Tag Archives: wine

I Think I’m Turning Japanese? No, I Think I’m Turning French…

23 Jun

Well, at least that’s what I’ve been trying to do for the last week. I don’t know, you hear one Diana Krall song and you fall hopelessly end over end into the abyss that is french cafe`…

Allow me to elaborate.

Example One:

I made home-made Demi Glace`

Which requires also making Espagnole sauce…

Takes three hours, mind you…

Example Two:

Then, I took the Demi glace and made these delicious, tender little spare ribs with whipped potatoes, nothing better…

Example Three:

Wine

What more can I say? Even has a house on the label, and I’ve heard wine with a house means it’s good 😉

Example Four:

Diana Krall

 

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Thirsty Thursday: Champagne, Croutons, and The Walrus

11 Mar
French Champagne that isn’t French?
 
I know what you’re thinking – Champagne is only Champagne when it comes from the Champagne region of France…
 
Well that’s true, but when considering this sparkling wine, it’s fun to pretend.
 
 
This sparkling wine comes from Karma Canyon Vinyards on the shores of Lake Chelan (up the street from my parents house, too!) The unique way they make the sparkling wine is facinating. They ferment it in the bottles on these racks, seen in the image above. This is a classic French tecnique, or so they tell me…
 
 
The winemaker is also trained in France, making it even better! And more French-ish. It was sweet, light, and super bubbly! So bubbly in fact, that I could only fill the glass halfway before it ‘boiled’ over.
 
 
I had this with my homemade croutons last night, so good! (recipe below)
 

Home-made Herb Croutons!

So I’ve had this loaf of bread kickin’ around my kitchen for a while now… Stale, old, perfect.

My husband and I enjoy going to this local pub where they make the most amazing and simple salad of cucumber, croutons, marinated onions and ranch dressing. I wanted to recreate that at home (especially since that simple salad cost a not so simple $6)

It’s really easy to do, and you can make a whole pile for the week!

INGREDIENTS
 
One Loaf Italian, Peasant, or Ciabatta Bread

 
Four to Five Tablespoons Olive Oil

 
1tsp. Italian Seasoning

 
1tsp. Dried Basil Seasoning

 
1/2tsp. Garlic Powder

 
Salt and Pepper

DIRECTIONS

Cube the bread into one inch chunks and put in a large bowl. Drizzle with two tablespoons of the oil and toss. Drizzle the rest and toss again. sprinkle with sesonings and toss a third time until all the bread looks evently coated with seasoning and oil. Pour bread onto a baking sheet and season with a little salt and pepper. Place in a 400 degree oven. Toast for 6 minutes then remove and toss bread. Toast for another 6-8 minutes depending on the crunch you want. I like a medium chewy crunch so I do 6.

Add to your favorite salad or eat right off the pan! Either way, it’s perfect!

looking for some mome-made Marinated Onions? That’s easy as well.

Slice one red onion and put in a ziplock bag. cover with a cup and a half of red wine vinegar, 1 tsp. sugar, salt and pepper, and seal bag. Let sit for at least 30 minutes but it’s best if left overnight… YUM!!!

 
 
The Walrus and The Carpenter
Lewis Carroll
(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)
  
The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright–
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.
The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done–
“It’s very rude of him,” she said,
“To come and spoil the fun!”
The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead–
There were no birds to fly.
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
“If this were only cleared away,”
They said, “it would be grand!”
“If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year.
Do you suppose,” the Walrus said,
“That they could get it clear?”
“I doubt it,” said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.
“O Oysters, come and walk with us!”
The Walrus did beseech.
“A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each.”
The eldest Oyster looked at him,
But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head–
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.
But four young Oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat–
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn’t any feet.
Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more–
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.
“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”
“But wait a bit,” the Oysters cried,
“Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!”
“No hurry!” said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.
“A loaf of bread,” the Walrus said,
“Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed–
Now if you’re ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed.”
“But not on us!” the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue.
“After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!”
“The night is fine,” the Walrus said.
“Do you admire the view?
“It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!”
The Carpenter said nothing but
“Cut us another slice:
I wish you were not quite so deaf–
I’ve had to ask you twice!”
“It seems a shame,” the Walrus said,
“To play them such a trick,
After we’ve brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!”
The Carpenter said nothing but
“The butter’s spread too thick!”
“I weep for you,” the Walrus said:
“I deeply sympathize.”
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.
“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
“You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?’
But answer came there none–
And this was scarcely odd, because
They’d eaten every one.

