Wining Wife®

Because housework goes better with Malbec...

Month: July 2013

From Battlefield to Mexican Delight: The Story of Tamales

two tamales on a plate

two tamales on a plate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This guest post comes from D. Holdeman. 

The original purpose of tamales is ironic when compared to modern evenings at Mexican restaurants, eating tamales, and drinking margaritas.  Tamales were first created to be used as war food for the Aztecs because they were easy to carry along on battlegrounds.  Over the 5,000 years later they now represent festive evenings out with friends and family enjoying a delicious meal and holidays.

What are tamales?

In some ways, Tamales are similar to pocket foods that have popped up in the cuisine of other countries all over the world.  In Chinese cuisines, won tons bear some similarity to this food.  In Europe, you may see this technique used to ravioli or pirogues.  The main idea is to use a mixture of ground grains to form a soft shell, which is then filled with some sort of paste or meat and cooked later. It is a very versatile food to make, so you’ll never get bored with the seemingly endless amount of recipes.  Tamales are also a great food to make before you hit the road, since they are pocket-sized and easily transported.

A basic recipe for tamales will begin with making the dough for the exterior. As seen on Mother Shuckers Tamales, the dough will usually be made of a ground corn mixture that has been beaten with flour or some leavening agent. The main idea is to create a pastry dough that will bake into a crispy crust, a trademark tamales trait. The filling can be just about anything you want it to be. Traditional tamales usually include beef or chicken meat that has been spiced and mixed with a sauce. A hot sauce can also be added to the exterior while eating the wrap, which gives the meal the commonly used American moniker of “Hot Tamale”, found at many baseball stadiums sold by vendors.

Creation of Tamales

Originally the first tamales were made by women in the Ancient Aztec tribes.  The tamales were baked over an open fire or coals on the ground.  The woman would make huge amounts of these for the men to carry along during battles.  This way the women didn’t have to accompany men during battle as cooks.

Since then tamales have been a staple of Hispanic diets for millenniums.  But the way Tamales are cooked may vary slightly from region to region due to the time span they have existed.  Traditional practice involves wrapping each hand-made tamale in a corn husk that can be used to shield it from direct flames while it is being baked.  Other methods include cooking inside a plantain leaf or cooking directly on a grill or fire with no leaf at all.

Today

Tamales are now commonly eaten in America, Mexico, and many Latin American countries.  It’s not surprising that they are used on many holidays like Christmas celebrations and Mexico’s national Independence Day.  Tamales have grown to become a delicious and festive treat that people associate with fun times with loved ones.

Relishing the chance to support U.S. businesses through guest posting, is My Marketing Team’s D. Holdeman.  He is lovin’ California with his beloved , their 2 sons and daughter, and he invites readers to stop by his profile and say hi.

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Do You Incorporate Interval Training into Your Workouts?

Do you use intervals when you work out?

Do you use intervals when you work out?

Whenever I’ve begun a running regimine, something I’m taking a break from due to an injury and pregnancy due (doctor’s orders…), I use interval training as a great way to get back in shape and increase my stamina. What I wasn’t expecting was to read the article “Interval Training Makes You Efficient At Work” at Business Insider. Evidently intervals aren’t just good for your body – whether you’re starting out or you’ve been running for a while, but they’re also good for your mind.

You can bet that when I begin running again I’ll start out interval training, especially as I build up to 5k races again once baby is here (did I mention I want a jogging stroller?) Intervals consist of 30-60 seconds of running combined with an equal amount of walking.

The gist of the article by Tony Schwartz is that we can apply the same sort of strategy to our workday. Work hard in shorter bursts followed by short bursts of relaxation. Before you laugh and say that it sounds like a good way to justify playing Candy Crush Saga on Facebook between meetings, it appears that the research supports this hunch just as it shows that interval training is much more effective in sports training.

