Antiquum Farm, Pinot Noir – 2016

  • Basic info: Antiquum Farm “Juel” Pinot Noir – Willamette Valley, Oregon – 2016
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $40
  • Look: Inky. Dark Purple/plum in color.
  • Smell: fresh tobacco, red berries, grape jam and leather.
  • Taste: Cherry, blackberry and a little tart. Notes of pepper, spice and jam with a velvety texture. Coco and pepper on the finish.
  • Conclusions: Amazing. Completely blown away by this one.
  • Other notes: We opened this bottle one night when I didn’t care that it was mid-90s in October as I just really wanted a red wine. I figured Pinot Noir is a lighter red wine and would be fine. We had this bottle for a little while and we just decided to open it. I was a little worried when I smelled the wine, but holy cow the taste! I added this one to my (very short) list of wines that were completely exceptional and just about perfect – the 95 plus wines if I was into giving numbers. This one was complex, fruity without being sweet, and was one of the best wines I think I’ve had. Yes, it is on the expensive side, but I have to say – worth every penny.
  • From the bottle: “Antiquum Farm’s high elevation, thin soil site is a place of anomaly. Perhaps an oddity. This site is capable of consistently producing a balance of extremes between luxuriously ripe fruit and high-toned rippling acidity. Our farming preserves the unique attributes of this site. No off-farm fertilizers are used. native cover crops are encouraged and graze year round with a menagerie of livestock. Exhaustive measures of meticulous hand labor embody our love of farming. These old world methods create one of the region’s most unique and intensely personal wines. This is more than a way of growing wine. This is a way of life.”  14.3% alcohol by volume.

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Roasted Vegetable Risotto

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – risotto is not that hard. It does take time, but it you are okay without perfection, risotto is a great dish to make. It is my go-to dish when I’m tired and can’t think straight, but don’t want to go out for dinner. It can be made with whatever you have on hand and is a very filling meal. I love risotto and think more people should make it.

This version was better than I thought it would be. I had extra vegetables in the fridge from earlier in the week and had a long, tiring day at work. So … roast the vegetables in the oven, grate some cheese and make a risotto.

Recipe:

  • 1/2 large yellow squash (or whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 handful asparagus (or whatever you have on hand)
  • 1/2 large sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup aboro rice
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 pat butter (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup shredded pecorino or other hard grating cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup white wine (totally optional)

Heat the oven to about 375 degrees. (Ovens vary, so some may need to be at 400 and other 350 – just use whatever temperature you generally roast vegetables at). Set vegetable stock/broth to simmer in a pot on the stove.

Cut vegetables to about 1 inch pieces. Coat in a tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast for about 12-15 minutes, tossing half way through. Vegetables should be roasted, but not burnt. Remove from oven.

While the vegetables roast, dice the onion and garlic. Heat a large pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes until onion is soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add aboro rice. Toss rice to coat with the onion and oil then let toast for a about two minutes, stirring frequently. If using wine, add here and stir until it is absorbed/evaporated. Add one cup of broth and mix. Let simmer over medium heat until absorbed. When the rice/pan is dry, add more broth and stir. Continue adding broth, 1/2 to 1 cup at a time until rice is fully cooked – about 25-30 minutes. Before the last of the broth is fully absorbed, add the roasted vegetables and mix well.

Once the last of the broth (you may not use all of it) is absorbed, remove from heat and add butter and half the cheese. Mix well. Squeeze the lemon over the pan of risotto and mix again. Add a little more cheese and mix. Plate and top with a little cheese.

 

Gruber Roschitz, Gruner Veltliner – 2017

  • Basic info: Gruber Roschitz, Gruner Veltliner, Weinviertel, Germany – 2017
  • Type: White
  • Price estimate: $15 (Total Wine)
  • Look: very pale yellow.
  • Smell: Lemon and apples
  • Taste: Green apple and lemon dominate the first sip. Slate, some saline and white peach in the middle with a great lemon zest finish.
  • Conclusions: This wine was better than expected. It was really enjoyable to sip in the evening and went pretty well with dinner. It sounds super acidic and while there is a good amount of acid in the glass, it is balanced and just a nice sipping wine.
  • Other notes: I picked up this bottle almost entirely for the label. It was a varietal I like and a really cute label, so sure – I’ll try it. I was very pleasantly surprised by it and will definitely pick up another or bottle or two when I want a crisp white wine.
  • From the bottle: “The Weinveirtel is famous for its spicy-fruit Gruner Veltliner. The soil around Roschitz consists largely of loess and granite bedrock and provides a distinctive Gruner Veltliner. It smells like fresh pear, yellow fruit and herbal spice with a peppery feel.” 12% alcohol by volume.

