Friday, April 27, 2012

Wine of the Week - Bella vs. Bella

Here's an interesting case: I recently took some tasting notes on a wine that I'd forgotten I'd already written about.  What an excellent opportunity to find out, completely blind, how I stack up against myself.  Is my palate consistent?


This is my original post about the Bella Cavalli 2008 Pinot Grigio.  I'd noted celery and grass on the nose.  In tasting, I said it hits you with a lot of sourness, giving way to a tart aftertaste.

This time around, I jotted down pear and lime on the nose.  A little bit different, but there are similarities worth pointing out.  In each case, there's something representing thin, watery scents as well as something sharp that hits the back of your sinuses.  Not bad.

On this tasting, I jotted down that I was getting something along the lines of worcestershire sauce, along with flower petals.  (I think that lines up nicely with my original "sour" note.)  I also noted tannins, which is something I said last time too, and which is something I generally don't expect in white wines.  So I'd say I've got a good batting average going here.

But ultimately, my final verdict was a perfect match.  In the original post, I said, "Not for everyone, but a good wine if it fits your personal taste."  In other words, it didn't fit mine.  This time around, I said, "Not my favorite, but plenty good for the right people."

If you're a fan of white wines, this one is perfectly well-crafted.  But if you're not a fan, this one won't convert you.

13.8% alcohol

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spicy bean dip

One day I was looking for a good dip recipe and came across this one from Tried it and loved it! I served it with some fresh pita slices and a side of my garlic soup.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Wine of the Week - Lasseter 2008 Paysage


John Lasseter is not just a fantastic filmmaker, he's a fantastic vintner!  This week's wine is the 2008 Paysage from the Lasseter Family Winery; and yes, it's that Lasseter.

A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Cabernet Franc, this wine has very subtle tastes of blackberry and spice, develops well on the tongue, and has a great finish.

14.8% alcohol

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Easy Pasta Salad

A super quick and easy yet yummy meal!

Cooked bowtie pasta
Halved cherry tomatoes
Gorgonzola crumbles
Dash of pepper

Mix together and you're done!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Wine of the Week - 2010 Apothic Red


Apothic Red from Trader Joe's is a nice, tasty wine at a nice, affordable price.  A blend of Zinfandel (which gives it a strong head start with me), Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this wine has a base of dark flavors, with bright red fruits resting gently on top.

Black cherry is dominant on both the nose and the tongue.  On the nose, you'll also pick up hints of bubble gum and some spice.  The taste includes some great maple syrup flavor, and a hint of anise.

A great wine for the price point.

13% alcohol

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Warm Spaghetti Squash Salad

I've never been excited about the idea of spaghetti squash, because, let's be real, if I want spaghetti, that's just not going to cut it. But when my husband sent me this recipe I though that with Passover coming up, we may as well try it. I made one huge change - omitting the olives completely, because olives are gross. Other than that, I followed the recipe closely. I think it would be nice with raw almonds instead of toasted, but it's pretty good with toasted almonds, too. And I tried eating it cold and that was a mistake. Much better warm. We ate it with a side of sauteed collard greens. It would be a nice way to start a light summer meal.

  • 4-pound spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeds scraped
  • 1cup(s) sliced almonds, 3 ounces
  • 1/2 cup(s) thinly sliced scallions (white & light green parts)
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoon(s) fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup(s) plus 2 tablespoons canola oil (If making for Passover, use another light oil, such as cottonseed oil)
  • 2 ounce(s) Greek feta, crumbled, 1/4 cup
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the spaghetti squash and cook until it is al dente, about 12 minutes; drain. Place the spaghetti squash halves cut side down on a rack and let cool for 15 minutes.
  • 2. Meanwhile, spread the sliced almonds on a cookie sheet and them in the oven for about 7 minutes, until lightly golden (This step is optional). In a mini food processor, combine the chopped olives with the sliced scallions, lemon zest, lemon juice and canola oil and pulse until finely chopped.
  • 3. Working over a medium bowl and using a fork, scrape the spaghetti squash into the bowl, separating the strands. Add the dressing along with the crumbled feta and toasted almonds and season with salt and white pepper. Toss the spaghetti squash salad and serve warm.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Quinoa and Pomegranate breakfast

My neighbor, who's been on and off Weight Watchers more times than I can count, bought a book featuring quick easy meals for whatever the point limit is. (These are just random numbers to me - no idea how that works.) She shared the book with me and I found a few recipes I needed to try. Including this breakfast of champions!

The recipe calls for couscous, but I used red quinoa instead:
Red quinoa
Pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup Almond milk
Sliced almonds

Super fast to make, and healthy for you too!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Wine of the Week - Carivintâs "Bam" NV Blend


Carivintâs is a winery that's impressed me not only with their wines, but also with their support of animal rescue.  Each of their wines is labelled with and named after a rescue pet.  This week's wine is "Bam."

A non-vintage blend of Grenache, Barbera, Merlot, and Petite Verdot from Santa Barbera County, this is an excellent wine.

Candy apple on the nose, as well as bubble gum and maybe a little Jolly Rancher.  Basically just an overall candy scent.

Delicious dark flavors permeate this wine.  Charcoal and burnt wood.  (The vintner also mentioned anise, which I would agree with.)  Then it opens up into a fruity aftertaste; more of those Jolly Ranchers.

A great, strong, complex wine.  Highly recommended.

13.9% alcohol

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Passover-friendly vegetable soup

My daughter eats Vegetable Barley Soup almost every day. And with Passover approaching, I wanted to make a Passover-friendly version.

4 carrots, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 potatoes, chopped
2 sweet potatoes, chopped
2 zucchini, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 cup quinoa
dill, to taste
parsley, to taste
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste

1.  Saute onion, garlic in olive oil.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and cover with water.
4. Cook for at least 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

I had recently made a big pot of vegetable stock, so I reserved the cooked veggies from that, pureed them  and added them to the soup to thicken it. If you don't have extra veggies on hand and want the soup thicker, throw a few cups of it in the blender and mix back into the pot.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Open-Face Bagel Sandwich with Egg, Chevre and Avocado

This is absolutely delicious! Spread chevre on a toasted bagel, then top each side with a fried egg, avocado slices and balsamic glaze.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Jalapeno Biscuits

Mmmmm, down homme cookin'.

Found this recipe at (but don't worry - you don't have to use the vegan ingredients - use all the dairy you want!)

Even if you're not a fan of spicy food, no worries. You get just a hint of spicy, and I even used a tad more jalapeno than the recipe called for.
I served with black bean soup. Great for dipping!