Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fun This Friday: Meet Toad Hollow Vineyard's Winemaker at The Frederick Wine House

Looking for something new and totally cool to do this Friday night, 9/23? Go see my friend Gary at The Frederick Wine House in the Clemson Corner Shopping Center (across the parking lot from Wegman’s) for their very first Skype “meet the Winemaker” session with Toad Hollow Vineyards, located in Healdsburg, CA.

It's no secret that I love the folks at The Frederick Wine House, not only for their fab selection of wines, and the fact that Gary always steers me to something I like (and can afford), and that the staff is always super nice to me, but this Skyping thing is a great opportunity not only to taste a bunch of really delicious wines, but to also ask questions, live, directly to the winemakers and staff at Toad Hollow.

Wines to be tasted include:
• Toad Hollow Chardonnay
• Risqué French Sparkling Wine
• Eye of the Toad Dry Rosé of Pinot Noir (I am having such a rose thing right now!)
• Erik's the Red Blend
• Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Reserve
• Toad Hollow Merlot

The very best part? This wine tasting is completely FREE, and no reservations are required. The event is an extension of The Frederick Wine House’s regular Friday night wine tasting, which runs from 4-8pm. Want more info? Email Barb at bvalenti1@aol.com.

Here are the details:

Skype Tasting with Toad Hollow Vineyards
Date & Time: Friday, September 23, 2011, 7 pm - 8 pm*
Location: Frederick Wine House Tasting Bar
Fee: Free, no reservations required
Winery Information: Toad Hollow Vineyards, located in Healdsburg, California
Skyped Toad Hollow Officials: Toad Hollow winemaker and staff

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Make Your Rice Right: Cooking Rice the French Way

I love rice. Growing up, I ate more Minute Rice than a lifetime allotment, because it was Pennsylvania in the 70's & 80's and no one knew that rice was something that could be awesome. And not so, uh, minutey.

My confession is this: I make terrible rice. Not terrible sushi rice (at which I kick tush), but just terrible regular old rice. Basmati, Jasmine, Brown -- doesn't matter.

It could be my complete lack of patience, or maybe even my stupid ceramic top stove, but there's something about the ratios, simple as they may be, and the heat, and the pot, and well, I just kind of check out on the whole process. Mostly because, one of the very first things I learned at my fancy French Cooking School in New York City was how to cook rice the French way. It changed how I cook.

You ready for me to tell you my fancy-pants rice-cooking ways?

It's this simple: Cook your rice the way you would cook pasta.

You heard me; the way you cook pasta. Think of a nice pot of boiling, salted water (no, you don't have to measure it, just use a bunch, the way you would to cook pasta), then toss in your rice.

Cook white rice (Jasmine, Basmati, etc.) for 13 minutes and brown rice for 34 minutes at a slow boil (the way you would cook pasta), then drain in a colander.

That's it. You'll have individual grains of perfectly cooked rice, ready to go. And yes, I promise this works. I've been cooking rice this way for almost 17 years, and I haven't messed-up a pot yet.

And yup, you're welcome. :)