Frosé in the house!

It is HOT in Austin this summer. A cool drink goes a long way to make you forget the temperature outside. I have recently been introduced to a lovely pink frozen beverage called Frosé, made from rosé wine, but presenting as a slushie. Brick Oven Pizza served up my first one (and several since then). Pretty good!

Ever since then I’ve wanted to try making my own. We have a Cuisinart electric ice cream maker which we use to make delicious sorbets. So, I asked myself, “Self, can our ice cream maker successfully make frosé?”

The answer is, “YES!”

Today I conducted a test run. Inputs:

    – 1 Bottle of chilled rosé wine
    – 1/3 c chilled simple syrup (see recipe below)
    – 1 Cuisinart ice cream maker w/ pre-frozen canister. Our model is ICE-25R but is likely replaced by a newer model by now.

Pour wine into the canister, add simple syrup, and stir. Put canister in ice cream maker and start her up. At 15 minutes it was freezing nicely.

I ran it for another 10 minutes and it looked ready.

I scooped some into a wine glass, added a paper straw (no plastic!), and put the rest into the freezer for later.

Delicious! I highly recommend. Cheers!

Simple syrup recipe:

– Heat 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water in a saucepan over medium heat. Boil 1 minute. Cool and refrigerate.

Fun in the sun.

We enjoyed floating and fishing with Lori and Mike and four of his grandkids today on Nirvana, anchored in our favorite cove on Lake Travis. It was a fun time. The kids were great, and they caught 4 fish between them!

We checked out Brick Oven’s Jazz night for dinner. The patio was full, though, so we had to sit inside.

Another good day!

Happy anny.

We recently celebrated our anniversary.  Tonight, we had Lori and Pooh over for dinner and popped open one of our oldies.

It was a bottle from a winery that we visited on our honeymoon – an almost 20 year old chianti that we brought back with us.  The cork didn’t leak or budge in the last two decades, so the wine was really pretty good!  I am very happy to be able to share it with friends.

Boats, et cetera.

We toured the Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain tall ships with Francine, Rebecca & Aaron. It was fun to learn they would be here during our visit.

The next day we ambled through some antique shops, and then took the ferry to Seattle to visit Pat, Nga and the boys.

A photo of the Southworth ferry (manipulated with the Prisma app)…

They have a beautiful new home in seattle with a view of the Sound. Another pic, manipulated with the Prisma app that I so enjoy playing with.

Will helped Monte hang their dartboard. And the throwing ensued.

We walked around the neighborhood garage sales, and all the beautiful yards.

Then blackberry picking…

Then we made a wonderful seafood dinner. I sautéed some Manila clams. They were eaten so fast I only got an after photo…

Pat grilled salmon and it was perfect!

Nick and I put together Lego dinosaurs after dinner – well, I helped. 🙂

Girls’ trip 2014 – Destination Washington, D.C.

Last year five of my girlfriends and I went on a trip together to San Diego and had a really great time.  We said we’d try to make it an annual thing.  And we did!  This year’s destination:  Washington D.C.

The fall weather was beautiful.  We rented a townhouse on Capitol Hill just south of Lincoln Park – about a mile and a half walk to the Capitol buidling.  What an amazing place to live.

The Highlights:

We walked about a hundred miles (!), mastered the Metro, and took in some amazing sights.   We visited the Library of Congress & National Gallery of Art, and their outdoor Sculpture Garden.  We took a 3-hour Segway DC Monuments & Memorials tour with CitySegway (I highy recommend them, and our wonderful guide, Ray).  We caught a showing of the Broadway musical Evita at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  We drank a couple barrels of wine.  And danced the night away in the townhouse.  We we sure crammed alot of fun into a 4 day weekend.

The Eats:

– The night we arrived we ate at the highly touted Spanish tapas restaurant Jaleo (2 blocks from the Archives metro station).  This madrileña gives them a bleh and a thumbs down.  Service was ho hum, their traditional tapas like gambas al ajillo were not traditional at all… (made with red, spicy pepper sauce with no garlic!).  When we complained, the waiter said they’ve changed the way they prepare them now and we should have ordered them traditional if that’s the way we wanted them, even though that’s how they were described on the menu.  We shared a pan of lobster paella which tasted like new orleans dirty rice made with a burnt roux.   Sorry José Andrés, you let us down.

