Grilled Chicken with Blueberry-Maple BBQ Sauce Recipe

Gigi Grilled Chicken with Blueberry-Maple BBQ Sauce

Gigi Grilled Chicken with Blueberry-Maple BBQ Sauce.

Chef’s note: This blueberry maple version of Gigi Market’s barbecue sauce has a smoky, spicy kick to contrast the sweetness. We’re serving it on our specials with grilled chicken, pork and lamb at Gigi Trattoria in Rhinebeck and providing it retail at Gigi Market and Café in Red Hook throughout blueberry season.

Blueberry-Maple BBQ sauce – Makes 3 cups

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Large Shallots, Minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • ½ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 Pints Fresh Blueberries
  • 1/3 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 Cup Ketchup
  • 1/3 Cup Rice Wine or Sherry Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a medium saucepan, cook the shallots over medium heat, stirring, until softened, two to three minutes. Add the spices and cook another 30 seconds. Turn the heat up to medium-high and stir in the blueberries. Partially cover to prevent splattering when the berries burst and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until they soften. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, until sauce is velvety and slightly thickened, about 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in butter and remove from heat.

 

Grilled Chicken

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 (4- to 5-pound) Broiler Fryer Chicken, Cut Into Quarters or Eighths
  • Olive Oil to Drizzle
  • Salt and Freshly-Ground Pepper
  • Note: If using a charcoal grill, evenly distribute the hot charcoal to one side of the grill. If using a gas grill, turn one side to medium-high setting.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Lightly coat the chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the chicken pieces skin side down on the grill grate. Turn the chicken pieces a quarter turn every two to three minutes. Adjust the heat, if necessary, to prevent charring. Once the chicken is nicely grill-marked, move it to the cool side of the grill. The chicken, at this point, should roast in the high heat and not have direct contact with flame or hottest portion of grill. After about 20 minutes total cook time, check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer inserted in the deepest part of each piece. The pieces should reach 155 degrees Fahrenheit.

Now slather the chicken with the Blueberry-Maple BBQ Sauce and return to the heated portion of the grill to crisp. Do not leave over flame for too long, the sugar from the blueberries and syrup will caramelize quickly and could burn. Serve immediately with a side of extra sauce for slathering.

 

Gluten-Free at Gigi Hudson Valley

Gluten-Free Gnochetti at Gigi Trattoria, Rhinebeck

Our Gluten-Free Gnochetti at Gigi Trattoria, Rhinebeck.

Providing delicious options is what we do at Gigi Hudson Valley! While we’ve always offered flexibility and numerous vegetarian and vegan options in our menus, in 2007 we developed a gluten-free version of our popular Skizzas™.  Our guests have responded resoundingly! Just recently, Chef Wilson Costa ‘tweaked’ our gluten-free gnochetti, enjoyed by President Bill Clinton during his visit to Gigi Trattoria, so that they are as light and fluffy as any gnocchi anywhere!  Both are available with any of our toppings and/or sauces.

How do we do it? We take great care in training our culinary and service staff so that they not only understand how to present our farm-fresh fare, but also food intolerances and allergies. Part of our training program instructs our staff exactly how to communicate information to our guests and to each other (dining room to kitchen). With every seasonal menu change, our menu manuals, too, are updated – these revisions include phonetics of our menu items, ingredient lists of every offering, and especially important, designations that indicate whether the item is vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

National Celiac Awareness MonthNational support: We are now into our 3rd week of participation in “Chef to Plate”, a gluten-free restaurant awareness campaign (part of National Celiac Awareness Month). Our staff at Gigi Trattoria in Rhinebeck and Gigi Market in Red Hook have been trained by the Gluten Intolerance Group and our management team to provide safe options for our gluten free community.

Gluten-Free Skizza at Gigi Trattoria, Rhinebeck

Our Gluten-Free Skizza™, available at Gigi Trattoria and Gigi Market. Designated by green checkered underliner. Peroni not GF!

Some offerings on our gluten-free menus:  In addition to our crispy Skizzas™ (available at Gigi Trattoria, Gigi Market and kits for home), and sumptuous gnochetti; other items are available throughout our menus. Sautéed items that are typically flour dusted can be made without, and most of our sauces are natural reductions rather than flour-thickened. Our management team and your server are trained to guide you.

