Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting

Wine tasting is regarded as a highly cultured exercise with definitive conventions that must be observed. These conventions never change regardless of when or where a wine tasting party is held. If you choose to have a wine tasting party, your guest list must be limited so that you have a room that is comfortable. You must never have a crowd and you want your guests to feel at home as much as possible. No situation should arise where your guests are pouring their wine and they are bumping into other guests because the room is not spacious.

The Need for Sufficient Water and Food

Wine TastingYou must have sufficient drinking water during the wine tasting experience. Your guests will want to rinse their mouths after every tasting because this allows them to experience various wines. Some wines are very thick and it is necessary to rinse because your guests will not be able to properly experience the next wine if they have the thicker taste ingrained in their mouths.

Another reason why you need water is so that your guests can quench their thirst because they cannot drink the wine alone if they are thirsty. Your guests will also need food although you need to carefully consider the type of food you provide them with. Never serve any food that will interfere with the wine testing experience. Any food that is served must be unflavored.

The Stages in Wine tasting

Wine TastingWine tasting goes through four stages. Firstly, there is the stage where the wine is seen or rather it’s appearance. The wine must be held against a white background such as a napkin to assess its color and purity. Red wines will generally have two color hues from dark or deep purple to scarlet red. With time and as they age, red wines lose their color. White wines have a range of colors including lemon gold, amber, different shades of gold, and different shades of yellow. As they age, white wines generally darken. Any white wine that is cloudy or discolored has probably gone bad.

Once you have looked at the wine, you should spin it around the glass to ensure that it has sufficient air and its distinctive smell is released. When the smell is released, place your nose in the glass and breathe deeply. You have to be very attentive to the aroma because older wines have an aroma that is delicate and exquisite compared to the ones that are lesser in age. Some wines have a fruity flavor and smell and you will be able to tell which fruit the wine was made from. Other wines are also either spicy or earthy and again you will be able to tell from the smell.

Finally, you get to the most important stage of tasting. To get a good taste of the wine, make sure your mouth is half full and delicately move the wine around your mouth. This will ensure that the aroma goes all over your mouth to allow you to determine if the taste of the wine corresponds with your perception about the wine’s banquet.

There is much more to wine tasting than just pouring wine in a glass and tasting it. There are skilled tasters who do this regularly and are depended upon to ensure that the wine is just right. This does not mean that you cannot have a wine tasting experience where you simply have fun and discover new wines.

Best Red Wine with Steak

Red Wine with Steak

Most people would consider pairing wine and food as a form of an art. Nonetheless, you need to know how to pair wine and food so that when you eat at home or go out, you are able to compliment any meal with an excellent wine bottle. If you are having steak, it is essential that you know how to choose the most ideal wine that will go along with the steak. As a general rule, red wine should always be paired with red meat. There is quite a huge collection of red wine and it is essential to determine which one you should go with.

Choosing the Ideal Wine Pairing for Steak

Red Wine with SteakSteak is perfect for red wine, agreeing about the best red wine to accompany your steak might be a bit of a challenge. How you cook your steak matters but you can go along with any red wine for pairing with steak as long as it is a wine that you are fond of. You need to look into the level of dryness that you prefer for the wine that you choose. You need to consider a few factors when you want to find the best red wine that will go well with your steak.

Factors to Consider When Pairing Wine with Steak

The type of wine you choose really depends on the steak and how it has been prepared. If you are going to make your steak rare, you want a wine that will mitigate the feeling of tannin to go with the wine. You could go with a bottle of cabernet Sauvignon or malbec, a full bodoed red wine that has its origins in Argentina. This is because when you are having your steak rare, the steak will help to soften wine. If you don’t prefer lean steak and would like to have your steak a little fatter, you probably need a wine that is a little more concentrated. You should consider going with a wine such as Red Rhone blend or GSM or such compositions. GSM is a variety of wine that consists of a composition from Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre. These are wines that are made in the Rhone Valley in the South of France.

Choosing Wine for Lean or Charred Steak

Red Wine with SteakShould you choose something lean for your steak, Pinot Noir would be an ideal choice as an accompaniment. You can find this type of red wine from most parts of the world where wine is produced and it is generally made from grapes. It is a popular in Burgundy, France. If you love steak that has been charred a little, it will be advisable to go with wine that is more ripened and is also sweetened. You will definitely enjoy a Coonawarra or Napa Valley cabernet with charred meat. Red Bordeaux and malbec can work very well with steak that is served with sauce. If you choose to add a little spice to your steak, you should go with a ripe Rhône or Languedoc red. One ideal wine in this category is Minervois.

