wine wednesday: grilled pizza and lambrusco

I want PIZZA: P-I-Z-Z-A, gimme PIZZA, P-I-Z-Z-A! (anyone remember that very old school MK&A pizza party video???…they couldn’t have been older than 11) it was one of my faves back in the day!

Just fact checked and that song was released in 1995, they were born in ’86- so boom baby they were 9! I called it.

Moving along to the present day, I was thrilled when Chef Adam said he was going to make pizzas on the grill. And let me tell you it’s genius. It’s a next level BBQ play that couldn’t be easier to do. It might even be cheaper than doing burgers and dogs if you stick to good old margarita za’s…you can fact check this yourself and let a girl know! pizza party with lambrusco

Are you drooling yet?? If not, all good, guess you’ll just have to test it out for yourself!

GRILLED PIZZA TIPS

  1. TAKE IT EASY Store bought dough will do just fine (or you can make your own!) just make sure you set it out to proof (aka double in size) so that the dough is lighter and more manageable.
  2. STRETCH THAT DOUGH Form your basic rectangle shape before placing on the grill and adjust accordingly once the dough hits the grill.
  3. GREASE IT UP Olive oil is your friend to keep things from sticking!
  4. CLOSE THE GRILL Once you have your dough set, close the grill for a few minutes to act like an oven. It’ll circulate the hot air to cook both sides.
  5. SWISH AND FLIP When the dough seemed nice a cooked and easy to lift off the grill, flip it over using tongs in a quick, confident motion.
  6. TOMATO/TOMAHTO Store bought sauce is just fiiiine, but you can buy late season “uglies/seconds” tomatoes that will be cheaper because they’re not as pretty, more sweet and ripe for a sauce.
  7. FRESH CHEESE FTW Adding hand torn mozzarella is the play, just have a paper towel handy to absorb some of the moisture once the cheese starts to melt. Shredded is totally fine too, but fresh wins.
  8. PLAY WITH TOPPINGS If you grilled up some veg, add it to your ‘za! Or some fresh herbs/basil to really make it homegrown. Prosciutto is totally a move too.

WINE PAIRING

When I think pizza, I immediately want a cold glass of bubbly red. It’s such a playful pairing. Soooo refreshing when it’s hot. Plus the ABV (alcohol by volume) is lower than your average glass of wine so it’s not as potent and you won’t get as tipsy. Now Lambrusco, the classic sparkling red of which I speak, hails from the Emilia-Romagna, a northern Italian region known for its food. Think balsamic vinegar, parmesan cheese, prosciutto and yummy bolognese sauce. The high acid factor in the wine plays well with the richer meats, so feel free to add meats to your pizza. The wine stand up! A few things to keep in mind when buying this frizzante aka “slightly fizzy” wine:

  1. LOOK FOR “SEC” on the label or ask for a DRY Lambrusco. Then there’s no risk you’ll open a slightly sweet bottle.
  2. DRINK ‘EM YOUNG! These wines are meant to be sipped and served within a year or two of production.
  3. CHILL THEM. You must. End of story.
  4. BUY IN BULK. Trust me, you’ll run out of it sooner than you think because it’s such a crowd pleaser.
  5. RELAX. Take a load off and just have fun with this wine, that’s really the best way to enjoy it!

Let me know if you find any favorite brands. Always wanting to try new labels.

Well I’m off to each some lunch. All this food talk is making me HUNGRY.

Cheers!

wine wednesday: grill and chill your reds

I am thrilled that I get to share this series with you! One thing I love about summer is all the BBQs, and since 4 of July is right around the corner, I figured I’d start with the basics: burgers and dogs.

Now feel free to fancy up the burgers/hot dogs with cheese and other accouterments, but at the minimum, you’ll have ketchup and mustard on hand.

bbq spread

TOP GRILL TIPS

  1. BUY GOOD MEAT! The better the quality, the better the burger. This also goes for the ratio of meat to fat. Chef (and I can vouch too!) says 80:20 is what you should look for on your ground beef labels. That way the burger will be juicy and not dry.
  2. SEASON YOUR MEAT! You don’t need to get fancy, but a good dose of S&P is key!
  3. TOUCH YOUR MEAT! And by meat, I mean the stuff that’s on the grill. Once the burger starts cooking, it will firm up. The firmer the burger, the more cooked.
  4. LET YOUR MEAT SIT! Don’t throw it on the bun right away. By letting the burger rest on a plate for a minute it allows all the juices to settle and stay in the burger. You don’t want a one bite in all the juice is on your plate situation.
  5. GRILL YOUR BUNS! Butter isn’t necessary and Chef didn’t use any…but hey I’m from the Midwest, so I’d add a little butter or EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

LET’S TALK WINE PAIRING

In general, I think red meat needs a red wine. With summer temps already getting up drinking a red on its own isn’t my cup of tea unless I’m in a very air-conditioned space. So solution is to CHILL YOUR REDS!!! Now I said light-medium bodied reds because anything too tannic/grippy (think big Cabs/Italian/Bordeaux Blends) won’t be your best call. But those wines that are smoother tend to chill up nice and easy!

I chose a ZWEIGELTan Austrian red that will work perfectly for this scenerio. Be the unsung hero (but actually people will be talking because they’ll love it so much) and bring a few bottles pre-chilled to your 4th of July party. It pairs perfectly with the burgers and hot dogs, steaks too! If you can’t find a Zweigelt, I suggest getting a Pinot Noir, Gamay (Beaujolais), Sangiovese or any other smooth light-medium bodied sipping vino.

Enjoy your 4th!!

wine wednesday: summer sips

Where did this year go?? I mean more than happy to welcome SUMMER but my God! I haven’t even made 4th of July plans yet (better get on that)…speaking of- if you’re doing something rad, I’ll happily provide the party with some fantastic summer-approved sips!

