Posts Tagged ‘wine’

  1. Montréal, QC

    May 19, 2017 by Angie

    Our sixth anniversary trip last month was to Montréal, QC. I read and heard it’s best to visit Montréal in May through October. I didn’t really believe the haters. After visiting in April, I would agree with that advice. That being said, we had a great time and there was plenty to do even though a lot of stuff is closed until May 1 or later.

    On the Border in the airport

    Getting the party started in the airport bar. Bon voyage to us.

    We stayed at the Hotel InterContinental Montréal, which is downtown. The ride from the airport was not bad and they charge a flat rate to that part of town. They let us check in early and offered free late checkout at 2:00 pm.

    We immediately went to a vegetarian restaurant called Lola Rosa. They have three locations. They gave us so much food.

    Robbie, wine, and nachos

    Robbie, wine, beer, and nachos

    NACHOS at Lola Rosa

    Nachos!

    lasagna at Lola Rosa

    Lasagna

    Veggie burger at Lola Rosa

    Robbie got an elaborate veggie burger.

    We walked to a wine bar, Pullman. It was very nice inside but Robbie didn’t like his drink and our drinks were expensive. Check out this chandelier made of glasses.

    Pullman chandelier

    Pullman washrooms

    I guessed “F”.

    After that we went to McLean’s Pub to watch hockey thinking everybody would be excited about it but nobody cared at all. No photographic evidence of that stop.

    We took an Uber to a really cool speakeasy, The Coldroom. You have to know what the door looks like because there’s no sign. You ring the bell and somebody comes to let you in. The drinks were great.

    The Coldroom

    Angie's drink at The Coldroom

    We passed by Notre-Dame all lit up on our way back to the hotel.

    Notre Dame at night

    Notre-Dame Basilica at night

    We walked around a little while in the neighborhood near the Notre-Dame Basilica. It was mildly shady and a little more than mildly touristy. The church is really worth seeing, however.

    Notre Dame

    Wow

    The altar at Notre Dame

    The Underground City is not as good as I wanted it to be but better than I expected considering Underground Atlanta is my reference. Our hotel and many (all?) subway stations are connected to it. We used it to get around a little when it was raining and I got delicious bagels from the shop right outside the InterContinental twice (bagel count: 2).

    We had lunch at the Green Panther where I had the falafel sandwich and Robbie got a BBQ tofu sandwich. I neglected to get photos but we totally recommend it.

    I like to see libraries. It was rainy and we ducked into the Grand Bibliotheque, Quebec’s national library and part of BAnQ. It is impressive and seems popular with the locals. Most of the materials are in French but they have some English stuff too.

    BAnQ

    Stories of library stuff!

    The Stranger

    I wish I could read this book in French.

    It was still rainy so we stopped at a locals’ bar, Bistro a JoJo where two Canadians were mean to us! Yes, mean Canadians! One guy said the library is where he would put his wife so he could go to the strip club. A gentleman and a scholar.

    After that we had a round at La Distillerie #1 per my brother’s recommendation. It was before 5:00 on Thursday and still raining so it was pretty quiet. The bartender made Robbie’s favorite Old Fashioned of the whole trip. She gave us free goldfish crackers. We loved this place.

    Le Distillerie

    Le Sainte-Elisabeth is one of the places that really needs to be visited during terrace season. The terrace is huge and in the photos online it’s beautiful. When we went it was closed, the vines were dead, and it was raining and about 50 degrees. I guess we need to go back to Montréal in the summer! No photos of the sad terrace, sorry.

    We visited the absinthe bar in our hotel, Sarah B., twice and ordered the cheese plate both times. It was wonderful enough to warrant coming back, I promise. We also got some really great fries on our second visit. Robbie kept ordering weird drinks I thought tasted awful, but I loved the wine I had the first time and the espresso martini the second time. Even though we went twice I managed to get no photos. You should look at their Yelp photos because it’s for sure the coolest hotel bar I’ve ever seen.

    My favorite meal of the trip was brunch at L’Avenue. I regret not taking photos of our food. We waited outside in the cold for a table so once we were seated it was all business and shoving delicious fruit, a Montréal bagel (bagel count: 3), and a very fancy omelet into my face. I’m against bathroom selfies as a rule, but check out this bathroom. The clock thing is a video. The black lights and the huge mirror were really disorienting.