Wino Wednesday: Affordable Luxury and Romance on a Writer’s Budget

24 Feb

Looking for a little affordable romance?

Aren’t we all??

When I went to get the mail yesterday, I had no idea that it would spark the kind of evening it did. You know the kind – eating lavish foods and enjoying velvety wine. Watching a great movie that encases it all…

And above all – making it affordable!

I enjoy the romantic things in life: A great book (no Kindle!), writing, wine, cooking, art, movies, rich and well made things – handmade.

Heaven forbid this should dent my wallet!

Well… I’m here to tell you – to show you – that is doesn’t have to. Let me outline my evening for you, so that you can re-create it!
 

How It All Started

As I said earlier, it all started when I went to the mailbox. We (Husband and I) get Entrepreneur Magazine. My husband REALLY enjoys collecting wine, and he recognized the man on the cover right away. James Stewart, son of top winemaker, Michael Stewart, at Stewart Cellars in Napa Valley. James decided to break the mold of expensive Napa Valley wine. His father has long been the vintner of premium Napa wines, bottles priced near $100. His son, wanting to tackle a market that was suddenly suffering after the stock-market woes, decided to change things.

James looked at the market, trying to find the hole – the need. He noticed that there was a lack of affordable Napa wines in the twenty dollar range.

What James did shocked many. James took a batch of his father’s grapes that hadn’t made the cut for his premium wines and created his own – affordable – version. He called it Slingshot. In the first year he sold out, and in the second, he’s made more.

This was how my evening started, with a story…

 

The Big Guns

So, My husband finished the article, and looked at me. He then bounded down to the wine cellar (A bomb shelter under our garage, lol) and began to rummage. What you need to understand about my husband is that when he was in college, he spent more time researching wine than studying economics, though he’s still good at both.

I watched him go through boxes and boxes of wine (he has too many)

Out comes these two.

It’s one thing to read a story about a wine and wishfully dream, it’s another when your husband just happens to have it. This here (orange label) is James Stewart’s Father’s wine.

We opened it… SO GOOD!

It was salty, velvety, REALLY easy to drink. But as we know, this is definitely not affordable unless you think the way I did – he bought it before we got married, lol.

A good substitute is naturally the Slingshot I spoke of, or a good $12 Cab. Sauv. bottle like Melange.

With it, I made the below recipe. I RECOMMEND!!!!!

the other wine (Benson Cab. Franc) I’ll get to in a minute…

Affordable Lox and Toast

Package of Smoked Salmon (not the hard smoked, the kind that looks raw) 4 oz. I got farm raised Atlantic, saves a lot of money and tastes good. If you can afford wild, though, do it. this package cost me $4.50

Italian Bread, 4 slices about 1/2 inch. (Get the real waxy kind, NO SOURDOUGH)

Capers (Those little buggers are pricey, but they last a long time)

Herb Cream Cheese (I got onion and chive)

Red Onion (a few slices. Slice as THIN and possible)

1 Tbls. Olive Oil

Toast the bread in broiler, or toaster. DON’T BURN! Spread with cream cheese while warm. Top with a few onions (5-6 little sliced pieces.) Divide salmon into four, one ounce piles and place on top of toast. Drizzle with Olive Oil so that the capers stick. Spoon capers (some juice is good!) over the top. ENJOY!!!!!

Now, if you don’t have the Stewart, like I said, try the Slingshot! if not, eat with a general Cab. Sauv. The robust flavor of the salmon can hold it’s own, and it does not overpower the wine. Quick and salty/delicious!

Affordable Main Course

Now is where I get to involving the other wine. 2007 Cabernet Franc. VERY peppery, rosemary, and cilantro. This wine has a serious punch of those flavors.

Below is a recipe my husband found through his wine club with Cakebread – another expensive wine, but the Benson Vineyard one above was the affordable option. Naturally Cakebread paired it with a Merlot, which would also be good. You can try this recipe with either.

