Herb, Garlic and Gruyère Potato Gratin


On Sunday I was at my neighbor's house having a doggy play-date when they gave me a bag of Russet potatoes. My neighbor, Claire, had just returned from a Costco trip and between her and her partner there was no no way they would eat through a Costco size bag of potatoes so she offered me some. I am always happy to oblige free food offerings. The last two days I have been baking up a storm of potato recipes. From gratin to baked potato chips I got you covered on starchy goodness this week!

Normally, I would suggest making gratin from a waxy based potato, like Yukon Gold's because of their ability to hold form. Russets are a little starchy for gratin, but when you have a couple pounds of potatoes its a great recipe to go through them all.

I only use enough milk to cover the first layer so halfway through baking you will want to remove the gratin and press down the top layer with a spatula so that the milk begins to cover the top layer as well.

Herb, Garlic and Gruyere Potato Gratin serves 4
Adapted from Alice Water's, "The Art of Simple Food"
3 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces, plus more for greasing pan
4 large yellow potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/16 inch slices
1 1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons chopped herbs (your choice, I used basil and parsley), reserving 1/2 teaspoon for garnish
1 garlic glove, minced
1/2 cup gruyère, grated
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and rub a 9x12-inch dish with butter. Combine garlic and herbs (less some for garnish) in a small bowl.

Make a layer of potato slices in the baking dish, overlapping them slightly, like shingles. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, 1/2 garlic and herb mixture, and 1/3 amount of gruyère. Repeat one more layer of potatoes, salt, pepper, herbs and cheese.

Carefully pour milk over potatoes. The liquid should come up to the bottom of the top layer of potatoes. Generously dollop butter pieces over potatoes.

Bake until browned and bubbling, about 1 hour. Halfway through baking, take gratin out and of oven and press the potatoes with a spatula to keep the top moist. Return to the oven, checking often. With 15 minutes to go, remove gratin and sprinkle with remaining gruyère cheese and bake until top is golden and potatoes are soft. Remove from oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes and garnish with remaining herbs.

Cooking and Me, a Therapeutic Experience


I wanted to take this time to express what cooking means to me and why it is such a large feature of Fork and Vine. There are many things that interest me from fashion, art and design, to wine...and of course food and cooking. I love fashion and appreciate great art and design, but they are not necessarily my passions. I love wine and am passionate about talking about it and learning more. Lastly, cooking is my therapy. I appreciate great food and relish in the experience of making it, but mostly it is a very therapeutic experience for me.

In the half hour to several hours of cooking nothing else matters. I do not think about my job, I do not think about the things I have to do, I do not think about bills...really I do not think about anything else, but the task at hand: cooking. When I am cooking nothing else matters to me; I am completely absorbed in creating something delicious. I turn up the stereo and dance and sing while I am prepping, cooking and waiting. It feels so good to have these moments to myself and then share the finished product with Will or guests after. I learn new things every time I cook; a better way to do something, or new flavor combinations I never thought of. After that is all said and done I then get to write about it and share the recipes and process with you. Not every thing I make is perfect, actually I often have failures, which only pushes me to make it better the next time around.

I spend a lot of my free time in the kitchen. On average, I cook about 4-5 dinners each week and spend much of my weekend researching and trying out new recipes. Sometimes, Will is concerned that it is a chore for me (largely because he is not interested in cooking), but I remind that I enjoy it and if I didn't want to cook, I wouldn't and we would go get burritos or takeout. I truly hope that this love and contentment shines through in my photography and recipes because I want all of you to experience the joy that cooking brings to me.

Happy 1st Year Blogiversary and Some Faves


Today marks the 1 year Anniversary of Fork and Vine, or at least the 1 year anniversary of when I started taking blogging seriously. It has been a whirlwind of a year and I am so happy I embarked on this journey. I have learned so many things about myself and what I want to share with the world. Fork and Vine has grown so much over the last year and I am so proud of all the work I have put into it.

In celebration of Fork and Vine's 1 year anniversary I have decided to share some of my favorite posts over the last year. To start things off, what better way, then the first post?!

I definitely had a good head on my shoulders and I idea of what I wanted to portray in the first post of introductions on March 14th, 2011. Although, I have had small lapses in posts I am so happy with how consistent I have been since that first post.

Next up is my blog post about mine and Will's 4 year anniversary dinner at Paley's Place on May 8th (our anniversary is on the 10th). We had such a wonderful evening at my favorite restaurant in Portland. I am so happy to share it with an amazing person and have these photos to look back on it. And, it's crazy to think that we are now coming up on our 5 year anniversary!

Next up is my post is Summer is Good Food and Great Friends post. We had our friend Mikey over for a bbq. Come to think of it, we need to have him over again soon...Mikey, you hear that? I really enjoy entertaining and this post sure does reflect that!

This photo is from my Fourth of July outfit post, "Red, White and Blue All Over." It is one of my favorite outfit posts because I think it is when I started to take things more seriously. Will was my trusty photographer and I think he did a great job!

