roast, although we did not get to order specific sides because my dinner was part of a special Brewers Series dinner with Goose Island. Each dinner is different so you probably won’t have the same dinner I have, but here’s a look at some possibilities…
Dinner menu for the Raven and Rose and Goose Island Brewers' Dinner Series event on December 7, 2014

I started off with a Welcome Beer of Goose Island IPA, which is an English style IPA so is well balanced unlike most west coast IPAs I see on menus here that the IBU is just off the charts and unappealing to me. This was enjoyed with some sweet and spiced nuts and bread and butter service. I suggest you also start your dinner with a welcome beer, wine or cocktail too. Raven and Rose has a great menu of some pretty good beers and ciders, numbering almost 40 something I think including the draft beer and bottles and the ciders and fruit ales. F has had a lot of beers, but always finds something interesting to order here. You might also consider a cocktail, especially if you can call one that uses some of Raven and Rose’s exclusively bottled for them single barrel spirits and they have their own single barrel brandy as well! They also have a large wine list that has a lot of focus on wineries locally here in Oregon and some in Washington state.
Welcome Beer: Goose Island IPA for the Raven and Rose and Goose Island Brewers' Dinner Series event on December 7, 2014 Welcome Snack of sugar and spiced walnuts to gow ith the Welcome Beer of Goose Island IPA for the Raven and Rose and Goose Island Brewers' Dinner Series event on December 7, 2014 Welcome Snack of sugar and spiced walnuts to gow ith the Welcome Beer of Goose Island IPA for the Raven and Rose and Goose Island Brewers' Dinner Series event on December 7, 2014

I also had an excellent salad, that evening was an Escarole Salad with Cashel Irish blue, pomegranate, prosciutto and shallot vinaigrette.
Escarole Salad with Cashel Irish blue, pomegranate, prosciutto and shallot vinaigrette for the Raven and Rose and Goose Island Brewers' Dinner Series event on December 7, 2014 Escarole Salad with Cashel Irish blue, pomegranate, prosciutto and shallot vinaigrette for the Raven and Rose and Goose Island Brewers' Dinner Series event on December 7, 2014

They usually have three juicy and tasty roasts to choose from for your table to share family style, so you might want to come three times to try them all. The roast options include Wood-fired Carlton Farms pork shoulder, Columbia River king salmon and Painted Hills prime rib of beef*, all served with Yorkshire pudding with gravy.

Of course, just because you get one of these roasts doesn’t mean each one is always prepared exactly the same way. The versions I had included a Cocoa-Dusted Beef Tri-Tip
One of the Roasts, the Cocoa Dusted Beef Tri-Tip for the Raven and Rose and Goose Island Brewers' Dinner Series event on December 7, 2014 One of the Roasts, the Cocoa Dusted Beef Tri-Tip for the Raven and Rose and Goose Island Brewers' Dinner Series event on December 7, 2014

and an Irish Whiskey and Apricot Glazed Columbia River King Salmon. The pairing of that salmon with the Class of ’88 beer from Goose Island was incredible.
One of the Roasts, the Irish Whiskey and Apricot Glazed Columbia River King Salmon for the Raven and Rose and Goose Island Brewers' Dinner Series event on December 7, 2014

And then, the sides! You can order all the sides you wish to your heart’s content from a list of various Farmers’ Market Sides. The sides can change up every week depending on what is fresh and best in the market – there are multiple times I have seen the staff at Raven and Rose at the Portland Farmers Market at PSU on Saturday with their wagons, loading up on the produce from the farmers. As much as I love the delicious meats, I also am sooo in love with having a whole bunch of sides as well, and bringing a group to share in it all family style means a reason to order more sides right?

