Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons & a Spanish White Wine

With our latest blast of chilly weather (here in South Florida it actually got down to 45 degrees!) I was looking for a dish that was not only comforting…but also had a glamorous, exotic edge. So when I came across this recipe for Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons I knew I’d found what I was looking for.

Thankfully, my culinary instincts were spot on (LOVE when that happens!). This dish features succulent chicken thighs simmered in a hearty, fragrant broth with exotic, savory herbs and spices including ginger, sweet paprika, cilantro, turmeric and saffron. My fellow foodies, this delightful recipe perfumed our home with the most wonderful aromas and dazzled our palates with its toe-curling deliciousness.


Not only is it delicious, this Chicken Tagine is also super fun to make on a lazy day and is guaranteed to reward your patience. The glorious finishing touch is the addition of preserved lemons (that you’re gonna make yourself!) which accentuate the dish’s complex flavors with their citrusy goodness.

But first things first…what the flip is a tagine?


An authentic, earthenware Tagine


Saffron threads and turmeric are commonly used spices in a tagine

A tagine, also spelled tajine, is a North African dish named after the conical-shaped earthenware pot it is cooked in. This stew of meat, chicken or fish is cooked in the broad-based bottom, historically over hot coals, where the steam accumulates in the narrow, cone-shaped top and drips back down onto the stew, preserving all the delicious flavor. Luckily, a stove top works just as well and while a tagine still takes some time to cook, the sublime flavor is well worth the wait.

The first issue at hand when preparing this Moroccan Chicken Tagine is to make the preserved lemons. Preserved lemons? I’m supposed to MAKE preserved lemons? I hear your inner panic brewing but before you spiral into a full blown anxiety attack let me assure you, this step couldn’t be easier.

Simply slice up 2-3 lemons, toss then in a glass baking dish, sprinkle them with Kosher salt and cook them low and slow for 3 hours. The result is salty, lemony deliciousness and I would advise you to hang on to the liquid the lemons are cooked in. It makes a fabulous seasoning for the finished dish. Instead of salt, just douse it with a little briny, lemony elixir.


The next step is the marinating of the chicken thighs. Oooooh what’s better than skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs? Just pop those beauties into a gallon sized ziploc bag with the fragrant, flavorful mixture of cumin, garlic, ginger, paprika, onion, oil, salt, pepper and preserved lemon pulp. Ideally, they should marinate in the fridge overnight for maximum flavor, but if you forget to do this the night before, 4-6 hours of marination will do just fine.

Then, it’s time to tagine – why can’t it be a verb too? If you are the proud owner of a Le Creuset Dutch oven (I especially love my 9 1/2 quart oval one) or an actual tagine, dust that baby off and prepare yourself for the deliciousness at hand. From here on out you simply simmer the chicken thighs and the marinade with the parsley and cilantro stem bundle, onion, turmeric and saffron threads. Over the course of the next 30 minutes, you’ll layer in the remaining ingredients and you’ve got one fabulously mean tagine. Sorry I just couldn’t help myself!

Simply serve over a bed of fragrant Basmatic rice and you are good to go, well, except for one crucial component…the wine!


While I was partially inspired by the weather, a special wine also played a role in making this recipe, the 2014 Casa Abril Godello ($17). This delightful white wine from Spanish wine specialist and Casa Abril owner, April Cullom, hails from the Valdeorras DO, located in northwest Spain. It is 100% Godello, a native Spanish white grape variety, from 25-40 year old vines.

Fermented entirely in stainless steel, this Godello has lovely aromas of saline and citrus while on the palate, notes of apple, peach, lemon zest and a hint of almond skin accompany a bright, food-friendly acidity. This wine immediately had me thinking of food and it paired brilliantly with the flavors and textures of the Moroccan Chicken Tagine. You’ll be reading more about April and her wonderful wines in next month’s Inspiring Women post so stay tuned.

