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Link to this Monkees video emailed to me by Kathryn Jeanine, who has gone into fourteen days of mourning.......
Kath made sure that the Monkees were an ongoing musical tradition at the (now defunct) Annual Fourth of July Bashes. At the finale, giggling girls of all ages joyously filled the fireplace room with dancing accompanied by a raucous, enthusiastic, and, at times, off-key cover of Daydream Believer.
The tune was penned by John Stewart, who departed for Rock & Roll Heaven some years ago.
After adjusting for the Fed's continuing assault on the value of the dollar, it turns out that $4.11 per gallon is about the same price as gas was in 1979, when we were sitting in unending lines to buy five gallons of the stuff.
The difference? We can buy any amount of gas we can afford. No lines. Thankee.
Bonus:Audio Only, but you'll love this. If not, you can get a refund at the door.
Unquestionably, this is an impressive Chianti Classico and earned its well-deserved spot on Wine Spectator's top 100 wines of 2010 (slot 47 with a 90 rating). I really enjoyed the wine but I can't say it much better than this.....
This is what Chianti should taste like, with plenty of dark cherry and floral aromas and flavors that say Sangiovese. Fresh and fruity. Drink now
The wine is mild and flavorful, a perfect pairing for any red sauce pasta dishes. If you live in a market-friendly state, you should be able to hook up with this Chianti for under $15.00 U.S. But, if you are really paying attention, you could pay less. At any rate, it should be under $20.00 everywhere.
The Castello D'Alboa Estate is 900 Years Old
Chianti Classico is made primarily from Sangiovese (San Jo Vay Say), which is the prominent grape in Tuscany. Although, Chianti Classico is typically a better class of Chianti, the term Classico doesn't refer to the classic quality of the wine. Instead, Classico is one of eight different producing regions within Chianti appelation in Tuscany, roughly bounded by Florence on the north and Sienna on the south.
Sangiovese thrives on the hot, dry hillsides of Tuscanny and is the most widely planted grape in Italy. The quality of Chianti varies wildly, as anyone who has experienced the harshness of straw bottle Chianti can attest to. It takes careful vineyard techniques and a master winemaker to coax the best out of Sangiovese.
The wine offers a brilliant ruby red color. As time passes, the hue is enriched with garnet tones that, as the years go by, lighten further toward orange with an ochre tint typical of Tuscan wines. The aroma is satisfyingly intense, fine and elegant, with light scents of ripe fruits and violets. As it evolves, the wine develops an appealing bouquet that is full and complex. It possesses a pleasant fullness and an outstanding balance of body and structure. Somewhat austere in its youth, the wine softens with age, becoming velvety and developing prolonged and appealing aromatic persistence.
My House Blonde sampled Starbucks Blonde at the store and was disappointed when she realized that, in the end, it was black coffee.
They were hawking it by the bag at the local Barista Shop recently. The Guy at the window offered to comp whatever concotion I had just ordered for The House Blonde, if we'd try a pound of Blonde. Seemed fair enough, given that Mrs TWC thought she might want to give it a shot.
I am a bold coffee kind of guy who prefers coffee to crawl down my throat on its own, so I bring my own set of prejudices with me to the breakfast table.
That said, Blonde is a solid coffee, but it isn't a great coffee. I get that Starbucks is looking to lure people like my grandmother, whose coffee was weak enough that the bottom of the cup was clearly visible when filled with Folgers from the percolator. Great stuff for twelve year old mini-me, but will it have broad appeal? I don't know, though I do know a couple of coffee hounds who prefer a mild cup.
Blonde Roast may attract a crossover audience from the Kona crowd I suppose. Good Kona is pricey. Blonde Roast is less costly than good Kona. Hmmm, come to think of it, even bad Kona is expensive. And it seems as though bad Kona coffee is the norm, but that may be my prejudices working again.
Blonde Roast reminds me of a good commercial coffee from the 1960's. Maybe Yuban. Maybe Farmer Brothers. It's pretty good, but I don't buy Yuban, I don't care for restaurant coffee, and I'm not likely to buy another bag of Blonde. Hmm, Bag of Blonde. There's a good joke there somewhere.