"Talisman and My Father" is a really sentimental post for me. It was originally inspired by Kyla's post about Talismans. I miss my father so much and this locket is a reminder for me that he is always with me. It is very difficult to share these things with others, many of which I do not know, but I thank you for listening and supporting me in such a personal post.

My favorite Wine Wednesday post is when I reviewed the 2009 Montiribaldi Tre Stelle. It is my favorite because it is when I began to take this feature more seriously and research the producer, region and wine. Not that I didn't before, but it was one of the first Wine Wednesday posts that had more substance.

Another wine centric post, but very close to my heart is sharing the happenings of the 2011 harvest at Owen Roe. I love working at a winery during harvest. The buzz of everything going on is exciting and intoxicating, it is a true reminder of why I love what I do.

This past year blogging recipes has pushed my cooking and photography beyond anything I had done before. Over the last year I have continued to work on new recipes, techniques and photography. This recipe of salmon on top of tomato and corn is one of the first recipes where I start to see that change. It incorporates all the things I love about summer food and when I really start to see my photography change.

While the earlier outfit post is one of my favorites for "firsts," my absolute favorite outfit post overall is my holiday outfit post. This dress is one of my favorite frocks and my sister, Sarah, took all these shots. She did an amazing job and has a real knack for photography. It was really fun and special to me to share this moment with my sister.

I really enjoyed sharing this diy project for a shadow box jewelry holder. I made this jewelry holder for my sister-in-law for Christmas and am really happy with how it turned out. It was super simple to make and I plan on making a couple more for my mom and sister...maybe one for myself too!

I am not a baker by nature, so when I made gluten-free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes I was pretty proud of myself. I was also surprised by how delicious they were. Gluten-free baking is kind of hard so this was a major feat for me!

Now, last but not least is something to raise a glass to...or a cocktail for Spirit Saturday! Recently, for Spirit Saturday I tried my hand at this Tribal Cana recipe and was so proud of the refreshing concoction I produced. The weather doesn't really call for it yet, but I will definitely be making more of these this summer!

Thank you for all your support and I look forward to the next year of blogging on Fork and Vine and hope that it brings as much joy as the first! Cheers!

Kale and Brussel Sprout Slaw, Tuscan Inspired


Kale slaws are all the rage, and why not? Kale is healthy, has great texture and adds a nice spicy, sweet flavor to any dish! Now, people will swear up and down that their kale slaw recipe is the best and I'm not hear to argue with them. I'm an equal opportunist when it comes to enjoying kale slaws...I love them all and I want to eat them all! However, there is a time and a place for each recipe. I have an Asian inspired kale slaw recipe that I certainly wouldn't want to serve alongside a heaping plate of spaghetti and meatballs, but that is when I turn to this awesome Kale and Brussel Sprout Slaw. With tons of shaved pecorino, garlic and toasted almonds you would think you've been transported to a lively kitchen in the heart of Tuscany! With both brussel sprouts and kale you are sure to get a heavy dose of Brassica Oleracea (that's wild cabbage in case you were wondering) with this recipe, not to mention all the nutrients and cancer fighting properties they carry.

Now's your time for your knife skills to shine! Shred that kale and those sprouts!

I love how toasting almonds in olive oil smells.

Since getting my food processor this Christmas I cannot use it enough. Making dressings now is a cinch and a huge time saver. I don't even bother with mincing garlic and shallots anymore, I just pop them in the food processor and pulse. If you don't have one, I highly recommend investing or at least picking up one of those small 3 cup processors that Cuisinart sells. Trust me, you'll thank me later.

I can't get it in my mouth fast enough!

Kale and Brussel Sprout Salad serves 6-8
Adapted from Bon Appétit
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
1 tablespoon shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
1 large bunch of Tuscan kale, tough stem discarded and leaves thinly sliced
1 pound brussel sprouts, trimmed finely grated or shaved thin with a knife
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1/2 cup almonds, with skins coarsely chopped
1 cup Pecorino, finely grated

Combine lemon juice, stoneground and dijon mustard, shallot, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper in a bowl (or food processor), stir to blend and set aside for flavors to incorporate. Mix kale and brussel sprout in a large bowl.

From 1/2 cup olive oil, measure out 1 tablespoon oil and add to a small skillet. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat and add almonds to skillet. Stir frequently and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer almonds to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle almonds lightly with salt. Allow to cool.

Slowly whisk remaining olive oil into lemon-juice mixture. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. When ready to serve, add dressing, cheese and toasted almonds (reserve some for garnish) to kale and brussel sprouts. Toss to combine. Sprinkle remaining almonds on top to garnish.

Creamy Parsnip Soup


Can it be spring already?! C'mon Mother Nature! It's March and we're still getting snow! Oh well, I guess I will seek solace with a hot bowl of creamy parsnip soup. 

Really all you need to know about this dish is chop, chop, chop those vegetables! Oh, ya and to clean your leeks well. A primer on leeks is that dirt gets stuck in each fold. So in order to make them gritty dirt free I rinse them in a bowl of cold water several times, cleaning out the bowl in between each rinse. Afterwards skim the leeks out with a slotted spoon (trying not to skim the dirt with it) and place leeks on paper towels to dry.

