Saturday, April 23, 2016

Garlic Roasted Potatoes!

Sometimes after a long day's work, all you want to do is come home and do NOTHING... unfortunately not an option of adulthood without starving yourself or going out to eat (which I've always try to keep down to a minimum). That being the case, cooking doesn't have to be so daunting either.

Potatoes are so easy. You can boil, broil, bake, mash, roast, grill, or a combination of, the list goes on. I'm sure you get the point. Anyhow, this recipe stemmed from several evolution of other recipes and the results are quite similar in the end (another great thing about potatoes, so forgiving!). 

Originally this recipe came from the back of a bag of potatoes a coworker and I had purchased for our company Brunch Extravaganza that we hold every Friday during grape harvesting season. Both of us love to cook and play around with recipes, so instinctively we took the recipe apart and built a new one, keeping things we like and building on extra ingredients. They were a hit! I could've ate a whole tray of them myself if they'd fit. Downfall, they took sooo long! We decided to bake the potatoes which is fine... but we all know baking takes a bit of time so instead, for my tweak of the recipe, I decided to boil the potatoes first and then finish by baking them. Cuts the time in half and they are just as yummy as the first time around.

Garlic Roasted Potatoes
  • 1-2lbs of small red or Yukon gold potatoes
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped or slightly smashed whole cloves
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp thyme (fresh is better)
  • salt/pepper
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped green onions
  • bacon bits
  • cayenne pepper (optional)
  • paprika (optional)
  1. Melt butter/oil together with thyme, garlic, other spices, and a little bit of Parmesan cheese in a microwave until the butter is fully melted (about 30 seconds). Stir to mix
  2. Bring a pot of water to boil and cook the potatoes until just tender (about 10 minutes on simmer). Drain potatoes.
  3. In a separate large mixing bowl, coat potatoes with butter/oil mixture. Transfer onto a baking sheet. Spread out the potatoes and using a fork or potato masher, gently press each potato so that it breaks open. Sprinkle about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Parmesan on top and top with bacon bits and green onions
  4. Bake at 400 F for about 10-15 minutes or until cheese is golden brown

Friday, April 22, 2016

2012 Penfolds Bin 2

Penfolds Bin 2
South Australia
89% Shiraz, 11% Mourvedre

Price $20-30
Vintage  2012
Alcohol  14.5%
Clarity clear
Intensity deep
Color: twany
Nose/Palate:  clean, dry, low acid, med tannin, caramel, honey ham/bacon, mixed berries (blue, black, rasp), herbal, floral undertone (initial nose), oak sets in after the wine rests for a bit
Personal rating  8 / 9 out of 10

Additional comments: Surprising more aromatic during the initial pouring. Perhaps some of the more delicate aromas dissipates quickly upon opening.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

2015 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc
Malborough, New Zealand

Price $25-40
Vintage  2015
Alcohol  13.5%
Clarity clear
Intensity pale
Color lemon
Nose  clean, crisp, guava, grapefruit, grassy
Palate tropical fruit, grapefruit, hints of guava, citrus
Personal rating  8 out of 10

Additional comments: Very similar to the 2014 vintage but much more acidic - mouth continues to water long after sip. Guava is not as strong

Saturday, April 9, 2016

French Onion Soup!

Cook this up over V-day weekend for the caveman and I because he's been craving French Onion soup for a while. We both agreed that we won't/don't go silly overboard with these Hallmark holidays BUT we will find an excuse to eat good food. Luckily this year, V-day fell under a 3 day weekend, paired with President's Day. Now that's something to celebrate about, one more day of weekend!

Making French Onion soup was somewhat 2 fold. It's true he's been craving it so it'd be something nice but also because I've never made it before (or sadly ever had any before either) so it was going to be a new and fun challenge plus who to better judge the results than someone who enjoys it right? About 5 You Tube videos and websites later, I was set to go!

It's pretty easy to make, the only thing that takes forever is chopping of the onions and cooking that down...took about 30 minutes. If you prep all the stuff beforehand, there's nothing to it! I have to say, pretty darn good for having no idea what I'm after. I'm going to take the lack of complaints and the empty soup bowls as a win.

Oh! You know what else is a win? Goodwill! The day prior we decided to pop our heads into a Goodwill to chance our luck to see if we'd find any hidden treasures. While the store is usually full of randomness, there's some really awesome finds if you know what you're looking at. I wanted some oven safe soup bowls (for this occasion specifically) decided to see if fate will let me find some otherwise I was going to be creative with my soup. Not only did I find the perfect soup bowls (Crate & Barrel!) BUT I got them for dirt cheap! $1.25 for two bowls that normally sell for $5-6 each. A win indeed.

French Onion Soup
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 4 onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed/chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 fresh sprigs of thyme
  • 1 cup of red (or white) wine
  • 3 generous tbsp of flour
  • 8 cups of beef broth (or 4 cups of chicken, 4 cups of beef)
  • 2 tbsp brandy (optional, add with broth )
  • 1 baguette, sliced (garlic butter toasted)
  • 1/2 lb grated Gruyere
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large stock pot, melt butter and cook onions with thyme and bay leaves until onions are soft and caramelized (about 25 minutes)
  2. Add in wine, bring to boil until wine is evaporated, then dust onions with flour, and cook for an additional 10 minutes
  3. Add in broth, simmer for 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Ladle soup into some oven safe soup bowls, top soup with slice of toasted baguette and top with cheese
  5. Bake at 375F until cheese is melted and golden.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

2013 Rosenblum Maggie's Reserve Zinfandel

Rosenblum Cellars Maggie's Reserve Zinfandel
Sonoma Valley, CA

Price $30-40
Vintage  2013
Alcohol  15.5%
Clarity clear
Intensity medium  
Color garnet 
Nose/Palate: clean, dry, low acid, high tannin, medium body, sweet spice (nutmeg, cloves), black pepper, blackberry, blueberry, raisin, herbal (lilacs)
Personal rating  8 out of 10

Additional comments: Could definitely use more aging, very tannic!