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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Novelty Hill Stillwater Creek Chardonnay 2005

Novelty_HillNovelty Hill is a relatively new Washington winery that got off to an excellent start by hiring former Chateau Ste. Michelle winemaker Mike Januik, who promptly produced two Wine Spectator 90-rated wines — a Merlot and a Cabernet Sauvignon — for the label's first vintage.

That first vintage was no fluke, as Novelty Hill's reds have been consistently highly rated. When I saw that their under-$20 Chardonnay had earned a 93-point rating from Wine Enthusiast, it moved to the top of my short list of Wines to Try.

And sure enough, it's delicious. Malolactic fermentation gives it a creamy mouthfeel, and its pear and vanilla fragrance is followed by more pear, apple, and tropical fruit flavors on the palate. The French oak is well integrated, and nicely complements the fruit without overpowering it.

This wine shows best when drunk cooled as opposed to cold. For the creaminess and flavors to be at their best, try putting a room-temperature bottle in the refrigerator for about half an hour before serving.
Anonymous, 10:45 AM | link |

Monday, November 26, 2007

Two cloves a day keeps the oncologist away

garlicLong touted as having health benefits, garlic has released some of its secrets to recent studies by scientists.

Researchers at the University of Alabama in Birmingham found that consumption of garlic boosts production of hydrogen sulfide, which acts as an antioxidant in small doses but is toxic at higher levels. Hydrogen sulfide is the same chemical that gives off a distinct rotten-egg smell during oil refining — if you've driven by the site of the old Rock Island Refinery just west of 86th Street and Michigan road, you're familiar with the aroma.

A diet rich in garlic has been shown to be effective in combating various cancers, including breast, prostate and colon. Additionally, researchers at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine discovered earlier this year that injecting hydrogen sulfide into mice almost completely prevented the damage to heart muscle caused by a heart attack.

The required consumption of garlic to achieve health benefits is surprisingly low: Just two medium-sized cloves per day should do the trick. To maximize health benefits, garlic should be crushed at room temperature and allowed to sit for 15 minutes before using, researchers say. And the dreaded "garlic breath" can be avoided by eating fennel seeds afterwards or by munching on fresh parsley. (As the old saying goes, He who eats parsley need not eat garlic sparsely.)
Anonymous, 8:58 AM | link |

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

On the theme of thanks

Over the past few days I've received many email messages and a couple of blog comments containing condolences on Zane's sudden death; I've gotten more than my usual share of hugs, too. To all of you, I say thanks — your sympathy and support have been welcome and helpful.

The last 12 months really haven't been my favorites. This Thanksgiving will be the first one that we won't be sharing with my wife's great aunt, my mother, and our Weimaraner. The canines and humans in our family have had more health issues than usual this year, and financial pressures have become a little more intense.

When negative piles upon negative, it's sometimes easy to succumb to the temptation to concentrate on the dark side. But that's the antithesis of Thanksgiving — this is the time to appreciate those things we do have, not lament the things we don't.

So, while we're certainly going to miss those who won't be joining us at the table this year — or ever again — I'm grateful for having had the opportunity to have known them all, and the memories I have of them. And I'll continue to try to appreciate every wine for what it offers, rather than castigate it for what it lacks.

Speaking of wine (this is a wine blog, isn't it?), we'll be making our toasts with Gloria Ferrer's Brut sparkler (my mother's favorite), assorted Zinfandels to accompany the Zinfandel-brined turkey, a Port my father-in-law brought back from a recent trip to Portugal, and a 2004 Schlumberger Les Princes Abbés Pinot Gris. That last wine will be for Zane — "Pinot Gris" loosely translates to "gray nut," which is something he was affectionately called. (And often.)

Thanks again to all of you out there on the other side of the keyboard — and have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Anonymous, 6:22 AM | link |

Monday, November 19, 2007

Farewell to a friend

ZaneMy beloved Weimaraner, M. Zane Grey, died Saturday evening after going into cardiac arrest following emergency surgery for bloat that morning. Bloat, also known as gastric torsion, is the number two cause of death in dogs, after cancer. (If you have a dog, by all means go read about it.)

I brought Zane to Indianapolis five years ago from Alabama, where he was cared for by Weimaraner Rescue of the Tennessee Valley after being found wandering the streets with an abscess on his paw and a case of heartworm. I had seen a photograph of Zane — who was then a sad, skinny dog called Milo — on their Web site, but didn't follow up immediately because I didn't think adding a third dog to the mix would be fair to my old Labrador, Pantone Black. When Pan died of cancer some weeks later, I remembered the sad Weim whose image had lodged in my heart, and fired off an inquiry about him.

