Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Picnicking with Wine: Vino2Go and VinoCaddy

Even though another winter storm is hitting us as I write, I can’t help looking ahead and dreaming of the time when I can take my wine alfresco. Sitting on my deck, regular wineglasses are no problem, but what about further afield? Whether camping or hiking, tailgating, or most likely, picnicking, safety and ease of use becomes paramount. Enter the Vino2Go tumblers and VinoCaddy bottle and glass carrying tool.

Vino2Go Plastic Tumbler

The original Wine Sippy Cup -- Vino2Go are 10 ounce double wall tumblers. The BPA-free (made of SAN acrylic plastic) durable drinkware makes it convenient and easy to use product for picnics, the beach, and any other outdoor event. The design replicates the shape of a wineglass, so you don’t feel like you’re drinking from a mason jar.


The VinoCaddy,  is a simple way to carry two wine glasses and a bottle. Comes in four options: domestic walnut, domestic oak, salvaged and up-cycled domestic wormy chestnut (now extinct), and bamboo. Waxed and buffed, an attractive way to tote your wine gear. Carrying wine and glasses across the sand to sip while watching the ocean or maybe just across the parking lot to the picnic table, the VinoCaddy makes drinking with another easier.

Disclaimer: I was sent these products free of charge, for review purposes. Some information was taken from the company website, but all opinions are my own.

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Meatless Monday: Vegan Popcorn

Vegan Popcorn with nutritional yeast
Image from Women's Endurance Gear

Nutritional Yeast is a source of protein and vitamins (including B-complex vitamins) and is a complete protein. It has a strong flavor that is described as nutty, cheesy, or creamy, which makes it useful to vegans as a cheese substitute. I've tried it in several recipes, but the best use we've found is as a topping for popcorn -- even the kids love it!

To make, air pop 1/2 cup corn kernels, then toss with 2 Tbs grapeseed oil and 3 Tbs nutritional yeast. Salt to taste.

Better With Veggies
For more Meatless Monday ideas, head over to Better With Veggies

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Finger Lakes Wine Alliance Virtual Tasting – Reds

Finger Lakes Wine Alliance Virtual Tasting Reds

Wednesday night we had the opportunity to once again taste wines from the Finger Lakes Region of New York. We've been fans for some time now of the white wines coming out of the region, including sparkling and ice wines, but were excited to taste some reds this go-around.

Finger Lakes Wine Alliance Virtual Tasting Reds Flight 1

Flight 1:
  • 2011 Silver Thread Vineyard Blackbird, slight berries on the nose, earthy palate intertwined with fruit, medium mouthfeel and finish.
  • 2007 Swedish Hill Wine Optimus - earthy fruit nose, dark cherry flavor, medium mouthfeel, tarter oaky and shorter finish.
  • 2010 Heron Hill Winery Cabernet Franc, spice fruit and cocoa nose, oak wrapped fruit, luscious mouthfeel, chocolaty smooth finish. Definitely one of the top three of the night for me.
  • 2010 Damiani Wine Cab Franc Reserve - mossy nose, lots of oak, smooth long finish. Closed, needs some time to open up, in my opinion.

Finger Lakes Wine Alliance Virtual Tasting Reds Flight 2

Flight 2:
  • 2010 Rooster Hill Estate Lemberger - slate nose, dark cherry fruit, abrupt finish.
  • 2010 Atwater Wine Pinot Noir - bright tart cherry aroma, light body, smooth mouthfeel, medium finish. According to the winemaker, this is a wine for drinking with food, and we agreed -- a bit light to stand on its own.
  • 2011 Hector Wine Company Essence - peppery nose, continuing on palate, round mouthfeel, medium finish. Another top three for the evening.
  • 2008 McGregor Vineyard Black Russian Red - dark plum on the nose, mineral fruit flavor, long finish. This was not only a really tasty wine, but it added two new varietals to my Wine Century Club  project: Saperavi and Sereksiya Charni!
We were impressed with the overall quality and taste of these reds -- some of them are on par with the reds coming out of California, with good balance, judicious oaking, and great taste.

Looking forward to not only drinking more Finger Lakes Region wines, but also planning a trip there -- the area looks gorgeous!

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Divine Vintage

Divine Vintage book cover

Not being religious, I wasn't sure if I'd appreciate Divine Vintage: Following the Wine Trail from Genesis to the Modern Age, by Randall Heskett and Joel Butler (New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). However, the authors put my mind somewhat at ease by asserting that they were not going to treat the Bible as a historical text, but rather as a reflection of an interpretation by the writers of the times. Their aim was to chronologically trace the history of wine using biblical texts, and then bolster that with archaeological research and physical remains.