If you’d like to see this month’s installment featuring some fabulous, female, James Beard Award-winning Chefs, please click here.


I hope you enjoy this Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemon as much as we do. Paired with the Casa Abril Godello it has quickly become one of our favorites. Definitely put it on your “To Do” list for your next snow day OR lazy Saturday. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed and I hope it brings comforting deliciousness to a cozy day.



"Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons"
Recipe type: Main Course
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
  • 8 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled & finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 large yellow onion, grated (approximately 1 cup)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive, canola or grapeseed oil - one without much flavor
  • 2-3 lemons
  • 1 cup pitted green Moroccan or Greek olives - Italian Castelvetranos work nicely too
  • ¼ teaspoon powdered turmeric
  • 4 strands of saffron
  • ½ bunch Italian parsley, ¼ cup chopped
  • ½ bunch fresh cilantro, ¼ cup chopped
  • Stems from parsley & cilantro tied with kitchen twine
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooked Basmati rice for serving
  1. To make the preserved lemons, preheat oven to 250 degrees. Meanwhile, cut lemons into sixths, lengthwise and place in a glass baking dish (anything non-corrosive is fine!). Sprinkle the lemon slices with 2 Tablespoons of the Kosher salt and cover with water. Cook lemons in preheated oven for 3 hours and then allow to cool. Any unused portion should be refrigerated.
  2. To prepare the tagine, mix the cumin, garlic, ginger, paprika and 1 Tablespoon Kosher salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, ½ cup grated onion and the oil in a large bowl.
  3. Rinse the preserved lemons and remove the pulp reserving the rind for later use.
  4. Add the lemon pulp to the mixing bowl and then add the raw chicken. Mix everything together and then place in a large gallon plastic bag. Place bag in a glass baking dish and put in the fridge to marinate overnight or at least 6-8 hours in order to achieve maximum flavor.
  5. When ready to cook, remove chicken mixture from the fridge and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  6. In a large Dutch oven or casserole, add the chicken and marinade, parsley-cilantro bundle, remaining grated onion, turmeric, saffron threads and 1½ cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to simmer and cook, partially covered for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the lid, stir the chicken and continue to cook for an additional 15 minutes.
  8. Remove the chicken to a serving dish and cover with foil to keep warm. Keep sauce on stove and continue to reduce.
  9. Slice the preserved lemon rind into thin slices and add to the sauce along with the olives, chopped parsley and cilantro. Reduce for an additional 3-5 minutes until sauce thickens slightly.
  10. Pour sauce over platter of cooked chicken, garnish with additional parsley and cilantro if desired and serve over cooked Basmati rice.

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“Inspiring Women of Food & Wine”: #SOBEWFF’s North Carolina Sisterhood Dinner

One of my favorite things about working in the food and wine industry is the passionate, inspiring people I get to meet. Whether it’s winemakers, winery owners, chefs, farmers or other Sommeliers, most people in this line of work do it because they truly love it – not necessarily for excessive financial gain. Since these individuals are also very hospitality-minded, they are some of the nicest people I’ve met as well.

This year, I really want to share some of these special people with you. So for the rest of the year I’ll be featuring a monthly installment of “Inspiring Women of Food & Wine” here on the blog. I hope you enjoy learning about these talented culinary and vinous muses as much as I have and what better way to start, than with an amazing trio of fabulous female Chefs from North Carolina who just happened to be in town last weekend for the South Beach Wine & Food Festival?


The Hubs and I were psyched to see this event as part of the festival’s Taste Fort Lauderdale dinner series (woo-hoo got to skip the three hour drive to Miami this year!), featuring the fabulous trio of James Beard Award-winning Chefs: Vivian Howard, Ashley Christensen and Andrea Reusing.

These ladies have been shaping the food culture in North Carolina for the better part of two decades and to have them all in one kitchen for the evening was really something special. Just in case you’re not familiar with them, please let me introduce you.