MiloAs it turned out, Milo had been placed with a woman in Birmingham, but changes in her personal circumstances forced her to turn him back to the rescue group. Volunteers drove Milo from Birmingham to Huntsville; I headed down I-65 to pick him up and take him to his new forever home in Indianapolis.

He didn't make a sound during the long drive up, and I wondered what he thought as he watched mile after mile of the ribbon of highway disappear out the back window of the Volvo wagon. His meeting with his new Doberman brother Red went well, and they became fast friends. They were the same size and shape and apparently about the same age, and they enjoyed romping around the yard, going for adventures in the woods, and excursions to the dog park at Eagle Creek Park. The dog once called Milo blossomed into Zane — often called Zanie, as befit his irrepressible, cheerful personality. He was smart, affectionate and playful, and loved balls, pillows, squeaky toys and his family. And he loved food, which he devoured voraciously at mealtimes then supplemented with whatever he could find outside later. I speculated that maybe his eating habits came from having to scavenge whatever he could when he was homeless and hoped he would realize that he didn't have to worry about having enough food anymore, but old habits die hard, I guess.

A couple of weeks ago we had a scare with bloat when he got into some cooking oil and swelled up with gas. His condition was relieved by running a tube into his stomach to release the gas and he avoided having volvulus or torsion, which is a condition marked by the stomach twisting in such a way that blood supply is cut off.

After that scare he was on a cottage cheese and rice diet for a few days then gradually worked back up to a diet of a smaller portion of his usual kibble mixed with table scraps. Friday night he went outside after eating and didn't come back for an unusually long time; when I went out to find him he was swollen and having trouble walking, so we called a 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic close to us and took him right over.

At first it appeared that he had dodged the volvulus/torsion bullet but then it developed that he hadn't and emergency surgery was performed. The operating vet reported that the surgery had gone well and all his internal organs looked good, and I relaxed a little.

I visted Zane the next morning at the clinic, and the vet on duty told me his condition was stable, but that he wasn't getting any better. She was concerned because his white cell count had plummeted, and told me that he wasn't out of the woods yet. They would call me later in the day to give me an update.

While I was still worried about him, I was optimistic — after all, this was a happy, healthy, robust dog who had quickly sprung back from every health problem he'd ever had.

Late that afternoon I was at my desk working on a project when my stomach tightened up and I got the sense that something was wrong. I resisted the urge to check on Zane, reasoning that the clinic would call soon with their report.

When they did call at about 6 p.m., the conversation started ominously. "Can you hold?" the voice on the phone asked. "The doctor needs to speak with you."

The doctor didn't come to the phone right away, because the entire staff was busy trying to get Zane's heart and breathing restarted. While I was on the phone with her he started breathing on his own again, but I needed to get there immediately.

I called my wife and she raced over from Carmel, where she was still at work. We went into the room where the long-faced staff was gathered around Zane, who was hooked up to a variety of tubes and beeping monitors. It didn't take long for us to realize that the drugs and respirator were only putting off the inevitable, so the tubes were removed, the beeping monitors shut off and rolled away, and we hugged him, held his paw and told him how much we loved him as his life slipped away.

Two of the vet techs gently loaded his body into the back of the Volvo, and I drove home while my wife paid the bill, though I don't remember it. I don't remember much else about the rest of the evening, due in large part to the fact that upon arriving home I immediately started self-medicating with Laphroaig and Zinfandel.

Zane and ballSunday morning I found a good place for Zane's grave, just a little way up the hill in the front yard and visible from the window, not too far from where his predecessor, Pantone, rests. He was buried in a comforter he was fond of, along with some of the toys he loved so well.

My desire to have a Weimaraner began when I was in the first grade, when a blonde girl I liked named Debbie convinced me they were they best dogs there are. I finally got mine 44 years later, and five years with him wasn't nearly enough. I've already contacted a Weim rescue group to adopt another — but even though there will certainly be another Weimaraner in my life, there will never be another Zane.

