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It’s Wine Wednesday people! After a heartbreak overtime loss last night by my Hokies, I am definitely in need of some cheer. Anyways, I am by no means a wine expert, but I thought I would share my thoughts on a different wine each Wednesday. I’ll feature some old favorites and try out new bottles as well.

Today, one of my personal favorites: Apaltagua Envero Carménère 2008

I first had this at a wine tasting at Arrowine in Arlington; I also never tried or heard of Carménère. Today, these grapes are mainly grown in Chile and is considered Chile’s signature grape. This particular bottle is 90% Carménère and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. I really enjoyed this at the tasting; it reminded me of roasted red peppers, smooth with a little spice.

Since then, I have bought this bottle many times. I’ve never seen it at the grocery store, but I can usually always find it in specialty wine shops. I have tried lots of different bottles of Carménère, but this is by far my favorite. I you haven’t tried Carménère or are already a fan, this is a great purchase.

Cheers!

Happy New Year! I hope everyone has a happy and healthy 2012. I decided to start the morning off with some bacon and eggs a little differently than I usually have them. I baked them in cute little ramekins!

Of course while I was cooking breakfast, I had a cup of coffee with a little Coffee-Mate Natural Bliss Vanilla creamer. I don’t like my coffee with too much cream or sugar, but this adds just the right amount of both, without that fake taste that I usually get from creamers or flavored syrups. It also doesn’t hurt that there are only four ingredients on the label: milk, cream, sugar, and the vanilla flavoring. I’m a big fan.

So, back to breakfast.

Baked Bacon and Eggs
2 servings

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 slices of bacon
  • 2 oz white cheddar, cubed
  • 1 tbsp cream
  • salt and pepper for seasoning

Preheat oven to 375. Fry two slices of bacon and cut up into small pieces. Butter two ramekins and place 1/4 of the bacon and a few cubes of cheese in the bottom of each ramekin.

Carefully crack two eggs in each ramekin and add 1/2 tbsp of cream to each one. Season each with salt and pepper and sprinkle the rest of the cheese and bacon on top of the eggs.

Place ramekins in oven for 10 minutes or until whites start to set. Change oven setting to broil and finish cooking the eggs for another 5 minutes. You may want to vary the cooking times depending on how runny you like your eggs. Serve with some toast to dip in the yolks and enjoy!

I hope everyone’s holiday is going well. I have a two day work week this week and then a three day weekend for the new year! Woohoo! We had family come up to visit after Christmas this year. I decided to make some cinnamon rolls the night before so they would be easy to pop in the oven in the morning.

I used a recipe from Alton Brown; I can always trust him for some good food. This method is a little more difficult than the Pillsbury cans of cinnamon rolls, but so worth it. They were delicious.

Cinnamon Rolls
Dough:

  • 4 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 whole egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 tbsp melted unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 package rapid rise (instant dry) yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • Cooking spray

Filling:

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tbps melted butter, for brushing on dough

Icing:

  • 1/4 cup softened cream cheese
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

In a stand mixer, wisk together eggs, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add 2 cups flour along with yeast and salt, wisk to combine. Replace wisk with dough hook, add another cup of flour and knead on low for 5 minutes. Check dough and it should be soft and moist but not sticky. I ended up using another cup of flour to get my dough right. Knead for another 5 minutes until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.

Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for about 30 seconds. Oil a large bowl and place the dough in it, cover the top of the dough with oil as well. Cover and let rise for around 2 hours. I used a damp paper towel and a dish towel on top of that.

Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt filling in a separate bowl. Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and shape dough into a rectangle, with the longest side closest to you. Using a rolling pin, roll into a large 18×12-inch rectangle, i just estimated. Brush the dough with the melted butter, leaving about a 1/2 inch at the top edge. Spread filling mixture out over the dough, leaving that top edge clear. Starting with the edge nearest you, roll the dough tightly and pinch the seam to seal the dough. Reshape as needed to make the roll even. Using a serrated knife, make 12 even cuts, about 1 1/2 inches each. Arrange in the baking dish and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator overnight.