Chef Vivian Howard

Vivian Howard is best known for her critically acclaimed restaurant, Chef and the Farmer, which was founded in 2011 in Kinston, North Carolina, the small, rural town where she grew up. Ironically, Howard had “escaped” her hometown years before to pursue a culinary career in New York City. After graduating from the Institute of Culinary Education, she subsequently trained with world-renowned Chef Jean Georges Vongerichten at his critically acclaimed restaurant, Spice Market.

Despite her initial aspirations though, she and husband Ben Knight made the move back to Kinston to start their restaurant. The endeavor brought much needed national attention to this struggling region. In 2011, Howard also began filming her award-winning PBS television show, A Chef’s Life, which documents the culinary culture of eastern North Carolina and showcases her charming storytelling style. The show won Howard her first James Beard Award in 2016 for “Outstanding TV Personality” and her much anticipated first cookbook, Deep Run Roots, was just published in October 2016.


Chef Ashley Christensen

After settling in Raleigh, North Carolina and working in some of the area’s best restaurants, Chef Ashley Christensen opened her first restaurant, Poole’s Diner, in 2007. Since then this culinary dynamo has opened five more venues in the Raleigh area including Beasley’s Chicken + Honey, Chuck’s, Fox Liquor Bar, Death & Taxes and Bridge Club.

Christensen’s admirable efforts have garnered her national attention from such well-known culinary publications as Bon Appétit, Gourmet, The New York Times, Southern Living and Garden & Gun. Her accolades also include a coveted 2014 James Beard Award for “Best Chef: Southeast” and her first cookbook, Poole’s Recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner was recently published in September 2016.


Chef Andrea Reusing

Since opening her own restaurant, Lantern, in Chapel Hill in 2002, Chef Andrea Reusing’s signature technique of infusing the freshest local ingredients with delicious Asian flavors and technique has garnered rave reviews from customers and critics alike. Lantern has been named one of “America’s Top 50 Restaurants” and “Best Farm to Table Restaurant” by Gourmet and one of “America’s 50 Most Amazing Wine Experiences” by Food & Wine magazine.

In 2011, Reusing received her well-deserved James Beard Award for “Best Chef: Southeast” and published her first cookbook, Cooking in the Moment, A Year of Seasonal Recipes which was named one of the most notable cookbooks of the year by the New York Times. In 2015, Reusing also became Executive Chef of the newly opened Durham Hotel in downtown Durham, NC.


The South Beach Wine & Food Festival dinner featuring these three talented women was entitled, A North Carolina Sisterhood. Held at the newly renovated Burlock Coast restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton Ft. Lauderdale, they collaborated with resident Chefs Gavin Pera and Ryan Cross on a fabulous, four-course menu complete with wine pairings.

The delightful reception featuring an assortment of delicious passed hors d’oeuvres. These small bites included Ashley Christensen’s Slow Shrimp with Marinated Peppers and Corn Crumbs; creative and mouthwatering Pork Rillettes with Candied Jalapeño from Vivian Howard; a hearty New York Strip Steak with Bone Marrow and Black Truffle-Cabernet Emulsion by Gavin Pera and a divinely briny and refreshing Moon Shoal Oyster with Caviar and L’Hoste Satsuma from Andrea Reusing who passed them herself on a tray of crushed ice. How’s THAT for Southern hospitality?


Roasted Tomato Tart with Pickled Caesar

The dinner began with an opening salvo from Christensen, a savory Roasted Tomato Tart with Pickled Caesar Salad. The simple, yet divine flavors and textures of the tart were perfectly complemented by the crisp, crunchy romaine leaves. Christensen shared the source of the tomato tart’s sublime “tang” was due to, “a hit of horseradish,” while the flavorful Caesar salad was imbued with briny deliciousness from a unlikely source, “We use some pickle juice in the dressing.”

