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Amy Collins
www.amyccollins.com
Interests: reading, writing, essays, fiction, wine, food, cartoons, design, color, drawing, painting, cooking, eating, gardening, observing, talking.
Recent Activity
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The prose in Sous Chef moves quickly, mirroring life in the kitchen, and the dialogue between the chefs is appropriately creatively explicit. It's not for the easily offended, nor is the grueling job these men and women perform. The novel demands well-earned respect for Back of House staff, and every waiter, waitress and patron should read it. Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2014 at Pig&Vine
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Subtle cherry and strawberry fruits, mineral with bright yet not racy acidity. Excellent finish. It's a wine for seafood, cheese and fatty charcuterie (as if there is any other kind), popcorn and patio drinking. Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2014 at Pig&Vine
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Chill your red wines in warm Spring weather for a refreshing drink and a different vibe. Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2014 at Pig&Vine
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The Les Darons 2012 is a Languedoc blend of 60% Grenache, 25% Carignon and 15% Syrah made with fruit from vines over 40 years old by freelance winemaker Jeff Carrel. Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2014 at Pig&Vine
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Food and sex are connected. Each require the use of several senses: sight, smell, touch, taste. We're all familiar with the idea of aphrodisiac foods, like chocolate, raspberries, oysters. Maybe our bedroom preferences are reflective of who we are in the same way that how and what we eat reflect who we are, just not in direct, or clear, correlation. Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2014 at Pig&Vine
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Democratizing wine isn't a fresh notion but Betts approach, easy and playful, might be. He's taken the ultra snobby, intimidating and too often exclusive club of wine and broken it down into basic concepts, building on the one essential tool required to appreciate wine: smell. Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2014 at Pig&Vine
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The beauty of this soup is you don't have to bake it and so you don't need the extra dishware, those French onion soup specific bowls. It also cuts out that extra baking step, but the flavor and aromas of tender onion and distinctive sherry come through along with the comfort of savory melted cheese. Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2014 at Pig&Vine
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I've made this new Roasted Carrot Soup recipe a few times now and it has quickly become a favorite. It's fairly quick and if you have a dutch oven, like a cast iron enamel coated Le Creuset, and an emulsion blender, it's also a one-pot dish. Roasted Carrot Soup 1 lb baby carrots 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil Kosher... Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2013 at Pig&Vine
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Food is the New Rock podcast is the brilliant idea from Zach Brooks, of the blog Midtown Lunch, and Chuck P from KCRW to interview chefs and food people about music, and musicians about food. There is a distinct correlation between those who slave all night in the restaurant kitchen and those who rock all night for the fans. Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2013 at Pig&Vine
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Pinot Noir is one of my favorite grapes, and this delicious little value from Jean-François Mérieau in the Loire Valley is one of my latest favorite sippers. Bright, easy drinking Pinot with cherry fruit and alluring minerality. Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2013 at Pig&Vine
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I haven't been blogging much lately. Despite leaving the 8 to 5 behind, and thus freeing up more time to write, getting back into regular posting has been slower and more challenging than I'd assumed. Everything is always more difficult and takes longer than you expect. Truth be told, I've been struggling to be happy, and additionally, to be productive.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2013 at Pig&Vine
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For those of you who are new to Pig&Vine, I write a wine column for No'Ala magazine titled "The Vine." It's a sister project, per se, of this blog, with a brief anecdote and a little education in each issue. The November/Decemeber 2013 issue is now available at newstands and various local businesses around the Shoals and in Huntsville. Pick... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2013 at Pig&Vine
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There are actually two stories here. First, there is the wholesale nursery business, Maple Valley. Second, there is the seed-to-plate Cooking Light farmer and her contribution to the magazine's "From the CL Garden" column on the Cooking Light blog. Both are perfect examples of people following their hearts, trusting things will work out, and then reaping the benefits of a life well-lived. Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2013 at Pig&Vine
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I wish this story followed a plot line where a poor, sad, mange-infected chicken with nowhere to turn is rescued from imminent danger and swaddled with love and a cashmere throw, and later, with the continued support of good friends and an adoptive family (not to mention a great therapist), writes a best selling memoir about her experiences, possibly titled,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 30, 2013 at Pig&Vine
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Dom Pérignon is considered among many to be Champagne's foremost 'prestige cuvée', and was the first wine to be released with that moniker. Every once in a while some tremendous vinous treat crosses my path. In all honesty, it's probably a little more often than every once in a while, but a taste of this 1996 Dom Pérignon earlier in the week reinstated my belief in all things good and holy. Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2013 at Pig&Vine
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Authentic Mexican restaurant and market in Florence, Alabama. Juarez is a family owned business, nestled in the back of a Mexican grocery where they share the building with a small laundry mat and liquor store. Tacos, tamales, sopes and tortas made with chorizo, lengua, cachete and other ingredients prepared in a traditional Mexican manner. Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2013 at Pig&Vine
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Simple lunch, simple flavors, abundant comfort. Butter peas and bacon recipe for a rainy afternoon. Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2013 at Pig&Vine
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From natural wine importers Jenny & François, the From the Tank wines are the brain child of François Ecot and Denis Deschamps of famed Les Vignerons D’ Estézargues, a unique co-op winery in southern France, near Avignon, that practices natural wine making. Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2013 at Pig&Vine
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My introduction to the French flan dessert was a blueberry version friend Carmen, who is soon opening the Court Street Market, a year-round indoor farmer's market here in downtown Florence, brought to my house for dinner early last summer. Eggs, flour, sugar, fruit, a silky texture, sweet but not too sweet - I was immediately hooked. And because it has... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2013 at Pig&Vine
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This post has been in the queue for several months now, my initial contact with Reese Shirey, the instigator in this ice cream venture, was back in April of this year. Honestly, it's good I held off, as the summer gave the Shirey brothers a chance to show off their local ingredients driven treats around the Shoals, create a freezer... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2013 at Pig&Vine
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Höfer Zweigelt has all the soft tannins and medium acidity one expects from the Zweigelt grape, but, with a funky, earthy quality the many Zweigelts do not. Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2013 at Pig&Vine
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Sometimes, a simple, quick meal can be the tastiest (and healthiest). These words are not coincidentally close to those I wrote last week about a fig and cream cheese toast breakfast. Much in the same way the figs became a thing, this meal happened by accident, the photo came out lovely, and only then did the inspiration and words for... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2013 at Pig&Vine
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Last Saturday afternoon, I made the two and half hour drive down to Gadsden, Alabama, for the Front Porch Festival at Back Forty Brewing Co. With a crystalline blue sky - the kind only early fall provides - and Aretha Franklin's greatest tracks flowing through the speakers, the vibe was good for a day of eating, drinking and making merry.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2013 at Pig&Vine
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Sometimes, it is the simplest preparation that makes the biggest impression. I bought these Black Mission figs last week to make a birthday clafoutis for my friend Julien. There were a few left over, so I sliced them yesterday morning for breakfast and placed them on a piece of toast spread with cream cheese. Serendipity and a beautiful fall, sunlit... Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2013 at Pig&Vine
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The photo above doesn't come close to representing how delicious and comforting this dish was, or rather, the memory that inspired me to make it. A recent five days in Costa Rica provided some much needed perspective. I was hoping for as much when I booked the plane ticket. Sometimes we do get what we ask for. As I write... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2013 at Pig&Vine