Friday, September 30, 2011

Wine of the Week - Bella Cavalli 2008 Chardonnay


Excellent nose.  You'll detect a whole fruit medley, including grape fruit, kiwi and various melons.

The taste comes through bold and strong, with all the same flavors detected on the nose.  Unfortunately, a bit too much alcohol taste comes through.  But overall, a wine well worth enjoying.

14.3% alcohol

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pizza breadsticks

Because we haven't given our daughter cheese yet, including her in family pizza night has been a challenge. She's too small to really handle a slice and her cheeseless pizzas become bread with a side of mixed vegetables all too quickly. Guess which half of that equation gets ignored. So I made breadsticks with the veggie goodness baked inside and provided some sauce on the side for dipping.

Using my go-to dough recipe (also featured here), I added a bit of each veggie we used to top our pizza (on this day it was onion, spinach and green pepper) and mixed it right into a hunk of dough. Cooked that dough alongside our pizza and let it cool enough for little hands and little mouths.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Decadent Egg Salad

I made this egg salad with cream cheese and mayo instead of just mayo, like in most recipes. That made it much lighter and fluffier and it tasted great!

8 hard-boiled eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup cream cheese
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. yellow prepared mustard (condiment not the spice)
pinch each of:
garlic powder
dill weed

Chop eggs and mix with mayo and cream cheese.
Mix well, then add the spices and stir until thoroughly blended.
Enjoy on a sandwich or on top of a delicious pile of greens!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Snickering snickerdoodles

One day, out of the blue, though he's a chocolate fanatic,Joe mentioned he'd like some snickerdoodles. Not Steph's Mexican chocolate snickerdoodles which I make pretty regularly now, but basic snickerdoodles.

Luckily, I had all the ingredients on hand, and of course on the hottest day of the summer, I made some cookies:

I found a great recipe from Vegetarian Times. Super easy, and super yummy!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Wine(s) of the Week - Wife and Bitch

Apparently I can't go anywhere these days without picking up some wine.  While in San Diego over the summer for Comic Con, I passed a place in the Gaslamp District called The Wine Bank and couldn't resist picking up a two-bottle package deal they were selling as "Wife and Bitch."  What can I say?  I'm a sucker for a good marketing gimmick.

I'm happy to report, however, that beyond the marketing gimmick, these were two really good wines.


Bitch 2009 Grenache
Grateful Palate Imports really committed to the whole "bitch" angle.  Check out the "description" on the back label...


There's a funkiness on the nose of this wine, but it doesn't come through on the tongue.  This wine actually tastes very bright, with notes of raspberry and something like rose petals.

14% alcohol

Mad Housewife Cabernet Sauvignon
She doesn't look mad; maybe just a little bored.

This wine has a very mild nose, with light hints of spices coming through.  The taste was surprisingly dynamic, with deep red fruits and overtones of what I'd describe as garden vegetables.  The watery finish goes down easy.

13.5% alcohol

These were both impressive wines, especially for the price point.  And, as I said, a smart pairing on the part of the seller.  San Diego residents, be sure to pick these up next time you're in the Gaslamp. Everyone else, check your local wine store; these are both available nationally.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Watermelon slushie

Summer is officially over this week, but here's one last take at a summery treat:

See the recipe at Healthy Happy Life.

As I didn't have any on hand, rather than using fresh lemon juice, I used a few tablespoons of refrigerated lime juice.
A nice refreshing treat for a warm day!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Wine of the Week - STO 2008 "Hardways" Cabernet Sauvignon


Another delicious entry from Sort This Out, of whom I'm a big fan. Scents of cherry. On the tongue, a bit of grass and pepperoni, but mostly a rich taste of honey. A nice casual, affordable, stand-alone drink.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bombay Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk

My roommate made a variation of this recipe from Indian Home Cooking by Suvir Saran and Stephanie Lyness. She added squash & zucchini and served it over saffron rice. Delish!