The dish was perfectly balanced and paired nicely with a 2015 Callie Collection Pinot Grigio a white wine from California’s Central Coast which also contained some Gewürztraminer which gives the wine some added personality.


Crispy Squid with Castelvetrano Olives, Stewed Butter Beans & Aioli

Next, was Howard’s Crispy Squid with Castelvetrano Olive Stewed Butter Beans and Aioli. “I’d normally use bacon fat for the butter beans, but since people down here like to watch their weight, I used the olives to give the dish that briny, salty flavor,” she wryly explained. The succulent quid ringlets were lightly breaded with cornmeal, giving them a wonderful texture which helped the black, squid ink aioli and garlicky butter bean sauce adhere nicely.

The 2015 Callie Collection Chardonnay matched up well with the weight and flavors of the dish. The inclusion of some Riesling and Muscat Canelli in the wine also gave it a nice floral element which balanced the notes of toasty oak.


Moulard Duck with Sake Kasu, White Sweet Potato & Pickled Apple

Chef Reusing’s main course featured Moulard Duck with Sake Kasu, White Sweet Potato and Pickled Apple. “The Moulard duck is a cross between the Muscovy and Pekin…I like it because it has the gamy, earthy flavor of the Muscovy and the size of the Pekin,” Chef explained. True to her signature style of marrying Southern ingredients and Asian flavors, Reusing flavored the duck with sake kasu, the lees leftover from sake production. This creative combination of the earthy duck with sweet apples and potato was a delightful study in flavor and texture…not to mention pretty darn delicious!

The 2014 Callie Collection Fresh Red Blend, a Merlot-based blend with some Pinot Noir and Syrah added for good measure, was a nice pairing for this dish. Its fruity flavors and minimal tannins enhanced the dish’s flavors without clashing with any of the sweetness.


Palmetto Creek Hereford Pork, Four Ways

Chef Gavin Pera’s Palmetto Creek Hereford Pork, Four Ways with Smoked Bean Puree, Pecans, Sage, Winter Squash and Malbec rounded out the savory dishes for the evening nicely. This flavorful perspective on pork featured 4 different yet delicious incarnations which all paired well with the Callie Collection Fresh Red Blend.

Pastry Chef Ryan Cross ended the evening on a delightfully sweet note with a tasty dessert inspired by the islands, a Prosciutto Donut with Roasted Pineapple and Chipotle Cream Cheese. The savory cream cheese was a nice foil to the sweetness of the donut and roasted pineapple and before I knew it, my plate was blissfully empty!



Prosciutto Donut with Roasted Pineapple & Chipotle Cream Cheese

I hope you enjoyed our first installment of “Inspiring Women in Food & Wine” – nothing like an amazing female trio to kick things off right! Next time you’re in North Carolina I hope you have the chance to visit one of these fabulous Chefs’ restaurants. If this wonderful dinner was any indication, I am certain you will NOT be disappointed!

Bon appétit,

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A Visit with Napa Valley’s Vinous “Mountain Man,” Winemaker Chris Carpenter

Bartender. Pre-med student. MBA recipient. Medical device salesman. Chris Carpenter is a man who’s worn many hats over the years. His most noteworthy, however, is perhaps the one he’s been wearing for the past twenty: Winemaker for Jackson Family Wines’ esteemed Lokoya, Cardinale, Mt. Brave, La Jota and Hickinbotham labels.

So just how does a Biology major from the University of Illinois become one of Napa Valley’s most well-respected winemakers making some of its most highly acclaimed wines? While studying at Illinois, Carpenter worked at Butch McGuire’s, an iconic Irish pub in Chicago, where he developed an affinity for the restaurant industry. He eventually discovered a passion for food and wine and ultimately decided to pursue a career that would marry his science background with his love of hospitality. Making wine allowed him the perfect opportunity to combine both.


