El Bloggo Torcido
("The Twisted Blog" - more or less)
Welcome to the new home of The Twisted Blog! If you are looking for older posts you can find them here. Have fun!
So it was the weekend, and I wanted to eat some beef. And yet the traditional go to of a grilled ribeye, flank steak or beef tartar just didn't seem like the right fit for what I was craving. It was cool, a little rainy outside and I even had my fake fireplace glowing (heating the inside of my chimney and nothing more), so I thought something with a little braise would be JUST the ticket. Since I work in the tasting room and often get to bring home leftover bottles of opened wine, I perused my selection on the kitchen counter. The skull stood out to me and I grabbed the bottle to see just how much was left in that puppy - about 1/2 a bottle - more than enough to get some flavor going.
Next Stop - Save Mart - to see what cuts of meat they had available and I happened upon some tasty looking beef shortribs and that was all I needed to be convinced.
Be advised that My "recipes" aren't necessarily scientifically calculated - I am a cook by taste sorta gal, so I just eyeball quantities and keep some spoons on the counter to adjust flavor throughout the day. That said, even if you screw up the quantities a little bit, you will still get a tasty meal out of these ingredients, especially since the recipe includes our own Mourvedre "River of Skulls".
So here's what you need:
8-10 nice sized short ribs
1/2 a bottle of Mourvedre wine (or another similar Twisted Red such as Potty mouth, Petite Syrah, Syrah or Murgatroyd)
Salt & Pepper to taste
chopped thyme (I grab a fist full from my herb garden, pull the leaves off and chop it up)
1 yellow onion diced
2 shallots diced
3 cloves garlic diced
1 small can chopped tomatoes (or 1 cup sliced fresh tomatoes is fine)
2 tbs olive oil
4 slices bacon - chopped up
1 cup beef broth
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
a couple dashes of nutmeg
2 tsp smoked paprika
Heat oven to 375
on stovetop, get the oil going in your pan (I use a Le Crueset pot) - then lightly brown each of the short ribs in the pan. Remove the short ribs and add a dash more oil.
Add the bacon, garlic, shallots and onion and once the onion is slightly browned, add the tomatoes
pour in wine & beef stock, add short ribs
Cover with foil, place in oven and cook 2-2.5 hours until tender
This dish goes GREAT with mashed potatoes or over polenta.
Now open another bottle, fill everyone's glasses and eat!
In the Spring of 2004 two momentous events occurred. We moved into our new winery in Vallecito, and a little white pup came into our lives.
We had been visiting friends down in Orange County when a neighbor came by with her. She had been locked in a nearby house and left to die. The neighbor had rescued her and was trying to find someone who could take care of her. She licked my face and it was all over.
The next day she rode all the way home with us, sitting peacefully in the back seat just enjoying the ride. (We soon realized that her favorite thing to do was to go in the car, it didn't matter where - just go!) We stopped every hour in case she needed to pee, but she waited until she got to her new home. She knew where she was going. She wanted to wait.
We never understood how anyone could leave such a sweet, lovable, well behaved puppy to die like that. At only four months she was fully potty trained, she knew how to sit and stay and shake hands. It still boggles. (That's our first photo of her in her new home, just a bag of bones but already blocking traffic!)
She must have had a name but of course we never knew what it was. Being the wine geeks that we are, we named her after a grape: Garnacha Blanca. Nacha for short.
Many of you who have tasted from the barrel at the winery will remember her as the happy dog who loved to lick the drop off the end of the wine thief - "Nacha's Share". Or maybe she came up to your picnic hoping that you would drop something - she never entirely got over nearly starving to death as a pup. She was our "see-food dog".
We also have cats, and Nacha raised all of them from kittens. It was a little unnerving at first to see "The Big White Thing" carrying a kitten around with its whole head in her mouth - but she was perfectly gentle and plopped them down safe and soggy.
And just this month she "made the big time", she got her picture in the latest release of the "Wine Dogs" series of books, page 121.
Last week I noticed that she was having trouble getting into the car for the trip to the winery, I had to help her up. And she was clearly in pain. When we got to the winery our see-food dog refused a treat. This was not right and we had her into the vet the next day. X-rays showed a large mass in her abdomen, we scheduled surgery for today.
The mass was cancer, her liver had turned into one large tumor. There was nothing to be done. At best she would have only a few more days of life and more pain. We decided to accept the inevitable and let her keep sleeping.
I knew one day I would have to say goodbye to her, I just didn't think it would be so soon.
(I first published this article a lot longer ago than I thought I did... resurrected and updated for your enjoyment! - El Jefe
This is the time of year when newspapers, magazines, the airwaves (and cablewaves), and internet are full of it... er, meaning of course advice on what wine you should drink with your Thanksgiving turkey.
First, we at Twisted Oak would like to caution you against drinking with your turkey. That's a little weird. We suggest getting some friends to drink with instead. Or at least thaw your bird before drinking with it. Drinking with a frozen bird is extra weird.
Second, we (at Twisted Oak, again) believe that is the wrong question. Instead we pick the wine and then decide what turkey to have with it! Here, then, is our guide...
2012 Picpoul: Turkey Fricassee. Get your mind out of the gutter - a "fricassee" is just like Turkey Helper only you make it yourself because it is way easy. Any cooked turkey works great for this, just chop it up (uh, be sure to remove the bones first.) Dice up some carrots, celery and onions, and saute it all in a little butter (saute - that's like frying, but you try to look fancy doing it) for a few minutes until it starts to get tender. Stir in a little flour, just a tablespoon or two, then add some combination of stock, good wine (hint hint!), milk, and/or cream. Cook gently until it becomes a nice sauce, add the turkey, salt and pepper to taste. Green peppercorns and cornichons not required. Serve over nearly anything: rice, noodles, your roommate....