My friend Tom sent me a modestly edited tribute written by Lord Byron about his beloved Newfoundland named Boatswain, who died on November 18, 1808:

Near this spot
are deposited the remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
and all the Virtues of Man without his Vices.
This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery,
if inscribed over human Ashes,
is but a just Tribute to the memory of
M. Zane Grey, a DOG
who was found in Alabama 2002,
and died at Indianapolis, Nov 17, 2007.

Farewell, my sweet gray goof. I'll meet you at the Bridge.
Anonymous, 7:47 AM | link | 3 comments |

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Calamity Zane's big emergency

Zane Grey, the Weimaraner gazing at you just left of this post and the public face of WineCanine, is a real dog. I found him on the Web when he was a sad-looking rescue dog named Milo in Alabama. I'd wanted a Weim since I was six years old, so I kept tabs on his whereabouts and a month after my wonderful old Labrador, Pantone Black, died of cancer, I drove down to Huntsville to get him from what was then called Weimaraner Rescue of the Tennessee Valley.

That was five years ago. Since that time, he and I have pretty much joined at the hip. Whenever I'm sitting on the couch typing on my laptop, he's curled up by my side like a furry gray bolster. Sometimes he puts his head in my lap and I move the computer to the arm of the couch — it's a little more difficult to type, but it makes it easier for him to monitor what I'm writing about.

Historically, Weimaraners were bred in the early 19th Century for the royalty of the Weimar Republic of Germany. They were considered a cut above other dogs, and were allowed to live with humans, rather than outside in kennels. This may explain how closely Weims bond with their people, and how communicative they are. They're smart, devoted, personable and amusing characters with a good sense of humor. They're good hunters, they're energetic, and they love to eat.

Unfortunately, they're quite susceptible to bloat, an often fatal condition that results when the dog's stomach twists and traps food, water and gas. The twisting also cuts off blood supply, and internal organs are damaged, blood pressure drops and shock sets in; dogs so affected can die quickly.

Prevalent among high-chested dogs, bloat is second only to cancer as a killer of canine companions. And Weimaraners are the number three breed at risk from bloat (Great Danes and St. Bernards rank first and second).

Last week we had a scare with bloat. Zane found a can of old vegetable oil in the garage — intended as fuel for our Mercedes diesel — and consumed close to a gallon of it. His abdomen became distended, so we ran him up to Dr. Richard Kohlmann at the Westfield Animal Clinic, and his team brought the swelling down by passing a tube into his stomach to release the gas. After this was done three times, we took him home and spent an uncomfortable night monitoring his condition. Zane made it through that night, and after a few days of rest and a diet of white rice and cottage cheese he was back to normal.

What we didn't realize was it was a different normal than before. A 1993 study found that 76 percent of dogs who had an episode of bloat without undergoing corrective surgery had a recurrence of gastric dilatation and volvulus eventually. Zane is now in that majority, because late last night he came in after being outside for a while with the same symptoms he had exhibited a week before, perhaps as a result of eating something he found outdoors or maybe just because he became predisposed to the ailment after the first episode.

We rushed him to the Circle City Veterinary Emergency Hospital at about 96th and Michigan Road, and they took radiographs that seemed to indicate that his stomach had twisted. A tube could be inserted all the way into his stomach though, so we left Zane at the clinic for observation and went home.

An hour or so later the emergency vet, Dr. Jennifer Finnegan, called with troubling news: Zane was having arrhythmia, and surgery was advisable. After working through a little bout of denial, we told her to go ahead.

Several sleepless hours later, she called with her report: His stomach had indeed twisted, apparently after we left, since a tube could no longer be passed into it. She had gotten his stomach turned back around and had tacked it to the muscles on his abdominal wall so that it couldn't twist again; his gall bladder and other internal organs looked good, and he was resting. After speaking with Dr. Finnegan, I finally relaxed enough to get a few hours of sleep.

He's not quite out of the woods yet — according to that 1993 study, 71.5 percent of dogs who were surgically treated for gastric dilatation and volvulus survived and went home. From the phone reports I've been getting, he's doing pretty well, and may even get to come home tomorrow night. I sure hope so — the couch just doesn't feel right without that gray, furry bolster at my right hip!

As you might imagine, emergency surgery isn't inexpensive — last night's little adventure will run us close to $5,000 regardless of whether Zane ends up being among the fortunate 71.5 percent who survive. That's more than I've paid for any one car in the past couple of decades, but to us, saving our friend's life is worth it. I'm going to be ramping up my eBay sales dramatically, and I'm not above accepting contributions. If you've enjoyed any of the recipes, reviews or other things you've found here, please consider zapping a donation to via PayPal. Thanks!
Anonymous, 10:20 AM | link |

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Nouveau snafu

Attendees at some of today's Beaujolais parties may find themselves quaffing Villages instead of Nouveau due to the presence in the latter of a component not usually associated with the seasonal quaffer: sediment.

