There's something very nostalgic about game night. It reminds me of the good ol' days of Mall Madness and Pretty Pretty Princess. (Remember Pretty Pretty Princess!? Don't get the black ring!) Recently, game night has gotten a well-deserved digital makeover by none other than Ellen DeGeneres. She created the ultimate version of charades called Head's Up. It's pretty awesome.
Game night for adults sometimes requires a little liquid courage, so to get the night started a little birdie sent me a couple of bottles of vino. I decided to turn the event into "Pot Luck Game Night," and encouraged my guests to bring food that they felt would pair well with Pierre Sparr Crémant d'Alsace Rosé (c/o) and Willm Crémant d’Alsace Blanc de Noirs NV (c/o). My good friend Janine paired the Rosé with some decadent crostinis. One of which: a rosemary baguette smothered in ricotta cheese, drizzled with honey, and topped with hazelnuts and sliced prosciutto.Molly decided on some quality cheese and crackers- brie, manchego, camembert and red pepper Alloutte cheese spread, while Phil contributed olives, salami, and rosemary truffle popcorn. Di-vine. For dessert, Pete was kind enough to bring a gorgeously-rich chocolate mousse cake from La Bergamote.
I decided to pick up on the notes of apple in the Blanc de Noir and keep it healthy with a kale salad. I was lucky enough to pick celebrated New York pastry chef Andrea Jarosh's brain, and she gave me an awesome (and simple!) recipe for candied nuts. I finished my salad with those and a home-made creamy, lemony, honey-mustard dressing. Recipe Below...
Kale & Mesculin Salad with Creamy Honey Mustard Dressing
What You'll Need For the Salad:
- 2 oz. kale
- 2 oz. mesculin
- 1 1/2 green apples, julienned
- 3 oz. cooked pancetta
- 3 oz. fig honey and rosemary mixture. (See fig recipe)
- 3 oz. Grana Padano cheese, grated
Toss kale and mesculin in a bowl. Top with julienned (thinly-sliced) apples and chopped pieces of the fig and honey mixture. Fully cook your pancetta in a pan and top the salad with that, the candied nuts, and Grana Padano cheese before drizzling with homemade dressing.
What You'll Need for Candied Cashews:
- 9 oz cashews
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 cup water
- baking sheet
Boil cashews in equal parts water and confections sugar for about 10 minutes, or until the liquid becomes thick and syrupy.
This is the part where Andrea likes to deep fry the nuts and toss them in salt. (Hello!) I must reiterate that I was trying to keep this semi-healthy, so I decided to bake them. Simply spread them out on a baking sheet and stick them in the oven at 400F for 15 minutes, or until they start to get golden brown. Once they're cooked, sprinkle them with salt and carefully slide them off the baking sheet and onto the salad. Don't wait too long- or they'll be all stuck together.
What You'll Need for Dressing:
- 1 lemon juiced, plus zest from whole lemon (no seeds)
- 1/4 cup of nonfat greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup oz. EVOO
- 2 tbsp red wine or white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt & pepper
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
In a mixing bowl, measure out your non-fat Greek Yogurt and whisk in lemon juice and zest. While continuing to whisk, add a splash (about 1 tablespoon) of red wine vinegar, whole grain mustard, honey, and olive oil until you reach the desired taste and consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste, and toss your salad.
Crémant d’Alsace Cocktails
Created by Brooklyn-based Mixologist Katie Stipe of Last Call Consulting Alsatian Spritz: Warming spirit of apple brandy & notes of cinnamon spice with an elegant effervescence of Crémant d’Alsace Blanc de Blancs.
What You'll Need:
- 1 ounce apple brandy
- .25 ounce maple syrup
- 1 dash aromatic bitters
- Crémant d’Alsace Blanc de Noirs Brut
- Cinnamon stick and apple slice for garnish
Stir the apple brandy, maple syrup and bitters then strain into coupe glass or over ice in a rocks glass.Top with 3 ounces Crémant d’Alsace Blanc de Blancs Brut. Garnish with freshly grated cinnamon or cinnamon stick and apple slice.