Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wine Wednesday: Dearly Beloved Forever Red

This past weekend my parents were in town, so I treated them to their first Trader Joe's experience. As we got to the wine section, this fun bottle caught my eye. I try really hard not to be one of those people who picks out their wine based on the label, but this one was just too fun to pass up. Plus, it was the night of the Walking Dead premier so I figured it suited the evening just right.

This red is a blend of Syrah, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Sangiovese, Carignane & Grenache and is very dark red in color. It has notes of cherry and blackberry, as the tasting notes indicate; however I did not catch the hints of oak as described. For a bottle under $10, I would recommend it for any of your upcoming Halloween parties or haunts. It has great flavors and a reasonable price and you can't go wrong with either. 

Vintage: 2009
Region: Mendocino County, California
Price: $6.99 at Trader Joe's
Website (link to Trader Joe's site):

Monday, October 17, 2011

Foodie Find: Epicurious App

I'm always looking for new recipes--oftentimes it seems that the hubs and I get in a rut of what food we make on a regular basis. We're often on the go, so I need something that is quick and easy to access away from the computer. That's where the Epicurious app comes in handy. 

I love everything about this app--it's easy to navigate, has multiple search functionalities and you can even browse by seasonal  categories. Most recently, I had to make a birthday treat for work and was able to look through the "Fall Desserts" category and find something delicious and easy to make. Another plus on this app is the ability to add any recipe to your "Favorites" category or make a shopping list for the grocery store. 

If you haven't already done so, download the Epicurious app here for your mobile or tablet device. 

On the subject of apps, do you have a favorite to share? I'd love to hear what apps you're using that you couldn't live without!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Menu Plan: Week of October 16th

Another busy week is ahead of us! I'm slowly recovering from the whole kidney stone business and getting back into the swing of things. This week, we're fortunate enough to spend some time with the Orrs so there's not a lot of meals to be planned. Tonight the hubs made some of his fantastic mushroom risotto with a yummy filet. It was time he makes the risotto, I need to stay in the kitchen with him to take notes, but tonight I was stuck on the couch resting. While short, I still want to share, so here goes the weekly menu plan:

Sunday: Mushroom risotto with filet mignon
Monday: Fried green tomato BLTs
Tuesday: Jalapeno chicken sausage from Trader Joe's
Wednesday: Feta chicken with couscous
Thursday-Sunday: Fun times with the Orrs!

Have a great week!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Baby Greens with Warm Goat Cheese

I used to not like goat cheese. For some reason, it intimidated me. I'm not sure if it was because it was from a goat or if the flavor was just too strong, but there was something about it that scared me off. I think the trick to goat cheese is just to keep it simple. Since the flavor is so pungent, you want to make sure to serve it with either light ingredients or other bold flavors that can stand up against it.

My lovely mother-in-law was up to visit us a few weeks ago, and the hubs wanted to make her a meal that impressed. He was in charge of the main entree and left the appetizer and salad up to me. I wanted to serve something that was complimentary to his scallops and risotto, when I came across this warm goat cheese salad from Epicurious, I thought it was the perfect pairing. The warmth of the goat cheese is just delicious against the crisp of the baby greens and the tang of the vinaigrette.

Tip: When cutting the goat cheese, use dental floss. Simply wrap each end around your finger like you're going to floss your teeth, instead cutting the goat cheese with the string. This will give you the round pieces you'll want without the crumbling that you'll get when using a knife. 

Baby Greens with Warm Goat Cheese
adapted from Epicurious
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon water
2 (1/3-inch-thick) rounds soft mild goat cheese, cut from a cold log
2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch of sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups mesclun (mixed baby salad greens; 1 oz)
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Whisk together egg white and water. Dip cheese rounds in egg, letting excess drip off, then dredge in bread crumbs, pressing lightly to adhere. Chill 15 minutes.
Whisk together vinegar, salt, mustard, sugar, and a pinch of pepper in a small salad bowl. Add 1 tablespoon oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified.
Heat remaining teaspoon oil in a small nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté cheese until golden, about 30 seconds per side. Remove skillet from heat.
Add greens to dressing and toss gently to coat. Serve salad topped with warm cheese and almonds.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wine Wednesday: Murphy-Goode Zinfandel

In Kansas City, we're lucky enough to have the ability to purchase wine at Costco. A bonus is that the store closest to our house has a full-time sommelier on duty...I've heard that it's because our store has the second-highest grossing liquor sales in the country. (And I don't doubt it--I know that we contribute a hefty sum each month). Whenever we're in the store, we always make sure to ask the sommelier for recommendations on the newest options available. That's where we found this wine, the Murphy-Goode Zinfandel, which has turned into one of our favorites.

This Zinfandel comes from Sonoma County and is a mixture of fruit from the Alexander and Dry Creek areas. It's a bold wine with strong flavors of rich blackberries and cherries that are balanced by the soft tannins, which contribute to the perfect amount of dryness on the palate. Being a strong wine, it pairs well with steak, bbq or any other meat. We typically drink this alongside a filet mignon or lamb.

Region: Sonoma
Price: $16-20

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Menu Plan: Week of October 9th

Wait? How is it October 8th? Where has the month gone? Unfortunately for me, October has not been the best month so far. Just over a week ago, I woke up with pain in my midsection that turned out to be a kidney stone. Not just a little one, but one that is stuck and not going anywhere anytime soon. Luckily, I'm having a procedure this week that will take care of my little problem but because of that, this week's menu is pretty easy and simple. I can't really do much around the house and the hubs has been pretty much waiting on me hand and foot, so we don't have anything very blog worthy in the queue. 

Since I've been stuck on the couch, I will be sharing a few non-cooking related things in the coming weeks. Pinterest has been my BFF--I've been creating some cute fall outfits and DIY jewelry that I think you all would love. Nothing like a kidney stone to help expand the horizons of this little ole blog. 

Back to the is what we'll be having this week:

Sunday: Rosemary potato soup
Monday: Trader Joe's Sweet Apple Chicken sausage and Brussels sprouts
Tuesday: Soft tacos
Wednesday: Grilled Cheese and Roasted Tomato soup
Thursday: Surgery day :(
Friday: Takeout
Saturday: Parents are in town, so whatever they bring over :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wine Wednesday: Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc wines are my favorite white varietal, hands down. The Marlborough region of New Zealand is famous for producing some of the world's best, primarily because of the climate--cool, moderate and dry. What I love the most about Sauvignon Blancs is the crispness that comes across on the palate and the freshness of the flavor. Kim Crawford's Sauvignon Blanc has notes of citrus and pineapple, which pairs perfectly with various foods, from seafoods to salads, or can be enjoyed on its own. It's also both affordable and award-winning, with the 2009 vintage receiving 89 points from both Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator. I would recommend serving this alongside a first-course at a dinner party, or even on its own when drinking with friends.

Vintage: 2008 or 2009
Region: Marlborough, New Zealand
Price: $12-16.99

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Gorgeous Giveaway: Vintage Cake Stands

I am a sucker for a gorgeous cake stand, so I wanted to share a giveaway that the Jenna's of Just Cook Already are hosting. How pretty are these!
The good news is that they're offering three ways to enter. Make sure to head on over there before the giveaway ends next Friday!