Monday, December 31, 2012

Resolutions

Earlier this week I had decided that I would not post what my resolutions are on my blog, but I have had a change of heart. I am currently sitting at my shop trying to write a toast for New Years Eve. While I sit here, munching on a baguette sandwich sammich and trying to scribble down a short and sweet toast, my goals and resolutions for the next year keep fogging my mind. Besides, writing them down is the first step towards achieving them....right?

2013 Resolutions and goals:

1) Work on my photography! 
Yes, I need more photography in my life. It is what I am passionate about. I have a very photogenic mind and I LOVE to get lost in pictures. I have a huge library of photos on my computer that are just dying to get into a photo album. In 2013 I hope to get out and take more photos. I also hope to share my photos with more people. 

2) 10,000 steps a day!
For Christmas my sister got me a Fitbit pedometer. This pedometer rocks! It tracks my steps, distance and calorie burn. I love, love, LOVE it. The Fitbit pedometer syncs up with my laptop so it keeps a record of my steps over time. I will do this even if it means walking back and fourth in my tiny apartment. 

3) Learn more about other wine regions.
My wine shop is focused on wines from the Northwest. When it comes to international wines I can get lost. I want to work on learning more about international wines, regions and history. I have just brushed the surface and I want to dive in.

4) Go on more adventures.
2012 was a year where I had to devote lots of time to my new business. I gave up social activities, weekends off and had to miss events to take care of my business. In 2013 I hope to give more time for myself and have more adventures. I want to get back into hiking, go on day trips and maybe even get away for a weekend! I know my dog and fiance would be happy!

Other things I want to work on is my nutrition, self discipline, running, and work on growing my business. 

Now that 2013 is about 10 hours away....I better get to writing that toast of mine!

Hope you all have a fun and safe New Years Eve! 

XOXO!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Urban Decanter Tomato Soup!

Tomato Soup!

One fruit (or vegetable) that I dislike the most is the TOMATO! There are a few exceptions in my book to  my feelings about tomatos. The exceptions are salsa, catsup ketchup, and tomato! The tomato soup recipe I am going to share below is from earlier this year. I used produce from the Forest Grove Farmers Market and served the soup at my wine bar Urban Decanter


Tomato Soup:
1 onion
5 garlic cloves
2 TBSP butter
2 sage leafs 
3 basil leafs
8 cups tomato, diced
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth *Add more or less depending on how thick or thin you want the soup.
1 tsp corn starch (thickening agent, optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a stock pot, add onion and garlic then cook till tender over medium heat. Chop up sage and basil then add it to the pot. Toss the ingredients together a few times then add in the diced tomatoes. Let the tomatoes cook 3 to 4 minutes then add the broth. Next, mix the corn starch with half a cup of cold water then add to the mixture. Bring the ingredients in the pot to a boil then reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid and let it cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Finish the soup up by using a hand blender or food processor to puree the soup. 

The garnish I used with this soup with a crostini topped with goat cheese. 

One of my favorite soup tips: My soups stay warm in a crock pot. As the soups get thick, I pour in a portion of wine with hot water to reduce the thickness. I love the flavor that the wine adds to my soups.

My guests loved this soup. I look forward to serving this one again next year during the Farmer's Market!

Enjoy! 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Happy New Year!


Buh-Bye 2012, Hello 2013!

Now that another year is nearly over, it is my time to reflect on the past year and to look to the next. It is important for me to look back and cherish the memories, think about lessons learned, and to set goals for the year to come. The past year has brought many changes, adjustments and new experiences to my life. A few of the changes include leaving my office job to be a wine shop owner, I got engaged, and I also became part of a new community. In these three things there are a multitude of lessons learned, but I won't bore you with that. Instead, here are some fun pictures from 2012!  

Thank you Joshua Chang for the fun photo session!
Missy in her stunna shades!
Slicing onions at work is SO MUCH easier with ski goggles on. 

The BEST photo from 2012. Beau proposed to me (again)
at our engagement party with the actual ring. He done GOOD!
The wine bar I now own also has a menu so I have become very familiar
 with a panini grill! The kitchen is a very simple kitchen so I must
 use creativity when brainstorming new dishes.



Now that I am towards the end of this post, I would like to leave a few photos of some of the favorite wines that I have enjoyed over this past year. Learning about wine is such a continuous journey and I cannot wait to see what 2013 has in store!  Thank you to everyone who has shared a glass with me!















