Tag Archives: chocolate

There’s a Joke About People Who Live In Glass Houses…

But, it’s really overdone, so I decided not to use it as the title of my post. The last winery on the Appellation Wine Trail Tour for us was, indeed, Glass House Winery.  This was the only winery on the trail we’d been to before, and it was a great place to end.

The winery itself is gorgeous, and though we did out tasting inside at the bar (they were too busy to do them in the greenhouse), we all ended up with glasses of wine out among the tropical plants and live music. This was a perfect way to warm up and end the day after a chilling rain-soaked day. But, onto the wines:

I took lousy notes. It was crowded, it was the last winery of the day and I was wet and my palette was more than a little tired. This means my review will not be quite as comprehensive as my others, and I encourage you to remember that when reading.

So, I’ll say that overall I am not a big fan of their whites, the Pinot Gris and the Viogner.  They’re not bad, they’re just okay.  I’m coming to really like some Viogners, which I tried on the recommendation of a friend, but Glass House’s just falls flat for me.

I am far more impressed by the reds I’ve tasted here, Thadd and I both ended up with glasses of the Cvillan. It was full, fruit forward, and had a nice finish. We didn’t taste the Barbara (I think they’re sold out..either that, or I was in the bathroom, which is possible).

They also do a dessert wine, the Meglio del Sesso. This is a really nice dessert wine, full of chocolate flavor without being syrupy. This, I was told on my last visit, is because it’s infused with real chocolate. Which is appropriate, because the winemaker’s wife makes the most divine chocolates (my favorites are her wine and her earl gray…mmmm!). Our friends each got a glass of this for our wind-down greenhouse sitting.

I will say the pours here were really small. I suspect it’s because the tasting room staffer we had knew we’d been to several other wineries, and as I’d been here before, I was fine with it. On another day, though, I’d probably have wanted a slightly larger pour for tasting.

Overall, the day was a huge success, and Glass House was the perfect ending!


Friday Fast Ones, Oct. 21, 2010

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So, for those of you waiting for it: Yes, I am diligently working on a Part II to the whole “Feed the World” thing. It’s long, it’s complicated, and I’m writing it in between Life and Everything Else. So, keep checking, it’ll be here soon. Now, onto…

Friday Fast One: Hershey sources it’s chocolate from areas and suppliers known for child and forced labor. It’s a well-known problem, one that other chocolatiers have taken steps to help remedy. Except HersheyWhat This Means To You: Well, that depends on how much chocolate you eat. For me, it means taking a stand against Scharffen-Berger, a chocolate that was amazing and is unfortunately now owned by Hershey. It means buying chocolate from other candy companies, or forgoing it. If you purchase Hershey chocolates or candies, you’re supporting their practices. Chocolate shouldn’t be an indulgence built on the backs of children and slaves.

And…that’s it. I know, slow week, largely because the issues of the past few weeks (The Rawsome Food raid vs. the Egg Debacle) is still ongoing. And, enough bloggers have hopped on that issue and done it better than I could that I don’t feel compelled to do a Friday Fast One on it. Suffice it to say that you should eat local eggs and do all you can to support local dairy.

Have a great weekend, and swing by for Monday Healthy Eating on..well, Monday!

It’s Personal!

I love these personal frittatas. Farm fresh eggs, local greens and tomatoes,  fresh milk, and grated Parmesan. They’re also incredibly impressive coming out of the oven, and don’t take much to prepare to perfection. Did I mention they freeze well? What’s not to love?

There’s no set recipe, and I change them up a lot depending on the ingredients I have to hand and the seasons; but, the basics are:

-A small, personal tart pan

-Baking spray

-2 farm fresh eggs

-2-3 tbs. fresh milk, cream, or sour cream.

-Salt, pepper, ground mustard, cayenne. Other spices, like thyme, basil, oregano, etc. can also be added to compliment your fillings.

– Fillings of your choice. Meats should be cooked.