Winemaker Chris Carpenter

In 1998 Carpenter received his MS in Horticulture from the University of California, Davis and, in the same year, joined Jackson Family Wines. Since then, he has become an expert on the mountain appellations of the Napa Valley. From Mt. Veeder to Howell Mountain, he is intimately acquainted with the subtle nuances each has to offer.

Whether he’s making site specific wines which reflect unique mountain terroirs, or orchestrating vinous symphonies which marry a variety of sites, Carpenter has garnered much praise over the years from consumers and critics alike. During a recent visit to Napa Valley, we were fortunate to sit down with him and taste through a selection of his 2013 offerings.


On a crisp, sunny Fall morning, we met Carpenter at the Jackson family’s Cardinale winery, located in the heart of Napa’s Oakville district. The smell of fermenting grapes perfumed the air as we proceeded up the long, winding driveway to the winery. The building’s rustic, stone architecture beautifully complements its surroundings which features sweeping, panoramic views of the Napa Valley.

At about 6’5″ tall, Chris Carpenter is not easy to miss. A ruggedly handsome blend of Paul Bunyan and Tom Selleck, circa his Magnum PI days, he arrived straight from the vineyard, walkie talkie in hand and fingers stained a deep, inky purple. His team was just pressing the last of 2016’s harvest which he emphatically declared, “an outstanding vintage from a flavor and tannin standpoint.”

True to his love of hospitality, it was soon evident Carpenter is as passionate about sharing his wines as he is about making them. During our visit, we tasted the La Jota Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, Mt. Brave Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon and Cardinale, all from the 2013 vintage, “a near perfect year” by Carpenter’s standards. Prior to tasting, he passionately explained his personal approach to winemaking, which consists of three essential elements:


“First, you absolutely have to make wines about place. We’ve broken up this valley into 16 smaller appellations…and each has their unique flavor profile or character relative to one another,” Carpenter reflected. “As a winemaker, my job is to preserve that character so that when you’re tasting you can get a sense of the diversity.”

“Second, the wine absolutely has to be made in the vineyard first.” He continued, “By that, I mean the raw product ultimately drives the finished product. If you don’t make the grapes as great as possible, you’ll never make great wine.”

Which led to Carpenter’s third tenet, “If I’ve done everything in the vineyard that I can, then when it comes to the winery, I can keep it as simple as possible. I preserve the characteristic of the grape versus my winemaking which can mess with the character of the grape.”


We began with the 2013 La Jota Cabernet Sauvignon ($85) crafted from fruit grown in the historic La Jota and W.S. Keyes Vineyards on Howell Mountain. Established in 1898 by Fredric Hess, the winery was named for its location on the Mexican parcel, Rancho La Jota. Carpenter described this wine as, “our most Bordeaux-like appellation, due to the region’s wetter, cooler climate which is influenced by the nearby San Pablo Bay.”

This Bordeaux-style blend contains all five Bordeaux varieties, 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10.5% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 4.5% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec. Following fermentation using only native yeasts, the wine underwent malolactic fermentation to soften its acidity and was then aged for 19 month in French oak barrels (89% new). The end result is a wine with an inky purplish hue and enticing aromas of black fruit, licorice and spice. On the palate, mouth-filling flavors of blackberry, black currant, licorice, graphite and savory herb accompany a gravelly minerality and food friendly acidity. While this powerful, full-bodied wine will undoubtedly reward over the next 7-10 years, the generous dollop of Merlot also makes it imminently enjoyable now.


Next, was the 2013 Mt. Brave Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon ($75) which sources grapes from the eponymous Mt. Brave vineyard located high atop Mt. Veeder in the western Napa Valley. The vines grow at an elevation of 1,400-1,800 feet where the thin, rocky soils and steep slopes present constant issues with water retention and soil erosion. This unique terroir, however, creates small, concentrated berries which produce wines of great concentration and complexity.

