5 Essential Comfort Food Recipes & Wines to Pair With

This week’s tragedy in Las Vegas has left me reeling. While terribly cruel and savage on its own, the fact that it happened on the heels of a string of catastrophic natural disasters (Hurricanes Irma and Maria as well as earthquakes in Mexico) makes me want to curl up in a big, cozy blanket with my dogs and never. leave. the. house.

Unfortunately, if I were to do that, I’d be letting fear win which is NOT an option. Plus, I’d have to venture out sooner or later to stock up on food and wine anyway. So I thought I’d share five of my favorite Comfort Food Recipes that are perfect for everything from soothing a broken heart to restoring your faith in humanity.

As always, wine pairings ARE included.


1.) Smoky Stuffed Cabbage Soup: This favorite, inspired by my husband’s Ukrainian heritage, includes delicious Savoy cabbage, ground beef and pork, fresh dill, tomatoes and garlic in a savory, smoky-paprika infused broth.
Wine Pairing: A medium-bodied Italian red wine like Barbera d’Asti or Dolcetto from Piedmont


2.) Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemons: I always found this delicious North African dish daunting because I thought I had to buy special equipment to make it. But guess what? I was WRONG! Featuring mouthwatering flavors of chicken thighs, ginger, saffron, turmeric, cilantro and green olives, you are guaranteed to enjoy.
Wine Pairing: Pair with a Spanish white wine like a Godello or Rioja Blanco


3.) Arroz con Pollo (Spanish Chicken & Rice): This delicious, Spanish-inspired dish is a classic one pot meal. So if time is an issue, opt for this comfort food recipe which features meaty chicken pieces, piquillo peppers, saffron and dry white wine. The dish’s beautiful colors make a dazzling presentation as well.
Wine Pairing: Pair with a Spanish white wine like an Albariño or Viura.


4.) Quick Coq au Vin: This dish is a Glamorous Gourmet favorite and French comfort food at its best! A riff on the famed classic French recipe from Burgundy, this reimagined “quick” version can be on the table and ready to eat in under an hour AND packs oodles of delicious flavor.
Wine Pairing: Enjoy this dish with a hearty red Burgundy or Cru Beaujolais.


5.) Lamb Ragu with Tagliatelle Pasta: If it’s pasta you’re craving – look NO further! This divine recipe features ground lamb, garlic, shallots, red wine and purchased marinara sauce so you’re not stuck over the stove ALL day. Topped with fresh ricotta and mint leaves, you’ll feel instantly transported to Tuscany.
Wine Pairing: A Tuscan full-bodied red wine like Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or Chianti Classico Riserva

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Fall Deliciousness: Ina Garten’s Pear Clafouti

As much as I love Fall, it doesn’t feel like it’s official until I’ve made one of my favorite desserts of ALL time, Ina Garten’s mouth wateringly delicious Pear Clafouti.

Somehow the heavenly aroma of ripe Bartlett pears, sugar, vanilla, pear brandy and lemon zest baking away in the oven makes it truly official for me, despite what the calendar might say. So if you’re looking to ring in the season with something sweet this month, this delightful recipe is the perfect choice and it also couldn’t be easier to make.


While the recipe calls for pear brandy like Poire William, I adore this Pear Liqueur from J Vineyards!


And if you’ve never “clafoutied” before (YES, it can be used as a verb), a clafouti is essentially a French dessert which originated in the Limousin region of Southwest France. It features sliced fruit (traditionally cherries but pears are in season longer), arranged in a buttered dish which are then covered with a custard-like batter and baked until golden brown. The clafouti is then dusted with confectioners’ sugar and served warm or at room temperature. Honestly, I’ll take it any way I can get it, it’s THAT delicious!

And while Ina’s recipe already has pear brandy baked into it, this Pear Clafouti also happens to pair deliciously well with one of my new favorite dessert wines, the Barboursville Vineyards Passito from Virginia ($32/375mL). Yes – V I R G I N I A!

This wine is a blend of Moscato Ottonel and Vidal grapes which were air dried in order to concentrate their flavor and sugars. The dried grapes were then pressed and the resulting juice underwent a lengthy fermentation with additional time on the lees to accentuate the wine’s mouthfeel. The result is a viscous, luscious wine with notes of spiced pear, candied citrus and vanilla which still retains a bright acidity and lightness to balance its sweetness.


If you find yourself hankering for something other than pumpkin spice to satisfy your sweet tooth and put you in the Fall spirit, you can’t go wrong with this recipe. Just be sure you also have some of your favorite vanilla ice cream on hand to round out the experience (Haagen-Dazs is the BOMB!).

I really hope you enjoy this recipe for Pear Clafouti and do YOU have a favorite Fall dessert OR dessert wine you look forward to all year? If so, I’d love to know so please let me know in the Comments section below.


Bon appétit,


"Fall Deliciousness: Ina Garten's Pear Clafouti"
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Pair this delicious recipe with a luscious dessert wine like the Barboursville Vineyards Passito from Virginia!
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup plus 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs, room temperature
  • 6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (1 lemon)
  • ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons pear brandy such as Poire William
  • 2-3 firm but ripe Bartlett pears
  • Confectioners' sugar
  1. ) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 10 x 1½-inch round baking dish and sprinkle the bottom and sides with 1 Tablespoon of the granulated sugar.
  2. ) Beat the egs and the ⅓-cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixerfited with a paddle attachement on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, mix in the flour, cream, vanilla extract, lemon zest, Kosher salt and pear brandy. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  3. ) Meanwhile, peel, half, core and slice the pears. Arrange the slices in a single layer, slightly fanned out in the baking dish. Pour the batter over the pears and bake until the top is golden brown and the custard is firm, 35-40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with confectioners' sugar.

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Fabulous Wines for Fall on WPTV & Facebook LIVE!

It’s HERE, Folks!

My FAVORITE season of the year…FALL! It’s time for cashmere sweaters, leaf peeping and pumpkin spice EVERYTHING (yes, I’m one of THOSE people) – what’s NOT to love about that!?!?

It’s also the time of year we say buh-bye to the light, refreshing whites and rosés of Summer and start embracing wines with a little more heft. Wines like Viognier, oaked Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are all excellent choices which really embody the Fall spirit. They also pair brilliantly with the delicious dishes we all love to enjoy this time of year as well like Rosemary Roasted Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms and Lamb Ragu with Tagliatelle Pasta.


I recently had the chance to visit WPTV, our local NBC affiliate, to share some Fabulous Wines for Fall with the wonderful Roxanne Stein and John Favole (pictured above). I featured both whites and reds at a variety of price points that are sure to suit your palate AND your budget. I also did a more in depth tasting of these wines in my Facebook Live Show, Weekly Wine Picks later that day. To view both videos and learn more about these amazing wines, please scroll down and check them out below.

1.) Domaine de Triennes Viognier Sainte Fleur, Rhone, France ($18)

2.) Failla Chardonnay Sonoma Coast, Sonoma, California ($13)

3.) Chateau Saint Cosme Cotes-du Rhone, Rhone, France ($14)

4.) La Crema Fog Veil Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, California ($55)

What are YOUR favorite wines for Fall? I’d LOVE to know so please let me know in the Comments sections below.


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Weekly Wine Picks Episode #8: “Labor Day Wines”

While a little delayed due to a bout of food poisoning (ugh!) this week’s episode of “Weekly Wine Picks” finally aired TODAY featuring some fun Labor Day Wines! Better late than never, right?

When picking wines for virtually any long holiday weekend which usually involves friends and family with a variety of tastes, I like to select wines that are: (1) easy to find, (2) budget friendly, (3) crowd pleasers and (4) theme appropriate (in this case, American wines). In keeping with my tried and true criteria, my picks this Labor Day are:

  • Charles & Charles Rosé, Columbia Valley, Washington, 2016 ($15)
  • Charles & Charles Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah, Columbia Valley, Washington, 2015 ($15)
  • The Federalist Chardonnay, Sonoma Valley, California, 2015 ($20)
  • The Federalist Cabernet Sauvignon, Lodi, California, 2015 ($20)

To view the full “Labor Day Wines” Facebook LIVE episode and join in the ongoing conversation, please click here, or you can also watch the video below.

Many thanks to all who joined me for this delayed episode. I’m so happy to be feeling better and had a lot of fun sipping wine with you. I hope to see you next Friday, September 8th at 5pm EST on my Facebook Business page where I’ll be featuring even MORE wines I hope you’ll enjoy.

P.S. To be notified when I go LIVE in the future, click FOLLOW and LIKE on my Facebook Business page OR to view previous episodes of “Weekly Wine Picks,” please click here.



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Inspiring Women of Food + Wine: James Beard Foundation President, Susan Ungaro

While interviewing world-renowned Chef Marcus Samuelsson at last month’s Chefs & Champagne was an honor and privilege indeed, I also interviewed another very special someone on that glorious Hamptons evening. Someone I’m very excited to feature as this month’s “Inspiring Woman of Food + Wine,” James Beard Foundation President, Susan Ungaro.

