MWWC #35: Eclipse

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On August 21, 2017, the United States saw something it has not seen in nearly a century: a total solar eclipse path traveling across the entire continental United States.  The last time any of the mainland United States was able to see a total solar eclipse was 1979–and that was only for a handful of northwestern states.

In case you’re a bit confused why I’m talking about the recent solar eclipse during a Monthly Wine Writing Challenge–don’t panic!  It’s because this month’s topic, as selected by last month’s winner, Erik of Red, White, and Cru is eclipse.  Thankfully, Jeff extended the original deadline because well, between an emergency appendectomy for me and a urinary tract blockage and 8-day hospital stay for the cat, I’ve barely looked at my laptop let alone opened it and (gasp!) actually written something!

Before I start in on the wine writing part of this challenge, I did want to share this beautiful composite image of the eclipse over Nashville by Richard Sparkman, which I found when I was researching ideas about which to write.

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Oh and perhaps it’s the wine in my glass, but also befitting this month’s theme is the MWWC logo (created by the Armchair Sommelier), which totally looks like a wine eclipse…

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Yes, I’m totally stalling.  Mainly because I had all these grandiose ideas about tasting and writing about  wines with the name eclipse–or perhaps solar–in them and then, well, life happened.

So change of plan.  Rather than talking to you today about wine, I thought I would talk to you today about winemaking.  Ha–bet you weren’t expecting that!

Here’s the grand total of what I know about winemaking: it’s exceptionally expensive and requires an enormous amount of hard work.

BUT, if you want to be slightly adventurous and try your hand at being a vintner without breaking the bank, sacrificing your first born child, and working 20-hour days/7 days a week then perhaps you should try a wine making kit.

I’ll pause a few seconds to let you gasp in horror and clutch your wine glass closer to your chest.

Yes.  You read that correctly, I said winemaking kit.  In fact if you’re reading this and wine isn’t necessarily your adult drink of choice, it seems that there is now a homemaking kit for pretty much any kind of alcohol in which you like to partake–wine, beer, whiskey, rum, sake, gin–much to the BFFs dismay when I got her hubby a beer making kit for his bday this year!

I know that winemaking kits have been around for awhile, but I was never really interested in them because it seemed like your only options were chardonnay, merlot, or white zin (gag, no, and ohhellno respectively).

So how does this tie in (even remotely) to this month’s theme of eclipse?  Well very conveniently for me, Winexpert makes an Eclipse series of winemaking kits–and they sound pretty fancy…and tasty…and has me pondering if perhaps I might rethink my hand at oenology!

Here is the product description from Winexpert, along with the varietals they offer in the Eclipse series.  Btw, I’m not getting paid in any way, shape, or form by Winexpert–but if they wanted to send me a few kits, I’d be more than happy to try them out!

Ultra premium wine kits are made with the finest quality varietal juice from around the world to produce wines that will satisfy the tastes of even the most discerning wine enthusiasts.

  • Barossa Valley Shiraz with Grape Skins
  • German Mosel Valley Gewürztraminer
  • Italian Piedmont Nebbiolo with Grape Skins
  • Lodi Old Vines Zinfandel with Grape Skins
  • Lodi Ranch 11 Cabernet Sauvignon with Grape Skins
  • Napa Valley Stag’s Leap District Merlot with Grape Skins
  • New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
  • Nocturnal Limited Release with Grape Skins
  • Sonoma Dry Creek Valley Chardonnay
  • Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir
  • Washington Columbia Valley Riesling
  • Washington Yakima Valley Pinot Gris

eclipse wine

Now you don’t have to wait for the next eclipse–you can make your own! <— Yeah, I’m totally aware of how cheesy that was, but I’m leaving it in here because, well, what goes better with wine than cheese?!?!?

Okay, okay I’ll stop with the cheesiness because now I’d like to hear from you:

Cheers!

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More Than One Way To Devil An Egg

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I don’t know about you, but there are a handful of required food items at any given social gathering in my family.  Vying for the most important are: queso and deviled eggs.  Since tomorrow is a holiday and I haven’t shared any recipes in awhile, I thought now might be a good time–you know, in case you’re stymied for ideas of what to take to the obligatory July 4th BBQ you’re invited to attend.

In trying to pick which of the two VIP food items I wanted to talk about, I decided to go with deviled eggs because I was chatting with Christi the other day about side dishes for her July 4th BBQ and since then I’ve been pondering all the ways you can make them.  If you google “deviled eggs,” Google will kindly return with “about 3,460,000 results” in 0.42 seconds (Google is a bit of a show-off) and if you search for “deviled eggs” on Pinterest, you could scroll down for 3 days and not run out of pins from which to choose!

I know that I’ve already shared my recipe for deviled eggs with you.

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But as both Google and Pinterest show, there is more than one way to devil an egg.  Probably the only thing harder than keeping your self control in check, is picking a recipe.  I mean, do you want classic or something more creamy or something with a kick or something eye-catching and holiday-themed?  The possibilities are endless!

Here are a few that caught my eye (note: few is a relative term, as you’re about to see):

Since tomorrow is the 4th of July, I feel like I should definitely start with these Fourth of July Deviled Eggs from Kathryn at Singing Through The Rain.

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The recipe that sounds the best to me are the Bacon Jalapeño Deviled Eggs from Aubrey at Real Housemoms.  Hellllllo bacon + jalapeño!  In fact, they sounded so good to me, I actually pinned them twice!! 🙈

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Another recipe that sounds tasty are the Chorizo Deviled Eggs from Kevin at Kevin Is Cooking.  Like the bacon in the recipe above, the chorizo adds a nice bit of crunch.

