Monday, May 21, 2007

Angry Wine.

(By way of introduction, my MUCH better half has been characteristically altruistic enough to yield a little space in this blog for the rantings of her wine-deranged husband. OK. Let's proceed...)

It probably says a lot about me that my first post in this blog has a title like 'angry wine.'

Let me explain.

Have you ever thought all day about what you're going to have for dinner (you think to yourself: "Mmm, bacon-wrapped pork chops with rosemary, brussels sprouts, etc etc") and then been stopped in your tracks by one of the following?:

A) OH NO! I have nothing in my cellar that fits my mood OR this meal!

B) After spending all this money on food, I don't really want to invest in some fancy bottle of wine.

Thus, angry wine. It's what you end up with in these two scenarios most of the time. That bottle that's 'pretty good' but just doesn't live up to the idealistic imaginings you've been experiencing all day.

I must admit, being in the trade this doesn't happen to me as much as it used to. However, there are nights where the bottle just misses the target. This is usually when, out of nothing but spite, I reach for the fanciest bottle I can find downstairs as if purging from myself (and my home) some unholy spirit that has befouled us all by finding its place at our table.

In these moments, despite your wife's 'reasoned thinking', I implore you to consider that $10 or $15 extra is nothing to mourn when put toward a bottle that helps you to avoid such catastrophes. The Cabernet lovers among you must surely be nodding your heads and silently mouthing your 'amens' at this point for that bastard grape will SO RARELY put out for anything less than $35.

So, as I'm sure you've guessed by now, I now trudge down to the cellar to find something to help my palate forget the atrocities I have just subjected it to (yes Chateau Souverain Cabernet, I'm talking about you - you fruitless bastard).


Saturday, May 12, 2007


Tonight, my family and I went to this fantastic local candy store. In the case at the counter, they had these really lovely s'mores (a sandwhich of graham cracker and marshmallow dipped in chocolate) for which they were charging $4 each. I looked at them closely and could tell that they were using coating chocolate, which means that the whole process is pathetcially easy. I decided to make my own instead.

On the way home, I stopped off at the local baking supply shop (which happens to be on the way to my house) and picked up a bag of milk and dark guittard a'peels. The two bags together came to $4.50. Then I grabbed a bag of marshmallows at the corner store, which cost $1, on sale. We already had Honey Maid Graham Crackers.

I threw my chocolate in a bowl and tossed it in the microwave, stopping it to stir every 45 seconds or so until it was entirely melted.

Then I broke a bunch of graham crackers in half and put them on a plate. I topped each one with a marshmallow and put it in the mircorwave for around 15 seconds, until it was soft and puffy.

I then smushed the other half of a graham cracker on top and made little sandwhiches.

I dunked each sandwhich in chocolate and then put it on foil to cool and dry.

The end result was delicious and my kids freaked. My husband was beside himself with glee. The quality of my end product was exactly equivalent to those in the candy store and I made 8 (plus some chocololate covered grahams) for a little more than the price of one. And yes, it really was as easy as I made it sound.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Grilled vegetables and dried apricots in a garlic, fennel vinaigrette

I had some leftover grilled vegetables (Fennel bulb, red onion, zucchini, and shitake mushrooms) from BBQing last night. I chopped them up, threw them on some fresh arugula, whipped up a dressing, and was surprised at how wonderful the resulting salad was.

Serves 2

2c grilled vegetables, medium dice
2c fresh arugula, washed and dried (if using pre-washed, a half bag will do)
1/4 c dried apricots, medium dice
1 large clove garlic, sliced thin
1t fennel seeds
1T extra virgin olive oil
2T olive oil
3T white balsamic vinegar

Place the grilled vegetables, arugula, and apricots in a medium salad bowl.

Toast fennel seeds in a sautee pan over medium heat until they darken slighty and release their aroma. Remove the toasted seeds from the pan and grind them.

In the same pan, add your 2T olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add your sliced garlic and fry until golden brown and crispy (beware the hot spots on your pan! Don't let any garlic burn!)

Add your hot garlic and garlic oil to the white balsamic. Add the ground fennel, and the Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Toss the salad with the dressing and serve immediately.

Monday, May 7, 2007

First Corn of the Season!

Tonight, my produce guy hooked me up with the first corn of the season, sweet white corn. I whipped up a quick batch of cilantro lime butter, smeared it all over, and threw those babies on the grill. The result is, of course, resplendent.

4-5 ears corn, husked and cleaned
1 lime
1 bu cilantro
1/2 stick butter
3 cloves garlic
1t ground cumin
1/2t ground coriander
1/2 jalapeno, seeded

Wash the cilantro and place with the butter, garlic, cumin, coriander, and jalapeno into the bowl of your food processer. Zest the lime into the bowl and then squeeze the juice in after. Pulse until uniform in texture, but stop before it is a puree. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Spread over the corn liberally and wrap in aluminium foil. Place on a medium grill and turn every few minutes until the corn has roasted brown in places and cooked through.