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Strong Coffee to Red Wine Posts

Potato Gratin with Cheese ala Hasselbacken

So, what is with the lengthy title to a potato dish that seems like Potato au Gratin?  Well, that’s because this dish is a whole lot more than just “au gratin.” First, you must know that “gratin” merely is a culinary technique in which an ingredient is topped with either breadcrumbs, cheese, egg, cream, or butter to create a browned crust. In this case, I am using cream and cheese. So what is Hasselbacken?  It is actually a hotel and restaurant in Stockholm, Sweden, where Hasselback Potatoes were first created in the 1950s that they are world-renowned for creating. The…

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Favorite Wines of 2019

Our favorite wines of 2019 offered a few surprises. For me, the biggest surprise was that two of the top four are California Chardonnays. Let me be clear; Gary loves Chardonnay but prefers French. But for me, of all the white wine varietals that I have tasted, Chardonnay is (was) one of my least favorite. Now that does not mean I am an ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) drinker. It’s just that my history with Chardonnay has been fraught with too much oak and, or too much butter. Both Gary and I are thrilled that the trend is moving away from…

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Pork Puttanesca Ragù

Whenever I am at an Italian Restaurant, and I see a Wild Boar or Pork Ragù on the menu, I always order it. Always. There is something about the intense and hearty meaty and tomato flavors that send me to the moon. I had not had the pleasure of eating it or anything similar for several years, so when I came across a recipe in the NYTimes, I knew that an adaptation would be what I served for my next dinner party. It turned out better than I ever could have dreamed, even as leftovers several days later. Even if…

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“Other Wine” from Willamette Valley

If you are heading to Willamette Valley for a wine tasting experience, it means that you must love Pinot Noir. After all, 68% of all grapevines planted in the valley are Pinot Noir. Similarly, if you head to Napa, you must love Cabernet Sauvignon. But what really gets my Pavlovian responses into overdrive is when I discover the “other wine” of the region. These wines typically are not publicized, are listed last on their website, and not included in the basic tasting. And that is what makes finding them so much fun. The wines are typically pet projects of the…

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Monkey Bread Hack – Oh. My. God.

I know you are sitting at your desk watching the clock. It is Thanksgiving week, and you just want to be home getting ready for the celebration. Well, this post will keep you busy for a minute, and you are going to love me and hate me for this one.  But I am not sorry for sharing this amazingly quick and simple way to make gooey, sweet, delicious Monkey Bread. Your kids will love me for sure! When the holiday season begins with the onset of Thanksgiving, it is a pretty good bet that you will find a package of King’s Hawaiian…

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Ramen Bowl ala Kitchen Sink

Many folks I know ate ramen as a cheap way to eat there way through university. The packets you bought at the grocery looked something like this. Back then, it was full of MSG, and who knows what else, but when you buy ten for a dollar, you really do not ask questions. Ramen has changed a lot since I was in college with restaurants specializing in the art of Asian noodles in a bowl. I, too have changed. I now create my own noodle bowls. They may not be authentic, but they taste good, and that is all I…

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Wine Country Tasting Vacation * Dos & Don’ts

So you are planning a wine country tasting vacation. How exciting! I love visiting tasting rooms, and I never grow tired of it. My mouth and taste buds, on the other hand, have experienced fatigue to the point that I could no longer smell or taste the unique characteristics of the wines.  Don’t do that for sure. Besides killing your palate, there are a few other “do’s and don’ts” that you may not be aware of, so for this post, I compiled a list of tasting room guidelines and etiquette to ensure that you have the perfect trip. Wine Country…

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Life Recently * Wine * Food * Puppy

My life recently has been flying by at the speed of light and it is all a blur. Perhaps because there is a new 10-week old “family dog” that I help raise, and that takes a lot of time and energy. There have also been pop-up wine tastings at restaurants and wine bars, meals with friends, happy hours, out of town guests, and of course, planning my next Signature Tasting. So in the spirit of life in a blurred state, here is a random mix of what is happening recently. Let’s get started. Life Recently – A Puppy In my…

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Le Cadeau Vineyard * Exceptional Pinot Noir

It was a beautiful and warm day on Parrett Mountain in the Chehalem AVA of Willamette Valley, Oregon. I, along with about ten others, was walking the Le Cadeau Vineyards property before we sat down to sample four of the Pinot Noir wines made from the fruit from the various blocks on the property. In total the property is twenty-eight acres of which sixteen are planted. From where we started the walk at the top of the slope you could see the entire property. It is amazing how large and how small sixteen acres are. One the one hand, we…

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