Friday, January 8, 2016

Wine Curmudgeon's 2015 $10 Hall of Fame is published!

One of my favorite wine bloggers, the Wine Curmudgeon, has just published is 2016 $10 Hall of Fame.  Some of the wines on the list that we enjoy everyday are:

In the words of the Wine Curmudgeon himeself:

" Ch√Ęteau Font-Mars Picpoul, a French white that “is everything picpoul is supposed to be.”
• The $5 Rene Barbier Mediterranean Red: “All I can say is that the Wine Curmudgeon is as surprised as you are.” I drink this wine so often, and marvel at how it does for $5 what others can’t do at $10."
The Picpoul is available at A Taste for Wine and Spirits, in Cohasset, MA (only place I have seen it).  The Rene Barbier is found at our grocery store and Trader Joe's,
The Wine Curmudgeon also lists these wines we consistently buy and enjoy:  
- Bogle brands. Always well made, consistent, and inexpensive.  Available most places.   
- Little James Basket Press wines - available at Whole Foods (at least here in Charlotte).  
Anyway, enjoy searching for these wines. is a great web site to start!  Many are not available in North Carolina, so I have not been able to try as many as I have wanted.  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Dream Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners (Food only)

I have come to the realization recently that I will probably not have the opportunity to host a holiday for a very long time.  The husband and I are grateful that we still love our families and enjoy spending our holidays with them. Since, thankfully, we still have grandparents in the picture who spend holidays with our parents, we must travel to our childhood hometowns to break bread and give thanks with those we love.  And while I am not going to complain about the fabulous rib roast and mashed potatoes I devoured at my parents' house, I will always be taking notes for the time when I get to host a holiday meal.

Therefore, here is my "present" dream Thanksgiving menu:

Beautiful Brussels Sprouts - The Pioneer Woman - Brussels Sprouts, butternut squash, red onions, roasted. What more do you need? - oh - maybe some pomegranate seeds!  No more green bean casserole.

Turkey - obviously. Simply made, perhaps following the instructions on the store-bought turkey. Might spring for an organic turkey, but will have to settle on ogling the stack at Whole Foods.

Gravy - via Mark Bittman. Simple, perfect gravy. Little fuss.

Cranberry Sauce - a simple, fresh, recipe, perhaps from the back of the Ocean Spray Cranberry package.

Party Mashed Potatoes - I need to do a whole post on these. Old school recipe of my Mother's.

Dressing - I would have to peruse many recipes - but it would have to involve fresh (stale) bread, and mushrooms, or maybe apples and sausage. I have NEVER made dressing before. And that is because I have NEVER hosted. I will say one thing though, it will NOT be that Pepperidge Farm gray dung calorie bomb.

Two pies - Apple and Pumpkin. Preferably bought. I don't eat pie crust. With HOMEMADE whipped cream. If you don't have time to do this, you should not be hosting Thanksgiving at all.

And, that is it. Maybe, some roasted squash, or sweet potatoes, if I can be convinced.

Dream Christmas Menu: 

Beef Tenderloin:  I have never had the opportunity to roast one of these. Though, the rib roast we had this Christmas made me question this decision.  I have never roasted one of those either.

Mashed Potatoes:  Lots of butter.

Roasted Vegetables - either squash, Brussels sprouts, root vegetables. Whatever looks the freshest.

A salad with feta, nuts, and dried cranberries, with homemade dressing.

Chocolate Cake with whipped cream for dessert. Just because.

Caveat for Christmas Menu:  If I was hosting a large group - ie - 10 or more people, I would probably do a baked ham with individual rolls, a squash casserole (most likely this one - from the NY Times), good ole' party mashed potatoes, and a big salad.

Wine choices will have to be a completely different article entirely!