Thursday, March 26, 2009

Barrel Fever | Chateau Montelena (and Prostitutes)

I understand that blog title may be confusing. Let me explain. Some of you may or may not know that CB and I have a little hobby; drinking wine. But not just drinking wine, we travel around the country to wine taste, we own books on wine, attend classes on appellation and variety, subscribe to wine spectator, and have an expanding wine cellar. I realized recently that I don't blog about wine much, maybe it's because I don't think I know enough about it to pontificate to the masses, but truth be told I really really like wine, I like drinking and learning about wine as much as I like cooking, baking and learning all things culinary. So, starting now I will have hopefully, regular blog posts about wine. I'll post the really good reviews, along with the stinkers and everything in between, I'll include the vineyard tasting notes, along with what I thought of the wine and of course the price.

I'll get to the prostitutes in a minute. I've named the wine reviews Barrel Fever, the reason for this is two-fold. My favorite author David Sedaris has a book titled Barrel Fever - I love his writing style and his books, for me at least are laugh out loud funny. I love the way he makes ordinary life so colorful in the way he describes it. Second - wine specifically red wine is aged in oak barrels...duh.

For the first Barrel Fever posting I have chosen a wine from Chateau Montelena in Calistoga California. If any of you have seen the movie bottle shock, or heard about the 1976 Paris tasting where California wines basically shocked the wine industry and the wine world altogether than you know that the 1972 Chardonnay from Chateau Montelena took first place for the best white wine at that competition. Fame and fortune have followed, but the truth is, they are still making amazing wines 30 years later. So without further ado:

2005 Chateau Montelena Zinfandel
Winery Tasting Notes:
The wine shows a very good deep red color. It has many of the typical Zinfandel notes on the nose: spicy berry, subtle briar, and some dried fruit component. On the palate it opens with a nice big bowl of the same briar and berry flavors, and a spicy Zinfandel character.

JB Tasting Notes: I just loved this wine, it had a great nose...I got spice and dried fruit in the nose, but on the palate I got chocolate, dark rich chocolate. I didn't need food with this wine, I could have been happy with just a hunk of bread and this wine. I liked it much better than CB, he liked it, but wasn't as gaga over it as I was. I drank it with my aunt and uncle, avid wine drinkers, and both agreed, this was a solid buy and a great bottle of wine.

Rating: Damn Good (buy this wine)

Now what you've all been waiting for: the prostitutes. I'm going to read you a little article that was in the Metro the other day.. here we go

Prostitutes Offer Deals for Recession
Brothels in Germany - where prostitution was legalized seven years ago - are scrambling to offer recession specials as the dismal economy takes a bite out of even the oldest profession. One German brothel is offering an all-you-can-eat buffet (well if that doesn't have a double meaning I don't know what does) with its services; another invites men to bring their wives along and make the event more of a family affair. (hell sure, bring Grandma along too) "If customers can't even afford to spend money on housing, food and cars" asks Monika Heitmann, a prostitute support worker, "then how can we expect them to spend money on sex?"

Well - here's a brilliant idea, instead of those men coming to the brothels with their wives and paying prostitutes to have sex, why don't they just stay at home and have sex with their wives! I mean really priorities please. And I love the all-you-can-eat buffet, I'm still trying to figure out if that is actually food.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

No Food for You!

Sorry, no food today, just a brief update and/or excuse. What is that saying the road to hell is paved with good intentions or something like that. This was supposed to be the week I got back on track with baking/cooking and posting, but life just got in the way. CB's cousin passed away, and a few days later my uncle passed away so a lot of our time has been spent dealing with wakes and funerals so my best laid plans to actually read the manual on my new Nikon D60, bake something, cook something, organize to be made recipes just hasn't happened.

I'm 33 and I've been blessed with the longevity of my family. My grandfather died when I was 11, after that I didn't have to face another death in my family until I was a junior in college when my great aunt succumbed to cancer. I've lost acquaintances and extended family, but nothing that has affected the core nucleus of my family. This week has made me realize that there will come a time when the bell curve of longevity will fall faster and faster for the people who have always been the mainstays in my life. I'm 33, my grandmother is still alive, kicking, and full of as much piss and vinegar as she had when I was a kid, so are all of her sisters save one. Isn't that something! But every year as I get older, they get older too, and weeks like this may be closer together rather than farther apart. Just be grateful for the time you have with them.

Okay, now that I sound like some horrible Lifetime movie I feel like I should throw a few errant fucks around just so you don't think I've gone all soft and shit.

Seriously - the recipes, their a comin' I promise.