    L'Avenue

    Disorienting bathroom

    There was a break in the rain so we walked around the Mile End neighborhood and then got an Uber towards McGill University and got dropped off near the entrance to the Parc du Mont Royal.

    mural

    Mural of important, dead socialist, Albert Saint-Martin

    Fairmount Bagel

    We didn’t eat the famous bagels at Fairmount Bagel, but I did eat three (bagel count: three!) Montréal bagels during our trip. Robbie was not a fan at all but I think they’re so much better than New York bagels.

    McGill University

    Aside from speaking very poor French, our big adventure was visiting Parc du Mont-Royal and walking up the “mountain” to the lookout area. The park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted who also designed Central Park. It’s a beautiful park, even in mid-April. You can take stairs to the top where there is a lookout area and a chalet with restrooms (washrooms, if you’re Canadian) and a gift shop.

    Park du Mont Royal

    lookout

    Robbie

    Robbie at the lookout area

    Montreal

    Montréal

    Angie

    Angie squinting in front of the skyline

    thingie

    I like this thing

    Robgeleen are serious

    Robgeleen!

    The saddest missed photo documentation opportunity was at Dieu du Ciel, a brewery/bar not far from the park. Robbie had their American style IPA, Moralité, and was so in love.

    We had a late lunch at Le Cagibi where Robbie had tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich with pesto and I had veggie nachos. For the count: that’s two nachos and three bagels.

    Le Cagibe

    We spent a long time at a swanky bar, the Sparrow. We sat at the bar and chatted with the bartender. The drinks were fantastic and Robbie won’t stop talking about the fries he ordered. They really were good fries.

    Drinks at the Sparrow

    Dispensing

    We struggled to find things that were open and not too packed, but not totally dead either. We went to Bar Kabinet which is a soviet themed bar attached to Bar Datcha where I understand there is sometimes dancing. It was quiet but nice. We had a round at Apt. 200 which was also quiet but very awesome inside with house plants and couches. We walked a lot looking for stuff to do and then walked a long way back to the hotel. We saw the mural and really cool lights below.

    mural

    cool lights

    lights and a mural

    We didn’t want to leave without having crepes. The next morning we went to Spanel Crepes & Gourmets for buckwheat crepes. They were unique and quite different from regular crepes, but so good!

    crepes!

    buckwheat crepe

    We had late lunch/early dinner at BEVO Bar & Pizzeria. Again, no photos. I’m lame. It was so good and our waiter and the rest of the staff were really nice.

    Our longest wait of the trip was for a spot inside another speakeasy, Cloakroom. It was worth the wait. Cloakroom is a bespoke suit shop and barber shop with a hidden bar. That mirror is on a secret door!

    Cloakroom bar

    They go out of their way to make it a classy experience. They only let 25 people in at a time because it’s so small. They gave us a playing card as a kind of pass, took our coats, and brought us to our seats at the bar. We had an assigned bartender who explained their approach. He asked us what we like in a drink and our favorite flavors and then created something just for each of us. The drinks were perfect. We stayed for another round and those were perfect too!

    drinks at Cloakroom

    Personalized drinks at Cloakroom

    On our last day, we had breakfast at the adorable Olive et Gourmando where we had pain au chocolat and cheese toast with tea and a very pretty soy latte.

    pain au chocolat

    Thank you, Montréal, for the wonderful time and happy anniversary, Robbie. <3


  2. elderflower champagne cocktail

    December 31, 2016 by Angie

    Happy New Year! Bye bye, 2016!

    Robbie, Sookie, and I are ringing in the new year at home where we can bark at the fireworks. I fell in love with St. Germain and champagne cocktails on our vacation to California in 2014. Today I got a bottle of St. Germain and whipped up a single serving of this elderflower champagne cocktail from the Kitchn.

    elderflower champagne cocktail

    Here is the single serving recipe, in case your significant other won’t drink champagne cocktails either 🙂

    1. In a wine glass, add ice cubes.
    2. Add 100 mL of champagne, prosecco, cava, whatever you got. I used a new to me prosecco called Bolla.
    3. Add just shy of an ounce of elderflower liqueur, like St. Germain.
    4. Add 1.5 ounces of club soda.
    5. Stir to mix.
    6. Throw in small slices of strawberry. Garnish with a strawberry if you’re feeling festive.

