Friday, March 30, 2012

Wine of the Week - Espiral Vinho Rosé


This semi-sparkling rosé comes from the same line as a vinho verde I had a little over a year ago.  This rosé is not quite as good as verde, but it's still a decent wine.  (Full disclosure: I've never been much of a rosé fan to begin with.)

On the nose, this wine promises to be sour.  There's a little bit of raspberry and pear.

That sourness does not come through on the tongue.  This wine is pretty sweet, with a little taste of brut and raspberry.  Best served chilled.  Would probably make for a refreshing summer drink.  Overall, it's pretty bland.  But it's okay, and the flavor is enhanced by its low price.

10% alcohol

Monday, March 26, 2012

Split Pea Soup

I hadn't had split pea soup in forever, so I looked up some recipes for it online. None seemed similar to the one my mom used to make, and they all called for ham hocks, which require de-boning. I used delicious bacon instead and used ideas from several recipes to formulate my own. It turned out great and was eaten up faster than any other soup I've made recently.

1/4 stick butter
1 large chopped onion
3 stalks chopped celery
3 carrots chopped
1 1/2 cups green split peas
5 bacon strips, sliced
8 cups water
2 tsp marjoram
2 bay leaves
4 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 can evaporated milk

In a stock pot, melt the butter and saute the veggies and garlic about 8 minutes.
Add the pork and spices. Stir 1 minute.
Add the peas, bacon, milk, and water.
Bring to a boil.
Simmer for 1 hour, 20 minutes.
Serve hot or store overnight in the refrigerator and reheat.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Wine of the Week - Vivier 2010 Pinot Noir


This is a good wine that deserves more attention than I gave it.  Unfortunately, I had it under rushed circumstances.  And, frankly, I think it's a little young.  If you have it, I think you'll like it.  If you have it three years from now, you'll probably like it even more.  I plan to pick up another bottle and set it aside.

Generally fruity and spicy.  13.9% alcohol

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Kale chips

What to do when you have a bunch of kale that you have no plans for? Kale chips! What to do when you have a baby who can't chew thoroughly enough to not choke on her super-healthy leafy greens? Kale chips!

Every single recipe on the internet goes like this:
De-stem and chop 1 bunch of kale, sprinkle with olive oil (1-2 Tbsp) and a bit of salt and toss. Pop in a 275-350 degree oven for 10-25 minutes. I went with 275 for 25 to get them super crispy. Next time I might add a bit of garlic with the oil and salt. Nutritional yeast sounds delicious, too.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Wine of the Week - Lions Peak 2009 Marsanne


I was completely unfamiliar with Marsanne before tasting this wine.  If it's always this good, I look forward to having more!

Pear and green apple on the nose, with maybe a little scent of honey.

The pear carries over to the taste, which gives way to predominantly peach flavors.  Also a little bit of carrot.  This wine is tart and sweet.  Leaves a nice coat on your palate after sipping, and develops a delicious aftertaste.

13.9% alcohol

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Apple Pie Oatmeal

I've been hearing for years how steel cut oats are supposed to be so much better for you than quick cook oats. But who has time in the morning for something that takes 25 minutes? Enter the brilliant idea to cook a big batch in advance and I'm in business! This recipe makes enough for 4 mornings (feel free to double it to share with your significant other) and reheats deliciously.

Apple Pie Oatmeal
1 cup steel cut oats
4 cups water
2 apples, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces (I use golden delicious, but use whatever you'd like. Granny smith would probably be great!)
2 Tbsp maple syrup (or brown sugar)
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

Put all of the ingredients in a big pot, bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 25 minutes. Cool and store in an air-tight container in the fridge for the next few days.

When it's time to eat, microwave 1/4 of the oatmeal for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Saucy March - Potatoes with Spicy Tomato Sauce

For fans of the hot and spicy...

Found this yummy recipe from

The recipe says to serve this as a dip, but I preferred to smother my potatoes with the sauce.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Wine of the Week - Senoria de P. Pecina 1998 Rioja


As a relative wine amateur, this 1998 represents the oldest bottle I've ever had.  I was excited about that, not to mention the fact that I was already familiar with more recent Senorio de P. Pecina Riojas.