The 2013 Mt. Brave is a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 6.5% Malbec and 4.5% Cabernet Franc aged for 19 months in French oak (80% new), then bottled unfined and unfiltered. The resulting wine is bold and powerful with a gorgeous deep, opaque purple color with fragrant aromas of ripe black fruit, violet and spice. On the palate, lush notes of ripe black currant, black raspberry, roasted plum, cassis and licorice accompany brooding tannins and a lengthy spice-tinged finish. A few years in the cellar, or some aeration either using a decanter or a Vinturi (which Carpenter dubbed, “the best gadget ever!”), will nicely soften this wine’s youthful intensity.


We finished our tasting with Carpenter’s sublime 2013 Cardinale Cabernet Sauvignon ($275), historically a blend of only two grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon (86%) and Merlot (14%). While the previous wines have reflected specific mountain sites, Cardinale is an expression of Napa Valley as a whole, layering both mountain and valley floor fruit to ultimately create a wine of great complexity.

Vintage also plays an important role in making Cardinale, “In different vintages, different areas in Napa will perform differently, so one year [Cardinale] might be defined by a greater percentage of Mt. Veeder, and the next year it might be defined by Stag’s Leap.” As a result, Carpenter describes Cardinale as, “The most right-brained wine I make because I have to think in very creative terms. I have to think of the wines as pieces of an orchestra…each section has a very specific role in that piece of music. Individually, they don’t always make sense but when the composer layers them…they do.”

The stunning 2013 Cardinale Cabernet Sauvignon, comprised of predominantly Mount Veeder fruit, features a gorgeous purplish-red color and enchanting aromas of red and black fruit, sweet oak and spice. Opulent layers of black cherry, cassis, leather and mocha unfurl on the palate as the wine’s rich, silky texture gives way to a long, lingering finish. This sumptuous, sensory symphony beautifully transmutes the Napa Valley’s signature aromas, flavors and textures and this exquisitely balanced wine will continue to evolve over the next 15-20 years.


For more information on Chris Carpenter’s exceptional wines, please check out the following links: La Jota Vineyards, Mt. Brave Wines, and Cardinale Winery.


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Glamorous Valentine’s Day Cookies

Nothing says Valentine’s Day like something sweet for your Sweetheart. Especially something homemade with a glamorous flair! Our Glamorous Valentine’s Day Cookies fit the bill perfectly, are utterly delicious and super easy to make. In fact, they are in such demand here at Chez Miskew, I use this same cookie recipe for virtually every holiday. I simply swap out the cookie cutters and frosting colors to suit the season or holiday. The jig is up, my foodie friends!


While the recipe itself is pretty basic, I think what makes these cookies so darn special is the salt. I always use Kosher salt when baking and there’s just something about the balance of sweet and salty in this recipe that makes these cookies super addictive. So if you enjoy kettle corn, bacon chocolate bars, or Blue cheese and Sauternes you seriously need to try these cookies!

For Valentine’s Day, simply use a heart-shaped cookie cutter, I love the 4-inch Wilton heart cookie cutter pictured above, to create the romantic shape and then dress the cookies up with pink and red frosting and oodles of glamorous sprinkles. An oversize cookie cutter like this one makes the cookies feel more special. I also highly recommend pairing these cookies with a tall, cold glass of milk – preferably 2%.


Our Glamorous Valentine’s Cookies are perfect for bringing to school parties or giving as special treats for your friends, neighbors and, of course, your significant other. Just be sure to enjoy a couple yourself first because they have a habit of disappearing very quickly!

For more of our Glamorous Valentine’s deliciousness including wine recommendations, dinner recipes, gift ideas and other sweet treats, please click here. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy these cookies and have a fabulous Valentine’s Day!