2012 Calaveras Rosa: Definitely Chipotle Turkey. Or maybe a Turkey Vindaloo. I know - Tequila Jalapeño Drunken Derelict Turkey! Whatever it is, it has to be flaming "burns twice" hot. This cool pink skull can handle it!
2011 Viognier: A simple yet elegant unstuffed whole bird, rubbed with salt and pepper and olive oil, roasted over a bed of carrots and celery and onions. 325 degrees until done. I imagine this is how The Martha does it, though I generally prefer not to imagine The Martha doing it...
2010 River of Skulls: Definitely barbecued turkey legs. A light spice rub and then grilled carefully over charcoal. I suppose you can bake them and finish them on the grill if you must. Eat with your hands only - knife and fork prohibited - serving wenches and knaves are NOT optional!
2011 *%#&@!: My traditional stuffed turkey handed down through the generations. You know, the real deal: Mrs. Cubbisons Seasoned Dressing ("It's Melba Toasted!"), not the cornbread crap that is all you can find in the stores 3 days before Thanksgiving. Follow the basic recipe (real butter!), add extra homemade stock to make it all mushy, and stuff that bird up! And if you even think about adding walnuts or oysters, go stand in the corner....
2011 Tempranillo: Definitely deep fried turkey. Could there be anything more American than immersing the National Bird into several gallons of the National Cooking Fluid? Is there anything we won't fry? I've never fried a turkey, but I understand you should have plenty of good quality oil heated to 360 degrees. A six pack wouldn't hurt either. And for dessert - what else but Deep Fried Twinkies?
2010 Petite Sirah: Why not smoke a turkey? I know, right now in your best Cheech-and-Chong voice you're saying "Wow man! I ain't never smoked turkey before!" Ha ha. Besides, it's a lousy buzz. Trust me on this.
2009 The Spaniard: *%#&@! the turkey, I'm having steak!
When we started our wine clubs way back in 2003, we had one club - The Twisted Few - and you could get two, six, or twelve bottles sent to you in January, March, May, July, September, and October. Life was good.
Pretty soon demand dictated that we offer a reds-only option, so we did. And the Few were happy, and life was good.
After a couple years of this we began to realize that shipping wine in the hot Summer months was not a good idea, unless you want to cook with it. So we began to adjust the calendar away from the heat - into June, and then further into May, and then into October.
We got to the point where, as soon as we shipped off one batch o'wine it was time for another. You probably noticed this. It was running us ragged. Maybe you also noticed that, too.
So it was time to take a step back and rethink this stuff. We did a little market research, made phone calls, reviewed industry practices, had several three martini lunches (shaken, not stirred)... And suddenly the light bulb went on over our heads. (Sorry, we didn't get photos.)
Four times a year. This makes much more sense, because it saves shipping costs for our shipping customers, and saves a little fuel for our pickup customers - with a nice side benefit of reducing our carbon footprint a little. And, we get to breathe between shipments, giving us more time to think up fun crazy *%#&@! to do.
The other thing it lets us do is offer a fixed price club. At two bottles it's tough to make a fixed price work, but with four or more bottles we can mix and match and make it work within a 20% to 30% discount range - and because we are saving cost, we can give an extra discount for your shipments. You get more bottles for a similar yearly expenditure. (And - bonus! - in every shipment you will receive at least one bottle of one of our best & most loved wines, like The Spaniard, River of Skulls, Torcido, or Parcel 17 to name a few.)
So now we have six club options - all named The Twisted Few - for your enjoyment. We have the basic Twisted Few club we all know and love - receiving 4 bottles 4 times per year (Oct./Dec./Feb./May) - and you can get either a true mix of reds & whites (usually two of each), or just reds-only.
Next, we have what has become a very popular club, The Twisted Few Freaks, also available in mixed reds & whites, or just reds-only. One thing we learned from the original Freaks club is that you folks were really sad when you didn't get a Twisted Freak wine in your shipment. With the new club you will always get your Twisted Freaks in every shipment, for a total of 6 wines 4 times per year.
And there have always been those of you, the Few, who just can't get enough. For you we have the Twisted Few Super Freaks, in mixed reds & whites, or just reds-only. You'll get a case of 12 bottles 4 times a year - including a few bottles of those Twisted Freak wines - and the shipping is included in the price!
If there is a question we've failed to answer, or you would just like to give us some feedback, please do not hesitate to contact us and let us know (or leave a comment below). And thanks again for being Twisted!
In this world of a bizzilion social media web sites, it seems that blogging has fallen by the proverbial wayside.
Over on Facebook you can find all sorts of cool stuff, like this post concert photo of headliners David Lindley and Joe Craven:
Or even this awesome video of Mr. Dave and Mr. Joe fencing with a rubber chicken:
But that cool stuff never makes it here. I suspect that is wrong of me... but should I try to do better? Say something non-spammy in the comments!
Last week's post was all fun and games, though I hear we really did fool some people! Below is the real lineup for this year's Twisted Folk concerts.
Visit twistedoak.com/concerts for more information about all of these great musicians!
May 4 – Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band
June 8 – David Lindley, with special guest, Joe Craven
June 29 – Mumbo Gumbo
July 5 – Uncle Bonsai
July 13 – Dan Hicks and The Hot Licks
July 27 – Jeffery Broussard and The Creole Cowboys
Aug 2 – The Deadly Gentlemen
Aug 16 – Mollie O’Brien & Rich Moore
New this year - we have a season pass!
July 23, 2014
June 16, 2014(2 Comments)
November 25, 2013
October 25, 2013(1 Comment)
October 24, 2013
July 17, 2013
July 7, 2013
July 1, 2013
June 19, 2013
April 10, 2013