Gigi Flourless Chocolate Cake

Gigi Flourless Chocolate Cake

 

If sweets are on your mind, Gigi Pastry Chef Danielle Gill prepares an incredible flourless chocolate cake and cheesecakes without gluten-containing crusts. At Gigi Market some of our gluten-free products include moist and flavorful brownies from Rhinebeck’s own Sweet Girl, biscotti and rugelach from The Gluten-Free Bakery: Chatham, and Food for All kaiser rolls and loaves for our burgers and sandwiches.

Offering delicious Hudson Valley Mediterranean flavors is a joy to me and the whole Gigi Team. Doing it responsibly and safely is sacred. As a registered dietitian, I have long been involved with working with people, so that eating healthfully and safely is a delight, not a chore. Buon Appetito!

Laura

For more information on gluten intolerance, please visit http://gluten.net.

After a recent visit to Rhinebeck earlier this month, Maria wrote us this wonderful “Thank photo-mg2You” letter:

Dear Trattoria Gigi Team,

I was at your restaurant last Saturday. I was traveling with a person with celiac disease. We arrived from New York City to spend the weekend in your beautiful area.

Traveling with my friend is not easy. She has a very high intolerance to gluten. We did lots of research and saw that your restaurant was trained by the Gluten Intolerance Group (https://www.gluten.net/resturants/find-a-restaurant). This reassured her. It is always nerve wracking to trust some strangers when you know that can get badly sick after eating.

Your staff was very welcoming and knowledgeable. They made her feel at ease. It was my birthday, but we did not mentioned it. We had very nice food and great time. We had a salad and a skizza for dinner. The next day we wanted to visit your marketplace in Red Hook, but the hotel messed up with the wake up call. It means that we definitely need to go back to Rhineback.

Thank you so much for the lovely experience. You cannot imagine how something so simple and easy such as eating out can turn into a nightmare for somebody with celiac disease. You helped to make my day even more special. Keep up the good work!

Best,

Maria

 

Wine Wednesday – Müller Thurgau

With the holidays right around the corner, Gigi Trattoria has a real gift for you. One of our best white wines is now on our glass list! The Müller Thurgau from Muri Gries is really a stellar wine. From Trentino Alto-Adige right near the Austrian border, this light to medium bodied wine is cultivated 500 meters above sea level. The vines are planted on calcareous till facing east-south and some are up to 30 years old. But the grape itself is much older.

Müller Thurgau is a variety of white grape created by Herman Müller in 1882. It is a cross between a Riesling with Madeleine Royale and is used to produce wines in many countries including Germany, Austria, the United States and of course, Northern Italy. It is considered one of the most widely planted grapes of the “new breed” variety.

The Muri Gries Müller Thurgau definitely makes the top of the list of wines produced with the Müller Thurgau grape. It has a delightful minerality with hints of flowers and citrus fruit. It has a young freshness that makes it beautiful as an aperitif or paired well with appetizers, fish and even lighter meat dishes. We recommend it with our mussels. Our mussels are from Prince Edward Island and most often served steamed in a broth of wine, garlic, red onions and tomato with just a hint of spice. The crispness and earthiness of the Müller Thurgau compliment the mussels while also refreshing the palate.

No matter what it is paired with, the Müller Thurgau from Muri Gries is a wine you cannot miss. It will only be on our glass list for a short period of time so hurry in to sample it. We will bet that you will be buying it by the bottle by your next visit.  If you come on a Wednesday, the Müller Thurgau and all of our bottle wines are 30% off.  And since it is the holidays and we are in a giving mood, a bottle is just $37 and a glass is $12.  Cheers!

Learn more about Müller Thurgau here and here.

Kohlrabi Remoulade

About Kohlrabi…
Mentioning Kohlrabi typically doesn’t often light up people’s faces, but this highly underated vegetable is enjoyed in dishes around globe. It also grows exceptionally well here in the Hudson Valley.  The literal translation means “cabbage turnip” in Germany and “ugly root” in Africa. It’s flavor is anything but “ugly” offering a blend of all the wonderful flavor profiles of its cruciferous vegetable family ( broccoli, turnip, cabbage, brussels sprouts, rutagaba), and it has all of the protective phytochemicals and antioxidants they share.

So what to do with this “alien” root?

Immediately get to the tender and delicous flesh under that tough protective exterior. There is a chewy fiberours layer under the hard outer skin, so be sure to peel thoroughly down to the crisp and moist flesh. Use a paring knife to trim ends, and then work down the hard outer body to delious edible portion using a vegetable peeler.

