Tag: Wine

What’s Cooking: What to Drink with the Turkey

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Republished from November 24, 2010 for obvious timely reasons.

Now that we are done with cooking directions for the big day, time to pick the beverage that will not just accompany this spectacular meal but compliment the main course, the sides and deserts.

My usual choices for the wine is to have choices, serving both reds and whites. Cabernets and Sauvignon Blanc can be respectively too heavy and too acidic while the Chardonnays can be too oaky.

Don’t be afraid to ask the your wine merchant for suggestions. There are many very fine wines for those on a budget. Here are some of my suggestions:

Beaujolais Nouveau is the “first wine of the harvest” and the 2010 has just been released, This is a very “young” wine that spends little time in the cask between picking  and bottling. It is traditionally released on November 21 with great fan fare among wine around the world. It is light and fruity, should be served chilled. It goes well with not just the turkey but  everything from the appetizer cheese course to sweet potatoes and dressing to that pesky once a year veggie, Brussel Sprouts, not an easy feat. It is also inexpensive at less than $10 a bottle, the magnum is usually even more economical.

Pinot Noir is another good choice but not easy to find one that has some flavor and can be a little “pricey”, although there good ones in the $10 range.

For the whites there are two that I choose from Pinot Grigio or a slightly sweeter Riesling.

Pinot Grigio or Pinto Gris is a young fruity wine and depending on the region can be full bodied and “floral” to lighter, “spritszy” and a little acidic. I suggest the former and fond that the Pinot from Barefoot Cellars fits the bill and the pocketbook.

Riesling can be found in the German section and look for a Gewurztraminer or a slightly sweeter Spätlese.

The there is beer for those who prefer some foam and fizz. These are the suggestions from the Brewers Association:

   * Traditional Turkey – Amber ale or a lager like Oktoberfest, brown ale or a strong golden ale like triple

   * Smoked Turkey – a hoppy brown ale, Scotch ale or porter

   * Pumpkin pie – Spiced ale, winter warmer or old ale

Pique the Geek 20110731: Yeasts, Interesting Beasties

When the term yeast is used, most people think of freshly baked bread.  Many people will also think of a cold, foamy headed beer.  Both are made possible by yeast, but there are many more applications.

Yeast has been used to raise bread and make beer and wine since prehistory, and the work is very ancient.  It comes to us in modern English via the Old English gyst, which in tern derived from the Indo-European word yes, meaning quite literally to bubble.  Thus the word is very much older than our understanding that yeasts are living things, dating from the 1850s due to the work of Louis Pasteur.

When we think of yeast, we normally are referring to a single species (out of around 1500, give or take), Saccharomyces cerevisiae.  This single species is responsible for raising bread, making wine and much of the beer that is drunk, as well as alcohol for beverage and industrial purposes.  Unless I qualify, when I use the term “yeast” this is the species to which I refer.

Angst and Pouting in Las Vegas


Jordan Valley stands next to me at the crap game. She looks like a hooker but she’s really a porn star. Big difference. Sex for money, sure, but still a big difference. Hookers have no screen presence, Spitzer’s is a perfect example, and when you see Jordan for the first time, well all you can say is – “I get it.”

Jordan could have been a big star. She’s got the looks; the camera loves her; her voice is smoky valley girl, but Jordan Valley can’t act her way out of a paper bag. Or plastic.

So, I’ve got Jordan standing next to me blowing on my dice for luck, the pit crew is looking at me like I’m crazy and I’m sure the eyes in the sky are gathering for the next play. I’ve bet it all on one roll of the dice; a $50,000 prop bet on a crap three. It pays fifteen to one. One roll for $750,000. Just enough for what I need.

And just as I throw down the table, Jordan whispers in my ear “Are you a madman or a fool?”

Trip Report

or “What I Did on my Holiday Weekend”

I had an awesome time on the Mendocino Coast – about 140 miles north of San Francisco.  It was a special celebration in honor of  my brother-in-law’s 60th birthday.   My sister and her husband rented a 5 bedroom house on a bluff right next to the ocean.   The above picture is a view from the deck.   All of their close friends from the Bay Area came up as well as another couple from the Midwest.   It was kind of like The Big Chill meets Sideways.    

Roof Gardens, Wine, and Urban Agriculture

In the past few days, two news stories have captured my imagination. The first story came from the Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney’s skyline turning green. The second story was in the Washington Post, Iraqi Past Ferments in An Unlikely N.Y. Winery. Both stories deal with urban agriculture – the potential for it and one man’s reality of it. From the SMH story:

Rice paddies and orchards on city rooftops could become reality with a plan to green Sydney’s roofs… “It’d mean an enormous increase in parkland in the city,” [architect Tone Wheeler] said.

The rooftop gardens could also have commercial potential. “There could be organically grown food grown on the roof and sold in the cafe below,” Mr Wheeler said…

Garden designer Jamie Durie’s company, Patio, has worked on several Sydney rooftop gardens and is working on projects in Chicago and New York, where the concept is more advanced.

Wherever the sun falls there’s an opportunity to grow a garden,” he said.

The idea of rooftop gardens isn’t a new one, but I think it has untapped potential for growing food in the urban environment. I love the idea of inviting you to a cozy corner restaurant in a favorite part of the city. We’d sit down at a table and, perhaps, order a fresh salad made from tossed greens grown on the restaurant’s own roof garden. Throw in a few slices of cucumber and wedges of tomatoes from the garden and a dash of a light vinaigrette dressing and we’re dining in urban agricultural style.

But, there’s more… our young server suggests that we order a bottle of wine made by the neighborhood winery. She can see by our dubiously raised eyebrows that we were unaware that there was a vineyard nearby. After a couple, gentle but leading questions, she begins to tell us about Latif Jiji, a 79-year-old “engineering professor originally from Iraq, [who] has made his townhouse into a vertical winery…”