The sides I tried included the Oyster Mushrooms with frisee and pickled shallot, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with pancetta and orange, and Colcannon with potato, caramelized onions and kale.
One of the Farmers' Market Sides, the Oyster Mushrooms with frisee and pickled shallots for the Raven and Rose and Goose Island Brewers' Dinner Series event on December 7, 2014 One of the Farmers' Market Sides, the Roasted Brussels Sprouts with pancetta and orange for the Raven and Rose and Goose Island Brewers' Dinner Series event on December 7, 2014 One of the Farmers' Market Sides, the Colcannon with potato, caramelized onions and kale for the Raven and Rose and Goose Island Brewers' Dinner Series event on December 7, 2014

All of these were paired with a beer flight of four beers that included Class of ’88 (a Belgian-style ale brewed in collaboration with Deschutes Brewery with whole flower Mt Hood hops. The beer was transferred to Muscat casks and aged with Michigan riesling grape juice and Oregon pinot noir grape must), Matilda (flavors of dried fruit and clove aromas with a spicy yeast flavor and dry finish), Madame Ros (a brown ale aged in French oak cabernet sauvignon barrels with Michigan cherries and heavily inoculated with brettanomyces) and the famous Bourbon County Stout (aged in bourbon barrels of cousre)
Beer Flight, Class of '88 for the Raven and Rose and Goose Island Brewers' Dinner Series event on December 7, 2014. The Class of '88 is a Belgian-style ale brewed in collaboration with Deschutes Brewery with whole flower Mt Hood hops. The beer was transferred to Muscat casks and aged with Michigan riesling grape juice and Oregon pinot noir grape must. Beer Flight, Matilda for the Raven and Rose and Goose Island Brewers' Dinner Series event on December 7, 2014. Dried fruit and clove aromas with a spicy yeast flavor and dry finish Beer Flight, Madame Rose, a brown ale aged in French oak cabernet sauvignon barrels with Michigan cherries and heavily inoculated with brettanomyces, for the Raven and Rose and Goose Island Brewers' Dinner Series event on December 7, 2014 Beer Flight, Bourbon County Stout for the Raven and Rose and Goose Island Brewers' Dinner Series event on December 7, 2014 Introduction from the Goose Island brewer of the Class of '88 for the Raven and Rose and Goose Island Brewers' Dinner Series event on December 7, 2014 Introduction from the Goose Island brewer of the other 3 beers of the Beer Flight during the Roast Supper for the Raven and Rose and Goose Island Brewers' Dinner Series event on December 7, 2014

Having a plate that looks like this on a Sunday night and it doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving or Christmas makes me happy.
Family style roast supper with a Goose Island Beer Flight at the Raven and Rose and Goose Island Brewers' Dinner Series event on December 7, 2014

Wait, then there was my dessert, a Bourbon County Barleywine paired with Black Sticky Gingerbread with quince sorbet, ginger tuile, poached quince, and warm sweet cream poured atop tableside…
Dessert, a Black Sticky Gingerbread with quince sorbet, ginger tuile, poached quince and warm sweet cream poured tableside at the Raven and Rose and Goose Island Brewers' Dinner Series event on December 7, 2014. Paired with the Bourbon County Barleywine Dessert, a Black Sticky Gingerbread with quince sorbet, ginger tuile, poached quince and warm sweet cream poured tableside at the Raven and Rose and Goose Island Brewers' Dinner Series event on December 7, 2014. Paired with the Bourbon County Barleywine Dessert, a Black Sticky Gingerbread with quince sorbet, ginger tuile, poached quince and warm sweet cream poured tableside at the Raven and Rose and Goose Island Brewers' Dinner Series event on December 7, 2014. Paired with the Bourbon County Barleywine

The Sunday Roast menu starts at 4pm every Sunday and is family style, priced at $35 a person.

Also keep an eye out for their Brewers’ Series… this dinner with Goose Island was just one of the series. For instance, they have done a Roast dinner before with Breakside, and also The Commons!

Have you ever been to a family style roast dinner at Raven and Rose?

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Warming up with Mirakutei Sushi and Ramen

Here’s my personal prescription for when you are feeling cold and stuffed up for cheering yourself up.