There's so much vegetables (and fruit) in this soup you will hardly notice all the cream in it...at least that's what I had to keep telling Will!

Creamy Parsnip Soup with Leek Garnish serves 4
Recipe courtesy of Everyday Food
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 pound leeks, rinsed and sliced (reserve 1/2 cup for garnish)
1 pound parsnips, trimmed, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 green apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 - 14.5 ounce can reduced sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper

Leek Garnish
In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon butter over med-high heat. Add reserved 1/2 cup leeks and sauté, stirring occasionally until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain excess butter.

Creamy Parsnip Soup
Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.

Add potatoes, parsnips, apples, broth and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Partially cover and cook until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.

Using an emulsion blender (or working in batches with a regular blender), puree soup until smooth. Stir in cream and season with salt and pepper. Garnish soup with leek garnish and freshly cracked pepper.

Reflections and New Horizons


Lately I have been reflecting on all the changes of the last two years. 2010 and 2011 brought some great changes in myself as well as in my career path. Over the last year I have been fortunate enough to reignite my passion for writing by starting back up Fork and Vine, welcomed my new sister-in-law into my family, took a step into the future with my career path, and watched as Will and I have grown within ourselves and as a couple.

Everyday is a new beginning and I am really looking forward to the new changes in 2012. It's funny, but when I was young I told my parents that I never wanted to grow up. Now that I finally am grown up, I am so thankful for what each new day brings. In 2012 I am looking forward to being an aunt (for the first time), spending more time with my sister and seeing her graduate this May and embark on her life journey, celebrating mine and Will's 5 year anniversary (crazy right?), looking forward to purchasing our first home in Portland, continuing my wine education, reflecting on my 3 year anniversary of being in the wine industry, and celebrate the 1 year anniversary of Fork and Vine.

I feel so fortunate to have a loving and supportive partner, family and friends who has been there for me every step of the way, encouraging me. Through Fork and Vine I have met many new friends that share the same values and interests as me who have also been more than welcoming and supportive. In 2012 I hope to share all of these milestones with you as well as little pieces of myself. Next week I am delighted to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of Fork and Vine on Wednesday, March 14th. I hope you will all stop by to celebrate or just to say hello. Cheers!

Spirit Saturday: Tropical Caña


This cocktail may be a little tropical for the weather that we've been experiencing this past week, but hey, you have to channel summer somehow during the winter or else you will just be miserable. I wish I could be some where tropical right now, like Costa Rica, which is where by brother and sister-in-law just returned from for their honeymoon! They brought me back Flor de Caña 7 Year Rum from their trip, which inspired me to make something fun with it. It is a really smooth, tasty rum that can be drunk alone and kind of reminded me of bourbon. After a little research I found a great recipe from Flor de Caña's website.

Tribal Caña yields 1
Adapted from Flor de Caña

2 ounces Flor de Caña (any aged rum works, or even gold rum)
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
3/4 ounce pineapple juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
3 drops vanilla extract
10 cilantro leaves
8 mint leaves
cilantro and mint sprigs for garnish

Muddle mint, cilantro, lime and pineapple juice in a Collins glass. Add rum, simple syrup and vanilla extract. Fill the glass halfway with crushed ice and use a spoon to swizzle ingredients. Fill the glass the rest of the way with crushed ice, giving it another swizzle. Garnish with fresh mint and cilantro sprigs. Turn up the heat and enjoy your tropical oasis!

Mellow Yellow, an outfit post


It's been pretty chilly here this week and ironically I got my haircut the coldest week it has been in a long time. Today the weather really didn't know what it wanted to do rain, snow and my head was freezing the entire time!

I've been cozying up: wearing sweaters, scarves, making soup and sipping on tea. We've been total homebodies, but tonight Will and I will be going to see the ballet. On Valentine's Day my sweetie surprised me with tickets to see Giselle, my all time favorite ballet. I am totally stoked! They will be accompanied by a live orchestra, which is a rare treat because of the high cost of having a live orchestra play every performance. Giselle is such an amazing ballet to watch because the choreography is exciting, showy and because this is based on the original Giselle (French) it will have a bit of softness to it.

It is one of the greatest ballets of all time because the theatricalness of the performance, as well as the story and emotions that are portrayed. It really is a thrill to watch, like seeing a play or opera with exquisit dancing. It is a story of betrayal, loss and love experienced by the characters, who are all real people, which is maybe why it touches me so and why it is considered one of the greatest ballets of all time. If you ever have a chance to go to the ballet I really encourage you to see Giselle.

Outfit Details:
Raincoat, Tulle
Striped Cardigan, Target
Shirt, Urban Outfitters
Skirt, We Love Vera via Anthropologie
Belt, F21
Tights, Hue
Scarf, gift from mom
Boots, Enzo Angiolini
Sunnies, Target
Earrings, unknown

I hope you all have a lovely Thursday!