Wine reviews: Rosés to write home about

Moshin 2013 Rose of Pinot Noir

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.

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Recipe: Roasted spicy sweet potato fries

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.

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The truth about the grocery store brands you love (infographic)

Think you know everything there is to know about the brands you love? Maybe not. This infographic (shared by 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.

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Five tricks that will help you lose weight while still being a foodie

Mixed Nuts

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.

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Wine review: Robert Mondavi 2013 Sauvignon Blanc Central Coast

Robert Mondavi 2013 Sauvignon Blanc

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

Recipe: Crispy Sea Bass or Mahi Mahi with lemon dill sauce

Crispy Sea Bass

Due to its healthful aspects — high in protein, vitamin B-12 and iron — fish is something I try to eat at least twice a week. It can enliven a boring week of chicken, pork and beef. But it can be challenging to find super fresh fillets that don’t sport the stomach-turning “fishy” taste; frozen is often what I reach for. But you can still find excellent fresh fish at the grocery store and fish counters, however, you must be vigilant — always ask the guy behind the counter to let you smell the fish before it’s wrapped. Even a whiff of fishiness is a good indication it’s been out of the water a while. Your nose will let you know the deal. This recipe calls for either sea bass or Mahi Mahi, but you can use other white fish as well (halibut or cod come to mind). Tilapia isn’t ideal since it’s too thin, and oilier fish like salmon or swordfish won’t work either. You can also half this recipe. To keep the fillets crispy for the next day, store in a plastic container with wax paper on the bottom.

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Visit California wine country: Reserve Lunch at Franciscan Estate Winery

Franciscan Scallops

As someone who has been in the wine trade for many years, I’m privy to plenty of special experiences… wine dinners, library tastings, chef-prepared lunches, etc. Most of the time, these sweet gigs aren’t accessible to the general public. Which I’ve always thought a frickin’ shame. Why shouldn’t a winery provide as much fun to the evangelists who sing praises through social media as much as the guy who recommends the wine at a shop? But that’s how the game is played. At least for now. Exclusivity isn’t the case at Franciscan Estate Winery in Napa Valley.

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Spring vegetable recipes: Three sauces for steamed or roasted asparagus

Fresh Asparagus

Although vegetables have their own fabulous goodness on their own, when you tire of the same ‘ole thing, a simple sauce goes a long way to renewed or increased deliciousness. My favorite spring vegetable is asparagus, a perennial plant related to garlic and onions and native to Asia, Europe and North Africa. It’s super high in fiber and nutrients like vitamins B1 and 2, C, E, K as well as folate, copper and manganese. Enjoy with abandon.

Read more: Spring vegetable recipes: Four sauces for steamed, grilled or roasted asparagus