Food and Style - Almond cake with strawberries and ginger chantilly

To me, the almond is the queen of nuts. Almonds are refined, not too fatty and extremely nutritious – and they have a delicate aroma that’s a great complement to so many foods.

Today’s cake is a celebration of this succulent kernel; every spoonful is filled with the wonderful texture of ground almonds and the exquisite flavor of almond essence.

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Portobello Mushroom Wrap with Buffalo Mozzarella and Piquillo Peppers

Peppers come in all shapes, sizes, colors and flavors. They are truly some of Mother Nature’s most succulent little gifts. Piquillo peppers prove the point to perfection!

These lipstick-red Spanish peppers are a specialty of Lodosa, in northern Spain. They’re harvested at their peak, then fire-roasted, hand-peeled and jarred in their own juices. All of this hard work yields peppers that are delightfully tangy and sweet, with a mellow smokiness to them.

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Spinach Tortilla with Pine Nuts

This classic Spanish omelet is a recipe that deserves a place in any cook’s repertoire.

The caramelized onion is utterly delicious, making a beautiful contrast with the richness of the eggs – while the vibrant spinach lightens the whole dish and the sautéed pine nuts contribute their luxurious nuttiness.

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If you think cucumbers are boring, this drink will make you reconsider your position!

Here, unpeeled cucumbers (which give the cocktail its deep green hue) are puréed with mint and tarragon to make an ambrosial juice. The purée is then strained, and the resulting juice is shaken with Hendrick’s gin and elderflower liqueur until ice cold.

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Last year, my husband Marc and I made our very first trip to the Finger Lakes. Evan Dawson, the brilliant wine writer for The New York Cork Report, was entirely responsible for the decision to head north. His passion for the wines of the Finger Lakes convinced me that I should take a closer look at the region.

(In an earlier post, I’ve written about our first meeting with Evan, and our visit to Hermann J. Wiemer winery. If you’d like to read it, click here.)

On the eve of our departure, Evan graciously emailed me a chapter of his soon-to-be-published book, Summer in a Glass. I was grateful to get an insider’s peek. Evan’s writing brims with passion for grapes, wines and the Finger Lakes. Marc read it aloud as I drove, our excitement growing with every page.

The chapter in question was about Morten Hallgreen, the talented winemaker of Ravines Wine Cellars. By the time Marc had read the last line, we were 30 minutes away from Ravines. We decided we needed to pop in, even though the tasting room was about to close.

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