Posts Categorized: In the Kitchen

Wine Reviews for January ’17

February 3, 2017 Home Sweet Home, In the Kitchen, Just for Fun, Wine 0

Well, I was bound to hit a “dud” sooner or later.

Pretty (& cheap) in pink

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Let’s just get this out of the way: I picked this up because (a) it is pretty and (b) it is cheap. This is your classic “Two Buck Chuck” from Trader Joe’s. I’ve got some pretty intense love/hate feelings for Trader Joe’s, but the Charles Shaw wines I’ve tried in the past haven’t been bad. Your basic table wines, sure, but worth a bit more than the price point would suggest.

I guess I was expecting this to taste more like a rosé/rosato — light and refreshingly fruity. But this stuff is sweet as all get-out.

It’s a pretty shade of pink, sure. It smelled like some unidentifiable fruit juice or chemically fruit-flavored product — like pink Starbursts, maybe. And it tasted pretty much exactly the way it smelled. I ended up eating it with some extremely salty, savory foods to cut the sweetness (BBQ potato chips and a cheeseburger with onion + jalapeños).

Let me be clear — this is not precisely a “bad” wine. It’s just uninteresting and sugary. You get what you pay for with this particular type of Charles Shaw.


Wine Reviews for December ’16

January 6, 2017 Home Sweet Home, In the Kitchen, Just for Fun, Wine 2

Of course I had to pick up something bubbly for the holidays. Good Champagne is way out of budget for us right now, so I grabbed a bottle of Prosecco to try!

A little bubbly for a rainy New Year's Eve ✨✨✨

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Dellatorri Prosecco DOC Brut

Italy, 2015

Very pale in color, and nicely bubbly (but not super bubbly). Not as rich as I like my wines to be, but not too sweet either — the husband liked it well enough, and he’s normally a beer drinker, so I think this wine could be described as non-oenophile-friendly. I got kind of a floral, lightly fruity (pear?) taste but otherwise couldn’t distinguish major flavors. It almost reminds me of one of those perfumes that strives to be popular yet unobtrusive, with a quite mix of undefined yet generally pleasing floral/fruit notes.

We ordered pizza and that totally overwhelmed the wine, so I’d say it’s probably better to drink this alone or with simpler snacks like dark chocolate or not-too-sharp cheese or herby crackers.


Wine Reviews for November ’16

December 3, 2016 Home Sweet Home, In the Kitchen, Just for Fun, Wine 2

I tried a couple of reds from Chile this month. I didn’t bother to take notes on the Cabernet, but the Carménère was a little something different! I’d never heard of this variety before, but apparently it was an accidental transplant to Chile from France — a lucky accident that saved the variety from disaster, as it turns out. (Read more about it at Wine Folly.)

Hellooo holiday weekend 🍫🍷🍫🍷

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Casillero del Diablo Carménère Reserva

Chile, 2015

The color is a deep bluish red, very opaque and viscous (“sticky”). It smells like herby/spicy yet juicy red berries, followed by a faint whiff of… chocolate? Something kinda bitter-sweet. It looks and smells delicious.

Taste-wise, it starts out with a tart but mild strawberry flavor, followed by a fresh herby sort of quality (though I’m unable to discern which herbs…) and a little bit of acidic “bite” at the end. It seemed simultaneously spicier + sweeter with the dinner I served alongside it — portabella mushroom-stuffed ravioli and sundried tomatoes in a pesto sauce.


Community Cookbooks of West Texas

November 19, 2016 Book Reviews, Books, Home Sweet Home, In the Kitchen 6

Y’all, I wasn’t going to do this post because who cares about 30-50 year-old small-town West Texas fundraiser cookbooks? Well, I do, apparently, and I kind of feel like my dear readers and fellow Nonfiction November-ers and Foodies Read buddies might enjoy some of the real jewels to be found within.

Brace yourselves.

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First up: What’s Cookin’? in Big Spring, Texas by the local chapter of the American Business Women’s Association and the Bev-Ron Publishing Company of Kansas, 1970.

This is the slimmest volume and arguably the most WTF, although I suppose it does also include some good solid advice:

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You have your typical Jell-O based “salad” sorts of things, of course:

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And your Tang-based beverages:

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But I think my absolute favorite “recipe” has to be this super classy casserole:

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Wow, Mrs. Newton, way to make an effort!

Next up, my favorite (er, only) collection of classic church lady recipes…

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In case you’re too distracted by the giant cherub preparing to go all Jericho on that church for crimes against God’s cuisine, the title is Methodist Morsels by the Cookbook Committee of the First United Methodist Church of Lamesa, Texas and Cookbook Publishers, Inc. in Kansas, 1983.

You’d think 1983 would be late enough in the 20th century for us to be beyond things like this “Fancy Chicken Log”, but you’d be wrong:

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If a cream cheese / steak sauce / curry powder flavored log of chicken doesn’t float your boat, why not try this delicious mayonnaise / canned cream of chicken soup / curry powder flavored chicken casserole instead? It’s apparently a “delight”:

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OK, this particular cookbook does include a pretty cute section of easy and cheesy (both literally and figuratively) recipes for the kiddos:

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Aww! Super cute, huh? But then you turn the page and find this:

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I’m sorry but in what world is it cute to title a recipe “Preserved Children”???

