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Monday, March 23rd, 2009

I am making dinner tonight for 2 friends who are coming over and thought I would share the main entree recipe…

Manti – non vegetarian
.5 lb ground beef
.5 lb ground lamb
2 table spoons of finely chopped parsley
1 small onion, minced
won ton wrappers – I have been known to make the dough as well however won ton skins work almost as well.
2 cups water
2 cups plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic
6 tbsp butter

To prepare the filling, combine the ground beef, ground lamb, onion, salt, pepper, and parsley in a large bowl and mix well. Set aside. While in the pack cut them in half then cut about 3/4 of an inch from the other side. You would end up with two stacks of skins at about 1 1/4 inch by 1 1/2 inch. Place half a teaspoon of the filling in the center of each square. Pinch the two ends with your fingers to form a canoe-shaped pastry.(I brush it with water to make it stick together. Arrange the manti close together, meat-side up, in a well-buttered pan. Add table spoon of butter to the top of the manti every 2 rows. Bake at 350 degrees about 20-30 minute, or until the manti are golden brown. Keep warm. Boil the water as the manti is almost ready. Combine the yogurt and garlic in a mixing bowl. When The Manti is ready add the 2 cups of boiling water on top of the manti right in the pan and let it simmer for 2-3 more minutes in the oven to get the pasta to become aldente. To serve, place the manti into individual bowls, add garlic-yogurt mix. My dad also likes to add a tablespoon of tomato paste that has been fried in a pan with butter and a little bit of water to make it more runny.

Manti Vegetarian.
Same as above except replace the beef and lamb with the ground tofubprod_ground.jpg(it tasted amazingly good) and add a bit of olive oil and 2 table spoons of tomato paste to the mixture. Everything else follows the same.

I made 2 pans today and the whole thing took me about 70-80 minutes

I have also seen the manti taken out of the pan and dumped into a yogurt soup like spas with no bulgure however cant say I have tried that.

manti_pan.jpg   manti.jpg

Adding a link to a video on youtube by a wonderful Armenian cook

Personal thoughts

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Its been a while since I wrote here.  Have had a crazy few weeks.  Rumors started about a month ago that we were going to have the 3rd set of layoffs at work and finally last Friday the layoff did happen. :(

As expected I was on the list of the layoffs but will continue to work there for 2 more months.  Its pretty amazing to me how fast we imploded within.  We went from 95 to 420 back down to about 100 again in a short period of time.  For the first 2 years coming home before 10PM I would feel embarrassed and ashamed as my team was all still at work.  We all worked so hard and gave up SO much of our lives away for this company but unfortunately so many dreams had to come to an end.

I feel like I have one more startup type of environment left in me and after that I would be only able to work at a big company.

The good days at Spot Runner were the BEST and I will forever miss them.  And the group of people I met and became friends with many are wonderful.

Such is life  Time to move on.

2004 Allende

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

allende.gifThis is one of those wines for which I started my blog and the type of wine that I enjoy and love drinking and the type of wine that some day I will offer at my wine bar/shop.

2004 Allende.  It is a beautiful red that is fresh and firm, offers cherry, blackberry, and mineral notes over supportive but not obtrusive tannins. Sleek and polished, with an earthy edge that gives it lots and lots of depth.  Here is what the Wine Advocate said about it.

92 points Jay Miller (Wine Advocate): “The 2004 Allende, a 100% Tempranillo cuvée, was barrel fermented in a mix of new and used French oak, remained in barrel for 13 months, and was bottled unfiltered. The wine is inky purple-colored and has a superb nose of pain grille, mineral, violets, cranberry, and blueberry. The youthful palate reveals layers of fruit, ripe tannin, and excellent balance. The wine merits another 3-4 years of bottle age and should drink well through 2020. Kudos to Finca Allende for a magnificent set of 2004 Riojas!”

This wine is also ranked 90+ points by Wine Spectator, Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar and also by Wine Enthusiast. And the best part is that you can still find this wine for well under 25 dollars at many internet shops.  3 very solid stars

Stetson Chopped Salad

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Today Im going to write 2 blog entries.  First one is a salad that I just made and second is a great bottle of wine…

Stetson Chopped salad  is a salad that I kind of stole the idea from a restaurant in Scottsdale Arizona called Cowboy Ciao.  I first tried the salad few years back when I was there with a bunch of friends.  We went to see the Packers play the Cardinals(This is many years back when the Pac was great and Cardinals sucked, yet they beat the Pac that game).  Anyways our first night we when to Cowboy Ciao and I had the salad.  I loved it so much that I went back the second night just for the salad.  And I have been back one other time when we were visiting family is the Phoenix area.  I have made the salad a few time.  Initially it was not as good nut nowadays it comes out perfect.

here is the recipe I used today.  serves 8, adjust the recipe based on how many you are cooking for

4 cups cooked Israeli couscous
2 cups shopped smoked salmon
2 cups roasted corn kernels
1 cup grated asiago cheese
1 cup pepitas (salted roasted pumpkin seeds)
1 cup dried currant
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
2 cups chopped arugula

Pesto Dressing :
1/2 cup basil pesto
1 cup aioli
1 shallot, roughly chopped
1 cup buttermilk
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
Salt to taste
Step #1 Layer salad ingredients in large bowl.

