Summer’s Rosé

Spring is here and so is the newest addition to the Gigi Wine List: La Grand Piece Rosé!  We are delighted to have this delicious rosé from Provence to offer to our valued customers by the glass and by the bottle.  It is the perfect wine for the warm weather that is finally touching the Hudson Valley.

La Grand Piece Rosé produced by Chateau La Coste a picturesque winery just north of Aix-en-Provence.  This 250 acre vineyard adheres to biodynamic principles, striving to preserve terroir, protect fertility and safeguard the essence of the soil.  At Chateau La Coste, they believe that this newest technology brings life to the old wine making traditions while ensuring the quality of the wine.  The result is a truly exceptional rosé. chateau la coste 2

No hard work goes without recognition and just sipping a glass of the La Grand Piece Rosé will show the effort and detail put into this wine making process.  This 2012 rosé is a blend of 75% Syrah, 20% Grenache and 5% Cinsault.  The nose is full of red berries and with a bit of floral notes.  La Grand Piece has an unquestionable crispness that makes it wonderfully refreshing.  Hints of strawberries and citrus leave your palate rejuvenated.  Drink this rosé with grilled vegetables, cheeses and light fish dishes.  We recommend enjoying a glass of this rosé with our Salmone with hearts of palm and fennel. rose photo 2

Not only are we excited to be basking in the warmth of spring at Gigi Trattoria but we thrilled it is rosé season again!  And what better way to celebrate spring then with Wine Wednesday at Gigi Trattoria.  La Grand Piece Rosé and all bottled wines are 30% off!  But at only $10 a glass and $30 a bottle, this rosé is a steal any day.  Come join us on the Gigi Patio and sip a little bit of Provence.

To learn more about this Rose click here or 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?!

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Transcontinental

Well, here we are at the end of summer. We will all try to cram every summer related activity we can think of in over the next four days so we feel like we really took advantage of the weather, long days and nights with the grill. This week’s T.G.I.F. cocktail, the Transcontinental, seems a perfect, summery festive drink for this, the swansong weekend of summer.

Not one, but two Transcontinentals, as one will probably not be enough.

 

1 oz Bacardi Rum
1 oz Remy Martin VSOP
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
2 oz orange juice
1 tsp Orgeat syrup (almond syrup)

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake vigorously, serve in a Collins glass over ice. Garnish with fresh mint. Enjoy!

 

Watermelon-Fennel Salad

This is a great end of summer salad. It provides a refreshing contrast of flavors and textures – crunchy sweet watermelon and fennel; salty, creamy feta; and ever so slightly bitter greens. It is perfect with grilled or seared fish or chicken, or simply on its own as simple first course. Don’t be afraid to add or substitute. Experiment!

Makes 4 servings

2 cups watermelon, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch chunks
¼  red onion,very thinly sliced
¼ fennel bulb,thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon diced jalapeno pepper
Juice and grated zest of 1 lime
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
Salt and pepper to season
1 cup crumbled Farm feta
4 cups baby greens

In a mixing bowl, combine the watermelon, onion, fennel, mint, jalapeno, lime juice and zest and grapeseed oil. Season with salt and pepper and gently stir. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. When ready to serve, mound about 1 cup of baby greens on each plate; divide the watermelon-fennel salad over the greens. Sprinkle the crumbled feta over the salad.

Serving suggestions: Serve the watermelon-feta mixture chilled on its own or over baby greens.

Variations:

* Mix it up using a combination of yellow and red watermelon.
* Substitute any young soft cheese, such as goat cheese, for the feta.

Nutrition: Watermelon gets its vibrant color from lycopene, the same potent antioxidant found in tomatoes. It is also a good source of vitamins A and C and potassium.

Note: This recipe can be found in the Gigi Good Food Cookbook, Hudson Valley Mediterranean.

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Strawberry Lemonade

As we near the end of August, we embrace the most classic of summer refreshers, fresh squeezed lemonade. Though it sounds so simple, very few take the time to make it the right way with the perfect proportions of lemon juice, cane sugar and spring water. To those celebrating the close of the summer, we will have fresh squeezed lemonade cocktails available all weekend long at Gigi Trattoria. You won’t believe how delicious they are! Here is one of the cocktails we are featuring, strawberry lemonade, though we’ve got a few other suggestions for you; fresh blueberry lemonade, pink lemonade, or the regular old fashioned kind. Be creative! 🙂

Strawberry Lemonade

1 1/2 ounces House Infused Strawberry Vodka
1 Ounce Strawberry Puree
1 Ounce Lemon Juice 
1/2 Ounce Simple Syrup

Comine all ingredients in shaker and fill with ice. Shake very vigorously (you need some of that water from the ice to make the “lemonade” part!) Pour into a sugar rimmed martini glass and enjoy. Delicious!

