For the Aspiring Sommelier: Blissful Wine & Cheese Pairings

Last Sunday at the Boston Wine Expo, we absorbed mouthwatering cooking tips aplenty. While in the same room with hundreds upon hundreds of vineyard owners and wine experts, we couldn’t resist asking – how does a beginner go about pairing wine with cheese? According to Angie Van Ruiten of California’s Van Ruiten Family Winery, the most basic rule is this: “Pair soft cheese with white and hard cheese with red.” To graduate beyond novice? Read on.

Delicious Wine and Cheese Pairings

Blue Cheese
Salty blues like Gorgonzola balance best with sweet whites like Riesling and Moscato.

Hard Cheese
Pour a full-bodied red – Cabernet Zinfandel or Chianti – with full-flavored Cheddar, Gouda, and Parmesan.

Soft Cheese
Brie, Muenster, and Camembert work well with Champagne or Chardonnay, which won’t overpower their milder flavors.

Okay, enough studying. Prepare for your soiree with our Cocktail Hour: Host a Wine & Cheese Party Boutique on Friday, February 21, at 3PM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

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February 21, 2014

3 Types, 1 Kitchen: Which Cookware Works for You?

Whether you’re a braise-and-sear kind of cook or you keep health in mind, we’ve outlined the benefits – and a few things to be mindful of – for each. So, do your research, then get choosing. That stack of cookbooks is begging to be cracked.

How to Choose Cookware

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February 18, 2014

Refine That Palate: Chef Jody Adams Dishes Cooking Tips at the Boston Wine Expo

Last Sunday, instead of my usual afternoon of brunch and Bloody Marys, I headed down to the Seaport Boston Hotel and World Trade Center for the 23rd-annual Boston Wine Expo. Oenophiles from Oregon, Italy, and beyond gathered to promote their best-selling bottles, while local chefs from hot spots like The Tip Tap Room, towne, and Tavern Road gave cooking demonstrations to eager foodies.

First up on my must-see list? Chef Jody Adams, a James Beard Award winner (it’s kind of a big deal in the biz), author, and founding force behind two acclaimed area restaurants, Rialto and Trade. In addition to serving up her tasty Tomato and Farro Soup – a recipe we just happened to find on her blog, The Garum Factory – Adams spilled a few priceless kitchen tips for aspiring cooks.

Jody Adams Tips

Images by Marisa DiSarno

Continue reading “Refine That Palate: Chef Jody Adams Dishes Cooking Tips at the Boston Wine Expo” »

February 18, 2014

On the Home Front: Behind the USA-Made Brand, Vermont Farm Table

It’s a fact that buying within our borders means the majority of your dough stays local, and you can trace those locally sourced materials back to their roots. Case in point: Vermont Farm Table. This Burlington-based woodworking company has our attention. Here, a bit about the brand.

Vermont Farm Table

With little design education and a lot of dedication, Dustin Glasscoe began this woodworking company out of a two-car garage in Shelburne, Vermont. Utilizing reclaimed and repurposed materials, as well as nontoxic oil-based finishes, each piece is handcrafted to last. Really last. He fully expects them to pass down to future generations.

Thinking twice about buying out of the country? Shop our American Mainstays: USA-Made Cookware & More Boutique on Monday, February 17, at 3PM ET.

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February 17, 2014

On the Table Tonight: Fried Chicken from the Blog Cupcakes and Cashmere

Tomorrow is Presidents’ Day. And in honor of George Washington’s southern roots, we’re whipping up something truly indulgent. Enter: this crispy recipe for classic fried chicken from Cupcakes and Cashmere.

Cupcakes and Cashmere's Fried Chicken Recipe

Photo by Emily Schuman

Topped with lightly fried thyme, rosemary, and sage, then served with a squeeze of lemon, this juicy dish is comfort food at its finest.  So call over friends, pull out a deep cast iron skillet, and treat yourself.

Prep for the evening at our Sunday Supper: Southern Delights Boutique on Sunday, February 16, at 3PM ET.

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February 16, 2014

Forget Roses: Try a Bacon Bouquet

Flowers are so last year. This Valentine’s Day, why not give that special someone a gift you can both enjoy? Namely, bacon.