Happy New Year! 




Monday, November 5, 2012

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Pumpkin is a seasonal favorite of mine! I love pumpkin baked goods, drinks, pies, and of course, ICE CREAM!

My pumpkin ice cream recipe is super easy! You can make it in an ice cream maker or simply just mix the ingredients together then freeze. This ice cream has been a huge hit at my wine shop Urban Decanter.



Pumpkin Ice Cream
1 30 oz can pumpkin puree
2 cups cream
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons cinnamon 

1. Mix all ingredients together until it is smooth.

2. If you do not have an ice cream maker, place the mixture into freezer until it is hard.

If you do have an ice cream maker, place the mixture into the ice cream maker and let it mix until it is thick. Once the mixture is thick, place the ice cream in the freezer in a freezer safe container.

I like to serve the ice cream with a ginger cookie as a garnish.

Curious what wines to pair with this ice cream? A few of my suggestions would be dessert viogniers such as  Apolloni's Dolce Vino or Seven of Hearts Wine Ice Princess

What are your favorite pumpkin and wine pairings?

Cheers!
Becky

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Touch of 2012 Vineyard Photography!

A few photos taken at Kramer Vineyards during the harvest of 2012! Enjoy!







Sunday, September 16, 2012

Forest Grove Chalk Art Festival


As a new business owner in Forest Grove, I am becoming acquainted with the local events that happen through the year. Yesterday was the Chalk Art Festival. Artists of all ages joined together in the streets of Downtown Forest Grove to display their breathtaking talent.








Here are some of the finished pieces! 







If you come to Forest Grove in the next few days, I hope you come down Main Street to see the stunning art!

Cheers!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Seven of Hearts Wine and Noisette

**This blog is LONG overdue, but I still feel like its never too late to say Thank You! This is a recap of a dinner that I had at Noisette for a Seven of Hearts and Luminous Hills pre-IPNC dinner. Byron and Dana- Thank you so much for inviting Beau and I. This was a very memorable and delicious evening!**

I have been a huge fan of Seven of Hearts Wine and Luminous Hills Wine for a few years now. A few weeks before this dinner, Byron, the winemaker of the two labels, invited myself and a guest to join him for a pre-IPNC dinner at Noisette. I was both ecstatic and honored that he wanted to invite me. Of course my first choice for a date was Beau, and jokingly asked Byron if he was allowed to come.

Noisette is a restaurant that I had never been to but have heard great things about. This boosted my excitement for the dinner even higher. On the night of the dinner we were greeted with some Luminous Hills Rose.....and after that we were wine and dined with multiple food courses and pairings to go along with each. There was a total of eight courses. Each were beautiful and delicious!


The first course consisted of Oregon line caught albacore tuna, confit loin and tartare with quail yolk, pickled cucumber, saffron aioli and brioche croutons. The quail yolk did kind of freak me out, but I tried it and yes....I did like it! 

The second course involved lobster! This next dish was Maine day boat lobster with avocado, pole beans, tarragon, sweet pea sprouts and chervil.


The third course is praise worthy. It was an Oregon spring onion and cauliflower soup! This was one of my favorite courses of the evening. This soup was full of flavor, light, creamy and just delightful.


The fourth course was very creative, but I don't want you to think it was not appetizing! It was actually another very delicious creation! Course number four was ancient grains and morel!


Braised short ribs and scallops are what graced the plate for course number five! The meat was tender and the scallop was cooked perfectly.



Course six made me step outside of my box a little bit! Moulard duck liver is something that I have never had and is something that I can have in small quantities. Its very rich and flavorful.



The seventh course was moulard duck breast, and this also happened to be my favorite! The duck breast was cooked rare, was very tender and flavorful. The duck reminded me of beef, it was heaven.


Somehow I missed a photo of the dessert! Can I claim that I was too busy enjoying it that I forgot to photograph it? ;) It was a chocolate lava cake that was decadent! It paired beautifully with the Seven of Hearts 2010 Pinot Port!

The sommelier at the restaurant did a fantastic job selecting the wines to go with each course. Byron makes such a great variety of wines that he had one that could go with every dish. His wines are of great quality at fantastic prices.