Anyway, besides rosé, you can likely find me sipping on:

summer wine

ORANGE WINE

Like I said, usually a little more full bodied, these wines attain their orange-y hue because the winemakers leave the grape skins in contact with the juice for a limited amount of time (similar to the process of making rosé) They tend to be a little funkier and (in my humble opinion) more fun to sip than your average crisp PG or Sauv B. My favorite right now is THIS BABY (2016 Jolie-Laide Pinot Gris) from a really fun California winemaker!

PÉT NAT aka PETILLANT NATUREL

Hellooooo easy-money-drinking! These effervescent wines go with everything: a tan, the beach, lobsta, sunsets, front porch swings and date nights. Fab on their own too, these are less bubbly than a traditional sparkling wine and are likely unfiltered (it’s ok you’ll live I promise–look at me, I had 2 glasses last night and live to tell the tale!) The rosé versions remind me of a yummy Italian soda, you know those Pelligrino ones? Only there’s alcohol wooohooo. PARTAY. I was drinking THIS or try THIS

CHILLED RED WINE

THIS IS YOUR POWER PLAY!!!! Chill down your Pinot Noirs, Gamays, Grenaches, Sangioveses, Beaujolias..any light-medium bodied red can be served with a chill. Seriously refreshing AF. Perfect with grilled steaks and burgers. I was drinking THIS in my video, how can you say no to that simple label?!

Bottom line is: these are all easy drinking, mood lifting, fun vinos to bring to a BBQ, summer bash or open with friends (or yourself!). Any favorites? Share below in the comments!!

cheers to you!

a heartfelt thank you to YOU!

I started this blog almost a year ago as a place to share my insight on all things food/acting. And while it’s morphed into more than that, hello wine videos, I wouldn’t have been able to grow without your feedback and support.

Now that the layout is set, I am exciting to bring even more content- like how to do different neighborhoods 3 ways (solo, girls day, date), where I’m craving to eat (LA/Chicago/London/plus more cities included), and fun collaborations with different actors/bloggers/creators!

So since I can’t make everyone an aperol spritz to celebrate, I figured I’d give you my recipe so you can make one yourself. It’s easy AF and extremely refreshing. You may or may not be transported to the South of France/Italy while drinking.

Cheers friends!

APEROL SPRITZ (makes one)

-3oz bubbles

-2oz aperol

-splash chilled sparkling water

-orange slice to garnish

Fill glass of choice- I usually use a wine glass- with ice. Combine all listed ingredients and stir. Another option is to fill a pitcher with one bottle of bubbly and add approximately 16 oz of aperol. Then just pour mixture into a glass with ice and serve. Super easy for parties! Sip and enjoy. 

 

As always, if there are certain topics you want me to cover, comment and I will make a post!

xxNP

 

making “me” time

And just like that, it’s the first day of Spring!

Growing up I learned that Spring was all about rebirth; plants and animals coming out of hibernation as the frost melted away into sunshine and warmer weather.

blooms at Lake Elsinore

And while warmer weather might not be there for everyone (just come visit Southern California to get your dose!) there are hints of Springtime popping up everywhere:

ps loving the portrait feature on the iPhone 7!

…Like poppies! Popping up (can’t help myself!) throughout the parks in California. Known as a “super bloom”, the wildflowers are extra happy and vibrant this year because of all the rain we got during winter–see we really did have seasons this year!

..We also “sprung forward” so the days are feeling longer and the nighttime slump comes later.

…There are lots of “spring cleaning” ads. Having been in my new space for a little over a month, I’m taking the time to clear the clutter and get rid of excess stuff I haven’t touched in months.

…It’s March Madness! My Dad is in his, damn I can’t even remember how long he’s run it, but he’s the ring leader (call him the “commish”) of a big NCAA basketball tournament pool. His emails bring me joy everyday. It also helps that my alma mater, UNC, is still in the running and Villanova (last year’s champs who beat us) are already out. YES!

…Pastel colors are everywhere! Stores are gearing up for Easter (hello Reese’s and Cadbury chocolate eggs!) and flowers are blooming.

wildflower cluster

So back to flowers and “me time”. Over the weekend, I decided to drive out solo to Lake Elsinore and see the colorful blooms. Man, did I feel like I was in Oz (not just how colorful, but lotssss of other people had the same idea).

cactus meet flowers

Wanting some time with little human interaction to reflect, soak up the sun and take some pics, I took a slightly steeper path, made it to the top and spread out my things.

alllll by myself (and loving it!)

I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS. For everyone!!!! Making time for yourself-even if it’s just 15 minutes and at your kitchen table- it is so vital to staying grounded. For re-centering, rebirth (hey, hey, Spring connection) and refocusing on you. What brings you happiness and what you need to let go. I’ll write more on this later in the week and the steps I take, so look out.

sunny selfies

In the mean time, on the first day of Spring. I dare you to take some time for yourself. JUST FOR YOU. Because at the end of the day- even with girlfriends, boyfriends, moms, dads, spouses, family, coworkers, etc. If you aren’t making yourself whole and happy it’s going to make it damn challenging for the rest of your circle to bring you that fullness. Find it in yourself. I promise it’s there.

You can start small and:

…buy yourself flowers

…get whipped cream on your coffee

…read the comics AND the sports section from a real newspaper

…sit an extra 5 minutes in your car to listen to your favorite song (again)

…take a walk around your block during your lunch break, or when you’re home from work

…smile

…stay longer post workout to stretch a little deeper or dip into the sauna if that’s available.

Whatever you choose do it for you!

Wishing everyone a great start to their week. Let me know how you take your “me time” in the comments.

xo N