Holly's Blog!

Got Lemons? Zesty ideas you’ll want to pucker up for!

Lemons are most popular in late summer, but are readily available all year long.  Beloved by European cooks and young lemonade stand entrepreneurs, they have a wide variety of uses.  They enhance food flavors, add tang to drinks and dressings, brighten home decoration, and are a natural cleaning and health agent.  Here are some great ways to use lovely lemons in your kitchen. First things first – start by choosing lemons that are bright yellow in color and have a shine to their skin.

Great Gourmet Cuisine in the Great Outdoors!

You shouldn’t have to skimp on great dining experiences when you venture into the great outdoors.  At least that’s my motto! Angela Shen couldn’t agree more.  As Founder and CEO of Savor Seattle, Angela is also a foodie.  This week she shares a great recipe with TheBrownLounge.com that doubles as just one of the wonderful dining experiences she offers on her Gourmet Kayaking Expeditions.

Oscar Worthy Film & Wine Pairings

Oscar night brings out the who’s who of Hollywood, everything red carpet, and a great excuse to get together with friends to watch the glitter and glamour. Whether you’re a movie fan or not, it’s always fun to watch the Oscar buzz. Since we recently released our “Big production” of 2009 handcrafted, Siren Song wines, we decided to put a film and wine pairing menu together to introduce the wines and their stories to you. These are our nominations for film and wine pairings to go with some of Oscar’s Best Picture nominees. For more information on Siren Song wines or to become a member of the Siren Club, visit

Dining Out Inspires Dining In

Every home chef draws inspiration from their favorite restaurants. Dining in Seattle Cookbook makes it easy and fun to recreate a fabulous Seattle restaurant experience at home or combine your favorite recipes from different restaurants into an inventive dinner party experience with your friends. Dining in Seattle offers the home cook insider access to 21 of Seattle’s most acclaimed restaurants and 200 of their recipes. From past restaurants like The Adriatica, The Mirabeau and others, to present establishments such as Canlis, El Gaucho and The Flying Fish, you can recreate memories of unforgettable meals like those at Seattle’s culinary treasures. Andrea Umbach, co-author of Dining in Seattle joined me at The Brown Lounge to cook up some of my favorite dishes from my favorite restaurants.  She also shared a few tips for how to get the most out of the cookbook that she co-authored along with Andrea Lott and Elliott Wolf. “Most importantly, the cookbook is indexed in multiple ways to make it easy to search by ingredient, restaurant or recipe,” Andrea explained. “There are over 200 tips throughout the book, making it easy for both the novice cook and the experienced chef to enjoy.  There are also wine pairings for each course of nearly every meal, selected by the restaurants. In addition, each section includes background and history of the restaurant itself.”

Cooking is Love

Is there anything more romantic than cooking for your loved ones. Why fight for table reservations when you can cook a beautiful, relaxing meal at home? You don’t even need a date to enjoy a Valentine’s celebration that’s special and fun. Just get a group of friends together and make a wonderful meal. Pair each course with a unique wine and it becomes an event to remember! There’s almost nothing more romantic and “delizioso” than Italian food paired with Italian wine. This week TheBrownLounge.com welcomes Vito Montanarelli, a lifelong cook and wine aficionado. Vito shares his love of food, wine and friends with us and demonstrates some beloved dishes from his home town in Puglia, Italy. Vito’s parents taught him and his brothers to cook at an early age. “Good food is really about simple steps and fresh ingredients, made with love,” says Vito. Check out his wine blog at http://www.gioiawines.blogspot.com/. Vito and I cook up a romantic and delicious meal this week for our friends that begins with a “Primi” course of Baked Fennel, paired with Prosecco Rose. “Secondi” is a classic country Italian dish called Braciola di Vitello with Orecchiette (stuffed veal in tomato sauce over pasta), paired with Primitivo di Gioia del Colle. We finish with a rich almond chocolate cake, Torta Caprese paired with Vinsanto.

Sweet & Savory Super Bowl Snacks!

Few events bring the nation together each year like the Super Bowl. When the best of the best of the NFC and AFC meet for Super Bowl XLVI, it’s a signal to get together to watch the big game, critique the ads and eat and drink! Whether you’re rooting for the Patriots or the Giants, watching Madonna during the half time show, singing the National Anthem with Kelly Clarkson, or looking forward to one of the 70 ads that will be shown during the game, it’s one big party! Super Bowl Sunday is practically an American holiday. According to Wikipedia, it’s the second-largest day for U.S. food consumption, after Thanksgiving Day!! The super bowl also attracts eyeballs to ads, with viewership attracting the highest audience of any programming of the year, reaching an average of 100,000,000 people annually.

Taking the Work Out of Creating Appetizing Appetizers

The history of serving food prior to the start of the meal, or as a buffet of small plates, dates back to the early Greeks and Romans. Hors D’oeuvres, popularized by the French, literally means “outside of the work.” That’s why it’s a great idea to bring hors d’oeuvres to a dinner party. The party host takes care of the main work of the meal, and guests can contribute with a “starter” that literally “gets the party started!”

Holly’s Best Bite Theory

My “Best Bite” Theory! Millions of people will start a new diet this week. In fact, going on a diet is the number one reported goal of the New Year. Yesterday I posted my $.02 on dieting in a short comment on our Twitther and FB pages. I shared what I call My Best Bite Theory. I think it speaks for itself, but the brief post got me thinking more about my feelings on food, weight and dieting, and where My Best Bite Theory comes into play. Anyone who has shared a meal with me knows that I’m an eater! I’ve always been food focused and frequently think about how different ingredients will taste together in varying combinations. I can read a recipe and know if it will be good just by imagining how the ingredients, flavors and textures will assimilate, taste and smell. As a kid, and young woman I was called “big boned,” “voluptuous,” and on one occasion it was suggested that I had yet to lose my “baby fat!” All those terms are code to a female that say, “You’re cute, but you need to lose a little weight!”

5 Great Reasons to Try Prosecco Instead of Champagne

Champagne is the bubbly of choice for most celebrations, especially around the holidays. However, Italian Proseco offers a lovely alternative (or addition) and here’s why: 1) Prosecco is Italian for champagne! To be called champagne, the bubbly must actually come from the Champagne region of France and is typically made from pinot noir, or chardonnay grapes. Prosecco is a beautiful bubbly made in Italy, traditionally produced near Venice, and is made from Prosecco grapes. 2) Like champagne, Prosecco is a sparkling wine. It has delicate, fruity and floral notes. 3) Prosecco is less expensive than champagne, but without a sacrifice in quality of enjoyment or drinkability. 4) Prosecco goes great with food! It pairs beautifully with appetisers, salads and other light fare.