Lately at Lunch with Lauren: Wine Wednesdays • Peach & Mozzarella Salad • Frozen Margarita • Mushroom Medley • Food Hacks & More!

Recent excerpts from our Lunch with Lauren Facebook Group by Lauren Townsend for The Aha! Connection

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#WineWednesday is a day late because I got a new phone and it’s been super traumatic. If you haven’t already, Storypoint Pinot Noir is a must for red drinkers and white wine drinkers who don’t like heavy tannins. I love Storypoint because it can be drunk solo or paired perfectly with beef or lamb because of cherry notes or salmon because it has hints of oak. Totally approachable; totally delicious; totally affordable. It can be found at Wal-Mart for $16.


Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!  Buy one cookie (any flavor, and receive a FREE chocolate chip cookie! Available ALL DAY at any of our 3 locations. (*in-store only) #AlisCookies
Peach and mozzarella salad. I’ll be sad to see peach season go. Just a peach, crispy prosciutto, balsamic glaze (from Trader Joe’s), and pulled mozzarella. Ideally, it’s the hand-formed mozz from E. 48 Street Market, but I was in a bind.
I know, creamy soup may not be at the top of your list of dinner options in 100° weather, but everyone eats it and it’s easy. Brown sausage. I cut open 4 mild Italian sausages. Remember that browning is not cooking ground meat until it’s cooked. It is then pouring off the excess grease and cooking until you get more browning and carmelization.
Remove from the pot and add 6 cups of stock, bring to boil and add a pack on cheese tortellini and reduce the hear to simmer. Once cooked, add sausage and a small bag a spinach. Then add 1 cup of heavy cream and stir.
Season to taste salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder. If if needs some acid, add a little lemon juice or vinegar. I like to top with chili oil.
2 quarts of chicken stock
4 sausages or 1 roll of breakfast sausage
1 cup of heavy cream
1 pack of cheese tortellini
1 bag of spinach
Salt, pepper, lemon juice
My favorite summer cocktail is this frozen margarita. I cube and freeze watermelon that ends up not being that sweet or the last in the bowl that no one wants to finish. Throw in a blender with limeade or lime juice and honey and optional tequila. 
One of my favorite appetizers can really double as a meal, especially in the summer. Saute a medley of mushrooms in butter and Worcester. These are Chinese shitake, baby portobello, and oyster. I like to do a smear of Boursin Cheese on grilled, toasted bread. I also like it with a pulled buffala mozzarella.
This is my go-to-in-my-fridge-at-all-times wine. Pomelo Sauvignon Blanc is a crisp, citrusy, medium-bodied wine from California. You can grab it at Target for $10.99. Perfect with spicy seafood or Cypress Grove Humblot Fog.
A few tricks that are actually pretty helpful: 

33 Cooking Hacks That Are So Smart I Simply Can’t Stop Thinking About Them


SOME people think crème brûlée is basic but the simplest things can often be the hardest to perfect because there is no place to hide. Long story short, I love crème brûlée and it’s Crème Brûlée Day. This photo is from Marlow’s Tavern


I’ve been a little dormant lately between work and vacation and getting kids ready for school. I thought I’d try something new with #WineWednesday. I am by-no-means a wine expert, but I do know what I like and what I like to eat it with.
I’m going to start with one of my favorites, The Diver, a sparkling wine from California. This wine is a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Gewurztraminer making this bright wine fruity and floral.
Consider pairing with a double or triple cream brie, fried chicken or a summer salad. The only place that I’ve been able to find this wine is at Alon’s and it costs around $14.