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Wine Wednesday|Trader Joe’s Petit Reserve Refosco

Vino Miércoles!

This week we have a winner.  A nice little wine that has a good price ($7.99) and a solid flavor profile, I picked it up even though I’d never heard of Refosco before.  I thought this one was sort of plummy, even pruney, and was smooth without being flat.  Generally when I’ve tasted what I would call “smooth” wines, they also tend to be a bit thin and unsubstantial.  This one was not.  I also found it a bit dry at the finish.  My co-sampler (and husband) said that he tasted chocolate (I could taste that as well, although not as prevalently as the plum) and thought it was spicy and peppery.

Wine Wednesday|Evenus Zinfandel Port

Happy Wednesday!

I’m very excited today because Bake Like A Ninja has its first guest post!  An anonymous reader has generously offered to write a bit about port, something I know little-to-nothing about.*  Without further ado…

First I’d like to thank our thoughtful Ninja host for the guest spot. I’ve never done this before so she’s taking a little risk. I’ll just get right to it.

Wine Wednesday|St. Somewhere Syrah

Happy Wednesday!

Oh St. Somewhere!  I love your name, love your label, love the region you come from (Paso Robles), and yet…

Yet you disappointed.  You were not a dump-down-the-drain disappointment (although some of you didn’t get finished), but you were not what I was hoping for.  You smelled kind of yeasty (not generally a good sign, I fear) and you were not in the least bit fruity, chocolaty or even very peppery.  You were a bit sour.  You weren’t awful, but oh how you were not wonderful either.

Twelve Months of Cookbooks: February|”Ratio” by Michael Ruhlman

For such a simple book, it has a very long title!

Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking is my current favorite book.*  A couple of years back I heard Ruhlman on The Splendid Table talking about…well, proselytizing really, about the magic of learning ratios in cooking.  It was a “you had me at hello” moment.**  And it was a pretty serious turning point in the way I thought about cooking and food.

Wine Wednesday|Paring Ménage à Trois Red with Onion Anchovy Tart

Bon Mercredi du vin!

Last week, we gave a much favored wine at work – the Ménage à Trois Red – a try.  I’m not sure if it’s so well liked for its price, its taste, or its scandalous name, but it gets asked for a lot by regular customers.

Wine Wednesday|Pairing Penfolds Rawson’s Retreat Shiraz-Cabernet with Hanger Steak


Not really, but the magic of technology is allowing me to pretend, so I’m indulging.

Today we have a very nicely priced Australian wine paired with one of our favorite-things-of-all-time-to-eat – hanger steak!

If you’ve never had a hanger steak and you are a red meat lover, please try one.  This is an odd cut of beef – not particularly tender, but extremely flavorful and also called a “butcher’s steak” (presumably because the butcher liked to keep this beauty to herself).  Oddly enough, it’s not all that expensive, even though there is only one per steer – it was about $9 for a whole steak from our fancy-pants butcher in the Farmer’s Market on Fairfax.

Daring Cooks February 2012|Patties!

Specifically, Rösti!

The Daring Cooks’ February 2012 challenge was hosted by Audax & Lis and they chose to present Patties for their ease of construction, ingredients and deliciousness! We were given several recipes, and learned the different types of binders and cooking methods to produce our own tasty patties!

I have never made hashbrowns successfully.  I’ve managed to brown potatoes in a pan somewhat effectively on occasion, but I’ve never made a truly beautiful plateful of hashbrowns – until now!

Wine Wednesday|Révélation Cabernet-Merlot

Oh I never learn.

This is a bottle I picked up from work partially on a recommendation from a customer.  He said it was marvelous.  Maybe he didn’t say exactly that (I don’t know that anyone says the word “marvelous”), but he was pretty keen on it.  In my haste to find a bottle for this week’s review without spending too much additional time in the shop, I neglected to notice something very important about this wine; it’s French.  And I don’t like French wine.

Daring Bakers January 2012|Scones (aka Biscuits)

Oh my oh my!

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!

And Aud did inspire us!  Just check out his scones!!

Wine Wednesday|Rendition Zinfandel

We love Zinfandel!

Which is true.  And this Zinfandel was good…but not amazing.  It came highly recommended, so perhaps the bar in my mind was a bit high, but it just fell a little short of what I was expecting.

It was very Zin…fruity, strong but still smooth and a bit spicy, body without being syrupy.  It was good at the start.  But my husband noticed that the finish was kind of hollow.  I think that’s what he said.  Perhaps “empty” was his exact term.  But you get the idea.  Something about the end of the taste of the wine just sort of fell…flat.