Archive for March, 2012
About that pan-seared salmon I was mentioning the other day…
Well, we just had to have it…on top of a mound of broccoli rabe.
Whoo-wee!! That broccoli rabe was fully loaded with garlic and red pepper flakes! It lit our mouths on fire, I tell you!
We definitely needed a wine to cool things down, so I grabbed for the 2011 Calcu Rosé from Chile (Sample, MSRP: $13 US).
This Chilean rosé made up of 55% Malbec, 35% Syrah and 10% Petit Verdot is slightly sweet, with hints of cherry and strawberry.
2 Stars out of 4. For some reason, thoughts of creamsicles entered my mind, but it’s perfect for extinguishing mouth-fires on contact.
As the saying goes, “everyone has to start somewhere.” This past Friday, after a long week of absolutely gorgeous weather here on the Eastern Seaboard, I was thinking that this would be a great way to officially start the weekend:
Living lovely on the deck.
I do have to say, I love…LOVES me some caviar!! Now, now… I know what you’re thinking, but to be completely honest with you, this is just some tasty and cheap roe that gets the job done for my tuna fish wallet.
This simple slice of Icelandic heaven consists:
- Table Water Crackers
- Cream Cheese
- Cheap Caviar
- Add in some fresh mozzarella balls on the side, and you’ve got yourself a Friday night party on the deck!
To celebrate this beautiful Eastern Spring evening and appetizer, I thought I’d lock lips with a few east coast sparklers: two exquisite bottles of bubbly from New York’s Dr. Frank Wine Cellars.
Pioneered by Dr. Konstantin Frank, this Finger Lakes winery has earned a reputation for producing outstanding Rieslings and sparkling wines that adhere to the classic French “methode champenoise.”
The first was the Chateau Frank Blanc de Blancs (2006) (Sample, MSRP: $29.99 US).
This sparkling wine is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc, and was aged for more than three years before its release. When my wife and I released it into our glasses this past Friday night, it was like a fruit pie being swept up into a twister of teeny-tiny bubbles: rich and toasty with notes of pear and ginger. Absolutely delicious from start to finish! Highly recommended with a little (or a lot) of my little caviar snack! 4 Stars out of 4 for the Chateau Frank Blanc de Blancs.
Our second sparkler was the Chateau Frank Célèbre Rosé (NV) (Sample, MSRP: $20.99 US).
Unlike the rich, big mouthful style of the Blanc de Blancs, this bubbly is more of an easy-going deck wine to enjoy with family and friends. Made with 100% estate grown Pinot Meunier grapes, it offers an orchard of raspberries and strawberries for those that prefer a sweeter style sparkler. By the second glass, we were longing for a giant piece of pan-seared salmon to go with it! 3 out of 4 for Chateau Frank Célèbre Rosé (NV).
If only every weekend could start out this way!
I gotta a fever, I tell you. Spring Fever! It’s been one terrific week of warm temperatures in my neck of the woods; and I’m soooooo ready for Spring to arrive. However, there’s one (not so) little thing that needs to be addressed before I break out my Speedo bathing suit. Ewww…whah wa!?? I kid…I kid, but I do need to do something about the old waistline before the hot weather arrives.
Sauvignon Blanc is just the wine to slice away those pounds! Okay, so maybe this isn’t exactly true, but it’s those Sauvignon Blancs that are bursting at the seams with intense acidity, massive grapefruit, lemon-lime and grassy flavors that make me want to eat lighter, simple meals. Which is precisely what I need right now!
The 2010 William Cole Columbine Special Reserve Sauvignon Blanc (Sample, MSRP: $15 US) from Chile’s Casablanca Valley, is full of that in-your-face high acidity rush that I love about Sauvignon Blanc. It’s packed with intense grapefruit, lemon, lime and touch of peach on the finish. Oh yeah – it’s also got some of that grassy, herbaceous component that makes you think that it might be from New Zealand rather than Chile.
3 Stars out of 4 for the 2010 William Cole Columbine Special Reserve Sauvignon Blanc. It makes you crave the healthy stuff!
Well, how you doin’? I know, I know…it’s been forever since my last post. I could provide you with a host of excuses for my mysterious disappearance - some interesting and others not so interesting – but what’s the point? Let’s move on and talk about LOVE! What about it, you ask??
The simple truth of the matter is that I’ve fallen in L-O-V-E: not with one, but with 2 very special things since the start of 2012.
