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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!

Ali R
July 23, 2014 | Ali R

Braise Me Baby!

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! 




Ali R
July 17, 2012 | Ali R

Lamb Jam Flim Flam in San Fran

...ewe'll have a grand old time!

Across the bay bridge I drove this Sunday morning, delving determinedly into the gray pillow of fog wrapped tenderly around the sleeping City. I wound my way through Japantown towards the Presidio, deftly avoiding bike riders bent on becoming... bent. We arrived with excitement in the old, abandoned Spanish themed Presidio neighborhood of this former Military base, a forgotten village from the 40s with charming clapboard houses surreally set in the foreground of a view of the modern city that glimmered in the reflection off the bay. 

I waltzed with wine in hand into a historic room of the Golden Gate Club and was warmed by the smell of hickory smoke and cooking meat... instantly my salivary glands took action. From table to table we walked with our rubber chickens - reading the menu descriptions that each chef would be preparing to pair with the celebrated wines of Northern CA. I could hardly wait to wrap my lips around some tender meats...

Our pouring table was a raucous celebration (as per usual) with the staff (moi) and guests making crass jokes and playing with the rubber chickens all day. Most entertaining was our "Slow, Adults at play" sign, which started a semi-serious, live spontaneous auction among 10 or 12 of the enthusiastic tasters gathered round to the curious surprise of the rest of the room (sorry!). I think they LOOOOVE us, They wanna Kiiiiiissss us! 

We even had a proud moment when we made our most delicious Spaniard come out of that one guys nose as we pretended to be a wine pouring robot, complete with robotic dance and arm movements with bottle in hand...not a bad used for a $49 a bottle red!

I was lucky enough to be the subject of an original cartoon artist on site - with his rendering of a terrifying "Ali monster" and a giant "Cockzilla" wreaking havoc together on the Golden Gate in fine twisted fashion.

The afternoon light streamed in and the next hours took on a life of their own as we greedily gobbled up tangy lamb tacos, gently roasted shanks on creamy clouds of polenta and succulent rare bites of barely browned herbacious tenderloin between  frantically beckoned pours for our charmingly impatient wine drinkers. This party was one that no one wanted to leave and I dare say, we were one of the reasons why!

I am proud to say that we closed down the party, being the last (and most popular) table pouring wine at the event (why would you quit when you're all having so much fun!?) "You are the MOST fun winery we have ever met!" "We want to drink your Garnacha as our last glass of the day because we want to end with the BEST!...don't stop, keep pouring...more...ok great thanks!" were among the slippery sweet words gifted us by our silver tongued slightly soused support group as the party wrapped up. 

Packing up the car with exhausted stray chickens and empty wine bottles (you drank all my wine people!!!), I smiled with satisfaction watching the happy couples lolling on the lawn awaiting their taxis with full hearts and ewe filled bellies. Those loooong days of pouring, of chatting and laughter, of childish jokes and silly behavior, they fill me with energy and I can live to pour another day. Yes, I know, I am so noble for being willing to sacrifice my days to pour you wine, and yet I am so humble and shy also... so to avoid the limelight, you can send all my rewards and accolades care of  "El Jefe" to our own Twisted Oak Winery in Vallecito, CA. Come and party with us in the tasting room sometime!

Lamb jam was a major slam, this ham is hoping I to pour for you again next year ma'am. 

Time Posted: Jul 17, 2012 at 9:36 PM