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Drinks (17 posts)
The neighborhood of Hough, in Cleveland, is full of empty lots and boarded-up houses—just about the last place you'd expect to see a vineyard. But that's what you'll find at the corner of East 66th and Hough Avenue: 14 rows of third-year vines. The Traminette and Frontenac grapes to be harvested this fall will soon be bottled under the label Chateâu Hough.
This microappellation is the brainchild of 69-year-old Mansfield Frazier, who claims no enological expertise besides enthusiasm. ("I'm an expert at opening the bottle," he says.) Three years ago, when Cleveland chose to put $500,000 in federal money toward vacant land reuse, Frazier was one of the first residents to apply for a grant. But instead of proposing an urban farm or community orchard, he submitted an application to grow grapes for wine.
Frazier, a longtime activist and Hough resident, knew a vineyard would yield more profit than a garden. Wine grapes have a high dollar yield per acre; Frazier estimates that each of his 289 vines could generate ten $10 bottles of wine per year: "You can't get that off of bell peppers!" Since the mission is to create long-term jobs for Hough residents—many of whom, like Frazier himself, are ex-cons—the more profit the better. The city awarded the project $18,000—one of the largest grants given.
Frazier also hopes to open a winery in the historic firehouse down the street, and to build a biocellar—a deconstructed house that retains its basement and is capped with a solar roof, functioning as a subterranean greenhouse. If he can raise enough money to convert the old Victorian next to the vineyard into a biocellar, he'll train his crew to grow crops like shiitake mushrooms.
He has won the support of U.S. Representative Marcia Fudge, who has—thanks to his efforts—introduced a bill that would fund biocellars and urban viticulture projects. Whatever the future holds, Frazier is pleased to have come this far. "People drive by the vineyard and say, 'My son helped you build this!'" he says. "They have a real sense of pride in this project."
Liquor and wine prices in restaurants are up 79% over the past 30 years, NPR reported recently. You can thank the rising cost of liquor licenses and the fact that bartenders haven't gotten any more productive since 1982, i.e., they can't pour drinks any faster--among other factors, which Eater.com explains in this article (the piece also explains why prices probably won't come down anytime soon).
So where does that leave us cost-conscious sauvignon blanc seekers? Either at whatever outdoor bistro has the best happy hour deal, or following the guidelines in Oprah.com's Cheap Summer Wine Guide. Every bottle costs less than $12, from crisp Moscato to an Italian aperetif made with semisparkling wine, fresh citrus and herbs. And there are even tricks to the speediest way to chill your beverage. You're welcome.
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Pair them with sesame. As every sushi chef knows, cucumber and sesame seeds are a winning combination. This easy salad incorporates both ingredients. Just don't skimp on the chilling time: part of the dish's charm comes from the cool, juicy texture of the marinated cucumbers. Let the sweet-tart interplay of the vinegar and sugar really sink in.
Get the recipe: Sesame Cucumber Salad
Chop them up for gazpacho. Tomatoes are traditional, but cucumbers and onions also make for a refreshing warm-weather soup. Serve the icy, chunky blend with crunchy, garlic-rubbed country bread.
Get the recipe: Cucumber and Onion Gazpacho
Eat them with salty cheese. Minerally halloumi cheese comes from the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, where locals enjoy it with cold watermelon. Its slight saltiness also makes it a good match for the fresh taste of cucumber and lemon.
Get the recipe: Halloumi Cheese with Cucumber Lentil Salad
In the spirit of using everyday objects in untraditional ways, here are 5 more mom-would-never-do-this ways to repurpose kitchen and dining pieces. What are yours? Tell us in the comments.
1. Kitchen towels as napkins. If you buy them at a restaurant supply store, they're very cheap (such as these 100% heavyweight cotton ones, $12 for a dozen).
2. Mason jars for yogurt, fruit and granola parfaits. Adapt the craze for all sorts of desserts and sweets in jars to your breakfast.
Turkey Hill Grade A Eggnog
Pictured: Back row, left
$2.49 for 1 quart
1/2 cup: 190 calories, 9 grams fat
The consensus among tasters is that this pasteurized, homogenized nog--which has rum flavoring (though not actual rum) and spices--is the standard against which all others should be judged. Our resident eggnog lover declared Turkey Hill her favorite.
Pictured: Back row, right
$2.49 for 1 quart
1/2 cup: 170 calories, 9 grams of fat
This lactose-free drink tasted more like vanilla pudding (or "pudding mix before it's puddi-fied," according to one taster) than eggnog. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Said another, "It doesn't taste like eggnog, but it's good."
Pictured: Front row, middle
This O mag recipe was one of the simplest I found. I made a thin custard from cooked eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and nutmeg; then, once it cooled, I stirred in whipped heavy cream. Some tasters liked the resulting froth, and one even said, "This tastes like a milkshake!" Conclusion: This is the eggnog for people who don't like eggnog.
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1. Cranberry Lemongrass Martini
2. Pineapple-Cucumber Mojitos
3. Pear Champagne Cocktail
4. Raspberry Champagne Cocktail
5. Peach Bellini
6. Hope Floats Cocktail
7. Pink Halo
The retro drink that everyone loves
5 simple rules for enjoying sparkling cider
Rum at book club?
1. Keep It Seasonal
An iced tea-lemonade punch is terrific in July, but December calls for ingredients such as citrus, apple brandy and warm baking spices like cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. And now's the time to serve heartier punches (think ones that include egg nog).
2. Watch the Booze
One of the most common mistakes Searing sees is too-strong punch (even if part of the drink's appeal is its potency). Either follow a recipe to make sure you don't over-spike, or adhere to this rule of thumb: Each 5-ounce serving (the standard size for the cups that accompany most bowls) should contain about 1 and a half ounces of an 80-proof spirit (most vodka, gin, whiskey and rum fall into this category).
FOOD52 Holiday Recipe & Survival Guide, $9.99 for iPad.
This app, spun off of the crowd-sourced site Food52, has 75 recipes for Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year's, 100 minutes of video tutorials, plus extras like step-by-step photos of zesting, peeling and segmenting citrus; rules for reheating food; and a dish-washing game plan.
Baking with Dorie, $7.99 for iPad.
Cookbook author Dorie Greenspan gives more than 20 baking lessons via 100-plus videos in this app that's as useful as it is beautiful to look at. Learn how to make Dorie's All-in-One Holiday Bundt Cake (with pumpkin, cranberries, pecans and a maple syrup icing), Cinnamon Squares and more cold-weather treats.
Grocery iQ, free for Android, iPhone and iPad.
This app lets you build your food shopping list quickly by scanning the barcode for any product, or via predictive text (and its database contains millions of food items). You can create lists for multiple stores, sort your list by aisle, and find coupons for items you're shopping for.
She gave us four types of affordable, food-friendly American wines that will enhance any spread, formal or casual. “But if you buy only one bottle, make it pinot noir,” Wines says. “It’s the ultimate Thanksgiving crowd-pleaser.”
“Sparkling wine is necessary for celebratory toasts—and it just happens to be delicious with all types of pre-feast appetizers,” Wines says. Gruet Winery in New Mexico makes a variety of excellent bubblies under $15, and for more of a splurge in the $20 to $30 range, consider Shrumsberg Winery in California. “For a long time it was served in the White House during state dinners, so it’s fun to tell that to your own guests.”
As noted, Wines’s top choice is pinot noir. “An autumnal Oregon varietal pairs so well with dishes like turkey and cranberry sauce, which are hearty but not too rich.” One she likes: Argyle Pinot Noir, which consistently wins awards and accolades but is still priced at around $25.