Today we are celebrating Cork and Spoon’s 100th post!!!! AAAHHHHH! Ouch! That was Emilie pinching me by the way. Just needed to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. Wow! It’s almost surreal, because it does not feel so long ago that Emilie and I were contemplating this endeavor over blueberry-ginger mojitos and swiss chard. Thank-you, guys, for joining us on this adventure, and, more importantly, sticking with us! We are having a blast and we hope you have been enjoying it as much as we have.
So how do you celebrate such a milestone? Well, Emilie, being the information whiz that she is, began researching ideas about a month ago. Just as there are so many ways of celebrating a birthday, she discovered that there are just as many to celebrate your 100th post. One idea that stuck with us was the suggestion of celebrating our 100th post with a list of 100 “things” related to our blog. Since Cork and Spoon focuses on cooking and uncorking (or mixing up) something yummy, our first thoughts were 100 Kitchen Staples or 100 Favorite Ingredients. The I realized that listing 100 of anything is a lot more than I could come up, even with Emilie’s help! Emilie agreed, and the two of us came up with the idea of listing ten different Top 10s. While ten separate lists seemed like it would much easier, it was still pretty challenging. Good thing Emilie and I thrive on challenges (and wine)!
These lists aren’t in any particular order – coming up with them was hard enough. Blending 2 versions of each list and then ranking them… Emilie and I decided maintaining our friendship was more important than whether or not the Flavor Bible is better than Zingerman’s Guide to Good Eatting (take note of our two separate desert island lists… yea, there will be no 3 hours tours for the two of us). Let us know what you think. Even better, what are your top 10s? Let us know in the comments section, we’d love to hear them!
Now, without further adieu, I give you Cork and Spoons Ten Top 10s!
#1: Top 10 Cooking Resources
- The Flavor Bible - Don’t know what goes with that celery root you just picked up? This book gets you started on flavors and
ingredients to build on.
- Pinterest - Full of inspiration and “how to” sources.
- You Tube - With millions of videos, great source for finding a tutorial that works for you and your approach to cooking.
- Real Simple - Recipes, step by step videos, and even ingredient profiles where you can find out how to shop for, prep, and cook something.
- Zingerman’s Guide to Good Eating - You want to know about good food, this book will tell you all about it!
- The Kitchn - Inspiration, tools, party ideas, special diets… They have it all.
- Epicurious’ App - Use the search tool to find recipes by ingredients on your phone while at the grocery store.
- Joy Of Baking - Great place to start for the aspiring recreational baker.
- Martha Stewart - Is there anything food related that woman can’t or hasn’t done? The Cooking 101 section offers great crash courses for those just ready to get their hands dirty.
- The Food Network - I don’t think this one needs an explanation!
#2: TOP 10 Food and Wine Destinations
- New Orleans, LA – One of the earliest “melting pots” in America, find both your fancy and your down home cooking… with a dash of tobasco of course.
- Provence, France – Côtes du Rhône wine and fields of lavender…sounds relaxing.
- the Amalfi Coast, Italy – Cooking schools, limoncello, the birthplace of pizza…oh, there’s wine, too!
- Istanbul, Turkey – An ancient cross roads smack right in the middle of the Old World is sure to please an adventurous palate.
- Seattle, Washington, U.S. – This trip would be worth it just to check out the world famous Pike Place Fish Market. Its also the birth place of the modern, ubiquitous coffee shop. Add to that an urban forest designed for food foraging, and its a unique place to experience.
- Buenos Aires, Argentina – Malbec!! Torrentes!! Oh, and I hear the food is delicious, too!
- Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.- American southern cooking
is seen by some as the one purely American cuisine and this city offers up some of the best!
- Bangkok, Thailand – Garlic, chilies, fresh seafood…it’s like the best of Chinese, Indian, and Pacific island cuisines. Apparently the street food is something you don’t want to miss out on, either!
- Barcelona, Spain – Ever hear of molecular gastronomy? Don’t worry. If jellied strands of arugala “pasta” aren’t your thing, there are other options like jamon serrano, fresh olive oil, and paella! Or you can wash down your plate of tapas with a glass of Rioja.
- San Francisco, California, U.S. – The perfect city for foodies with amazing restaurants and shopping experiences like the Ferry Building Marketplace. Plus, Napa Valley and the California wine experience is a day trip away.