Bon appétit,


"Glamorous Valentine's Day Cookies"
Recipe type: Cookies
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 3½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons milk
  • Red food coloring
  • Pink and red sprinkles
  1. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add combined dry ingredients and mix well.
  2. Chill for 3 hours or overnight. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to ⅛" thickness. Use cookie cutter(s) to cut dough into desired shapes and place on an ungreased sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes. Allow cookies to cool completely before frosting.
  4. To frost cookies, combine confectioner's sugar and milk in a small bowl and mix well. Divide frosting into 2 smaller bowls.
  5. To create light pink frosting, add one drop of red food coloring to one bowl and stir well. For red frosting add 8-10 drops of red food coloring to the other half and mix well. Add sprinkles to cookies immediately after frosting and allow time for icing to dry.

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5 Glamorous Getaways for Food & Wine Lovers

I truly adore this quote and if one of your New Year’s resolutions is to travel more, you are in luck!

We’ve covered some fabulous getaways over the last couple years, Glamorous Getaways to be exact, that are perfect for food and wine lovers. From the charming L’Auberge Carmel in Carmel, California to the pet-friendly Park on Main Hotel in Highlands, North Carolina, grab a glass of wine and have fun planning your itinerary while perusing these wonderful options:

1.) L’Auberge Carmel – Carmel, California



2.) The Cloister at Sea Island – Sea Island, Georgia



3.) The (Pet-friendly) Park on Main – Highlands, North Carolina



4.) The Epicurean Hotel – Tampa, Florida



5.) The Inn on Fifth – Naples, Florida


Be sure to send us a virtual postcard by using #Glamorous Getaways on social media! What are some of your favorite food and wine related travel destinations? I’d love to hear about them in the Comments section below.

Bon voyage,

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Wine Word of the Week: “Tannins”

Winter is prime “red wine” season and the topic of tannins is a hot one this time of year. For that reason, it’s our official Wine Word of the Week. But if you think you don’t know what “tannins” are, chances are good that if you’re reading this, you’ve encountered them before:

  • Have you ever taken a sip of red wine and felt a drying sensation in your mouth?
  • Have you ever woken up with a throbbing headache after a night of drinking red wine?
  • Have you ever enjoyed an aged red wine that was deliciously smooth and elegant?

If you’ve experienced any of the above, then you’ve experienced tannins, my wine loving friends! But just what the heck ARE they?


Tannins are naturally occurring compounds which play an important role in a wine’s structure and directly affect its color, texture and aging ability. They are found in a host of plant species as well, and their astringent, bitter taste is intended to discourage predators and insects from consuming them. Similarly, tannins in wine are generally perceived as a drying, leathery sensation which is considered desirable by many wine lovers. This astringency acts as a preservative for wine, allowing it to age slowly with grace and not turn to vinegar.

Depending on the type and age of a wine, its tannins can be described as velvety, firm, ripe, chewy, tight, dusty or round. In older wines, the tannins often precipitate out of solution to some degree and collect at the bottom of the wine bottle in the form of harmless sediment.


Wines acquire tannins through contact with grape skins, seeds and stems as well as charred oak barrels the wine is aged in. For that reason, they are much more prevalent in red wine which remains in contact with its skins in order to obtain its color and is usually aged in oak barrels. Also, the deeper the color of the red wine, the more tannins it contains, so a Cabernet Sauvignon will most likely have more tannins than a Pinot Noir.

As far as food and wine pairing goes, protein actually mitigates tannins. Therefore, foods that are high in protein, like a juicy New York Strip Steak, pair remarkably well with high tannin wines like Cabernet Sauvignon. In addition to Cabernet Sauvignon, the three most tannic grape varieties are Nebbiolo, Syrah and Tannat.


While some studies have shown tannins have beneficial effects on cardiovascular health, some believe it is the chemical compound that wreaks havoc on migraine sufferers. So, if you experience migraine headaches after drinking red wine, it’s NOT the sulfites, my friend! White wine has approximately twice the sulfites as red wine and true sulfite allergies generally manifest as breathing issues, not headaches. So if you’ve got a tendency to get migraines, you may want to steer clear of high tannin red wines and opt for those with lower levels and see if it reduces their frequency and/or duration (for more information on this, please click here).