    Happy New Year!


  3. no sugar added sangria

    May 21, 2016 by Angie

    I wanted to drink sangria so I made some. I perused a lot of recipes first. All of them called for sugar, artificial sweetener, soda with high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweetener, or simple syrup. I think that’s overkill. It’s wine with fruit and fruit juice in it. Isn’t that sweet enough? So here it is: my no sugar added sangria. I didn’t miss the sugar at all.

    cold and tasty sangria

    A glass of cold sangria

    Ingredients:

    750 mL Cabernet Sauvignon
    1/2 cup brandy
    1/3 cup orange liqueur
    1 cup club soda
    juice of 1 lime
    1 navel orange, halved and sliced
    1 green apple, cut into wedges
    1 red apple, cut into wedges
    1/2 lemon, cut into rounds
    Ice

    sangria ingredients

    Directions:

    Combine the wine, brandy, orange liqueur, and club soda in a large pitcher. Squeeze in the juice of one lime. Squeeze in the juice of half of the orange. Stir well. Add the other half of the orange slices, the green and red apple wedges, and lemon rounds. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Pour over ice and enjoy!


  4. California Wine Country

    January 18, 2015 by Angie

    I’m finally blogging the second half of our California trip. These photos are from Sonoma, Napa, and Santa Rosa.

    We were very impressed with our hotel, Inn at Sonoma, near the Sonoma square. We were a short walking distance to everything in town. Our room was beautiful with our own balcony. The complimentary wine and cheese hour and breakfasts were very good. We would definitely stay there again.

    Inn at Sonoma

    Our room at Inn at Sonoma.

    balcony at Inn at Sonoma

     Our private balcony.

    Rooftop hot tub at Inn at Sonoma

    Awesome rooftop jacuzzi.

    free wine and cheese hour

    Robbie enjoying a Sonoma red at the complimentary, nightly wine and cheese tasting.

    Hop Monk

    After checking in and enjoying the wine and cheese hour at Inn at Sonoma, we walked across the street to HopMonk for drinks. I had an awesome champagne drink. Robbie had a HopMonk IPA and did not like it at all. Sorry, HopMonk. I thought the outside seating area was really pretty.

    On our first full day in California Wine Country, we enjoyed the yummy and complimentary breakfast at our hotel, picked up a soy latte at Peet’s across the street, and drove to our first winery, Lancaster Estate in Healdsburg. The grounds are beautiful. We saw our first hummingbird ever while waiting outside for our guided tour to begin!

    Robbie at Lancaster Estate Winery

    Cheers to the hummingbird.

    Angie at Lancaster Estate Winery

    Angie and the grounds.

    Lancaster Estate Winery

    The vineyard.

    Home at Lancaster Estate Winery

    The estate. I wouldn’t mind living there.

    We got to tour two wine caves while were in California. The Lancaster Estate wine cave is so fancy, like the Bat Cave but with more wine.

    Inside the cave

    A tasting area inside the cave. This room reminds me of the Authority’s underground complex in True Blood.

    barrels in the cave

    barrels

    Many, many barrels of wine inside the cave.

    logo closeup

    A closeup of barrel. These are made specially for Lancaster Estate.

    egg

    This is a giant cement egg they use in the wine-making process.

    inside of a barrel

    Here is a look at what is going on inside the barrel as the wine is being made.

    cool lights

    Our tour guide and the very impressive design details inside the cave. A little A Game of Thrones-y.

    wine and cheese tasting in the cave

     This is where we sat for our wine and cheese tasting with another couple and our tour guide.

    Robgeleen drinking wine in a cave

    Robgeleen IN A CAVE.

    Because we love pinot noir so much, our tour guide at Lancaster Estate recommended that we stop by the Roth Estate Winery just down the road to try their award-winning pinot noir.

    Roth Estate Winery

    Roth Estate grounds.

