ACC’s Kitchen

House Wine Part Deux – Rose and Sparkling

This is part two of a post I  did on choosing your own house wine back in May of last year.  It is still one of my all time most viewed posts (even though back then my photographs and formatting were a little struggles!).  People really responded to the idea of keeping on hand some classic, go with anything wines that were affordable.  It makes life really easy and entertaining a breeze if you know you have a half case of a favorite red and white in your basement that you can pull out at any time.  Well since that post I have finally settled on a house rose and a house sparkling so I wanted to share those with you as well.  Perfect summer sippers, they are a great addition to your “house” collection.

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If I had unlimited funds, for sure my house sparkling wine would be Veuve Clicquot.  It is my favorite champagne, so much so that we visited their caves while on our honeymoon.  However, until I win powerball, the Vueuve is going to have to wait for special occasions.  Luckily I stumbled across a terrific cava that is light and crisp with just the right amount of bubbles.  Dibon Cava Brut Reserve can be drank on its own or mixed in a cocktail or mimosa.  I have found some of the cheaper sparkling wines really must be mixed with something but this one stands on its own.  The price point cannot be beat – I have found it for as low as $9 a bottle, usually its around $11-12.  I have seen it at Wegmans, Total Wine and even Harris Teeter.  For folks that are on Capitol Hill you can also find it at P&C Market on Lincoln Park.  Even better, it has a very similar color label to that of Veuve so if you just sort of squint your eyes you can pretend its the real thing!  No really, having a couple of bottles on hand is great for the impromptu brunch or when something unexpected comes along that you want to celebrate.  Add this to your house collection and you won’t have to wait for New Years to be popping corks.

It took a while to finally nail down my house rose.  To me a good rose is dry, slightly fruity and light in color.  It should be drinkable on its own but also have enough acid to be paired with food.  Finding all that with an affordable price was not easy until I found Famille Perrin Reserve Cotes du Rhone Rose.  It has nice subtle berry flavor but is also really crisp.  Many of you are familiar with Cotes du Rhone reds from France and this family run vineyard produces those as well.  However, with their rose they use stainless steel tanks to give it a lighter body.  I often find this at World Market – if you wait until their White and Rose sale that they have several times a year you can pick one of these up for as low as $7 a bottle.  With the chic French label and its drinkability people will never know you could buy a whole case for less than $100.  I really like this rose paired with French cheeses of course but it also really pairs well with light summer foods like my summer Chicken and Rice Salad dish or my corn risotto.  Also since France has finally gotten on the screwtop train this becomes the perfect picnic wine.  If you already have a sparkling wine and rose that you really love no worries – these are just my favorites.  Either way make sure to stock up and your summer will be spent sipping stress free.

One Whole Year for A Capitol Contessa

It is really hard to believe that a year ago I was celebrating with my friends and family the launch of A Capitol Contessa (and Cinco de Mayo).  One year, 139 posts, over 3,500 visitors and a zillion pictures later I feel like I have learned so much.  The pictures from some of those first posts are truly horrifying, why so small??  I have gotten way better at the technical aspects, though my food photography could still use some work.  I have learned the hard way that the best dinner parties are often the hardest to capture for the blog -too much wine and too much fun means forgetting to photograph whole courses or pics that are less than stellar.  My friends have gotten so good about holding back and waiting while I take pics – all of you are so generous and supportive, eating my experiments, helping come up with ideas and cheering me on.  I love knowing that friends and family far away are making the same food as me and enjoying it even if we cannot be together.

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What??  How did this possibly turn into Osso Bucco?

My process has evolved a bit but its still hard for me to be consistent with writing things down as I cook.  Years of throwing things in the pan and eyeballing everything is tough to break.   In the coming year I hope to post more entertaining ideas and build up my recipe collection.  I would love to have some guest bloggers and already have some volunteers so be on the look out for those posts.  I love highlighting local restaurants and shops and hope to discover new gems to share with you all.  I also want to conquer homemade pasta once and for all – it’s my white whale for some reason!!

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My last attempt…FAIL

What would you all like to see?  Please send me a note through the website or on social media.  Inspiration has been coming from a lot of different sources but the best by far is my readers!  I also hope to increase that readership so please share A Capitol Contessa with anyone who loves to cook or host.  Also please sign on and follow me on Instagram or Twitter.  I am still getting the hang of this whole social media stuff but I try to keep my content fresh and different on the various platforms so you don’t see the same post 4 different times.  For my part I promise to keep testing, testing, testing so that anything of mine you try, you know it will be a home run on the first shot.  Honesty is my policy – even if it means sharing the less glamorous side of food blogging.  How about this photo-interruptus?

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I have some great stuff lined up for the summer – a rum tasting party, wedding registry suggestions and lots of grilling recipes.  I am also going to do some follow ups to your favorite posts like Pick Your Own House Wine, my gluten free and make ahead dinner party plans, and of course Nutty’s French Toast.  I hope you all have had fun following along with me on this ride the last year.  I love to hear that a post inspired someone to just go home and cook.  Remember, no one is perfect – not even Ina or the sainted Julia.  So keep cooking and try not to burn anything!  Cheers to another year – XO, Alex

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yep this happened

 

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