Bake Like A Ninja Rotating Header Image

Twelve Months of Cookbooks: January|”The Way To Cook” by Julia Child


My husband had an interesting and excellent idea recently.  Knowing that people enjoy lists and recommendations, he suggested that I make a list of “must have” cookbooks for the blog, explaining why each book is on the list.

Genius!  And I’m planning on taking it one step further.  Each month this year I’m going to review one of the books in my collection that I think is a “must have,” and at the end of 2012, I’ll have a list of 12 cookbooks that are really stellar.  At least, that’s the hope.

Wine Wednesday|Pairing Sebastopol Hills Pinot Noir with Pizza

Wine + pizza = excellence!

We’ve been making pizza together since we’ve lived together.  I’ve waxed a little poetically about that before, but goofiness be damned, after 7 years homemade pizza is something that really means “home” to me.  Maybe it’s because it’s so simple, maybe (very likely) it’s because my husband almost always makes it or maybe it’s because it’s something we learned to make together, I pretty much can’t get enough of the stuff.

My husband just had a birthday and his mom sent him a wonderful cookbook:

Wine Wednesday|Pairing Chateauneuf du Pape with Hunter’s Stew


Actually, “Bon jour” is more in order here.  Today we’re talking about our experiment in pairing a couple more French wines with Hunter’s Stew.

To recap, we’ve been going through the fun and informative Wine Food & Friends to deepen our knowledge of wines and also how wines pair with food.  Already there have been a few surprises – Riesling is actually quite delicious (and not overly sweet) and French wines tend to be very dry, earthy and flat (as opposed to superior, which I would have expected based on my experience with French foods).

Wine Wednesday|Pairing Beaujolais with Sundried Tomato Meatloaf

Wine Wednesday!

Yet another quick-and-dirty wine weigh-in due to the insanity of the holidays.*

A while back, when we were still on track with our once-a-week** wine/dinner pairing, we did a wonderful meatloaf from our wine paring guide Wine Food & Friends

Our expert from the book suggested a Beaujolais to pair with her excellent Sun-Dried Tomato Meat Loaf with Red Currant Sauce (page 114):

Wine Wednesday|Reggiano Lambrusco

A bit quick and dirty today – for starters, we’re already late and for enders, we haven’t gotten nearly enough of our Christmas chores done, so there isn’t a ton of time.*

Today, it’s Lambrusco.  Much like the Prosecco I was so excited to try last week, I was also excited to try this stuff.  I’d heard about it recently on The Splendid Table, about how it has of late been rescued from its cheesy 70s past and rehabilitated into a respectable and refreshing sparkling adult beverage.

Wine Wednesday|Zonin Prosecco

Wait, what happened to wine pairings?  And isn’t this post supposed to come out on Wednesday?

Fear not, wine parings are coming back and yes this post is supposed to come out on Wednesday*.  I got a transfer at work** and my days off suddenly changed, which threw the writing schedule all out of whack.  Valuable lesson for bloggers; always good to have a spare backup post around for those times when you thought you’d have time to write but don’t…

We should be back on track this next coming week with more pairings on Wednesday.  But in the meantime…Prosecco!

Wine Paring Wednesday|Butternut Squash Soup/Riesling & Pear Strata/Chardonnay

New name!

In an effort to make my wine education more complete and more interesting, I decided to try different wines (something I know little about) with foods (something I know quite a bit more about).  I noticed that just drinking wine, my thoughts were on the thin side, and I’m hoping that putting different wines together with food will allow for more discussion.

I love road maps whenever I start anything new.  As I was noodling on how to get this particular new venture started, my husband had the idea of taking the book I’d bought to guide me through pairing wine with food:

Wine Wednesday|Block Red Shiraz (and some changes)

Happy Wednesday!

And happy day-before-Thanksgiving to all of us in the US!

Today we’re chatting about our “house” red – the Block Red Shiraz sold at Trader Joe’s.  We’ve been drinking box wine as a staple for a while now, having (figuratively) stumbled upon it one Christmas in Mammoth, CA.  The grocery stores up there can be very expensive, so we normally haul food and drinks up there with us.  A couple of years ago, we forgot to make a list and consequently, forgot almost everything, including wine.  Being ever-thrifty, we thought we’d take a chance on a box…and it was surprisingly serviceable.  And extremely convenient.

Wine Wednesday|Dearly Beloved Forever Red (2009)

What a bottle!

No, seriously, what a bottle.  The wine…well…

It’s not bad, just a bit bland.  It’s drinkable, but there aren’t any significant flavors.  Perfectly fine for a glass but it didn’t wow us.  The husband says that the bottle is more remarkable than the wine (a comment I’ve heard from quite a few people).  It improves a bit with a breathe, but still there’s just not much there.  It’s not hot, not sweet, not smoky, not peppery, not rich, not thin…it’s just kinda…wine…no shape to it.  There is a bit sourness and dryness, but that’s about it.

Wine Wednesday|Charles Shaw Cabernet

Two Buck Chuck!

I’m excited to talk about this wine.  It’s one that we’ve had around here for years, and before we switched to the Block Red Shiraz*, the Charles Shaw Cabernet was our staple table wine.

Some don’t care for it, but we’ve found it a solid wine for its price.  A co-worker says it has topnotes of watermelon and bubblegum; I don’t think he’s a fan, but I see his point – this is not top shelf stuff.  It is, however, an extremely affordable ($1.99 in California, slightly higher in places like Washington with high alcohol tax), medium bodied cab with a bit of tartness, a bit of heat, a bit of fruity sweetness, and overall just a drinkable red wine.