T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Gigi’s Apple Cider Margarita

Well it is officially fall, no turning back now. The temps are cooling, the leaves are starting to drop and the shorts are getting packed away ’til next year. But as we all know, fall in the Hudson Valley is a wonderful thing, with beautiful sites and delicious seasonal ingredients. Nothing says fall like apple cider!! Behold the delicious, festive, fall bonanza that is Gigi’s Apple Cider Margarita!

1 3/4 oz. Sauza Gold tequila
1 1/4 oz. Tuaca
1/2 oz. cinnamon apple syrup
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
2 oz. apple cider (We use local cider from Migliorelli Farms)

Shake all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Strain into rocks glass rimmed with cinnamon and sugar over ice and enjoy.

Happy fall!

Wine Weekly – Le Bourcier Macon Chardonnay

It has always seemed that there are chardonnay drinkers and then there are the non-chardonnay drinkers. That was until the Le Bourcier Macon Chardonnay. This wine seems to be loved by both the die-hards and the non-believers.

The Le Bourcier Macon has been on the wine list at Gigi Trattoria for some time now. We tried to take it off once and customers were more than upset. So we always have this delicious wine on our glass and bottle list.  What makes this particular chardonnay so pleasing to many is the fact that it is just about full bodied yet un-oaked. This 100% chardonnay is aged in stainless steel making it approachable for non-chardonnay drinkers. But with flavors of stone fruit, hints of minerality and a long lasting finish, it even appeals to avid chardonnay drinkers.

This special cuvee, or batch, is made by Jean-Luc Terrier and Christian Collovray of Domaine des Deux Roches. It is blended from a selection of the northernmost vineyards in the Macon appellation which is a part of the Burgundy region. Many say this wonderfully affordable wine drinks similar to a Cote d’Or. It pairs well with cheese, fish and chicken.  We recommend it with many of the new fall menu items. The citrus aspect of the Le Bourcier pairs nicely with our Pollo dish which is Northwind Farm Chicken brined in Montgomery Place Apple Cider and served with a Brussel Sprout Hash. It is also lovely with the Zucca Skizza topped with Delicata squash “pesto,” Coach Farm Fig Goat Cheese and coppa.

Pollo cooked by Chef Wilson with a glass of Le Bourcier Macon.

Whether you consider yourself a chardonnay drinker or not, you must come by and try the Le Bourcier Macon Chardonnay. And if you are already a fan, try it with one of the fall menu items. Either way we guarantee that at $10 a glass or $30 a bottle you won’t be disappointed. Stop in tomorrow or any Wednesday night and all our bottle wines are 30% off!  Now that will make a chardonnay drinker out of anyone.

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Pomegranate Ginger Cosmo

Saturday is the first official day of fall, so we thought we would dive right in with one of the festive recipes on our new, delicious, fall cocktail menu. Voila – the Pomegranate Ginger Cosmo!

Pomagranate Ginger Cosmo

1 1/2 oz pomegranate tea infused vodka*
1 1/2 oz ginger syrup**
1 oz fresh lime juice
2 oz pomegranate juice

*We use Harney & Sons pomegranate oolong tea bags to infuse vodka (about 3 bags per quart of vodka.)  You are good to go after about four hours of infusion.

** Make ginger syrup with raw sugar, water and fresh ginger. Boil for about 20 minutes. 

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake. Strain into martini glass, garnish with lime, and enjoy. Hello fall!

 

Wine Weekly – Altos de la Hoya Monastrell

Let’s take a trip back to Spain in 1872.  That is the year that the grape vines for this week’s wine weekly were planted. The Altos de la Hoya Monastrell is as fierce as its vines are old. This 92% Monastrell and 8% Garnacha is from the Jumilla wine route in the Murcia region of Spain where many Monastrells are produced. What makes the Altos de la Hoya stand out is that it is more balanced than a typical Monastrell. Monastrells usually reflect black fruits and firm tannins. Altos De La Hoya does have notes of dark berry, but there is also a lot of minerality to this wine. The finish is more reminiscent of red fruit than dark and even has a bit of spice. This wine drinks similar to a Rioja, pairing it well with grilled meats, cheeses and even burgers. It is a lovely counterpart to our Gigi Burger and Tuscan Fries with Gigi Dipping Sauce.

 It is truly a miracle that the Altos de la Hoya Monastrell has made it to our wine list.  In 1989, phylloxera hit the Jumilla DO, causing many wine growers to have to abandon their vines.  Bodegas Olivares, the producers of this Monastrell, not only managed to salvage their vines, but even were able to save some of the original vines planted in 1872.  This could be the reason why this Monastrell is unique compared to the other Monastrells of the Jumilla DO that were replanted after the phylloxera tragedy. 