Gigi Tomato Jam

Tis the season for making full use tomatoes! It seems to go from drought to flood overnight when they start turning red in the garden. This simple recipe helps you enjoy their sunny flavor throughout the fall and long winter. Try it on crostini with a shaving of Parmesan or a small dollop of goat cheese, smear on your favorite toasted bread or use as condiment for slow roasted braised dish – many of you have enjoyed it complementing our succulent lamb shanks during the fall and winter at Gigi Trattoria.

Photo by Evan Sung for NYT

 Makes approximately 1 ½ -2 cups

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ Vidalia onion, diced
1.5 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
.5 cup sugar
1 pinch of saffron
1cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes  

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until it softens and becomes fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.

Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has consistency of thick jam, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, then pour into hot, sterilized 8 ounce jam jars, screw the lids on and turn the jars upside down to cool completely.

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Peach Green Tea

This week’s TGIF cocktail is quite a treat, though it’s not the easiest one to slap together quickly…so we’ve decided to have it available to you as a drink special all weekend long at the Trattoria! It’s many components make a truly balanced, refreshingly light and delicious libation. However, if you don’t happen to have all of these ingredients at home, just come on in to Gigi Trattoria this weekend and have us do the work for you, it would be our pleasure. You will love it!

 Peach Green Tea

2 ounces Hendrick’s Gin
3 slices muddled cucumber
8-10 mint leaves
2 ounces organic peach nectar
2 ounces green tea (We use Harney & Sons)
½ ounce honey simple syrup
½ ounce lemon juice

 Muddle mint with honey simple syrup in shaker. Add cucumber, continue to muddle. Add remaining ingredients, fill with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into ice filled Collins glass. This would also make a great punch bowl or pitcher drink if you are serving a group, it’s sure to impress. Enjoy!

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Summer Berry Sangria

Summer is the time of gathering with friends, relaxing and keeping things simple. This week, we focus on a weekend favorite (making it the perfect T.G.I.F. cocktail) at Gigi Trattoria, the Summer Berry Sangria. We have simplified some of the preparation so that it’s easy to make at home. While everyone may have their own favorite sangria recipe, try this one, it is  delicious! Whip up a pitcher of Summer Berry Sangria for you and your guests, relax and enjoy!

 

1 Cup Strawberry or Mixed Berry Puree*
1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
3/4 Cup Simple Syrup 
2 Cups Lemon-Lime Soda 
1.4 cup Triple Sec
1/4 Cup Vodka
1/4 Cup Berry Liquor (we used Chambourd)
1 Bottle of dark, dry Rose Wine (we use Lurra Garnacha 2011, Spain)

 Add all ingredients together into a pitcher and add ice. 

 *Should take approximately a pint of strawberries, or even better a mix of strawberries and raspberries. Rinse fruit and cut the tops off the strawberries, hull them if they are tough and not at peak ripeness. Toss berries into blender with some water, adding more water until desired puree consistency is achieved. 

**Shout out to our Adrienne Chiaramonte for whipping this up for us on her day off! 🙂

 

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Blackberry Sour

The end of another long work week. Excellent. As we are wont to do, we wanted to give you a T.G.I.F. cocktail that was delicious and seasonal, but we also wanted to put a twist on it. You might be surprised at one of the ingredients, but trust us, it is delicious!

This is our take on the traditional Amaretto Sour. We’ve partnered up with Rhinebeck’s hottest new store Pure Mountain Olive Oil. Their all natural flavored balsamic vinegars are appearing in our cocktails, salads and sauces. I’ve also introduced them to my colleagues at Just Salad and we hope to be making new dressings with them there soon! Their balsamic vinegars are wood aged in the 900 year old Modena tradition; they are rich, syrupy and balanced in acidity. Since it’s Blackberry season (berries are ripe for the picking at Greig Farm), we asked our Gigi bartending phenom, Lisa Butenhoff,  for her take on a traditional cocktail using this finely crafted artisanal product and local blackberries. We’re serving it “up,” but you could also lighten this up to a “spritzer” by serving over ice and adding a nice splash of seltzer.