1) Raw: Using a madoline, sharp knife, or cheese grater, slice it very thinly or shred it and eat it raw. Enjoy it on a crudite plate with a dip or use it as you would cabbage by preparing a slaw.

2) Puree: Chop, boil and and puree it then enjoy with some olive oil or butter and seasoning. Pureed kohlrabi also blends with mashed potatoes, mashed root vegetables (kohlrabi and carrots is a personal favorite).

3) Roast: Chop or slice into “fries”, toss with a bit of olive oil, season with salt and peper, and then oven roast until caramelized and tender.

4) Add to soups, stews and braises:  Kohlrabi adds flavor and nutrients to any/all cold weather cooking. Chop it and add it to your favorite bubbling winter meal. Its flavor holds up well to intense seasoning, and it’s particulary good in curries or other full flavored dishes.

5) Gratins and “pies”and quiches: Slice thinly and layer into gratins or grate then saute (with or without other vegetables) to fill pies and quiches.

Here’s one of my favorite preparations, a rift on the classic celeriac remoulade, which is a perfect winter salad:

Kohlrabi Remoulade

Makes 4 to 6 servings

2 medium, kohlrabi (about 1 ½ pounds)
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt to season
3 tablespoons of good quality mayonnaise*
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon salt preserved capers, rinsed
Pinch cayenne pepper
Finely shredded parsley to garnish

Directions

Working quickly, trim the ends from the kohlrabi and peel. Cut into halves and finely grate using a cheese grater or a food processor fitted with the shredding blade. Transfer to a medium bowl and immediately toss with lemon juice to prevent browning. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, and garlic; season with salt and cayenne. Fold the mixture into the bowl with the kohlrabi. Serve immediately or allow to sit, refrigerated, in a nonreactive airtight container, for 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Variations:

Add: shredded apples and/or cornichons

 

Turkey Tetrazzini with Fontina, Mushrooms & Radicchio

This delicious casserole makes good use of Thanksgiving’s lingering bounty.  Enjoy it immediately or prepare in advance and re-heat at 350 for 30 minutes before serving. It’s just as good, if not better, the day after.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

2 tablespoons butter, plus 2 teaspoons to grease casserole dish
3/4 cup coarse dry breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan (preferably Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano)
1 pound Wiltbank Farm shitake and oyster mushrooms*, cleaned and sliced 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick
¼ cup dry white wine
1 radicchio head, halved, cored and cut into thin ribbons
4 fresh sage leaves, chopped
2 medium shallots, diced
½ cup all-purpose flour
6 cups low-fat milk
1 ½ cups (4 ounces) diced Fontina cheese**
8 ounces egg pappardelle pasta
3 cups shredded or diced roast turkey

*Substitute any fresh mushroom of your choice if not available.
**Substitute grated cheddar or Gruyere if desired.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

Butter a 3-quart casserole.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a small bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and Parmesan. Set aside.

Heat the remaining olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, and cook, tossing or stirring often, until softened and just beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Pour in the white wine and reduce completely. Add the radicchio and sage and cook just long enough to wilt the radicchio, 1 or 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

Melt the butter in a medium heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring, until they soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the the flour and whisk constantly until fully blended into the butter. Gradually whisk in enough of the milk to form a thick, smooth paste. Whisk in the remaining milk in a steady stream. Season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Turn off the heat and stir in the Fontina. Taste, then and season with more salt and pepper if desired. Set aside.

Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Gently stir in the turkey, mushroom and radicchio mixture. Pour in the sauce and mix until just combined. Transfer to the buttered casserole, shaking the pan gently to evenly distribute pasta.

Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the pasta. Bake until bubbly and golden brown, 50 to 60 minutes. Let rest slightly 10 to 20 minutes. The casserole will firm up slightly and will the perfect temperature to serve.

 

Fregola Stuffing with Dried Fruit and Sage

This version of Thanksgiving stuffing uses the native Sardinian “pasta” called Fregola. This toasty larger grain cousin of couscous offers a pleasing blend of flavors, textures and colors, and, when combined with traditional stuffing seasonings, it has flavor to match but much less fat and more nutrients than traditional bread stuffing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 1/2 cups *Fregola
1 1/2 quarts chicken stock or canned, low-sodium broth (vegetable stock or broth may be substituted)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, minced or thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled, diced
1 celery stalk, sliced thinly
1/3 cup mixed dried fruit (any combination of apricots, seedless raisins, currants, cranberries or prunes cut into small pieces)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ cup dry white wine
¼ cup grated Grana Padano or Parmesan
Salt and freshly grated pepper to season.

