Thursday, April 9, 2015

Kitchen playtime: Easter weekend

Hubby and I always look forward to Easter, which we feels gives us the opportunity for some serious kitchen playtime. We start discussing the menu weeks in advance, and there is a careful selection of recipes as well as strategizing what to pick up where. Yes, I just made up a word.

So first, the cooking wine:

Yes, that is the 2013 Blanc de Syrah Brut from Wolf Mountain Vineyards here in Georgia. They make fabulous sparkling wines, and while they do have one sweeter one, the rest are nice and dry. This one is like spring strawberries in a glass.

And now the recipe sources:

Those would be the November 2014 Cooking Light (chard salad), John Sarich's Chef in the Vineyard (roasted lamb with cherry sauce), and perennial favorite Brother Rick Curry's The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking.

Of course the first part of the meal to be started was the yeast rolls since they rise twice. One thing to remember about the recipes in this book is that the dough tends to be very soft when you turn it out to knead. My best trick for dealing with this issue in this particular recipe is after the initial mixing/kneading period, switch to the dough hook and knead for two more minutes adding 1/2-3/4 cup more flour. It really helps. So, here they are. Rise, my pretties!

And baked. Seriously, I love this recipe.

And now for the Chopped Chard Salad with Apricot Vinaigrette:

This is a great salad for when the farmers' markets are still full of wintry stuff. Yes, come on, spring! I'm ready for some good spring and summer produce. The salad is just as good with feta instead of goat cheese. And hey, it's Cooking Light, so it's healthy.

Finally, the roasted leg of lamb with cherry sauce. Being half Belgian, I'm a sucker for meat/fruit combinations. I might have gotten a little too into the stabbing it before stuffing the herb mixture into the crevices and rubbing it:

But stab, stuff, and rub I did. Here's the cooked leg of lamb:

And Hubby engaged in his own knife work:

Ta da! Easter dinner (salads in bowls on the side):

The cherries in this sauce added more tart than sweet notes and made for a nice acidic foil for the meat. 

And, of course, the Easter wine, the 2012 Les Serrottes from Languedoc-Roussillon, France. Yes, this one is unfiltered and needs to be decanted for at least 30-60 minutes for that reason and to let it smooth out. Once it did, though, it went great with the roasted meat and cherry sauce.

Whatever you did, I hope you had a lovely Easter/Passover/spring weekend!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The blog is risen!

So now that I'm probably in trouble with half my readers for that blog post title, here's the scoop on what's happened over the past year and a half.

First, I'm sorry to have disappeared for so long. I actually ended up getting a fiction book deal, and then it turned into another, and then the third in the trilogy was contracted, and, well, you get the picture. The first two are available in ebook and paper, and the third is currently ebook only.  All of them involve much eating and drinking of alcoholic beverages.

And then book four, which is a stand-alone, is coming out on May 12. It actually has a character who's an oenology student.

For info on the books including links to excerpts and places where you can buy them, please visit my writing blog, Cecilia's Random Writings.

Second, there's been a lot of personal and health stuff that I'm not going to go into and some major developments with the day job. Yep, it's been busy, and I now have a minion. But never fear, through it all, we have continued to drink lots of wine and eat really good food. In fact, here's what I'm drinking today:
Wolf Mountain Vineyards 2013 Blanc de Syrah Brut

Oh, and we got a kitten. Kittens are bad for productivity, but at least he knows what one does with a bottle of wine. Yeah, it makes me worry that he's observed us open a few too many of these that he knows that the top comes off.

Meet Timothy Mouse. Look at that smug grin.

I couldn't find evidence of him decanting it.

So here's what Hubby and I have planned moving forward:

1.  Since we do most of our cooking over the weekends, we end up doing most of our food and wine pairings then. I'm going to try to write about what we ate and drank as well as recipe commentary. With regard to cooking expertise, I'd rate us as moderately proficient, which means we're still learning and making mistakes. Yes, I'll post about the mistakes, too. Just don't ask about the purple tofu.

2. I'm going to try to bring some of my psychology background into the blog with interviews of people in the wine industry. If you are such an individual and would like to be interviewed, please email me at cecilia (at) ceciliadominic (dot) com

3. Continued commentary on wine, wineries, and restaurants.

4. More random posts from Hubby because he's good at random, and he's really funny.

5. An updated site. Yep, it's in progress. We'll let you know when we move it.