Sunday, January 31, 2016

New Recipe of the Week: Slow Cooker Ethiopoian Spiced Chicken & Lentil Stew

This week Betsy chose Slow Cooker Ethiopoian Spiced Chicken and Lentil Stew from Food and Wine. 

1 out of 5 stars.  I do love the ease and convenience of the slow cooker and had never had Ehtiopoian food so I was excited to try this.  But it was way too spiced for me and my husband both.  I didn't have the Berbere spice the recipe called for and instead substituted Garam Masal (per the recipe). I love using Garam Masala in Indian recipes but 3 tablespoons was way too much for the quantity of this recipe.  Maybe cutting the spice down by one third to one half would make this recipe better?  I had a super fruity, unoaked California Chardonnay with it which paired well as the fruit intensity was able to stand up to the spice intensity and the creamy, fat body and mouthfeel of the wine contrasted nicely with the rustic style of the dish.  My husband, though a great sport who is willing to eat anything I want to cook asked me not make this again.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

New Recipe of the Week: Spaghetti alla Cabonara

This week I chose Spaghetti alla Cabonara from Tyler Florence.  I have never had Carbonara, plus the video of Florence making it made it look so fun to make.

2 out of 5 stars.  The recipe was fun to make but the dish itself was a little lackluster.  I think I could improve upon it if I made it again but I don't think I will (so many recipes to try, so little time!).  I served this with a Txakolina from Spain which was a good match because the wine is extremely high in acid to cut through the sauce of the pasta.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

New Recipe of the Week: One-Pot 45 Minute Coq Au Vin

Here is Betsy's first pick for our New Recipe of the Week Club!

One-Pot 45 minute Coq AuVin from Half Baked Harvest.

3.5 out of 5 stars. This may be quicker than the real Coq AuVin but it is not a quick recipe.  I had a bit of a hard time getting the sauce to reduce and had to simmer it quite a bit longer than the recipe called for.  Very tasty, especially with the addition of sweet potato, but not what I would consider a good week night recipe as it takes a while to make.  This is a great winter dish and I will probably make it again.  I had it with a fruity Aglianico from Italy but in the future I would pair it with Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc or even a Beaujolais.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

New Recipe of the Week: Chickpea Curry with Rice

My friend Betsy and I both really love to cook.  In order to spur each other on in cooking new things we decided to take turns picking a new recipe of the week which we give the other each Sunday and both cook during the week.  FUN!  

I thought it would be fun to keep track of what we cook each week by posting a picture of the plated recipe, a link to the recipe and a short review.

I chose the first recipe which was an easy chickpea curry from Ree Drummond.

4 out of 5 stars.  I really enjoyed this recipe.  It was fast, simple and very flavorful.  Using the coconut cream from Trader Joes made the sauce so silky.  It paired perfectly with a semi-seco Cava from Spain which tempered the spiciness.  I will definitely make this again.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Minnesota Summer

