Friday Inspiration – What Counts?

Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.
– Albert Einstein


White Burgundy – The Original Chardonnay

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White Burgundy is my favorite wine to drink.  I discovered it by accident about 35 years ago, at a Las Vegas casino, where in lieu of the “4 drink minimum” we could order a bottle of expensive wine, and I was lucky enough to stumble upon a Puligny Montrachet.  At the time, it was the best wine I’d ever tasted.  And by that time, I’d tasted a couple of Premier Grand Crus:  Chateau Haut Brion, and Chateau D’Yquem.

The main difference between French White Burgundy and California Chardonnay is that the CA wine is fuller, more buttery and vanilla-y, and more “voluptuous”.  It often has more oak.  The French wine is often “leaner” with more mineral, citrus and melon flavors, and to my taste, much more complexity.  It often finishes quite differently than it starts.

Over the years, I’ve had many wonderful bottles from the white burgundy region, and while we were in Europe 2 summers ago, we attempted to drink it almost every day!  On my bucket list is clearly a wine tour through Burgundy.

White Burgundy comes in many appellations, including the Montrachets: Batard Montrachet, Chassagne Montrachet and Puligny Montrachet (in declining order).  In your local wine store, you can expect to pay $50-300 for better bottles (the stuff under $30 can be ok, but you will encounter some hit and miss),  and you can get really first-rate stuff for $60-70.  Because not too many restaurants stock these, the mark-up is steep, and you will pay $140-175 for a decent bottle on a wine list.  Of almost equal quality is Meursault.  Less expensive but very drinkable are Macon and Pouilly-Fuisse.  I personally am not a big fan of Chablis, but you might like it.

Better white Burgundies stand up well to poultry and pork as well as fish, and are also wonderful with snacks, hors d’oeuvres, and lighter meals.

Look for Grand Cru or Premier Cru for highest quality.  If you haven’t explored these, please try them.  You will enjoy the difference from your usual California Chardonnay.


Organic Vodka

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I really don’t know if Organic Vodka is better in general, but I know it is better for me.  Since Vodka is my spirit of choice, I have tried several of the organic vodkas, and I know one thing for sure:   I’m prone to migraine, and drinking is a trigger for that, but I’ve noticed that I am less likely to get a headache if I drink organic.

If you are into the subtle taste distinctions between vodkas, organics can be fun, because they are made from a wide variety of grains (wheat, rye, corn) and without all the chemicals, the subtle impact of the grain comes through a bit. I can definitely recommend Prairie (my favorite), TRU and Square One.  As far as taste goes, I am comparing these to Grey Goose which is top of the line in my opinion.

By the way, if you want to know more about tasting vodka, visit vodkaphiles.com, which has tasting standards, and lots of other good info:

Tasting. There are three senses involved in a tasting of vodka: smell, sight and taste.

  • Smell. Smell the vodka as you briefly swirl it about in your glass. A good vodka will have a creamy, sweet or grainy odor. A bad vodka will smell medicinal or “aggressive,” with a strong odor of ethyl spirits.
  • Sight. Hold the vodka glass up to the light and look at the liquid’s clarity, texture and luminescence. A fine vodka will have a thick and creamy texture when frozen; it may also have a bluish or yellowish tint. One expert Russian taster noted that vodka is valued “not just for clarity, but for a crystalline lustre, an internal energy.”
  • Taste. It all comes down to this. A good vodka should taste soft not hard, creamy not watery, smooth not rough. It should not be bitter or caustic, it should not burn your palate.

Foam Art

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Foam art – the ultimate way to recycle a styrofoam food container. You would need the really thick printmaking ink and a roller, and something to weight down the print.

Source: http://themetapicture.com/fun-with-foam/


Friday Inspiration from Buddha

“When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.” – Buddha ~ ♥ ~

Originally found on Dr. Miller’s Facebook Page

White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

White Chocolate Macadamia cookies are boring looking – just beige!  But they can taste wonderful.  This mad scientist baker was tinkering with recipes and came up with a variation on the standard that infuses the dough with the chocolate and nuts, and enhances it with a drop of almond extract.  Try these, you’ll like ’em.

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts (plus “crumbs”)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped white chocolate (plus “crumbs”) – About 2 large bars (7-8 oz total) Pick a really good brand.  I used Green & Black’s which actually has cocoa (30%) and vanilla flecks in it.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Chop the white chocolate.  Pick out the larger pieces and set aside in a small bowl.  Harvest the “white chocolate crumbs” to get about ¼ cup.
  3. Chop the macadamia nuts into halves and quarters.  Take the small bits that break off (macadamia “crumbs”) and harvest into a small bowl to get ¼ cup.
  4. Take the nut and chocolate crumbs and pulse in food processor with 1 cup flour to infuse the flour.  Mix all the dry ingredients:  Flour, baking soda, salt.
  5. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and almond extracts.
  6. Gradually stir dry ingredients  into the creamed mixture. Mix in the macadamia nuts and white chocolate. Drop dough by tablespoon (or small ice cream scoop) onto ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten slightly with back of spatula.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until just turning golden brown.  Don’t over-bake – These are better when soft.

 


Football Playoff Cocktails

The NFL Conference Championships are next weekend, and the Super Bowl is only three weeks away.  So, you need to be thinking about that signature cocktail you want to serve.  It has to have some winter type theme (cranberries, mulled, etc.) and it has to be drinkable by men and women.  OK, the guys always have the beer to fall back on (hopefully not literally), but cocktails that appeal to all are desirable.  Here’s a few from a recent article on Real Simple:

Bourbon & Blood Orange Blast:

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces bourbon
1/2 cup blood orange juice
8 fresh mint leaves, plus a sprig of mint for garnish

Directions

In a shaker, mix together the bourbon, blood orange juice, and mint leaves. Serve over ice in a low glass and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Chili-Spiced Bloody Marys:

Ingredients

3 cups tomato juice
3/4 cup vodka
2/3 cup fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 teaspoon habanero pepper hot sauce
celery stalks and pickled jalapeños, for garnish

Directions

In a large pitcher, combine the tomato juice, vodka, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, celery salt, hot sauce, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
Serve over ice; garnish each glass with a celery stalk and a jalapeño slice.