Step 1. Go to Mirakutei at 536 E Burnside Street. It’s a small little cute place that only seats maybe 40, so best if you are in a party of 4 or less. If you are truly not feeling well, it would be best to go alone and not get anyone else sick and also don’t have to try to make conversation while eating, you can just focus on slurping as messily as you want. Or you can make the funny faces necessary. Funny Faces? Slurping? You’ll see soon.
Mirakutei Portland at 536 E Burnside

Step 2. Order some sushi and sashimi.
Sushi at Mirakutei, the Buri Belly, Salmon Belly Aburi, Tuna, and Yellowtail

If you are stuffed up, be a little generous with the wasabi that you dip the end of your chopstick into and mix into your soy sauce to clear your sinuses. Pour very little soy sauce because you want to make sure you taste the fish, not the soy sauce. In fact, it’s best if the reason you are having soy sauce and wasabi is to after you eat a sushi, then a little taste of wasabi + soy sauce, and then a piece of ginger. And then a sip of water. Then the next piece.

I went for Buri Belly, Fresh Salmon, Salmon Belly Aburi, Tuna, Unagi, Uni, and Yellowtail. ALL my favorites.
Sushi at Mirakutei, I ordered the Buri Belly, Fresh Salmon, Salmon Belly Aburi, Tuna, Unagi, Uni, and Yellowtail Sushi at Mirakutei, I ordered the Buri Belly, Fresh Salmon, Salmon Belly Aburi, Tuna, Unagi, Uni, and Yellowtail Sushi at Mirakutei, I ordered the Buri Belly, Fresh Salmon, Salmon Belly Aburi, Tuna, Unagi, Uni, and Yellowtail Sushi at Mirakutei, I ordered the Buri Belly, Fresh Salmon, Salmon Belly Aburi, Tuna, Unagi, Uni, and Yellowtail Sushi at Mirakutei, I ordered the Buri Belly, Fresh Salmon, Salmon Belly Aburi, Tuna, Unagi, Uni, and Yellowtail Sushi at Mirakutei, I ordered the Buri Belly, Fresh Salmon, Salmon Belly Aburi, Tuna, Unagi, Uni, and Yellowtail Sushi at Mirakutei, I ordered the Buri Belly, Fresh Salmon, Salmon Belly Aburi, Tuna, Unagi, Uni, and Yellowtail Sushi at Mirakutei, I ordered the Buri Belly, Fresh Salmon, Salmon Belly Aburi, Tuna, Unagi, Uni, and Yellowtail

Step 3. Make sure that you instruct the servers to not bring you your ramen until you signal completion of your sushi and/or sashimi course. Perhaps if you came with friends, you might want to also get some yakitori, or gyoza too. But now it’s time for Genki Ramen or Tonkatsu Ramen.
Genki Ramen at Mirakutei, which is white miso based and has shredded ground char siu and scrambled egg

Pictured below is the Genki one that sacrifices having the chashu pork for a mass of shredded chair siu pork and scrambled egg that you can break up and get little floating pieces of deliciousness as a reward for spoonfuls of the ramen broth, rather than one big piece of meat. They are both valid, good choices- it’s sort of the equivalent in my head of asking for pasta with marinara and big meatballs or pasta with a meaty ragu that is full of little chunks of meat all over.
Genki Ramen at Mirakutei, which is white miso based and has shredded ground char siu and scrambled egg Genki Ramen at Mirakutei, which is white miso based and has shredded ground char siu and scrambled egg

Don’t be shy about if you can’t finish all the broth, asking to take it home to drink later :)

What s your favorite comfort foods when it is super cold or you are feeling unwell?

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Vegetarian Holiday Recipe Round-up

I thought I would highlight some of the my favorite recipes that I think can be used for entertaining during these last few weeks of the holiday season. Since it is the holiday season, I like going a little bit more decadent.

