21 July, 2011


Once a month, three of my girlfriends and I get together at our favorite wine bar to catch up and enjoy great wine and great cheese! It never gets old; there is so much joy found in relishing excellent things together, and learning together to articulate what we do or don't like, and why.

Last night was our July excursion. We always go on a Wednesday for the "Wino Wednesday" special, which last night happened to be $10 off any bottle of rose'. Perfect timing, because the heat and humidity here in DC are getting pretty abysmal! (Though, I'm not gonna lie, I like having a reason to use the word "abysmal.") We split a bottle of Jeio Bisol Rose' Prosecco from Veneto, Italy. The color was gorgeous, and a sparkling wine was a wonderfully refreshing choice.

The real star of the night, though, was THE CHEESE. Oh, did we ever go crazy with the cheese. For our first round (yes, there were two. We may look dainty but when it comes to cheese we do not fool around.) we got a plate of 5 cheeses and 1 meat. The Cabra Paprika was not very memorable, but it was fun to try and it added a nice dash of color! The Kunik was incredibly luscious and worked well with the Prosecco. My hands-down favorite, though, was the Humboldt Fog. Even my friend who can't stand goat cheese loved it. Not only was it simply beautiful to look at, the grey-blue ribbon of ash around the rind lent a fun, unexpected tangy note to a deliciously rich cheese. I tried to leave a little for the other girls to enjoy...The cheddar was also fantastic; very nutty, and similar to a Parmesan in texture.

L to R: Robiola, cow & sheep, Italy; Cabot Clothbound Cheddar; Humboldt Fog, goat, California; Kunik, goat & cow, New York; Cabra Paprika, goat, Spain.

For round 2, we were all interested in different things to drink so we got individual glasses. I ordered the Elizabeth Spencer Sauvignon Blanc, 2010, Mendocino CA. It was much less "grapefruity" than my all-time favorite Sauv Blanc, but it was still really pleasant, with those subtle mineral notes that taste a lot better than they sound. :-) We got "just" three cheeses this time around: Drunken Goat, goat, Spain; St. Angel, cow, France; and Prairie Breeze Cheddar. My favorite of these was the St. Angel, though nothing eclipsed the Humboldt Fog!

I'm already looking forward to next month's Screwtop outing :-)

20 July, 2011

I think it's time for a little Yeats.

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

12 July, 2011

Dilemma: The Office Potluck

My team at work loves having potlucks for our staff meetings. I have no problem with this. My problem is with how suddenly they are often announced...leaving me with little or no time to plan, shop, and cook something to contribute. I am swamped catching up from being on vacation, already too busy in the evenings, and haven't even had time to grocery shop for myself this week -- so of course, BAM: POTLUCK.

As is increasingly my habit, I turned to Smitten Kitchen for help and found it in this beautiful salad. Upon first read, I thought the writer's enthusiasm for the salad had to be exaggerated, but now I'm a believer. I tested one bite before putting it away in the fridge for tomorrow, and I'm having a hard time not going back downstairs to tuck into the rest of it! It was so easy to make, and I'm so glad to now know the simple but brilliant quick pickling technique for red onion. Bon appetit!