Alcoholic

Review: OXO Mini Measuring Beakers & Funfetti Cake Shots

Until now, all the liquid measuring cups I owned were larger and the smallest volume they could measure was a 1/4 cup. But with the new 4 Piece Mini Measuring Beaker Set from OXO, I can now measure out more than one tablespoon at a time. The best part for my nerd-self is that they are shaped like little beakers and are designed specifically for measuring and pouring smaller amounts of ingredients such as food coloring, extracts, lemon juice and more. No more food coloring stained fingers – let’s rejoice!

The beakers stand on their own, with fill lines below the very top, making it easy to set out ingredients before you start cooking or baking.  The funnel shape and spout on the top of the beakers make filling and pouring simple. They are also brightly colored, top-rack dishwasher safe, and nest together for compact storage – an extra bonus for my crammed micro-apartment kitchen. The set includes 2 oz, 1 oz, 1 T and 1 tsp beakers. And just a little knowledge for you: 1 oz = 2 Tbsp

OXO Mini Measuring Beakers

Now let’s talk about what I decided to make with these, and speculate on why the first thing I thought of was alcohol. Have you ever taken a shot by yourself? I would assume not as I had not either until I made this Funfetti cake shot. I didn’t think it through prior to it’s preparation, and mixed it up around 2pm… well now what am I supposed to do with it? So I shot one and dumped the other down the drain after feeling like an alcoholic drinking by myself. Although I felt a little guilty tossing a perfectly good cake-flavored shot down the drain. Somehow pineapple juice and vanilla vodka creates a yellow cake batter flavor, who am I to judge?

Funfetti Cake Shot

One year ago: Stromboli

Two years ago: Grilled Three Cheese Sandwich
Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Campo Viejo’s 2010 Tempranillo

If someone asks me to review a wine it’s probably going to be answered in the affirmative, especially if it is a red wine. When told I would be sent a sample of Campo Viejo’s 2010 Tempranillo I thought surely it would be a small, single-serving bottle. Turns out I was provided with a full-sized bottle which ended up going to Nashville with me two weekends ago for a visit to one of my best friends from back home (who is currently living in that area).

Most of the time when I drink wine, it is not with a meal. So Becky and I decided to take the light cheese pairing suggestion on the bottle quite literally and drank this up with a platter full of crackers and mild white cheeses while watching a movie (and yes this was our dinner). Pairing with these mild cheeses was definitely the right choice because the wine itself does not have a particularly strong flavor, and may have been lost behind the flavors of a sharp cheese. That doesn’t mean it didn’t have good flavor, but for me I like having a wine that can stand alone (again going with my typical fashion of drinking wine by itself and not with a meal). In my limited experience with wine varieties, I tend to prefer Cabernet Sauvignons.

The makers of Campo Viejo also have created a three-course tasting menu which is designed to be enjoyed with the 2010 Tempranillo. The menu was inspired by survey results showing that cheeses, meats and pies were the most preferred winter foods. I actually wish I had made any one of these menu items to go along with the wine, since I may have cut it short by only sampling it with a platter-full of cheese. One of these days I will learn the art of wine-and-food pairings.

Overall I wasn’t blown away by this wine, but I did enjoy trying a different red for a change.

A versatile table choice. The deep cherry hues and intense red fruit notes make this young wine incredibly approachable, while hints of vanilla, cocoa and spice make this bottle an ideal choice for the indoor months”

THREE-COURSE TASTING MENU

First Course: Truffle Mac and Cheese

The truffles reflect the earthy undertones in the Tempranillo, and the richness of the cheese is balanced by the wine’s modest acidity.

Ingredients:

1-16 oz. box elbow macaroni

1/2 tsp salt

Olive oil

1 quart whole milk

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

4 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1 tsp rosemary, finely chopped

2 Tbsp white truffle oil, divided

12 oz. Comté cheese, grated

8 oz. white cheddar cheese, grated

3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

Salt and pepper

Shaved truffles for garnish, optional

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 10×13 baking pan.
  2. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add salt and a drizzle of olive oil to boiling water. Add pasta and cook al dente (slightly underdone is better than overdone). Drain, rinse briefly under cold water and set aside.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, heat the milk over low heat until hot, but not boiling.
  4. Meanwhile, heat 4 tablespoons butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until melted. Reduce heat and add the flour, whisking constantly to form a smooth paste, about 2 minutes. Add in rosemary, continuing to mix.
  5. Gradually whisk in the hot milk and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and add 1 tablespoon of the truffle oil, then mix the Comté and cheddar until melted. Season with salt and pepper (to taste).
  6. Add the pasta to the sauce, stirring to coat, and pour into baking pan.
  7. Top with the Panko bread crumbs and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the crumbs are golden brown.
  8. Before serving, drizzle with remaining truffle oil and shaved truffles (if desired). Serve hot.

