Food & Wine

Sometimes I stoop low enough to write about food and wine, especially as I’m getting older and getting more into wine and cooking fun stuff.

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South Africa’s Wine Country

Food & Wine, Travel, Vacation

southafrica_wine_35Back in May of 2013, I visited South Africa’s wine country an hour or so north of Cape Town for a couple days and loved it.  As you can see by the pictures below, I couldn’t get enough of the mist atop the mountains on morning 1. The views were breathtaking and the weather was perfect.

Pictures and such after the break!

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Wine Tasting in Mendoza

Food & Wine, Vacation

Back in April 2015 I flew down to Buenos Aires and then, with a little help from my good friend Silvana, drove cross-country to Mendoza (an 11-hour ordeal made longer by jet lag and police checkpoints), then had three beautiful days in an amazing wine region.  The pictures below barely do the place justice, but they’re a step. A mildly out-of-order step, at least, because there doesn’t seem to be any way to organize the photos in a gallery by simple file name (clearly, I’m missing something), but a step nonetheless.

wine_pressOver those beautiful days, I got to eat and drink some of the best fare the region had to offer, from cosmopolitan restaurants in Mendoza to food trucks by a famous apple tree. I didn’t get the full story on that one, unfortunately.  I did take pictures.

I fell in love with a town south of Mendoza proper called Tupungato – it was quaint, pretty, and perfectly situated in wine country.  Analogous, maybe, to Solvang as it relates to Santa Barbara, although thankfully without the absurd Danish influence.  I didn’t take enough pictures there, but I did have a couple of very nice meals and some good wine (one from a house called “Finca Flichman” that I found particularly fun).

More trip and winery details follow the break!

wine flight
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Data Entry

Food & Wine

It’s 36 bottles.  I brought them home on the airplane, so I checked 4 items (3 cases and my backpack), the third and fourth of which cost $175 each to Quantas.  Dayum, says I. Then again, WineFlite wanted $585 for 30 bottles, I think, and who knows how that would have gone.

Now it’s on to finishing the data entry so I can get through some of the other projects that I’ve got on my plate. Whee!

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Breakfast Blues

Food & Wine

I am not as good at eggs as I should be.eggs I cook them very rarely, and almost never over-medium, the way I like them in the diner.  I think I’m using a pan that’s too small for two eggs, actually, and I think I’m impatient.  If I had a bigger spatula I could probably flip both eggs at once in the small pan, but alas, I do not.
(Time to go to Spatula City!)

I make really good scrambles, of course, but that’s about the ingredients and finding tasty things that taste great together. And an omlette is just a scramble with pretentious aspirations, make no mistake.

At least I’m trying to start the day off right with tea and eggs.

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Wine Batch #2

Food & Wine

I bottled my second batch of wine!

It’s another kit wine, this time from “Cru Select.”  It’s a Chilean blend of Malbec, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and I call it Chilean Mystery Blend because I don’t know the percentages of each, nor really anything about the grapes’ origins.  On the provided labels, the description says this: “Opening with dark roasted notes of coffee and chocolate with a hint of blackberries, fermentation on Cabernet Merlot Genuwine Winery Dried Grape Skins and French oak completes this monumental taste experience.”

I have more pictures and notes and such after the break, but the takeaway here is that in 10 days or so, I’ll have a new wine in rotation at the Casa Fredonia.

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I racked my wine yesterday

Food & Wine

I don’t have any pictures yet, but I racked.  In less than 2 weeks, we’ll have bottled wine, which is exciting.  If I ever get paid again, I’ll be buying a new thing of juice and starting another batch.  Pictures and details will eventually make their way onto the forum, of course, but I’m just excited about the fact that more wine is about to make its way into my coffers.

Soup Motherfucking Week
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Soup Week – The Thrilling Conclusion

Food & Wine

So the week of soups comes to its thrilling conclusion, culminating in what Casey said was her favorite soup: Custom Tortilla Soup.

Steak Tortilla SoupIt’s custom because I didn’t want to make chicken tortilla because we had awesome chicken noodle earlier in the week and I didn’t want to compete with my own product.  What I decided to do was to buy Skirt Steak, do a mexican-style marinade on it (salt, pepper, chili powder and lime juice, refrigerate for an hour or more), then pan-sear the steak and use the juices as part of the soup.

Pictures and more notes post-break.

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Soup Week – Broccoli Cheese Soup

Food & Wine

So I made Broccoli Cheese Soup.  It was yummy!

Last night’s Red Kidney Bean soup was pretty aces as well.