We are definitely happy that the Altos de la Hoya Monastrell made it all the way from 1872 to our wine list!  This balanced red wine is moderately priced at $10 per glass and $26 for a bottle. Come celebrate the Altos de la Hoya Monastrell’s heritage at Gigi Trattoria. And if you come on Wednesday, all our bottled wines are 30% off.  Hope to see you soon!

Learn more about the Jumilla DO region of Spain here.

Wine Weekly – Cerasuolo Rose

Last chance Rose!

Possibly the most loved time of year in the Hudson Valley is when the nights get cooler and the leaves change color.  Well that time is rapidly approaching but we still have some warm days ahead.  So before you put away your short shorts, have one last glass of rose.  At Gigi Trattoria we have just the rose for the end of summer!

First introduced early in the season you may already be familiar with the Marramiero Dama Montepulciano Cerasuolo Rose D’Abruzzo.  This rose is truly like no other with its rich cherry pink color and fragrant nose.  At first glance it resembles a glass of cranberry juice.  Subconsciously you may believe you are in for a burst of berry but there is way more flavor to experience here.  Hints of licorice and even a bit of floral, this rose is complex.  Aged for 12 months in stainless steel and 6 months in oak barrels the Cerasuolo Rose holds up well even to stews, cheeses and cured meats.  We recommend this ruby red wine with our Fiorino.

It’s no wonder that such an intense wine is highly regarded in the Italian wine world.  In order for a wine to receive the Denomination of Origin “Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo” it must be 85% Montepulciano grapes.  The Marramiero Dama Cerasuolo Rose is 100% Montepulciano grapes.  This gives it a dry quality that you expect more from a red wine, making it pleasant to drink even as the weather starts to get cooler.

Before you switch to big bodied red wines and heavy sweaters, come by Gigi Trattoria and experience the end of summer with a lovely glass of the Marramiero Dama Montepulciano Cerasuolo Rose D’Abruzzo.  $10 a glass or $32 a bottle, this wine is a steal!  And if you come in today or any Wednesday, all of our wines by the bottle are 30% off.  The weather man predicts sun and temperatures in the 80’s for the next few days.  What better way to celebrate then with a bottle of Cerasuolo Rose on the Gigi patio?!

Gigi-Pure Mountain Fig Vinaigarette

If you haven’t stopped in to Rhinebeck’s hottest new store, check out Pure Mountain. They sell the most amazing naturally flavored 12-year old balsamic vinegars from Modena, Italy, made in the traditional style that makes them rich, subtle syrupy and delicious. We’re using them in our cocktails (yes!), sauces, soups and you’ll be seeing this lovely vinaigrette on some of our fall salad specials.

I developed this Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette as part of the tasty and healthy seasonal fall menu for Just Salad. It is light and delicious with a great depth of flavor.

Gigi-Pure Mountain Fig Vinaigrette

Makes 8 to 10 servings

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 tablespoon Pure Mountain Dark Fig Balsamic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¾ cup canola, safflower oil blended oil oil (extra-virgin, while delicious, takes over the subtle fig flavor notes)
¼ teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper

In a small mixing bowl, combine the mustard, lemon juice and salt. While whisking, slowly add the oil. Adjust seasoning with salt, if necessary, and add black pepper.

Herb Marinated Butterflied Northwind Farms (NWF) Chicken

It’s still summer, so don’t put away the grill yet! Our Gigi marinade goes with just about all you can throw on the grill, including rib eye steaks, pork loin or chops, shrimp, whole fish like snapper, salmon or swordfish filets,  to name a few. It is, however, especially delicious on tender and juicy Northwind Farms chicken. To increase the surface area with the delicious marinade and cut the cooking time on the grill, we butterfly it. This flattened approach, when grilled to perfection, is also easy to cut into quarters or eighths.  Please check out our video to better understand how to butterfly. Alternately, we’ll do it for you at Gigi Market or you can pick up a grill-ready marinated NWF chicken or simply the Gigi marinade in our retail case at the market in Red Hook.

Make 3 to  4 servings

1 2 pound NWF chicken
1 cup Gigi Marinade*
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Gigi Marinade*
Makes  1 cup
4 to 5 fresh sage leaves
leaves pulled from 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
2 cups fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 fresh garlic clove
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Prepare the marinade: In the work bowl of a food processor, combine the herbs and garlic and pulse a few times to chop. With the motor running, drizzle the oil through the feed tube. Process until well combined. The marinade can be held, covered and refrigerated for up to 4 days.