Wine air-freighted into the United States by a major négociant was discovered to have an uncharacteristic gooey residue in several of the markets in which it landed, including Indiana. Although the sediment is harmless, it is seen as enough of a problem as to render the wine unsalable, so most if not all of the 250 cases currently in the warehouse of a local distributor will likely be discarded.

Then again, some enterprising individual could gather up all the rejected juice, put it in a container, and export it to China....
M. Zane Grey, 12:15 AM | link |

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Red wine blasts bad bacteria

Researchers at the University of Missouri have determined that Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Syrah wines help kill harmful bacteria but don't harm helpful, probiotic strains that do such things as aid digestion.

Laboratory tests found that drier red wines had a strong inhibitory effect on E. coli and salmonella, and smaller but noticeable effect on Listeria. Softer wines such as Tempranillo and Grenache had little effect on bacteria, and cherry wine was found to have none at all.

It is unknown if wines have the same effect on bacteria in the human body as they do in the lab, but one of the researchers noted that there is anecdotal evidence that red wine is useful in preventing things like traveler's diarrhea.
M. Zane Grey, 7:14 AM | link |

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Spruced-Up Turkey Brine

This is a recipe I got from an issue of Wine Spectator two or three years ago, and have used more than once. The spruce, rosemary, juniper berries, star anise and other spices really penetrate the meat, and the flavor is wonderful. I use a plastic 5-gallon pickle bucket to put the turkey in — many restaurants have a stack of them sitting around and will cheerfully give you one; another approach is to use a plastic cooler. After the turkey has been brined, I drop a couple of chickens in to soak for a day then put them in the freezer to cook later.

1 1/4 cups kosher salt
3 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups honey
6 sprigs each of parsley, thyme, tarragon and sage
2 sprigs rosemary
1 cup pickling spice
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon juniper berries
2 lemons, halved
5 star anise
8 sprigs spruce branch (or one 2-foot-long branch, cut into small pieces)
2 gallons boiling water

Combine all ingredients except the boiling water in a 5-gallon, heat-proof container that is large enough to hold the turkey. Pour the boiling water over the brine ingredients and let the mixture cool to room temperature. Submerge the turkey in the brine, cover and refrigerate overnight. (I just leave mine on the deck if it's cold enough outside.) Rinse turkey, pat dry, and cook as usual. I rub olive oil on mine and sprinkle freshly-ground pepper (but no salt!) all over before roasting.

Note: Most of the brine ingredients can easily be found at your local grocery and at Penzey's, but you’ll have to identify and cut your own spruce branches. The easiest variety of spruce to identify is the Colorado Blue, which is a popular landscaping tree due to its attractive color, shape and hardiness. They're sharp, so be careful.
M. Zane Grey, 9:55 AM | link |

Monday, November 12, 2007

THINGS TO DO (11/15 – 11/18)

Here is the most recent installment of Evan Finch's occasional Things to Do for People Who Do Things email newsletter.

Found Vs. PostSecret Tour
Big Car Gallery
Thursday, November 15

Found magazine ( is a publication that collects cast-off ephemera (abandoned photos, dropped shopping lists, vaguely threatening notes left on car windshields, etc.) and prints it for all to see. PostSecret ( has more willing, albeit shy, contributors—people who write their most deeply-hidden secrets on postcards, then submit them to the website anonymously. Anyhoo, this Thursday, the gents behind those two websites (Davy Rothbart and Frank Warren, respectively) will be visiting Big Car in Fountain Square to read and display some of their favorite finds and submissions.

Big Car is located on the second floor of the Murphy building, at 1043 Virginia Avenue. There will be two shows — one at 7 PM, and one at 9 PM. Tickets are $15, and are available online, here: (Also, if you’re inclined to buy VIP tickets for the pre-show meet ’n greet, you can do that too. Those tickets are $65.)

