In Season Cuisine: No Fat-Pants!!! Video Blog

5 weeks later – how’d everyone do?  I put on three pounds, well within the range of norm (and this is the day after New Years eve and where many an IPA was had, plus the 3AM pizza).

 

In Season Cuisine: No Fat-Pants!!! Video Blog.

Trending: Rocking in the New Year with Faux Fur!!!

Rocking in the New Year with Faux Fur!!!

Cable knit zip with a faux fur collar. Loving the faux, and craving more. 2013 could be the year of faux.

Revelry Cab: The Perfect Choice for Your Holiday Revels

Forgot that last minute gift for Christmas dinner? Here’s a great recommendation!

Merry Christmas all…

The Rambling Vine

Revelry Vintners Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Walla Walla

Happy, merry, gay, gleeful, blissful, carefree, joie de vie, ah, words

that should be apropos adjectives of all holidays. I hope that between December 1st and January 1st, your days are filled with festivities, loved ones, good food, and great wine!

Here is one word you might want to add to your favorite word (and wine) stock pile: Revelry.

Revelry Vintners makes terrific wine. When my husband and friend and I were in Walla Walla this fall, this was one of the wineries we stumbled into that we hadn’t researched and reviewed ahead of time. More often than not, when I venture into a tasting room I haven’t heard of before, if it’s recommended by another tasting room, it’s generally outstanding. I fell in love with a couple of their reds and especially their Riesling, which I plan to review later.

For now, I’m sticking with their grand master red, their 2009 Red Mountain…

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Trending now: Holiday Cocktail Party

I’m serving three Spanish reds at this years Holiday Cocktail Party.  (Starts at 6:30, no need to wait.  It’ll end up late night, if it’s done right).  Why Spanish reds?  Mostly because they rock and a bit mysterious for the novice to journeyman taster.  My prejudicial general comment – they taste somewhere between a Chianti and a Merlot.   But I also do get the side benefit of saying, “We’re serving three Spanish reds this evening”.SP Wine

I’m very familiar with Rioja, which I love.  I wanted to try something else though.  I went with two Tempranillos and one Monstrell.

First up, the 2011 Paso A Paso Tempranillo – 2011, This one tastes young.  Almost beaujolais like.  Loving it with the pigs-n-blanket hors de houveres accompaniment, as I lose my thoughts staring at the leg lamp (yes, of course I have a leg lamp).lamp

The second Tempranillo is the 2007 Codice.  Hoping the extra age will do wonders.   Ugh – Watered down raisins.  Not prune juice, which could be rich and raisen-ey.  Just blah.  Nothing.  Not offensive.  Just $5-clois-du-bois-like.

Third up, Tarima 2010.  Made from 100% Monstrell: gets right to it. It starts out powerfully, strong, but not too kung pow. A pleasant peppery finish.  My neighbor, Steve, loved it.  Steve likes good reds.

So the Monstrell rocked.  One out of three aint bad for me.  I did enjoy the Paso A Paso.  Will let a bottle sit on the shelf for 2 years.  Patience is a virtue, so I’m told.  However, the Codice will remain on the store shelf, as I pass by in the future.

Steve actually liked all three, which is what it’s all about.  Like what you like.

Silver lining – I like the variety.  Average wines make a great wine taste even better.  Plus not everyone loves the “tasting” factor.  Some just like an easy drinking red and all three qualify.  All three were a hit!

Holiday Party Prep: Christmas Tree FAIL

In addition to my Banana Republic Black Friday SCORE, I was also successful in grabbing a Home Depot door-buster $59, 7.5 foot tall, pre-lit indoor Christmas tree with both clear and multi-color lights (normally $179)!  I’ll still buy a real tree, but will go smaller this year and have trees in two rooms.  The fresh one will have all of the traditional ornaments, all the 100-year-old antiques.  The old ornaments are special, but I’m excited to create the new look!

I’m hosting a holiday cocktail party this Saturday, so I planned to get that project completed this weekend.  My plan – go with a candy theme, ornately decorated pieces, all the same ornament, and find them on sale.

My first stop, Pier 1 Imports.  I like to start a project like this at Pier 1.  They have great variety, and often inspire ideas.  If you hit them right, they have great sales, but none the day I go.  Surprisingly, although they have neat options for other decorations and buy a few, I’m not impressed with their ornaments this year.  Second stop, Target.  No good.  Not bad stuff, just not what I had in mind.cane swarovski

Third stop, Marshalls.  A few options to ponder, and reasonably priced.  I see these little disco balls in pink, green, turquoise and gold, and think they’re perfect.  They’ll reflect the lights, and the disco theme works great for the party.  I also find a tiny disco ball garland in red.  I hit Walmart (shhh, please don’t tell anyone.  I despise Walmart), and find a neat candy option with, but they are twice the price of Marshalls.  I buy a couple samples just to have.  I have a back-up option, and can always continue an eye out for my candy theme, and pick ‘em up on 12/26 clearance (I wish I thought of this last year.  Was thinking it’s be cool to have a bunch of those Swarovski or Waterford crystal ornaments.  If I could get a deal this year post Christmas, I may just do it!)