1 ½ ounces Amaretto (we use Disarrono)
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon of Pure Mountain Blackberry Balsamic Vinegar
Handful of fresh blackberries

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake vigorously to combine. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Optional garnish: fresh blackberries and orange slice strung through a long decorative toothpick. Enjoy!

-Laura

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Apricot Julep

The classic julep it a hotly contested beverage, with many preparation variations, though the basic ingredients are generally always the same; bourbon, fresh mint, sugar and crushed ice. We scored some beautifully sweet apricots from Rose Hill Orchards in Red Hook this week and we decided to take a twist on the classic julep and add fresh apricot.

It’s incredibly delicious. Though this isn’t the simplest drink to make, we promise you it’s worth it. The Kentucky Derby may have come and gone, but the Julep is a great sipper all summer long. 

2 ripe fresh apricots (available locally at Rose Hill Orchards)
Approximately 20 mint leaves
3 ounces Bourbon (we used Maker’s Mark)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 ounce simple syrup (may be adjusted to preferred sweetness desired)
 

Throughly muddle 20 mint leaves (stems removed) with 1 teaspoon sugar. The granular quality of the sugar will work to break down the mint as you muddle, eventually turning it into a fragrant mash. Add quartered apricots, pits removed. Continue to muddle until apricots are broken down and integrated into the mint mash. Don’t worry about the skins, they will be strained out. Add the bourbon and simple syrup and fill the shaker with enough ice to reach the top of the liquid. Shake until the outside of your shaker is frosty and all components are integrated. Pack an Old Fashioned glass or Julep cup with crushed ice (almost to overflowing.) Strain drink into glass, garnish with a mint sprig. Serve with a short straw so that the fabulous fragrance can be enjoyed while sipping. A multi-sensory explosion of goodness to kick off your weekend!

Taters on the Grill

This is a quick, easy and healthier alternative to potato salad, summer’s tasty but heavier side dish. This basic recipe is simple; just potatoes, good quality olive oil and sea salt. Perfecto! If you want to spice it up, consider adding some smoked paprika, red pepper flakes or even curry or turmeric. Enjoy warm or make in advance and serve at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings

4  (about 5 ounces each) of your favorite potatoes, medium sized. (My suggestions include: German Butterball, Yukon Gold, or for starchier tastes Russet)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt to season

Wash the potatoes and prick them with a fork. Microwave until tender but still firm, 4 to 6 minutes (depending on power of oven.) Slice the potatoes in half on the bias and toss with the olive oil and sea salt. Place potato halves on pre-heated grill and cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until potatoes can easily be lifted with tongs getting grill mark all sides of the potatoes.

Plate and enjoy!

Wine Weekly – Côté Est Catlan

At Gigi Trattoria we are always changing our wine list. With that said, there is one wine that is not only a crowd-pleaser but also a staff favorite.The Lafage Côté Est Catalan is a lovely blend from the Roussillon region of France. This 50% Grenache, 30% Chardonnay, and 20% Marsanne is perfect for summer. The crisp and aromatic blend of wine expresses notes of citrus, white flowers and light minerals.

The young Jean-Marc Lafage has found a way to produce beautiful blends of wine. Though only in his thirties, he has almost 15 years of experience creating juicy and flavorful wines on his 200 hectares of land overlooking the Pyrenees of France and Spain.

Côté Est Catalan & a Bianca Skizza

This wine is best enjoyed chilled (especially on the Gigi patio.)  It pairs well with our mussels, Pollo con Tostone, Barbina salad, most fish specials, and our personal favorite, the Bianca Skizza.  It is also refreshing and delightful on its own and would be a perfect picnic accompaniment. Sold for $9  by the glass and $27 by the bottle, you must try out this gem of the Roussillon region next time you are in Gigi Trattoria. And if you happen to be dining with us on a Wednesday, a bottle of Côté Est Catalan or any of our bottle wines are 30% off!

Chin chin!