Phone: 317.408.1366
Web: and

* * *

Tonic Gallery
Wheeler Arts Community
Friday, November 16

Tonic Gallery is an annual silent art auction that benefits Second Helpings (an organization that helps to feed the city’s hungry). This year’s auction will include over 50 works of art, created by such artists as Rob Day, Elizabeth Guipe Hall, Paul Baumgarten, Penelope Dullaghan, Kipp Normand, Elyce Elder, Yasha Persson, Emma Overman and so many others that it makes my fingers hurt just thinking about typing all their names. All artwork requires a minimum bid of $100 (and escalates in $50 increments after that). Bidding begins at 5:30 PM this Friday, and closes at 7:30 PM. The Wheeler Arts Community is located at 1035 Sanders Street in Fountain Square (behind Bud’s Supermarket, more or less). Admission is free.

Phone: 317.632.2662 ex. 12

* * *

Tonic Ball: Madonna Vs. The Clash
Radio Radio and the Fountain Square Theatre
Friday, November 16

Tonic Ball is the annual concert that starts after Tonic Gallery ends (and which, not coincidentally, also benefits Second Helpings). Now, this concert has a schtick. And this year, that schtick is that each of the over 30 bands appearing must cover at least one song by either Madonna or The Clash. This year’s musical lineup includes such acts as Jennie Devoe, Latex Novelties, Wolfy, Everest, Red Light Driver, Drunko, The Lovemeknots, Everthus The Deadbeats, Everything Now, Stereo Deluxe, Squibnocket and OH NO HERE COMES THAT CARPAL TUNNEL AGAIN. Let’s just say “many more” and leave it at that. Bands covering the Clash will play at Radio Radio (1119 East Prospect), whereas bands covering Madonna will play at the Fountain Square Theatre (1105 Prospect). Tickets are $20, allow you to visit both venues, and are available online (through Second Helpings) at If you’re not the pointing and clicking type, you may also purchase tickets at Future Shock, or either of the Luna Music locations. Conversely, you could phone 632-2662 ex. 12, and speak to Jennifer Arnold. Music starts at 7:40 PM, with Everything Now! at Radio Radio. NOTE 1: The Madonna-themed show at Fountain Square Theatre is all-ages. The Clash-themed show at Radio Radio is not. NOTE 2: If you’d like a schedule of what acts play when, let me know and I’ll email it to you.

Phone: 317.632.2662 ex. 12

* * *

International Festival
Indiana State Fairgrounds, West Pavilion
Friday, November 16 – Sunday, November 18

Various ethnic groups entertain you, feed you and sell you stuff. Probably a little cooler for kids than adults (but pretty enjoyable if you’re an adult, too). The fairgrounds are located at 1202 East 38th Street. Admission is free for kids 5 years old and under; $6 for kids aged 6 to 12 years; and $9 for adults (or $7, if you have the presence of mind to get advance tickets from a Marsh supermarket). For hours, see the festival web site. NOTE: Predictably, my favorite part of this festival has always been the wide array of ethnic food vendors located in one concentrated space. Come hungry.

Phone: 317.236.6515

* * *

Hooks Drug Store And Pharmaceutical Auction
Antique Helper
Saturday, November 17

Beginning at 10 AM this Saturday, Antique Helper will hold an auction benefiting the Hooks Drug Store Museum. The sale will feature hundreds of items, ranging from antique medicine bottles (“Syrup of Squill,” anyone?); to mortars and pestles; to medical bags; to ancient gum dispensers; to my personal favorite: Lot 41, the Antique Quackery Medicine Scientific Apparatus. Items are visible on the business’ website, listed below, and bid estimates are generally on the low end (typically between $100 and $200). Antique Helper is located at 2764 East 55th Place (not 55th Street), a little east of Keystone Avenue. As ever, Mapquest is your friend.

Phone: 317.251.5638

* * *


Illinois has really nice travel posters for sale on their website:

You can click the different images to make them larger. I particularly like the one titled “Cozy Dog.”
M. Zane Grey, 10:02 PM | link |

Buggs Temple — A Review

A friend visited Buggs Temple over the weekend and sends this report:

Buggs Temple is Chuck and Vicki Mack's new restaurant downtown. The place really was a temple, built in 1918, and sits at the head of the Indianapolis Water Canal, which makes for spectacular south-facing views of the city. The Macks and their partners have undertaken an extensive renovation that is beautifully done, including hand-crafted walls and contemporary lighting that highlight the original structure and many light fixtures and architectural items removed from the Indianapolis Athletic Club. There are three floors: a canal-level tavern; a casual dining room above it; and another bar and formal dining room above that. Each level is served by its own kitchen and all three have outdoor seating with a great view. Coming soon: Ritter's Custard, available from a window in the casual dining room or from carts outdoors on the canal level.

