Friday, July 13, 2012

Use Up That Cheap Wine.

Herbed Mushrooms with White Wine Sauce

Cheap wine I used!

Have you ever bought an inexpensive white wine and you cant bring yourself to drink it or pour it down the drain? Well here's something yummy to do with it that is out of this world. I used a bottle of CHANTELLE DES VINS BLANC. Sounds expensive looks expensive but not what I recommend serving your guests.
1. one tablespoon olive oil1 1/2 lbs clean mushrooms
2. one teaspoon Italian seasoning
3. 1/4 cup of dry white wine
4. two cloves garlic, minced salt as well as pepper to taste and add two tablespoons chopped garden fresh chives
1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium temperature. Position mushrooms in the skillet, season with Italian seasoning and then cook ten minutes, stirring often.
2. Mix the wine with garlic in the skillet, and then keep on cooking until the majority of the wine is evaporated. Season with salt also pepper, in addition to sprinkle with chives. Keep cooking one minute.
Enjoy serves six people. Oh and if you like steak it goes well with that, or salmon. I will toast to that and so will your guests! Yummy!

Herbed Mushrooms with White Wine Sauce

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Point Noir Experiment

Ahh! The splendid aroma of a freshly opened bottle of Pinot Noir. The flavor almost arrives on my taste buds before I even begin to swirl an ounce in my Dionysus Pinot Noir wine glass. But wait, I recently came across an older bottle of the same Pinot Noir, a French blend by the name Sierra Madre Vineyard 2008 Made by Steve Rasmussen, formerly of ITALY. Four years old and the aroma of the forest floor still permeates my nasal passages like a breath of fresh spring air. I decided to taste the more recent year of 2010 and compare it to each other. I also had my Fiance, Lisa, join me in this experiment. I poured both into identical decanters and let them rest about seven and a half hours before the experiment. I also re corked the remaining Point Noir and placed it on my wine rack. When we returned from a lovely supper with some friends of ours, we continued with the experiment. I asked Lisa to pour us both a glass as I proceeded to individually pop the corks and again savor the wonderful aroma from the blend of black cherry and wild berry fruit. She also shared in the pleasant forest floor aroma from the freshly splashed corks and concluded the same result as my self!

The aroma seemed very much the same and really seemed as if it were the exact same bottle. But then I swirled my glass, as did Lisa, and we proceeded in an elegant tasting of the 2008 bottle. As we finished the first glass I noticed the aroma seemed almost lost in the sweet fruity flavor from the cherry. I said you know some how it smells just a bit better than the taste. Lisa did not agree she remarked that the flavor was much more delicious than the smell.

Well, every one’s taste buds and noses are just a bit different so I said lets proceed to the tasting of the 2010 bottle. Now on this we agreed. The aroma was indeed better than the taste, although the taste was also very pleasing. Lets continue this experiment tomorrow evening she suggested and so we finished and decided to call it a night.

The next day we were both on separate lunching dates, as I ate alone in my den and she went shopping with friends. It is well known that food is complimented by the right wine and I believe the same is also true in reverse, that food can also enhance the flavors of a fine wine. When we settled in for the evening and I had taken the liberty of pouring the remainder of both bottles into separate and yet identical decanters about seven hours ago. We used our
Dionysus Pinot

glasses the same as the night before. We also proceeded to savor the aroma of both corks and agreed that the smell was much if not exactly the same as it was yesterday. As we swirled our first glass from the 2008 Pinot Noir I asked her what she had eaten with her friends and she replied that they had soup and salads. I had some left over lasagna I found in our Refrigerator which always seems to taste a little better as leftovers than it does when it is fresh. I'm not sure why but it always has. This was no exception, the lasagna was delicious. Lisa remarked that their salads and soup was marvelous as well. I proceeded to experience the same result as I did yesterday the smell seemed better than the taste with the 2008. Lisa said she agreed the aroma was stronger not better! But stronger than the flavor. I agreed and so we proceeded to experiment with the 2010 and oddly enough we concluded that the aroma was stronger than the taste. In fact we could hardly tell the difference. Perhaps it had something to do with the aeration and that surprisingly, the year was undeniably not at all an impact on the actual quality of the vintage. This came as quite a surprise! If you have any idea why, your comments would be appreciated.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

My Home Brew Recipe

OK so here is my home brew recipe. Well it changes just a little every time as I am still perfecting the flavor and strength. So I would be better to say this is the latest recipe for my home brew.
     I start by making sure my carboy is clean and free of debris, then I pour one cup of sugar into the carboy. Follow the sugar with four quarts of warm water. Stir the mixture until the sugar is dissolved.

    Now comes the fun stuff! Or should I say the messy part. Well any way the next step I use a pan big enough to boil two quarts water and one cup barley and one cup wheat, a two quart pan works well. Boil the mixture until the wheat has puffed up. Once the wheat has puffed I put a good fitting lid on the pan that seals well. Let the mixture steep until the lid comes off without forcing it, or when the mixture has cooled to about 120 degrees.

    Strain the mixture using a colander or I like to use a wire stainer. Drain in to another pan for a second boiling. In this pan I add one cup sugar, two tablespoons malt and one tablespoon Hops. Boil the mixture until all the ingredients are mixed well.

