174 bottles of wine on the wall

by Shawnda on June 26, 2009

in Wine

Wine bottles

174 bottles of wine…

We’ve started on the second, and final, phase of our kitchen expansion and remodeling project. Goodbye 1970’s bar complete with smokey mirrors. Hello huge eat-in kitchen complete with cabinet space! We’ll be back later this summer!


Wine bottles



Red Wine Burgers

It’s the cornerstone of a good partnership. He grills. I bake. I fetch the utensils from the kitchen. He keeps a watchful eye over dinner, spatula in one hand, a cold bottle of his home brew beer in the other. We make a good team. And he makes a damn good burger.

Fleur de Sel

Grilling on the back porch makes me dream of lazy weekends – a rare occurrence ’round here. Holiday weekends around our house usually means there’s some big DIY project on tap. Maybe it’s retiling a bathroom floor, installing baseboards, painting… we’re those people. This Memorial Day weekend was different, and it only took me almost breaking my leg on the mountain bike to secure the weekend off.


Cabernet Burgers on Everything Buns

When my husband got a new grill, I bought a grilling cookbook. It was only fair :) One of the first recipes to catch our eyes was the Cabernet Burgers. Holy mother. Rarely would I ever describe a picture of raw meat as gorgeous, but the photo of that deep, Cabernet-infused red patty had us both drooling. Ground beef can be way sexy!

The burgers were super juicy and retain a nice smokey, wine flavor after grilling. The extra wine reduction drizzled on the burger was just sweet enough to perfectly balance the savory flavors from the Everything bun.

We’ve used several wines with awesome results: cabernet, merlot for a nice oaky flavor, and shiraz which gives the burger a nice peppery bite. If you like to drink it, chances are you’ll like it in your burger.

Cabernet Burgers on "Everything" Buns

Juicy burgers spiked with a reduction of your favorite red wine, paired with an "everything" burger bun.


  • 2 cups of your favorite red wine
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 medium slicing tomato, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • Olive oil
  • 3 Burger buns ("everything" buns pictured)
  • 3 slices of your favorite cheese


  1. Preheat your grill to medium-high.
  2. In a medium sauce pan over high heat, combine the wine and brown sugar, stirring until dissolved.
  3. Let boil and reduce to 6 Tbsp (3/8 cup). This will take about ~25 minutes. Let cool to room temp, ~10 minutes.
  4. In a medium bowl, crumble ground beef and season with salt, pepper, and a couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce.
  5. Add 1/4 cup of red wine reduction and lightly toss to mix.
  6. Form 3 burger patties, handling as little as possible (they'll feel really loose and fragile).
  7. Drizzle tomato slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Place burgers and tomatoes on the grill. Grill the burgers to desired doneness (I typically cook both the tomatoes and burgers ~4 minutes on each side).
  9. Top with a slice of cheese and remove from the grill.
  10. Place on a burger bun, drizzle the remaining red wine reduction over the burgers, and top with a grilled tomato slice and the top bun.


Yields: 3 servings

Adapted from Weber's "Way to Grill"

Estimated time: 40 minutes



Like two kids in a candy store

by Shawnda on June 7, 2008

in Chocolate,Wine

Galveston Candy Shop

I love summer; an admission that comes from someone who:

1) Is not a student or a teacher
2) Hates our Seventh-Circle-of-Hell-Hot weather
3) Has had one too many slices of chocolate cake to wear a bikini
4) Cowers in a corner in the fetal position after the electricity bill comes in

Still, even in spite of the heat, we’re far more motivated in the summer to take an impromptu weekend day trip than any other time of the year.

The Strand
Continue Reading…



Blackberry and Pinot Noir Glazed Meatballs

My husband and I took on the title of “home vintners” some time ago and we bottled our first four wines last year: Riesling, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, and a Port. We always considered ourselves “white wine people” but our reds won our hearts over rather quickly. Our Port is our baby – it’s produced from the only varietal that grows well here, the Lenoir grape.

With nearly 200 bottles of wine under our roof, I’m always on the look out for new ways to cook using wine because, well, we don’t want to just drink it over the next couple of years. I regularly cook with white wine and have started looking for new ways to incorporate reds, namely our Pinot Noir, into dinner. The hints of blackberries and black cherries make it a fabulous candidate for a dark, rich and flavorful sauce.

It doesn’t have to be as labor intensive as a grilled beef tenderloin, though that’s a darn fine choice. If you happen to have leftover frozen meatballs in the freezer and a jar of dark berry preserves (black cherry or blackberry work wonderfully), you can have a killer appetizer on the table with only about 30 minutes notice from your friends.

Blackberry and Pinot Noir Glazed Meatballs

How good is it? My husband likes it. ‘Nuff said, right? While nothing will ever replace a simple, fresh marinara sauce in my husband’s eyes when it comes to serving meatballs, he really digs the Blackberry and Pinot Noir sauce. ::Sniff sniff:: I’m so proud of him :)

Have a good recipe that uses red wine? Leave me your link in the comments section!

Blackberry and Pinot Noir Glazed Meatballs

Blackberries and port add an elegant twist to the standby cocktail meatball.


  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup shallots, finely diced
  • 1 cup blackberry preserves*
  • 2/3 cup Pinot Noir
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 lb meatballs, cooked (if frozen, thawed)


  1. Heat oil over med-high heat and saute the shallots in a saute pan.
  2. Add preserves, Pinot Noir, and 5-6 grinds of black pepper.
  3. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.
  4. Add meatballs to pan, stirring to coat. (You can also put the meatballs in a crock pot set to low and pour the cooked sauce over them. Stir to coat and leave on low.)
  5. Cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until the meatballs are heated through, turning once or twice.
  6. Remove meatballs with a slotted spoon.
  7. Increase heat to med-high and reduce until the sauce thickly coats the back of a spoon. Taste and add salt, if desired. Transfer sauce to a serving bowl.
  8. Arrange meatballs on platter with toothpicks and serve warm.


Yields: ~1 cup of sauce

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 20 minutes