So for appetizers, maybe do a Honey Walnut Baked Brie. Or, maybe a Brie and Blue Cheese Fondue

Honey Walnut Brie Recipe Brie and Blue Cheese Fondue Recipe

For a soup, I might suggest this rich Butternut Squash and Ale Soup with Candied Almonds and homemade Mascarpone with Cambozola, or go with a Roasted Cauliflower and Leek Soup. I like both these soups because of both the flavor and the texture.

Butternut Squash and Ale Soup with Candied Almonds and homemade Mascarpone with Cambozola Roasted Cauliflower and Leek Soup- Low Carb, Healthy, Vegetarian Soup:  Easy Recipe

For a main, instead of a traditional lasagna, how about a Roasted Vegetable Lasagna Rollup instead? I like the idea of individual rolled pieces that this Roasted Vegetable Lasagna Rollups Recipe calls for. it’s a great to portion out servings for a group. Or change out your lasagna to something more unusual like this Butternut Squash Lasagna in Béchamel sauce

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna Rollups Recipe Roasted Vegetable Lasagna Rollups Recipe Giada's vegetarian Thanksgiving side recipe for Butternut Squash Lasagna in Béchamel sauce

F’s favorites from our past include a Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie inspired by Moosewood, while mine was the Chik’n Fricasee (which is helped greatly by rich flavors from wine)
Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie Chicken fricassee, with vegetarian chik'n by Quorn

For puff pastry options, besides this previously covered Tofu and Mushrooms A La King, this holiday I am hoping to adapt a Mushroom & squash vegetarian Wellington Vegetarian Wellington that I have bookmarked here from Jamie Oliver
Tofu and Mushrooms A La King

For a side dish to dig into, how about a Baby Bell Peppers and Swiss Strata that was hearty enough to go with leftover Easter ham when I made it, so surely could complement your holiday ham. Also on my casserole wishlist is the I Love Veggies Bake from The Blender Girl.
Baby Bell Peppers and Swiss Strata recipe

And potatoes in form of a Chive and Onion Cheesy Hash Brown Potatoes or Crispy Smashed Potatoes (you can season them the way that suits your taste: I once enjoyed a combination of cumin with  the potatoes based on the Flavor Thesaurus as I wrote about here)

Recipe for Chive and Onion Cheesy Hash Brown Potatoes, vegetarian and a cozy casserole for a winter day or a holiday potluck  Crispy Smashed Potatoes

And I also like Cauliflower with Brown Butter, Pears, Hazelnuts uses cauliflower in a new way besides covered with cheese and cream or roasted.
Vegetarian Recipe: Cauliflower with Brown Butter, Pears, Hazelnuts

Do you have any vegetarian dishes you are making for the holidays?

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Tastebud Farm Pizza at the Portland Farmers Market at PSU

First, do you know that the Portland Farmers Market at PSU is open all year round? That means for instance, it is open TODAY. 9 AM – 2 PM! They will be closed on December 27, but otherwise go today! Go next Saturday!

Every Saturday morning at the Portland Farmers Market at PSU, the Tastebud Farm’s Wood Fired Baked Goods has a stand in the northeast corner of the market. I always swing by when I visit just to see what kind of bagel sandwich toppings they may have based on what is in season and fresh, and the same thing for their pizzas.

I’ve shared photos previously of some of the bagel sandwiches I have enjoyed. Although these bagels are small, they are Montreal style bagels and so have a tasty flavor that is fine just with plain cream cheese as well – and which you can get anytime at some select stores and at a few other Portland Farmers Market during other times of the year (those markets are currently closed since it’s December).
Tastebud Farm at the Portland Farmers Market PSU - Montreal Style Bagels

Today I wanted to share an example of some of the options with their pizza. They lug their wood-fired oven to the market every week, and when you order it they can heat up that pizza right then and there for you!
Pizzas from Tastebud Farm at the Portland Farmers Market PSU Tastebud Farm Pizza example of the bounty at the Portland Farmers Market PSU

Like this amazing breakfast pizza I had a couple weeks ago… their offerings vary every week.
Breakfast Pizza slice from Tastebud Farm at the Portland Farmers Market PSU "Breakfast

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Whole Foods Holiday Top 10 Wines + Oysters and Vichyssoise

Is it really already only two weeks until Christmas?! Time is a flying!