-2 tbs. hard cheese, finely grated (I like Parmesan or Sharp Cheddar)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray pan liberally with baking spray and place pan on cookie sheet,  then spoon in about 4 tbs. filling ingredients. In separate bowl, beat together eggs, cream, and a pinch of each spice with a whisk. Stir in all but 1 tsp. of your cheese, and pour into tart pan. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of egg mixture, and place tart pan (still on the cookie tray) into oven. Bake for 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into center. Allow to cool completely in tart pan, then gently run a butter knife around the edge of the frittata and remove from pan.

You’re likely to be seeing more “individual” foods here, as Thadd’s back in school and needs things he can toss into a cooler and I have clients that need something they can carry to work easily. If you’ve got favorite “individual” foods, share with us! Or, if there’s something you’d like to see, just ask and I’ll see what I can do!

Melamine Recalls: Infant Formulas & Chocolate in US test positive.

So, I try very hard not to say “See, I TOLD you so.” But, I am going to say it. I am not paranoid, I am realistic. Thinking what happens around the rest of the world can’t happen here is a fantasy. It’s the reason we cook so much of our food from scratch, and get as much locally as we can.

Melamine has been found in samples of:
* Enfamil Lipil with Iron.
* Nestle Good Start with Iron tested positive for a melamine byproduct.
* Chocolate sold at Walgreens.

There’s a recall on the chocolate, but not on the formula. Because the FDA says there’s nothing to worry about. You know, all those sick and dead children in China were just overreacting. Clearly, these are just sample, it’s not like these samples came from huge batches of mass-produced formula, right? The FDA says that, while it “cannot identify any level of melamine as safe” for infants, it would be “overreacting” to stop feeding children formula if they’re dependent on it. Well, DUH.  I am pretty sure, however, that changing them over to a brand that doesn’t have melamine in it might be a wise step. That, of course, is just me.

Since they were not planning to ever release this information to the public, however, I suppose that reaction isn’t a surprise. It is sheer luck and the stalwart persistence of an AP reporter that anyone ever found this information. Makes you wonder what else they’re not telling you, doesn’t it? It should.

Initially, they didn’t even release the names of the formulas, and currently there is no release of the name of the chocolate manufacturer. Because I am sure that none of the *other* chocolates they make would contain the same toxic substance, right?

Currently, I am desperately trying to find a cat food that *isn’t* likely to have melamine in it (since they’re all pretty much produced in the same plants with the same base ingredients, including the “high end” ones I currently use, it’s not easy). Neither cat reacts well to raw food, but it’s looking like I am going to try it again. Is it any wonder why?

We buy our chocolates from The Frenchman’s Corner, our locally-owned gourmet shop that takes pride in it’s quality. Why? Because they’re great chocolates. Because while they are more expensive than Walgreen’s chocolate, they are worth the money. They’re the best chocolates I’ve ever had.  And they don’t contain melamine! Marc, the owner, is accountable. He cares about more than his bottom line, he cares about his clients.

People call me a hippy and a food snob. And, they’re right. And every time this kind of thing comes out, it does nothing but prove our food security in this country is abominable. There are a lot of reason to be a locavore (sorry, UC, I know you hate that word), from supporting local economics to wanting to eat unprocessed foods because they’ve got far more nutritional value. But, for those who just can’t get behind the “hippy” ideas there, consider that a vast portion of what goes into processed foods comes from places without any regulation. Like China, who exports all kinds of stuff–including foods like melamine-laced powdered milk–to us. Consider that if melamine can “slip by” the FDA on “accident,” what would happen if someone decided to do something on purpose. How many people would die before anyone had a chance to recall poisoned Twinkies or Hamburger Helper?

I am a hippy, because I believe we should try and be kind to our environment. I am a locavore because I believe small, local farmers produce healthier foods. I believe in raw milk, because it is NOT LACED WITH POISONS TOXIC TO OUR CHILDREN. I am a Chef who tries to teach people what they are eating, because honestly most people in the US simply don’t know. They are told that the government will take care of them, that their foods is safe. No matter how often it’s proven otherwise.