When it comes to weeknight cooking, I look for recipes with a high T:E ratio (Tastiness to Effort). I seek out dishes that minimal effort yet taste really delicious. Makes sense, right? Well, I found one that I have now made several times and each time it has plotted off the charts in the “T:E” department.
Many of the “new” holidays you hear about these days are silly. I am not looking for more reasons to have to buy cards and presents for people. There are some new holidays, however, that are simply fabulous because they encourage people to have fun and enjoy life. International Grenache Day is one of those holidays. This past Friday 9/21 was the my first celebration of this fine excuse to drink a nice wine and I recommend this holiday to everyone!
This post appeared today on the site of the very talented The Blissful Adventurer. I was very happy to be a guest blogger for Michael while he is traveling through Italy for a few weeks. Check out his site – it is full of wonderful travel stories and great photos.
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I grew up eating calamari quite often. It was (and still is) a favorite dish of mine so my mother prepared it for me whenever I got to choose that we were having for winner. Interestingly, I did not try deep-fried calamari, which seems to be a very popular way to enjoy this treat, until I was an adult. While I really believe that frying can be a wonderful way to prepare some foods (like chicken) I am not a lover of fried seafood because I think that it masks the delicate flavors of the wonderful frutti de mar.
The Italian style of calamari that I grew up eating is a simple dish but it requires a good foundation in the form of homemade marinara sauce. I have made my own tomato sauce since I was a kid and there are only a few basic rules. Unless it is late summer, I recommend high quality canned tomatoes and a lot of brands fit this description. Any Italian tomatoes from San Marzano and even domestic brands like Muir Glen will do. I don’t use tomato paste, but my mother does, so you can decide for yourself if that adds a good flavor and texture. Continue reading
On my recent trip to Los Olivos, I was very fortunate to visit the tasting room of Tercero Wines and chat with the winemaker, Larry Schaffer. One of the things that I love about visiting smaller wineries is that regular people, like me, occasionally have the opportunity to meet the winemakers. When you get that kind of access it opens a really amazing window, often illuminating how and why they made the wines the way that they did. Continue reading
In less than two days, I am headed to California wine country for my annual pilgrimage to the birthplace of many great wines. This trip is taking us south of our usual stomping grounds to Paso Robles, home of many wines made from Rhone varietals. Since a lot of wine terminology maps back to Europe, the wines in Paso are often made from the same grapes that thrive in the Rhone Valley in Southern France; Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre (among others). Syrah is a fairly common varietal in California, at least relative to its Rhone siblings, however, the Rhone grapes seem to dwarf in volume comparison to Cabernet and Pinot Noir these days. Continue reading