In a large pot, bring the stock or broth to a boil.  Add the salt and the fregola, stir and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking liquid, then drain the cooked fregola into a colander.

While the fregola cooks, in a large non-stick skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring often, until softened and fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the dried fruit, sage, coriander, and cumin; cook, stirring, another 1 to 2 minutes, then add the white wine, simmering until fully reduced. Now add  the fregola, stirring or tossing to combine. Add the reserved cooking broth, which will quickly come to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the Parmesan, and stir to combine.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary. Enjoy hot or let cool to stuff your turkey, Cornish hen or favorite “roulade”.

*Fergola is a semolina grain (resembling large couscous) that is a good source of protein and fiber.  It can be found in gourmet and Italian specialty markets.  In Italy, Fregola is used like barley is here, in soups and stews.  It is also served on its own, sauced like pasta.

Makes six servings.

Root Vegetable Gratin

I started preparing this dish for guests about ten years ago, and now I cannot entertain in the fall or winter without a request for it. I’m happy to comply. Root Vegetable Gratin is now a selection on our ‘Thanksgiving Made Easy’ order form.

Classic Béchamel
½ cup butter
½ cup flour
6 cups whole (or 2 percent) milk, hot
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon butter, softened
1½ quarts (6 cups) béchamel *See recipe below
2 small smoked chili peppers (I use anchos or dried smoked jalapenos)
3 medium russet potatoes (about 3 pounds),  peeled and thinly sliced into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
1½ cups fresh or canned roasted red peppers, cut into strips
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 medium sweet potato (8 ounces), peeled and thinly sliced into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
1 small or ½ large rutabaga (about 12 ounces), peeled and thinly sliced into 1/8-inch-thick rounds

Prepare Béchamel: Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste bubbles; don’t let it brown. After 2 or 3 minutes, whisk in the hot milk. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring or whisking constantly until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Lower the heat and cook, stirring, for 2 or 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat.

Prepare Gratin: Preheat the oven to 350F°F and grease a 12- to 14-inch round baking dish or a 9 x 13-inch rectangular baking dish with the butter.

Simmer the béchamel over low heat, add the whole dried chili, and steep for about 10 minutes. Remove the chili and discard.

Peel vegetables and slice them very thinly on a mandoline to 1/8-inch thickness. Place half of the russet potato slices in a single layer on the bottom of the dish. Top with a third of the red pepper strips. Season with salt and pepper. Evenly spread 1½ cups of the béchamel on top,covering the potatoes and red pepper strips. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the cheddar. Arrange the sweet potato slices over top,slightly overlapping in a spiral pattern. Season with salt and pepper and top with another ⅓ of the red pepper strips. Again top with 1½ cups bechamel followed by 1 cup of cheddar. Add the slices of rutabaga, slightly overlapping in a spiral pattern,and strew with the remaining red peppers strips. Again, add 1½ cups bechamel followed by 1 cup of cheddar. For the final layer,arrange the remaining slices of russet potato on top,slightly overlapping in a spiral pattern. Season with salt and pepper. Put the remaining 1½ cups béchamel and 1 cup cheddar on top.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the top of the gratin is bubbly and nicely browned, about 20 minutes. A knife inserted in the center of the gratin won’t meet any resistance, but should pierce easily into the fully cooked and soft root vegetables.

Serving suggestion: This is great to eat piping hot right out of the oven, but it’s also good reheated the next day.

Variations:

* To lighten this dish, you can make a cornstarch/water slurry, stir it into chicken broth,and thicken simmering until it achieves a béchamel-like consistency.
* Omit the chili pepper and/or roasted red pepper.
* Substitute turnips for the rutabaga.

Nutrition: Roasted red pepper strips add flavor, color between the layers, and lots of vitamin C.

Economy: $$$

Note: This recipe has been adapted from the Gigi Good Food Cookbook, Hudson Valley Mediterranean.