    Best favorite Pinot Noir at Roth

    THE pinot noir.

    It was so good! We bought a bottle to drink back at home. This was a much more laid-back experience. The tasting room is pretty but relaxed with board games for people to play while they enjoy their wine. We each had a glass of the pinot noir then headed on to Napa County.

    Our friend said her favorite winery from her visit to Wine Country was Sequoia Grove in Napa so we drove out to see it. The grounds are so beautiful but different from the other vineyards we visited. This one has tons of Sequoia trees so it has more of a forest feeling to it. I agree with our friend – you don’t want to miss this one. The wine is very good, the staff are all nice and knowledgeable, and I loved being back in a redwood forest.

    Outside Sequoia Grove

    A seating area outside.

    Robbie inside Sequoia Grove

    Robbie inside talking with the very helpful staff.

    Angie hugging a redwood tree at Sequoia Groves

    I love these trees so much I had to hug one.

    fountain at Sequoia Grove

    It doesn’t get much more scenic than this.

    grapes on the vine

     A closeup of their grapes on the vine.

    After Sequoia Grove, we drove back to our hotel and walked over to the Red Grape for more wine and delicious pizza. Regrettably, I didn’t get a photo of the pizza but here is Robbie in their lovely outdoor area.

    Robbie at The Red Grape

    Robbie at The Red Grape.

    On our last day before heading back to San Francisco we woke up crazy early again. The hotel wasn’t serving breakfast yet and we had been starving for a couple of hours already so we walked over to the Basque Boulangerie Cafe. We got a giant baguette, a soy latte for me (a trend?), and a green tea for Robbie. The bread was so fresh and good that we started eating it as we walked back to our hotel.

    mmm, bread

     Mouth full of bread.

    We had reservations for an early tram wine tour and tasting at Benziger Family Winery so we checked out of our awesome hotel and started our drive out to Glen Ellen. This winery is biodynamic, meaning they use only natural farming methods. We learned a lot from the tour. It was interesting to learn about the process and how they manage everything without chemicals. They have the second cave we visited, which was cool, but not nearly as fancy as the Lancaster Estate cave. The grounds are breathtakingly beautiful. Gotta admit though, neither of us cared much for their wines.

    Benziger grounds

    Woah.

    tour guide

    Our tour guide pouring a tasting for us at the top of the hill in the vineyard.

    Benziger vineyard

     The vineyard.

    Benziger cave

     Barrels inside the cave.

    Robgeleen kiss in a vineyard

    Robgeleen selfie with the pretty vineyard.

    After our tour, we drove out to Russian River Brewing, a.k.a. Robbie’s heaven on Earth, in Santa Rosa. Santa Rosa is a precious little city. Anybody want to give us jobs there?

    Robbie & Pliny sitting in a tree

     The big moment! Robbie drinking the best IPA in the world, Pliny the Elder, on tap at Russian River Brewing. He’s so happy!

    really good pizza

    Their pizza was fantastic. Some of the best pizza we’ve had, and we’ve had a lot of pizza. I wish we could go to Russian River Brewing all the time  🙁

    We then drove back over the Golden Gate Bridge (which is pretty scary really – there’s nothing in between your lane and the lane going the opposite direction) for our last night in San Francisco and the last night of our trip.

    It was a successful trip. We saw redwoods and the Golden Gate Bridge, ate lots of delicious food, drank lots of delicious wine, had Pliny the Elder on tap – all goals accomplished! If only California were a lot closer…

    See the blog post on the San Francisco part of our trip here.


  5. Siesta Key, FL

    May 15, 2014 by Angie

    This past weekend we took a mini-vacation to Siesta Key, FL. We knew that it’s been voted Best Beach in the U.S., in the World, in Creation, etc., BUT we didn’t know that it’s where Florida keeps it’s very drunk retired people. We learned this quickly.

