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Tasting Recap, Little Big Thing & A Recipe

Wine Tasting Recap,
A Fantastic Little BIG Thing,
A Bonus Recipe

This past week was absolutely amazing. The week started with a birthday brunch and drinking bubbles. And because you asked, I also have a bonus recipe for you.  I am posting the Frittata recipe at the end of this post.  Next, I have a Little BIG Thing that is a  fantasmagorical find. I am super thrilled about it because it allows me to move towards no longer using plastic storage bags. Then on Thursday, we had the Pinot Noir Wine Tasting that was a raging success at Monarch Wine Merchants.

Monarch Wine Tasting

On Friday I ate tapas and drank Spanish red wine from Cariñena D.O.P (I learned a great deal about Cariñena at the blogger’s conference), followed by a classical piano concert by the Five Browns. Then on Saturday, I made an robust and packed with flavor Veggie chili for a Cariñena wine tasting event I held with some of my neighbors. You will have to wait to learn about the tapas on Friday and the chili and wine tasting on Saturday because that is just way too much for one post. Whew! I am tired just recapping the week for you.

Wine Tasting Recap

Our third wine tasting is now one for the history books. Justin at Monarch Wine Merchants selected five beautiful examples of Pinot Noir from France (Old World), California and Oregon (New World). Thirty tasters filled the room as we started with the Bourgogne Rouge an entry-level Burgundy, then to a region-specific Burgundy from the village of Fixin. We then jumped over to a Sandhi Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara County where the movie “Sideways,” created the American Pinot Noir trend, followed by a California Pinot Noir that is more of a vin de pays (table) wine. We ended in Oregon whose latitude is the same as in Burgundy.

Monarch Wine Tasting

I ended up pouring wine most of the evening, so I was not able to make any tasting notes. But I would have to say that there was something for everyone in this lineup. I know this from seeing many of these wines in parcels as my guests departed for the evening. There were pleasing and desirable qualities in each of these wines and can say with 100% certainty that any of these wines could find a place on our wine rack. I did end up buying a bottle of the Oregon wine because Gary missed this selection. You can read a little bit about these wines in the pre-tasting post I shared on January 12th.  Or you can head to Monarch Wine Merchants to purchase any of these lovelies.

Here are some phone snaps I took as the tasting moved along.


Little BIG Thing – Food Huggers

This find really does not need any explanation. It just makes sense. You cut an English cucumber in half because you do not need all if it in your salad. What do you do with the other half? Put it in a plastic bag or a plastic container and then lose it in your fridge?  Not anymore. Now you can use Food Huggers. Silicon caps that fit over the ends of the various fruits and vegetables that you need to preserve and save for later use.

I can not tell you how many rotten cucumbers I have tossed because it was in a bag or container and I forgot about it. Now that I use Food Huggers, the bright colors stand out in a crowded fridge and you can also see the veggie or fruit that you are saving.  Not only do these save you from using plastic bags but it keeps the fruit fresh for at least a week if not longer. Are you using it with an apple? Put some lemon juice in the Hugger and rub around before you insert the apple and it will not brown.  I highly recommend this little BIG Thing!

Frittata with Swiss Chard, Bacon and Ricotta Cheese


12 ounces bacon, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces
1 cup sliced shallots
2 bunches fresh Swiss Chard, cleaned, de-stemmed and chopped
12 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
12 ounces whole-milk ricotta cheese (about 1 3/4 cups)


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cook bacon in a 12-inch-diameter ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.

Pour bacon drippings into a bowl; reserve.

Return two tablespoons drippings to skillet. Add shallots and sauté over medium heat until golden, about 4 minutes.

Add half of the chard and toss until beginning to wilt, about 1 minute. Add remaining greens and sauté until wilted, tender, and dry, about 15 minutes. Transfer greens to plate; cool.

Wipe out skillet with a damp paper towel. Beat eggs and salt in large bowl. Whisk in 3/4 cup Parmesan, then the chard and half of bacon. Stir in ricotta, leaving some clumps. Heat 1 tablespoon reserved drippings in skillet over medium heat.

Pour in egg mixture; spread remaining chard evenly. Sprinkle remaining bacon and 1/4 cup Parmesan over eggs. Cook over medium heat until frittata is just set at edges, about 10 minutes.

Transfer to preheated oven and bake until just set or about 20 minutes. Cut around frittata to loosen; allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Slice into wedges and serve. (if you are serving at the table you may wish to slide it out of the skillet and on a platter before slicing.)



Download Printable Recipe Here: Frittata with Swiss Chard, Bacon and Ricotta Cheese


Well, that is all for now!






  1. Whew! What a lot going on, Rick! Sounds like a fabulous tasting. And I can’t wait to see your carinena notes.

  2. Steven E Clem

    The tasting was a wonderful experience as always – just the right amount of “info” and some delicious wines to try. I enjoyed them all, but the Sandhi was the “winner” for my palate and a couple bottles went home with me that night. Thank you to you, Gary, and Justin for another stellar evening!

    • It is always my pleasure.

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