Drinking alone is now socially acceptable! Cheers, all.
Drinking alone is now socially acceptable! Cheers, all.
I was happy to discover that pinot noir is one of the healthiest wine options to choose, the caveat being, of course, “if you drink in moderation”. (Spoilsports!)
According to an article in the Baltimore Sun, the much-touted healthfulness of red wine is largely due to its antioxidants. Resveratrol, part of a group of compounds called polyphenols, lowers the risk of cancer, stroke, and heart disease, among other benefits.
For you non-drinkers, resveratrol is also found in peanuts and berries.
Among red wines, pinot noir has the highest concentration of resveratrol. And, as a top sommelier explains in the article, “Although virtually all red wines have almost no residual sugar, pinot noir typically has a lower initial sugar level before fermentation, resulting in a wine with less alcohol and fewer calories than, say, your average cabernet. [With] its thin skin, pinot noir has fewer tannins, which, while they may have some health benefits of their own, can cause trouble for those susceptible to heartburn.”
Cheers to a great week ahead!
In honor of the coming weekend, and on the off chance that alcohol may be involved, here are a few items I found interesting this week.
First up, I’m sharing a hack from KellysDIY blog on improving the taste of cheap vodka. Haven’t tried this myself but it’s an intriguing idea:
Pour your cheap vodka into a water filter pitcher. It will remove the impurities that make inexpensive vodka taste, well, cheap.
Another great tip: Baking soda removes wine stains.
Speaking of wine, the industry’s latest annual report cited some millennial trends that will impact not just this age group (currently 23-38) but the rest of us, too, as winemakers take notice. Cheers to healthy wines at a reasonable price!
Are you a millennial? Do you agree with these general observations?
Incidentally, did you know that rosé is the fastest growing wine segment in the US? If you’re of the generation that grew up on Mateus and have shunned them ever since, one of Oregon’s lovely, fresh, pinot noir rosés will be a revelation.
And finally, some fun facts:
Did you know that wine with a higher alcohol content generally contains less sugar?
For more info, click here.
Sourdough has a reputation for being a bit tricky, so a lot of people find it intimidating. Thanks to my friend P, a fellow baking geek, I’ve been introduced to the Lahey method, which makes it super-easy to bake bread at home. I love this book!
I’ve been experimenting with Lahey’s method for several weeks and my adapted recipe for sourdough is even simpler. It looks like a lot of steps but bear with me.
The genius part: Instead of folding/kneading your dough every few hours, you let your dough ferment overnight (18 hrs), do a second rise for 2 hrs and bake. No more being stuck in your house all day during the rising process!
All sourdough begins with a starter — natural yeast with a brinier flavor than the commercial yeast you find at the supermarket. Plan on 3-4 days before it’s ready to use. All you need is flour, water, air and time.
Mix equal parts water and flour in a wide mouthed container, cover it loosely so air can get to it, leave it out on your counter and wait. THAT’S IT. Really!
Once your starter is bubbly and active, try to make your dough within a few hours, before it loses potency. Thereafter, if you’re not baking regularly, dump out about 50-75% once a week, stir in equal parts water and flour, and start the process over.
I encourage everyone to invest a few bucks in a kitchen scale and measure by weight rather than volume because 1) it’s easier and 2) it will guarantee consistent results. Remember, different flours have different densities so one cup of A may be slightly more or less than one cup of B.
Put your empty container on the scale, and set it to zero. Add 50g-75g whole wheat flour, 50g-75g bread (strong) flour, and 100g-150g cool water, resetting to zero after each addition. Don’t worry if you’re off by a gram or two as long as your ratio of total flour to water is roughly 1:1.
You’ve been patient and you now have over 100g of starter. Let’s get going.
Put a large bowl on the scale, zero it out, and add:
*If this amount uses up most of your starter, replenish by adding 50g flour plus 50g water, mix well and set it aside to reactivate for a couple of days.
Once you have a well mixed dough (it will be sticky; DO NOT be tempted to add more flour), loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it out at room temperature overnight for 18 hours. If you do this at, say, 4 PM, your dough will be ready for the next step at 10 AM the next day.
18 hours later, your dough will be bubbly and will come away from the bowl in long strands – this is the developed gluten. It will be loose and sticky; don’t add more flour!
Dump it onto a lightly floured counter, and form the dough into a ball by tucking the edges under – using either a dough scraper or your (lightly floured) hands.
The traditional method is to bake your dough in a pre-heated cast iron pot. This is an easy alternative.
Divide dough into two balls. Shape each ball into a log and put them in a perforated baguette pan. For a free form shape, place your logs (or ovals) onto a baking sheet that’s been generously dusted with cornmeal. Leave plenty of room between them.
Lightly dust the tops with flour. Cover the pan or baking sheet with a linen or cotton dishtowel (avoid terry cloth) or plastic wrap, and let the dough rise again for 2 hours. After 1.5 hours have elapsed, preheat your oven to 500 degrees F.
After another half hour (the full two hours), your dough will have puffed up nicely. Spritz your hot oven with water, put the bread into the oven and lower the heat to 475 degrees F.
You can spritz again after 2-3 minutes to keep the steam going and create a crispier crust. You can also score the dough at this point to let steam escape during baking but it’s not crucial.
Bake for about 25 minutes and check your bread – it should be a rich golden color. Depending on your oven this may take another 5+ minutes.
To ensure your bread is baked through, check it with a kitchen thermometer – the internal temperature of the bread should be 205-210 degrees F.
Cool. Slice. Eat.
Wanna bet? Here are some of my favorites:
“Does it hurt?” I’m in the emergency room with blood pouring out of me. What do you think?
“Did you find everything?” If I’m already at the register, what do you suggest if I didn’t? Alternatively, “Did you find everything you were looking for?” Such as world peace, thinner thighs, true love, the hair I used to have??
“Would you like fries with that?” Duh.
“Have you eaten here before?” Unless the restaurant is wildly different from any other restaurant, what possible difference could it make?
“Would anyone care for a cocktail?” Do we LOOK like teetotalers?
“Is everything wonderful?” Usually asked when your mouth is full. If you haven’t sent it back, it’s probably fine. Possibly not worthy of superlatives, but edible.
“Does this make me look fat?” There is only one possible answer.
“Do you love me?” Again, only one possible answer.
“Do you have any regrets?” Who, past the age of 8, hasn’t done something they regret?
“Am I your first?” This one’s a trap, folks. Yes means you’re a naïve innocent nobody wanted before; no means you’re a slut.
“Your place or mine?” Yours — because if you’re a dud I can go home. If we’re at my place I might never get rid of you.
“Do you want to know a secret?” With all due respect to The Beatles, who doesn’t? Similarly, “What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?” Why on earth would I tell you that?
“Is it mine?” We’re both white and the baby’s black. What are the odds?
Which leads me to…
Check out this link. I particularly like “How am I sure I’m the real mom of my kid?” The writer is asking because the baby doesn’t look like her but looks like her husband; she’s scared he was cheating on her with another woman. You have to read it to believe it.
This one’s funny, too.
What are your favorite dumb questions? (Besides this one.)
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