Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sparkling Update

We've been remiss here at sparkling squirrel in reporting on sparkling wines recently. There is a reason for lack of sparkling wine drinking, and, until that reason arrives (she/he is due in early July), the lack of wine sampling will likely continue.
However, to celebrate being with family and to announce our reason not to drink sparkling wine, the Mister and I did toast with some fine vintages recently. With The Mister's parents we had Jansz Tasmania, a mysterious (as to varietal) Tasmanian premium non-vintage cuvee, which I really liked for what little I sampled, and the crowd did not. We also opened a Biltmore Estates Chateau Reserve 2003 Blanc de Blanc, much preferred by Prairie Quilter, but which reminded me that chardonnay based Blanc de Blancs are not my thing.
In Colorado we drank the last (?) of our wedding sparkling (Korbel Blanc de Noir) and a bottle of true champagne, a grand cuvee purchased simply because it was relatively inexpensive. Both were good, but the later certainly not twice as good as the former, as the price might suggest.

Find a reason and drink some sparkling wine, or whatever makes you feel festive, and keep celebrating.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Parsnips and Carrots

Parsnips and carrots deserves to be among my "converter recipe". Friends who eat it leave liking parsnips. I can't count these friends as a true converts, however, because so few of them had previously eaten parsnips to think they disliked them. Among my friends, as I imagine is true among most Americans, parsnips are either a nonentity or mistakenly lumped in with turnips.

The Mister had no idea if he liked parsnips when I first met him. I served him parsnips and carrots one winter night early in our relationship and he ate three large helpings, ruining my leftover stash for the week but endearing him to me forever.*

Parsnip and Carrots

olive oil

Julienne equal quantities of parsnips and carrots. The Mister bought me a special attachment for our food processor just for this, but grating does work, as does hand chopping. Toss the carrots and parsnips into a saute pan, with a little olive oil if it is not non-stick. Cover and cook for a while, adding a little (1/4 cup or less) juice or port if you want a little added flavor, water otherwise. When your other food items are nearing ready, take the lid off add some butter and brown the vegetables a bit.

While this recipe is very very tasty if you are constantly adding butter (making, in essence buttery parsnip and carrot hash browns). The vegetables can do most of their cooking by steaming and only need a small quantity of butter at the end for a few nice browned bits. The dish is, in fact, still quite tasty without any butter.

*Among many many other things.