    But first things first. We stayed at Sara Sea Beach Resort which is a part of the Tropical Beach Resorts. It’s a small resort with a gorgeous, white sand, private beach, a pool, a volleyball court, a shuffleboard court, and beautiful grounds with lots of places to lounge and grill. The resort also boasts a lot of free things including Wi-Fi, towel and chair rentals, DVD library, coffee, pink lemonade, cookies, and maid service (which, believe it or not, is hard to find on Siesta Key). We got the smallest queen bed room and, even though we weren’t in there very long, it was small. Tiny as it was, it did have everything we needed with a fully equipped (hair dryer, Aveda products) bathroom and a real kitchen with an almost normal-sized fridge, stove, microwave, and dishes and utensils. Here are some photos of our home away from home last weekend.

    Sara Sea Queen Hideaway

    Sara Sea Queen Hideaway was the name of our room size/style

    Sara Sea Beach Resort Kitchen

    A real kitchen! We only used the fridge, cups, and ice bucket but it’s nice to have the option to cook during a longer stay.

    Sara Sea pool

    The pool.

    Walkway to the private beach

    The walkway to the private Siesta Key beach.

    Siesta Key private beach at sunset

    The beach is, of course, the reason to visit Siesta Key. The water is calm, the sand is powdery white and goes on and on, and the water is clear.

    Siesta Key beach

    Ahhhhh.

    pretty ocean

    Wonderful.

    After checking in, we went to happy hour at Flavio’s Brick Oven and Bar. The pizza was pretty delicious but the drinks and atmosphere were ehhh. The happy hour pizza and drink prices can’t be beat, however. We stopped by a main drinking attraction, the Daiquiri Deck, before heading back to the resort. They basically serve adult Slurpees which isn’t really our style but we had to see it. We had a good time drinking Cigar City Jai Alai IPA and cherry vodka and soda, respectively, while listening to the cover band.

    Daiquiri Deck

    Daiquiri Deck’s array of adult Slurpees

    After dropping off the car and trying a dolphin statue:

    Robbie trying a dolphin statue

    we walked across the street to check out the walking distance establishments. We stopped in at the Crescent Beach Grocery and looked at all the amazing cheese we were too full to eat. We then walked to the Captain Curt’s Crab & Oyster Bar triumvirate of establishments, stopping first at Sniki Tiki. It’s a “where everybody knows your name” kind of establishment. We had a really good and really big plate of homemade potato chips with chipotle sauce and some drinks. The bartender was quite awesome. The locals were…old and…colorful but we had a good time. After that we walked over to the karaoke portion and closed out the night there. Some of the singers were really good, like, realllllyyy good. There was a fluorescent wig-wearing group of women with older gentlemen who danced and kept things very entertaining.

    On Saturday morning, we went to brunch. We ate at  Village Cafe where we both had veggie omelets with home fries and toast. We actually meant to go to Sun Garden Cafe but we saw Village Cafe and got confused and went in. We were seated right away and the food and service were good. I would accidentally go there again.

    After brunch, we got ready for the beach by filling our reusable water bottles with boozy drinks. Alcohol is permitted on that beach as long as it’s not in a glass container. The beach was so pretty and relaxing. It was too cold to get all the way in the ocean so we swam in the pool after.

    For dinner we went to Veg, just over the little bridge from our resort. I didn’t know there was a mostly vegetarian restaurant nearby so this was a very pleasant surprise. Veg has a large, almost entirely vegan menu except for some seafood dishes. Kinda weird, I know, but I guess when you’re right by the ocean you get really into seafood, I dunno. Everything we got was incredibly good. We had the cashew “cheese” pâté for our appetizer. I failed to get a photo of this. They tried with the presentation but it still looked kinda like cat food, but, trust me, it was so tasty. Robbie got the seitan brisket and I got the Shabu Shabu which is fake chicken, vegetables, Ponzu sauce, and rice noodles. They also have beer, wine, and housemade sangria, so that’s cool. I would definitely eat here again if we’re ever back in that area.

    Shabu Shabu at Veg

    My Shabu Shabu at Veg

    Seitan Brisket at Veg

    Robbie’s seitan brisket with a sweet potato and veggies

    After dinner, we drove back over to the area with a lot of bars and restaurants and walked around some. We stopped in at Blu Que Island Grill for a round. The same cover band we saw at Daiquiri Deck the night before was playing there. We were so full from Veg which was a little bit of a tragedy because the guy at the table next to us was eating nachos that looked phenomenal. Our bartender was a bit of a character and looked exactly like The Stranger from The Big Lebowski. I tried to discreetly photograph him but this profile shot is the best I could do.

