Saturday, January 31, 2009

Wine Review: Malbec the Third

This is the last Malbec review I did over at Bakespace. We've had a lot of fun over there doing these wine reviews, Spryte in particular really goes all out, which is wicked cool.

Sur de los Andes
Price: 11.99
Year: 2006

Short intro from the wine maker about the wine:This Malbec has charming sweet, minty, leafy-menthol, plum and berry aromas. It has a rich palate and juicy acidity along with excellent precision and purity. Some presence of vanilla and tobacco tones. A wine to enjoy with red and white meats, pastas and salads. Drink now through 2009.
Review:I smell the sweet and berry aromas, but nothing that I would call mint or menthol, although there is a "green" scent that I can't put my finger on. Fairly acidic and very dry but pleasant (Note: I do like dry, even wicked dry wines. If you don't like dry this will not be for you.). It's rich, but the richness is subtle, if that makes any sense, almost like an undertone. I can taste the vanilla and the same green flavor as in the aroma, but I wouldn't call it mint or tobacco. It has an almost spicy aftertaste, instead of metallic.
Would you buy again?:Yes
Wine Pairing Ideas/Recipes:I would want to drink this with a big ol' seared steak (salt and pepper, no fancy seasonings) and some garlic potato wedges (or crash hot potatoes). I think it would also be good with a really strong flavored spice cake, maybe a rum one, but that just might be because of the aftertaste. It might also be good mulled if you sweetened it a bit.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Crash Hot Potatoes, Three Ways

Update: I've entered these babies into the Potato Ho Down over at Noble Pig. Good times.

I've posted about these potatoes before and it's well past time for a followup. Since they first appeared on Pioneer Woman Cooks I've seen a lot of variations of them on various cooking sites. She did them up with just some rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper. I've done them like that and it's awesome. When I did my first post on them I made them with garlic butter and it was wicked good. This time I decided to make them several different ways at once. Some with cheese, some with bacon and some with... well, garlic butter. Like I said, it's wicked good. I'm not going to repeat the recipe, since it's already on here, but I will show you guys what I did.

First I boiled up my baby red potatoes. I've found reds are really best for these, they just taste better. I don't know why, but there it is. Then I smashed them down on my oiled, foil lined baking pan. Salt and pepper, of course. Then I put some raw chopped bacon on a couple. The plan for this was the fat would render, soak into the potatoes and the bacon would crisp. It worked out like that too. I love it when that happens. Next time I would use a little more bacon though. On some of them I put chunks of cheddar. This was the first time I had made them with cheese for some reason. I must be losing it... oh well. Later I topped the cheesy ones with bacon and some sour cream. And last, but not least is the garlic butter. This time I didn't mix up the butter, instead I just put the garlic on followed by a little pat of butter. Worked out just fine. Then they got tossed into a 450 degree oven for 25 minutes or so. Next time I make them with cheese, I'm going to add it after they have been in for 10 minutes or so. That way the potatoes will have a little more time to crisp up before the cheese gets all brown. But then again, the garlic is nicely toasted. It didn't want to be in the oven much longer either. More experimentation is clearly needed.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Roast Beef Club Sandwich with Garlic and Herb Cheese

Ok, this isn't really a recipe. But, it was wicked good. So I'm posting about it. All right then, I'm sure you are all familiar with club sandwiches. Three slices of toast, some kind of sliced meat, tomato, lettuce, bacon and often some kind of cheese. Good stuff. Usually it has mayonnaise on it (at least in my experience), but this one here doesn't. Instead of mayo it has Alouette. Alouette is a spreadable cheese that has herbs and stuff in it. I know I normally don't name names here, but I will pimp this stuff a bit because it's just so good. Anyone work for them? I would write a review of it in exchange for some free samples, wink wink. Heh. Anyway, let's make a sandwich.

First, toast. Three slices. I'm using some twelve grain bread I happened to have. Next is some Alouette. Then a pile of roast beef. I know turkey is more traditional, but I love roast beef clubs. Now the another piece of toast. A little more cheese, just to hold things still of course, and the lettuce. Feel free to ignore the chunks of cabbage. The lettuce is actually bag salad. Hey, it's what we had. Here, look at the sweet, delicious bacon. That should take your mind off of it. Heh.And the top. Notice, the sandwich is huge. Some squishing is in order. And that's that, give it as many slices as you feel the need to and then enjoy. Some people might be wondering where the tomato is. Well, I don't like tomatoes on sandwiches so I didn't put any on. Don't let that stop you though, you go ahead and put all the tomatoes you want on. A little red onion would be good too. My girlfriend likes cucumbers and pickles on her roast beef sandwiches. How about you folks? What would you put on it?