Wine and Werewolves

Wine and Werewoves was an EPIC NIGHT with Tyler Lyle who we hired to come play a house gig in our backyard.  We had been preparing for weeks.  The morning of the gig Matt awoke early to fire up Sharptooth's Inferno.  We baked about a dozen loaves for the gig.  Set up followed throughout the day and we were so happy the Janks were here to help us.  The guys picked Tyler up from the airport around 2 and took him back to our house where we promptly filled him full of our most authentic and delicious Tucson food- Guerro Canel carne asada tacos.  I served Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne and Monte Xanic Calixa red wine (cab/syrah blend) which is one of Mexico's finest.  After a leisurely lunch of getting to know Tyler we gave him some time to chill and get acquainted with Luke's guitar.  Jeff arrived late afternoon and helped us all with last minutes stuff around the yard and thankfully he also took photos throughout the night for us with his sweet camera.  See his awesome photos here.
Gates opened at 7:30 and Tyler was playing by about quarter after eight.  We had 40 people all together.  Tyler took a break a few songs in so people could get more wine and snacks.  We had a plethora of wine (Champbrule, Luc Pirlet Chardonnay, Summit Estates Riesling, Vasco Sassetti Sangiovese, Montecillo Rioja,  L.A. Cetto Cabernet Sauvignon, & Line Shack Cabernet Sauvingon).  Plus we had fresh baked bread from the brick oven, cheeses, a tray of dessert bars by Betsy and a big platter of strawberries from our neighbors.  Tyler played many more songs, including my favorite of his, By My Name, which he had to relearn for me as its one of his oldest songs, and Matt's favorite, A Journey of Infinite Recognition, another oldie.  Tyler ended and we demanded an encore so he took a bit of a break and then ended the show with One Legged Woman.  The concert was awesome!  We tried to record the audio and video but unfortunately it didn't work (Jeff recorded a few songs which you can watch on his photo page linked above). Tyler brought a bunch of copies of his new album to sell and even though no one who came to the gig had ever heard of him they loved him and he sold a slew of his CDs. For those who bought CDs they got entered into a raffle in which we raffled off an autographed bottle of one of Tyler's favorite bottles of Bourbon.  When the music was over we kicked people out within about a half an hour or so.  This was for two reason, number one we needed to quiet it down and get all the cars off the street before we got complaints from our home owners association and because there was an after hours high end whiskey tasting for just a few guys and Tyler.  All in all the night was AWESOME except that I got sick that night and had to go to bed soon after the show.  The next morning we filled Tyler full of coffee and Los Betos breakfast burritos before we hauled him back to the airport.  

I will never forget how I was walking around the corner into my backyard the afternoon of the gig when I heard a very familiar voice singing, live.  A voice I listen to almost everyday and here it was live in my own backyard.  Awesome.

Women's Wine 101 Night: Wines for Summer

Me and few girlfriends started a women's ministry at our church last year called Fourth Fridays where the women in the church get together on the fourth Friday of the month to fellowship as we learn something together.  We take turns hosting and teaching all different kinds of things.  Last year I did a bread baking 101 night and in June this year I taught a wine 101 class.  I had 12 ladies and we tasted through 8 different wines as we learned about wines for the summer season.  It was such a fun night that I am hoping to sneak in another wine 101 night- wines for the winter season- just before the Holidays.  I had the tables covered in different fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs and the like for the ladies to smell in order to help them build up their sniff memory banks.  I also typed up a three page study guide for them to follow along and takes notes if they wanted to.  I served the last wine, which was a dessert wine of course, with a beautiful pastry cream and fruit tart on a shortbread crust that my good friend Betsy made especially for the evening- belissimo!

The Soul of la Hacienda McReynolds...



San Diego

At the end of May we drove to San Diego for a long weekend.  While there we stayed at this really cool Victorian Guesthouse where we got the Gothic Room.  It was so awesome and creepy.  I really felt like I was sleeping in Dracula's lair!  It had beautiful stained glass windows and I even found a bat in one of them!  We toured Stone Brewery, Orfelia Vineyards, went to Balboa Park, to the beach on Coronado Island, walked around the Gas Lamp District, did some fun wine shopping and ate a spectacular dinner in the Italian Quarter where I had one of the best and most unique pizzas I've ever had- a Ligurian Pizza.  This was fresh creamy cow cheese melted between 2 super thin crusts and served with a piece of honey comb on top.  Amazing!

 The whole trip was taken in order to pick up our new Ragdoll kitten who hails from a wonderful breeder in El Cajon which is just outside of San Diego.  When the breeder opened the door she was holding the fuzziest little kitten with a bow tied around his neck.  She gave him to me and he was purring and never stopped purring all the way home.  Once home we set up his camp in our bedroom where he lived for the first few days before meeting Indi.  He immediately found the mirror and freaked himself out.  Oh, how I love the Halloween cat moves!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Getting Ready for Bandito...

 Matt built this cat tree about 10 years ago now and has already recovered it twice.  As you can tell by the top few pictures Indi has made good use of it, in fact she really loves it.  We thought since Bandito is about to join the family and we don't want to have him declawed, that Matt had better recover it again.  I can't imagine what it will look like after it belongs to two cats with claws!  I think the appropriate name for it will now be Indi and Bandito's Tower of Terror!

Friday, May 15, 2015