One Night…One Bottle of Champagne…So many uses.

Yes its New Year’s Eve, and instead of being out on the town John and I are taking a cozy, lazy day at home after a horrific layover in Chicago that finally brought us home last night at 3am. (As a side note: long layovers and traveling cats are not a good combination…but Journey did great and is very grateful to be home.)

So we are exhausted, that kind of full body exhaustion that makes even holding your eyelids all the way open seem like hard work. But the day was not entirely wasted with laziness. I did manage to go grocery shopping, which was important, as the only edible thing in the house was a bag of carrots. And I showered. You’re welcome.

And….I managed to orchestrate a brilliant evening of champagne-based goodness. I mean, it is New Years after all.

First off…I decided that Mireille Guiliano’s Chicken Au Champagne from French Women Don’t Get Fat was a great way to use up some of a large bottle of Champagne that John and I could never drink the entire thing of (without getting completely trashed, that is). And it was easy to cook. Which was a must considering the whole eyes-open = hard work thing.

Mireille suggests Veuve Clicquot, for drinking and cooking, but I didn’t want to spend $50 on a bottle of Champagne for a recipe I’ve never tried. So I compromised with a bottle of J Cuvée 20 recommended to me by Mr. Yeager at Yeager’s Wine in Pittsford (our all time favorite wine store…absolutely unmatched knowledge and service…AND they have a student discount). The J Cuvée 20 was $20 and was absolutely superb champagne (or sparkling wine technically, as it’s from California). Incredible.

The chicken was PERFECTION. I’m not going to repeat her recipe here, but you can find it at Mireille’s website. (If you haven’t read or heard of this book….I highly recommend it and the cookbook that followed it. I got both for Christmas and have already finished them both! – reading them, that is, not cooking. She’s incredible and they are SO much fun to read. And make your mouth water at the same time.)

I served the chicken au champagne over brown rice, like Mireille recommends, with field mushrooms and sauted haricot verts on the side. Simple, clean, absolutely delicious. And the smell of the champagne and chicken cooking together was like nothing I’ve ever smelled!

And, of course, we drank the champagne as well! Obviously…even totally tired you can’t be too tired to toast, right? :-) But too much Champagne and I would have been sure to sleep through the new year entirely…so after a couple glasses we put the rest to other uses.

First we made…

Strawberry Champagne Sorbet 

1 package fresh strawberries, pureed in a food processor.
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 cup champagne
1 cup ice cold water

Mix it all in a bowl and freeze in an icecream maker. Super easy! And delicious.

But why stop with eating and drinking Champagne (which, in my opinion, is definitely the god’s nectar if there ever was one)?  I read somewhere – though I can’t find the source now, it was probably Glamour Magazine – that champagne is good for your skin (and hair apparently too, but I ran out…all good bottles come to an end eventually) and that it can be mixed with household ingredients to make a great face/body scrub. Couldn’t find the recipe, so I made up my own.  And…er…I will never buy another facial peel or special exfoliant again. I just used it on my face…scrubbed with the scrub (below), rinsed and then applied a little plain champagne with a cotton pad, let it dry, rinsed again and then put on my normal moisturizer.  My skin was bright, smooth, felt amazing and looked better than it has all winter! And the best part about this scrub is you get to sip champagne while you make it. :-) And it’s very environmentally friendly, as it’s not made from chemicals or little plastic beads…just household ingredients! And it worked great on my shoulders and arms too! Sugar does eventually dissolve, so make sure you use it the same day you make it…or keep the liquid and add sugar a little at a time as you use it. The tea/champagne mixture will keep for a few days in the fridge.

So here it is….

Jess’s Champagne Sugar Scrub

1/2 cup fresh brewed green tea (brew enough leaves for 1 whole cups in 1/2 cup of hot water)
Let that sit for a while so it cools then add:
1/3-1/2 cup champagne
1/2 cup granulated sugar (the sugar exfoliates wonderfully – just make sure to rinse it all off)
1/8 tsp. lemon juice

Apply to clean face (if you’re wearing makeup, cleanse first) then scrub gently, and rinse. You can use a little of the liquid with cotton as well if you want, let it sit for a few seconds, then rinse again. Use your normal moisturizer and voila!

So there you have it…if you’re splurging for the new year or have left overs tomorrow, all you need is one bottle of Champagne for drinking, cooking, dessert and silky smooth skin. I think that’s well worth toasting to!

Happy New Year Everyone!!!!

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