Category Archives: Cooking
Recently I invited my daughter and my son-in-love to accompany me to a Reidel wine tasting.
I knew that Reidel made wine variety-specific glasses.
I wanted to find out more.
I admit that I walked into the tasting expecting that “varietal glasses” were simply a marketing ploy.
I could not have been more wrong.
Reidel glassware was founded in 1756 and is owned and managed by the tenth and eleventh generation of Reidels.
In 1973 Reidel began a collaboration with wine growers and its own taste scientists to develop glasses that brought out the best in each variety of wine. All of the glasses are “workshopped” by panels of wine growers, glassmakers and taste scientists. After determining from the vintners what aspects of the wine they hope to present to the taster, the glassblowers and taste scientists create a glass that will do just that.
Important considerations are the shape of the top of the glass. If the chemicals that make up the aroma of the wine (esters) are lightweight, the glass must have a rather closed-in top. The shape of the middle of the glass is important, too. The wine must be delivered to the portion of the tongue and mouth that can best taste the unique characteristics of the wine.
The Reidel staffer had us taste two whites and two reds. We tasted the first white in two different glasses. It tasted like a different wine in the cheap glass! The same thing happened when we tasted the second white in three different glasses (the cheap glass and the two different white wine Reidel glasses). You would never know it was the same wine in each glass! We tasted the first red in four glasses and the second red in all five glasses. Each time the wine tasted different in each glass.
Color me surprised.
At the end of the worksop the Reidel guy showed us a photo of the glass that Reidel had workshopped for Coca Cola. Two workshops were held in Atlanta at Coca Cola headquarters to find the shape of glass that would allow you to best taste “the real thing,”, to allow you to taste Coke the way that Coke is meant to taste. Both guys who know the secret formula for Coke were at each workshop.
The end product is the glass you see above.
Coca Cola Classic and Mexican Coke (made with sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup) both taste fantastic in the Reidel glass.
BTW, no ice is needed!
I got my Reidel Coke glasses from Amazon.
You can buy the high end Reidel mouth blown crystal glasses or Target has machine made Reidel glasses made in the exact shapes of the fine crystal. Both will deliver the proper flavor of the wine.
Art Bead Scene is sponsoring a blog hop featuring ornaments made with art beads.
I created this art bead from some leftover gingko clay in scarlet and bronze and some leftover “wood” clay in browns. I baked the polymer clay on a small appliance bulb, which allowed me to bend the ends of the gingko leaf up like little toes. I added a large carnelian bead on copper wire. I made my first ever hammered-copper-wire-anything for the matching copper hanger.
This was a stretch for me, which is, of course, why I chose to do it.
I wanted to share my favorite Christmas take-it-to-the-office (or a potluck) recipe: BROWN SUGAR SHORTBREAD.
It is the easiest recipe ever and your friends and co-workers will discover that they have a previously undiscovered, deep hunger for shortbread. This is a great recipe for a cakewalk at a school carnival, too. It will be the first cake to sell. I always put mine on a cake circle and wrapped it in a huge sheet of yellow cellophane, tying it with a bow on top.
BROWN SUGAR SHORTBREAD
4 cups flour
2 cups butter
1 cup brown sugar
Cream the butter until it is soft and white. Add the brown sugar and continue to cream until the mixture is all one color. Add the flour and beat until smooth.
How hard was that?
If you do not have an ornate shortbread mold, pack the dough into a cake pan. No need to grease with all of that butter in the recipe! Take a fork and prick the dough across one diagonal, in a straight line. Now turn the pan 90 degrees and do the same. Now divide each of the quarters in half using the same technique.
If you have a mold, pack the shortbread into it.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes until lightly browned.
If you have used a cake pan, re-prick the shortbread along the lines you made, immediately upon removing from the oven. Cool ten minutes and turn out onto a cake rack to cool.
If you used a fancy mold, let the shortbread rest ten minutes after baking and then unmold onto a rack to cool.
Your friends and family will beg you to bring this for every occasion.
Visit the other ornament bloggers at:
My fellow Polymer Clay Artists in the Polymer Clay Artist’s Guild of Etsy have honored my work by awarding me Second Place in the Guild Members voting on our Forest Challenge this month.
I am so humbled by their votes.
I actually tied for second with the great polymer clay artist Jill Kollmann.
It means a lot to me to be selected by my fellow artists! Thanks to all of them.
There was some VERY stiff competition this month!
I’ve just posted my entry for the challenge that will finish in early November. The theme for next time is “Salt and Pepper”. I thought immediately of my grandmother’s cut crystal salt cellars. Each had its own tiny silver spoon with Grandmother’s initial engraved on it. I created a salt cellar and a pepper cellar, and made matching spoons for them. I hope you like them. I hope my fellow artist like them, too.
I’ll be asking you to vote for the salt and pepper cellars in early November!
My Dad was a medical photographer. He told me that the true test of a photographer was whether she could photograph canned spinach on a white plate. Well, photographing these two together was quite a challenge! The salt cellar was all translucent clay with bits of white. The pepper cellar had three shades of dark brown and bits of white. I tried SIX different backgrounds before I was able to make this photo. I had to settle for a great shot of the salt cellar and an OK shot of the pepper cellar.
I wish Dad were here still to help me with the photography!
When we entered the zoo, we saw a carousel. We love carousels and ride any one we can find. Apparently it is in our blood. When we go to DC we ride the same one that my mother rode when she was a girl. My daughter rode an ostrich and I rode an okapi.
We visited the African exhibit and when the time to see the cheetah cubs came, we moseyed over to the area.
The twin cubs, Kamau and Winspear, were amazingly cute, as you can see for yourself. They are being raised with a black lab puppy, Amani (which means peace in Swahili). He is just their age and the hope is that the puppy will help gentle the cheetah brothers down. We were very sad that the puppy was not present!
You can see a video of the cubs and the puppy here:
Then on to Norma’s Cafe, a South Dallas Institution that had not been on our radar until recently. We asked our waitress to bring our “mile high” slice of coconut cream pie right away, lest they run out of it. It was so fetching that we began to eat it while we waited for our meal. The pie was divine, still a little warm from the oven. I ordered a serving of the home made potato chips to go with my battered cheese sticks. Words cannot convey how delicious and right the chips were. I could not finish either the cheese sticks or the chips.
Later, I will preheat the oven to 500 degrees, along with my baking pan. When they are up to temperature I will add the cheese sticks and a few moments later the home fries.
(I will take this opportunity to offer a tip for reheating fries in a hospital room or a hotel room: blast them with your hair dryer!)
The oven will do for today’s reheating.
Stuffed, with leftovers in boxes, we eased into the car and drove home.
My Fitbit says I’ve walked 5266 steps so far today and that I’ve gone up three flights of stairs. Yes!
This month’s Art Bead Scene Challenge was to create one or more art beads inspired by the mural “Autumn” which was part of Alphonse Mucha‘s Seasons Series.
Native peoples the world over harvest acorns in fall and place the acorns in baskets in a stream, to rinse out the tannins. The rinsed, dried acorns are then ground into flour.
Faux Ivory is made by creating an ivory colored clay, then layering it with translucent clay. I chose to use the unbleached Premo translucent, which cures with a pale golden tint, to push the yellow tones in the finished piece.
I made my layers, cut and stacked them and then rolled them thinner and thinner, repeating the cutting and stacking until I got the spacing of layers that I liked.
You can see the Challenge and the painting that was my inspiration at http://www.artbeadscene.blogspot.com
I am coming to love these challenges. I learn and grow so much with each one.
In 2001 I took my daughter down to College Station, Texas to have a look at the Honors Program at Texas A&M. It was an overnight for her, so I took myself out to dinner.
I had the most amazing bread. It tasted like coconut. It tasted like I was swimming in coconut! I tried and tried to duplicate it over the years, to no avail. At the time I thought the flavor came from coconut oil in the butter that came with it.
Today I was at Central Market in my town and I got a small cake called Cocada de Forno. Oh my goodness! I was swimming in coconut again. This time the Coconut Heaven came with an ingredient label. Coconut flour was the first ingredient. Duh! Butter, sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk, sugar and flour brought up the rear.
The mystery is solved. I can have coconut heaven anytime. Mmmm.
I am a fourth generation native of Washington DC, living in Texas. Recently I jumped at the chance to visit DC with my daughter, who had to go there for some continuing medical education.
We went up early so we could visit museums. The most notable exhibit we saw was a listening device shaped like dog poop at the International Spy Museum.
We visited the Natural History Museum twice, two wings of the National Gallery of Art and the National Zoo.
We also ate at some wonderful restaurants. We had a fabulous Burmese cabbage salad with diced ginger, peanuts and fried lentils. We had an excellent mezza (small portions of many dishes) at a Lebanese restaurant. We had amazing salmon in a puff pastry crust with caper remoulade at a Russian venue. We ate tapas and shared four dishes including one with rabbit; we finished by sharing the best flan we’d ever eaten. We visited an old favorite Afghan restaurant where we also shared four appetizers, including an oldie-goodie with pumpkin, yogurt and red meat sauce.
We walked many miles a day so the entire adventure was weight neutral!