There are many red wines that will go with a specific type of steak because steak can be made in very many different ways. If you really want to get to know more about different types of wine, you should consider going to wine testing events. If you are hosting, never forget to keep your wine in a refrigerator or ice for some hours a few hours. You don’t want your steak to be too affected by the strong influence that wine that has not been chilled has on steak.

6 Tips for Setting Up a Thanksgiving Buffet

Tips for Setting Up a Thanksgiving Buffet

With the holiday season just about to begin, this would be the best time to start making plans to spend quality time with family and friends. One way to do that would be to host a family thanksgiving buffet. You might be a small family or a large one, or are planning to invite friends to spend some time over a thanksgiving meal. Making plans now for your thanksgiving table will help you get ready for this wonderful day. The following tips will help you in setting up the ideal thanksgiving buffet.

Choose What to Put Where

Tips for Setting Up a Thanksgiving BuffetYou need to determine what goes where between your buffet table and your dining table. Any large item or anything that is hot should be placed on the buffet table. Other smaller items can be placed on the dining table. In planning for what goes to the buffet table and what goes to the dining table, you need to consider what your guests will use on the dining table and what can be left on the buffet table. Everything they will need while on the dining table to make it easy for them to serve should be placed within reach. Everything else should go to the buffet table.

Make Sure You Have Everything You Need

Part of the planning process is to ensure that you have all you need during the thanksgiving buffet. You need to plan for platters early in advance so that you don’t run out of dishes when your guests are sited. Make sure you have sufficient dishes by laying them out on the table and labeling them.

Find a table to Place Drinks

Look for a separate table where you can place all the drinks. Make sure the drinks are not too far off and are within reach so that when your gusts need a drink, they can reach out and get themselves what they need.

Have an Organized Flow for the Buffet

Once you are ready to set up the sitting area and the buffet table, make sure you have everything you need and then determine where each and every item will go. You need to set up an area where your guests can pick up their plates and then a serving area where they will serve themselves. The serving area must be well organized so that the flow of traffic is not disruptive to anyone. Consider which food, drinks, salads or any other items should be first in the flow. Make sure your guests are able to serve food in an orderly manner and then go to the table where they can sit and eat. Take care of the hot meals so that you are not left with a table that has been damaged. You can use trivets for that purpose.

Make Sure Your Guests Understand the Dishes Getting Serving

Tips for Setting Up a Thanksgiving BuffetYou need to make sure your guests understand what they are eating. Some might not want to serve certain dishes as a preference and others probably have health complications and will want to avoid certain dishes. It helps to label every food item so that your guests know exactly what they are getting served.

Make the Entire Buffet Presentable

Make the entire buffet experience a presentable one by using color matching schemes for your table, dishes, linens and everything else. Consider using table paddings to protect your tables, but also to keeps the tables from pulling. You can also use table runners to spice up the entire atmosphere. You can use your imagination to make sure that everything looks great on Thanksgiving Day. You should consider gifting each of your guests by placing a wrapped gifts at each sitting place.

Why Your Kitchen Needs Wall Mount Kitchen Faucet or a Pot Filler

Why Your Kitchen Needs a Pot Filler Faucet

The question that rings in many people’s minds when doing kitchen renovations is whether to install a pot filler faucet or not. Although this trend is beginning to catch on, the reality is that pot filler faucets have been with us for more than a decade. They were mostly installed in high end kitchens and it was not until recently that the trend started trickling to the average households. Another type of kitchen faucet are wall mount faucets

Some of you may be wondering what a pot filler faucet is. It is a faucet mounted on the wall above your stove or cooking range.  The main function of a pot filler faucet is to fill up pots and pans, so that you do not have to carry them from the tap to the stovetop. Unlike a normal faucet, this filler faucet has a unique disjointed design that allows it to tower over pots and also swing back to the wall when not in use. Here are reasons why your kitchen needs a pot filler faucet:

A pot filler faucet is convenient

Why Your Kitchen Needs a Pot Filler FaucetThink about it- you will not need to carry pots full of water from the sink to the stovetops. Some pots are quite heavy even without water. For instance, the Dutch cast iron oven weighs around 15 pounds. Now, if you were to add a gallon of water (weighing around 8 pounds), then transporting such a pot from the sink to the stovetop may be a challenge, especially if you are old or weak.

Some critics argue that you will still carry the pot back to the sink to rinse out excess water. However, without the pot filler faucet, you will carry the heavy load twice as opposed to once. The situation may be worse during dinners and get togethers, when you have to use a lot of water to prepare various dishes.This heavy lifting can only work for you if you are a workout junkie.To avoid back injuries and muscle strains, install a pot filler faucet.