As soon as I uncorked it, I knew I was in for a treat.  Right off the bat, I was hit with huge, bold scents - big, juicy grapes, some strawberry, and a little bit of cheddar cheese underneath.

The taste was sharp and bright, full of flavor, nice and balanced.  Surprisingly, there aren't too many flavors in the middle palate.  But you'll taste blueberry and a lot of grapiness at the top and bottom.  Finishes tart.

This was a rare treat, and I ran out to buy another bottle right away.  I hope I get the chance to explore some older wines soon.

13% alcohol

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tempeh Helper

(photo from the ppk website)

Let's file this one under foods my mother never made for me, but I always wanted to try and now won't because I'm vegetarian. Obviously I have no idea how this compares to Hamburger Helper, but it's tasty either way.

I'm kind of crazy about this recipe from theppk and the cookbook Appetite for Reduction:

Tempeh Helper
Makes 4 roughly one cup servings (serves 2 if you’re super hungry)
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 oz tempeh
3 cups water
6 oz small shell pasta, or about a cup (I used quinoa pasta)
A handful frozen peas, about 1/4 cup
For the seasoning mix:
2 teaspoons onion flakes
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon mild chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoon broth powder (I used Frontier chicken-style broth)
2 teaspoons arrowroot or corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Have a lid at the ready because you’ll need to cover it at some point.
Drizzle the oil in the pan and tear the tempeh into bite sized pieces, adding them to the pan. Saute for about 5 minutes, until tempeh is lightly browned. In the meantime, mix the seasoning together in a mixing bowl.
Add a few tablespoons of water to the tempeh to deglaze the pan. Add the 3 cups of water and seasoning mix, giving a good stir to get it all mixed in. Add the pasta and cover. Bring the heat up to a boil. Once boiling, you can reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring once. Remove the lid, and cook until the sauce is reduced and thickened to your liking, usually about 3 minutes. Taste for salt.
Serve topped with Eazy Breezy Cheezy Sauce.
Eazy Breezy Cheezy Sauce
Makes 2 cups
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons onion flakes
1/4 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1/8 ground turmeric
2 tablespoons broth powder (I used Frontier chicken-style broth)
2 cups water
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
Add nutritional yeast, flour, garlic, onion flakes, salt, turmeric and broth powder to a bowl and mix together. Add 2 cups water and use a fork to mix and beat out any big lumps. Once relatively smooth, pour into a 2 quart sauce pot. Turn heat up to medium high and stir often for about 5 minutes. Once boiling, bring it down to a slow boil. It should start bubbling and thickening. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring almost constantly, until it has a thick, smooth melted cheese consistency.
Mix in mustard and taste for salt. Serve hot or warm.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Angus Burger with Avocado & Goat Cheese

For this delicious burger, rub the patties with black pepper and garlic powder, then grill or broil to desired doneness. Top the burgers with goat cheese and avocado slices and garnish with some balsamic glaze, if desired.

These were absolutely delicious, and I highly recommend giving it a try!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Saucy March - Mexican relish

March is here! Are you seeing signs of spring? Feeling twitterpated? To celebrate, I'm trying out new sauces and relishes every Tuesday so stay tuned!

My first was an idea I had for a topping. I was making black bean burgers, but wanted something a little more creative than sliced tomato or ketchup. I took a look around the kitchen and decided to make a mess, I mean, chop up some veggies and make a new relish for us!

2 parts chopped tomatoes
2 parts frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 part diced jalapenos (or more if you're a fan of hot)
1 part lime juice

Friday, March 2, 2012

Wine of the Week - Hacienda Primera Rosa


Picked up this wine from Hacienda de la Rosas, based in San Diego.  The Primera Rosa is a blend of 73% cabernet sauvignon and 27% petite syrah.  Very interesting tastes of grass and earthy undertones.  Makes you imagine what the air must smell like on the farm where the grapes were grown.

14.5% alcohol