Tag Archives: humor

#Wine and #Halloween candy pairings are frightening. There. I said it.

28 Oct

The scariest thing about Halloween is not goblins, ghosts or Donald Trump’s hair. It’s Halloween candy and wine pairings. I mean, seriously. Why would I waste a perfectly good glass of wine on a bag of candy corn?

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No offense to candy-wine-pairing aficionados (and the serial “infographickers” that inspire them), but nothing makes me want to reach for the Pepto more than the thought of chasing a mouthful of miniature marshmallows with a glass of Pinot Noir. And in case you’re wondering, that was an actual pairing suggestion I found in the Googlesphere.

So as October winds down, I’m calling Halloween candy/wine pairing for what it is–an unpalatable excuse to sell wine. Now that I’ve finally put it out there, I will sit back with a glass of Riesling and wait for the backlash.

[Sound of crickets chirping]

While I wait, I wanted to introduce you to two Rieslings I just met over dinner. Relax and Blue Fish. I know, they sound like they could be  80s indie-pop bands. But they’re German Rieslings done in two different styles. Relax is on the sweet side, while Blue Fish is dry.

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What I thought was clever about the packaging is that you can tell how sweet or dry the wines are by looking at the back label:

riesling-meter-sweet

And if you’re as frazzled as I am after a long week of work insanity and midterms, these wines calm you down even before you open the bottle.

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All joking aside, I gotta tell you that the Blue Fish was a fan-TAB-ulous pairing with my dinner: a sesame-crusted seared ahi with mashed potatoes and asparagus delivered by Four Daughters restaurant in Manhattan Beach. You’ve probably guessed that it’s time for El Full Disclosure: The vino was a free product sample sent to me by a publicist, but (say it with me, chicas y chicos) the opinions stated in this post are mine. And while we’re on this topic, Four Daughters did NOT comp my dinner. Nor send me a press release. Heck, they have no idea Señorita Vino exists or that I’m writing about them. So there you have it.

But back to the wine, if you’re into wine ratings, the 2013 Blue Fish won 91 points from Wine Enthusiast magazine. I sampled the 2014–a solid value wine for about $8.50 a bottle.

The Relax was, well, a great way to relax after a satisfying dinner on a Thursday night at home. This one’s light but sweet enough to enjoy solo. You could even have a glass for dessert, although technically it’s not a dessert wine. Tell ya what–on Monday when the chiquitos come a-knockin’ for their sweet treats, pour yourself a glass and sip your own sweet reward. And remember–if you dare to pair it with candy, Señorita Vino will come haunt you.

¡Salud!

A little #wine for #NationalTacoDay

4 Oct

It’s not every day I sit around praying for the Taco Muse to visit me as I contemplate what to write about for National Taco Day. But like something straight outta Homer’s Odyssey, a taco recipe landed in my inbox from…wait for it…a Greek food company.

And I know I’ll catch el infierno from my Mexican friends, but I’m gonna pair it with–get ready–Chilean wine. Hey, what’s not to love about a little peace, love and global cuisine in Today’s Crazy World? Besides, I’ve been feeling all ornery-like since the candidates’ debate, so this is me stirring the palate pot.

Further down you’ll find the recipe for Grilled Chile-Lime Flank Steak Soft Tacos with Charred Pineapple Salsa (say that 10 times fast), courtesy of the muy Greek Gaea. But in the meantime, here’s my pairing suggestion.

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A bee-yoo-tee-ful glass of 2013 Montes Twins Malbec-Cabernet Sauvignon blend is going to send your Taco Tuesday into maximum overdrive. Big, bold blackberries, a trace of red roses and sweet spices will play nicely with the seasonings in the taco recipe. And the saucy tannins are going to grip that flank steak like they mean it. [El Full Disclosure: I received this bottle of wine as a sample from a public relations company, but my opinions are my own. As always. Why can’t the FCC just be happy with me writing about stuff I like? But that’s a whole other story. El Heavy Sigh.]

Oh, and don’t wait until your tacos are ready. Heck, crack open the bottle while you’re cooking. Last but not least, this recipe’s a little on the long side (and no, that’s not me looking a gift Taco Muse in the mouth, but just sayin’), so I’ll sign off for now. ¡Salud!, my darlings, and wish me well on my International Entrepreneurship midterm tomorrow.

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Grilled Chile-Lime Flank Steak Soft Tacos with Charred Pineapple Salsa

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds flank steak, trimmed of fat
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons of Gaea’s Kalamata D.O.P. Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Charred Pineapple Salsa

1 small pineapple, 3 to 3 1/2 pounds
1 small red onion, diced (about 3/4 cup)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons of Gaea’s Kalamata D.O.P. Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ fresh jalapeño or serrano pepper, scraped of seeds and minced
16 6-inch corn tortillas

For the Steak Marinade:

In a small bowl, mix all spices, salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and blend well to make a paste. Place the meat in a shallow dish and rub the paste evenly over both sides. Cover the steak and let it marinate for 1 to 4 hours.

For the Charred Pineapple Salsa:

When the steak is done marinating, preheat the grill; you’ll cut and grill the pineapple first and then put the steaks on the grill when the salsa is ready.

To cut the pineapple, slice off the leafy top and just enough of the bottom of the fruit so it rests flat on a cutting board. Slice off all the skin with a sharp knife, cutting from top to bottom and taking off as little of the flesh as possible, rotating the pineapple as you go. Discard the skin. Cut out any “eyes” with a paring knife and discard. Slice the fruit away from the core in four or five grill-friendly slabs.