These faucets reduce accidents and water spills

Carrying water filled pots from the sink to the stovetops may result to water spillages on the floor. A slippery floor increases chances of serious accidents. It further adds more workload to your already busy schedule, because you will be forced to clean the floor. Again, critics claim that a leaky faucet over a stove can lead to serious damages, which is true. However, this can only occur when you seek the services of a fraud to do the installations. Look for a reputable company to do proper installations and repairs even if it will cost a few extra dollars.

Wall Mount Kitchen Faucet

Another popular faucet are the wall mount kitchen faucets that have several benefits over the normal kitchen faucets, such as you don´t have to drill holes into your sink and bacterial build up is therefore less than it would normally be.When it comes to choosing a wall mount faucet there are several great brands to choose from that offer nice design and colors to match your interior of your kitchen. The editors over at the kitchenfaucetcenter.com have done a great overview in this article Wall Mount Kitchen Faucets & Pot Filler Faucet where you can choose the best wall mount kitchen faucets and pot fillers according to their ratings.

It will facilitate multitasking while cooking

Why Your Kitchen Needs a Pot Filler FaucetOne of the things that slows down the cooking process is relying on one faucet.The pot filler faucet will do the work of filling the pots, while the sink can be used for other functions like washing dishes and cleaning vegetables. Furthermore, a normal sink is designed not to support large vessels. With a pot filler faucet, you will be able to fill the large containers without a problem, thanks to its elevated design.

They add resale value to your house

One of the places people tend to look at when searching for a house to buy is usually the kitchen. Adding a pot filler into your kitchen will place your house above the competition. And contrary to what critics may tell you, installing a pot filler is not very expensive if you factor in all the benefits you will enjoy. The plumbing process and design for a pot filler is the same as installing a water line for a refrigerator or an ice maker. Remember, pot fillers have been associated with luxurious kitchens for a longtime. Having one in your house will automatically improve the value of your house, as opposed to not having one.

Pot fillers may act as a décor for your kitchen

A pot filler will add a bit of flair to your kitchen, regardless of the type of faucet you choose. An empty wall is actually dry and boring. With a pot filler, you will be killing two birds with one stone. The standard model of a pot filler is stylish, however there is a wide variety of faucets with different finishes and metallic compositions, such as stainless steel, polished nickel, matte black, Venetian bronze and champagne bronze. Therefore, there is a faucet that meets your needs and perfectly complements your kitchen color and décor.

As you can see, a pot filler is a sound investment that will be worth every cent spent. If you are undecided whether to install it today, you may put the necessary infrastructure to allow you to install in the future. This will cut down future installation costs and also reduce serious damages to your kitchen.

4 Instant Pot Recipes for Thanksgiving

Instant Pot Recipes for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving holiday is one of the most popular holidays of the year. It marks a time when we come together and give thanks for all the blessings that life has bestowed upon us. The icing on the cake of this remarkable day is usually the thanksgiving dinner. While most people enjoy all the delicious assortment of foods that they are served, they do not know the challenges that the hosts have to go through to make the dinner a success.

The chefs suffer the heaviest brunt working tirelessly to ensure the turkey, pumpkin pie, gravy, cranberry sauce and other delicacies are cooked to perfection. Unfortunately, most of them stick to ovens when preparing these delicacies. They fail to realize the power of the pressure cookers. Instant pots can prepare all types of meals and at half the time used by ovens.

For those not familiar with what an instant pot is, it is a multi-cooker that functions as a slow cooker, pressure cooker, steamer, a sauté, warming pot and even a yogurt maker. Want to prepare the meals and still have all the time to relax before the special thanksgiving dinner, use an instant pot. Here are 4 instant pot recipes for thanksgiving.