Bacon Bouquet for Valentine's Day

Image via Business Insider

The editors of Business Insider take Valentine’s Day very seriously, and this homemade bouquet of bacon roses proves it. Easy to make with only a few kitchen items – and, of course, juicy strips of bacon – it’s a fail-safe last-minute gift idea. (Unless your sweetheart is vegetarian. In which case, sorry.) The only challenge is not eating it all yourself first.

Ready to give it a try? Watch the how-to on Business Insider.

By Christine Mitchell, Staff Writer

Would you rather get a bouquet of roses or bacon this Valentine’s Day? Tweet us at @ruelala to share.

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February 14, 2014

Guilt-Free Dish: Lemon Basil Pasta from the Blog Love and Lemons

It’s February. And the idea of keeping some kind of resolution… well, let’s just say, I’ll become a morning person just as soon as the Boston sun rises at 5AM. As for diet, thanks to a myriad of food blogs – including one of Rue’s personal favorites, Love and Lemons – it’s easy to put in a valiant effort.

Tonight? Pasta. A personal splurge. But this one’s chock-full of uber-healthy veggies like asparagus, peas, spinach, and basil. Also known as easy, simple, and delicious.

Love and Lemons Pasta Dish

Photo by Jeanine Donofrio

“Despite starting this meal way too late, it comes together super fast,” writes Love and Lemons blogger Jeanine Donofrio. “The lemon and olive oil highlight the crunchy spring vegetables in a bright but simple way. And especially if you’re using homemade pasta, the flavors don’t overwhelm the taste of the fresh noodles.”


Next year’s resolution? Making my own pasta. (We’ll see.)

Before you pull out the ingredients? Check out our Sunday Supper: Fast, Fresh, & Healthy Cooking Boutique on Sunday, February 9, at 3PM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

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February 9, 2014

Call the Neighbors: Your At-Home Bar Is Going Pro

Glassware. Ice buckets. You have the basics. And with these add-ons? What was once an ordinary bar cart is now the chicest neighborhood haunt – just steps from your own kitchen.

At-Home Bar Essentials

Whiskey Rocks
For guests who like their liquor served neat – but a touch on the chilly side.

A Decanter
Nothing looks as professional as pouring vino from one of these mouth-blown beauties.

Double-Duty Décor
Your bar bible, a cocktail-making book will also give guests something to peruse.

Transform your drink station with our Cocktail Hour: Essentials for the At-Home Bar Boutique on Friday, January 31, at 3PM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

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January 31, 2014

Let Them Eat Cake: The Diet That Dishes Sweets for Breakfast

It might not be your birthday, but according to the author of The Marie Antoinette Diet, you should be eating cake for breakfast. Based on the queen’s indulgent biography, the book’s sweet way of eating is all about satisfaction. Well, during breakfast, at least. Indulge in the morning, then consume nothing but broth for the rest of the day.

How to Eat Cake and Stay Thin

Effective? Who knows. But as a girl who’s tried almost every single food fad of the 21st century (grapefruit, cabbage soup, you name it), this diet doesn’t sound so bad. Tomorrow morning, expect to find me in line for a Cronut™ or Cragel – or, okay, both.

Indulge in more diet details on New York Magazine: The Cut.

By Jillian Hudon, Staff Writer

Will you be trying cake for breakfast? Tweet us at @ruelala to share.

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January 30, 2014

How to Throw an Authentic Chinese New Year Party

On January 31, residents of Chinatowns from coast to coast – as well as Chinese populations around the world – will hit the streets in celebration of the New Year. The holiday, also known as Spring Festival, marks the first day of the year on the Chinese calendar and is a time when families gather in celebration of their ancestors and the gods alike.

If you’re anything like us, you’ll look at this as a learning opportunity – and, of course, a reason to host a party. Follow our festive advice for an authentic Year of the Horse fete. Don’t have lion dancers on speed dial? We’ll let that slide.

Chinese New Year Party Ideas

Set the table with chopsticks. Serve up homemade dumplings – boiled, not fried or steamed – with traditional Chinese dipping sauces.

Make your own Spring Festival cocktail. Head to your local Asian market and pick up a Chinese beer (Tsingtao is popular). Combine equal parts beer, prosecco, and freshly squeezed orange juice.

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January 26, 2014