Monday, September 27, 2010

Family, Friends, Food and Wine

Day 119 without a job
            I am so excited. It appears that I have 45 people reading my blog including someone from Mexico, Denmark and South Africa. How cool is that? I know who my Mexico and Denmark readers are (waves to Martha, Ruben and Peter), but not so sure on the South Africa reader (waves in the general direction of South Africa anyway). Thanks for reading everyone, and keep telling your friends. Now, back to our usual program.
This weekend was jam-packed with socializing, eating and drinking wine. The problem with that is it does not aid in losing the weight I’ve gained over the past 15 months. In fact, It is very likely that I found the 2 or 3 pounds I had lost since riding the exercise bike. I refuse to look at the scale this morning. I will resume the bike riding and contemplate looking at the scale on Friday. Maybe.
We open the calorie filled weekend on the first day of the weekend (Friday) dinner with friends. The menu: Crusty bread with Bruschetta, corn on the cob slathered in butter, salad and my amazing, fall off the bone ribs with home-made whiskey BBQ sauce. We had a great time chatting, eating, soaking in the hot tub and drinking copious amounts of wine.
Saturday we cleaned the house and repeated the routine with different friends and a different menu. BBQ’d oysters, crackers and hummus, pasta with shrimp, mushrooms and home-grown herbs, and salad. We had a great time chatting, eating, soaking in the hot tub and drinking copious amounts of wine. (Hmm, I’m seeing a theme).
Sunday we cleaned the house and headed off to Winters to check out their wineries – currently they have two. While we were driving there a friend called to confirm that we were coming to her house for dinner. Oops, I knew I’d forgotten to tell Sarita something; she had invited the boys to our house for dinner. No worries, she texted the boys to cancel since they had not confirmed anyway. Problem solved (insert foreshadowing here).
We went to Turkovich Family Wines first. We had been there before shortly after they opened this Spring. They have delicious wine as well as cheese. It is reminiscent of the days in Napa where tasting was free, as opposed to $15 per person (that can really add up as you go through the wineries). The selection this time (it changes) was 2 whites, two reds and two sparkling (from Argentina). We really weren’t overly impressed with the sparkling, but the others were delish. The 2008 Chardonnay was very memorable and, considering they only made 6 barrels and are selling it at only $15.50, is likely to sell out soon. We very much enjoyed the 2009 Grenache, but I have to say the favorite of the day was the Non-Vintage Tempranillo. The winemaker took what was left from the 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 and mixed it together for a total of 8 barrels. It was amazing and I have to admit, we did splurge and buy a bottle to bring to our hostess for dinner. At $16.50, it was a good value. We are probably going to have to head back over next weekend as the Cabernet is supposed to be ready to taste then.
I had recalled seeing another wine tasting place a few months ago when we went to Winters to see Shakespeare in the park, so we set out to find it. It wasn’t that hard – Winters is small and it was around the corner from Turkovich. Berryessa Gap has been around for several years (the lady at the wine tasting place told me, but I promptly forgot. I want to say 1994, so I will). They also have complimentary tastings, all of which were reds (okay, there was one Rose). After we tasted the 2007 Malbec, I noticed that we were getting a pour from another bottle of 2007 Malbec. I asked what the difference was. Turned out the second bottle was supposed to be a 2006 Zinfandel, but the server (I’m not sure what you call them, not baristas, right? That’s for coffee) had inadvertently opened the wrong bottle. What a difference decanting makes!! The Malbec that she had opened early on in the day was supremely better than the one she opened just before we came in. The latter tasted very “young” and was not anywhere near on the same level as the one that had been opened for several hours. Our favorites here (we had 8 pours) were the 2006 Petite Sirah, 2006 Rocky Ridge Collection Tradition (my favorite) and the 2007 Rocky Ridge Collection Tempranillo. We did not make any purchases at this winery (remember, I’m unemployed) but may perhaps in the future.
Remember that foreshadowing music I mentioned earlier in this post. Turns out the text to the boys did not make it to its destination. So both boys and one girlfriend showed up on our doorstep at about 5PM. Oops. We’re such bad moms, we told them to make their own dinner and make sure they cleaned up after themselves. We did all visit together for an hour and a half and Sarita told them we’d do this again soon (I think she meant we’d do it the way it’s typically done. You are invited to your parents’ house, the parents make dinner for you).
Finally, we wrapped up the weekend with a delicious dinner at one of our friend’s homes (Yay!! No clean up for us to do). We brought out wine from the afternoon’s adventure and enjoyed vegetarian fare made up of tofu enchiladas with green sauce, home-made beans, Spanish rice and beets. I kind of thought the beets were an odd veggie when paired with the other items, but they were tasty (and matched the red wine we brought). No hot tub, but no copious amounts of wine consumed – there are health advantages to dining away from home.
Well, I’ve procrastinated enough; I suppose I should get some job applications in the mail. I'll put the BBQ sauce recipe in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. BBQ Sauce (Modified from Scott Hibb's Amazing Whiskey Grilled Baby Back ribs)

    2 1/4 Tbsp vegetable oil
    1 small minced onion
    1 1/2 cups water
    1/2 cup tomato paste
    1/2 cup white vinegar
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    2 1/2 tablespoons honey 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    2 teaspoons salt
    1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black
    1 1/4 teaspoons liquid smoke flavoring (mesquite)
    ½ cup whiskey
    2 teaspoons garlic powder
    1/4 teaspoon paprika
    1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    1 tablespoon dark molasses
    1/2 tablespoon ground chili powder
    ½ - 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

    1)Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir the onions in oil for 5 minutes. Stir in water, tomato paste (do not put in more than recommended amount), vinegar, brown sugar, honey, and Worcestershire sauce. Season with 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, liquid smoke, whiskey, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, dark molasses, and ground chili pepper and crushed red pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for 1 1/4 hours, uncovered, or until sauce thickens. Remove from heat, and set sauce aside to cool.

    Marinate the ribs in half of the sauce overnight.

    When you are ready to cook the ribs:
    Preheat oven to 300 degree F (150 degrees C).

    If you haven't already, cut each full rack of ribs in half, and wrap snuggly in foil.

    Bake for 2 1/2 hours.

    Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat.

    Remove the ribs from the oven, and let stand 10 minutes. Remove the racks from the foil, and place on the grill. Grill the ribs for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Brush remaining sauce on the ribs while they're grilling, just before you serve them (adding it too early will burn it).