Taking recommendations for tomorrow’s soup as we speak.  Might go to the Betty Crocker cookbook for suggestions, too.

After the break, there’s a bigger picture of tonight’s soup as well as a couple of musings about the start of this cooking theme project.

Soup Week
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Soup Week Continues

Food & Wine

Two days down of my year’s first culinary experiment, and so far, I’m a happy camper. (Soon, I’d like to be a *real* camper, but that’s another story.)

Beef StewFirst, as you probably saw on Facebook, I made Beef stew.  Took forever to make, but turned out great. Glass of wine, helping of stew, Cowboys loss… great way to start the week.

Yesterday, I made a ginormous batch of Chicken Noodle Soup. Took less time (~3 hours) but was every bit as good.  My first try at making chicken noodle soup and it turned out okay – victory!  Emily came by just in time to get the first round straight from the pot, which was also nice.  Of course, 7-quarts of soup makes enough for an army (or at least more than enough for three people), so I ended up freezing at least half of it.  Someone remind me that it’s there.

After the break, there are a couple pics of the chicken noodle process and upcoming soup week notes.

soup week, motherfucker
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welcome to soup week!

Food & Wine

Welcome to 2012, the home of culinary experimentation.

I’m going to play with themes-by-week this year, and I’m starting with soups.  After the break, I’ll post my current thoughts on soups that I may make and I’ll solicit ideas for other soups and other weeks.

wine label
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Compound Cabernet

Food & Wine

wine labelBottling: complete!

If you’re interested, you can read the entire story right here.

The wine is good, if a little fruity and low-alcohol, but for an all-natural wine that I made in my house, it’s awesome.

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I am a culinary rebel

Food & Wine

And to prove it, I bring you this:

Tonight, I mixed Sunday night’s leftover Bell Pepper Stuffing (a chicken-based dish with rice and onion, etc.) with Monday night’s leftover Chili (beef an beans, natch). Then i heated it all up in the microwave, topped with crumbled bleu cheese and put it on a 100% whole wheat hamburger bun. BOOM!

The unholy marriage of beef and chicken in one reheated sandwich.

And I know you’re all thinking “microwave?!?” but I assure you, I didn’t time travel back to the 80’s. It was actually the best choice I could make. And it worked. Don’t hate. Remember, kitchen utensils are like tools in a toolbox – you use the ones best suited for the job.

Science, dropped. Osgood out.

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Cheffin’ it up!

Food & Wine

Last night, I made a tasty wine sauce to compliment some broiled London Broil that I made.  Scott showed me a broiling trick with tin foil that I”d never seen when I was in Portland, so I was eager to use it, and the steak, while it had probably lived in the freezer for too long, was tasty.  The sauce, designed in true French fashion to mask the potential blandness of the steak, worked flawlessly.  So yay for that.

Right now, I’m at Cathryn’s, giving Craig a much-needed break, then I’m going to head home and build an awesomely-huge shelf in the garage for my stuff and Tim’s stuff.  It’ll be great.  I’ll take pictures for you.  This is the build-up for the desk hutch and the new office configuration.  Should be fun.

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Caprese for Dinner

Food & Wine

Okay, so this is the caprese that we made last night.  The picture isn’t really a winner and the bread isn’t here (it’s just about to come out of the oven), but it’s pretty representative.  Those are home-grown tomatoes, as you might expect, and the mozzarella was good, but not great.  I’m not sure I can define what makes a mozzarella great, but this didn’t quite have that thing.  Of course, it was plenty good enough for my pathetic palette, I’ll tell you what. Also, we dipped the bread (covered in hand-chopped garlic, of course) in the olive oil, only I also buttered it. That’s probably overkill, but health be damned.

Casey pointed out that this wasn’t actually a very healthy dinner, but I’m not so sure. I mean cheese has a ton of fat, but can’t there be good-for-you fat once in a while? And haven’t we yet debunked the myth of the bad-for-you carbs? I mean, what ever happened to the carb-hater guy anyway? He’s friggin’ dead. Anyway, I digress. Tonight I’ll cook lean steaks and we’ll eat raw beans or something to make up for it.

Okay, enough about food, I’m off to house-sit.

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Are you in Wine Clubs?

Food & Wine

I’m in a couple, and I like them.
I sort of feel like I should join something else, something with a little more variety, since my two clubs sort of border the Napa Valley on the north and south ends.  That”s not bad, but then again, there’s a lot of wine out there, right?

What I want to know is whether you’re in a wine club or two, and which they are.  Would you recommend them?  If not, is it something that interests you?  Wanna all join the same club and take notes on the same wines?

I dunno, it might be fun.