The perfect wine for homemade pizza and rain

Wine: 2015 Riddle bricks Alicante Bouschet

Mood: Experimental

I’d recommend this wine (2015 Riddle Bricks Alicante Bouschet) when you’re in the mood to eat yummy, not too rich food, on a cold day.
— Erica Manfre, The Moody Wine Drinker
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First things first...the pizza.  We all pitched in and got my parents an Uuni pizza oven for Christmas, this year.  They tried it and were bragging and texting pics, so naturally we invited ourselves over for a rainy pizza-making day.  I was polite and brought a bottle of wine, so don't worry too much.  This pizza oven is UNREAL!  It gets up to 900 plus degrees in 10 minutes and it cooked these pizzas in around 4 minutes.  We left their house deciding we NEED one.  Want isn't the right word.  We NEED one of these pizza ovens.  I don't mean to sound like Veruca from Willy Wonka, but if you saw this thing, you'd see.

Let's talk dough for a minute.  Some would say that it's the key part of the homemade pizza deal. My parents have made the same "trusty" pizza dough as long as I can remember and it's Wolfgang Puck's recipe (Click HERE for recipe).  It has great consistency, a hint of sweetness due to the tablespoon of honey, and it can keep in the refrigerator after you make it for a week or so.  I recommend it.

Now for the wine.  I brought over the 2015 Riddle Bricks Alicante Bouschet that I had just received from a Winc gift card (thanks Meegan!).  For those of you that haven't heard of the varietal Alicante Bouschet, let me fill you in.  It was crossed from Petit Bouschet and Grenache in 1866 and designed to be a blending grape to add depth to other wines.  It gained popularity due to how easy it is to grow and the high yields that the vines produce.  Some say that played a huge role in rebuilding the wine industry after the phylloxera outbreak.

This Riddle Bricks version didn't disappoint.  It's full fruit forward nose of plum and a hint of herb spices.  The mouthfeel was balanced, with a clean finish.  It was a delightful pair to the pepperoni, Bagna-Cauda (roasted garlic in butter, oil and other stuff), and cheddar cheese pizza.  I'd recommend this wine when you're in the mood to eat yummy, not too rich food, on a cold day.

Homemade Creme Fraiche

For those of you don't know what creme fraiche is (pronounced "fresh"), you're not alone.  I was only introduced to it a few years ago, but I love it!  It's similar to sour cream, but it contains more fat and has no thickeners, like pectin.  You can interchange sour cream and creme fraiche in many cases, just note that creme fraiche is creamier and less tart and sour cream will curdle if you plan to simmer or boil it.  

- Sour cream - topping (think tacos) or salad dressing ingredient

- Creme fraiche - sauces and soups

You won't believe how easy it is to make!  It's just heavy cream and cultured buttermilk!  There's no need to buy more expensive versions, I promise!

PREPARATION

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbl cultured buttermilk

Stir in 3 tbl of cultured buttermilk into 1 cup heavy cream.  Let stand uncovered at room temperature for 6-8 hours...viola!  That's IT!  Refrigerate and keep for up to 10 days.

Baby Food Sesh

Now if you're thinking I'm nuts for making baby food, let me assure you, it's not because I think it's fun.  Baby food is EXPENSIVE!  Not to mention, I like the baby food that I can pronounce the ingredients.  As a result, I make Lucy's food.  I make a few batches every other week or so...and actually, it's not that bad.  I'm going to list 3 different things I made today.  It took some time, but I am doing things in between: laundry, feeding Lucy, changing Lucy, vacuuming, etc.  

I'd say Lucy likes her food!

I'd say Lucy likes her food!

Before I jump into the baby food, I have to tell you about my obsession!  The Cuisinart hand mixer is a MUST HAVE!  It's like having a boat motor in your hand and it obliterates anything in it's path.  I've had it for years and now that I'm on the baby bandwagon, it's a LIFE SAVER!  Click here to go to the Whatnot section for more details.  

One more thing I LOVE is teh Kiddo Feedo baby food storage.  Basically you scoop the food into the tray, freeze, then I pop them out into freezer bags and I have serving sized portions all ready for the busy week ahead.  Click here for the Whatnot section for more details.

Green Beans

  • a couple pounds of green beans
  • a knife
  • a colander or strainer thingy
  • a steaming pot (is that what they're called??)

First, trim the green beans and rinse them.  Then add them to your steaming pot.  Once they're the texture you want (you want a fork to easily go through them...about 30 minutes), put them in a plastic bowl and puree.  BAM!  That simple.

Sweet Potatoes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  • about 3 pounds of sweet potatoes
  • paring knife
  • a scrub brush
  • a cookie sheet, covered in foil (to help with clean up)

First, scrub the sweet potatoes.  They tend to have dirt on them.  Then take a paring knife and poke the sweet potato about 3-4 times (I go length wise) and I poke it between 12 to 15 times per potato.  The goal here isn't to penetrate much, you're just wanting to allow steam and juices to escape, so it doesn't explode.  Pop the sweet potatoes on the cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about an hour and a half.  Take them out and let them cool.  Peel the skin off with your hands and puree with our trustee hand mixer.

 

Butternut Squash

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Now, if you're a fan of butternut, you'll appreciate this little trick.  I cut butternut squash one of two ways.  If you've got a really good sized squash, I find cutting it width wise helpful.  If I have a small to medium squash, I can handle cutting it length wise.  You'll need:

  • two butternut squash
  • a knife
  • a spoon
  • a cookie sheet covered in foil (are you noticing a trend here?)

First things first, cut this puppy.  Like I mentioned above, you can cut it anyway you want.  I did both here, so you can see.  Use your spoon to clean out the seeds (kind of like when you're carving a pumpkin).  Then place it on a your cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour and a half. Let cool to the touch.  Use your spoon again to scrape the flesh from the skin.  Use your hand mixer to pulverize until smooth.