Archive for August, 2012

31
Aug
12

How do I Serve Cheese?

Serve all cheeses at room temperature! Remove cheeses from the refrigerator at least an hour before serving. Hard cheeses take longer to reach room temperature. As a rustic peasant food, cheese displays well on wood or marble or stone boards, surrounded by fruits (simplest – a bunch of grapes), nuts, crusty bread and wine. Try to avoid cubing or slicing in advance, and put out one cheese knife or cheese plane per cheese. For a big crowd, where self-service is key, you may pre-slice or cube, but the cheese will dry out quickly and, as a display technique, it’s fairly cheesy. If you must precut cheese, use a covered cheese dome.

30
Aug
12

Wine: If You See Kay, Italian Red Wine

If you See Kay1962, the year was tense and everyone was pushing new boundaries. Musical Artists were no exception to this effort. Memphis Slim released an album entitled “Bawdy Blues“ and upon that album a single entitled “IF YOU SEE KAY”. Since that time that song has been covered by Aerosmith, April Wine, and The Script. Every artist rehashing the art that was created by an original and hoping to bring new life into something long forgotten by the multitudes and doing the original artist’s work only a fraction of credit it is due.

I often think of wine as an art form to be enjoyed listening to jazz and blues while gazing at a masterpiece worthy of adoration. When the arts can collide, you often find a wonderful surprise that takes your breath away and brings your heart into tune with life. Recently, I experienced this rare phenomenon; I looked upon what must be one of the most atrocious labels I have ever seen and read the name of the wine from the label, “If You See Kay”. Having never heard of the song before, I was taken aback and decided from that initial impression that this was a bad bottle. I had to force myself to take my own advice “to shut up and taste the juice.”

Luckily, I did just that and found within one of the world’s worst wine marketing packages a shocking surprise blend of Italian Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot, and Primotivo. This wine’s aromas were intoxicating with brilliant black fruit and light cherries carried upon a rift of vanilla. Upon the fore of my tongue the jammy sensation of fresh black berries and black cherries were riding on a bed of vanilla enveloping the tongue by mid palate with velvet and anise cascading into a silky finish of rich cocoa layers and brilliant white pepper sensations. The grand finale would have to be my eyes rolling back in my head as I reached out to caress that beautiful wine’s hideous bottle and pour myself another glass.

So, just as Memphis Slim caused a stir in the music industry back in his day, this wine is causing a bit of a stir in the wine industry that emphasizes that we must look beyond the label, or the skin and take what is inside for the value it inherently is. My best advice today is to kick back, pop the cork and cast the aspersions and prejudices we have against things we find different, or offensive and get to know the wine and the people in your life.

28
Aug
12

Recipe: Mini Tacos

Simple appetizers that go with good wines and allow you to spend time with family and friends are always a good thing! Here is a favorite that even the kids can help you out with!

 

  • 24  wonton wrappers
  • 1  lb.lean ground beef
  • 2  tbsp. Picante Sauce
  • 1/2  cup Salsa
  • 4  oz. shredded Mexican cheese blend (about 1 cup)
  •  Sour cream (optional garnish)
  • Sliced pitted ripe olive (optional garnish)

 

Directions

1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Press the wonton wrappers into 24 (1 1/2-inch) mini muffin-pan cups.

2. Cook the beef in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until it’s well browned, stirring often to break up the meat. Pour off any fat. Stir in the taco seasoning mix and picante sauce.

3. Spoon the beef mixture into the wonton cups. Top with the salsa and cheese.

4. Bake for 5 minutes or until the wontons are golden brown and the cheese is melted.

5. Garnish with sour cream and olives, if desired. Serve immediately with additional salsa.

 

Pair against a carmenere wine from Chile for a perfectly matched pairing.

27
Aug
12

Tasting Program Schedule for September & October 2012

26
Aug
12

Peanut, red wine compound may help improve mobility in seniors

Scientists have discovered that a natural compound found in peanuts and red wine might improve mobility in elderly by reducing motor deficiencies.