1 large red onion, quartered
6 garlic cloves
2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thirds
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tsp salt
1 fresh hot green chile, sliced into thin rounds
12 fresh or 18 frozen curry leaves, torn to pieces (optional)
4 lbs of chicken, cut into pieces
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

For spice powder:
2 Tbsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds (optional)
12 black peppercorns
2 whole dried red chilies
1/4 tsp turmeric
6 whole cloves
6 green cardamom pods

For the spice powder, combine the ingredients in a grinder & grind into a powder. Set aside.

Combine the onion, garlic and ginger in a blender and process to a puree. Set aside.

Heat oil in large casserole dish or wok over medium-high heat. Add onion puree and salt. Cook until golden brown, 10-15 minutes. Drizzle water in as onion cooks to keep from burning.

Add green chili and curry leaves and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add spice powder and salt and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.

Add chicken pieces and cook, stirring constantly, until meat is mostly opaque (4-5 minutes).

Add the coconut milk and water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes.

Stir in 1/4 cup cilantro and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Salt to taste & sprinkle the remaining cilantro on top.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Stir fry with Tofu

I grew up a picky eater. Anything that wasn't meat/potatoes or pasta, I wouldn't touch. Moved to Los Angeles, and that all changed. I started with Mexican. I wouldn't set foot in a Mexican restaurant before. But I start preparing a super basic Mexican dish at home - taco shell, ground turkey, lettuce, and cheese. I slowly upped the ante to include seasonings, then more veggies like peppers. Today, I'm a Mexican food addict.

So I'm attempting to do the same thing with Asian cuisine. I started with a basic stir fry with noodles recipe. After a few runs with that, I've taken the next step:

2 whole carrots, sliced
1/2 block tofu, small slices
1 cup broccoli
1/2 large zucchini, sliced
1/2 large summer squash, sliced
1 cup snowpeas, chopped
2 cups bok choy, shredded
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 cup brown rice/rice medley
Rice vinegar
Soy sauce
Olive oil

1. In a wok, heat a few tbsp of oil. Add carrots; cook for 5 minutes. Add tofu and cook for another 5.
2. Add zucchini, squash, snowpeas, and pepper. Cook until veggies have softened, about 15 minutes.
3. Coat mixture with vinegar to taste.
4. Add bok choy and cook until wilted.
5. Serve on top of rice and coat with soy sauce.

Maybe one of these days, I'll make the leap to actually go to a restaurant! (Stop snickering, I'm proud of myself :) )

Friday, September 9, 2011

Wine of the Week - Pizza Wine!


My go-to wine store recommended pairing this wine with pizza, so I had to buy it.  I mean, how can you pass it up?  That means you're committed to both eating pizza and drinking red wine.

Le Fraghe Bardolino is a blend of 65% Corvina grapes and 35% Rondinella.  Cherries and strawberries on the nose.  A little dry and tart to taste, but light and bouncy and goes down easy.  Enjoyable.  And, as promised, it complements the taste of tomato sauce and seasonings very well.  (This wine probably doesn't stand on its own too well, as the flavor is lacking in the middle.)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A.L.T - The alternative to the BLT

I can't lie, this sandwich happened after I saw a very similar one in Vegan Family Meals, but it's so simple that it's not considered stealing.


Assemble (I ate mine open-faced, but you can do whatever sounds most appealing to you). Eat. Thank me later.

It would probably taste super rocking with some crispy fakin' bacon on it as well, but then it wouldn't be an alternative so much as an improvement.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tomato relish

A delicious tangy topping to any burger!

1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp basalmic vinaigrette

Mix altogether. Let sit for a few minutes for the veggies to absorb all the juices. Use a slotted spoon to dish onto patty.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Wine of the Week - STO 2008 "Stacked Deck" Pinot Noir


This is an unusually subtle entry from Sort This Out Cellars.  Their wines are typically bold and flavorful.  This one is a pleasantly lighter touch.  Admirably thin up front, with a bit of spiciness wafting in your nostrils.  A gentle berry finish.  Excellent for pairing with a light snack (think cheese and crackers).

13.5% alcohol