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Of course, if you want reeeeeeeeeally creamy eggs, add avocado–like Gina at Skinny Taste in her Guacamole Deviled Eggs.

If you really haaaate cilantro, I guess you can leave it out…. 😉

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Looking for a good brunch deviled egg?  McCormick has a recipe for Spicy Bloody Mary Deviled Eggs!

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If you wanna be extra faaancy with your deviled eggs, how about these Uptown Caviar Deviled Eggs from Chef Kenny Giambalvo at the Bluehour Restaurant in Portland, OR?  Shared by What’s Cooking America

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If you’re looking for a completely different flavor profile, perhaps you might like these Deviled Eggs with Beets and Smoked Salmon from Katya at Little Broken?

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If salmon/beets/dill aren’t you thing, how about Mexican street corn? Melanie at Melanie Makes combines the fun of Mexican street corn with the deliciousness of deviled eggs in her Mexican Street Corn Deviled Eggs.

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And finally–while it’s still 4 months away–it’s never to soon to be planning your Halloween party food with the Deliciously Rotten Deviled Eggs from Stephanie at Parenting Chaos.

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Any pique your interest?  Honesty I could probably spend another 4 hours sharing deviled eggs recipes, but I’m starting to get hungry and for some strange reason, eggs sound good 😉

But before I leave, I want to hear from you.  Which recipe sounds the best?  Vote below!  And if you can’t decide between two, I’ve left you the option to pick’em both! 😉

Happy deviling!

Put A Stick In It!

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Pretty much since the arrival of Lucille and the discovery that–with the right accessories–she could make ice cream, I have wanted an ice cream maker.  Not necessarily that ice cream maker (I’m open to seeing other ice cream makers), but I do love making ice cream…in part because I love eating ice cream, especially homemade ice cream, and in larger part because it brings back great memories of sitting on Grandpa & Granny’s porch watching Grandpa crank the ice cream maker, waiting eagerly for him to sneak us a spoonful before Granny would put it in the freezer.  I also have heard that right now Aldi in the Twin Cities has a great deal on a 2qt ice cream maker…you know, just in case you live, work, or are traveling through the Twin Cities and decide that your Minnesota souvenir of choice can also be an integral part of your kitchen.

But this isn’t a post about ice cream.  This is a post about a well-loved cousin to ice cream: the popsicle.  A more portable version, easier to make, already-portioned-out-so-you-don’t-eat-the-entire-2quarts-in-one-sitting summer staple.  What started this mild obsession?  Well, awhile back, I saw this recipe for Orange Creamsicle Yogurt Pops from Lisa at 100 Days of Real Food and realized that not only did I have all the ingredients on hand, but that this might be the answer for my yearning for an ice cream maker.  I accepted this as fate–and the sign of a genius plan!–when the other day I was out and about and found a popsicle mold for only $4.  Done and done!

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While waiting for them to freeze, I did what anyone would do: I got on Pinterest to look for more recipes.  Actually, I also blame the Fudge Bars from Whole Foods temporarily residing in my freezer because, well, it would also be AWESOME to have fudge bars without going to the store!

So when you type ‘popsicle’ (why limit yourself to just fudge?) into the search box of Pinterest you get about 3 days worth of pins. I found a wide variety of recipes for fudge popsicles (hellllllooooo, Nutella pops!), complicated fancy ones that look pretty and sound amazing, but fall into the Too Hard Basket (such as blackberry ombre popsicles or coconut/salted caramel/chocolate with almonds–but if you decide to make these, personally I think it should be pistachios), über-easy/healthy ones (aka put fruit in a mold and fill with coconut water), and my new favorite: the adult beverage ones.  WHAT THE WHAT?  This is just further proof this really was a genius plan!

It started with this Peaches & Cream recipe from Tutti Dolce (who seems to be a connoisseur of popsicles, as several of my popsicle pins are from Laura!). I clicked on this one because it’s summer and I almost always have peaches on hand.  In reading through the recipe, this caught my eye:

1 1/2 Tbsp crème de pêche (peach liqueur)

Liqueur?  Oh yes, please, and thankyouverymuch!

So then (and this is how Pinterest sucks you in), I start actively searching for adult popsicle recipes and realize that there are a lot of lushes kindred spirits (pun intended!) out there!  Sangria, Bourbon, Tequila, Prosecco…I’m quite certain you’d be hard pressed to find something without [insert your favorite adult beverage here].

I then did what any pinner would do: I created a board.  Not just for the adult popsicles, although I do appreciate your faith in me that I would could do that.  I even included a few of the Too Hard Basket ones, mainly because they are pretty and maybe complicated popsicles are your thing.  I mean, I don’t judge.  Who knows…perhaps–if given the appropriate amount of champers–I might be prompted to try one of them….until giving up in a huff and just sitting on the couch, drowning my sorrows in another bottle of champers while waiting for the easy adult popsicles to freeze.  What?  It’s the most likely scenario.

But back to popsicles….inquiring minds want to know: what’s your favorite?


 
Happy summering!

PS–if you’re interested, here’s my Put A Stick In It Pinterest Board.  If you already follow me on Pinterest, you’re welcome for the plethora of popsicle recipes in your feed 😉 And, of course, I’m always looking for more great recipes if you wanna share your favorite popsicle recipe!