Friday, June 26, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
My Dad was going to stop by to wish Miss Puff a happy birthday and stay for a glass of wine, but then I got the call.
“Hey, we’re inviting ourselves to dinner tomorrow night and we’re bringing steaks, potatoes, and a couple treasures from the cellar.”
Then, quickly remembering his manners, “Is that OK?”
Let me think for a nano-second here, Dad…hamburgers and cheap wine, or free-thinking, grass--fed, 2-inch thick, organic Rib Eyes and wine I can’t afford? Even if I were a brainless nitwit I’d know the final answer to that question. Frankly, if more families had the sense to self-invite to dinner in this manner, there would be no “dys” in functional.
As I was taking a much-needed breather between parties, I suddenly realized I didn’t have a single prepared snack to dip into. With rosé in hand, I started digging through the freezer hoping to find a long-forgotten box of mini quiches or egg rolls. As it turns out, my appetizer angst was for nothing. Not only did Dad and Mrs. G bring dinner, they brought a glorious tray piled high with salami, crackers, nuts, dried apricots, and an amazing selection of cheese that they handpicked and tested themselves. While I was happily over--eating, I thought about how lucky I am to have such a great Dad and wondered, what kind of wine is my great Dad?
Since my Dad drinks nothing but red wine, I’d always expected him to be a big, tannic Napa Cabernet. But, as a father to four girls, I knew I needed to find something a bit stronger, something more fortified, something that could handle PMS year round. It wasn’t until I had a wee glass of Niepoort Tawny Port that I realized what my Dad really is.
The Niepoort Tawny, like my father, smells like great cologne, the kind that lingers lovingly on your clothes after being wrapped up in a great big bear hug. It’s easy to find comfort in a young tawny port. They can be very soothing, reassuring, and heart warming. There’s no hidden agenda or game playing--the wine is simply genuine and sweet because that’s all it knows.
The most amazing thing about a tawny port and the Niepoort in particular is its generosity. Unlike your average Napa Cab, once a tawny has been opened it keeps on giving and giving and won’t go bad for several months. It’s there for you when you have a wounded heart one day, and a maxed--out Nordstrom card the next. If you just like having a tawny port around but don’t want to drink it just yet, feel free to hang onto a bottle for a few years; with the exception of a little hearing loss, they only get better with age.
There’s one thing my Dad told me that I will never forget, something a tawny port might say if it were a father. He said, “I’ll always be the best boyfriend you ever had.” He was right and that’s why I will always keep a bottle of tawny port handy.
Happy Father’s Day.
Friday, June 12, 2009
I'm thinking, oh goodie, a well deserved glazed cinnamon twist.
Oddly enough his treat was twisted but not of the glazed variety. He was shuffling through some CD's he'd just checked out when I realized what the treat was. "The Carpenters?" I asked. With a queer little smile on his face, he holds up a CD baggie containing a 3-CD set of The Carpenters! Since Mr. B has successfully brainwashed me into thinking that The Carpenters are one of my all-time favorite singing duos, I frantically motioned to him to get the melodies playing ASAP.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Last year at this time the weather was so frightful in the Pacific Northwest that people started referring to June as "Junuary"--so much for global warming in this neck-of--the--woods. No one was celebrating the coming of summer. We were all still huddled indoors reaching for yet another glass of teeth staining Syrah to enjoy by the fire.
Well, this June, Mother Nature is fresh out of rehab, back at the helm and I can't chill the whites and roses fast enough. And quite honestly, I would rather drink whites and rosés no matter what time of year it is. I have come full circle in my wine drinking and am back to where I started with pink wine, sort of. This time, I'm a wine snob and will only consider drinking white zinfandel if I'm at a funeral and that's my only choice. Whoever said, "Friends don't let friends drink white zinfandel," was a true friend. It's because of white zin that people turn up their noses at rosés before even trying one. With the exception of color, the two wines have nothing in common. One is like an adult Kool-Aid on erectile dysfunction medication and the other one is pure splendor in the glass. Really, why subject yourself to a droopy four-hour hard-on, when you could have a satisfying rosé-gasm?
Early June is the perfect time to explore rosés and your hidden sexuality. This is the time of year when containers from France, Italy, and Spain are hitting our shores and unloading all kinds of liquid pink pleasures. If you don't have a fondness for imports, there are plenty of yummy rosés from Washington, Oregon, and California to choose from. I prefer the pinks from abroad but, in a pinch, will settle for something else (not less).
This past Monday it was so warm, I was driving around town acting like a dog with my head hanging out the window and thinking pink thoughts. That stinging secretion of saliva near the back of my tongue was signaling me that it's time--time to go home, pour a glass of rosé, and listen to "All Things Considered." With a few quiet moments to myself, I settled my sweaty body outside and enjoyed the sun-kissed flavors of a delightful local rosé, the 2008 Saviah Rosé from Walla, Walla, Washington.
It would be easy to assume, because all rosés are pinkish, that they are all women. This assumption, however, neglects those wonderful men in our lives that exhibit some feminine tendencies, those great listeners that you can really open up to about gardening, interior decorating, and entertaining. While I was listening to the objective views of NPR and savoring the Saviah Rosé, I was happily reminded of my friend "Teddy." Like Teddy, the Saviah Rosé is a little fruity, but not overtly so. There is a hint of masculinity that gives the wine excellent weight and balance.
I was very at ease in the company of the Saviah Rosé, just as I was with Teddy. Conversation came easy for Teddy and me because we were both passionate about food, wine, and complaining about my mother-in-law. Although Teddy was a good friend of my mother-in-law, he couldn't stop himself from a little lighthearted gossip about her every now and then. The two became friends when she owned an antique shop. I never had to worry about lack of conversation with Teddy.
With his well groomed hands gesticulating wildly, he would go on for hours about his family, especially "Mother." He never said "my Mother." It was always just Mother, like she was the mother of all mothers. The other thing Teddy loved to talk about was his sophisticated culinary talents. He was especially proud of one dish in particular...I call it "Teddy's No-Bake-Chicken", and it's so simple! I was attendance on the night Teddy prepared this dish for a Sunday dinner and he was kind enough to share his secret recipe with me. Just take some chicken boobs, pound the hell outta them, season with some expensive cheese and fresh herbs, roll 'em up, and, here's the most important step...underbake them. Yep. Just show the little suckers the oven and that's it! Baadaa bing.
Not one person at the dinner table had the heart to say, "Why is my chicken so gummy and raw. Did you forget to cook these?" We all sat in silence knowing that a long, complimentary sit on the throne was inevitable.
I no longer live within dinner-invite range of Teddy but I think of him everytime I bake chicken and I miss his wonderful stories, fabulous flower arrangements and his unsolicited decorating advice. Until I see him again, I guess I'll have to make do with a glass of Saviah Rosé and a not-so-steaming plateful of Teddy's Famous No-Bake-Chicken.
If you'd like the recipe, please feel free to leave a comment...I'm sure Teddy wouldn't mind.