Say Cheese!

My friend and I went to Newport, RI last week for a little overnight getaway.  Our first stop was Newport Vineyards.  Their tasting room is gorgeous and they have a cafe that serves delicious food.  We ordered the cheese plate pictured above.  Their grapes were planted 30 years ago so their wines have a complex nature also due to the unique growing climate.

After our tasting, we walked next door to the the cafe and purchased a glass to enjoy with our cheese plate.  It got me thinking about how important presentation can be.  These cheeses and jams and bread could have just been thrown on a plate but they presented everything nicely on a cheese board.

If you’re new to wine and you’re looking into hosting some parties in your home, do yourself a huge favor and invest a small amount of money in an interesting cheese board like the one below.

It’s only  $10 and you get free shipping with Amazon Prime.  The company has several different shapes but I love the wine bottle.

It’s easy to present a lovely cheese board with very little effort.  Start off with some water crackers. I like Carr’s because they are affordable and easy to eat with red or white wine.  Purchase a few different cheeses like brie, camembert, goat cheese, and havarti.  Scatter large chunks of cheese around the cheese board with the water crackers and some grapes, a few different types of jam and some nuts.

Buy several different bottles of wine depending on how many people will be attending.  At a stand up party, guests typically consume about 2 glasses of wine per hour and one standard bottle usually yields about 4 glasses.

If you have a large home, it is a good idea to prepare a few of these cheese boards and place them in different areas. An open floor plan works well for this. You can have one on the kitchen counter, one or two on the kitchen table, one or two in the living room, etc.

Clean up is a breeze. I wouldn’t necessarily put bamboo in the dishwasher. Handwash the boards and then let them air dry.  You can condition them with mineral oil to extend the life of bamboo wood.

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

I have nothing complicated here. Today, I want to discuss how much I love my citrus squeezer. It’s probably one of my top 3 favorite kitchen gadgets of all time.  Sadly, I recently discovered that I am allergic to citrus but prior to finding out that devastating tidbit of information, I used my squeezer at least once a week.  To be honest, I have two of these because I use it so often, one of them is usually in the dishwasher.  

There are several models out there. Trust me when I tell you to spring a little extra dough for a metal one.  The plastic ones will break quickly.  The metal one should last decades.  This particular model is only $16 and it’s worth every penny and more. 

It’s a simple process. You can use this squeezer with lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines, etc. Slice your fruit in half and then place it in the squeezer with the cut side facing the small holes. I know it seems counterintuitive to some people but trust me. The juicy part should be facing the holes. Then clamp down on the sucker and squeeze right over whatever you are making.  It doesn’t require much pressure. A kid could do it. I actually have arthritis in my hands so I have the strength of a baby but I can still squeeze every last drop of juice using my citrus squeezer. And that’s it. Open your squeezer back up and drop the rind in the trash. Voila! Fresh squeezed juice with no pulp or seeds. 

I love using this in my recipes that call for lemon or lime juice.  Both fruits are so cheap, I prefer to use fresh squeezed juice over the artificial stuff.  The squeezer is also great for when you are making mojitos, lemonade, orange juice, salsa, etc. One of the best things about having this tool to make my life easier is that it is dishwasher safe so the clean up is a cinch! 

The Magic Decanter

So here is one of my favorite parts of having my own blog. I get to share my secret finds from Amazon and beyond! I bought my Magic Decanter years ago when I was unsuccessfully trying to be a wine snob.  I could just wine parties and look like I know what I’m talking about.

Less that $12!

Air helps red wine. You might have heard people say that wine needs to breathe. I disagree. I have most certainly drank red wine immediately after opening the bottle. But I will agree that red wine wants to breathe.  It improves the taste.

You may not fancy yourself a wine connoisseur but if you try my little trick, you will be able to notice a difference between wine that has just been opened and wine that has been given the opportunity to breathe.

First, purchase yourself a little wine aerator.  There are many options and styles and colors.  I like my Magic Decanter.  It’s inexpensive but doesn’t look like it and I got free shipping with Amazon Prime.  You can even purchase an inexpensive set with a stand aeratorif you’re like me and your hands get a bit unreliable after a few glasses of wine!

Only $39.99!!

 

Now purchase a bottle of any red wine that you like. It doesn’t have to be expensive. This aerator really works magic. It will make a $10 bottle of wine taste like it costs $40!  Open the bottle and pour a tiny taste straight into a red wine glass. Taste it. Let it sit in your mouth for several seconds before you swallow it. Take another sip and do the same.  Once your glass is empty, pour some of that same wine into your glass using the Magic Decanter.  Now taste it. Let it sit in your mouth.  Note the difference in taste.  I have yet to drink red wine that doesn’t taste better after swirling through the aerator.

I would love to hear about your experience using this aerator or any others you like.