What do you think? Do you use intervals when working out? Do you use intervals when working? I have been known to “Speed Date” my tasks when I feel overwhelmed by my to-do list. It’s amazing how much you can get done in 5 minutes (and how many small tasks can be knocked off your to-do list in 5-minutes or less!).  I know that once baby comes, I’ll be out there pounding the pavement again!

 

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Chicken Breasts with Artichoke-Olive Sauce and Moroccan Carrots

Tonight’s dinner

Tonight, I made a dinner of chicken breasts with artichoke-olive sauce accompanied by a side of Moroccan carrots. The recommendation on Food and Wine’s website – pair with a Moscofilero – was absolutely a great recommendation. Of course, I could only imagine what such a pairing would be like. I would think that a light Greek white would be the perfect accompanyment.

The chicken was absolutely delicious. I highly recommend this recipe to anyone – the best part is it tastes complicated, but it really wasn’t complicated (or time consuming) at all. In fact, the artichoke-olive sauce was simple enough that it could be a regular weeknight meal (as it was for us). A glass of white wine would have made it even more spectacular. While it’s an easy meal, it’s also a dish that would do well served at a dinner party or special event.

I’ve been talking a lot about recipes and hypothetical wine-pairing lately. That gets me to thinking I should ask you, the reader, what your favorite recipe-wine combo is.  Post your recommendations in the comments or send them to me at RondaB@WiningWife.com.

 

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What Would You Pair With Gazpacho and Fruit Salad?

Gazpacho (Spanish liquid tomato salad).

Gazpacho (Spanish liquid tomato salad). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night, wining husband made an amazing dinner with the help of Tiger Boy: Gazpacho, garlic-dill crackers, and a tangy fruit salad. Even though we’re not currently drinking wine due to my pregnancy, we had a discussion about what we would pair with this meal.

The gazpacho was spicy and filled with tomato goodness. We thought if it were just the soup, it would pair well with either a rosé wine or a light yet spicy pinot noir.

The fruit salad, threw a wrench into the wine-pairing plan, however. The salad was tangy and sweet. It had cantaloupe, banana, and avocado along a dressing made of olive oil, lemon juice, and a variety of seasonings including paprika and ground mustard. I might pair a late harvest or sweeter wine with it. I’d definitely want to go with a white wine.

I thought that possibly one of the rose wines we had tried last summer that had hints of watermelon might be a decent pairing.  Perhaps something like Gale Vineyards’ 2011 Rosé di Primitivo would go with it well – we’d noted that it had both paprika and watermelon in its bouquet. Other alternatives might be the 2011 Doe Mill Vineyards Rosé of Zinfandel, the 2011 Muga Rosé of Tempranillo, or the 2011 Chateau de Lancyre Rosé of Syrah, Grenache, and Cinsault.

Of course, I could be way off. Wining husband suggested the meal, if paired with wine, be served as separate courses with separate wines.

What do you think? What would you pair with these dishes? Would you choose one wine or would you pair a wine with each course?

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Wines Aged Under Water? Have You Tried Any of These?

A surfer on the Atlantic Ocean near Isle of Pa...

Some vintner are aging their wines under deep water. Have you tried any of these?  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In an article at Snooth today, Wine Under Water, the art of aging wine under water   was the topic of discussion. The idea is that instead of aging wine in barrels or in a cellar, certain companies are aging their wines under deep water (think off the coast of South Carolina). These wines sell at what seems to me exorbitant prices ($1000).

I’m wondering, first, whether any of you have tried a wine aged under water. Were there any significant differences in taste that you were able to perceive? And second, whether you have or haven’t whether you think this is a gimmick or a ploy to get more people to talk about a brand.   To me, it seems a bit gimmicky, but I speak from a point of ignorance, since this is the first time I’ve heard of them, and since I’ve never (at least to my knowledge) tasted an underwater wine.

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Now Accepting Guest Posts

Tempranillo varietal wine bottle and glass, sh...