Researchers from the Duquesne University in Pittsburgh found that resveratrol could cut motor deficiencies in older people.

“Our study suggests that a natural compound like resveratrol, which can be obtained either through dietary supplementation or diet itself, could actually decrease some of the motor deficiencies that are seen in our ageing population,” Jane E Cavanaugh, leader of the research team said.

Cavanaugh said that falls become more common with advancing age and are the leading cause of injury-related death among people older than 65.

In addition, about one in three older Americans have difficulty with balance or walking, according to the American Geriatrics Society.

“These mobility problems are particularly common among older people who have Parkinson`s disease and other age-related neurological disorders,” Cavanaugh said in a statement.

The researchers fed young and old laboratory mice a diet containing resveratrol for eight weeks. They periodically tested the rodents` ability to navigate a steel mesh balance beam, counting the number of times that each mouse took a misstep.

Initially, the older mice had more difficulty manoeuvring on the obstacle. But by week four, the older mice made far fewer missteps and were on par with the young mice.

While it is unclear how resveratrol works in the body, Cavanaugh`s team found some clues. In laboratory experiments, they exposed neural cells to a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which in large amounts can induce cell death.

However, neurons treated with resveratrol before being exposed to dopamine survived. On closer examination, the researchers found that resveratrol mitigated the damage done by oxygen free radicals, generated by the breakdown of the dopamine, and activated protein signaling pathways that appeared to promote cell survival.

Cavanaugh noted that resveratrol does have some drawbacks. For instance, it is poorly absorbed by the body. In fact, she calculated that a 150-pound person would have to drink almost 700 4-ounce glasses of red wine a day to absorb enough resveratrol to get any beneficial effects.

The study was presented at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

25
Aug
12

Recipe: Jamaican Goat Curry

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 3 hours

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 6-8 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp allspice (see step 1)
  • 3 pounds goat (can use lamb or beef if you can’t find goat)
  • Salt
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1-2 habanero or Scotch bonnet peppers, seeded and chopped
  • A 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1-2 cans coconut milk
  • 1 15-ounce can of tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 5 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

Method

1 Make the curry powder. If you can find Jamaican curry powder, definitely use it. If not, use regular curry powder and add the allspice to it. You will need at least 6 tablespoons of spices for this stew, and you can kick it up to 8-9 depending on how spicy you like it.

2 Cut the meat into large chunks, maybe 2-3 inches across. If you have bones, you can use them, too. Salt everything well and set aside to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes.

3 Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Mix in 2 tablespoons of the curry powder and heat until fragrant.

4 Pat the meat dry and brown well in the curried oil. Do this in batches and don’t overcrowd the pot. It will take a while to do this, maybe 30 minutes or so. Set the browned meat aside in a bowl. (When all the meat is browned, if you have bones, add them and brown them, too.)

5 Add the onions and habanero to the pot and sauté, stirring from time to time, until the onions just start to brown, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle some salt over them as they cook. Add the ginger and garlic, mix well and sauté for another 1-2 minutes.

6 Put the meat (and bones, if using) back into the pot, along with any juices left in the bowl. Mix well. Pour in the coconut milk and tomatoes and 5 tablespoons of the curry powder. Stir to combine. If you are using 2 cans of coconut milk, add 3 cups of water. If you’re only using 1 can, add 4 cups of water. Add the thyme. Bring to a simmer and let it cook until the meat is falling-apart tender, which will take at least 2 hours. Longer if you have a mature goat.

7 Once the meat is close to being done – tender but not falling apart yet – Add the potatoes and mix in. The stew is done when the potatoes are. Taste for salt and add some if it needs it.

8 You might need to skim off the layer of fat at the top of the curry before serving. Do this with a large, shallow spoon, skimming into a bowl. Also, be sure to remove any bones before you serve the curry.

The stew is better the day after, or even several days after, the day you make it.

 

24
Aug
12

How to properly toast with wine glasses…

 




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