12 e mezzo, Rosato del Salento, no vintage

  • Basic info: Varvaglione 12 e mezzo Rosato del Salento – Puglia, Italy, no vintage
  • Type: pink/rose
  • Price estimate:$13 (local wine store)
  • Look: Pale orange, almost apricot in color. very few legs.
  • Smell: Peach, apricot and white grape.
  • Taste: There is a bit of effervesce on the first taste, very light and clean. White peach and apricot flavors. Bob got a definite strawberry and some light minerality.
  • Conclusions: This is a great back porch wine. It is light, refreshing and a little different than some pink wines. It has just a little bit of bubbles, but it isn’t a sparkling wine. Perfect for summer.
  • Other notes: We tried this one at one of our local wine store’s Friday night wine tastings and both Bob and I thought it was great. It has a unique color and it drinks like a very light alcohol wine. We had  glass with dinner, then another glass on the back patio a few hours later. It was the perfect wine for sipping.
  • From the bottle: “Elegant, pleasant and slightly sparkling. On the nose fresh fruit meets harmoniously white flower scents while on the palate it shows up with liveliness. ” 12.5% alcohol by volume.


Garon, Syrah – 2015

  • Basic info: Garon VDP Syrah, Rhone Valley France, 2015
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $23 (Chamber St. Wines)
  • Look: Dark red in color almost a garnet color. Light legs. Medium alcohol.
  • Smell: Petrol and mineral. (Bob got the mineral, and he agreed with the petrol, but he wasn’t sure about the nose until I said it.)
  • Taste: Relatively smooth, semi-dry with a little mineral taste. Some berry on the finish. Bob got slate and fermented black raspberry.)
  • Conclusions: This was drinkable. For a Syrah it wasn’t bad, but I don’t think this will change my mind about Syrah the way the Chien Blanc changed my mind about white wines in general. It was ok to drink with food, but it really needed the food. The second day it was better. Still not great, but better.
  • Other notes: I wasn’t thrilled with this wine, but I didn’t dislike it either. It was fine and that is better than most Syrahs as far as I’m concerned.
  • From the bottle: No bottle notes, but from Chamber St. Wines, “This junior Cote-Rotie shows lovely aromas of ripe blackberry and cherry with roast meat and floral note, with cocoa and herbs. The palate has a nice earthy texture with ripe berry fruits, chocolate and mineral flavors.” 12.5% alcohol by volume.


Carrot Sofrito Enchiladas

I was looking for something different to try and came across this recipe for enchiladas. I was intrigued and thought about trying them, but then got busy with a bunch of things and forgot about them. Fast forward a few week later and I came across it again on another blog and was intrigued. Apparently this recipe was so popular a number of people tried it and posted it. So … I thought I might as well give it a go.

The “no bake” part of this is a little misleading. You don’t bake the enchiladas themselves, but you do have to bake the sofrito for an hour and a half, so I consider that baking the dish. Yes, you could make that ahead of time, but a lot of things can be baked ahead.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about these while making them. They smelled pretty good, but not the really lingering smells of caramelized onions or tons of garlic that I like (yes, if you don’t like onions and garlic, you may want to skip being near my hours most nights when I make dinner). I was also a tiny bit skeptical about combining carrots and tomatoes (not sure why, but I was) so I thought this would be a dish I tried and then forgot about.

IMG_20170603_124821Not so much. These were incredible. The roasting of the carrots and tomato mixture deepened the flavors, heating the corn tortilla made softened the flavor just a little and allowed the other flavors to come through. The filling – oh my the filling. Bright, creamy and fresh. Top it all with a little tomatillo salsa (and, yes, I cheated and bought a jar – I was going to easy – even though I usually make my own) and you have a really delicious meal.

Bob thought these were pretty good too. We both agreed that to be even better, we needed to make them like tacos, so the next two times we ate them (yes, we had enough for three sets of meals for both of us) we put the carrot sofrito and the filling inside the corn tortilla and just topped them with a little tomatillo salsa. Super good, cheap to make and definitely different. I’ll add a “make again” to the plethora of other comments and review out there for these.


Rocca Felice – Nebbiolo D’Alba, 2014

  • Basic info: Rocca Felice, Nebbiolo D’Alba, Italy, 2014
  • Type: red
  • Price estimate: $17 (at Total Wine)
  • Look: Ruby in color. Transluscent – not a lot of depth to the color. Some legs, probably light to medium alcohol.
  • Smell: Wine. Some spice, but not discernible which to my nose. Bob called a mineral smell.
  • Taste: Mineral. Thin mouth feel but not unpleasant. Dry with some tannin structure. Best guess of taste would be almost ripe plum.
  • Conclusions: I liked this one better the second day. It was fine on the first day, but just ok. I was surprised at how thin the wine was, but it had a lot of character the next day. Definitely benefitted from opening a little. Second day, decided dark cherry hints in the taste and a more defined mineral smell.
  • Other notes: This bottle was a Bob pick. It is not often that he picks wine out, but every now and then he does. One of the other Italian bottles we had recently he also picked, and this one was definitely better. If getting again, decant on the first day and let it come up to room temperature.
  • From the bottle: “Wine made from Nebbiolo grapes. Ruby red color. The bouquet recalls violets and the taste is dry.” 13.5% alcohol by volume.