I’ll describe my first love of 2012 as restoration from devastation. After 15 years with our beloved cats, they both passed away within weeks of one another at the end of 2011. Noodle, our terrific alley cat who loved Fancy Dinner Friday and a big old plate of spaghetti and meatballs, passed away just before Thanksgiving. Then to our complete shock (just a few weeks later) Noodle’s housemate and our soft and cuddly roomie, Church (who bore a striking resemblance to the cat from Pet Sematery), also passed away. We bawled and then bawled some more all the way through the holidays.
Shortly after the first of the year, my kids pulled me aside to ask the question, “Dad, can we have another pet?” “What do you have in mind…a kitten…a litter of kittens?” I asked. “No. Can we have a DOG this time?” I did what every good father would do in this instance: I turned to them and said, “Umm…I dunno, talk to your mother.”
A few mornings later, as we were waking up, my wife asked, “Can we get the kids a dog?”
I couldn’t believe it?! They got to her. The person who said that we would NEVER have another pet. BRAINWASHED. My immediate response: “Are YOU going to get up at 4:30 in the morning to take it out?” As far as she was concerned, that was the end of the conversation.
Later that day, something came over me and I thought to myself that it wouldn’t hurt to check out some cute dogs on Petfinder.com. I sent my wife a couple links of some cute dogs, and that was the end of it: A Mom’s love for her boys kicked into full gear.
It sure didn’t take her very long to track down the cutest, sweetest little doggie in the whole wide world to join our family and fill that open void in our hearts. Nothing like gushing and being a proud new daddy (and all it took was a little coaxing )…
Meet the newest addition to our family, Billie.
Look at that cutie!
We adopted Billie from Paula’s Dog House, a dog rescue in Mount Olive, NJ. She was aptly named by the people at the rescue: she has the cutest underbite that sort of makes her look like a little billy goat. We’re not quite sure what breed she is, but whatever she is there might be some bunny rabbit mixed in since she loves to hop up and down the stairs! What else can I say – she’s adorable, super friendly, and a great new addition to our family! Something tells me that you’ll be seeing and hearing a lot more about Billie.
Not a pet person? Well I have another true love that has recently entered my life. The second love is a kitchen super-tool that every aspiring master or top chef needs: a pressure cooker!!
After watching countless episodes of cooking shows last year, I decided that I needed to take my Poor Man’s Chef Creations to a whole new level. I became infatuated with pressure cookers and begged my wife and friends for one of these nifty kitchen devices. So what makes a pressure cooker so damn great you ask? Well, imagine cooking something in an hour (or less!) that would take a crockpot/slow cooker all day.
Ask and you shall receive! The pressure cooker that I received as a gift was the Fagor Futuro 10-Qt. Stovetop Pressure Cooker. One word for you – AMAZING!!
It’s even inspired my wife to get down, MasterChef Style! It’s dishes like this one that make us want to use it nearly every night of the week. Chicken Adobo!
Here’s a link to the recipe.
I decided to give our chicken adobo dish a go with two different wines: the 2010 Morro Bay Split Oak Vineyard Sur Lie Chardonnay from California (Sample, MSRP: $11 US) and the 2009 Los Vascos Grande Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile (Sample, MSRP: $16 US). I figured the sweetness of the molasses would be a good fit for a Chardonnay. Why the Cabernet Sauvignon? Well…just because I was feelin’ Cabernet.
Brimming with tropical fruits such as fig, papaya and pineapples, the 2010 Morro Bay Split Oak Vineyard Sur Lie Chardonnay had bright acidity with a touch of sweet spices that was a perfect complement to this chicken adobo recipe.
For the red wine, I opted for the 2009 Los Vascos Grande Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon for no other reason besides wanting a Cabernet – you know how that goes.
I’ve reviewed several Los Vascos wines before and have found them to be reliable, go-to wines. However, there was something different about the 2009 Los Vascos Grande Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. It was the first Cabernet Sauvignon that I’ve tasted from Los Vascos that teetered a little too much (for me) into that juicy-sweet New World style. The 2009 Los Vascos Grande Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon delivers a sweet flow of cherries, blackberries, cinnamon and chocolate flavors from start to finish.
2 Stars out of 4 for the 2009 Los Vascos Grande Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. I tasted this Cab over the course of three days with similar results: it made me want to search through cabinets looking for the half-eaten Whitman’s Sampler that was leftover from the holidays.
Here’s to great new beginnings!