Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tazo Chai tea concentrate review

I have always loved Chai tea. I grew up drinking it at home, ordering it in coffee shops, getting it at school (what has this world come to? I had a coffee shop IN my high school), and later working in various coffee shops. I know what I like when I have it at home. I know what I like when I order from Starbucks (and heaven help the poor employee who takes my order. It's so long!), and I know what I like when I order from random coffee stands.

I have never been a fan of powdered chai. When I was younger and living at home, Mom always had the Oregon chai concentrate (the original!) at the house. Mix that with some milk or soy milk. Steam it if you're feeling adventurous, and be treated to a taste of heaven.

Living in Arizona, I haven't always been lucky enough to find the Oregon chai concentrate products. I went shopping at the commissary a few weeks back for their case lot sale, though, and they have the Tazo chai concentrate, so I decided to give that a try.

Image from Seattle's Best. 

In a word? Disappointing. A little too much black pepper and a tad too much cardamom, in my opinion. I also like my chai with a touch of vanilla, which this didn't have, so I could have already been a little grumpy, which swayed my opinion. 

The one thing that I like about this a little more than the Oregon concentrate is that it seems to be more concentrated, so it goes a little further. I added a little more milk than 1:1 ration the box suggests, and the flavor was still strong. With the Oregon, I usually end up with more chai than milk. 

There you have it! Sorry for the lack of updates these last few days. I experimented with a pot roast today (in red wine), but wasn't very happy with it, so I'll keep that recipe to myself. Hopefully I'll have a little more free time for kitchen experimentation this week, so you'll see a little more of me. :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lemon garlic spinach

I love spinach. I love lemon, and I love garlic.

I've had some fresh spinach in the fridge for the last few days just begging to be used, so I threw some things together tonight to make a spinach side.

Lemon Garlic Spinach

9 oz. baby spinach
1 1/2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon

Saute the garlic in olive oil until soft. Add in the butter and spinach. Cook until wilted - about 5 minutes. Squeeze 1/2 lemon over spinach and let cook for about one minute more. Serve! 

I accompanied dinner tonight with a Kemblefield Sauvignon Blanc 2010. It's from the Marlborough region of New Zealand. Nice and citrusy. Grapefruit is very prominent. Dry and almost tart. The perfect compliment to the lemon in tonight's spinach. $9.99/bottle. Excellent for the price. 

I'll work on my picture-taking skills. In the meantime, I think I might help myself to a second glass from the bottle!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Red wine mushrooms

I ended up with 24 oz. of mushrooms at the grocery store today, so I thought I'd recreate this recipe. I've made it several times before but always used white wine, since it's what I had around for cooking. I had some leftover red wine today, and was quite pleased with the result.

6 oz. package of mushrooms
1/4 large yellow onion, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 c. red wine

Saute the garlic and onion in butter and olive oil for about three minutes. Add in the sliced mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are brown. Add in the red wine and let simmer until the wine has completely cooked off.

Perfect as a side!

Hey there!

Hello and welcome!

A little about me -

I'm a 20-something non-traditional college student with a passion for fermented grape juice. I had my first glass of wine in France when I was 18, and fell in love. (Though I'm pretty sure I embarrassed my father. He did not appear pleased that there was an inverse relationship between the volume in my glass and the volume of my voice.)

About two years ago, I came across an awesome wine store. They were offering tastings on the weekends - at the time there was a nominal fee. Now they're free which is even better! I have spent the last two years refining my palate and ended up falling in love with the wine and the people. Now I work at said awesome wine store.

I love wine, and love cooking with wine. I don't have a fancy camera, and I've never been accused of taking awesome photos, but I know my way around a kitchen.

I plan to use this as a dump for my kitchen experiments. I have another blog where I occasionally put recipes up, but wanted something that was more food-centric. I'm usually pretty anti-recipe and love to throw things together to see how they come out. I also plan to review the occasional wine here. As a perk of my awesome job, I get a spectacular discount and love to bring new things home!

And a bit on my palate - I am not a big sweet or dessert wine fan. I LOVE New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and some of the good Chilean Sauv Blancs in the NZ style. I also love full-bodied reds. Tempranillo. Sangiovese. Malbec. Syrah. I have found one good Gewurztraminer that I would buy again, and there is one Port that I am madly in love with.

Recipe dump, wine reviews, and I might even get a little into wine and kitchen gadgets. Thanks for joining me, and welcome to my kitchen!