If anyone is looking for excellent French Food in Portland, this place gets my highest recommendation! It was all around delicious!

Cheers!
Becky

Monday, August 13, 2012

Green Gazpacho!

One of my favorite things about Urban Decanter is that I get to experiment with cooking ALL THE TIME! Its heaven for me. I do tend to wing a lot of my cooking and hold "experiments" on my guests to see if they like what I am preparing for them. So far the responses have all been great. This next recipe is one that has taken the throne in my gazpacho world.

I have made three gazpacho's this year, and my green gazpacho is one that my guests are requesting more of.

Green Gazpacho

Psst- you can probably cut this recipe in half. I tend to cook enough to serve 20 people. 

8 cups of honey dew melon
2 seedless cucumbers
2 jalapenos (seeded and cleaned)
2 medium onions (I used 1 red onion and 1 Walla Walla)
2 avocados
2 seedless cucumbers
3/4 cup of rice vinegar
3-4 garlic cloves (depends on how strong you like the garlic!)
3-4 tbsp of lime juice (I admit it, I love to do more than this but I toned it back for the recipe)
salt and pepper to taste.

Step one - Chop all the ingredients up!
Step two- Puree in a food processor!
Step three- Taste and adjust seasonings as you like!
Step four- Chill the gazpacho down in the refrigerator for about four hours.
Step five- Garnish! I used some cantaloupe and cucumber to garnish my gazpacho with, but I imagine you could use so much more! Some guests also loved baguette with it.

I apologize for not having a photo of the beautiful green gazpacho....but if I do get one I will post it up for sure!

Hope you enjoy this cool refreshing soup!

You can follow Urban Decanter on Facebook here!

Follow Urban Decanter on Twitter too! @Urban_Decanter 

Cheers!

Friday, July 20, 2012

How I met Beau!

As we are getting ready for our engagement party this weekend, a friend of mine asked that we write the story about how we met. Felt like it was something to share! 



Here it is:

I first began to talk to Beau towards the end of 2010. We connected through  my sister and the topic of bad bands on Twitter. Yes...TWITTER! That night my sister and I were on our laptops, geeking out on twitter and laughing up a storm over comments being made. At that time I was in another relationship and really had no interest in Beau. Yes...I am guilty of thinking he was cute, but the relationship was harmless. I took a break from Twitter for about three months and then got active on it again in March. I was newly single and began to chat with Beau again. We got flirty and I realized I was falling for a guy I had never met who lived in Southern California. Part of me thought I was crazy but part of me really wanted to meet this guy! He booked a ticket up here in May of 2011 so we could meet. Spent the whole weekend together and have been together since! Whats even better? I was able to convince him to move to Oregon, and even better.....to a small town! That is success in itself! Now we are set to get married in August of 2013 at my family's vineyard. 


Yup....met the guy I love and will marry through the wine industry on Twitter! 


Do you have a fun story about how you met your special half? Please share! 

Cheers~

Becky 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Peruvian Shrimp Ceviche

In my goal to add some fun and new small plates to my menu at Urban Decanter, I have been experimenting with some recipes! My guests may, or may not know that they are part of my experiment! *evil laugh*


Actually its really not evil, but it has been a lot of fun! One of the recipes I am currently testing out is a Peruvian Shrimp Ceviche. This small plate is SO DAMN EASY that I hope those who are intimated to cook get their butt in the kitchen and try their hand at preparing this dish.

Here it goes!

Ingredients:
3/4 cup of FRESH lime juice
4 cloves of garlic
1 lb cooked, peeled and de-veined shrimp
1 red jalapeno or red chili pepper cut into long strips
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions- 
Place the lime juice and garlic into a blender. Blend until the garlic is minced. Pour lime juice mixture over the shrimp. Add the sliced pepper, red onion, and cilantro. Mix it all up, then add the salt and pepper to taste! Wa-lah! That is it!

This Peruvian Shrimp Ceviche is so simple but yet a beautiful dish. When I serve this plate I place the ceviche on a romaine lettuce leaf and line the plate with sliced cucumbers. Simple. Beautiful. Fresh. Tasty!

For a wine pairing, I suggest a crisp and high acid white. Pinot Blanc and Gruner Veltliner are two varietals that come to mind for me! 

What are your experiences with ceviche? Please share!

Cheers!

Becky