Thursday, November 17, 2016

Holiday Pairing Party with DRY Sparkling!

Holiday Pairing Party with DRY Sparkling! // Loves Food, Loves to Eat #HolidayPairingPartyTo celebrate the upcoming holiday season, we’re having a virtual Holiday Pairing Party! I gathered up a handful of other bloggers to virtually sip sparkly seasonal drinks and nibble on tasty holiday food pairings with DRY Sparkling’s new limited edition Ginger and Cranberry sodas (in big champagne-sized bottles!)! See below for the full recipe round-up, including my chocolate satsuma truffles and mini blue cheese bacon cheesecakes!

Holiday Pairing Party with DRY Sparkling! // Loves Food, Loves to Eat #HolidayPairingParty
So... let's talk about holiday traditions. Trying to carry on with our holiday traditions after my dad passed away was rough. The first Thanksgiving and Christmas without him were brutal. We tried to do the same things, in the same places, but carrying on with those traditions without him there made the hole feel even bigger. So we’ve been switching it up! Breathing new light and life into our holidays has allowed me to enjoy and embrace happy memories of him, rather than just feeling his absence. This year, we’ll be doing Thanksgiving and Christmas at my sister and her husband’s house, for the first time ever! And on Black Friday, we’ll be going to a musical! I’m super excited, not necessarily to start new traditions, but to buck tradition all together. To do something totally fresh and new.

Holiday Pairing Party with DRY Sparkling! // Loves Food, Loves to Eat #HolidayPairingParty
If you’re also wanting to try something new this holiday season, may I suggest adding a few pretty, holiday-inspired bottles of DRY Sparkling to your table, next to the wine and sparkling cider (and mixed with the gin and bourbon)? DRY Sparkling (a woman-owned biz in Seattle, holla!) creates culinary-inspired sodas made with natural ingredients and just a touch of cane sugar. DRY is great on its own, paired with food or mixed into cocktails. I’ve created two holiday-party recipes that pair with DRY’s slightly floral Cranberry and lightly spiced Ginger.

Holiday Pairing Party with DRY Sparkling! // Loves Food, Loves to Eat #HolidayPairingParty First up: blue cheese bacon cheesecakes! These are inspired by a bite I had at Cochon555. Sweet graham crust, salty bacon throughout, and savory, creamy blue cheese. It’s like the perfect cheese-board in one bite! I’m pairing these little cheesecakes with Cranberry Dry, which is tart and slightly floral. And then for dessert, I threw all caution to the wind, ignored (almost) everything I read about ginger flavor pairings, and made smooth creamy dark chocolate truffles. I just loved the idea of dark chocolate and spicy ginger together. But, I didn’t want to totally pass on the flavor pairing ideas DRY sent me, so I added tangy Satsuma juice and zest. It’s like those chocolate oranges, but bite-sized! I recommend taking a bite of rich chocolate truffle, a bite of a fresh juicy Satsuma segment, and then a sip of Ginger DRY!

Holiday Pairing Party with DRY Sparkling! // Loves Food, Loves to Eat #HolidayPairingParty
Before we get to my recipes, here are the rest of the Holiday Pairing Party sips and bites! Cheers!


Loves Food, Loves to Eat: Chocolate Satsuma Truffles & Blue Cheese Bacon Cheesecakes (below!)


Giveaway has ended. 
DRY Sparkling Prize Pack Giveaway! You can celebrate with the new holiday flavors, too! Enter to win everything you need to fully enjoy DRY over the holidays, pictured below. To enter, leave a comment below (be sure to provide email address) OR head over to my Instagram, and leave a comment on the photo for this post, telling me about your favorite holiday traditions or fresh new ideas you have for the holidays! 
Holiday Pairing Party with DRY Sparkling! // Loves Food, Loves to Eat #HolidayPairingParty *****

And finally, here are my #HolidayPairingParty recipes! Enjoy! 

Mini Blue Cheese Bacon Cheesecakes
Makes 15 mini cheesecakes
Adapted from this recipe

½ cup graham cracker crumbs 
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons softened butter
1 slice bacon, cooked and finely diced

5 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup crumbled blue cheese
2 slices bacon, cooked and finely diced
½ teaspoon honey 
Fresh thyme (about 1-2 sprigs worth)
½ cup chopped pecans, optional
Sliced fresh cranberries
Line a mini muffin pan with paper liners. 

To make crust, mix together crumbs, sugar, butter, and bacon (I threw it all in the food processor) until thoroughly combined. Scoop about 1 packed teaspoon of crumbs into each muffin cup, and then press/pack it down firmly (I used the back of a tablespoon to pack it down). Refrigerate for at least an hour, or freeze for 20 minutes.

To make filling, mix together cream cheese, blue cheese, remaining bacon, honey, thyme, and pecans (if using). Scoop a tablespoon of the filling into each chilled cup. Gently press filling (I used the back of the tablespoon again, wiping it down and wetting it lightly between each cheesecake), and then use an offset icing spatula or butter knife to smooth the top. Refrigerate until ready to serve, then top with sliced cranberries, and serve with DRY Sparkling Cranberry soda! 

Dark Chocolate Satsuma Truffles
Makes 10-15 truffles (depending on size)
Adapted from this recipe
These can be made a day or two in advance. To store, refrigerate on parchment paper in a sealed container, and let come to room temperature before serving. 

½ cup heavy cream
Zest of 1 large Satsuma (mandarin orange)
8 oz Bittersweet chocolate (at least 60%), 
chopped very fine (even grated or food 
processed would be best)
¼ teaspoon vanilla 
1.5 teaspoons Satsuma juice
½ cup cocoa powder 
Candied ginger 
Fresh Satsuma segments, for serving

In a saucepan, heat heavy cream and zest over low heat (medium low/low), until it just starts to simmer. Put chocolate in a heatproof bowl, and pour cream over it (straining if you don’t want the zest in the truffles). Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 5-10 minutes, until chocolate is melted. Add vanilla and orange juice and, and stir to combine. Let sit to cool (to room temperature).

With an electric mixer or stand mixer, beat until chocolate is lighter in color, about 4 minutes. If it’s still too runny/soft to roll into balls, spread in an 8x8 dish and refrigerate until cool enough to scoop but not totally solid (about an hour). 

Add cocoa powder to a small bowl. Use a melon baller, small ice cream scoop, or cookie dough scoop to scoop chocolate into balls. Shape with hands if needed, and roll in cocoa powder to coat. Top with a shaving of candied ginger, and serve with Satsuma segments and DRY Sparkling Ginger soda!


Note: I received free product from DRY Sparkling as part of this post and giveaway.  All opinions and recipes are my own. Visit DRY Sparkling to learn more about where to find the limited edition holiday flavors, as well as their other fun flavors like Fuji Apple and Juniper Berry! 

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