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies. Period. Redux.

So, here is another touched up post for you. This recipe is so good, I don't even feel like a cheater posting it twice. Hey, at least this time the pictures are better! A little bit anyway. Heh.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups plus 2 tbl flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 tbl) butter, melted & cooled until warm
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg plus 1 yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325. Mix together the dry ingredients and set them aside. Mix the butter and sugars together till fully mixed. Add the egg, yolk and vanilla and mix until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Mix in the chips. Scoop out scant 1/2 cups of dough and roll them into balls. Pull the dough into 2 equal halves. Place each half a ball craggy side up onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving ample room between each half. Put them in the oven and bake them till the edges are starting to brown, but the center is still unset. Do not over bake! Cool the cookies on the sheets for a couple minutes then move them to a wire rack to finish up.


I love chewy chocolate chip cookies. I really do, it's a weakness. So when I saw a blog post titled The BEST Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever! I just had to check them out. The recipe is originally from Americas Test Kitchen and I'm pretty sure I saw this episode. Couple the trust I have in ATK with Baking Blondes taste in sweets and I was totally making these cookies. Yes. I did. And they are the best. And here they are.

First off preheat your oven to 325. Now you should whisk together your dry ingredients, it makes things come out better. I never do. Ah well. You want to melt the butter, I just tossed it in a small sauce pan over low heat, broke it into pieces and stirred it for a minute or so. You can do it in the microwave too. Let it cool then pour it in a bowl with the sugars. Now the recipe didn't say dark or light brown sugar... so I just used half a cup of each. Besides, I only had a half cup of dark anyway. So it worked out. But you want all the sugars and the butter mixed together well. Now you are going to need to separate an egg. I do it by cracking the egg into one of my hands (which is over a bowl) and then passing the yolk back and forth between my hands while holding all my fingers just a tiny bit apart. Hopefully that made sense or you have some method of your own, because I'm afraid that's the best way I can think of to explain it. Do it however you do, then toss the whole egg and the yolk into the bowl. The vanilla too. Mix this up well then add your dry mixture. Combine it well then add the chips and stir some more. At this point in the recipe I came across two challenges. The first was the 1/2 cup of dough measurement for the cookies. That seemed immense. And it was. I wound up using 1/4 cups on the second batch and they were still huge. (UPDATE: The reason they were initially so huge is because I was doing it wrong. You don't want to press the two halves back together, they are two separate cookie portions. The recipe and post have been edited to reflect this. I now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging.) Now enormous cookies aren't a bad thing, but next time I think I will use big rounded tablespoons and get smaller ones. The second challenge was keeping my girlfriend out of the dough. Heh. Anyway line your cookie sheet with parchment paper, take balls of dough and pull them in half. Then turn them so the craggy side it up and put each half on the cookie sheet with a goodly amount of space between them. Ripping the dough balls in half gives the cookies a nice textured top. Now bake them. Should take about 10-14 minutes. You want them not quite done in the middle but starting to brown on the edges. Cool them for a couple minutes on the sheet then transfer them to a wire rack to finish up. I also suggest eating one hot. Maybe with a scoop of ice cream on it. Yeah. I think that's a good idea.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

More Sunday Cats.

Here is another repost from Bob and Noodles. They still weren't getting along when I posted this originally, but we had high hopes that drugs would help. Heh. And they kind of did, as you will see next week in the thrilling conclusion!

Well, not really the conclusion. But, more to the story anyway.

(originally posted on July 16, 2008)

Heh. Always entertaining. I went to a farmers market today and there were some homemade catnip pillow thingies so I got one for each of the babies. They certainly enjoyed them.Kaje made Noodles go all circus cat. Bob just rubbed it against his head.Noodles of course, went completely nuts and maimed hers. Bob rolled around and insisted on receiving love. As though he never gets it.Then, of course, the inevitable crash.


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