#3: TOP 10 Foods Emilie Would Take On A Desert Island
- Jameson Whiskey
- Diet Coke (yes, I’m addicted and I am not ashamed)
- Gooey creamy mac and cheese
- Goat cheese
- Atlantic salmon
- Sourdough bread
- Heath Toffee bars
#4: TOP 10 FOODS Ruth WOULD TAKE ON A DESERT ISLAND
- Coffee (Caribou’s Lacuna blend!)
- Bushmills Whiskey
- Italian Parsley
- Dove Dark Chocolate
- Chick-fil-a Sauce and Waffle Fries (they’re symbiotic, so it counts as one!)
#5: TOP 10 Essential Kitchen TooLs
- Several cutting boards – It is a very rare recipe that doesn’t require at least 2 cutting boards: one for veggies and one for raw meat.
- Dutch Oven – Great for even, slow cooking and works on both the stove top and in the oven.
- Good Chef’s knife (or 2!) – A good knife will make your kitchen life so, so much easier!
- Sharp paring knife – Peel apples, section citrus fruits, hull strawberries, remove the inside ribs of a jalepeno…If it requires control, detail, and precision this is the tool to get it done.
- Decent set of pots and pans - Not everyone can afford All Clad, but there are tons of options to fit any budget and cooking life-style.
- Basic citrus juicer – Gets every bit of juice AND catches those pesky seeds.
- Whisk- Sift your dry ingredients without a special tool, or more importantly whip up heavy cream and eggs into airy deliciousness
- Micro-plane Grater – Razor sharp, it zests citrus and finely grates your favorite cheeses and spices quick and easy.
- Heat resistant spatulas and spoons – No one wants melted plastic for dinner.
- Corkscrew – More wines are moving to metal screw tops everyday, but corks are probably still here to stay! Some corkscrews even do double duty as [beer] bottle openers.
#6: TOP 10 Pantry Staples
- Garlic bulbs
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Low sodium chicken or vegetable broth/stock
- Canned, no salt added diced tomatoes
- Canned Beans (black beans, kidney beans, Garbanzo beans)
- Panko Bread Crumbs
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Wine (One bottle of red, and one bottle of dry white. Decent, but inexpensive.)
- Sweet onion (like Spanish or Vidalia)
#7: TOP 10 Posts from other Bloggers
- Annie’s Eats How to Decorate with Royal Icing
- Smitten Kitchen’s Project Wedding Cake: Swiss Buttercream…After
all my woes with buttercream, this post lead me to another discovery: Italian Buttercream and the development of my now go-to recipe.
- Sprinkle Bakes Jane Austen Birthday Cake - We love Jane Austen – LOVE. So of course we appreciate anyone who would bake her a birthday cake, inspired by a recipe from her own era!
- My Bitter Sweets & Savories Cinnamon Apple Hope Cake – Its hard to pick a favorite from this relatively new blog. All I know is I identify with MyBitterSweets. Who among us hasn’t spent time seasoning our soup with a few tears?
- We Are Not Martha Make Your Own Glitter Flats – Sure this a blog about food and wine, and We Are Not Martha is also a blog (primarily) about food, booze, and cooking. But occasionally the ladies surprise you with some fun project, like these flats. Yep, I made a pair and I still wear them, just not to the office.
- Tasha in the Kitchen VegBag Excitement: Not only is this post a celebration of fresh produce and supporting local produce, but it also highlights the need for flexibility and creativity in the kitchen.
- Pasta Princess Homemade Sausage Stuffed Ravioli: Cheryl over at Pasta Princess makes some amazing looking food (I am itching to try her peanut butter caramel corn), but what amazes me most is the absolutely beautiful pasta she makes. Serious, these ravioli are little works of art, go look at them right now.
- Just a Smidgen’s Flat Stanley? No, It’s Flat Ruthie’s Chicken Soup for Stars: No, it’s not this Ruthie. Barbara and her wordpress alter ego “Smidge” have got to be one of the most creative blogs out there. Check out “Flat Ruthie’s” trip around Calgary with Smidge which ends with a fantastic looking bowl of chicken soup.
- Back Road Journal’s I Wanted to Take You To Mt Vernon But: Karen takes the most fantastic trips ever! If you missed it, you should check out her recent trip up and down I-95. We were super excited to see her take (twice) on one of our favorite local areas, Old Town Alexandria.