The formal dining room is designed to compete with other fine restaurants downtown. It's elegant and offers a separate small room for private parties. The chef is Brad Gates (the grandson of former Indiana Governor Ralph Gates), formerly of Puck's at the IMA. A pastry chef makes bread and desserts on-site. And they cure their own meats on-site too. The bar adjacent to the formal dining room has a separate, tapas-type menu, great if you want to stop in to admire the view but not spend quite so much. We ate in the casual dining room below; I recommend the roasted Brussels sprouts soup and the housemade bread but not the curried chicken salad (too heavy). The fish and chips are "Indiana-style" (catfish) and the macaroni and cheese is made with ziti. The bloody marys were perfect (note to Moe & Johnny's: please make them the same way!). So I give Buggs Temple a B++ for a return to the days of Provincial Kitchen fare and an A+ for the project itself. Go now before everyone finds out about it. When warm weather returns, it will be the busiest place in town.
M. Zane Grey, 10:35 AM | link |

Friday, November 09, 2007

Cranberry and Zinfandel Brined Turkey

Every year I try to do something different — and, of course, delicious — with the Thanksgiving turkey. Last year I stuffed one with sausage and figs and rolled it up like a roast (Joe's deboned it for free!); the year before we ordered a turducken up from Louisiana after Katrina ravaged the area; the year before that we made a turkey that was brined in a fabulous rosemary, juniper berry and spruce branch concoction from the Wine Spectator (I'll post that one soon) then grilled on a rotisserie.

Last year I ran across a recipe that I wanted to use but didn't, because I had already decided on the boneless turkey stuffed with sausage and figs. But this year I'm making it, by golly — if for no other reason than I'd like to drink Zinfandel with Thanksgiving dinner!

Cranberry and Zinfandel Brined Turkey
Serves 12

2 750 ml. bottles Zinfandel
4 cups 1 gallon apple cider
1 pound fresh cranberries
1 cup honey
1 cup kosher salt
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
4 sprigs fresh sage
2 sticks cinnamon

1 18-pound turkey, preferably free-range and hormone free
3 large carrots, coarsely chopped
6 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
3 onions, coarsely chopped

To prepare the brine, combine the wine, cider, cranberries, honey, salt, rosemary, peppercorns, sage and cinnamon in a large pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Let the brine boil for about 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, let cool and refrigerate until it reaches about 40 degrees.

Place the turkey in a very large container, then pour the chilled brine over to cover. Refrigerate at least 24 hours and up to 48 hours.

To roast the turkey, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Remove turkey from the brine and drain well; discard brine.

Combine carrots, celery and onions in a roasting pan. Set turkey on top of the vegetables (do not season turkey with salt and pepper, as the brine has seasoned it). Roast turkey until it reaches an internal temperature of 155°F in the breast meat, tenting it with aluminum foil if it starts to brown too much, about 4 hours.

Let the turkey rest 5-10 minutes before carving; internal temperature should rise to 165°F. Carve and serve warm.

Adapted from "Caprial and John's Kitchen: Recipes for Cooking Together," by Caprial and John Pence (Ten Speed Press)
M. Zane Grey, 2:31 PM | link |

Wine fridges are hot holiday gift items

Some of this season's most popular gift items are wine refrigerators, say industry analysts and retailers.

Units range from simple one-bottle chillers to freestanding refrigerator-sized models, but all provide a cost-effective alternative to a full-blown wine cellar with temperature and humidity controls. Once found only at specialized appliance stores, wine coolers can now be found at such retailers as Best Buy, Target and Costco — I even saw one at Stein Mart last week.

And if you want to add a wine cooler to your Amazon Wish List, there are plenty of options....
M. Zane Grey, 10:58 AM | link |

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Wine Institute negotiates, OKs direct shipments to Indiana

The Wine Institute, an advocacy group for California winemakers, has advised its members that they proceed with obtaining the required permits in order to begin servicing their Indiana consumers who choose to buy direct.

The association worked with the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission to resolve questions about the state’s March 2006 direct shipping statute and the more recent court ruling. Specifically, Wine Institute representatives met with ATC officials and expressed concern about how current Indiana law puts the onus of enforcing a 216 liter annual limit per consumer, but provides no way for shippers to monitor how much wine a consumer has purchased elsewhere.