It begins with Noah as the first winegrower, planting a vineyard after the flood, and traces the spread of viticulture through the present and around the world. "The drunken monkey hypothesis [primates eat fermented fruit until they are drunk]gives us a plausible scientific basis for human desire and need for alcoholic beverages; wine is merely the easiest to understand and produce. The Noah hypothesis provides an explanation for where, when, how, and perhaps even why the wild grape became domesticated by humans." The second part of the book looks at the New Testament and seeks to answer the question, "What wines would Jesus drink?" Wines from that time period were quite different than most produced today, but the authors follow Paul's 3rd missionary journey in an attempt to replicate what he might have tasted. And the answer to the question of what Jesus would have drank? According to the authors, as a guest of honor, Jesus would have been humble enough to try all of the wines. Turns out he's similar to a modern oenophile. :)

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me for review purposes, free of charge, and no further compensation was received. Some information was taken from the Palgrave Macmillan website and all opinions are my own.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Familia Nueva Liberte Cabernet Sauvignon

Familia Nueva
2010 Liberte Cabernet Sauvignon

Familia Nueva Liberte Cabernet Sauvignon

Berries on nose and palate, along with spices and plum, midweight body,some tannins, medium finish. Served with homemade, handmade pizzas.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Vegan Eats World

Vegan Eats World book cover

Vegan Eats World (Boston, MA: Da Capo Press, 2013) is collection of about 300 recipes, with food from all over the world (Greek, Caribbean, Indian, Afghani, and more). The ingredients lists are far-flung and exciting to peruse, but nothing is so unusual that you wouldn’t be able to find it relatively easily. Some of the recipes appear to be complicated, but for the most part it’s cut, dice, combine, cook, and eat!

We tried out the recipe for Zucchini Pancakes, and they turned out pretty well. Even with finishing them in the oven, they remained soft and moist. After a couple of days in the fridge, I reheated the leftovers in a hot oven on a pizza stone and ended up with some crisp delectables.

Harissa Carrot Salad, Flying Massaman Curry, Garlic Chive Seitan Potstickers, and so many more -- we’re looking forward to cooking our way around the globe and enjoying more of these great vegan treats...and we won't forget dessert!

About the Author: Terry Hope Romero is a vegan chef and author of several bestselling and award-winning cookbooks. In 2011 she was named Favorite Cookbook Author by VegNews. She contributes to VegNews‘s “Hot Urban Eats” column and has hosted the public access/podcast vegan cooking show the Post Punk Kitchen. She lives in Queens, New York.

Disclaimer: This book was sent to me for review purposes, free of charge. While some information was taken from the company website, all opinions are my own.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Meatless Monday: Zucchini Pancakes

I really enjoy pancakes for meals other than breakfast, so this recipe for Zucchini Pancakes in Vegan Eats World (by Terry Hope Romero) caught my eye.

Vegan Eats World Zucchini Pancakes


  • 1 1/2 lbs zucchini, grated
  • salt
  • 1 C fresh dill (I omitted this, as I'm not  a fan of dill)
  • 1/2 C chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 carrot, finely grated
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 unsweetened plain soy milk
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2/3 C unbleached flour
  • 1/4 C chickpea flour
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ground black pepper


  • Salt zucchini, let sit for 30 minutes, pour off excess water. Place zucchini into kitchen towel, wring out as much water as possible, return to mixing bowl.
  • Mix in parsley, carrot, onion, soymilk, olive oil, and lemon juice. Sift in flours, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and pepper, being careful not to over mix.
  • Fry in a pan using olive oil spray.

It's  that simple -- I finished off the pancakes in the oven, as I wanted to make sure they were cooked through. Excepting Munchkin, everyone in the family enjoyed them.

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Antico Posto, Oak Brook, IL

Since our kitchen was out of commission over the holidays, Laima’s Aunt and Uncle took us to dinner at Antico Posto, located at Oakbrook Terrace. Dark wood, wine bottles everywhere, white paper tablecloths, a nice atmosphere for an early dinner. At 4:30, the restaurant was nearly full, kind of a surprise.

Antico Posto

Appetizers And Entrees:

The other end of the table opted for Veal Meatballs, apparently very good, but I chose the Mushroom Bianca pizza. Ricotta, portobellos, porcini pesto, baby arugula, truffle oil were a nice combination. The crust was a bit on the thin side to hold all the toppings, but folding the slices as we ate took care of that problem.

For my entrée, I decided to try the “Create Your Own Combination: Your Selection Of Three Gnocchi & Ravioli...” While I could have had three different kinds of pasta, I instead chose just two. I always like to try the Butternut Squash Ravioli, it’s different each place I’ve gone. Same typical ingredients (brown butter, candied walnuts, parmesan) as elsewhere, perhaps a bit too much butter. Antico Posto makes their gnocchi a bit differently, by using ricotta instead of potatoes as the binder, resulting in a much lighter gnocchi. The Mushroom Gnocchi (brown butter, truffle oil) were tasty, but I admit that I prefer denser, chewier gnocchi.

Laima ordered the Braised Beef Stuffed Shells (ricotta & mozzarella cheese, garlic tomato sauce, toasted breadcrumbs) from the Specials menu, and really enjoyed it.


Can’t go wrong with Louis Martini (Sonoma) – we opted for the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, which complemented all our choices.

Antico Posto


Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte (creamy peanut butter, milk chocolate, Oreo cookie crust) was everyone’s first choice, and a good one it was. Sweet Cheese Tart with toasted almonds and sugared blackberries was a great choice as well; I actually preferred it.

Antico Posto is a nice option when you’re at the mall, along with the other Lettuce Entertain You restaurants. Decent food, nice décor, great wine list – definitely worth stopping in.

Antico Posto on Urbanspoon

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Many Different Types of Wine Infographic

Original Source: Different Types of Wine

This infographic organizes almost 200 types of wine by taste and style, handy if you're not sure what you are in the mood for or looking for something out of your comfort zone.

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