The market for sparkling wine has exploded like demand for Bradjolina’s sold out French rosé. I’m happily seeing more bubblies now than ever before, especially from the west coast of the U.S. There are a couple of reasons why. One is that people are demanding them — mostly millennials seeking the unique and the bubbly. And two, the advent of “custom crush” facilities, now equipped with sparkling wine production equipment (a completely different way of making wine), are making it easier and less expensive to make these fun, effervescent grogs. Oregon’s Sokol Blosser has jumped onto the sparkling bandwagon with a refreshing, slightly sweet sparkling wine made with nine different grape varieties.
Read more: Wine review: Sokol Blosser Evolution Sparkling Wine
Acorn squash is often a surprise “volunteer” arrival in my spring compost bin, when the scooped out seeds sprout with the warmth of the season. I’m able to grow a couple squashes before the plant realizes that summer heat is upon it and it goes dormant. Normally, acorn squash grows in winter but it’s available year-round. It’s a transplant from South America, where squash is abundant in the cooking and in the culture. Full of vitamins A, C, and B, they’re also rich with potassium, fiber and magnesium. This recipe takes a few more steps but it is well worth the effort. Eat the skin and all… it turns into a delicious, savory/sweet candy. The tart vinaigrette gives it a brightness that is not to be missed.
Read more: Side Recipe: Baked acorn squash tossed with spicy vinaigrette
It ain’t easy getting healthy and losing weight. For on-the-go people, getting the required “5-a-Day” (now morphing into 8-a-Day) can be a challenge and seem impossibly harried. But a few small changes can have a big impact. These eight little things will provide some solace and introduce a little ray of yummy nutrition into your daily routine. And maybe a little weight loss.
Read more: Healthy eating: 8 ways to introduce delicious nutrition to your day
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.
Read more: Two affordable wines: Dry Creek Vineyard 2013 Sauvignon Blanc & 2013 Dry Chenin Blanc
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