Tempranillo varietal wine bottle and glass, showing colour Shot with Nikon D70s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

If you’ve always wanted to write about wine, or if you have your own wine blog, perhaps it’s time to think about guest posting on Wining Wife. Guidelines for posting can be found here.

 

Even if you don’t want to write about wine, but you have a great recipe, or you would like to share a craft or housekeeping tips, send your ideas to editor@winingwife.com.

 

Wining Wife covers a variety of topics including:

 

  • Wine and wine tasting
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  • Running
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  • Book reviews
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What are you waiting for? While we can’t currently offer payment for contributions, we do offer a 150 word byline and link to your website or product.

 

Happy writing!

 

 

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Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies (My Absolute Favorite!)

YUM! A fresh batch of chocolate-peanut butter chip cookies!

So, today I was sitting around writing and editing, and I thought about the peanut butter chips that have been hanging out in my new pantry. I’d forgotten I’d bought them. I don’t know about you, but I love chocolate and peanut butter together, and I was really excited to find Sunspire Peanut Butter Chips, which are made free of trans fats (not sponsored). You see, in the past, I’ve always used Reese’s peanut butter chips, however, I’ve had to get away from artificial flavors, trans fats, and corn syrup. So, I was particularly excited to make my favorite cookies.

Since I’m not drinking wine, I won’t be pairing these with anything, but if you wanted a fabulous dessert, I’d suggest pairing two of these cookies with some vanilla ice cream and either Harvey’s Bristol Creme Sherry or Sandeman Port.

Recipe: Chocolate-Peanut Butter Chip Cookies (Adapted from the back of a Reese’s Package)

2 cups Bob’s Red Mill (or other organic) white flour

3/4 cup Equal Exchange (or other fair-trade) Cocoa Powder

1 Teaspoon baking soda

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

2 1/2 sticks butter

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 bag peanut butter chips

Directions

About 20 minutes before you plan to start making the cookies, take butter and eggs out of the fridge. The butter will cream better, and using eggs at room temperature will create a more pleasant texture in the finished cookie.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Start by mixing together dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt) in a large bowl. Blend together using a wire whisk.

Next, place softened butter and sugar into a large mixing bowl. I used my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Mix the two together until you have a delicious creamy mess. Refrain from tasting. Really, try! (I can never contain myself. I love sugar and butter together, and being pregnant makes it an even more amazing treat.)

Now, add the eggs and vanilla and mix them into the buttery-sugary goodness. Once they are mixed in, slowly add in flour mixture. Mix only until combined. Over-mixing your cookie dough will make for hard cookies as an end result.

Stir in the peanut butter chips. I find that a rubber spatula does the trick quite nicely. Once you’ve evenly distributed the chips, then you’re ready to create the cookies.

Grab a teaspoon (I actually used a tablespoon, I like my cookies larger and chewier) and take heaping spoonfuls and drop them on a cookie sheet. I greased mine using the butter wrappers, but you could also use a spray mister with oil in it. I don’t use cooking sprays anymore because of the chemicals in them. When you have one sheet full, pop it in the oven for 9 minutes. Repeat with subsequent sheets. Cool cookies thoroughly, and try to avoid licking the spoon…if you can!

Cold Press Juicers vs. Centrifugal Juicer

So, someone has really done his/her homework and knows that when it comes to juicing it’s a lot more than a simple juicer, a simple sieve or the good old squeezers. Whenever it comes to comparison between two juicers, we can’t directly jump to conclusions as there are different people with different requirements, different tastes and preferences to the items they want to juice and different investment they can make.

Coming to the comparison over here, the Cold Press Juicers and Centrifugal Juicers is one of its own kind. One of the contenders for the “BETTER JUICER” title follows dictum “Quality never comes cheap” and the other one goes “Its best to keep things simple”. So, let’s finally begin with the task at hand and first have a complete analysis of both of the juicers, have a look at their pros and cons and then compare them on the basis of various criteria.