You see, the 2017 Chefs & Champagne event had special significance not only because of its amazing honoree, fabulous sponsors and talented Chefs. It was also the last for Ungaro in her official capacity. After eleven years with the foundation, she announced just weeks before this year’s event she would be stepping down in December.

And as the woman behind one of the most revered culinary organizations in the country, not to mention one of my favorite foodie events of A L L time, I just couldn’t let that happen without giving this inspiring lady some major props!



But Ungaro’s role with the foundation was not this accomplished woman’s first rodeo. Prior to joining the JBF, she made a name for herself during her twenty five years at Family Circle Magazine, twelve of which she spent as the publication’s Editor-in-Chief. Here, she received numerous accolades and awards for her achievements and only left in 2005 after the magazine sold.

Ungaro assumed the reigns of the James Beard Foundation in 2006 during a very tumultuous time, rife with financial scandal. Previous President, Leonard Pickell, Jr., had recently been convicted and imprisoned for embezzling over one million dollars from the organization, leaving it seemingly inextricably tarnished.

Fred Seegal, Susan Ungaro, Marcus Samuelsson

Chair of the JBF Board of Trustees Fred Seegal, JBF President Susan Ungaro, Honoree Marcus Samuelsson seen at the 2017 JBF Chefs and Champagne at Wolffer estate on Saturday, July 29, 2017 in Sagaponack, N.Y. (Photo by Mark Von Holden/Invision for James Beard Foundation/Invision)

Jordan Werner, Earlene Cruz, Susan Ungaro, Christina Cassel, Luis Reyes

Scholarship recipient Jordan Werner, Earlene Cruz, JBF President Susan Ungaro, Scholarship recipient, Christina Cassel, Scholarship recipient Luis Reyes seen at the 2017 JBF Chefs and Champagne. (Photo by Mark Von Holden/Invision for James Beard Foundation/Invision)

Not one to shy away from a challenge, Ungaro spent the next eleven years restoring the culinary institution’s once sterling reputation and elevating it to new heights. She re-energized the foundation’s scholarships programs which today award over $750,000 in financial aid to deserving students. Ungaro also created the super successful Women in Culinary Leadership Program and even moved the James Beard Awards ceremony, the culinary equivalent of the Oscars, from New York City to Chicago where it will remain until 2021.

Ungaro also expanded the Chefs & Champagne event from a mere “Summer soirée” to a true “party with a purpose” and I was happy to catch up with her before this year’s event on a gloomy evening at Wölffer Estate in Sagaponack. As if on cue, however, the clouds dissipated as soon as guests began to arrive, revealing a stunning blue sky followed by a breathtakingly beautiful sunset…what can’t this woman do?

The warm and welcoming Ungaro was happy to expound on the highlights of her career with the foundation as well as her future plans:

Q: What went into making the decision to step down from your role as JBF President?

A: Well, this is my twelfth Chefs & Champagne and I really feel like I’ve done so many things I really wanted to do with the Foundation and honestly, I really want to think about my next adventure. I’ve had two great careers, one in publishing at Family Circle and this running a foundation as great as James Beard and I want to do things that maybe a little bit simpler, give back, maybe work part time…I’m really not sure.

I’ve got five more months on the job, got a lot of things happening and I’m just going to be here for the board and staff as the next leadership is decided upon and help with that transition.

Q: What has the Chefs & Champagne event in particular meant to you?

A: It was one of my first big events. My very first was the James Beard Awards but I was only on the job two weeks, but the next big event was this one here in the Hamptons when Christian Wölffer was still alive [Wölffer passed away unexpectedly in an accident in Brazil in 2009]. What I’m really proud about was the first year I asked him if we could start a scholarship in his name and he agreed. That’s when we decided we’d make this event a “party with a purpose” and raise more money for our mission and its just grown every year.

Also, our first honoree was Chef Thomas Keller and what’s really special about Marcus [Samuelsson] is he’s been around this tent cooking for other honorees, he’s a man whose always giving back, honoring others and I just think tonight is so special that we’re able to honor him for all the great work he’s done in the food world and his philanthropy work as well.

Marcus Samuelsson, Susan Ungaro,

Honoree Marcus Samuelsson and JBF President Susan Ungaro seen at the 2017 JBF Chefs and Champagne. (Photo by Mark Von Holden/Invision for James Beard Foundation/Invision)

Q: What’s been the highlight of your tenure at the James Beard Foundation?

