The other day, I met someone who doesn’t like green beans. Once I picked my jaw off the ground — generally, this vegetable is beloved by most Americans — I asked her why she thought this was so. Turns out, her mom force fed her canned green beans as a child and she hasn’t recovered from the taste trauma. Such a shame since fresh green beans are simply magical and so versatile… roasted with a bit of olive oil and garlic salt or in a quasi salad like this recipe tossed with tomato garlic vinaigrette. Perhaps it could change her mind?
Read more: Healthy veggie recipe: Green beans with tomato garlic vinaigrette
Some interesting facts about wine and beer consumption across the planet, which beers and wines sell the most, and who is drinking what. Geek out with these facts and figures.
Read more: Infographic: Beer versus wine surprising facts on how much we drink of both
Many people bemoan the cost of drinking juice hailing from the great granddaddy of wine regions, France. Yes, Bordeaux and Burgundy reign as the pièce de résistance of vin from this country but when you pull your almost empty wallet out of these collectors’ areas many bargains can be grabbed. Take the Touraine region, for instance. Nestled in the Loire Valley, southeast of Paris, the Touraine sub-region is better known for its Chenin Blanc (Vouvray). But while Vouvray certainly satisfies part of the French white craving, I’ve recently turned my sights on the region’s other, crisper white varietal: Sauvignon Blanc.
Read more: Wine review: Merieau Les Hexagonales 2012 Sauvignon Blanc from Touraine (France)
I’ve become a strident evangelist for the oddest thing: a little, leafy vegetable called kale. It has become a darling of many a yuppie (if that word still exists) and added depth to many a “green” drink. But its mere humbleness is what makes it endearing. A few years ago, kale wasn’t nearing the top of the veggie pile but things have turned in the garden. And I’m following this trend like a Miley Cyrus groupie (post twerking). Two or three years ago, kale arrived into my life through my Community Supported Agricultural (CSA) box. When strange vegetables are thrust upon me, I have to cook them… my sense of waste takes over like a wave of guilt. And so it began.
Read more: Best potato chip substitute ever: Roasted Kale Recipe
The request arrived like manna from wine heaven — three days post mortem of my 70+ bottle wine fridge. “I’d like to discuss the possibility of sending one of our products for you to review… the NewAir AWC-330E 33 bottle compressor wine cooler,” the nice lady wrote to inquire. She asked that I share “my actual experience with the product… both pros and cons honestly.” Whoa… I must’ve been sending out some serious mojo to the universe to have my cooler problem solved this quickly. Alas, three days later as promised, I welcomed the shiny, NewAir into my home. And, whether she knew it or not, she certainly came to the right place since — as my best friends know — I don’t hold nuthin’ back.
Read more: Wine cooler review: NewAir AWC-330E fridge
There might be a turf war in our midst. For many years, Argentina has hung its wine hat on Malbec, a red wine so smooth, so drinkable and food friendly that Americans fell hard and fast for this grape. But enter one of their neighbors… Chile. Bastion of Carmenere, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, they’re taking the Malbec leap. Successfully, I might add. Casillero de Diablo Malbec hails interestingly from Chile’s Rapel Valley. Warm and dry, Rapel is known for Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere, its climate is very similar to Napa Valley where the north-south mountain ranges shelter it from the Pacific Ocean and trap warmth over the grapes. One of the newest arrivals varietals in this region is Malbec.
Read more: Wine review: Casillero de Diablo 2011 Malbec (Chile)
During the summer in northern California, I try to maximize any and all time outdoors. Cooking food on the grill gives me an excuse to sit outside, sip wine, eat snacks and chill while the deliciousness finishes grilling. This recipe for grilled chicken takes about 45 minutes to marinate and an hour to cook so it lends itself more to weekend fare rather than weekday. Unless it’s vacation, and that’s even better. The marinade, since it contains acid from the lemon juice to penetrate the chicken’s meaty fibers, really soaks in, so the flavor seeps all the way through. If you skip the long marinade time, it will lose some of that flavor so stick with the recipe. Best if you use bone in chicken but if you choose boneless, reduce the marinade time to 30 minutes.
Read more: Low and slow recipe: Lemon and herb marinated grilled chicken
With over 7,000 U.S. wineries to choose from, figuring out where to visit in wine country can be a herculean vacation task. But it starts with one question: What do you to like to drink? Crazy about Cabernet? Napa Valley is your destination. Passionate for Pinot Noir? Sonoma County or Oregon’s Willamette Valley should be on the short list. Once you’ve figured that out, then the real fun begins: What wineries to visit? I receive innumerable inquiries into this question (got another one today – and I love it) and I’ve revealed some of my favorite destinations in a few posts. But wait… there are more decisions! Not all wineries are “open to the public” and have a tasting room where you can casually walk in and do the wine tasting boogie. Some locales require an appointment. Occasionally this is an intentional “scarcity” gimmick but mostly they’re appointment-only because the winery couldn’t get a permit. Not because they’re not hanging with the cool kids — reasons are myriad and mostly involve the government: bathroom ADA requirements, not enough square footage, or the wine region police feel there are enough tasting rooms already. Horrors, huh? A lot of hoops are jumped through to allow wine fans to taste a few sips of fermented juice. So like making sure you get a seat at the restaurant you’ve been drooling over, some forethought may be required when planning your day- or week-long wine country trip. There are pros and cons to walk-in tasting rooms versus appointment-only. And many wineries who are open to walk-in traffic offer reservations so you can look into those as well. Yes, lots to wade through but make sense of the options and walk proudly and confidently into this decision with these tips:
Read more: Wine Tasting Room Confessional: Reservations vs Walk ins