I hope you enjoyed our latest Wine Word of the Week and if you have any “wine words” you’d like to learn more about, please feel free to share them in the Comments section below. To see previous installments of this segment, please click here and, as always, thanks for reading!


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Delray Foodie Faves: Grato’s Buffalo Chicken Pizza!

This month’s Delray Foodie Fave features a glammed up guilty pleasure from a local Chef which incorporates one of my all time favorite naughty foods – Buffalo chicken wings.

Chef Clay Conley is perhaps best known for his James Beard Award nominations and uber-chic Palm Beach restaurants, Buccan and Imoto. And while we’re big fans of these wonderful places and his sophisticated cuisine, we were delighted to see something as fun and quirky as Buffalo Chicken Pizza ($20) on the menu at his newest, Italian trattoria-inspired West Palm Beach eatery, Grato. But forget the celery and carrot sticks, this delicious pizza is topped with mouthwatering accoutrements including Brussels sprouts, caramelized onions and Roquefort Caesar. Needless to say, my fellow foodies, I was ALL over it!


The flavors of spicy chicken, Brussels sprouts and Caesar dressing meld together beautifully on the Buffalo chicken pizza and the crust is fresh, flavorful and crispy. The creamy dressing also mellows the spicy heat of the chicken and the Brussels sprouts contribute fabulous flavor and texture.

And as most chicken wing aficionados know, when you’re making wings there’s really only one hot sauce that’ll do. Frank’s Red Hot is a cayenne pepper-based hot sauce that was the secret ingredient in the original Buffalo Chicken Wing recipe invented in Buffalo, New York in 1964. It is spicy and vinegary with a very distinct flavor and the minute I took my first bite of the pizza…I just knew. Conley later confirmed my suspicions.


And while the Hubs and I do enjoy the Buffalo Chicken Pizza at the restaurant, we officially have our own post-Grato ritual which only prolongs the deliciousness. When dining at Grato we fill up on our other favorite menu items such as the Meatballs with Parmesan Polenta (pictured above), Steak Tartare Crostini and Bucatini Carbonara (swoon!) and by the time the pizza hits the table…we’re too full to eat it! So with our precious take out box in hand, we head home, only stopping to hit Carvel for some ice cream on the way (no judgement, please!).

Now, if you follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook you might already know, my husband is the Breakfast Master. By that I mean, he loves turning a dish we’ve enjoyed the night before it into a delicious breakfast. This usually involves putting a fried egg on top of whatever the dish was, but he always does a fabulous job.


When he’s working with leftover Buffalo chicken pizza, he fires up the grill the next morning and heats the remaining slices until they ‘re warmed through and crispy on the bottom. While the pizza’s reheating, he also fries up a few eggs in a cast iron pan on the grill. For the presentation, he tops each piece of Buffalo Chicken Pizza with a sunny side up fried egg. The result is pure HEAVEN!

While he’s preparing the pizza, I do my part and open a bottle of bubbles. Sparkling wine just happens to be the perfect pairing for Buffalo chicken pizza, just in case you didn’t already know that (the Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs is one of our faves). When it’s a weekend brunch a deux, I usually forego the traditional method of opening the bottle in favor of the saber. Please see photo below which nicely captures the cork flying off the bottle.


Next time you’re in West Palm Beach, make time to stop by and enjoy Grato’s fabulous Buffalo chicken pizza. They have plenty of other wonderful options as well, please see below for more information. If you live in South Florida too, what are some of your favorite local dishes? I’d love to hear about them in the Comments section below.

What: Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Where: Grato, 1901 S. Dixie Hwy, West Palm Beach, Florida, 33401
Who: Chef Clay Conley
How much: $20

Bon appétit,

The post Delray Foodie Faves: Grato’s Buffalo Chicken Pizza! appeared first on The Glamorous Gourmet.

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