Daily Archives: May 20, 2008

Learn and laugh as you watch this wine guy

Wine tasting, buying and collecting is considered by many to be stuffy, elitist and boring.

I wish they would watch Gary Vaynerchuk’s video podcasts (Wine Library TV).

You’ll laugh so hard out loud that people around you may wonder whether you’re insane. You’ll giggle at his facial expressions, chuckle at his descriptions of wine (he compared the smell of one wine to powdered lemonade) and tears will be coming out of your eyes by the time you’re finished with the show.

Oh, yeah, and you’ll learn about wine. He knows his stuff and isn’t afraid to share it with ya.

I just watched an episode where he compares Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio (which are made from the same grape — just in different styles) and found myself learning a thing or two. Plus, he rates the wines he tastes and talks you through the ratings, which helps you understand why a wine got a certain score (for example, an expensive wine with an “eh” taste rates lower than a cheaper wine that tastes the same).

If you’re on the path to wine snobdom, forget the stuffy wine mags, you’ve got to watch this guy.

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Posted by on May 20, 2008 in Wine


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Spring Crunchy Grain Salad

So, as promised, here is the recipe that I entered in the Trader Joe’s recipe contest this spring. The inspiration was a roast chicken stuffed with olives, oranges and onions covered with an herby rub. I needed a side dish and was looking for something warm and comforting, a dish that resembled a stuffing. But, it being spring and all, it needed a fresh, crunchy, light update. Hence, this recipe was born. While we served it with roast chicken, you can easily serve it for lunch on its own.

The recipe uses Trader Joe’s ingredients, but you can easily make it with regular or Israel Couscous. Israeli Couscous has larger pearls and makes for a nice, squishy salad.

Spring Crunchy Grain Salad


1 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains Blend (you can substitute Isreali Couscous or even regular couscous)
2 oz (roughly 1/4 package) of Trader Joe’s Light Feta Cheese
2 small Fuji apples
4 celery stalks

1. Bring 1 3/4 cup water to a boil. Stir in the Harvest Grains Blend. Bring back to a boil, reduce heat and simmer with a cover for about 10 more minutes. Remove from the heat and fluff with a fork.
2. Chop the Fuji apples into small dice and the celery stalks into thin slices and add to the Harvest Grains Blend.
3. Crumble the feta cheese over the salad.
4. Voila! You’re ready to go!

p.s. The Trader Joe’s recipe contest allows for only four ingredients, but to further spice up this salad, I would add some toasted pine nuts, drizzle a good glug of a fine olive oil and sprinkle generously with fresh-ground pepper.

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Posted by on May 20, 2008 in Grains, Salads


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Stick it to me: Stickers on Produce

Ever come across those tiny stickers on an apple or peach just as you’re about to bite down on the peel? Turns out those little stickers are used for much more than just letting your supermarket clerk know how much to charge you. Those stickers reveal how the food was grown and whether it’s been genetically modified.

I’m not opposed to GMOs. I think the big hoopla about the monarch butterflies was based on incorrect science data (and after a quarter of Plant Genetic Engineering at Stanford, where we carefully dissected the research, I can tell you a lot more about that if you’d like) and I believe that GMOs have a place in modern agriculture — with more research, of course.

That being said, I do think people need to know what they are eating. Fortunately the food companies are giving consumers a (subtle) clue if they care to know. According to Vegetarian Times magazine…

  • Stickers with 5 digits starting with an “8” show that produce was genetically modified.
  • Stickers with 5 digits starting with a “9” show that the fruits and veggies were organically grown.
  • Stickers with 4 digits show that fruits and veggies are just plain ol’ conventional.
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Posted by on May 20, 2008 in Uncategorized


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