ANYWAY, back to the real (hahaha) recipes! How about these 3 Doritos-based casseroles?

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… I’m actually tempted to try one of those.

One cool thing I found is this recipe from my own great-grandmother:

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I mean, it’s super neat seeing a recipe from an ancestor, but am I going to make that for dinner? Uh, no.

The last cookbook was published slightly more recently:

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That’s Favorite Recipes from the Kitchens of the GFWC-TFWC Big Spring Junior Woman’s Club and Their Friends by… well, you know, and their publisher Circulation Service of Kansas, 1987.

Now, I was born in ’87 so I can’t make TOO much fun of how old this book is, but honestly the “favorite” recipes of the ladies of small town West Texas don’t seem to have improved much from their midcentury forerunners.

Case in point:

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Dammit Teri, who told you it was a good idea to microwave shrimp? Stop it.

However, this little cookbook does include some rather charming illustrations and helpful stuff in the index, so all hope is not lost:

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So, yeah. I know y’all are envious of my awesome cookbook collection right now.

Also, I’m totally adding these to Goodreads because I need them to count towards my 2016 reading goal.

Tell me — do you have any vintage community cookbooks or silly old recipes hanging around? Have you tried any of the recipes? Have you tried any of THESE recipes? Should I? No, wait, don’t answer that.


Wine Reviews for October ’16

November 2, 2016 Home Sweet Home, In the Kitchen, Just for Fun, Wine 0

I decided to try 2 different bottles of 1 type of wine this month. Part of this wine challenge that I’m doing is seeking out wines from the areas that put each variety “on the map” so to speak. Tempranillo is a Spanish variety (grown there for well over 2000 years, actually), so of course I had to find one from Spain! But I also like exploring Texas wines, and Tempranillo happens to be one of the varieties that is doing really well here in my home state.

Got a couple of #Tempranillo wines to try this month 🍷🍷

A photo posted by Louise (@bibliothekla) on


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Radio Boca “Tempranillo”

Tierra de Castilla, Spain, 2015

Color is a clear, intense ruby red. Its fragrance brings to mind summer-ripe strawberries or even blueberries, with a hint of something a little spicier. The taste is surprisingly mild for a supposedly oak-aged wine — not to say that it doesn’t have any taste, just that I’d expected a much bolder flavor. The smell of berries translated into the taste of berries, ever so slightly acidic, and with something a little more pastry-ish following up the initial fruitiness — vanilla, perhaps?

Becker Vineyards “Texas Tempranillo”

High Plains + Hill Country, Texas, 2014

Has a lovely deep, every-so-slightly orangish garnet color in the glass. Like the Spanish version, I get a strong smell of ripe berries with something a little spicier, or maybe more herb-y. It was very fruity at first taste, but something earthy-spicy caught up to that sweetness pretty quick — like mushrooms with… I don’t know, oregano or thyme or something — plus some definite but not in-your-face oakish tannins.

I drank both of these along with the same food for the sake of fairness — dark rye bread with honey butter, smoked Gouda, rosemary-garlic black olives, and some dark chocolate with cocoa nibs. The strong cheese and bitter/sweet chocolate were PERFECT pairing choices!


Wine Reviews for September ’16

September 30, 2016 Home Sweet Home, In the Kitchen, Just for Fun, Wine 0

La Posta “Pizzella” Malbec

Mendoza, Argentina, n.d.

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This is a deep, near-opaque purplish red wine that smells of rich, dark berries with a hint of some kind of spice — maybe cinnamon. It tastes of overripe cherries and plums with an almost cheese-like umami flavor followed by a faint cinnamon or peppery aftertaste. Overall, I’d classify it as sweet but earthy. I drank it with pizza, artichoke hearts, and salad w/ apple vinaigrette. The wine tasted fruitier with the pizza and more savory with the veggies. It was also VERY yummy with the dark chocolate + raspberries I had for dessert.


Cupcake Moscato d’Asti

DOCG Italy, 2015

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This wine is a favorite of mine because it’s light + sweet enough to go with just about anything, plus it is just about as low alcohol as you can get with wine (5.5 %). It’s a sparkling wine with large, slow bubbles that lend a little tickle to the taste — but they don’t last long, compared to most “party” sparkling wines. It smells and tastes like green apple, pear, and green grapes with a subtle floral note that makes me think of honeysuckle. I drank this with some good stuff that my husband cooked on the grill one hot summer evening: zucchini + mushrooms, corn on the cob, and hatch chile sausage.


Jam Cellars “Butter” Chardonnay

Acampo, California, 2015

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This stuff is a slightly green-tinted gold color with an aroma of apple pie or poached pear. I drank it chilled first, and found it initially tart-sweet with a strong apple/pear flavor with an oaky-bold taste upon swallowing. It tasted quite a bit more buttery after it had warmed up a bit. I quite enjoyed with with some pasta + veg in a mild white cheese sauce and some garlic-stuffed olives, then later with some goat cheese and tomatoes with more olives.