Tasting Notes: 2000 Domaine Jean Luc-Dubois Savigny-Les-Beaune Les Picotin

Ahhhhh....Burgundy. It is not just the color of my Grandmother's Buick. If I had to choose a favorite wine it may be Burgundy or Bourgogne if you are across the pond. If you ask me no other wine stirs up such romantic thoughts. I have never been to Paris or the Côte d'Or but every time I get my hands on a good bottle it whisks me away to a quaint sidewalk cafe or a country side picnic amongst gnarled old grape vines. Burgundy may not always be a bargain but it is definitely cheaper than a pair of plane tickets.

Our generous friends & neighbors the Squirrel Squad brought us this bottle before our trek to the Jerusalem Market and Restaurant (which you should check out if you are ever looking for some good eats while on beautiful Summer Ave). I believe they picked it up after the Great Wines and Spirits Latour tasting which by the sounds of it, it was a great event where 19 Burgundies were poured (kicking myself now).

We opened this bottle of 2000 Domaine Jean Luc-Dubois Savigny-Les-Beaune Les Picotin on a lazy Spring Sunday spent in the backyard. The weather was perfect & so was the wine. I like to call wines like this "Ugn!" wine. With one sniff & sip it makes you go "Ugn!" which is usually followed by a grin. The nose was alluring full of red cherry & berries with a hint of cedar. As the bottle opened up more layers were revealed, most notably was a touch of earthiness & a bit spice. On the palate it was just as multi-faceted. I really didn't know what to expect from a seven year old Burgundy but it wasn't the gobs of bright red fruit that it packs. Cherry dominates but there was also a little bit of strawberry & raspberry all followed up by a nice spiciness. In the mouth each sip felt like a satin wave was washing over my tongue. The tannins were very subtle & just kind hid out in the background. Everything was wrapped up by a sumptuous lingering spicy finish.

After finishing the bottle Laura said this may be her favorite wine ever. I agreed that it was definitely high on my list as well. If you are not a Burgundy believer this wine will make you one. Thanks Squirrel Family!



A Laugh For A Monday

This is a funny clip of outtakes I found of Orson Welles tanked doing a Paul Masson commercial.



Class & Taste

Who says you can't have taste if you don't have class?

This picture of a half bottle of smugled Chehalem 3 Vineyard Pinot Noir was taken at Southland Greyhound Park in West Memphis, Arkansas during a visit of one of my good friends from Copenhagen, Denmark. On the way to Arkansas I stopped to pick up some refreshments because I wasn't really in the Turning Leaf or Budweiser mood, but come to find out though, SGP now has a full bar & better beer selection & Mondavi which isn't terrible.

Now on to how we ended up a the dog track. Mikkel wanted to see the "real Memphis" during his two week holiday & I knew we had to make it to bet on the dogs. The place has been renovated & sort of resembles a casino now but luckily the grandstands where you can watch the races still had its sleazy charm I have come to know & love. The cigarette smoke hangs low in the air & clings to your hair & clothes, like a friendly reminder that you have just spent time with people who really don't care if they get a terrible disease...and they will. The sounds of the bells, the announcer "Heeeerrre cooommmes Rusty!!!" or it could be 'Lucky', I don't know the P.A. was terrible. People yelliing at there dogs for about 60 seconds, while they chase the mechanical bone as if each decible makes their lucky dog run a bit faster, echoes over the plastic, bleacher seating. This is a classy joint.

And then of course there is the Chehalem Pinot Noir, smuggeled in (I really just walked right in with it) with its earthy notes laying under baking spices & gobs of black cherry. This was a damn fine Pinot even out of a paper cup. I will be revisiting this one in my home...with my Riedel crystal real soon. I hit it big with that bottle but regrettably I only won $4 which only covered a glass of wine after the Pinot was gone.

Veggies To Eat Before You Die: Cabbage Sprouts

Spring time is here, yey yey yey. To celebrate I went to Easy Way (the only shop that I don't budget my spending) last weekend to see if they had any new seasonal veggies in yet. Most of the stuff on the shelves was still pushing it as far as being in season is concerned. They fooled me once this time of year with the melons about 4 years ago, but never again.

So I am searching for the new stuff, the stuff they only have in the store for a couple of weeks before it is gone until the next season, and I stumble upon cabbage sprouts. They looked interesting enough, a mix between a tiny cabbage and a really big over grown brussel sprout and at 49 cents a pound they couldn't be beat. So I scoop some up, assuming that surely I will be able to find a recipe online when I get home.

Well let me be the first to tell you that nobody eats these things. The things that I learned from my google search on cabbage sprout recipes are two fold.
1. Only one person has ever eaten a cabbage sprout and felt the need to post about it on the internet besides me. (Although I was hungry and didn't do a thorough search.)
2. Broccoli is Italian for cabbage sprout meaning every hit returned from my cabbage sprout search was ultimately about broccoli, which is not the same thing as a cabbage sprout.

The recipe I found was simple enough, thanks to fellow blogger Alanna over at A Veggie Venture.
-Melt some butter in a pan. (About a tablespoon)
-Remove loose or tough leaves from cabbage sprouts.
-Cut sprouts in half and place in pan with melted butter.
-Toss well and cover pan. Cook slowly for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

We tried it out and the cabbage sprouts were phenomenal. They have more of a winter greens flavor (think Kale) than cabbage or brussel sprout flavor. I didn't really know what I was looking for in a cabbage sprout when I picked them out but since cooking them, I do know, and shall impart my sprout wisdom onto you.