Butterfly the chicken: On a cutting board using a sharp chef knife, remove the excess skin from the chicken neck. Place the chicken on its legs, with breasts facing away from you, and cut down the backbone on both sides to remove. Turn the chicken around, and place on cutting board breast side down. Using your hands slightly bend the chicken back to flatten. Pull out the triangular cartilage between the legs at the base of the breasts to further flatten. The chicken is now ready to marinate.

Pour half of the marinade into a large Zip Lock bag then add the chicken. Pour the remaining marinade into the bag, zip, and massage the tasty marinade into the chicken. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours.

Preheat the grill to medium – high. Have a squirt bottle of water ready by the grill. Remove the chicken from the marinade and season both sides with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on the grill, skin side down and grill until the skin becomes golden brown and crisp, about 2 to 3 minutes. Extinguish any flare-ups with the squirt bottle.  Turn the chicken 90 degrees and cook another 2 to 3 minutes (this will give you those lovely grill marks.) Turn the chicken over and cook about 5 minutes more. Using grill tongs, transfer the chicken to the “off” side of the grill and turn the other side to high. Cover and let the chicken roast in the grill until cooked through and over, close the cover and continue grilling until just cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes; an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh without touching bone registers 165°F. Transfer to a cutting board, loosely tent with foil and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before carving.

Cut the chicken in half along the breast bone, then cut between joint holding the leg to breast to quarter. Enjoy immediately.

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Watermelon Ginger Margarita

Well, it’s September; the kids are back in school, nights are cooler and the days have been more mild here in the Hudson Valley. But, it is still summer! We’re not quite ready to let it go, and scored some beautiful watermelons from Mead Orchards this week. In celebration of the last weeks of summer and the coming of fall, we’ve put together an absolutely delicious cocktail that celebrates both. The fresh watermelon juice is great even on it’s own, but we’ve added some warmth with a house made ginger simple syrup and assembled an unconventional margarita that won rave reviews at the Trattoria over the week. In fact, the term “luscious” was used. 🙂 People loved it so much, we will have it available for you again this weekend, so stop in and enjoy one!

Watermelon Ginger Margarita
2 oz. Fresh Watermelon Juice (we made ours with a centrifugal juicer, but you can also use a muddle and strain method)
1 oz. Ginger Simple Syrup*
3/4 oz. Lime Juice
2 oz. Blanco Tequila
1 oz. Cointreau
While we made our Ginger Simple Syrup with Sugar in the Raw to add extra depth, you can opt to use regular granular sugar or the following:
1 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Cups Granular Sugar
3 Cups Water
2 Cups peeled, sliced fresh ginger
Add all ingredients to pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a low boil and let cook for 25-30 minutes. The syrup should be sweet and spicy. This will make more than you will need for one drink, but it can be used in many more recipes. If you would like to keep this in the fridge to use over a few weeks, in order to avoid spoilage, once the syrup has cooled add 1/4 cup clear alcohol (vodka works well as it is a neutral spirit.)

Wine Weekly – Melissa Rosso Mutro

This week, we are going to share some information about Greek and Italian wines from the “toe” region of Italy.  How are these related you may ask? Well, the region of Calabria is  where ancient Greeks cultivated their first wine-bearing vines.  And the connection between ancient Greeks wines and Gigi Trattoria?  One of our favorite red wines;  the Melissa Rosso Mutro.

In the dry, rugged Central Ionian coast of Calabria, the Mutro was born. Made of 75% Galioppo and 25% Greco Nero, this red wine is medium bodied and earthy.  It also has flavors of strawberry, blackberry, cherry and even a hint of chocolate, making this wine delicious on its own or with food.  The name
Mutro comes from the name of the ancient hunting area where Kings would
shoot wild boar. This seems very appropriate since the Mutro pairs
wonderfully with meat.  Enjoy it with our Pork Scallopine or the Tagliatelle
Berta.  The hint of berry adds a fruity balance to the richness of both
these dishes.

It’s only natural that such a great wine would come from a region of Italy once called Magna Grecia or “Great Greece.”  The Greeks can take credit for much of the foundation of the vinification of this region.  Many of the wines founded here wound up surpassing those that were being made in Greece. The Melissa DOC however is a younger region only dating back to 1979.  It means “sweet” which is a juxtaposition of the Ciro DOC, the other major wine
producing region in the area.  The Melissa region is divided from the Ciro region by only 6 miles, making for quite the competition between the two.

The Melissa Rosso Mutro does not have much competition here at Gigi Trattoria.  It is the only wine we carry from Calabria, and one of the gems of our wine list.  And if you come in on Wednesday, all of our bottled wines are 30% off.  Bonus! We bet you will be praising the Greek God’s once you have tried the Mutro.

Learn more about this wine and where it is made here, here, and here.