Up the road from where I live in California is a winery that continues to impress, vintage after vintage: Dry Creek Vineyard. I did a search on my website and I’ve written about them seven times in the past eight years. That’s a lot, considering the number of wineries on this earth I could be writing about. But I keep going back to them simply because their value remains outstanding.
Family-owned and -operated, Dry Creek Vineyard was founded in 1972. Founder David Stare bravely hung his hat on California Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc — a not-so-glamorous grape originally from the Loire Valley (more about Chenin Blanc) — early on and embraced both grape varieties with a burly bear hug. At the time, other wineries in the area looked at him kinda funny but he soldiered on. David, a graduate of MIT, worked for railroads before he founded the winery in Dry Creek — where the winery stand today was nothing but plum (or “prunes”) orchards. Forty-two years later, the family owns 185 acres of grapevines and his daughter, Kim, heads up the company as President.
Their two most recent white wine releases, 2013 Dry Creek Vineyards Dry Chenin Blanc (emblazoned with “Dry” since many French Chenin Blancs have an underlying sweetness) and 2013 Dry Creek Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, are obscenely affordable for the quality. The medium-bodied Chenin, with a $12 retail price, has crisp, invigorating acidity and layers of red apple, pear, citrus and herby chamomile flavors. The stony minerality is also quite remarkable in a wine of this price point. Since they ferment in stainless steel and use no oak during production, the true characteristics of this versatile grape thankfully aren’t masked. Very food-friendly, pair with fresh goat cheese, Asian food, Crispy Mahi Mahi with Lemon Dill Sauce or Brown Rice Salad.
Side note: I recently went by the Dry Creek Vineyard tasting room for a game of bocce ball and went home with half case of this wine. Read more »
This recipe is for those who think they could never, ever actually enjoy a vegetarian “burger”. And, hey, at some point in my life, I would have said the same thing. And so would my meat-loving (obsessed?) husband. But he loves these quick, easy black bean “burgers”. [NB: I use the term burger loosely since these beauties are formed into patties and could be served on buns]. You really don’t miss the meat. At all. I could seriously eat these once per week and not get tired of them, so I share this recipe with full disclosure… addiction could ensue.
Read more: Vegetarian recipe: The best black bean burgers ever (really)
A few years ago, the humble egg went through a public relations nightmare. Blemished with the falsehood of causing high cholesterol, eggs scared many people away. Health seeking consumers eschewed the nutritious yolk, favoring the boring, flavorless white, if they ate eggs at all. A sad sight. Then, along came a Harvard School of Public health study, stating that the dietary cholesterol in eggs did not raise cholesterol levels in the majority of the population and found no association with heart disease. Slowly, like the picked-on kid in elementary school who grows up to be a tech billionaire, eggs became popular. But not without adding more confusion. We’re now faced with a multitude of choices from Cage-Free to Pastured to Omega-3… a morass of labels that can be confusing and many of them mean nothing. But they often capture your heart and money. To clear up the pasture, here’s the skinny on eggs.
Read more: Eating Healthy: Unscrambling the egg myths and truths
Although rosé wines are quite tasty all year round, summer is high season for all things chilled and pink. Backyard hangin’, patio pleasin’, light summer food pairin’ rosés are custom-made for thirst quenching. It only makes it better that they’re affordable too — with most weighing in between $10-$25. I’ve been exploring the California dry rosé scene this year… finding everything from Pinot Noir-based to Carignane to Grenache. Most have aromatic strawberry, luscious raspberry, tart cherry, (sometimes) watermelon with a squirt of lemon. All are refreshing, dry, sophisticated, with salavacious acid levels for sipping or drinking with food.
Read more: Wine reviews: Roses to write home about
Sweet potatoes are some kind of nutritious! Vitamin A, C and plenty of fiber. But I’ve never loved the boring, plain baked sweet potato… I need to have a dash of savory with this meaty, starchy veggie. So I cut ‘em up, throw on some spice and roast them until they become a beautiful side dish with grilled chicken, BBQ rubbed pork chops or pretty much anything. This recipe comes together in 5 minutes and cooks for about 15 minutes. Easy peasy weeknight or weekend recipe. Serves two.
Read more: Recipe: Roasted spicy sweet potato fries
Think you know everything there is to know about the brands you love? Maybe not. This infographic (shared by financesonline.com) depicts the reality of the majority ownership of brands in the grocery store aisles. It’s a bit on the salacious side (“dominate”? “disturbing”?) but the information seems sound and pretty interesting. And, if you’re like me, you shop in the produce and fresh protein section more than anything else and might not even care. But it’s good to know. Pass it on.
Read more: The truth about the grocery store brands you love (infographic)
I’m a foodie. Food obsessed. Food experimenter and cook. Food grower. So I’m not talking about tricks like eating 10 grapefruit per day or living on only avocados, although both of those are part of a foodie arsenal. Here are five easy, implement-today additions to your life that will absolutely help you shed pounds. How do I know? Worked for me. It can for you too.
Read more: Five tricks that will help you lose weight while still being a foodie
A wine from Robert Mondavi needs no introduction. Their (in)famous family has been producing wines for decades in Napa Valley and their family feuds filled the gossip columns in wine mags for years. When they were acquired by the behemoth conglomerate Constellation Brands in 2004, I worried if the wine quality which Robert Mondavi so held true would suffer. For a while, I think it did. But this 2013 Sauvignon Blanc impressed me. Pleasantly so.
Read more: Wine review: Robert Mondavi 2013 Sauvignon Blanc Private Selection