Recipe 1: Instant Pot Turkey with Gravy

Instant Pot Recipes for ThanksgivingFor it to be considered thanksgiving dinner, a turkey has to be involved. You need the following ingredients for this mouth-watering delicacy:

Ingredients for the turkey

  • 4 lbs. of boneless turnkey breast
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of minced thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons of minced rosemary leaves
  • Half a teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon of coarse ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of ghee or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup of low sodium chicken stock
  • Sprig of thyme and rosemary
  • Chicken broth(or chicken stock if you know how to prepare)

Preparation of the turkey

  1. Make sure the turkey is defrosted before you begin. Use a paper towel to pat dry the turkey breast. Leave the netting on the breast, it will help you dissect the cooked turkey into thin slices.
  2. Put all the ingredients listed in a bowl, starting with minced garlic, paprika, minced rosemary, minced thyme, kosher salt and pepper. Mix the ingredients thoroughly.
  3. Then, rub the spice mixture all over the turkey.
  4. Set to high sauté on the instant pot and add the ghee or the olive oil.
  5. Insert the turkey breast into the rack of instant pot. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the whole turkey breast is brown.
  6. Remove the turkey breast from the instant pot and place it on a plate. Add the chicken broth into the instant pot with sprigs of thyme and rosemary, followed by the turkey breast.
  7. Lock the lid, set the pressure to high and the time to 35 minutes.
  8. Remove the turkey breast and place it on a platter to cool.

Recipe 2: The Gravy

Instant Pot Recipes for ThanksgivingIngredients for the gravy

  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 4 tablespoons of flour
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of heavy cream

Making the gravy

  1. Transfer the pot drippings to a bowl, de-grease it to remove excess fats and measure two cups of the strained drippings.
  2. Set medium or normal sauté on the instant pot.
  3. Melt the 4 tablespoons of butter into the pot and add flour. Cook and stir for 2 minutes, then add the two cups of strained drippings. Continue cooking and stirring until the gravy thickens.
  4. Add salt and pepper to the thickened gravy.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of heavy cream.

Remove the net from the turkey breast and slice into slim pieces. Serve it with the gravy and other great dishes.

Recipe 3: Sweet Potato Casserole

Instant Pot Recipes for ThanksgivingIngredients

  • Two and a half pounds of sweet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons of light cream or half and half
  • ½ cup of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons of melted butter
  • ¾ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoon of kosher salt

Ingredients for the toppings

  • ½ cup of brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoon of flour
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of melted butter
  • ½ cup of chopped pecans

Preparations

  1. Scrub the sweet potatoes and slice them into large pieces, without peeling them.
  2. Arrange the sweet potatoes on a trivet inside the instant pot. Pour 1 ½ cups of water into the instant pot. Lock the lid, set to high pressure and the timer to 18 minutes.
  3. Wait for the time to end, then release pressure.
  4. Peel the potatoes and transfer them to a mixing bowl. Crush them with a potato masher.
  5. Add to the potato mash the brown sugar, light cream, melted butter, cinnamon, vanilla extract, nutmeg, kosher salt and the beaten egg. Mix them well with an electric mixer.
  6. Grease a baking dish that will fit into the instant pot and spread the potato mixture on it.
  7. To prepare the topping, mix the brown sugar with the butter, flour and chopped pecans. Mix them thoroughly and add the mixture on top of the potato mixture.
  8. Place the casserole dish in betweenan aluminum foil sling. This will act as a handle that will help you lift the casserole dish from instant pot.
  9. Add about a cup of water into the instant pot.
  10. Using the improvised aluminum foil handle, place the casserole dish on top of the trivet inside the instant pot. Then, fold the aluminum foil on top of the casserole to allow the lid to close.
  11. Manually set the pot to high pressure and the timer to 15 minutes.
  12. Lift the casserole out using the aluminum foil.
  13. Serve with the other thanksgiving treats.

Recipe 4: Pumpkin Pie

Instant Pot Recipes for ThanksgivingIngredients

Crust

  • 6 Pecan Sandies Cookies crushed
  • 1/3 cup of chopped toasted pecans
  • 2 tablespoons of butter melted

Filling

  • ½ cup of light brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cups of solid pack pumpkin
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 beaten egg
  • ½ cup of evaporated milk

Preparations

  1. Use a non-stick spray to coat a springform pan.
  2. Mix all the ingredients for the crust in a bowl and spread the mixture in the pan, one inch away from the edges. Cool it in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  3. In another bowl, mix the ingredients for the filling, starting with pumpkin pie spice, sugar and salt. Add the pumpkin, beaten egg and evaporated milk.
  4. Pour the mixture into the pie crust.
  5. Pour one cup of water into the instant pot and then place the trivet into the pot.
  6. Cover the pan with an aluminum foil and make an aluminum foil sling that will help you lift the pan from the pot. Place the pan into the trivet and fold the foil sling on top of the pan.
  7. Close the lid of the pot and set to high pressure and the timer to 35 minutes.
  8. The pot will alert you with a beep sound once the time elapses. Release the pressure for 10 minutes.
  9. Remove the pan to cool, remove the aluminum cover and replace it with a plastic wrap.
  10. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and then serve with whipped cream.