Friday, March 1, 2013

Napa State of Mind

Have you ever had a memory that even at the very moment it was happening you knew it was going be something special?  Well, I recently felt that way when Patrick and I took a trip to Napa Valley.  It was amazing! Everything is so different out there and you feel that change right when you drive in. There are grape vines as far as the eye can see (they're amazing even in the winter time).

Some vines grow along sides of mountains so steep that I just don't know how they pick those grapes! There are random palm trees sprinkled throughout the land, reminding you that you may be in the middle of fertile farmland, but you're still in sunny California.

And of course, there is good wine everywhere... literally everywhere. Even the local grocery store sells wine by the glass! Wineries line the main road with beautifully landscaped driveways just tempting you to come and see what's inside.

And the food... well the food? It's just out of this world! Not only that, but there were so many amazing gluten free choices! Remember the local grocery store I was talking about? They had gourmet sandwiches with gluten free bread! Oh and what about amazing gluten free cookies made with Sauvignon Blanc grape skin flour? They had those too.  Yes please.  I was in heaven!

On our last night in Napa, we had dinner at Bottega, which is celebrity Chef Michael Chiarello's  restaurant.  You might have seen him in his amazing show on the Food Network, Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello.  It was one of the best meals I have ever had in my entire life.  For dessert we had a beautiful spread of sorbets.  My favorite one was the coconut sorbet.  I couldn't get enough!

Lauren Marie’s Gluten Free

When we got home from the trip, I'll admit it... I had a little bit of Napa-withdrawal.  I longed for the "simple is better, fresh is best" type attitude that I got  to be a part of in Napa. And I couldn't stop thinking about that coconut sorbet! Then I thought, I may not be there, but I can bring the Napa attitude and tastes to my home and kitchen.

What I had loved about the coconut sorbet was that the coconut flavor was so bold without being too bold. But I wanted to add my own twist.  I thought, maybe a little texture contrast would be nice.  So I added shredded coconut.

Then, what if I add a little Greek yogurt to make it extra creamy.  And finally, how about a little tropical twist? Lime? No, too tangy.  Hmmm... pineapple juice! Just the right amount of sweetness, without stealing the spotlight from the coconut.  And just like that, my Coconut Frozen Yogurt came to be!

Now, when I'm wishing I was back in Napa, I can whip this up, pour myself a glass of wine, and remember, that the "simple is better, fresh is best" attitude is really just a state of mind.

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