Damn near effortless. Damn sure good.

June 30, 2010

It had been a while since I had a wine-and-cheese dinner; not since I acquired New Son, in fact. I mean, the kid’s 15 so he can’t drink, and I somehow don’t think cheese, pickles and olives would fly at assauging the hunger of a 6-foot-2, 200-and-something-pound adolescent. But I had stuff to do after work (a badly needed manicure and pedicure, and a somewhat less badly needed trip to the dreaded Wal-Mart), so cooking was not an option.

So he got a Papa John’s pizza (Tuscan six-cheese, with extra pepperoni). I, on the other hand, turned to the old standby of cows and grapes.

Well, cows and sheep and grapes. No goats in this batch, though.

I had a slab of Gruyere, along with some of the new batch of cow’s milk cheddar and sheep’s milk whatever-you-call it (semi-firm, aged three months, tangy). And I had stopped by the liquor store and restocked the wine rack, as it was plumb empty of red (I can keep white forever, taking an urge for same only rarely). So I have just finished enjoying a plate with the three kinds of cheese, some bread-and-butter pickle spears, some Moroccan oil-cured olives, and some big pimento-stuffed martini olives. And honey (a good sharp cheese dabbed in honey is a Fine Thing).  And am on my second glass of Menage a’ Trois California blended red, which is a pretty good wine at $10 a bottle.

And I have really pretty fingers and toes, and I managed to get by the new gym and join up (it isn’t open yet, which gives me two weeks to psych myself up to go every day, or at least several days a week, because I am So Out Of Shape It Isn’t Funny). And I have new lipstick and eye shadow, as well as restocking on necessities of life like toothpaste and mouthwash and shampoo, and Oh, Damn, I Just Realized I Forgot The Freakin’ Body Lotion.

Well. I’ve never yet gotten home from WalMart or the grocery with everything I meant to get. It’ll wait. I’ll have to make a grocery run this weekend, anyway.

Good to have wine in the house again, though. For years, I drank wine in the winter and shifted over to beer and/or vodka and/or rum in the summer. Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m not dissing any of the latter as summertime drinks, and they’ll stay in my repertoire. But for that after work, relax on the couch, or sip it while you’re cooking libation, I find I like my red wine more and more, year-round. And there are some GOOD reds out there somewhere around the $10-$12 price point.

Tonight, I came in with two bottles of Francis Ford Coppola Rosso, another blended red of which I’m unconscionably fond. They do a good claret, too; haven’t had their merlot or cab. I got Dancing Bull merlot, and Spanish Sons tempranillo, as well. I’m on a kick for blended reds as well as Spanish and Argentinian and Chilean wines; some others I like in the same range are Saurus and Alamos malbec, and there’s a couple of other tempranillos and riojas. It’s all part of that anti-cabernet thing I’ve got going on….cabs just tend to have too much tannin for me. 

Grapes are Good Things. Indeed they are.

Elsewhere in my kitchen-brain tonight….

  • Tomorrow’s the day to place my PJF order. I’m thinking I want to try my hand at corned beef, so I’m thinking I’ll get a piece of brisket from them. And ground beef, and pork chops. That’ll keep the grill busy this weekend, along with the pork loin that’s slated for Sunday. Might even grill some red snapper.
  • Going to a cookout Saturday night. I’m to take a fruit salad and an appetizer. I’m thinking about some kind of bruschetta, maybe like a mini-caprese on a crostini. This has to appeal to a herd of kids as well as grown-ups. I might do some of them like that and some as a kind of pizza-looking thing, with pepperoni and a little tomato sauce. Fruit salad will have whatever the farmers market has Saturday morning — watermelon, cantaloupe, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, plums. I’ll either make up some sweetened creme fraiche or go all out and make the marshmallow cream/cream cheese fruit dip. Creme fraiche, however, is easier, and as much as I love the other dip, I think the creme fraiche is just as good.
  • Tomorrow morning’s the coconut cake at work. I also had a call for ambrosia to go with it, and damned if I didn’t forget to get the stuff for that today. It’s easy enough to throw together, though, that I might just stop by the grocery on my way to work in the morning and get it.
  • Great-sounding recipe on the Thursday Night Smackdown blog this week for baked eggs over a tomato sauce with chorizo, topped with Manchego cheese. Does that sound good, or what? It does not, however, sound summery. I’ll be tucking that one away for a cool evening.
  • Also a recipe on the Food 52 site in this week’s squash contest for a zucchini quiche, which is fairly ordinary, in a crust made of brown rice, egg and cheese, which is sheer freakin’ genius. I cannot WAIT to try that. I believe there is quiche in my future this weekend.
  • Contemplating buying a smoker. I want to smoke some fish. And some chicken. And a turkey. And…and…well, you get the idea.

Looking forward to a long weekend. You and y’mama ‘n ’em don’t set any fires with your fireworks, y’hear?

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