    The Stranger/Bartender

    “Now this here story I’m about to unfold took place back in the early ’90s – just about the time of our conflict with Sad’m and the I-raqis.”

    We ended our evening and vacation sharing a bottle of champagne on the lawn outside on the resort grounds. It was a great trip. A few too many very drunk, very old people but the beach, the resort, and the food at Veg are worth making a return visit.

    champagne on the lawn

    Pray that all their pain be champagne


  6. low-carb cauliflower risotto

    May 6, 2014 by Angie

    Last night I tried out a new recipe for vegan low-carb risotto made with cauliflower instead of rice. It was pretty fantastic. I mostly followed this recipe from Vegangela. She tops her risotto with mushrooms but, as we are not mushroom fans, I made a little stir fry of yellow squash, spinach, and garlic instead to top our risotto.

    closeup of cauliflower risotto

     Cauliflower risotto closeup

    cauliflower risotto

     I also made garlicky thyme tempeh from the Post Punk Kitchen for our protein.

    It was a bit labor-intensive because I was essentially juggling three dishes at once but I think now that I’ve done it and know what works, it will go a lot smoother the next time. The only other complaint is there’s a food processor to clean at the end. Sorry, Robbie! It is a really tasty, really healthy meal low in carbs and fat but full of flavor.


  7. red bean gumbo with field roast “sausage”

    April 24, 2014 by Angie

    Last night we had a small dinner party for Wine Wednesday. We pretty much call any Wednesday “Wine Wednesday” in our house these days. I tested a new recipe on our friends and it was well-received – everyone got seconds! I made this gumbo as authentic as I possibly could with two (kinda major) exceptions: 1) I didn’t start out with a roux because I made it in the slow cooker and 2) there’s no meat! However, it is made with Zatarain’s Filé Powder and Tabasco sauce and the chef was born in New Orleans so I think it’s pretty legit. This is adapted from Robin Robertson’s red bean gumbo from Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cookerwhich I understand to be an updated, totally vegan version of my favorite slow cooker cookbook that she published eight years earlier.

    red bean gumbo with field roast "sausage"

    Ingredients

    olive oil
    yellow onion, chopped
    4 celery ribs, chopped
    big spoonful of minced garlic
    1 quart vegetable broth
    2 cans of dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
    1 can of fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
    1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
    3/4 cup okra, sliced
    2 bay leaves
    1 tsp dried thyme
    1 tsp file powder
    2 tsp paprika
    1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
    1/2 tsp garlic powder
    1/2 tsp onion powder
    a pinch of cayenne pepper
    5 drops of liquid smoke
    1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
    salt and pepper to taste
    vegetable oil
    2 Field Roast Italian Sausages, sliced and browned
    cooked rice for serving (I cooked up 2 cups uncooked rice and that was enough to feed 4 people and cover the leftover gumbo.)

    Tabasco sauce and File powder

    Directions

    1. Chop the onion and celery. Heat olive oil in a pan. Sauté the onion for a few minutes then add the celery and garlic and cook a few minutes more.

    2. Transfer the vegetables to the slow cooker and set it to low.

    3. Pour the vegetable broth, fire-roasted tomatoes (with the juice), and the listed seasonings from bay leaves to cayenne pepper into the slow cooker. Stir and put the lid back on.

    4. Wash and chop the bell pepper and okra. Add them to the slow cooker.

    5. Drain and rinse the two cans of beans in a colander. Add them to the slow cooker. Stir everything together and cook on low for six hours.

    6. About thirty minutes prior to serving, make the rice according to the package directions. Keep the rice separate until it’s time to serve up the gumbo.

    7. About ten minutes prior to serving, heat some vegetable oil in a pan. Cut the two Field Roast “sausages” into thin slices. Add the liquid smoke and tabasco sauce to the slow cooker and stir. Brown the sausage slices on both sides then stir them into the slow cooker.

    8. Spoon some rice into the serving bowls. Discard the bay leaves then use a ladle to spoon gumbo over the rice in each bowl. Make sure to get enough broth and delicious sausage in every serving.