When ready to bake in the morning, place the rolls in a cold oven, don’t turn it on! Fill a pan with boiling water and place it below the rolls in the oven. Close the oven and let rise for around 30 minutes. Remove both pans from the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

When heated, place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Mix cream cheese and milk on medium speed with a mixer. Add powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time. Spread over hot rolls and enjoy!

During the holiday season I always look forward to a steaming glass of Glühwein. A traditional German mulled wine, Glühwein is always a treat for me. While spending time family on Christmas, while outside caroling with friends, or watching Twelfth Night in Regent’s Park open air theatre (the first place I had Glühwein), who doesn’t enjoy warmth, wine, & spices?! Yes please.

I have made Glühwein lots of different ways, most often with orange, cinnamon, whole cloves, and sugar. I decided to take a slightly different approach this time around. As I usually don’t like my wines overly sweet in general, I decided to cut the added sweetness for this recipe.

Instead of sugar, I used honey, and in place of the orange juice and peel, I used a little bit of apple cider we had in the fridge. And for easy measuring I used a white wine glass.

Glühwein or Mulled Wine

  • 1 wine glass of water
  • 1/2 wine glass apple cider
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 bottle red wine (I think I ended up using less since I was pouring it out of one of those huge bottles and didn’t want to use all of it)

Bring water, cider, honey, cinnamon and cloves to a simmer in a sauce pot on the stove. I let it reduce and simmer together for around 15 minutes.

Turn the heat to low and add the bottle of wine. Let it heat up until steaming. Don’t let the mixture boil; we want to keep all of that wonderful alcohol! When hot, remove from heat and place a cover on the pot. Let flavors meld together for another hour. I’ll admit, I didn’t actually do this, it tastes pretty good right away! Enjoy!

Happy Boxing Day!

And to all a good night.

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I really hate milk. Nothing sounds more disgusting than drinking a nice cold glass of milk. No, not even with warm chocolate chip cookies.

I have never liked milk. When I was a kid, I drank orange juice with calcium because I wasn’t getting any like everyone else did from milk. Full disclosure, I did, however, kinda-sorta like chocolate milk. Especially when it came in a little plastic bag in elementary school. It was always a challenge not to poke the straw all the way through the bag, and therefore spill it everywhere.

A while back, there was a story on NPR about chocolate milk of all things. School food reform advocates want to get rid of chocolate milk served in schools because of the added sugar and calories. On the other hand, chocolate milk has been gaining popularity among athletes, especially runners, for recovery. Some recent studies found that the protein in milk speeds up muscle recovery and can help boost endurance. As an occasional runner, I can say with total confidence that milk is the last thing I want to drink after a long run, but who knows, maybe one day!

And on that note, here’s to you milk, on this Christmas Eve. And here’s a recipe for some frozen hot chocolate I made this afternoon.

Frozen Hot Chocolate

  • 3 oz chocolate, chopped into pieces; whatever kind you prefer
  • 1 packet powdered hot chocolate mix
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 cups ice cubes
  • whipped cream for topping

Place chocolate chunks in a double-boiler over medium heat and stir until melted. Add the hot chocolate mix and stir until combined. I used Starbucks salted caramel hot chocolate mix that we had gotten as a gift. Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup milk and stir until smooth. Bring chcolate mixture to room temperature.

Add chocolate mixture, the rest of the milk, and ice cubes and blend until smooth. Serve topped with whipped cream. This makes about two large cups of frozen hot chocolate.

A few days ago, I went with my sisters to an LYO alumni Christmas get together. It’s always so great to see old friends in town for the holidays! It was a tacky sweater theme and we did a white elephant swap with silly little gifts we all brought; it was actually pretty hilarious.

Something just as hilarious was in the front lawn of a house in the neighborhood where we were. They had, from what we could see, at least 20 inflatable Christmas decorations in their front lawn. It was just craziness!

Last night as part of our Christmas together, Cainon took me to see the Washington Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker at the Warner Theatre downtown. I hadn’t seen the ballet, or any ballet, in so long. It was a great way to celebrate, I’ve always loved all of the music and the dancing was beautiful.

Afterwards, we went to dinner at Zaytinya, where neither of us had been before. It was so yummy. I need to make some of my own Htipiti soon; it’s a Greek feta dip; theirs was amazing!

Happy Holidays!!