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Showing posts from May, 2016

'Rosalind' Pinotage Rosé, Painted Wolf 2015

Now is the time to be enjoying chilled rosé wines with our friends and family, and I couldn't be more enthusiastic about this South African pinotage by Painted Wolf.  For me, South African pinotage wines have their unmistakable terroir, which is why I've been an enthusiast of these wines for many years. Pinotage is very much a South African varietal.  It's only recently, though, that I have come to discover their rosés.     From Painted Wolf comes this quaffable 'Rosalind' 2015 dry rosé, which hints of tart cranberry with some notes of underripe stone fruit.  Its smooth, dry, yet fruity flavor, complements so many dishes.  I can see this being paired with any number of pasta dishes, some fresh sushi or sashimi, but I can also see it being served with delicious grilled vegetables.  Enjoy this flavorful wine in the coming months!

TMNT Sugar Cookies

When you hear someone mention Donatello, Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo, you immediately think of the artists from the Renaissance.  For kids, however, you are referring to the teenage mutant ninja turtle comic book characters that some of us grew up with.  These green turtles with their colorful eye bandanas, can be turned into sugar cookies, and get handed out for a TMNT-themed birthday party.  Kids of all ages are going to want them. What I like about this type of cookie is that you don't need to have a specific TMNT cookie cutter or a myriad of designs to create a set.  They can all be iced and finished with one face, and a handful of colors of royal icing.  Whether you cut out round or square sugar cookies, the faces can be outlined freehand in black royal icing.  If you're unsure about doing this freehand, you can always use a food coloring marker to trace out the design before icing.  All that is left to do is to fill in the blanks. This one cookie sho

Amaranth Hot Cereal

Considered a power food because of its fiber-rich, high-protein content, Amaranth is a grain that we should consider adding to our diets.  The leafy variety, that I wrote about last year , is highly delicious and very good for you, but it is the grain which makes a tasty, hot cereal for breakfast or for brunch.  We just started making it here at home and I am glad it has now become a part of our menu rotation. These small seeds, or 'grains', originated in Mesoamerica and were used for festivities and ceremonies throughout the area before the Spanish conquest. Nowadays only a small amount of the global amaranth supply is grown in this region, with India and Nepal cultivating the bulk of what we purchase in the health food aisle. As I said, cooked amaranth seeds are a good source of fiber, protein, manganese, magnesium and iron.  In addition to this, it is naturally gluten-free, but aside from these healthy benefits, one of the things that appeals to me about cooked am

Barnyard Chicken Cookies

As much as I would like to have chickens of my own, I have yet to explore such an undertaking.  In the meantime I can decorate sugar cookies in the shape of these barnyard animals with one cookie cutter, a good sugar cookie recipe and a handful of colors of royal icing. Do you remember those cookies I made from 'The Little Red Hen'   a while back which were a big hit with some local kids?  These caught the attention of someone I know who wanted a set of chicken cookies in more traditional colors.    A mix of brown and white chickens were enhanced with nothing more than red combs and yellow beaks.  Aren't they cute? Using the same cookie cutter (above) I used for the Little Red Hen Cookies, I cut out and altered the original shape to make it more suitable for this particular request.  The arrows in this photo show you how I adjusted the cut outs.  Some back feathers, the extended legs and the wattle were cut out after the cookies were placed on bak

Mahjong Sugar Cookies

If you play mahjong with a group of friends or know people who do, you may want to entice them with some sugar cookies decorated to look like the game tiles.  A neighbor and dear friend of mine asked me to make several of these cookies for her mother's surprise birthday party a short time ago, and I have to admit that they were perhaps the most challenging set of cookies I have ever made.  I was a bit nervous about the whole project. Knowing nothing about the popular Chinese tile game, I scoured online for images of these game pieces, but it wasn't until I was given specific tiles to recreate that I realized I had my work cut out for me.  Rather than making diminutive cookies like the game pieces themselves, I decided to enlarge the images onto 4-inch rectangular cookies. I hope you're not too disappointed in the fact that I didn't take photographs of my creative process like I normally do.  This project required a bit more concentration and quite frankly, I d

Ormarine 2014 Picpoul de Pinet

Have you ever had a Picpoul de Pinet?  If you haven't, I recommend that you try this 2014 small production estate wine from Ormarine because it is perfect for warmer weather.  Picpoul de Pinet AOC is a full-bodied white wine from the Languedoc region, and this particular varietal is known for its herbal and citrus notes, however, Ormarine's 2014 Picpoul, which is vinified in stainless steel, lacks the herbal quality associated with these wines, exhibiting more of a crisp, refreshing mineral flavor. If you're bored with imbibing chardonnays this season, look for a Picpoul de Pinet.  Pair it with delicate seafood like turbot, lobster or cod; you can also enjoy it on its own as an aperitif. I think you're going to like it!  

Spring is Here

Spring is here and I am happy about it because it means warmer weather, verdant foliage, and an abundance of furry and feathered critters.  The past few days in this part of the country have been a bit on the gloomy and damp side, but otherwise we've been enjoying stretches of sunny days with wonderful temperatures. As busy as we all are, it's a good idea to take a moment or two to go outdoors and observe what is around us this time of year.  The dogwoods are in full bloom right now.  The crabapple trees are fragrant and ever so pretty with their abundant flowers.  The squirrels, robins and even the occasional groundhogs or foxes have decided to make their presence felt throughout the landscape. On one of my recent walks I took a few photographs and even a short video of the kinds of things happening around our home.  It's been somewhat of a tradition to have a 'spring has sprung' post here on the blog, so this is it! Whenever I am standing in this