PS. I planted all of my seeds on Sunday....goodness I hope they all grow. Send healthy seed vibes to all my little plants.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Guinness Molasses Bread

This bread is just too good and too easy to make. There are 5 ingredients people, and it tastes so good...

I can't wait to try it toasted with a little butter...I think that will just be the shit.

This bread is dense, tasty, a little sweet and then a little hint of the Guinness - fabulous. It was perfect for St.Patrick's Day dinner and it only took about an hour from pantry to pie hole. You just can't beat that. Well, maybe, if you were on some Irish country farm and you'd just sheered a sheep, made a sweater out of it, then made this bread and enjoyed it while sitting outside on your stone ledge in your new sweater, watching a rainbow arch across your fields of green, maybe then that would beat it.

I got this recipe from Elsie over at Simply Recipes. Here is a link to her post.
Please note that I did not have self rising flour so I used her trick with the baking powder and salt and it worked just fine. I also used whole wheat flour for added fiber and nutrients.

Rating = So God Damn Good

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

On getting a year older and gray hairs.

Here's my promise. More tasty posts coming. With even better pictures, because I got me a brandy new Nikon D60 for my birthday and I can't wait to break it in. I thought I was going to bake beer bread last night for St.Patricks Day today, but my geriatric ass fell asleep on the couch last night at, wait for it, 7:30 and I didn't wake up until after 9:00 when CB informed me that I was missing Dancing with the Stars - for shame. See you turn 33 and suddenly you can't stay up past 7:30.

So, another birthday come and gone. Another year closer to my inevitable Botox injections, right between the eyes, and on the forehead, just a little on the crows feet, maybe just a smidgen at the laugh lines...or maybe my whole face.

I have a gray hair. I've named her Sylvia, she lives at the front of my hairline where I part my hair every morning. I like Sylvia, she has character. I'm going to keep her. But I've noticed lately that Sylvia has a sister, Phyllis; and Phyllis is a two dollar whore because she keeps sprouting off unwanted and illegitimate children. I'm doing my best at tweezering them out, but at what point does this become a losing battle? At what point are there more gray haired illegitimates than natural brown strands. I've read that the age at which you go gray is genetically predetermined, that outside forces such as stress have no effect on the change. Well, phoey I'm still not ready to go grey, so until then watch out Phyllis, I've got my eye on you.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Baked Vegetarian Fritatta

I don't have a recipe for this particular dish. I threw it together because I had a lot of veggies hanging around and we had company coming over for brunch. Brunch of all things. I can cook appetizers, dinner, dessert no problem, but brunch nearly handicapped me. I had no idea what to make. I peeked around a few websites, read some quiche recipes, read some fritatta recipes, read some omelet recipes and then just sort of had at it. And you know what? It was awesome. Really awesome. I didn't write down notes when I was cooking, but this is about what I used and what I did with it.

10 eggs beaten
1/4 C milk
1/2 onion chopped
1 red pepper copped
1lb asparagus blanched then cut into 1-inch pieces
a couple handfuls of baby spinach
1/4 C fat free feta cheese
1/2 C fresh flat leaf parsley chopped

I sauteed the onion and pepper until everything was a little soft, but still had firmness too it. I then added the asparagus and spinach and just cooked until the spinach had wilted.

Add the milk to the eggs and beat until incorporated. Add parsley to the egg mixture. Add vegetables to the egg mixture.

Season egg mixture with salt and pepper if you want.

Pour into a glass 9-inch square baking dish.

Now here's the thing, I can't remember what I cooked it at, but I think it was 350 degrees and it took 45 minutes to cook. I think if you put it in the oven at 350 and watched it after 30 minutes you'd be fine.

This made a lot. It was probably 7 good servings.

Rating = So Damn Good

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

More here and there....but mostly there

So. I'll be MIA for about a week or so. I've got some traveling to do for work, and then I'll be taking some much much much (insert about 700 muches here) time off to do a little relaxing - and I won't be cookin while I'm all realxingandshit. So check back in a little over a week.

But in the meantime if you need something to make, this recipe looks awesome. I haven't even tried it yet, it was emailed to me from Vegetarian Times this afternoon. If you do make it over the next week, pretty please, be a good girl or boy and let me know how you liked it.

Peanut Butter-Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips | Vegetarian Times
Serves 8

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar or raw sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 medium bananas, mashed
1/3 cup unsweetened crunchy peanut butter
1/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1 large egg
2 Tbs. canola oil
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350F. Coat standard loaf pan with cooking spray. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl.

Whisk together mashed bananas, peanut butter, yogurt, egg and oil. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Scrape batter into prepared loaf pan.

Bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Cool on rack 15 minutes before unmolding. Cool completely, then slice and serve.