Wine Weekly – Ribolla Gialla

As the weather gets cooler, many people seek warmth in a glass of red wine.  But for those of you that may not be fans of red or are open to variety, we have a cool weather white for you, Ribolla Gialla from Tenuta La Ponca.

Many may not know that the Ribolla grape from Italy actually originated in Greece and made its way to the Fruili region of Italy by way of Slovenia.  This grape almost did not survive the phylloxera epidemic in the 19th century because many farmers decided to plant French grapes after much of their Ribolla crop was destroyed.  But the Ribolla survived and by the 1990’s most of the white wines produced in Fruili were at least 1% Ribolla.

Not only is the long journey of the Ribolla what makes it a stand-up wine for November, but the crisp acidity, apple and pear aromas, and dry finish make it perfect to drink with food.  At Tenuta La Ponca, the Ribolla grapes are picked the last week of September.  They are then pressed and settle for 24 to 36 hours before they are fermented in stainless steel and then refined for 8 months on nobile dregs.  The result being a light to medium bodied white wine with a beautiful straw yellow color. Try the Ribolla Gialla with an appetizer such as the Verdure platter or enjoy it with the complex Pasta Intregale.  The fruit characteristics bring out the sweetness of the vegetables while the acidity refreshes the palate.  The Ribolla Gialla would even be a great wine to drink with turkey!

The Riboilla Gialla from Tenuta La Ponca has survived quite a journey in order to make it to the Gigi Trattoria wine list.  Now we challenge the Ribolla to survive the cold weather of the Hudson Valley and warm our wine-loving customers. For $42 a bottle, you cannot pass up trying this delicious wine.  Come by on Wednesday and the Ribolla Gialla and all bottles are 30% off!  That deal alone can warm the chill out of anyone.

Wine Weekly – Barbaresco, Beni di Batasiolo

Considered one of the greatest wines of Italy’s Northwestern region, Barbaresco made from Nebbiolo grapes is held with very high regard.  That is why Gigi Trattoria carries one of the best.  Barbaresco, Beni di Batasiolo is aged for 10 days in stainless steel to allow the skins to ferment and then continues its aging for one year in oak casks and another in the bottle.  This process makes for a full-bodied wine with spicy oak, chewy tannins and hints of cherry and blackberry.  There is even a bit of cinnamon on the palate, making it a perfect wine for a brisk autumn night!

From a small village overlooking the Tanaro River, Batasiolo winery creates this 100% Nebbiolo wine.  The Nebbiolo grape, in case you are unfamiliar with it, is a black-skinned red wine grape that is the star of both Barbareso and Barolo.  These are two of Italy’s most acclaimed red wines.  Originally, Barbaresco was Barolo or Nebbiolo with Moscatello and Passeretta grapes added to it for a touch of effervescence and hint of sweetness.  It was not until the 19th century that Barbaresco was vinified for a dry style.  The result being a competitor or brother for Barolo.  Like any good set of siblings, there are many differences between Barolo and Barbaresco.  Barbaresco has a slightly warmer, dryer and milder climate, which causes the grapes to ripen quicker and makes for a less tannic wine.  Still the age and acidity of Barbaresco will please any avid red wine drinker but will be slightly more approachable.

Not that there is a specific season for drinking red wine, but if there were, having a glass of Barbaresco, Beni di Batasiolo on a cold fall night with the smell of spices in the air and the warmth of company, sounds pretty perfect.  That is why we want to offer that comfort to you!  Come into Gigi Trattoria to experience a once in a lifetime chance to have our Barbaresco by the glass for only $15!  A bottle goes for $95 but if you come on Wine Wednesday, this delicious wine and all bottles are 30% off.  Hurry, before the wine runs out!

Learn more about Barbaresco wine here and here.

T.G.I.F. – Autumn Elixir

We continue our autumnal theme with this week’s T.G.I.F. cocktail choice. The Autumn Elixir, as we’re calling it, is just what the cocktail doctor ordered; refreshing, yet made with warming ingredients to help battle those chillier nights. Enjoy!

Autumn Elixir
1 Lime
1/2 oz. of honey
1 1/2 oz. of Hennessy (or other preferred cognac)
Splash of ginger ale

Slice a whole lime into 4 sections and place it in a shaker. Add  the honey and muddle these two ingredients together. Then add the Hennessy and ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a Collins glass over ice and top with ginger ale. Garnish with lime and enjoy!

