Thursday, October 20, 2011

Stuff, and stuff

So, you may have noticed my little note on the ads, there in the sidebar. I didn't start this blog to make money (it's a good thing, too!). However, it's been collecting a few cents here and there, and I thought it would be cool to donate the proceeds to charity. I should get a check in the mail when revenue reaches $100... Now, after 5 months of diligently typing away... I'm nearly there. Ha! But every little bit helps. Especially as we get closer to the holidays. If you can suggest a worthy cause, please feel free to do so in the comments. And on that note, if you are neither my mother, father, in-laws, husband or very close friend, please feel free to leave a comment as well! I'm curious who's out there reading.

P.S. Go "like" the Dish on Facebook. I share good food articles and recipes from the 'net there.

Orange Curry Spiced Pecans

Try serving them with Manchego and dried cherries.

The perfect combination.
I love it when flavors come together like this. Seriously, seriously good. You can take this basic formula for roasted nuts and adapt it to your taste, too. Almonds, cashews, peanuts... cinnamon/sugar, garlic/cayenne. Just be sure to get the sugar processed to a fine dust. I think that's the secret to a nice even coating of flavoring over the nuts.

These will definitely be making an encore appearance come December, when I'm scrambling to get something special together for the kids' teachers. Probably two batches will do it, scooped into a clear plastic gift sack and tied with a festive ribbon. 

1 egg white
1 TB. water
1 tsp. salt
1lb pecan halves
2/3 c. white granulated sugar
1 tsp. curry powder (I like Whole Foods brand Muchi Curry powder)
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika (McCormick's)
1 tsp. freshly grated (organic) orange zest
1/4 tsp. fennel seeds
3/4 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Line a heavy baking sheet with parchment paper. Process the sugar in food processor for 30 sec. to 1 min., until superfine and dusty. Combine sugar and spices; set aside. Whisk egg white, water and salt together, then toss with pecans to coat. Use your hands to be sure they are each well-coated. (Note: As a native Texan, I am obligated to tell you that it is pronounced "pe-CAHN." Y'all.) Drain pecans in colander, and toss with the sugar/spice mixture. Spread evenly over the parchment-lined baking sheet and bake, stirring every 15 minutes, until dry -- 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool and store in airtight container for up to two weeks.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What blog?

Wrestling tigers.

Let me tell you. I understand EXACTLY how kids grow up so fast. Exactly how time flies. How one day you turn around and your tiny little bean of a baby is a six year old singing Justin Beiber. I understand. I just can't explain it. (I can't explain Justin Beiber, either).

Along the same lines, I probably could not explain how these past couple of weeks flew by without my knowledge or consent, but I know a few things happened, at least. The last time I sat down to this blog, I was lazily sipping a new red wine, while Josh cooked dinner on a Saturday night and the kids watched a movie. My favorite kind of Saturday night, these days. Since then, I promise I have cooked:

Homemade yogurt 
Orange curry pecans with dried cherries and manchego 
A most remarkable warm winter salad 
Simple scones
I also enjoyed a fabulous birthday weekend in NYC with my fabulous husband, while his fabulous parents held down The Fort. We ate at Les Halles (Anthony Bourdain's restaurant), Maze by Gordon Ramsay (fabulous!), and several other delicious spots (much thanks to the Yelp app on my phone!). I saw my first musical on Broadway:

Daniel and John were both great!
We walked everywhere and must have seen everything within a 5 mile radius of our hotel. Times Square, Central Park, The Plaza, FAO Schwartz, World Trade Center Memorial, Wall Street and the Wall Street Occupation. It was so nice and more than a little surreal to just hike around with Josh all day -- it occurred to me that we'd probably not hung out during the day, sans lovelies, since I worked at Vermont Law, and he was a student. And no... after 6+ years of waking up by 7 every morning (often much earlier)... I could not sleep in. But I did wake up on my own terms, and that's something!

Other than that, we've just been goofing off. Recipes to match the photos coming soon! I think you'll especially want to try the pecans. Easy, delicious and highly adaptable, they've been a big hit at several gatherings and are going to make awesome teacher gifts come Christmas time.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Corte Mayor 2006 Rioja

Great value! A 90 point (excellent rating) wine for $9.99. Deep, ruby red, smells of ripe plum with slight hints of vanilla and dried herb. The importer, Bottle Green Ltd., calls it "confident." Whatever that means... It is very smooth and mellow. Nothing shocking to the palate here. Light tasting at first, but with a fuller body toward the middle and an easy finish.

This Rioja is made from Tempranillo grapes, native to Spain, but grown in many places now, including the US. The name refers to the Spanish "temprano," meaning early. The grapes are harvested several weeks earlier than most. It is a Crianza, as opposed to a Reserva. Crianza is a classification that means it was aged in oak for a minimum of 1 year. This particular wine was aged in "new oak" then bottle-aged for an additional year. I don't taste any oak at all. Maybe on account of the oak being "new?" I don't know. I didn't research it that far. Josh tells me the vanilla I'm smelling might be a bit of oakiness... So, that's up for debate. Reason enough for a second glass, I'd say. (Btw, a Reserva must be aged for a total of 3 years, with at least one of those years in oak.)

I'm not sure this would stand up to a meat-heavy meal. Maybe something mild like lamb. It is certainly good sipping with Manchego cheese, while you laze around on a Saturday afternoon and try to decide what to cook for dinner. I will buy it again.