 

Vanilla Buttermilk Panna Cotta With Berries

The Fourth of July is upon us. While we would all prefer it was on a Friday instead of a Wednesday, we will still enjoy the day and all it represents. We thought we would give you a beautiful dessert that incorporates delicious seasonal berries and of course, red, white, and blue! Enjoy!

Vanilla Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Seasonal Berries

Makes 8 servings

Equipment – 8 4-ounce disposable aluminum baking cups

3 tablespoons cold water
3 teaspoons gelatin powder
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
3 cups buttermilk
3 teaspoon vanilla extract

Berries

1 pint fresh blueberries
1 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Berries: In a small bowl combine all ingredients and set aside. The sugar will help extract the juice from the berries to create a nice sauce for your finished dish!

Panna Cotta: Line your disposable cups up on a small cookie tray and lightly spray each with non-stick pan spray

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water, set aside.

Bring the heavy cream, sugar and lemon zest to simmer, then lower heat; do not boil. Add the bloomed gelatin and whisk to be sure the gelatin has melted. Whisk in the buttermilk and vanilla extract. 

Ladle mixture into each cup.  Refrigerate for 3 hours or up to 2 days in advance.

To remove panna cotta from cups, flip each cup upside down on serving plate. Poke the top of each cup with a small knife to release. You may have to shake it a little for it to come out. Spoon berries and their released liquid over the top of the panna cotta.

 

Grilling with Black Currant BBQ Sauce

Ahhh, the start of summer; long glorious days at the beach, the pool, the kids driving you nuts…Joking…We all love summer. One of my favorite parts of the season is all the great grilling you can do and all the interesting ingredients you can use! I’ll be sharing some new ideas, delicious recipes and helpful tips throughout the summer that will help you maximize that grilling goodness!

Take black currants for example. Probably not something you would have thought of for the grill! But, they make a great BBQ sauce. Not only are they delicious, but they are one of nature’s most potent anti-oxidants! These little berries contain two times the antioxidant power of blueberries, four times the vitamin C of oranges, and twice the potassium of bananas.

Since the currant bush likes hot, humid summers, and cold winters, it’s perfectly at home in the Hudson Valley. Black and red currants have a tart flavor, but are great in jellies, sauces, and pies. They’re also the main flavor in cassis, the French liqueur.  But I digress…

Black Currant BBQ Sauce

1 pint fresh black currants
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup finely diced shallots
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoon butter
Salt

To prepare the BBQ sauce, in a medium saucepan, combine the currants, raisins, ½ cup water, brown sugar, ketchup, rice vinegar, shallots, raisins, mustard, and cayenne and stir to combine. Bring to boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Puree the sauce in a blender or food processor until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, using a rubber spatula to push as much sauce as possible through the mesh. Season the sauce to taste with salt.

What I especially like about currants is how their slight bitterness and astringency marries perfectly with richer, more flavorful meats like lamb. While we’ve prepared it with lamb for this post, this sauce is also wonderful on grilled, seared, or roasted salmon; the acidity of the currants works well with the fattiness of the fish. It is also good on beef kebobs, prawns, and venison medallions.

If you are too busy to make the BBQ sauce, you can always pop into Gigi Market and pick yourself up a container. Enjoy!

-Laura

To learn more about currants, visit the website of Hudson Valley expert on all things currant, Greg Quinn.

 

Note: This recipe can be found in the Gigi Good Food Cookbook, Hudson Valley Mediterranean.

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Strawberry Mojito

There is only a little bit of time left to get in your strawberry picking for the season. Our bartender extraordinaire, Lisa Butenhoff, decided to take advantage of the great strawberries we picked at Greig Farm in Red Hook to whip up this end of the week delight. All hail the Strawberry Mojito!

Just a fun bit of trivia about the mojito (pronounced mo-HEE-toe): A mojito, one of Cuba’s oldest cocktails, comes from the African word mojo, which means to place a little spell. Magical…Get muddling, people!

Strawberry Mojito

1 serving

4 medium-large strawberries, hulled and quartered
6 mint leaves

1 teaspoon fine sugar
2 ounces Bacardi rum
½ ounce fresh lime juice

  In the bottom of a small cocktail shaker muddle the strawberries with the sugar and mint leaves. When blended, add the rum and the lime. Add just enough ice to cover top of liquid. Shake vigorously and pour into cocktail glass. Add a couple more cubes of ice if desired. Garnish with mint and strawberry.