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Three Bean Chili

Whole Foods had canned beans on sale the other week and I stocked up. I figured it’s October and we should be getting chili weather soon. It’s not to be. We are still in the upper 80s and low 90s half way through the month. I finally decided I didn’t care that the weather is still saying summer – I want chili.

img_20181014_090920So … clean out the fridge and the cabinet and let’s see what we come up with. Three cans of beans, 1 can of fire roasted tomatoes, some vegetable broth, spices, a needs to be cooked now yellow pepper and half a red onion. That’s it. At the end – shredded cheddar cheese that I picked up a while back for tacos and you have a meal. I was a little surprised at how well this turned out – and it was even better as enchiladas later in the week. (I forgot to take a picture of that though.)

Recipe:

  • 1 can fire roasted, diced tomatoes
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans
  • 1 can white bean (pick your variety)
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • 1 pepper (I had yellow on hand, so that’s what I used)
  • 1 3/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Olive Oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated/shredded cheese for topping (optional)

Peel and dice the onion. Dice the pepper. Drain and rinse the beans – set aside.

Heat about 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan that can be covered. When hot, add onion and pepper. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes. Onion should be translucent and peppers should be softer, but not mushy.

Add spices and toss to coat. Cook about 30 seconds, stirring constantly, then add tomatoes and half the vegetable stock. Mix, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add beans and mix well. Add the rest of the broth. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Uncover, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes. Check and adjust seasonings.

 

 

Barbanera, White Blend – 2015

  • Basic info: Collezione Famiglla Barbanera, “Pian Oro” White blend – Tuscany, Italy, 2015
  • Type: White
  • Price estimate: $15 (local wine store)
  • Look: pale yellow straw
  • Smell: lemon, honey, pear, cut grass, peach
  • Taste: Soft lemon – not sweet but round and not really tart – apricot, white grape, honey. Lemon candy and peach on the finish.
  • Conclusions: Nice wine. Easy to drink.
  • Other notes: I picked up this bottle because I wanted to try something different and it looked pretty good. It didn’t knock my socks off, but it was a nice wine to have for a few days. It wasn’t my favorite with dinner, but by itself it was good. Given that it is October, I was really hoping for some cooler weather and a good red right about now, but summer is hanging on an 90 plus degree days with high humidity kind of call for white wine.
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes.

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Panther Rock Wine Cellars, Rose of Pino Noir – 2016

  • Basic info: Panther Rock Wine Cellars “Six Degrees” Rose of Pinot Noir, California – 2016
  • Type: Rose
  • Price estimate: $13 (local wine store)
  • Look: Orange/pink. Darker than expected for a rose.
  • Smell: iced tea, raspberry syrup
  • Taste: Powdered ice tea mix, artificial lemon flavor, raspberry. Not as sweet as it sounds and it has a tart finish.
  • Conclusions: Very weird, but not un-enjoyable. Easy enough to drink, but it didn’t really remind me of wine.
  • Other notes: When we were kids my parents use to buy these very large containers of powdered iced tea mix. I think dad liked the lemon flavored tea, but we made a gallon at a time with the powdered mix. This tasted exactly as I remembered that powdered iced tea tasting. Seriously, I looked at the bottle twice to make sure it was actually wine and not tea. It has that slightly artificial taste, but it isn’t unpleasant, maybe because it reminds me of childhood, but there it is. It could also be the 11 hour day at work that preceded this glass of wine.
  • From the bottle: “Raspberry with notes of peach and melon; a crisp finish. Gently pressed and cold fermented to attain peak flavor and balance.” 12% alcohol by volume.

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Cat Blanket #2

This is the second cat blanket. I actually finished the knitting part of the blanket before I made the scarf, but I didn’t have the edging done. Mom graciously offered to sew the border on for me since she has a sewing machine. I really should look at getting one of those, but I generally just hand sew the few things I need to fix, but if I start making more blankets with borders, I might just have to get a sewing machine.

The yarn really makes this one. I love how it change color and has the great mixing effect between the blue and the black areas. I could not have done that on my own (not yet anyway) so the yarn is the start here. The stitch is a basic seed stitch – knit one, purl one – in every row with an odd number cast on. (I think I cast on 75 stitches.) There are some definite issues in places, some from my knitting and some from the yarn (it was very thin in some places and very thick in other places), but overall I love the blanket. My edges were weird, which is why I decided to add the border – it hides all manner of issues.

I also tried blocking this time, which was new for me. I think it helped the blanket hold it’s shape a little, and I know the edges seemed a little better after blocking than they did before.

But yay! Another knitting project complete.