– for breakfast the next day, Friday, we ate at the Madison Cafe atop of the Library of Congress’ James Madison Memorial Building.  What a great, unassuming breakfast stop, with reasonable prices.  Spectacular view of the Potomac, but apparantly you’re not supposed to go out on the patio unless accompanied by the Capitol Police (oopsie).

– for lunch on Friday’s sightseeing marathon (seriously, Laura’s pedometer said we walked about 23 miles that day!), we happened upon a really wonderful farmer’s market/outdoor food court in the Federal Triangle – Capital Harvest on the Plaza.  In contrast to last night’s meal, the paella I got here on a paper plate was perfect and the real deal.  They are open Friday’s through the end October.

– for dinner on Friday night we ate at the fabulous italian restaurant Graffiato  (a short walk from the Gallery Place/Chinatown metro stop).  Now this was a great meal!  The service was fantastic.  We tried nearly everything (watercress salad, caesar, mussels a la vodka, potato gnocchi, homemade pasta, white house pizza, and even more that I don’t recall) and came away wanting more.  Delicious!

– Saturday morning we walked to the nearby Eastern Market – a historic indoor/outdoor food and arts market and a hub of the neighborhood on Capitol Hill.  We bought ingredients for our planned dinner-at-the-townhouse later that night.  The menu:  spinach soup, grilled salmon steaks, asparagus risotto, green beans with lemon vinagrette and goat cheese.  We outdid ourselves!

– for brunch on our last day, we headed to Le Greniere, a fantastic french bistro on H street, about a mile walk from Union Station.  Their weekend brunch menu has a great variety of delicious choices.  My croque-monsieur could have fed 2 or 3.  🙂  excellent service and brunch menu.  We were all thankful for the walk afterwards.

And then, *poof* it was over.   Til next year!

Some of the sights:

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Mmmmussels.

Super Bowl Eve dinner.

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1 lb mussels, 2 cloves sliced garlic, 1 diced shallot, 1/4 c chopped parsley, several stalks of thyme, pinch of salt, dozen or so pieces of saffron, tbsp butter, 2 cups white wine.

Toss all but mussels in skillet, bring to low boil for 5 mins. Add cleaned mussels. Cover and cook for 10 mins til mussels are open. Shake pan a few times. Add a couple pieces of toast and yum!

Hump day.

Colleen arrived today for a visit. Tonight we cooked a delicious dinner at the house. Julie joined us. On the menu: prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe appetizer, grilled chicken, risotto Milanese, sautéed brussels sprouts and homemade lime sorbet for dessert. Oh. My.

We add wet applewood chips to the charcoal briquettes while the chicken’s on the grill, which adds a mouthwatering smoky note. Colleen called it “bacon flavored chicken.”
High praise from a bacon-o-phile. 🙂

Prosciutto & Cantaloupe Appies

These aren’t pretty, but they’re delicious.

1 ripe cantaloupe
8 oz prosciutto di Parma, sliced thin
Melon baller tool
Toothpicks

Halve and remove seeds from cantaloupe. Scoop out melon balls. Wrap with prosciutto, Skewer with toothpick.

Tada!

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Saturday nom noms.

Dinner time rolled around tonight and risotto and grilled salmon were on the menu. The before shot of the risotto:

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And the before shot of the salmon fillet, rubbed with olive oil, sprinkled with kosher salt and ground pepper, sitting skin-down on a cedar plank that has been soaking in water for about 4 hours:

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We cook it on a weber charcoal grill over direct heat for about 30 mins (this fillet was 2 pounds). The plank burns on the bottom, but infuses the salmon with a delicious smoked flavor. Be careful taking the plank off, it will burn anything you set it on. I use a cookie sheet. It’s not pretty, but it does the trick.
And after:

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We watched the first race of the Louis Vuitton Cup final, but it was disappointing as both boats had problems and they postponed the second race. Later, the Seahawks preseason game 2 was on the NFL Network, and i got to watch them cream the broncos, so that made up for it.
Have I mentioned that I love weekends?!

Happy happy joy joy.

It’s pizza night!  These are the works of art from tonight’s installment.  Rachel and Julie were the pizza artistes.  Monte’s homemade crusts, of course.  The top left one is margherita with tomatoes, mozzarella, home grown basil and olive oil (instead of red sauce). Top right is tomato sauce, prosciutto, onion, basil, red pepper, olive and goat cheese.  Bottom left and right are varying amounts of prosciutto, mushroom, olive, onion, red pepper and mozz.
Yum – life is good !

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