- Joy The Baker’s Homemade Churros with Warm Dark Chocolate Sauce : I just recently came across this blog as I was researching Spanish dishes (vacation coming soon, yay!). The recipe may be for churros, but the post itself, however, has nothing to do with churros…but cigarette smoking Tinkerbells…curious now, huh? Check it out!
#8: Top 10 Bottles of Wine You’ll Find in Cork and Spoon’s Wine Racks
- Sarah’s Patio Red, Chrysalis Vineyards ( Middleburg, VA) – 100% Norton and absolutely amazing served lightly chilled on a hot summer day. Just for the record, we are obsessed with reds that are as delicious when chilled as when served at normal temperatures.
- Freixenet Cordon Negro Extra Dry Cava (Sant Sadurni D’Anoia, Barcelona, Spain) – Prounounced “fresh-eh-net”. This Cava is a bubbly blend of three white Spanish grape varietals: Macabeo, Zarel-lo, and Parellada. Sparklewithout being too sugary. The black bottle really dresses it up, too!
- Abbinato, Potomac Point Vineyard & Winery (Stafford, VA) – A blend of Sangiovese and Touriga Nacional, a bottle (or two) of this Italian style table wine is always ordered during visits to the winery…and maybe a bottle or two makes its way back home with us, too!
- Monte Oton, Bodegas Borsao (Campo de Borja, Spain) – 100% Granacha, it has a good clean minerality with some delicious dark fruitiness. Bold enough for red wine lovers yet light enough to serve on summer day with or without a light chilling.
- Crush Red Blend, The Dreaming Tree (Geyserville, CA) – A blend of merlot and zinfandel, this is a recent discovery of Emilie’s. Dave Matthews is really getting into the wine business. First his own vineyard (Blenheim in Charlottesville, VA and now this CA venture with Award-winning Sonoma Countywinemaker Steve Reeder) Jammy berry flavors (that’s the zinfandel) and a hint of smokey tobacco (that’s the merlot)…we’re planning on digging up our Dave Matthew’s CDs for the next bottle we open.
- Cupcake Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand) – 100% Sauvignon Blanc, don’t hate it because the label is pretty! Aged in stainless steel, it is crisp and full of citrus zing without being too acidic. Love this wine.
- Mendoza Station Torrentes (Mendoza, Argentina) – 100% Torrentes, at about $6 this wine is an absolute bargain!! Full of tropical flavors and nice acidity, it pairs wonderfully with light fare like sushi, salad, and grilled seafood.
- Nero d’Avola, Cusumano (Sicily, Italy) – 100% Nero d’Avola. Of Sicilian wines, you may be more familiar with Marsala, but you really should look into the Nero. Ruth helped Shawn score some points with the Palermo locals when she told him to order the Nero d’Avola during his last deployment (Sicily is one of many likely pit stops when making your way to the Persian Gulf by ship). A very Italian wine, you’ll find it fruity and peppery with a nice finish.
- Delas St. Esprit Cotes-du-Rhone Rouge (Rhone, France) – Predominately Syrah and Grenache, our Total Wine friends introduced us to Cotes-du-Rhone wines with this bottle. If you like red Bordeux wines, but find the price tags a little steep for your budget, you’ll love a bottle from one of the many Cote du Rhone villages.
- Gascon Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina) – Say hello to Emilie’s favorite varietal! Beautiful dark fruits like cassis, plums, and berries lends well to the beautiful deep color. You’ll get a lovely, sweet oak in the smooth finish.
#9: Cork and Spoon’s Top 10 Wish List
- Beverage dispenser for parties (Emilie loves this hand blown one from Anthropologie )
- Full size food processor like this Cuisinart
- An Elegant Coffee Server like the one they serve your coffee with at the Elliot House Inn in Charleston
- Beautiful flatware: how can you not love this set Em has picked out?!
- A Waffle Maker (How cool is this double Belgian version?!)
- DeLonghi Perfecta Espresso Machine
- Scone Pan for perfectly beautiful scones.
- A Stylish home bar. This modular style from Pottery Barns allows a little bit of customizing.
- Vinturi Aerorators (yes, we can be impatient!), there’s one for red wine, white wine, and even spirits!
- A fantastic outdoor cooking space like one made fromthese modular design pieces from Harmony Outdoor Living. I’d like the waterfall backdrop, too, please!
