Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Discovering the Malbec from Argentina

Everyone I have met from Argentina is wonderful. They have been easy going, friendly and with a hunger for adventure. I don't know if all Argentineans are the same, but those that I have met are pretty awesome. :)
For my next wine tasting, I tried the best variety from Argentina, the Malbec from the Mendoza region. The Malbec originated from France and was later given to Argentina as the "best wine grape." The French did not want to hand over their successful grapes and lied to Argentina by giving them a grape that didn't do so well. To the French's surprise, the Malbec did great in Argentina. The Mendoza region has better climate, altitude and soil for the Malbec grape.

As I sipped my wine, I imagined drinking aside other Argentineans at the Vendimia Festival. It occurs every March in the Mendoza region. The bodegas (wineries) host various events and wine tastings for the festival, Malbec everywhere you go! The festival is rated number two on National Geographic's
Top 10 Harvest Festivals. (I'm adding it to my bucket list ;) )

My expectation of the Malbec was for it to be great like the Argentineans I've met! This wine was pretty close, after all, these Argentineans are awesome...

Vineyard: Bodega Norton
Year: 2008
Variety: Malbec
Region: Mendoza, Argentina
Purchases at: BevMo $16.99
91 pts Wilfred Wong
About Bodega Norton...founded in 1895 by Edmund James Palmer Norton with vines imported from France. They now have five vineyards spread throughout the Mendoza region with vines of an average 30 years.

Tasting Notes: Deeply red with violet hues. Aromas of ripe red fruits, cassis and pepper. Sweet on the palate, friendly tannins with spicy flavours. Very good persistence.

My experience:
I agree with the tasting notes! I smelled the French oak barrels in which the wine was aged. I was eating food with a spicy sauce, and after drinking the wine, my spicy taste buds went for a wild ride. It made the spicy flavors bolder and stood out in my food. It can be compared to the sense of adventure my Argentinean frieds have.

Just like the wine color, I smelled and could also taste dark red fruits such as plum, sweet grape, and some blackberries. Overall, this wine is easy to drink for those looking for a red wine with a full body.
If interested in purchasing this wine at BevMo, it is part of their 5 cent wine sale. The sale ends this Monday, March 26th!!

Sommelier Adolfo Munoz

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Breakfast Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal cookies are thought to be healthy breakfast treats because they include oats. They are so easily turned into unhealthy just by adding another ingredient.

When you think of breakfast, and greasy, does bacon come to mind? Well, bacon is added to these Bacon, Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies. This is not your average sweet oatmeal cookie. The bacon adds a little saltiness and smoky flavor, which pairs great with a cup of coffee.

recipe from bon appetite
8 oz sliced bacon, cut into 1/4 inch squares
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup raisins

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown and crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat sugars and butter in a large bowl, occasionally scrapping down sides, until well blended, 2-3 minutes.

Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Add vanilla; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 4-5 minutes.

Mix in dry ingredients.

Fold bacon, oats, and raisins into batter and stir until evenly incorporated.

Chill for about 15 minutes so the batter isn't as sticky. Using a cookie scoop, form dough into balls and place on prepared sheets spaced at least 3" apart. Chill dough for 1 hour or cover and chill overnight. Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 375 degrees.

Bake cookies, rotating pans halfway through, until edges are light golden brown and centers are still slightly soft. (The instructions say 20-22 minutes, but with my oven, 19 minutes was too much.) Let cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

When life gives you lemons, make lemon custard pie

Last Thursday I attended Fresno's Food Expo. It featured produce, food products and beverages from the central valley. It's amazing at how many things come from the valley: fruits, vegetables, cheese, milk, tortillas, beef, and wine. I came home with Buddy's Farm Fresh Lemons from Trinity Fruit Sales.
I went back to my Taste of Home pie recipe cards and found a Lemon Custard pie recipe. I used two lemons from the pouch of lemons. The pie lemon taste is not very strong; it is sweet enjoyable.

Lemon Custard Pie
unbaked pie shell
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
2 eggs, separated
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
whipped cream, lemon and mint, optional

Beast sugar and butter until well blended.

Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each.

Add the milk, flour and salt; mix well.

Stir in lemon juice and zest; set aside.

In a clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; gently fold into lemon mixture.

Pour into pie shell. Bake at 325 degrees 45 minutes to an hour or until lightly browned and a knife inserted the center comes out clean.

Cool. Garnish. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Eat my...Chocolate Pie

The Help has been receiving much recognition. As of last week, I hadn't seen it. The night before the Oscar's I made it a movie night to watch The Help. Then I understood the popularity of this movie. A story about respect, dreams, friendships I was cheering for The Help throughout the awards show. Unfortunately, they didn't win best movie but congrats to Octavia Spencer for Best Supporting Actress. My favorite part of the movie was when Minny told Hilly "Eat my shit," as Hilly ate her pie. As soon as that scene happened, I knew what my next blog post was about...Chocolate Pie!

The chocolate pie recipe is from my Taste of Home recipe cards. The Chocolate Silk Pie is a baked pie crust, creamy chocolate pudding, and a layer of whipped cream. I skipped on the thick layer of whipped cream. In my opinion, I thought just a dollop of whipped cream was sufficient.

Chocolate Pie
1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches) (I made my own from my Cake Boss book)
1 jar (7oz) marshmallow creme
1 cup (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter, cubed
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 tablespoons strong brewed coffee
1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

Whipping Cream
Chocolate curls

1. Line unpricked pastry shell with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Bake at 450 degrees for 8 minutes. Remove foil; bake 5 minutes longer. Cool on a wire rack.

2. Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan, combine the marshmallow creme, chocolate chips, butter, unsweetened chocolate and coffee; cook and stir over low heat until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Cool. Fold in whipped cream; pour into crust.

3. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate curls if desired.

After watching The Help, I was also inspired in making these sugar cookies with royal icing decoration. Hope you like them!