Author: TheWineMuse.net

Sweet and Savory – Olive Oil Cakes

Can I tell you, I’m a sucker for those video recipes on Facebook.  They snag me every time! I mean, they look amazing!  Am I right? That said, I’ve never tried one.  So, one in particular caught my attention, and I thought I would give it a try. Spoiler alert: the result was delicious! The recipe I decided to try is for chocolate dipped olive oil cakes.  This may not sound like the most appetizing thing on a menu. Before I ever tasted olive oil cake, it was not generally in my “go to” category for a dessert.  However, now that I know how succulent, flavorful and interesting an olive oil cake is, I will order it any time I see it. The first time I ever tried an olive oil cake was at the restaurant Osteria Mozza, in Los Angeles (now nominated for a 2016 James Beard award for best pastry chef). My foodie friend, Adrienne took me there for my birthday and suggested we order the olive oil cake for dessert. She has …

Taco Cravings – Al Pastor

We celebrated Cinco de Mayo last week.  Normally that’s a day I will wait among the crowds to have a delicious Mexican meal and maybe a margarita or two.  Unfortunately, that tradition is a bit of a challenge here in the Midwest. While I have always lived a stone’s throw from any crazy good taco joint in Los Angeles, that’s not the case here.  The one Mexican chain in town is not so fresh, and the one place with “taco” in its name has chicken fingers at the top of its menu.  Toto, we’re not in California anymore. What’s an LA Girl to do?  Make my own, of course! I love just about any kind of taco I can get, but my favorite is al pastor.  That sweet and savory pork combination makes my tongue happy.  There are a variety of ways to make al pastor.  However, there are three elements that are all the same:  1. A combination of medium and mild chiles, 2. Pineapple, and 3. Thinly sliced pork. Since some ingredients are …

These Vines Are Thirsty

Spring is finally here!  The grass is green once again.  The dogwoods and cherry blossoms are all in bloom.  It’s gorgeous! All this new foliage reminds me of Spring at the Vineyard.  It’s that time of year when the vines are once again in bud break.  They awake from hibernation and baby green shoots and leaves begin to emerge.  It’s one of my favorite times of year at the vineyard.  It may seem small to many, but it represents a reawakening and new life to me. During the winter, the vines lay dormant.  Leaves are gone and the vines look like deciduous trees when they lose their leaves.  They are brown and barren.  In fact, I once had a guest at an event at the vineyard in December ask me what was wrong with our vines.  I still laugh when I remember this, because he was certain our entire vineyard had been hit with some sort of blight.  Even when I explained the vines are always bare during the winter, he thought I wasn’t telling …

When In the Midwest…

I’m going to say something I know is shocking.  I am not a pizza person.  Sure, I like it.  Who doesn’t?  However, given the choice between pizza and something else, I am more likely to select the second option, whatever that happens to be. My husband, on the other hand, can eat pizza every day of the week. So, imagine his surprise and joy when we moved to the Midwest and I discovered Chicago Deep Dish Pizza.  I’ve had deep dish before, but not like this.  Suddenly and without warning, I became a pizza person…or at least, more likely to order pizza than I had been before. Then it happened…one morning a video for making pizza showed up in my Facebook feed.  I watched the dough get rolled out and toppings heaped onto it.  I craved pizza for the rest of the day. I subscribe to the “if you crave it, you should have it” camp.  I ran to the store and picked a few items so I could make my very first deep dish …

Grüner Veltliner – The Perfect Food Wine

A couple of years ago, I sat at a large table.  The Owner and Proprietor of the winery was at the head, his darling wife next to him, a few of my coworkers and our Winemaker filled the rest of the table.  We were engaged in a “blending session,” where we were tasting all of the new vintages of our wines, creating blends of the wines and sampling juice that was for sale on the bulk market to add to our collection. The blending session is always one of my favorite things to do.  It’s the time of year wineries get to be creative and strategic.  Not only do they construct what ultimately goes in the bottle, but they plan out the year ahead.  For the juice they purchase, they build a wish list of wines they would like to have in their portfolio.  Then on the day of the blending session, they get to try them.  It’s like Christmas day for adults! At this particular blending session, one unexpected varietal was poured for us …

Italian Wines, or More Specifically, Gavi

I had the most wonderful meal at a new Italian restaurant.  Finally!  There is a world-class Italian restaurant in this town.  I was really beginning to think I was going to have to make do with the Olive Garden. By chance, I got to sit down and have a conversation with the Italian-born owner, Dario, prior to my meal there. He was ebullient and engaging.  He asked me my history and was happy to talk to another person who had lived in Los Angeles.  He did his education at UCLA. Then he asked me about my “passion for Italian wines.”  I paused.  I’ve been working in the California wine industry for long enough that I’ve almost ignored the rest of the world.  How unfortunate!  I smiled and explained how laser focused I’ve been in the last few years.  That said, I have always adored Italian wine, especially Prosecco, Dolcetto, and all things Sangiovese. He asked me what I thought of his wine list.  I commented on the Super Tuscan and an Amarone on his list.  …

Winter Carbs – Part II

As I mentioned in my last post, there is something about winter that makes me crave carbs.  I tried my hand at bread, why not try pretzels? I can’t tell you how many times I’ll be walking through an airport or a mall and I will smell Auntie M’s Pretzels.  The scent is intoxicating.  It’s that beautiful combination of honeyed dough with butter and garlic.  It instantly makes my tummy rumble, and I need to have it. There is also something about a pretzel that’s special.  I’m not sure if it’s that hard layer on the outside, followed by tender chewiness on the inside or if it’s the slightly sweet, but savory flavor, or a combination of all of these things that make pretzels so yummy, but they just are. So, I browsed through a few recipes, and it didn’t seem so hard.  Like bread, the yeast gets prepped, then flour and the good stuff is added.  It takes some time to rise and then it gets shaped.  Unlike bread, pretzels get boiled before they …