Indiana's ATC agreed to the following outline for a winery to ship into the state and avoid any violation of the statutes:
“…[T}he Commission, until further notice, [agrees] not to take enforcement action against the holder of a direct wine seller’s permit for violation of I.C. 7.1-3-26-14 (annual limit on wine received by a consumer), provided that: (1) the holder of the direct wine seller’s permit has not directly shipped in excess of 216 liters within the calendar year to the particular Indiana consumer; (2) the direct wine seller has no actual knowledge that the particular consumer has received in excess of 216 liters within the calendar year; and (3) at the time of the sale transaction, the consumer represents to the direct wine seller that the sale will not result in the consumer receiving in excess of 216 liters in the calendar year.”
As a result of the agreement between the Wine Institute and the Indiana ATC, the association gave its member wineries the go-ahead to ship directly to Hoosiers. A summary of shipping requirements and links to the necessary forms for wineries to complete may be found on the Wine Institute's Web site.
M. Zane Grey, 6:43 PM | link |

New device could help prevent red wine headaches

A new device developed by scientists working on NASA technology to find life on Mars can detect the chemicals in red wine and other substances that are believed to trigger headaches in some people.

Biogenic amines, which occur naturally in a wide variety of aged, pickled and fermented foods, are believed to cause headaches in people who are sensitive to them. Wine, chocolate, cheese, olives, nuts and cured meats are among the common food items that contain amines, such as histamine and tyramine. The new device, which is currently the size of a briefcase but will eventually shrink to PDA size, can determine amine levels in five minutes using one drop of liquid.

Some people are able to avoid amine-triggered headaches by taking an antihistamine before consuming wine or amine-rich foods. However, many specialists advise people with amine sensitivity to avoid them, since they can also trigger sudden episodes of high blood pressure, heart palpitations and elevated adrenaline levels.
M. Zane Grey, 6:27 AM | link |

Friday, November 02, 2007

Jockamo Pizza opens in Irvington

JockamoIrvington has another restaurant: Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza.

It's inevitable that any new gourmet pizza establishment in Indianapolis will be compared to Bazbeaux, and especially in this case since Jockamo Big Cheese Mick McGrath was the manager of the Broad Ripple Bazbeaux for about a decade and a half.

But Jockamo's menu is not much like Bazbeaux’s, and it's apparent that Mick put a lot of effort into differentiating his restaurant by developing his own signature pies. Early reviews from Irvington-based bloggers are raving about the place, and I'm determined to make the trip there soon — a shrimp and crayfish Po' Boy pizza sounds awfully good!
M. Zane Grey, 7:09 AM | link |

A Bad Year for Tomatoes at The Old Centrum

players-galsYes, I know I haven't been posting much lately. I've been busy working on The Players’ production of A Bad Year for Tomatoes, a very funny comedy by John Patrick.

In a nutshell, The Players rehearse a show for about a month, perform it one night for members of the club, then go someplace (Woodstock Country Club, usually) for dinner and dancing. A week or two later there's a cast party, during which a DVD of the show is watched, food and drinks are consumed, fun is had, and bonds that last a lifetime are cemented.

The Saturday night performance is a members-only, black-tie affair, but the dress rehearsal is open to friends and families. And in case you were wondering, a cash bar will indeed be available — and the wine will be good.

Dress rehearsal will be held tonight (Friday, Nov. 2) at The Old Centrum, 1201 Central Avenue, at 7:30 p.m. or so. Come a little early, have a couple of drinks, and enjoy the show!
M. Zane Grey, 12:01 AM | link |

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Weather, economics conspire to raise Aussie prices

An Australian grape glut and a favorable exchange rate have worked to the advantage of American wine lovers for the past few years, as a huge number of 90-point Aussie wines have been available for under $20. Factor in the economy of scale, and despite the fact that it has to be shipped halfway around the globe, wine from Down Under has remained an excellent value.

All that may be about to change. Recent harvests have been hampered by weather — droughts in some regions, floods in others — and the Australian dollar is edging closer to parity with the U.S. dollar. Foster's Group Ltd. says for every one-cent increase in the Australian/U.S. exchange rate, the company's pretax profit is reduced by about $4.5 million.

The Australian dollar currently stands at 90.79 cents, a 27-year high, and some currency analysts predict that it will reach 95 cents. Better to buy that Grange vertical sooner rather than later....
M. Zane Grey, 11:46 AM | link |