 

Roasted Maple Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta and Chestnuts

*This recipe appeared in the November, 2012 issue of House Beautiful Magazine as part of an article entitled, “The New American Holiday Table.”

Wine Weekly – Sagrantino di Montefalco Pozzo del Curato

While rummaging through the Gigi Trattoria wine room, we noticed that one amazing wine doesn’t seem to be getting the attention it deserves.  We want to introduce this delicious wine in hopes that you will come try it and like it as much as we do!

Three hundred and seventy one meters above sea level in Bevagna is the beautiful Villa Mongalli.  At this Villa in Umbria, the powerful Sagrantino di Montefalco Pozzo del Curato was created.  At Villa Mongalli, wines are produced only with grapes grown in the company.  At the first stage of wine-making, each grape variety is vinified separately.  The 2004 Sagrantino di Montefalco is organic and made with 100% Sagrantino grapes.  With flavors of blackberry and licorice, this red wine is elegant and energetic.  Hints of floral and strong tannins make this wine elaborate and flavorful. It holds up to many different dishes.  We recommend it with our Mama Skizza (20% off if you check in on Yelp, Facebook or Foursquare) or our very popular Pork Scalloppine served with Lacinato Kale & Shaved Parmesan.

This wine is truly not one to miss.  We feel so strongly about this that if you come into Gigi Trattoria from now through this weekend and inquire with your server or bartender about the Villa Mongalli Sagrantino you will get 10% off your bottle!  And if you come in on Wednesday, all of our bottle wines are 30% off!  Not only should you not miss any of these great deals at Gigi but you really should not miss trying this exceptional wine.

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Annandale Atomic Hard Cider

Normally we present you with a cocktail recipe each Friday to celebrate the weekend.  However, in honor of Cider Week (last weekend!), this week we present you with a little bit of info on Gigi’s favorite cider, Annadale Atomic Hard Cider from Montgomery Farms.  This semi-dry cider is served at Gigi Market by the jar or on draft at Gigi Trattoria.  It has 7% alcohol and is unfiltered and unsulfited.

At Montgomery Farms, they use about 60 varieties of antique and commercial apples for Annadale Cider.  All these apples are grown on the land that Jane Livingston Montgomery, the original owner, cultivated apples on over 200 years ago.  Annadale Atomic cider uses about 6 different varieties and is their signature cider.  Unfortunately it is sold out for the season.  Luckily Gigi Trattoria snagged one of the last kegs so you have to stop by to try it!

We are such fans of Montgomery Farms and their Atomic Cider that we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to share it with all of you!  But we don’t want to leave you stranded this weekend without a great recipe.  So you will find our TGIF recipe below:

1 part Annadale Atomic Cider
1 part Gigi Trattoria or Gigi Market
1 part delicious food (try it with our Pollo!)
Mix together and enjoy!  🙂

Learn more about Montgomery Farms and their cider here.

And find out more about Cider week here.

 

Wine Weekly – Best Wines to Pair With Our Skizzas!

As many of you may know, Gigi has won the Best of the Hudson Valley award for Best Pizza!  We are so thrilled with this honor that we are offering 20% off our Skizzas Monday-Thursday for the next two weeks if you check-in at Gigi Trattoria on Facebook, Yelp or Foursquare.  Gigi not only wants to give you a great deal but we also want you to get the most from your Skizza experience.  So for this week’s Wine Weekly blog, we are going to let you know just what wines go best with our award-winning Skizzas!

Whether you take our word for one of these delicious pairings, or chose your own, be sure to check in on Yelp, Facebook or Foursquare to get 20% off our Skizzas, Monday-Thursday.  If you come in on Wednesday, all our or bottles of wine are 30% off!  Now that is quite a pairing!

Let’s begin with the Margherita Skizza.  Simple yet satisfying.  Our infamous thin crust is topped with Gigi Tomato Sauce, a blend of mozzarella, swiss & provolone cheese and finished with fragrant fresh basil and a touch of dried oregano.  A wine to pair with such perfect simplicity must be bold yet refreshing.  The Evodia Grenache from Cataluyd, Spain is just that.  The minerality enhances the earthiness of the herbs while hints of black cherry and raspberry add a new depth of sweetness to tomato sauce.  For only $8 a glass and $25 a bottle, you will be making the Evodia-Margherita pairing your new “go-to” in no time!