Step #2 To make dressing, add first 3 ingredients of the Dressing to food processor/blender & mix thoroughly.
Step #3 With motor running pour in buttermilk and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste

Step #4 Dress salad as desired, tossing to mix in front of guests.

Grilled Trout

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

I enjoy making different meals with fish and one of my favorite fish to cook is fresh trout.  Many times trout is not very fresh in the stores but if you can find good fresh trout(for me Fish King or Whole Foods usually is the source to find them at) you can make a great meal.  I have three very simple trout recopies that I will share over time but tonight wanted to write about grilled trout.  I also make an oven baked trout and a very unique one baked inside coarse salt dome

2 trout with heads cut (8?10 oz.)
1/4 cup olive oil
8-10 sprigs of tarragon
1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt – to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper – to taste

Cooking Instructions
Clean the trout and cut the head off and wash it well.(your local fish monger will do this for you)  If it has a fishy smell put it in a bowl and squeeze 1 lemon juice on it and let it sit for 30 minutes…

Cut lemon in half.  Slice one half of the lemon into 1/8 inch thick slices.  You should get about 6-8 half circle slices.

Add salt and pepper to the fish.  Be generous as some of it will burn off on the grill.  Make sure to put it inside the belly as well.  Stuff the belly with 4-5 sprigs of the tarragon and 3-4 slices of the lemon.

Cook the trout on a charcoal grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side over fairly slow heat.  Not fire.  Brushing occasionally with lemon and olive oil mixture

Serve with your favorite vegetables on the side and a nice bottle of Sauvignon Blanc or maybe a nice light Chardonnay.

AOC Wine Bar

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

aoc.jpgAOC -

aoc2.jpgMonday, February 23 was a special wine flight night at AOC

Flight: Santa Barbara and Santa Rita hills
*etude goat’s milk cheese and picolo cow’s milk cheese from Petaluma, California
*little gem lettuces with avocado, tangelo, radish and green goddess
*shrimp with smoked tomato butter and cornbread

We ordered the blood orange salad with hamachi, wild mushrooms, pork belly, black rice with squid, curry cauliflower, albacore, fingerling potatoes and the famous bacon wrapped dates. We had a both special flights from the special menu.

The blood orange salad with the hamachi was my favorite, followed close with the curry cauliflower.  The wild mushroom dish was excellent.  I did not try the pork belly but my 2 friends loved it.  The black rice and squid was loved by all around the table – it was exquisitely rich (not overly so), garlicky, tangy and delicious. I recommended the bacon wrapped dates to my friends as I have heard about them alot.  The bates are filled with parm cheese and wrapped in bacon and they got 2 thumbs up from friends.  We had a wonderful experience at AOC.

This is a GREAT restaurant where you get to try different food because of the small bites.  Its a bit pricey but the food is very good.



Beat Salad


jaime.jpg Naked Chef Jaime Oliver was at a table across from us.

New Mollydooker Wine

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Just got an interesting email from Mollydooker.  As you know I love Mollydooker wine.  Especially Two Left Feet, The Boxer and Carnival of Love

They have a new wine coming out called Sip it Forward.  Here is the email
G’day Azat,Things have been flat out here at the winery with the incredible response to our ‘Please Help us find a Wine Name’ email. Sparky and I are very appreciative of your fantastic input and suggestions. In the final count we had 2000 names suggested, and as they were all great ideas, it was extremely difficult to choose just one.
After much “discussion” we are excited to announce the name that we have chosen to embody the charity wine… ‘SIP IT FORWARD’.
A huge CONGRATULATIONS goes to Ian Muncy from Miamisburg, Ohio for submitting a name which we think encapsulates the purpose of this wine; being able to bless others around us. When I first read the name, I couldn’t stop thinking that as we drink and share this wine, how we could also be helping others in the world… not just the kids in Cambodia, but perhaps someone nearby, a local charity or something that each of us is passionate about. I think that the idea of paying forward our blessings excites and empowers all of us.

Want to Order Sip it Forward?
Several people have mentioned that they would like to purchase the wine when it is released. All you have to do is reply to this email or contact us at with the subject line “Sip it Forward Waiting List” to ensure you get the first chance to purchase this wine when its released later this year. (The wine will be $25 per bottle or $300 per case and will only be available on our website. All proceeds will benefit Transform Cambodia).

Want to Get Involved?
How’s this for exciting. One of the other wine names suggested was “Blend a Hand” and while it wasn’t selected as the name of the wine, we thought that it would be awesome to use this name for our 2009 events. We have decided that this Fall we will host a series of Blend a Hand – blending seminars where we would love for you to help us blend the 2008 Sip It Forward. We hope you can join us for this exciting, interactive and creative part of what we do to blend WOW wines. We will be posting updates to our online Travel Schedule (  /Find Us/Event Schedule) in the coming months, so make sure to check back to find an event near your home town. You can also email us anytime and as a Mollydooker Mate, we’ll make sure you get an invitation.

So now we’ve chosen the name, the next fun task will be designing the label!! We can’t wait to share it with you!