When the grill is hot, place the pineapple slabs on the hot grill and grill quickly until the fruit just begins to show some browning, 1 to 2 minutes on each side. (If you want one side to be truly charred or blackened, let it go for 4 to 5 minutes on one side only.)

Take the fruit off the grill when it’s as browned as you like. Set it aside to cool for a few minutes and then dice the pineapple for the salsa. In a medium bowl, mix the diced charred pineapple, red onion, cilantro, 2 tablespoons lime juice, vinegar, remaining olive oil, salt, and minced hot pepper and blend well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To cook the steak:

Place the steak on the grill and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes on each side or slightly longer if you like it more well done. Remove the steak from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. While the grill is hot, place the tortillas on the grill and grill for 10 seconds on each side then wrap in a linen napkin for serving.

Slice the steak into 1/2-inch slices, place on a platter, and spoon over the charred pineapple salsa. Place the tortillas on the table and serve family style.

Can drinking wine zap fat cells?

12 Oct

Chicas y chicos, the week got away from me and here it is Saturday! One of my least favorite Saturday activities is going to the gym. As I write these lines, I’m trying to will myself off my Asti Spumante to go burn off last night’s bacchanalian feast. For now, I’m re-blogging a post from last year about a Purdue study that may have you reaching for that bottle of red vino. ¡Salud!

Just when you thought it was safe to get on the treadmill, a study by Purdue University has concluded that a compound found in red wine can block the development of fat cells. This is great news for people like me, whose fat cells haven’t seen the inside of a gym in about two weeks. Not only that, but red wine as a weight loss tool beats the South Beach Diet, hands down.

In all seriousness, we’ve known about the health benefits of red wine since the 1980s, when someone thought to connect red wine consumption with the reason French people have healthier corazones than we do, despite devouring triple-creme Brie and buttery croissants with a certain je ne sais quoi that looks a lot like goose liver fat.

But don’t take it from me. Go to YouTube and search for “French Paradox” to learn how drinking red wine can lead to a healthier heart.

Lest I digress and break into the Camembert, the Purdue researchers identified the fat-busting compound as piceatannol (say that 10 times fast), which, no surprise, is similar in structure to resveratrol, the red wine component that is believed to stave off cancer and heart disease.

Although Señorita Vino is a bit of a science geek, I promise not to get too technical here. In short, piceatannol prevents immature fat cells from  growing. I’ll drink to that.

Now here’s El Disclaimer: I am not in any way advocating excessive red wine consumption as a weight loss program, so put down that bottle of Malbec. Gently. You might need it later. Common sense (and my husband) says that the only way to lose weight is to eat less and move more. As a matter of fact, piceatannol is found not only in red wine but in blueberries, grapes and passion fruit, proving once again that you really do need to eat your fruits and veggies.

But if a little sip here and there of my favorite Shiraz is sending the fat cells in my thighs into suspended animation, I say pass the queso, por favor!

The Last Sipper: Wines for the End of the World

21 May

An end-of-the-world toast, and a reminder that mañana is another day.

Here it is, the day the world ends, and I’m still in my Julius the Monkey pajamas, feeling woefully behind schedule: A couple of piles of laundry, some reading to catch up on, and a vacation to plan. It looks like I have until 6 p.m. tonight to get everything organized before a giant earthquake finally does what several Hollywood blockbusters have promised to do for decades – decimate Los Angeles. Talk about pressure.

Since no End of the World is complete without a well-curated wine list, here are my top three “Last Sipper” picks between now and 6 p.m. Today’s cataclysmic forecast may cause ATM malfunctions, so I chose three wines that won’t break the bank. On second thought, I guess it doesn’t matter because we won’t be around for the next credit card billing cycle:

  1. St. Supery 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

The first time I tasted St. Supery’s Savuignon Blanc was on a business trip to Napa Valley, where our group was given the option of playing golf or going wine tasting as a ‘team building’ activity. Talk about no-brainer. Today I’ll relish the heady aroma of grapefruit and passionfruit, with a lime citrus flavor that is not too acidic, while I wax nostalgic about wine tasting excursions past. The long and refreshing finish is perfect for a sultry afternoon lunch at a beachside bistro over a plate of fresh clams and house-made pasta. If the marine layer blows over, I may have time to squeeze this in.

  1. 2006 Feudi di San Gregorio Greco di Tufo

Ah, Italia…(El Sexist Remark Alert): In addition to gorgeous men, this country produces gorgeous wines. Yellow straw in color, this wine from southern Italy has a lingering white peach aroma with traces of vanilla and pear. Pleasantly crisp in the mouth with mineral elements, the full-bodied finish complemented my last meal in Ravello – a baked whitefish paired with roasted zucchini tossed with mint, olive oil and garlic – a meal I shared with my gorgeous husband.

  1. 2006 Dolce (Far Niente) Late Harvest, Napa Valley

What better way to end the world than with a decadent dessert wine. It’s a little pricey, but hey, you’re worth it. If you’re searching for the nectar of the gods, this is it. Gloriously golden and intoxicatingly heady, it was love at first sip for me. It’s an apricot orgy in the mouth, with a rich honey taste that pairs beautifully with an aged Gorgonzola or a fluffy white cake confection with loads of buttercream frosting. Fattening? Absolutamente. Look at it this way – if the world ends tonight, you don’t have to hit the gym tomorrow morning.

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