For meat lover’s there is no Skizza better than the Mamma.  Tangy Gigi Tomato Sauce topped with plenty of cheese and thin slices of robust fennel salami and Tuscan-style porchetta make for a fulfilling 10” of flavor.  To hold up to such a powerful Skizza, you need a wine that delivers.  The Altos de la Hoya Monastrell is just that.  Firm tannins, minerality and a hint of spice in this Spanish wine make it strong enough to pair with the heartiness of the Mama while hints of dark berry and red fruit make the Monastrell well-balanced.  This 92% Monastrell and 8% Garnacha is $10 a glass and $26 a bottle, an affordable pairing for an irresistible Skizza.

Seasonality is important at Gigi Trattoria and we are showcasing the flavors of fall with our Zucca Skizza.  Creamy Delicata squash “pesto” is topped with Coach Farm Fig Goat Cheese, thinly sliced coppa and crispy fried sage leaves.  This Skizza is a delicate balance of sweet and savory with a hint of spice from the coppa.  Either of the red wines mentioned above pair nicely with this Skizza but we believe the best pairing for the Zucca is the admired Lugana Limne.  The refined bouquet compliments the crispy sage while the subtle fruit accents bring out the flavor of the squash and hint of fig.  The Lugana can be paired with any Skizza or sipped on its own for just $10 a glass and $33 a bottle.

Last but not least is one of our most popular pairings, the Bianca Skizza with the Gavi.  Loved by staff and customers alike, nothing beats a warm Bianca with a crisp glass of Gavi.  If you are not familiar with the Bianca, it is our traditional crust topped with Gigi Fig Jam, creamy Coach Farm Goat Cheese, shaved pear, Sky Farm arugula and finished with white truffle oil.  To go with such a complex Skizza, you need a quality wine.  The Stefano Massone’s Vigneto Masera Gavi made from 100% Cortese grapes brings out the flavor of pear and fig.  The citrus notes of the Gavi cut the richness of the goat cheese resulting in a clean palate.  If you don’t already know the Gavi is $10 a glass and $30 a bottle, a steal for such an excellent wine.

Whether you take our word for one of these delicious pairings, or chose your own, be sure to check in on Yelp, Facebook or Foursquare to get 20% off our Skizzas, Monday-Thursday.  If you come in on Wednesday, all our or bottles of wine are 30% off!  Now that is quite a pairing!

 

Staff Spotlight – Brandon Cole

Brandon Cole is the guy who does it all at Gigi Hudson Valley, he’s truly among our MVPs. He bounces between the Trattoria, the Market and catered events, sometimes all within a given day! He began his Gigi ‘career’ 6 years ago at the age of 15 when he started bussing tables at the Trattoria. From that position he moved up to food runner, learning the ins and outs of kitchen timing and etiquette from Chef Wilson Costa. Today, Brandon is skilled in just about every position at every one of our businesses, both front and back of house.

I travel from site to site and inevitably I see Brandon. He is kind of like “Where’s Waldo?”  First I see him at Gigi Market making 600 Skizza shells. Then I head to the Trattoria, and there he is! He is crisp, tailored, and professional,  bringing your favorite dish to the table. Rounding out his skills, as a certified “gear head” he’s one of the few that is entrusted with driving our 40 foot catering/food truck and trailer from location to location. So how does a guy that does all this relax? By biking 75-100 miles a week and hunting and fishing with boyhood friends.

Brandon was born and raised in Red Hook, NY, and his passion for Italian cooking goes deep.  His grandfather Frank Chiarella, who emigrated to NY from northern Italy as a young boy, owned a restaurant named Frank’s in Valatie, NY during the mid-70s. During our conversations Brandon told me that he, “always wanted to be chef.” It’s not really fair to interview Mom, but since I know her…(sorry Brandon 🙂 ) she offered up that baked cookies would be waiting for her at home when Brandon had a snow day from school. When I asked Brandon if he likes to cook at home now he said, “Yes, but I’m around food so much, I don’t cook that much at home anymore.”  Yet, he says when he purchases his first home, the kitchen will be a top priority. He definitely has the passion. But that passion is shared with one for law enforcement. Brandon’s father spent much of his career on the local police force and Brandon plans to follow in his footsteps – becoming a NYS Trooper.

Whatever his future plans are, those of us who have watched him grow, learn, and mature know that he will be a successful and valuable asset to any who are lucky enough to work with him.