Just like last year (and which I also highlighted in a post last year, along with providing a free printable wine tasting placemat for you to create for a wine tasting party), Whole Foods has picked out some wines that you can find in their stores to highlight for the holidays.
Whole Foods Holiday Top 10 Wines Whole Foods Holiday Top 10 Wines

Some of the Whole Foods Holiday Top 10 wines are quite a value, meaning you can easily buy quite a few bottles in order to make sure everyone’s thirst is sufficiently quenched during a holiday party. Others are great options as a gift when you are attending someone else’s holiday get together, or to pair with a family dinner night.
Whole Foods Holiday Top 10 Wines - very affordable so you can buy several bottles for your holiday party Whole Foods Holiday Top 10 Wines

Let’s take a look at some example food and wine pairings with the 2014 list of Whole Foods Holiday Top 10 Wines! Which apparently are really 11, with 5 white wines and 6 red wines.

White Wines

Whole Foods Holiday Top 10 Wines - Sea Pines Russian River Valley Chardonnay Whole Foods Holiday Top 10 Wines - Louis Latour Duet Chardonnay-Viognier

  • Gaston Chiquet Champagne – because we should all drink sparkling bubbly wine the whole holiday month
  • Pizzolato Pinot Grigio – mineral tones makes this organically grown wine very refreshing
  • Globerati Sauvignon Blanc – lemon and green apple brightness
  • Louis Latour Duet Chardonnay-Viognier – round soft wine that has somehow a bit of earthiness
  • Sea Pines Russian River Chardonnay – balanced to have a little bit of vanilla but not too much oak

Always fun to start with sparkling for any event, such as this Gaston Chiquet Champagne, a Whole Foods Holiday Top 10 Wines "Sea
So Whole Foods suggested a very easy way to pair any of those 5 white wines at your party or to take to someone else’s party (or to keep for yourselves for a very sexy holiday date night at home)… Oysters! You don’t even need to cook them- AND you don’t have to shuck them!

Did you know that when you buy your oysters from Whole Foods, you can have the Fishmongers there shuck them all for you? After they are shucked, make sure you keep your oysters cold, so go home and refrigerate them right away, and ideally you will eat them that day. Supposedly you can also choose to wait up to 7 days, or freeze them, but it’s best as soon as possible.

At the pairing event I attended at Whole Foods Pearl, they let me try a few different types of oysters with a few different simple preparations. You can see the pairings below – the number of the wine and the oyster is a pairing I tried.
Pairing oysters and white wines from the Whole Foods Holiday Top 10 Wines 2014 list

It was fun to see, feel, and taste the difference in flavor between the various types of oysters you can purchase, as well as the different garnish preparations used to highlight them. They came in a variety of salty/briny level and textures and I could admire the differences in shells and textures. At this event I was able to try five oyster types of a Sun Hollow oyster (paired with Globerati Sauvignon Blanc), Malaspina oysters (paired with a Pizzolato Pinot Grigio), Fanny Bay oyster (paired with Louis Latour Duet Chardonnay-Viognier), Miyagi Oysters (paired with Sea Pines Russian River Chardonnay), and Penn Cove Select oysters (paired with Gaston Chiquet Champagne).
Globerati Sauvignon Blanc with a Sun Hollow oyster Pizzolato Pinot Grigio paired with Malaspina oysters Fanny Bay oyster (paired with Louis Latour Duet Chardonnay-Viognier) Miyagi Oysters (paired with Sea Pines Russian River Chardonnay) Penn Cove Select oysters (paired with Gaston Chiquet Champagne)

Here are my favorite ways to do a little preparation for the oyster when you serve them (the photos are from the event and not the actual recipe shared):