A: I’m proud that every year is our best ever, you want each year to be better than the last. I’m also proud we’ve never had rain even when it’s forecast (laughs) somehow even if it’s not the sun, the weather is cooperating and I’m proud we’ve named a scholarship for the man who founded this vineyard. This is the twelfth time we’ve honored him and I think his family appreciates that as well.

Q: What are your favorite flavors of Summer?

A: Right now I’m really into peaches and cherries. I like James Beard’s approach of, “whatever’s in season.” When strawberries were in season, I was very into them, the ones that were literally just picked – there’s nothing like a fresh picked strawberry!

Q: Favorite wine or cocktail of this Summer?

A: In the Summer I like Rieslings and I’ve also been going along with the rosé trend so of course tonight along with the Champagne, I’m gonna enjoy some Wölffer Rosé.

Q: Is there anything else about the foundation you’d really like people to know?

A: Yes! The one thing people don’t realize…is that anyone can come to James Beard’s house in New York City. We’re online, on Open Table there’s welcome for anyone to come and enjoy one the over 200 dinners a year at the James Beard House.


The gracious Ungaro closed with the sentiment, “I’m moving on but my heart will always be involved.” I know all my fellow Glamorous Gourmets join me in wishing her the best of luck on her next adventure and I greatly appreciate her taking the time to chat.

Bon appétit,

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Weekly Wine Picks Episode #7: Perfect Wines for Watching the Eclipse!

On this week’s episode of “Weekly Wine Picks” (my brand new Facebook LIVE show!) I featured, “4 Perfect Wines for Watching the Eclipse!

Since you’ve already blown all your money on viewing glasses and travel expenses so you can be perfectly within the “zone of totality” – who’s got money left to blow on expensive wine? Here are my theme-appropriate picks which are ALL under $20 a bottle:

To view the “Perfect Eclipse Wines” episode and join in the ongoing conversation, please check out the video below. All of the wines featured in this episode can be found at Total Wine, simply click the links above to shop their website.

Many thanks to all who joined me for this episode and I hope to see you all next Friday, August 25th at 3pm EST on my Facebook Business page where I’ll be featuring incredibly interesting Organic and Vegan Wines and discussing the differences between the two. Did you know Organic wines are NOT Vegan and can still be processed with animal-derived products? Please join me as I share some tips for finding the right wines to suit your dietary beliefs.

P.S. To be notified when I go LIVE in the future, click FOLLOW and LIKE on my Facebook Business page OR to view previous episodes of “Weekly Wine Picks,” please click here.



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A Delicious Day in the Hamptons: Topping Rose House & Eleven Madison Park’s Summer House Pop-Up

After a late night at the James Beard Foundation’s dreamy “Chefs & Champagne” event (I just can’t resist a dance floor and 80’s music!) we slept pretty late the next morning. As the Champagne-induced haze lifted, we decided on a deliciously relaxing day wandering the Hamptons. There are definitely worse places to wander, that’s for sure!

We set out into the blissfully sunny Summer day (with zero humidity, Z E R O) and, after a pit stop at the Southampton Starbucks, we made our way to Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton for an afternoon cocktail (nothing like a little hair of the dog, my friends!).

Built in the 1840s, the Topping Rose House was extensively renovated in 2011 and is one of the Hampton’s most beautiful and luxurious hotels. We sipped delicious Ginger Margaritas as we relaxed into cozy chairs on the beautiful green lawn. As we kicked off our shoes, the feel of the cool, damp grass on our feet was sheer heaven.

In 2016 world renowned Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten took over the Topping Rose restaurant. After dining there last year, I thought the food was truly fabulous but we had another place in mind for that evening. It was a long shot, but hey, after a Ginger Margarita anything seemed possible.


Earlier this year, New York’s famed Eleven Madison Park was named The World’s Best Restaurant. Needless to say when you’re named the number one restaurant on the planet, your already sterling reputation becomes, well, legendary.

So when we discovered owner/partners Chef Daniel Humm and Will Guidara were closing Eleven Madison Park in Manhattan for the Summer and heading to East Hampton to open a Summer pop-up restaurant…well, we were ALL in!


However, EMP Summer House, a partnership between Eleven Madison Park (aka EMP) and American Express, was not intended to be a mini-version of the famed, sophisticated NYC eatery. In fact, quite the opposite. This playful, Summer-inspired riff was to feature classic Summer cuisine in a casual atmosphere.