Cold Press Juicer:

  • The basic juicing is done by the MASTICATING or CHEWING process of the machine which produces a superior juice as compared to the Centrifugal one.
  • Cold Press Juicers have lower speed and compress the fruits and vegetables GENTLY to SQUEEZE out the Juice.
  • Though the Cold Press Juicers are COSTLY, their thorough and slow extraction rate yields a better juice in greater quantity.

Coming over to the pros and cons of the Cold Press Juicers:

Pros

Cons

Good for juicing leafy green vegetables, sprouts, herbs and grasses

Initial cost is HIGH

Juice yield HIGH

Fruits needed to be cut into smaller pieces for narrow chutes. Hence, preparation time is longer.

Enzyme integrity and Juice Shelf life is longer; upto 72 hours

Juice is slightly PULPY

Low operational speed, hence less heat leading to preservation of more enzymes and nutrients

Juice foaming and separation is MINIMAL

Quite PRESSING Action

Some models even offer other food processing functions, such as making nut butter, sorbet, nut milk etc.

After having an overview of Cold Press Juicers, let’s move on to: Centrifugal Ones.

Centrifugal Juicer:

  • They are the CHEAPEST juicers.
  • Initially the fruits and vegetables are pulverized against a cutting blade, round in shape which spins Quickly against the Metal Strainer.
  • The juice is separated from the pulp by the CENTRIFUGAL FORCE. This force is generated by the spinning motion of the cutting surface. This is where they get their name from.

Let’s have an overall idea of the pros and cons for Centrifugal Juicers:

Pros

Cons

Juicing Action is FAST

Not good for JUICING grasses, herbs, sprouts and leafy green vegetables

Cheap

Juice yield is LESS

Easy usage and Handling

Fast spinning of juicing blades produces HEAT which destroys the beneficial enzymes

Fruits and vegetables need NOT be cut into smaller pieces. Hence the preparation time is LESS.

Higher Foaming and Juice Separation

Owing to grinding and Cutting action, the juicer is NOISY

Now, we have had an overall idea of both the types of Juicers and next we will JUDGE them BOTH On the basis of some common juicing criteria.

  1. Cost:
  • Cold Press Juicers are Costlier than the Centrifugal ones. But the Quantity and Quality of Juice in Cold Press juicers is far more than that in Centrifugal Juicer.
  1. Nutrient Quality:
  • This is one of the most important factor that needs to be taken under consideration while purchasing a Juicer. Cold Press Juicers work at a low speed, hence the het produced is much less than in the Centrifugal ones. This leads to LESSER FOAMING, SUPERIOR TASTE, MINIMAL SEPARATION and RETENTION of all the necessary Nutrients and Enzymes.
  • Going for the statistics, the Cold Press Juicers EXTRACT 60% more Vitamin A, 42% more Vitamin C and 35-50% more Juice Quantity as compared to the Centrifugal Juicers.
  1. Shelf Life:
  • The shelf life is NOT ONLY dependent on the juicer type and Hence there is NO definite preference on this criteria. But the disintegration of enzymes is LESSER in Cold Press Juicers. Hence they offer a longer shelf life.
  • Though the juice should be consumed fresh so as to have the maximum nutritional gain.
  1. Ease of Cleaning:
  • The Cold Press Juicers have a great ease of Cleansing and can be PRACTICALLY Auto – Cleaned.
  • While juicing, you can run water through them for cleaning.
  1. Types of juices you want to have:
  • The Cold Press Juicers can juice almost all kinds of fruits, vegetables, grasses, nuts, produce nut butters, nut milks and exotic green leafy vegetables and sprouts, herbs etc. easily.
  • Hence the variety is more in case of Cold Press Juicers.

So, after having a Basic Introduction, a study of Pros and Cons and the judgment over the common juicing criteria, you can easily ROUND OFF the factors and arrive at the juicer YOU WANT.

HAPPY JUICING..!!!

Keep up with the latest updates to juicer industry at bestjuicer.biz.

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