How great do tehse look!

How great do these look!

Back home and fully decorated, “Houston, we have a problem…”

Without the tree’s lights on, it looks great.  The balls, the colors, great balance.  But when the clear lights turn on, the balls almost disappear.  The multi-color lights – even worse.  The colors of the disco balls are just too dark.  I fidget with the balls for maximum refraction of the celestial bodies, but it’s for nil.  Total FAIL!

It looks worse in real life.  So sad.

It looks worse in real life. So sad.

I’ll keep a few of the disco balls because I really like them.  They’ll go on the regular tree.  The rest will go back to Marshalls.  With five days till the cocktail party, looks like I’m going back to Walmart during lunch (perhaps Macy’s and Christmas Tree Shops too).

Cringe….

Trending: an Overcoat-less winter?

It’s December and snow is on the ground in the Northeast.  Winter is here for a while.  The holidays, skiing, and sipping port by the fire are all things I look forward to, but the day to day “Winter Tax” is well, taxing.

Winter Tax – all the extra stuff that’s necessary for day to day living in cold climates.  Hats, scarves, boots, overcoats and gloves come out of the closets.  You need a scraper and a shovel if you own a car.   You have to constantly stomp your feet at the door to keep the salt off the floors.  (I once hosted a New Years party during an ice storm, and over-salted the walk-way, so no one would slip.  I’m still finding the occasional crystal near the corner molding).

Unlike the looming cliff talk, this tax is already here.  Is there a means to lighten the load?  Perhaps.

I will attempt this season to shed the overcoat.

A suit + scarf, hat, and gloves can keep one perfectly warm – up to a point.  I have pulled this off successfully this season, without being the least bit cold.  This has worked with light snow, and in 29-degree weather.  I will keep pushing this limit, until I reach chill point.  (Aside – a winter fedora will not mess up and will protect setting hair cream from precipitation as well)

Note – I HATE being cold.  So my chill point is conservative.

Once I hit the chill point, I will try the newly fashionable “field vest”.

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The modern insulates are so thin, the vest will fit under the suit jacket.  No more bulky than a sweater.  Yes, it’s an extra piece of clothing, but it’s sooo much less bulky than the winter topcoat, and you won’t be confused with a Siberian prison guard.  These vests are everywhere and cheap.  I have one from Lands End, but am on the prowl for another.

Now the super cold and pounds of falling flakes may still call for the dreaded 10-pound overcoat, but at least that will be a rare occasion.

Thoughts?  Give it a try and share your experiences here.

In Season Cuisine: Taking up Smoking

So the big day has passed.  Too much food, although most of it fantastic.  The corks were popping, yet a pleasant pace set.  No post-turkey naps necessary, no outbursts conjuring long ago wounds.

My traditional Thanksgiving experience is a marathon “visit”.  A family spread across the fruited plane, gets together once a year, and crams in so much conversation that the brains may burst before the bellies.  Although the backdrop of football and dusted-off board games offer some reprieve, they come too late in the day – a day, which often starts the day before.

What’s the best way to make a non-stop visit more palatable?  Give it a break, an interlude.  This is unheard of in my family.  So I took up smoking.

I’ve never been a cigarette guy, although I have inhaled.  I’m not from a smoking family.  I did have a cigar phase, but determined they take a toll on me – either unnecessarily amplifying the buzz factor or killing my voice the next day.  I reserve my cigar chomping for those truly special occasions, which are always initiated by others.  It was my time to initiate.  This was a “special” occasion.  My sanity depended on it.

So I just belt it out, “I’m going outside for a cigar”.  The heads turned in response to the abnormal declaration.  I brought an extra, suspecting company may join me.  After 5 seconds of furrowed brows, I stepped outside alone.

A Punch champion is a $5, medium body, medium length cigar, that takes about a half hour to smoke at a normal pace.  The weather in the north was top notch this year.  I brought my field coat – enough to keep warm and the smoke off my cardigan.  I decided to venture on a walk.  The half-hour went by quickly, but I felt great but the time I got back.  The fresh air refreshed, and the exercise got the belly full of gravy and stuffing to begin the un-congealing process.  I was able to reenter the visiting process revived, and eager to engage.

My only regret was not pushing for company.  The 1:1 “visit” would have been more memorable (for both of us).  I have a goal for next year now.

(I guess I could have just gone for a walk, sans cigar, but after all, it’s about doing everything in style!)

Also: Smoking is bad for you, as the Surgeon General will tell you.  If you partake, understand and accept the risks.