What I’m showing you is two versions – the pricey and the cheap.

I substituted the Filet Mignon for Sirloin, and it worked GREAT!

Recipe Courtesy of Cakebread Cellars…

 

Grilled Filet Mignon with Mushroom and Avocado
$ the pricey $

Their Version serves 4-6

2.5 pounds Beef Filet

1 head garlic

1/4 c. Olive Oil

2 sprigs Rosemary

2 c. Dried Morels, soaked in warm water

2 cloves garlic, minced

8 oz. Tomatillos

2 Avocados

2 T. Cilantro, chopped

1 lime

2 oz. Queso Fresco

 

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut the pointed end of the garlic off to expose all the cloves. Place in the middle of a sheet of foil. Drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil. Wrap in foil to seal and place in the middle of the oven to roast for about an hour until the garlic is soft. Remove and when cool enough to handle, squeeze out the pulp and mix with the remaining olive oil and chopped rosemary.

Clean the beef filet of any fat and connective tissue. Cut into two 3″ sections across the grain of the meat. Holding a large knife parallel to the cutting board, cut the filet lengthwise to form thin steaks, about a ¼” thick. Place in a shallow dish and rub with the roasted garlic mixture. Refrigerate and allow to marinate for at least two hours.

To make the salsa, soak the morels in warm water for twenty minutes until soft. Drain and rinse to rid them of any dirt. Cut into small pieces and sauté in a small skillet with two tablespoons of olive oil. Once mushrooms start to brown, add the garlic and cook for another minute, reserve. Place a small saucepan of water over high heat. Once water comes to a boil, add the tomatillos and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and run under cold water. Roughly chop the tomatillos and avocado. Combine with the morel mushrooms and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Season with a squeeze of lime juice and salt and pepper.

To serve, remove the meat from the refrigerator and season with salt and pepper. On a very hot grill sear the steaks for thirty seconds to a minute per side. Serve with pinto beans, top with a spoonful of the salsa and garnish with the crumbled queso fresco.

My Faster and Affordable Version…
 
$ the cheap $
 
serves 2
 
1 – 8oz Sirloin Steak
6 cloves of Garlic – for marinad
6 T. Olive Oil – 5 for marinade, 1 for salsa
 1 T. Dried Rosemary
Salt and Pepper
6 Cremini Mushrooms, fresh
2 cloves garlic, minced – for salsa
 2 Roma Tomatoes
 Dash of Hot Sauce
 1/2 Avocado
 1/2 Lime
 2 T. Cilantro
2 oz. Feta Cheese
 One can plain Pinto Beans
 
 
 Marination 
 
I sliced the beef across the grain to 1/4 inch thickness and placed in a dish. I then warmed the oil in a pan on the stove. When oil was hot, I added the sliced garlic and removed it from the heat so it didn’t burn. Let the garlic simmer there for a few minutes (really cuts out all the time it takes to roast it.) Smash the garlic with a fork and add rosemary. Pour over beef (it’s okay if the oil is still warm) cover with plastic and put in fridge for at least two hours to marinate.
30 min before it’s time to eat warm beans in a little water on the stove.
 
Salsa
 
Heat 1 T. oil in a pan on stove. Add diced cremini’s and saute until they begin to sweat water. Add 2 cloves of garlic – minced. Remove from heat. Dice the tomatoes and 1/2 avocado and put in a bowl. Add mushrooms/oil/garlic. Add cilantro and squeeze 1/2 lime juice. Combine.
  
Putting it together
 
Remove meat from fridge and heat a pan (preferably a grill pan) on stove, Medium high. Grill meat for 1 minute on each side. dust with salt and pepper on each side while cooking. Remove.
Pile half the beans into the middle of plate, top with half the beef, then half the salsa. Top with a sprinkle of feta.
 
And Viola!!!! YUM YUM YUM!!!
 
Enjoy with that affordable Merlot or Cab. Franc!
 
The Movie that Pulls it all together
  
If you haven’t seen this, you don’t know what you’re missing. You really don’t.
it’s called Bottle Shock, and it’s all about california wine and kicking some french butt.