1. Pick tight sprouts, the outer leaves are kind of hard and the looser sprouts don't have as much of a "heart" as the tighter ones do. The heart is the good part, tender light green leaves full of flavor.

2. Keep the butter on low heat. I ended up with a couple of kind of crispy leaves because of a thin pan and high heat.

3. Leaves that you might think would be too tough to eat really turn out tender. The bigger tougher leaves fall off and burn rather quickly. They don't make for pretty presentation but still taste good and I think would be good sautéed in butter or oil separately from the hearts.




To say that I don't handle stress well would be the understatement of the year. Because of this and my propensity towards procrastination in every aspect of my life, I have decided to make Sunday "Study Day" at least until I finish comprehensive finals mid-April. It helps me feel less like I am spiraling out of control into "cram session oblivion".

Today (study day numero uno) I was dying for a break. As much as I love reading about the anthropology of health care, I figured that a hungry brain can't possibly function as well as a not-hungry brain, right?

I needed something easy and quick, so that I didn't lose my motivation for actually completing my study goals for the day when I stumbled across this gem in my Health magazine. Generally I don't try recipes I find in Health. Too many light and low fat ingredients for my taste. Too much scrimping on flavor to save some calories, and frankly, if I never count another calorie again, it will be too soon. But this recipe looked so easy that even my text book-fried brain could carry it out.

Anyways, rambling. So here goes. Don't blink because you seriously miss the recipe.

Sweet Pea Soup
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups frozen peas (green peas)
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tblsp of chopped chives
* I added garlic (because I eat everything with garlic) and tarragon to the broth while it was boiling (because it sounded kind of dull)
1. Boil the broth (with other seasonings you want to add)
2. Add peas and cook for about 3 minutes
3. Take pea/broth mixture and put in blender with 1/4 cup of sour cream. Blend until smooth.
4. Serve.

That is it. It is a very thin soup, so don't go expecting hearty on this one, but the flavor is great, even with frozen and canned ingredients. According to Health, it's also really high in fiber, if you are into that sort of thing. We had it with some french bread and it was a fantastic light lunch. Definitely perfect for when you are in a crunch or in the middle of a cram session and don't want your meal to weigh your brain down.



MMMMmmmmmac and Cheese

We have been slacking off in the "cook something new and then rave about it" department lately. Desperate for inspiration, I decided to spend a day perusing the Memphis food lover's blogs, my favorite spot for food inspiration. Not in the mood for anything too fancy or time consuming I stumbled upon this fabulous looking mac n cheese recipe courtesy of the squirrel squad from across the street.

Being a cheese and pasta freak, I got super excited and ran into the kitchen, keeping my fingers crossed the whole time, hoping that I had everything I needed. I like to keep a fully stocked pantry because one of my BIGGEST peeves is having the cooking bug hit only to find that I have to make a run to the store for some ingredient that I forgot to restock.

Of course, we were missing some key ingredients. Although we are huge cheese lovers, we are also semi lactose intolerant so we were in short supply of sour cream, and completely devoid of cream cheese. I recalled once making a mac n' cheese with a mornay base, so I went searching for a more precise recipe. While I can generally cook anything without a recipe and make it taste good, I will flub up a sauce in a heart beat.

I found my mac n' cheese recipe in How to Cook Everything. This book has far more to offer in the way of technique than in actual recipe content IMO, but it has never let me down. One of this cookbook's biggest perks, I always have all the ingredients for almost all of the recipes on hand.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

  • 2.5 cups milk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lb of cut pasta (I used shells because shells are my favorite)
  • 4 tblsp butter
  • 3 tblsp flour
  • 1.5 cups grated cheese ( we used everything in the fridge: Brie, parm, port salute, and fontina)
  • .5 cup grated parm
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • .5 cups bread crumbs
1. Preheat the oven to 400º F and bring a large pot of water to a boil.

2. Cook milk with bay leaves over low heat until small bubble start to form on the sides of the pan, turn off heat and let stand. Salt boiling water and cook pasta to the point where it still needs a couple of minutes to be completely done. Drain, rinse in cold water to stop cooking and place in a bowl.

3. In a small sauce pan over medium low heat melt butter. When it foams add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until it begins to brown. (about 5 minutes) Remove bay leaves from milk and add milk, about .25 cups at a time to the flour mixture, stir between each addition until mixture becomes smooth. When you have added all the milk and the entire mixture is smooth, add the cheese (minus the .5 cup of parm), stirring until it melts.

4. Pour the sauce over the noodles, toss in the reserved parm, salt and pepper. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan and pour the noodle mixture in. Top with bread crumbs and bake until the crumbs turn brown, about 15 minutes.

It turned out fan-frickin'-tastic. Even the left overs were delicious, and I have a hard time enjoying left over pasta of any sort. No pictures of this dish, we were starving and it tasted too good to wait for some stinking pictures. See Suirrel Squads recipe for a picture that looks identical to the turn out of our dish, or , a better idea, make it yourself and take your own photos.


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