The new concept truly embodies Summer featuring an a la carte menu, whimsical decor and indoor and outdoor seating. But the pièce de résistance of EMP Summer House is its expansive back yard replete with ping pong tables, corn hole boards, and oodles of other fun activities for children and adults alike. The fun, festive ambiance exudes Summer…chic, Hamptons Summer but definitely Summer nonetheless.


The Summer House’s pièce de résistance is it’s Beautiful Lawn


While reservations are required for the indoor dining room, the patio and backyard are for walk-ins and thankfully, the Hubs and I slid right in for the first dinner seating. But while the atmosphere was relaxed Summer chic, the Summer House seriously ‘brought it’ with the food. This casual, Summer-inspired meal was definitely my most memorable of the year!

To take full advantage of the impending sunset and heavenly weather, we dined al fresco adjacent to the beautiful lawn which was buzzing with activity. We decided to indulge in some bubbles and the super approachable and knowledgeable Somm guided us toward an excellent choice, the Bérêche et Fils Brut Réserve Champagne NV. This delightful grower Champagne, made of equal parts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, is a blend of 70% base year wine with the balance reserve wines.


A Wonderful Recommendation from our Somm!


As promised, the sparkler did embody the richness of Krug Grande Cuvée balanced by a splendid, food friendly acidity. While truly delicious on its own, the Champagne’s layers also paired brilliantly with the deliciousness to come.

At the recommendation of our server (everything looked incredible it was SO hard to pick!), we ordered the Lobster Tempura with Bibb Lettuce and Chile Lime Aioli; Corn, Black Truffle and Parmesan Flatbread and the Bouillabaisse for Two.


The Lobster Tempura with Bibb Lettuce & Chile Lime Aioli was a Favorite


The Corn, Black Truffle & Parmesan Flatbread Delighted our Palates

The Lobster Tempura and Corn and Black Truffle Flatbread arrived together and were as much a feast for the eyes as our palates. The contrast of the warm, tender lobster coated in a heavenly, golden tempura with the crisp, cool lettuce leaves was superb and only made more so by the spicy aioli.

The heavenly flatbread was a delightful combination of flavors and textures. The crispy grilled bread was the perfect delivery system for the deliciously al dente corn kernels and earthy truffle shavings. Each bite was perfectly accented by flavorful snipped chives and a generous dusting of snowy, shaved Parmesan that just melted in our mouths.


As if our first course wasn’t amazing enough, the bouillabaisse took things to another level. A dish intended for two, Steve and I each received our own plate featuring a golden crusted black bass fillet and a dollop of delicious rouille, a classic bouillabaisse accompaniment.

In the center of the table was the bouillabaisse proper, a generous white bowl filled with heavenly braised fennel, shellfish and potatoes in a delightful, saffron-imbued, tomato-based broth. The dish was garnished with additional saffron and fennel fronds making it even MORE Instagram-worthy!


The care that went into the preparation of each individual ingredient was astounding. From the creamy, perfectly sliced potatoes to the tender, plump shrimp to the savory, tender fennel – each component was sheer perfection. Steve and I savored each and every bite washing it down with our delicious Champagne. We seriously didn’t think the meal could really get any better at that point…boy were we wrong!

You see, a few months ago while in NYC for business I had the pleasure of staying at the NoMad Hotel and dining at the Elephant Bar. While the food was indeed amazing, my favorite thing about the meal was the delicious Milk and Honey dessert which I dispatched single-handedly. So when I saw it there on the Summer House menu, I knew we were ALL in!


So while we were sure of our dessert choice…what about a wine pairing? Well, once we spotted the ’96 Château d’Yquem Sauternes, the perfect pairing for this honeyed, divine concoction, we decided to go for it…as in we split a glass between the two of us And if you’ve seen any of my social media posts, you’ve probably seen the slow motion pour of this nectar from the gods, but just in case you missed it, you can watch it right here.

As we sipped and savored (and battled for) the remaining bites of dessert and sips of wine, we couldn’t have been more content. We were so glad we made the effort to drive out to East Hampton which rewarded us tenfold. It made me even MORE determined to experience Eleven Madison Park in the future…probably 10 years from now when we can finally get a reservation.


If you plan on visiting the Hamptons and would like to dine at EMP Summer House, there’s still time! They’re accepting reservations until September 4th but, if you happen to be in the neighborhood, why not drop by unexpectedly.

EMP Summer House
341 Pantigo Road
East Hampton, NY 11937

Bon appétit,

The post A Delicious Day in the Hamptons: Topping Rose House & Eleven Madison Park’s Summer House Pop-Up appeared first on The Glamorous Gourmet.

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