  • Hot Sauce. The simplest no muss way. With a little bit of Marshall’s Haute Sauce like the Red Chili Lime, Serrano Ginger Lemongrass, or some of their limited edition sauces like their Gin Roasted Pepper. For your get together, maybe get a few different sauces and let your guests add the dash of whichever sauce they want to try themselves!
    Penn Cove Select oysters (paired with Gaston Chiquet Champagne) 
  • Mignonette Sauce, which is essentially a vinegary sauce. Since you are already pairing this with wine, make it even a smoother pairing by using some of that wine in the mignonette itself by preparing 1/2 cup of a dry white wine with a tablespoon of sherry vinegar in a saucepan and reducing it to half. Now take off the heat and add 1 finely chopped shallot and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste, and maybe a tiny pinch of an herb
  • Fresh Lemon and Horseradish sauce. I like the way these flavor and zing in a way that lets the natural flavors of Oyster shine by letting Oyster flavor be in the forefront. Get a fresh horseradish root, clean and then peel the outside, grate the root until you get 3 ounces (Be prepared to cry a little from the fumes just like an onion. Console yourself with wine.) to every teaspoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice and a little bit of water until it suits your taste. Instead of water, you can also use cocktail sauce for a horseradish lemon cocktail sauce topping.
    Fanny Bay oyster (paired with Louis Latour Duet Chardonnay-Viognier)
  • This is the one that is inspired from what I had at this Whole Foods event: a Jalapeno Ponzu sauce with a little 1/2 Teaspoon of caviar! For the sauce, this recipe is enough for two dozen oysters so you can use all the jalapeno. Mix together 1 Tablespoon soy sauce, 1 Tablespoon water, 2 Tablespoons yuzu, or you can use fresh squeezed lemon juice instead of yuzu, 1 Teaspoon sugar, 1 small jalapeño, minced and 2 Tablespoons minced shallot. Then if you can, add the caviar using a mother of pearl spoon/wooden spoon (don’t use metal as it oxidizes the caviar). How fancy is that!
    Miyagi Oysters (paired with Sea Pines Russian River Chardonnay)

The Duet Chardonnay-Viognier and Vichyssoise

I also happened to purchase the Louis Latour Duet Chardonnay-Viognier and took it to a dinner party with a French theme. I paired this round, soft and earthy wine with a cold soup I made for the dinner called Vichyssoise. If you haven’t had Vichyssoise before, it’s a potato leek soup that is creamy yet light. This is a great option to bring to a party because you can prepare the recipe the night before- in fact you’ll want to because if you let the flavors sit together overnight it will taste better!

The vichyssoise also can be served warm or chilled, again making it ideal for transporting to share with others. By the way, it’s pronounced Vi-chy-swahze, where Vi-chy is sort of like fishy but use the V sound and sounds heck o impressive.

Recipe for Vegetarian Vichyssoise, a potato leek soup that is creamy yet light. This is a great option to bring to a party because you can prepare the recipe the night before- in fact you'll want to because if you let the flavors sit together overnight it will taste better!

This recipe makes 8 servings, and it tasted great with the Duet wine because the earthyness of the wine went well with the potato leek and watercress flavors of the soup. This version of vichyssoise is lightened up considerably by using vegetable broth instead of chicken stock and also by using half and half instead of cream. It also has a bit more earthiness and bite by using watercress.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided (2 tablespoons will be used to cook the leek, 1 tablespoon to top the soup during serving)
  • 4 leeks, well washed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 pounds potatoes, coarsely chopped (I used Yukon Gold and did not peel them)
  • 2 bunches watercress, divided (half will be used in the soup, the other half later when you serve)
  • 2 1/4 quarts (9 cups) of vegetable broth
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ground white pepper to taste
  • 1 cup half and half or cream – I went with using half and half
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1/2 in preparing the soup and the rest you may add to taste later when serving.
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons finely snipped fresh chives

Directions:

  1. Place a large soup pot over medium heat and add the 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the chopped leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 5 minutes.
    Recipe for Vichyssoise- the softened leeks Recipe for Vichyssoise- the softened leeks Recipe for Vichyssoise- the softened leeks
  2. Now add your chopped potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 5 minutes more. You don’t need everything to fully cook and nothing should be browned as you it will cook in the broth shortly. Add 1 bunch of the watercress and stir until the watercress is wilted, probably another 5 minutes.
    Vichyssoise- leeks plus potatoes
  3. Add the vegetable broth, salt, and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, partially covered, until the vegetables are very tender, about 25 minutes.
  4. Remove the soup from the heat and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes so that you can put it in the food processor. I put my pot in the kitchen sink partially immersed in cold water and some ice cubes to cool it down. In batches, process the soup in a food processor until smooth. After each batch, pour the processed soup into another larger pot. As you probably know, when processing the soup in your food processor or blender, make sure you are careful to press the lid on as you are blending and never fill your machine too high, getting a burn from processing hot liquids is an accident you don’t want to experience!
  5. In the large pot with your processed soup, stir in the half-and-half and 1/2 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for at least 5 hours, best would be to let chill overnight).
  6. Before serving, taste the soup for seasoning and adjust with salt, pepper, and lemon juice as necessary. After placing it in your soup vessels (such as chilled soup bowls), add a little swirl of remaining 1 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice remaining tablespoon of olive oil amongst all the bowls. Finally, add to each bowl a small bunch of the watercress, a pinch of the finely snipped fresh chives, and and grate a little pinch of the lemon zest on top.

Vichyssoise- a vegetarian recipe for this potato leek soup that is creamy yet light. This is a great option to bring to a party because you can prepare the recipe the night before- in fact you'll want to because if you let the flavors sit together overnight it will taste better!

Red Wines

I didn’t have a chance to try any of the red wines, but wanted to still share them in case you prefer reds to whites, along with the descriptions from Whole Foods. Although I didn’t get to taste them, I trust their choices based on tasting their holiday wine selections last year.
Red Wine

  • Coppola Sonoma County Pinot Noir – Fruit forward ruby red with a tartness of dried cherry and strawberry and subtle floral jasmine notes
  • Bodegas Belgrano Malbec – Aromas of warm spices and stewed blueberry flavors that mingle with woodsy hints of smoke
  • Leyenda del Castillo Rioja – Mineral, earthy aromas are found in this deep garnet Spanish red
  • Bubo Cabernet Sauvignon – Surprisingly fruity, pleasant and approachable with a touch of green pepper aroma
  • H&G Priorat – Earthy, herbaceous aromas in this brick red wine lead to a refined minerality and complex dark fruit flavors
  • Charles and Charles Merlot – Attractive baked biscuit aroma in this inky, hearty red

Whole Foods Holiday Top 10 Wines - Coppola Sonoma County Pinot Noir Whole Foods Holiday Top 10 Wines - H&G Priorat
You might also consider adding a dessert wine to your holidays, such as a port. And think about pairing it with a little buffet of tiny dessert snacks (all that you conveniently purchase at Whole Foods) such as the Belgian Chocolates, Milk Chocolate Peppermint Pretzel Bar, or Chocolate Candy Cane Sandwich Creme Cookies!
Dessert pairing with port thanks to Whole Foods

For another easy way to get food to pair with your wine, whether it be red or white wines… I also heh heh like to browse the prepared foods section of Whole Foods and grab things from there, and if I have any doubt I will ask someone at Whole Foods to help me pick a dish to go with the wine. Then I go home and put them on a nice platter and take them to the party. What! I especially can’t resist when I see signs like this to advertise their holiday side dishes!
Whole Foods New Traditions with their prepared Holiday Side Dishes

Are you doing any holiday dinner or party at home with wines, and if so are you pairing anything and what are you pairing? Have you ever served raw oysters before? Or had Vichyssoise?

Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary event at Whole Foods Pearl that included tasting 5 of the Holiday Wines paired with oysters, but I will always provide my honest opinion and assessment of all products and experiences I may be given. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own

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