One month and counting until one of the greatest holidays for Candy lovers! http://bit.ly/e3EFcU
I admit I know more about food than wine. Recently this fact came to light as I was making dinner with a few friends, one of whom is a prolific writer and avid foodie. Oh, and did I mention she knows wine?
We were talking about a local restaurant which serves a mean prime rib dip sandwich and if you bring your own wine, they’ll serve that to you without charging a corkage fee. “No corkage doesn’t mean you bring in any old bottle, you should only bring something unique or that the restaurant doesn’t carry” I was told by Alison Bing, author of Lonely Planet’s new Napa & Sonoma Encounter. Silently I wondered if, or how many times, we’d violated that one.
The other tip mentioned: if you bring a bottle of wine to a restaurant a nice gesture is to offer a taste to the server so they can try it too. We took her advice on our next restaurant visit and she was right, the server was impressed and pleasantly attentive the rest of our dining event.
A few other basic tips found online:
- Try to be specific about your dinner selection so that the server can help with pairing.
- Wine should only be sent back if spoiled, not simply because you didn’t like your selection. One site recommends you tell the server it wasn’t what you expected but pay for it anyway and order something else.
- Call ahead to verify that corkage is allowed.
- Request that the wine list be faxed ahead of time to review. This way your seemingly innate knowledge will impress your dinner party!
- Don’t order the least expensive wine on the list because it probably has the highest markup. Mid-range in price is your best bet.
- Order by the bottle instead of the glass, it’s always a better deal.
If you have a dining tip to share please feel free to leave a comment. We really appreciate it!
Growing up our Thanksgiving table was full of the usual items like turkey, gravy, stuffing and cranberries….from a can (insert sound of record scratching or nails on a chalkboard here.) If I close my eyes I can still see the indentations in the jelly-like stuff and the wobble every time someone bumped the table leg.
Although I actually admit to eating and liking the cranberry jelly then, I now find myself hoarding bags of fresh cranberries when they appear in stores. Well-suited to the freezer, cranberries are versatile (desserts, meat dishes) healthy and just plain delicious.
Below is recipe for cheesecake composed of two layers; one a traditional Philly cheese and the other a blend of sour cream and Greek-style yogurt. It’s the perfect carrier for the tangy, sweet cranberry orange topping. Enjoy!
Two layer cheesecake with cranberry orange topping
Graham cracker crust
- 4 T unsalted butter
- 3 ½ oz. graham crackers, crushed into crumbs
- 2 – 8 oz packages Philadelphia cream cheese
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups sour cream
- 2/3 cup thick Greek-style yogurt
- 2 ½ tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cranberry orange topping
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoon water
- 1 t cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- ½ teaspoon grated orange peel
Preheat oven to 375. Finely grind the graham crackers in a food processor. Melt the butter and pour over the graham cracker crumbs. Mix thoroughly. Pour mixture into a buttered 9-inch springform pan. Beat the ingredients for the first layer together thoroughly. Pour over the base and smooth on top. Place on baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until just set. Set aside for 20 minutes to firm up.
Mix the ingredients for the second layer and spoon evenly over the first layer. Return to the oven for 10 minutes then take out and cool.
Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
For the topping, stir sugar and water in medium saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium; add cornstarch mixture and simmer. Add cranberries, cook until beginning to pop, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Stir in orange peel. Cool completely.
I love breakfast. Okay, I admit, I love all meals. But I especially love a good breakfast which includes foods I wouldn’t normally have time to make during the work week.
In the past, my typical weekend breakfast would require scrambled eggs and bacon. These days, I’ll still take the bacon, but have added light and fluffy pancakes to the mix. Adding a few frozen blueberries enhances the eating experience which can only be topped by a fair amount of melted butter and rich maple syrup.
Light and fluffy pancakes*
- 1 cup milk
- 4 eggs, separated
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Dash salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- Butter, canola or other neutral oil as needed
Preheat a griddle or large skillet over medium low heat while you make the batter. Beat together the milk and egg yolks. Mix the dry ingredients. Beat the egg white with a whisk or electric mixer until stiff but not dry.
Combine the dry ingredients and milk-yolk mixture, stirring to blend. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites; they should remain somewhat distinct in the batter.
Add about 1 tablespoon of butter or oil to the griddle or skillet and, when it is hot, add the batter by the heaping tablespoon, making sure to include some of the egg whites in each spoonful. Cook until lightly browned on the bottom, 3 to 5 minute, then turn and cook until the second side is brown. Serve of hold in a 200 degree oven for up to 15 minutes.
*Recipe courtesy of How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman.
What’s your favorite meal of the day? Post a comment on Yummly, we’d love to hear your thoughts!