Sunday, June 15, 2008

Basic Knowledge about Wine

I once read that wine drinkers live longer than beer drinkers. Wine has so many health benefits that drinking a few glasses a week — particularly red, but white has benefits, too — will lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and even cancer.

Wine's magic ingredients come from the skin of the grape. Resveratrol protects the body's cells, keeping them young and strong. Saponins bind to bad cholesterol and usher it out of the body. And flavonoids interfere with the multiplication of cancer cells.

However, buying wine can be a daunting task for one who knows next to nothing about wine. Here is a guide from which will at least provide us with some basic knowledge about wine-buying and so forth.

Understanding wine is easy. It comes down to a few basic principles, which I've laid out here. So read on, drink up, and live long.

3 Moves Every Guy Must Master

1. Serving: Serve both red and white at room temperature. A chill can mask a wine's flaws and strengthen the astringent taste of the tannins. At room temperature, the wine's unique flavors — fruit, oak, whatever — are more obvious.

2. Decanting: Let wine breathe for 2 to 3 hours. Aeration speeds up the oxidation process that takes years to occur in a sealed bottle. This smooths out the taste and brings out complex flavors and aromas.

3. Tasting: First, give it a sniff, which primes your palate. Take a sip and let the wine hit every part of your mouth. You'll taste several flavors at once. The wine will evolve as you eat, as certain foods bring out different flavors.

How to Navigate a Wine Store

Treat it like a barbershop. Stay loyal to one store, and befriend a clerk who knows about the wines you like. Once he or she understands your tastes, your options will become endless. Here are a few other dos and don'ts.

Don't... Buy the label

There's a saying in the wine industry: "Put critters on the label, sell cases." Labels are designed by marketing companies who know how to trick you into buying juice that doesn't pack the thunder. Playful labels and cartoons are major warning signs. Be wary of red or yellow labels, which are designed to stand out.

Do... Double-check the ratings card

Often, wine shops post ratings for the wrong year. How much can the quality of wine vary from year to year? A ton. Most 2000 California cabernets are just average wines, for example, but the 2001 vintage is exceptional.

Don't... Choose from a display near the counter

Chances are, they're trying to unload wines that didn't sell as well as expected or are aging quickly. Either way, these won't be among the best bottles in the store.

Do... Pick up four new wines for every one of your old favorites

This is the key to expanding your palate — and be sure to keep good notes.

Watch a Slideshow: The Perfect Case of Wine


Burger Recipe

All of us have our own recipe for making burgers. Here is one more from MSN to add to your recipe book. Burgers are great to serve for holiday gatherings and other summer cookouts. Buttered corn-on-the-cob goes well with them.


1 clove garlic, minced, or 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoon catsup
1 tablespoon steak sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cooking oil
2 - 3 dashes bottled hot pepper sauce
1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 hamburger buns
4 American cheese slices (optional)
4 lettuce leaves (optional)
4 tomato slices (optional)
4 red onion slices (optional)
4 pickle slices (optional)
1 teaspoon vinegar


1. For sauce, in a small saucepan combine garlic or onion, catsup, steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, cooking oil, vinegar, and hot pepper sauce. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside.

2. In a medium mixing bowl combine ground beef, salt, and pepper; mix well. Shape meat mixture into four 3/4-inch-thick patties.

3. To Cook by Indirect Grill Method: In a covered grill arrange preheated coals around a drip pan. Test for medium heat above the pan. Place meat on the grill rack over the drip pan. Cover and grill for 20 to 24 minutes or until instant-read thermometer inserted in side of burger registers 160 degrees F, turning once halfway through grilling time and brushing frequently with sauce during the last 5 minutes of grilling.

4. To Cook by Direct Grill Method: Grill meat on the grill rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 14 to 18 minutes or until no pink remains, turning once halfway through grilling time and brushing frequently with sauce.

5. To serve, split and toast the buns on the grill. Serve patties in buns with cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and pickle, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare sauce; cover and chill up to 24 hours. Prepare and shape burgers. Cover with plastic wrap and chill up to 2 hours before grilling.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Food Photography

If you are reading this, chances are you are also a blogger and if you are a blogger, chances are you are also into photographer or at least a blogger with a camera to take pictures for your blog. Based on the above assumptions, I found something interesting that might grab you. It's some videos (courtesy of the DPS site) on food photography with some useful tips we could use. Here they are: