21 September, 2016  |   1 Comment

Repost! Wine Wednesday: Wine Cake Recipe

Wine Cake is our town’s go-to fundraiser cake. If you know exactly which women’s auxillary group has it for sale, you could even find it at the Harvest Festival and pet parade.

Thanks to a sticky glaze, Wine Cake is squishy and sweet and super-delicious. We serve it with barely sweetened whipped cream and all the berries.

Wine Cake Recipe


Cake ingredients

1 box yellow cake mix
1 three and a half ounce box instant vanilla pudding
1 cup white wine (I like Sutter Home’s Sauvignon Blanc for cooking)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs

Glaze Ingredients
1 stick butter, cut into chunks
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup white wine

Directions
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 10″ Bundt pan or grease and flour one and a half cupcake pans.

Combine the yellow cake mix, box of instant vanilla pudding, white wine, vegetable oil and all four eggs in a large bowl and beat with a well-muscled arm or (my preference) an electric mixer.

Pour the batter into your choice of pan.

If you’re going the Bundt route, put the filled cake pan in the oven for 45-50 minutes. Cupcakes should only take about 20 minutes.

About 10 minutes before the cake is done, make the glaze by stirring the butter with the water, sugar and white wine over medium heat until dissolved. Increase the heat and bring to a bubbly boil. Be careful, for it is sugar and can hurt you badly if it spilled on your skin. Remove the danger pot from heat. Set aside.

Remove the cake or cupcakes from the oven and let the pan cool for 10 minutes.

If using the Bundt pan, poke holes in the bottom (top) of the cake. Pour 1/2 of the glaze into and around the holes. Let the cake absorb the glaze. If you’re working with cupcakes, remove all from the pan and set on a tray upside down. Poke holes in the bottom of the cakes and pour the glaze into your holes.

Invert the cake onto a serving dish and drizzle the rest of the glaze on top. You may need to do this in several batches. Serve and await the cheers and happy hollers.

21 January, 2015  |   1 Comment

Wine Wednesday: My Favorite Corkscrew

Guy Genie in a bottle

Maybe I’m INSANE.
Maybe, I am AFLAME WITH PASSION.
PASSION FOR FLAVOR.

Or, I just found my favorite corkscrew.

I have used a lot of corkscrews in my day. And now, in my 10th year in the wine industry, I can solidly recommend my favorite.

My Guy Fieri Cruisin’ Waiters Corkscrew is the best damn corkscrew I’ve ever used. It’s the perfect weight for my hands, it’s great quality, the knife stays sharp and all the parts work exactly as they should.

Guy Fieri's corkscrew is my favorite.The bright yellow color means I find it easily in the utensil drawer.
The source means it’s always good for a Guy Fieri story. And everyone has a good Guy Fieri story.
The name, “CRUISIN’ WAITERS” elicits a feeling that’s both dirty and efficient.

Thank you Guy. Your corkscrew is THE REAL DEAL INDEED.

guy-quote

P.S. I bought this corkscrew at a Walgreens with my own money.

 

 

20 November, 2014  |   3 Comments

Wine Wednesday: Thanksgiving Edition

Back in 2011 I set a Thanksgiving budget and we stuck to it. The budget’s a little less this year – about a third less – and for that we’re lucky and three cheers for Thanksgiving! Tomorrow, I’ll go through this year’s budget.

Our wine budget is now around $60 for the big day. I know! I ain’t complaining. We’re making it work with these three bottles of the wine I’ve been drinking lately for work and fun.

2013 Giesen Riesling
Giesen Riesling
I know, I know I should be drinking American to kick off this meal, but with the way things went with Lord of the Rings, it seems like New Zealand could be, like, at least part American. With a low alcohol point (12.5%) this is the perfect wine for kicking off the holidays but maintaining your cool. Good for people who say they don’t like sweet wine but secretly do. Round, floral and delicious, sip it when the kids are wrassling within eyeshot. Costs about $13.

2012 Niner Pinot Noir

niner-pinot

Costs about $30. Pinot Noir makes the millennials happy, it makes your Gen X aunt happy, it makes your snooty brother happy. This one is a great deal, coming from the on point Paso Robles region of California — from a shiny new winery. It’s balanced, it’s got a slight cranberry taste that makes Stove Top sing.

2012 Renwood Zinfandel
renwood-zin
Zinfandel wine powerhouses Renwood make American wine from a truly American grape. Their winemaker is one of Wine Enthusiast’s 40 under 40. Youth is also an American value! Bold and tasty — it works to punctuate your end of meal political “discussions.” Plus, Zinfandel is just fun to say. Costs nearly $20.

27 August, 2014  |   3 Comments

Wine Wednesday: Earthquake Edition

Napa earthquake at my office.

This is the office I work in — it’s in someone’s home. Yes, I totally agree with you that it could be worse, but you could agree with me,  you would be pretty bummed if that happened in your home office.

When I moved to San Francisco, my Midwestern rootfolk asked me, “But what about the EARTHQUAKES?”

I thought the likelihood of one happening to me was low.

Plus, my Midwestern people deal regularly with floods, raging hail storms, thunderstorms, iced over highways, tornados and lightning. They had it worse than me, in my book.

But no tornado was as scary as what we went through last weekend.

We are fine and our friends are fine,
they lost lifelong collections,
they lost dishes,
also they are not fine.


When you a part of a community that,
as a group, faced its inevitable mortality,
that community’s minds are elsewhere.

We thought, “Well, that’s it.”
Everyone thought that,
if they woke up.
And a lot of people woke up.

I noticed it’s the same for people who are moving.
Their minds are with their stuff —
where the detergent is,
the spoons,
when they’ll find that belt that they love.

And when you add coming face to face with certain death to losing most of the stuff in your home, I’m quite astonished at the number of folks in the Napa valley just back at work.

Tough people, these farmers.
Damage to our wineries is minimal.
You should come visit them.


Thank goodness it's just stuff, right?

This is my boss’ house. They lost a lot of stuff.

So move!
(I hear you say.)

Why live on a fault line?
(I hear you ask.)

Anything that happens to you from here on out is your FAULT
LITERALLY.

We’re staying because this is the best community for us, in the whole world.

We are aware this is our fault.
Our fault.

But we’re willing to live with it.

We’re willing to thrive with it.

13 August, 2014  |   2 Comments

Wine Wednesday: White Wine Spritzer

Get you a spritzerLately, I’ve embraced my inner Mom.
I’m co-opting Dadcore, and embracing Momcore.

I’d fought it for a while, but it’s true. I now truly celebrate the following:
Zumba
Sporty Flats
Gladware
The Spritzer

Give me some summer-ready white wine and some ice cubes. Find a smallish jelly jar, and add seltzer or club soda. Bon Appetit tells us that we should add 3 parts wine to 1 part club soda, but I often add more of the bubbles.

I have no more shame of the spritzer, unless it’s some late harvest dessert wine from a storied producer. Don’t spritz the expensive stuff!

Embracing the spritzer during these late summer weeks lets me sip twice as much for the calories. It pairs beautifully with all these fruits and vegetables that are getting ripe and I can keep the buzz at bay.

Grape Tasting

Since frozen grapes are also a family snack staple this time of year, I add them to my spritzer for a little sweet and a lot of novelty.

My favorite spritzer wines (which in no way reflects on their quality — they just pair well with the club soda):
Pine Ridge Vigonier and Chenin Blanc blend
Cowgirl Sisterhood White
Sutter Home Gewurtztraminer

Add frozen grapes! Add ice! Add club soda!
Spritz away!