Just for the record, in the days before TWC was a vagrant yoot, all of those Mardi Gras costumes and masked revelry scared the holy living crap outta me. I didn't understand any of the significance of the event and, frankly, people in masquerade masks were frightening.
Billboard on Canal Street in N'Awlins Across From the Ritz Carlton
Rex Goliath is a non-denominated (no vintage) cheap red wine from California. The winery's schtick is a 47 pound rooster named Rex-Goliath, who was (apparently) quite the circus attraction back in the day. The label promises big and bold in the tradition of big and bold Rex-Goliath. The wine is just okay. It is big and pretty bold but it has a really strange back taste at the finish that I found to be sort of annoying. I still drank the wine and it will be fine for mid-week if you pair it with pizza, pasta, or Mafia Sandwiches.
Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. What are y'all giving up for Lent?
Actually, every day is wine drinking day for moi, because, like Don Corleone in the garden scene with Michael (where they lay out the plans to whack the heads of the other four families) I like wine more than I used to. Wine is better with age and all that.
As my dad used to say, they drink wine over there (France, Spain, Italy, etc) cuz you can't drink the water. That isn't all that true anymore, but back in his day.....
Eric Lanlard's sublime version of Red Velvet Cupcakes is just right to surprise your Valentine. Unlike most red velvet recipes, this one relies on all natural ingredients, including Nielsen-Massey Vanillas. There isn't a drop of food coloring in this mixture. Instead, the rich color results from the interaction of baking soda with vinegar.
Nielsen-Massey has been creating some of the world's finest extracts for more than a century. All Nielsen-Massey products are Allergen-Free, certified Kosher, and Gluten-Free making them a perfect fit for Lanlard’s all natural Red Velvet Cupcake recipe below.
RED VELVET CUPCAKES
75g (2-3/4oz) pure cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
125g (4-1/2oz) unsalted butter, softened
250g (9oz) caster sugar
4 egg yolks
240ml (8-1/2fl oz) buttermilk
1 tsp fine salt
325g (11-1/2oz) plain flour, sifted
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp white wine vinegar
240ml (8-1/2fl oz) milk
3 tbsp plain flour
A pinch of fine salt
225g (8oz) of either dark chocolate
(62% cocoa solids) or white chocolate, broken into pieces
200g (7oz) unsalted butter, softened
300g (11oz) icing sugar
2 tbsp pure cocoa powder (omit if making white chocolate frosting)
1 tsp vanilla extract (omit if making white chocolate frosting)
Preheat the oven to 180.C (fan 160.C)/350.F/gas mark 4. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.
Sift the cocoa and mix with the vanilla in a small bowl. Set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer set on medium-high speed, or a free-standing mixer. Once the butter and sugar mixture is pale, light and fluffy, add the egg yolks, one at a time, and beat until everything is combined. Add the cocoa mixture and beat well for another minute to combine.
Stir the buttermilk and salt together and add it to the butter and sugar mixture, a third at a time, alternating with the flour. Mix the bicarbonate of soda with the vinegar and blend into the batter. Then, with your mixer on high, beat everything together on a high speed for about 5 minutes, until you have a smooth, glossy batter.
Fill each cupcake case to three-quarters full. Bake for 18–20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the cupcake centre comes out clean.
Cool in the tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes and cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting, whisk the milk, flour and salt in a small saucepan over a medium heat until the mixture thickens and begins to bubble, about 1–2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and allow to cool.
Melt dark or white chocolate. Set aside to cool.
Beat the butter, sugar and cocoa (if using) together until fluffy. Add to the cooled chocolate followed by the milk mixture and vanilla extract (if using). Beat together until smooth, then spoon into a piping bag with a small plain or star tube. Pipe immediately on to the cupcakes.
It is really important that an electric hand-held or freestanding mixer is used to blend the cupcake batter thoroughly, so that a loose, glossy mixture is achieved.