Robert Hall, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014

  • Basic info: Robert Hall, Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, California, 2014.
  • Type: Red
  • Price estimate: $22 (at local wine store)
  • Look: Deep garnet color with a lot of legs. Probably higher alcohol content. (Bob called it purple)
  • Smell: Earth, mineral with a tiny bit of jam if you really search for it. Bob said mineral and spice.
  • Taste: Bob’s taste description: medium tannin structure. Dry. Bold taste with some definite mineral notes. I had a harder time describing this one – I got rocky and mineral. No fruit until it warmed up and opened up, then there was some definite cherry notes in the wine.
  • Conclusions: This would be great with food, either a lasagna or steak if you want to eat meat. I would call this exactly what I would expect from a Cabernet Sauvignon and probably a very classic example of a California Cabernet.
  • Other notes: I’m still not sure how I feel about this one. It got better as it opened up, but I really could not do more than one glass of it. The overt mineral taste is hard for me to really enjoy, but it is a wine I think I appreciate.
  • From the bottle: “A full bodied wine with a core of black currant and hints of cedar and spice.” 14.5% alcohol by volume.



Cinnamon Rolls

I actually had two days off in a row and after being particularly lazy the first day, I decided I wanted cinnamon rolls. I misread a recipe (or two or three) and so I had a choice of winging it or starting over. Being lazy, I decided to try to make this work and somehow, I managed to do it.

Cinnamon rolls are a particular favorite of mine. They remind me of childhood and cinnamon sugar toast. It turns out, that while cinnamon rolls are time consuming, they are not really that hard to make. I also managed to get Arthas for his morning walk while the yeast was working, and finished some school work while the dough rose. I’ll consider that multi-tasking.


  • Dough
    • 1 stick of butter
    • 3/4 cup of milk, plus 1/2 cup
    • 2 tsp. yeast
    • pinch of salt
    • 2 tsp. sugar
    • 3-3 1/2 cup flour
  • Filling
    • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

In a small sauce pan, heat butter and 3/4 cup milk until butter is almost totally melted. Remove from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup cold milk to cool mixture to about 110 – 115 degrees F. (It may take a minute or two of mixing, but adding the cold milk in speeds this up quite a bit.) Add the yeast and sugar and mix. Let sit for at least ten minutes for the yeast to activate. (This is where I took Arthas for a walk, so it was closer to twenty five minutes before I went back to the mixture and it was perfectly fine.)

Stir mixture then begin adding in flour, about 1 cup at a time. Stir in salt after first four addition. Stop adding flour when you have a soft dough, but one that you can knead. Knead for about two minutes on a lightly floured surface. Return dough to bowl, cover, and place in draft free place to rise. It should double in size and take about 45 minutes to an hour.

Butter a baking dish (I used 8×11) then roll dough out to a large rectangle. Dough should be thin, but not translucent. Mix remaining sugar and cinnamon. Melt butter and brush butter onto surface of dough. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over dough. Starting from one side (long side) roll dough tightly to form long tube. Cut into apx. 12 pieces of even size. Place pieces in baking dish and brush any leftover melted butter on top. Set aside to rise for about ten minutes.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F

Bake rolls for 25-30 minutes.

  • Glaze:
    • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
    • juice of 1./2 orange, plus zest

Mix sugar and juice together until it forms a pourable glaze. Mix in zest for more flavor.



*Adapted from Minimalist Baker’s vegan cinnamon roll recipe. No, I didn’t even try to make them vegan, although I did use soy milk since that is what we have on hand.

Chateau Thebaud, Muscadet – 2012

  • Basic info: Chateau Thebaud, Clos des Morines, Muscadet Severe et Mare, 2012
  • Type: White
  • Price estimate: $23 (Chamber St. Wines)
  • Look: Pale yellow, translucent. Medium legs.
  • Smell: Lemon, honey and some herbs.
  • Taste: Round, tart, crisp. notes of lemon, grapefruit and melon. Not sweet, but too dry either.
  • Conclusions: Good wine, but would not go out of my way for it. It is a great sipping wine.
  • Other notes: I’m sure I’ve had muscadet before, but I can’t remember what I thought of it before. I liked this wine, but it did remind me of chardonnay a bit. It’s a soft white, which is nice, but it isn’t my favorite.
  • From the bottle: From Chamber Street: “subtle aromas of dried pears, herbs, citrus, almond and stone, quite subtle and elegant.” 12% alcohol by volume.