Posted at 5:00 am
This red blend is a beautiful example that you can still find a gem of a wine for a fabulous price. Illusion, or poor man’s Prisoner as a local wineshop owner likes to refer to it, is a blend of Old Vine Zinfandel, Merlot, Petite Sirah, and Cabernet. The vines and winery are located in the Lodi appellation of California located just east of San Francisco.
The color is cranberry red in the glass. After you give it a few good swirls, the wine settles into a dreamy, transparent purple with a cranberry tinge around the rim. The aromas are earthy with some black pepper, but after the first sip the pepper disappears and smooth flavors of cherry, vanilla, woodsmoke and mocha take over with a bit of a bite on the finish. A very pleasant wine to enjoy by itself or with food. We paired it with meatballs, spinach artichoke dip and cheese bread.
This wine is about $10 online or in your nearest wine shop. Thank you Amy for introducing us to this one! You always find the perfect wine to bring to book club!
Wine rating: 🍷🍷🍷 1/2 out of 5
Merry Christmas and cheers my dears!
Posted at 5:00 am
I love scones, but they’re something I don’t normally think to make. These white chocolate cranberry scones would be perfect to serve on Christmas morning. They’re lovely with a cup of coffee or tea and not too sweet with the tart tang of fresh cranberries. Another plus is that you can make them the day before and store them in an airtight container. They will keep up to two days, but they’re best if eaten within 24 hours. If you want to make them further in advance, just freeze them. They’ll last a month in your freezer.
White Chocolate Cranberry Scones
- 4 cups flour
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 sticks of cold butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup white chocolate chips + 1/2 cup more for melting and drizzling on top
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1 egg + 2 tsp water for egg washing the tops of scones
- coarse sugar or regular granulated sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt) into a large mixing bowl.
- Add butter to bowl and combine ingredients with clean hands. The mixture should be the consistency of small pebbles. Add 1 cup white chocolate chips.
- In a separate bowl combine sour cream, vanilla and eggs.
- Pour wet ingredients in with dry ingredients using a fork to stir. Fold in 2 cups fresh cranberries.
- Form two equal-sized balls from the dough.
- On a clean surface, sprinkle flour and form one of the balls into a circle about 8 inches in diameter and 3/4 inch thick.
- Slice the dough like a pizza with 8 equal slices.
- Place each triangular piece of dough onto your baking sheet. Use a spoon or kitchen brush to coat the tops of each scone with the egg wash. Sprinkle each scone with sugar.
- Bake in the oven for 14-17 minutes until the tops of the scones are golden.
- Do the same process for your other ball of dough and bake.
- Melt the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring every 20 seconds until smooth. Drizzle over the top of scones.
Posted at 5:00 am
These cookies are minty, chocolatey and have a hint of mocha. The perfect cookie for the Grinch to slink up to and snag all for himself.
My daughter, who loves the Grinch, was my taste tester. She was disappointed that a Grinch face wasn’t decorated on top. 🙂 Okay, so I lost points for presentation. In my humble opinion, they taste great with a big glass of milk or a cup of coffee.
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 Tbl instant coffee granules
- 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 3/4 cup butter, melted
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Green food coloring (I used gel food coloring. Add as much to your desired level of greenness)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped Andes Mints (you can buy the baking bits or chop them yourself)
- Combine flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, salt, instant coffee and cornstarch in a large bowl with a whisk.
- In a smaller, separate bowl combine melted butter, sugars, eggs, vanilla and green food coloring.
- Pour wet ingredients into the dry using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
- Fold in Andes chopped mints.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Use about 3 Tbl and roll dough into a ball. Place 8 balls on cookie sheet spacing evenly.
- Bake for 11-12 minutes. Allow to cool slightly on pan before transferring to a cookie rack to cool completely.
Posted at 5:30 am
We opened this 2012 wine while we were out in Galena and my, did it taste good! This was a Christmas gift from my husband’s first boss out of college. This guy knows wine! Last year, we were lucky enough to try the Wine Spectator’s wine of the year, L Cabernet thanks to him. This year, the wine he gave us came directly from his daughter-in-law’s family vineyard out in Napa.
The Materra Right Bank drinks like a dominantly Cab blend so I was pretty shocked to see the breakdown with Merlot taking the lead at 96%! Maybe Wine Spectator is onto something here because their new wine of the year is Duckhorn’s Merlot. There’s only 2% Cabernet, 1% Petit Verdot and 1% Malbec rounding the Right Bank out nicely.
The color is a rich ruby red when poured into the glass. It smelled just like Napa. I tasted some bright red fruits with cocoa, vanilla and loamy earth on the finish. Extremely smooth and paired very well with the Sartori peppercorn cheese and Lindt chocolate truffles we served.
You can order this wine on the Materra wines website for $50. An outstanding wine and perfectly priced.
Rating: 🍷🍷🍷🍷1/2 out of 5 wine glasses
Cheers my dears!