Thursday, March 06, 2008

As a Lover of Both Wine & Animals...

Earlier this week in my online travels, I discovered CritterWines. This is a compendium of labels with animals prominently displayed on various wine labels truly for sale.

The label shown to the right was a faux label that I designed several years ago depicting my contemporized grape bunch with Bacchus' name as the winery. This was one of the very first motifs beyond the CalligraphyPets line.

And now, I have a few ideas brewing... stay tuned on CreativeGoddess to learn how you can be a part of a new series.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Australia's First City Vineyard

Australia has created the first city central vineyard.

Watch the opening time-elapsed scenes -very cool.


This past week, Andrew and I have been celebrating some good news he received.

While we enjoyed our port in a pair of port sippers we found at A Southern Season in Chapel Hill last Fall, we also realized that port, if not dispensed properly, can be a four letter word.

In this case, we had it after white wine. egads!

Monday, February 11, 2008


These Crabcakes take a bit of prep (about 30-45 minutes +1 hour), but they're worth it.

1 16 ounce can/container of prepared crab (I generally use the Phillips Special which comes in a large black can)
1/2 medium Red bell pepper cut into very small pieces
1/2 medium Green bell pepper cut into very small pieces
1/2 medium Shallot - minced
1 tsp minced Garlic
3/4 cup canned Bread Crumbs (I like the Italian ones for a little extra flavor)
2 large Eggs

Combine the following in a medium mixing bowl and set aside
1/2 bottle Heinz Chili Sauce
1/2 cup Miracle Whip (Light works very well)
1 Tbsp prepared Horseradish
1/2 tsp Lemon juice
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Combine the Peppers, Shallot and Garlic in a small sauce pan with a little Olive oil and cook until the ingredients are just soft. Remove from heat, put aside and let cool for 10-15 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and crab and mix well (I find it is very easy to combine these ingredients with my hands - wearing latex gloves). Add in the cooked ingredients and mix further before adding the eggs and mixing until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Form the mixture into 3-4 inch wide by 3/4 - 1 inch thick patties (generally I get between 7 and 8 cakes out of this recipe). Place the cakes onto a flat plate or pan and chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before cooking.

Cook the cakes in a hot flat skillet with a little olive oil. Cook for about 4-6 minutes on a side turning at least 2 times. Depending on how much oil you use in your skillet, you may want to briefly drain the cakes on a paper towel before plating.

Serve the cakes with remoulade either on the side of the plate or on top of them.

We generally also have broccoli or Edamame with the crabcakes.

Wine Pairings:
Our favorite pairing with these is a really good Chardonnay such as Joseph Phelps or Kistler. If you don't want to pay that much a nice Sauvignon Blanc works well too.

Swordfish Kabobs

Another simple but delicious recipe to impress your friends.

Skewer Ingredients
1 - 1 1/2 pound Swordfish steak
3-4 Fresh Lemons
3-4 Fresh Limes
6-8 Cherry Tomatoes

1/2 cup Olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tbls Lime Juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic

Preheat Grill on high

Cut the Swordfish steak into 1 inch cubes
Cut the lemons and Limes into 1/4 inch slices
Skewer the "Skewer Ingredients" on flat stainless steel skewers starting starting with a tomato at the handle end and then alternating between fish and lemons/limes until you are 1 inch from the end of the skewer.
Place another tomato at the end of the skewer

Brush on the marinade with a basting brush, making sure to coat all sides, and let sit for about 10 minutes.

Place Skewers on grill about 2-3 inches apart
Using tongs turn the skewers about every 4-5 minutes and reapply marinade to the top side after each turn
NOTE - I usually try and turn the skewers only about 1/4 turn each time to evenly cook the fish

Once cooked, remove the ingredients form the skewers and discard the lemon and lime slices.

The fish should be flaky and tender with a distinct citrus undertone
Serve with a spinach salad or Edamame

Wine Pairing: A nice light white with a little bit of citrus. Not too sweet, such as:
- Blouberg from South Africa
- German Pinot Gris

Grilled Ahi Tuna on Mango Salsa

Grilled Ahi Tuna rolled with blackened sesame seeds on a bed of mango salsa.

This is actually a fairly simple recipe to prepare.

Seared Ahi Tuna

Individual sushi-grade Tuna steaks (1/3 - 1/2 pound each)

Dry Ingredients
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup black sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon Wasabi powder

Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup of low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup Teriyaki sauce
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon wasabi powder

Preheat a grill or grill pan on medium-high heat

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a shallow dish (shallow soup bowl, deep serving dish, etc)
Place the Tuna steaks on a separate plate and spray the top side with non-stick cooking spray.
Turn the steak sprayed side down into the dry ingredients and press to make sure the entire side gets thoroughly coated with sesame seeds and powders.
Place the steak back on the "spraying" plate - seeded side up and spray lightly to help adhere the dry ingredients
Turn the steak over onto a new/clean plate - seeded side down and spray the unseeded side the repeat turning this side down into the dry mixture and remove to a clean plate to spray/adhere the ingredients.

Place the tuna steaks on the grill and cook for between 3 and 5 minutes per side depending on the amount of doneness you prefer (note-3 minutes on a side will generally give you a cool raw center - sushi style)

Once the steaks are seared to your liking cut them into 1/4 inch thick slices.

Serve over a generous bed of mild to medium heat Mango Salsa (we found the best stuff at Costco) and with dipping sauce on the side.

Wine Paring
We generally like a good solid red with this dish but not something as strong as what we would have with beef;
West Coast Pinot Noir
California Red Table Wines
Sometimes a milder Zinfandel (when we're in the right mood)