  8. mulled wine

    October 17, 2013 by Angie

    I’ve been wanting to try mulled wine all year. Hot spiced wine sounds so cozy and delicious and warm the way it’s described in the Song of Ice and Fire books. I discovered hot toddies last year in Denver and they quickly became a favorite drink so I knew that mulled wine, which is basically a warmed sangria, would be my kind of beverage.

    glass of mulled wine

    I looked at a lot of recipes online and talked with my friend who has made it before. I knew I wanted to use up a bottle of Merlot we had been given (it’s the thought that counts but we couldn’t bring ourselves to drink Merlot unaltered!) and that I should use whole spices instead of ground. I most closely followed this recipe. Details below!

    Ingredients

    1 750 ml bottle of Merlot
    3 tbs Bourbon
    2 tbs honey
    1 orange, rind peeled, segments separated
    10 whole cloves
    2 cinnamon sticks

    Directions

    1. Peel the rind off the orange and set it aside. Separate the orange into segments.

    2. Pour the entire bottle of wine into a pot and turn the heat to low.

    3. Add the rest of the ingredients adjusting the honey to taste.

    4. Cook on low for about half an hour. You want the wine to get warm but never to boil because you’ll cook off the booze and that would be a tragedy!

    5. Carefully ladle the mulled wine into glasses so that no whole spices or orange rind end up in the glasses. I put some orange segments and a cinnamon stick in mine to add to the flavor as I was drinking it.

    pot of mulled wine


  9. chana masala & garlic naan

    August 16, 2013 by Angie

    Our buddy Lorena came over for an Indian, vegan dinner on Wednesday night. I made, for the first time, chana masala using the Smitten Kitchen recipe and garlic naan using {never}homemaker’s 5 minute naan recipe. They tasted great with some pinot noir!

    chana masala & garlic naan

    Both went pretty well for new recipes and got thumbs up from everyone. I omitted a couple things from the chana masala because I didn’t have them and couldn’t get them. Those things were: the hot green chili pepper, cumin seeds, amchoor powder, and lemon (I did have a lemon but I forgot to add it). I followed the naan recipe exactly but needed to add about triple the amount of flour to get a dough-like consistency. Once I achieved dough status, it was smooth sailing. I cooked them in a pan sprayed with olive oil. Robbie microwaved a bowl of Smart Balance for me and added some fresh minced garlic into it. I brushed that onto the naan to make garlic naan, which, in our opinion, is the only kind of naan the world needs.

    garlic naan

    Two of the four garlic naan cut in half.

    Indian, vegan dinner party

    Indian, vegan dinner party spread!


  10. cheese fondue

    July 6, 2013 by Angie

    Robbie got me an electric fondue set for my first Mother’s Day! Dog mamas count too, y’all. I’ve been making cheese fondue for years on the stovetop because all the fondue sets I’d ever seen came with the goofy candle situation that never burns quite hot enough to keep the cheese melted. No more eating in front of the stove! Electric fondue set has us moving on up.

    Swiss cheese fondue

    Here’s my tried and true recipe.

    Ingredients

    1 lb Swiss cheese, shredded
    3/4- 1 cup dry white wine (like chardonnay)
    3 tbs flour
    several dashes of garlic powder
    dash of paprika
    dash of ground pepper
    bite-sized pieces of veggies (cauliflower and broccoli are our favorites) green apple, and pumpernickel bread for dipping.

    fondue dippers

    Directions

    1. Shred the Swiss cheese into a big bowl. Add the flour to the cheese and stir to mix it up.

    2. Prepare your “dippers”. The fondue melts very quickly so have your veggies, apple pieces, and bread chunks ready to go before your start heating the cheese. Measure your wine and get the garlic powder, paprika, and ground pepper handy too.

    3. Turn the electric fondue pot on to 200 degrees.

    4. Once it heats up a bit, pour in 3/4 cup white wine.

    5. Add the cheese in handfuls, stirring to melt it and combine it with the wine.

    6. Add the garlic powder, paprika, and ground pepper and stir.

    7. Once everything is melty, it’s time to eat! You should definitely be drinking wine with your fondue, by the way.

    fondue in action