Second Course: Moroccan Lamb Meatballs in Spicy Tomato Sauce

Tempranillo and lamb are a classic pairing, and the spices found here share the spotlight with those of the Tempranillo.

Ingredients:

1-1/2 lbs. ground lamb

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 small onion, diced

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup raisins, soaked in hot water and drained (optional)

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp paprika, divided

Salt

Olive oil

1-28 oz. can diced tomatoes

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Sauté onion in a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet until soft. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine ground lamb, egg, onion, raisins (if using), cumin, cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon paprika and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Form mixture into one ounce balls, about the size of ping pong balls.
  4. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs (in several batches if necessary) and sauté for about 8 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm.
  5. In the meantime, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic, cayenne and remaining paprika and sauté for about a minute until fragrant, making sure not to burn. Add crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until slightly thickened. Season with salt to taste.
  6. Remove meatballs from oven and add to sauce. Cook for another five minutes until meatballs are cooked through. Serve with couscous or rice.

Third Course: Apple Turnovers with Maple-Mascarpone Glaze

Maple and cinnamon inspire homeward bound thinking, while the apple embraces the Tempranillo’s fruit-forward notes.

Ingredients:

PASTRY AND FILLING

4 cups Granny Smith apples (about 4 medium apples), peeled, cored and chopped

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp cornstarch

1 Tbsp water

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1-17.3 oz. package frozen puff pastry sheets – thawed

1-2 egg whites, lightly beaten

GLAZE

1/2 cup mascarpone, at room temperature

2 Tbsp maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place apples in a bowl and drizzle lemon juice over them, tossing gently to coat.
  3. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add apples to skillet and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add sugar and cinnamon and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Mix together cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water in a bowl. Pour into the skillet and mix well. Cook for another minute or until sauce thickens. Remove from heat to cool.
  5. Unfold puff pastry sheets and trim each sheet into a square. Cut each one into 4 smaller squares. Spread apples onto the middle of each square, then fold each square in half to form a triangle. Press ends together to seal. Place the triangles 1-2 inches apart, on a slightly greased baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Lightly brush the top of each turnover with beaten egg whites.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until turnovers are puffed and lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely.
  7. To make the glaze, mix together the mascarpone and maple syrup in a small bowl. Drizzle glaze over the cooled turnovers and sprinkle with cinnamon to taste.

Source: Recipes and recipe photos provided to me by Nicole from The Thomas Collective via e-mail.

Disclaimer: I received one bottle of Campo Viejo’s 2010 Tempranillo to sample. I was not compensated for this review, and the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Strawberry Mojito

In the past, you would never catch me drinking a mojito. Just like mint ice cream, it fells very wrong to swallow something that is minty. Think about it, throughout out childhood we are forbidden from swallowing anything minty: gum, toothpaste, mouth wash. So why on earth did I go for not only a mojito, but one made with mint infused simple syrup? For some strange reason it sounded delicious to me – maybe it was the strawberries.

After the club soda exploded all over me (it had been sitting there undisturbed for two days – it was possessed), the mojito was successfully made and enjoyed. It was a bit sweeter than the mojitos I have tried in the past, and the mint flavor was not as strong. And I liked that. Give me another round, please and thank you.

STRAWBERRY MOJITO

Makes 1 drink

Ingredients:

6-8 fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish

2-1/2 oz mint simple syrup, divided (recipe below)

2 oz rum

1-1/2 oz club soda

1/2 cup fresh strawberries

Juice of one lime

Directions:

  1. Combine strawberries, rum, 1.5 oz simple syrup and lime juice into a blender and puree until smooth. Gently mix in the club soda, set aside.
  2. In the bottom of a glass, add 1 oz simple syrup and the mint leaves. Muddle with a muddler or use the clean bottom of something blunt. Add ice to the glass, and pour in the blended mixture. Mix with a long spoon or knife and serve with an additional sprig of mint.

MINT SIMPLE SYRUP

Ingredients:

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

10 fresh mint leaves

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and heat over medium heat just until it bubbles. Turn down to low for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and let sit for 15-20 minutes.

Source: Adapted from How Sweet It Is and My Life as a Mrs.

 

Beermosa

Hope everyone enjoyed a labor-free weekend! Or at least a reduced amount of labor. I certainly took advantage of some lazy-time on Saturday, watching every college football game I could find on TV starting with my Buckeyes at 11 am.

I am so glad college football is back in season. And to celebrate I kicked off the day with a beermosa. Initially I thought it sounded really gross to mix beer with liquor, and then orange juice. But don’t knock it until you try it! I was pleasantly surprised by this beverage, and it may be a staple for every 11am game. It’s the mimosa for football fans!

BEERMOSA

Serves one

Ingredients:

2 oz orange flavored vodka

6 oz light beer, of your choice

4 oz orange juice

Directions:

  1. Pour vodka into a large glass, followed by beer and then orange juice. Stir and enjoy!

Source: Taylor Tailgates

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