#10: Top 10 “Non-Essential” Kitchen Tools (Doesn’t mean we don’t want them!)
- Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer– If you’re a serious baker and have the money to drop on this, DO IT! I know my baking life has gotten
seriously easier since I bought mine last year on Cyber Monday and Emilie uses her mom’s all the time (She grinds her own sirloin for hamburgers, how cool is that?). However, people were baking long before the stand mixer came around. Nothing like good old fashioned elbow grease to get the job done. Making bread? Punch! Pull! Great stress reliever. Whipping cream or egg whites? Don’t need your Tae Bo speed bag moves to tone those arms now!
- Mandoline Slicer – The two of us just recently acquired our own mandoline slicers. Wonderful for quick, perfect, even slices for something such as an au gratin or beautifully presented salads. A chef’s knife, patience, and practice will get you the same results.
- Garlic/Ginger Press – Not Emilie’s favorite gadget, but I love it! This little gadget gets you fast and finely minced garlic and ginger that blends into recipes with no noticeable chunks. Again, a chef’s knife will get you similar results.
- Rice Cooker – My mother’s Filipina and I was raised in Okinawa, we always had a rice cooker. Then I moved out after college and had a disastrous experience with cooking rice on a stove top. Not my cup of tea, so I bought a little rice cooker that has served me well for about six years now. There are fancier models out there that will also steam fish and veggies for you at the same time it cooks your rice. Never fear, a sturdy, lidded pot works just fine for most people. Just keep an eye on it!
- Burr Mill – Freshly ground coffee always tastes better. We even had one of these at the office for a few years (Cougar Team always had the best coffee around!) Myself, I make French press, espresso, and drip coffee (when Shawn’s around) so I need to be able to adjust the grind to fit each technique. Your favorite coffee shops are perfectly willing to grind any whole beans you buy from them to your liking. Grocery stores that sell bulk coffee beans also have grinders available for your convenience.
- Brownie Pan – Who loves that bit of crispy edge? I do! Emilie prefers the middle (Are you beginning to tell who is the more practical of the two? lol). These square cavities can also do double duty for baby cakes (vice cupcakes) and bar style cookies. You know, though, you’re muffin tin will work just fine or just save the gooey center for Emilie after you cut off the crispy edges.
- Cake Pop Pan – Yes, they exist. Yes, I want one! My waistline shies away from mashed up balls of cake held together by tons of frosting and decorated in even more beautiful frosting…but sometimes you just have to do it!
- Pancake Molds – Perfectly shaped pancakes and eggs are absolutely beautiful. Truck and teddy bear shaped ones are just too cute! But all you really need is a steady hand. A little imperfection adds character, don’t you think?
- Electric Corkscrew – Ooookay, if you entertain a lot and fun gadgets are your thing, this may be worth the splurge. It really is quite a conversation piece, actually, but all you really need is your humble leverage or torque style corkscrew. Heck, I’ve even used a pocket knife (though NOT recommended unless you like a side of cork with your wine lol)
- Wine Stopper/Vacuum– Wine is a natural product, it will go
bad on you if you so you need to finish it before it gets all vinegary on you. That’s where a vacuum wine sealer or pump comes in handy. An electric version pulls out a lot more air from the bottle than your manual pump. There are even kinds that pull out air and replace it with inert gas to prevent oxidation. Here’s a rule of thumb for the gadget free folks: re-cork and refridgerate your opened bottle of wine for up to three days. Yes, even your reds, just take them out at least 30 minutes before you plan to drink it so it can return to a more suitable temperature.
And just for a fun bonus round of giggles…
#11: Top 10 WorsT Kitchen Chores To Get Stuck With
- Organizing the Tupperware cabinet – seriously is there an alternate universe where socks and Tupperware lids reside?
- Scrubbing the sink
- Wiping down the stove top after deep frying something
- Washing the dishes after the family holiday meal
- Fanning the smoke detector when something’s “gone wrong”
- Cleaning out the fridge and finding that lettuce you thought you’d finished 2 weeks ago
- Identifying that contents of the unlabeled leftovers.
- Scouring the bottom of a a stock pot when you let the soup simmer just a touch too high. Two soaking rotations and a box of S.O.S. pads later and you still aren’t sure the pot will ever be clean.
- Mopping the kitchen floor
- Wait…they’re all the worst!
~Ruth and Emilie