Thursday, December 27, 2007

By Request: Mushroom Stroganoff Recipe

Our Mushroom Stroganoff recipe is inspired by the Horn of the Moon cookbook’s Mushroom Tofu Stroganoff.


  • About 1/2 cup dried Bolete mushrooms (or other earthy dried mushrooms)
  • 1/2 cup warm water and 1/2 cup half & half or milk
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • One medium chopped onion
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • Basil (fresh or dried)
  • Dill (fresh or dried)
  • Salt
  • About 3 cups thick-sliced button mushrooms
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Spinach Fettuccini (or the noodles of your choice)
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tsp Poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped Arugula
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups sour cream

  • Soak dried Bolete mushrooms in warm water and milk/half & half for a couple of hours.
  • Sauté chopped onion, crushed garlic, basil, and dill in butter for 10 minutes.
  • Add thick-sliced fresh mushrooms, cayenne pepper, a little salt, and chopped rehydrated Boletes. Sauté another 10 minutes or so. Add Bolete soaking liquid. Simmer until reduced by about half.
  • Cook spinach fettuccini in a large pot of water.
  • While the noodles are cooking, melt butter and add poppy seeds in a fry pan and cook for 5-10 minutes.
  • Turn off mushroom pan (if still simmering) and add sour cream and chopped Arugula and chives.
  • Toss noodles with butter/poppy seed mix.
  • Plate the noodles, and top with the mushroom/sour cream sauce.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Ridge Geyserville Zinfandel 2005 & Christmas Eve Dinner

Ridge Geyserville (Zinfandel) 2005 – California
Rich, fruity (black cherry, blackberries, some spice), smooth, perfect balance of fruit and tannins. This, to us, is the perfect red wine – possibly our best Ridge yet, and we’re huge Ridge fans. 77% zinfandel, 17% carignane, 6% petite sirah. The label says it will “develop greater complexity over the next ten years.” We suggest buying a case and opening a bottle (or more) every year until then. Wow. House/Yes. $35

[Update: As previously mentioned, if we find a wine rated elsewhere, we will note those ratings – but only after we write our reviews. This received an 88 from Wine Spectator.]

Mushroom Stroganoff, with fresh button mushrooms and wild dried (and rehydrated) Boletes. You wouldn’t know it was vegetarian.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Best Affordable Holiday Wines

We thought we’d list three wines – sparkling, white, and red – perfect for the holidays. All are affordable (under $12), widely available, and go good with most any type of food. They may not be our absolute favorites in each category, but all are excellent, versatile, and reliable.

Sparkling – Cristalino Rose Brut Cava Non-Vintage (Spain)
This is a wonderful, fun “adult Kool-Aid” wine. Very little sweetness for an inexpensive pink sparkler. Good with food, or on its own. We generally appreciate the price/quality ratio of nearly all Spanish Cavas. Cristalino also makes a nice regular Brut, just as pleasant and affordable, if you can’t bring yourself to go with a “pink” wine.

White – Barton & Guestier (B&G) Vouvray 2005 (France)
A wonderfully integrated expression of Chenin Blanc. Tastes of pear, apple, and definitely some weight (more so than the typical ethereal California Chenins). The faintest hint of softness (pretty typical of almost all Chenins) but with just the same hint of acidity to balance it out. A pleasant surprise if all your impressions of Chenin are cheap, light, and sweet.

Red – Beringer Founder's Estate Pinot Noir 2005 (California)
It's hard to find a reliably good yet affordable California Pinot. This Beringer tastes like the skin of a red apple, with a nose of roses and blackberries. It's slightly smoky, with some decent tannins. Just enough weight to be sipped on its own, but still light enough to pair well with most holiday dinners.

Covey Run Late Harvest Riesling 2005 – Washington

Honey, sweet (4% residual sugar), some pear notes. Not enough acid to balance the sweetness, for us. This would be good for those folks who simply like pleasant sweet wines. A No for us. Probably about $10.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Rosemount Estate Shiraz Grenache 2004 – Australia

When we first tried this wine years ago, it was Grenache/Shiraz, probably indicating that the blend was more Grenache than Shiraz. Now it’s 55% Shiraz, probably because of Shiraz’s ascendancy in popularity. It’s pretty close in taste to a pure Syrah (see our Columbia Crest review), and has almost a beefy nose. Plumy tastes, fresh and fruity. A House wine for all these years, and still so. About $10.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Columbia Crest Pinot Grigio 2006 – Washington

Floral nose; tangerines and mild spice on the taste. Another “good surprise” Pinot Grigio for Ken (see previous entry of Stone Cellars Pinot Grigio on Nov 21). We’d love to see just a tiny bit more acidity on the finish; nonetheless, a House/Yes. $9 on sale (usually about $13).

Monday, December 3, 2007

Covey Run Morio Muskat 2005 & a BIG Snowstorm

Covey Run Morio Muskat 2005 – Washington
Muscat is one of those under-appreciated grapes/wines, much like Chenin Blanc. Muscat/Moscato is a different grape than Muscadelle (and a different wine than Muscadet). We often try any of these that we see, as such adventures can lead to real treasures. This wine has floral notes and sweet citrus on the nose. Tastes of tangerine, grapes. We find this somewhat similar to an inexpensive Riesling, but sweeter and more “grapey” (in a good way). It’s a pleasant sipper, but we’d love to see a bit less sweet and a bit of acid to balance it out. Yes for Francesca, Maybe for Ken. $8