   Now I have one and a half quarts of syrup waiting in a larger pan. I pour the boiled mix into the syrup and stir until fully blended together. At this point it is critical to let the mix cool to about 120 degrees once again. Now that the mix is cooled to the touch it is ready to be poured into the carboy. But wait first funnel one and a half tablespoons yeast into the carboy. Now I pour the boiled mix into the carboy
and seal the top off with an air lock. The brewing mixture I now have is referred to as the wort. So now here comes one of the most difficult parts to the process! I put the carboy in a quiet cool place out of the sun. I actually use my office because the temperature is always on the cooler side 60 to 65 degrees. Now the harder part I wait five days or until the bubbles have almost stopped.

     OK so now five days have passed and I usually ask some one to help me with this next part. You think the first part was messy. This is real messy, and I still haven’t done this even with help, with out making a mess. I set the carboy up high enough to set up a siphoning system. I use a one half inch plastic hose around five foot long. I put a two foot one quarter inch metal rod in one end of the hose and let one half inch hang out the end. I put this end in the carboy and have someone hold it firmly in place so as not to stir the wort. This is actually one of my favorite parts, I set out ten two liter bottles and put one and one half tablespoons sugar in each bottle. Then I run some warm water and pour about one cup in each bottle shaking each one to resolve the sugar. Once this is done I am ready to begin siphoning two and three quarters cup wort in to a measuring cup and then pouring it into each bottle. Fill the bottles one finger from the top cap and place in a cool dark place. The temperature should be around sixty five degrees. Leave the bottles to ferment for two more weeks and we are ready to start enjoying some
Wild Beer Hikup Home Brew Lager. That’s the name I came up with and made labels for although just like the lager its self the name may take a little tweaking.

Well I hope if you try this recipe that all goes well! Remember its really pretty hard to do it wrong, so feel free to experiment with different grains and sugars,. Even different yeast can make a huge difference, just have fun and drink responsibly. I'm going to kick back and enjoy a frosted
stein from Goblets and More.

This was one of the first attempts at my home brew and now updated to my 2013 recipe "Wild Beer Hiccup's Brewing Recipe" by clicking the link

" New Brew Post"

Monday, January 9, 2012


The martini is an elegant drink that always reminds me of James Bond and his famous line from the 1958 movie, Dr. NO, “shaken and not stirred”. The James Bond martini known as the Vesper, is most often mixed using two parts Gordon or Bombay gin and one part Grey Goose vodka or an equivalent. Then one half part Lillet a french aperitif that is a little hard to find in the states so you could substitute with a fifty fifty mix of tonic and champagne, it is a very similar taste but not as elegant as the real thing. Top it off with a twist of lemon and a slice of lemon peel. Now this is one of the most famous martini's that comes to mind.
How ever there is the most popular martini made with gin and vermouth garnished with a splash of olive brine and an olive or a twist of lemon with a lemon peal. This is probably what you will get at your conventional wet bar. When ordering a martini keep in mind that a dry martini has very little if not any vermouth at all and is mostly gin. Sometimes a martini is spiced up with flavored liquors such as chocolate or even peach vodka.

You will want to experiment with your garnish as the conventional olive is not always the best compliment for the over all flavors when adding flavored brandy or vodka and may come off tasting very bad. Just think fruity for fruit and chocolates for chocolate, you get the idea. I have heard of coating the rim with cocoa or flavored sugar. A dry martini with vodka has very little flavor as vodka is almost tasteless. Gin is usually made using juniper berry's giving your cocktail a slight fruity flavor and an olive is usually the best compliment. You may wish to experiment with olives that are stuffed with garlic or cheese other than the conventional pimento.

But you might come to realize if you are a frequent martini connoisseur that the shape of the martini glass is unique to the conventional martini. That is mostly because the shape serves the over all experience typical to the flavors incurred in a common martini. Just as wines have a delicate bouquet and flavor that is complimented by the shape of the wine glass, so also the unique shape of the martini glass accomplishes some what the same results to the martini.

The shape of the martini glass was invented during prohibition and is believed to have been so that the drink was easier to dispose of if you were in the unfortunate situation such as a raid or search. But actually the stem allows the drink to stay colder longer because you are not as tempted to hold your drink by the bowl as you would with wine or cognac, which allows the beverage to be warmed to body temperature giving off more aroma and thus more flavor. Also the shape of a martini glass bowl is perfect for surface tension allowing sipping the oils of the lemon or olive and allowing it to reach your lips and tongue adding the flavor with out going up the nose or residing on the inside edge of the glass or your upper lip.

It is believed the drink its self was created in the 1850's by a famous bar tender at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco California named Jerry Thomas. He was said to have made the drink up spur of the moment for a drifter who paid him with a gold nugget and asked him to make him something special before he left on his journey to Martinez California. The actual drink was similar to today’s recipes but I am sure it tasted quite different as he only had old time liquors to mix with. Jerry named the drink a Martinez and the name was changed to Martini sometime after prohibition.

So experience a martini with a nice martini glass and the proper martini mix for your occasion. Don’t forget to garnish your cocktail because presentation is just as important as the drink itself. Just as it is with most elegant mixed drinks. The same is true with wines, cognacs and brandy s. Presentation is key! Although flavor is important, it is important to involve all of your senses, to attain the fullest pleasurable experience from your martini.