With Love,
Sarah Marquis,
On behalf of Sparky, Luke, Holly and the whole Mollydooker Team

Contact our ‘Right Hands’ – AKA Customer Service:(888)MDSHIRAZ (888) 637.4472

Mollydooker Wines USA: 1325 Imola Avenue #324, Napa, CA 94559

Mollydooker Wines: 8/938 South Road Edwardstown South Australia 5039

Pizzeria Mozza

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

logo_pizzamozza.jpgI ave not had wine for few days(this will change tomorrow as Im going to AOC with couple of friends) but I did go to a great restaurant for the 3rd or 4th time last Monday.  That restaurant is the Pizzaria Mozza but celebrity chef Mario Batali and Nancy Silverton who is the famous chef owner of La Brea Bakery

The interior of the place is warm and welcoming.  Maroon and mustard walls, very high ceilings and  a constant buzz from the diners is the ambiance from this place.  There was 4 of us so we ended up eating/tasting few things this trip.

For starters we ordered the deep friend squash blossoms filled with burrata cheese I believe, deep friend fingerling potatoes with sage and oregano and fried garbanzo beans, and the last starter was the mixed salad.  They were all cooked to perfection.  Highlight was for sure the squash blossoms.

For the second course we ordered 3 pizzas goat cheese, leeks, scallions & bacon pizza, the Margarita pizza the radicchio potato pizza.  I did not try the goat cheese pizza as it had bacon and Im a vegetarian but the other two were incredible.  Im told that te goat cheese was the best pizza my foodie friends had ever tried.  I can personally vouch for the margarita as being the best pizza I have ever had all over the world.

This is a great place to go unfortunately the wait is very long if you walk in with no reservations and to get a reservation during normal eating times is about 3-4 weeks
pizza1.jpg pizza3.jpg pizza2.jpg

2004 Cantonella Cervoles Tinto

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

cervoles-label.jpg 2004 Cantonella Cervoles Tinto (Spain, Costers del Segre): Ah, Espana.  My coworker is at Barcelona and I was reading her facebook and made the decision that today we are going to have a nice Spanish red.  Spain the land of tapas, gambas alla plancha, and sexy citizens and GREAT Tempranillo. Some of the new superstars of the wine grape world are also coming from Spain. Cervoles Tinto is a blend of Tempranillo, Cab, Garnacha and Merlot is an inky pool of forward and full-bodied fruit and smoke that is a rave of Old World restraint and New World gluttony.  The wine is a dark and deep color and an attractive nose of black berries. On the palate, it is juicy with a rich and velvety texture followed by a well-balanced finish.  A absolutely fascinating bottle of red wine.  Robert Parker gave the wine 92 points, too.(prior year 94) And you can still find them in the 20-25 dollar range

Tasting notes from The Wine Advocate:

?Wow! What an amazing, reasonably priced wine. This 1,000-case cuvee, aged 12-14 months in French oak, from one of the appellation’s highest altitude vineyards (it borders Montsant/Priorat), is a blend of 41% Tempranillo, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Grenache, and 11% Merlot. Fabulously fragrant, with notes of crushed rock, black raspberries, blueberries, and cassis, this inky/purple-colored wine boasts great fruit, medium to full body, fabulous texture and purity, and a long, heady finish. This is a compelling as well as provocative wine to drink over the next 7-8 years.?

I would rank this wine a 3-3.5 stars and its very reasonable priced

And by the way, happy Valentine’s Day!


Vieux Telegraph Chateauneuf du Pape

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

First let me say that on the top of my list of wine varietals is Chateauneuf du Pape.  In the past 10-15 years they have become favorite wine of many who like classic/old world wines.  Robert Parker is a big fan of them and CDPs consistently make the top of his list year after year.  One would think he was an honorary citizen of Chateauneuf du Pape.

Lit me give you a brief history of the town in France nad the type of grapes grown there from Wikipedia.

Chateauneuf-du-Pape is a town and commune in the Vaucluse département in Provence, in southern France. Its name derives from a castle built by the Popes when they ruled from Avignon.

The village and three other surrounding communes produce wine, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape is an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) in the southern Rhône wine region. Unlike its northern Rhône neighbors, Châteauneuf-du-Pape permits thirteen different varieties of grape; the blend is usually predominantly Grenache. Other red grapes include Cinsault, Counoise, Mourvèdre, Muscardin, Syrah, Terret Noir, and Vaccarèse. White grapes include Grenache Blanc, Bourboulenc, Clairette, Picardin, Roussanne, and Picpoul. In recent years, the trend has been to include fewer (or even none) of the allowed white varieties and rely heavily (or solely) upon the Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah. One may suspect that this is a response to international wine-market trends and the desire to have this sometimes-rustic wine appeal to a broader commercial audience.

Before wine critic Robert M. Parker, Jr. began promoting them, the wines of Châteauneuf were considered rustic and of limited appeal in the U.S. However, his influence increased their price more than fourfold in a decade. In gratitude, the Châteauneuf Winemakers Union pushed for his becoming an honorary citizen of the village.

Now lets talk about one of the best to come from CDP at a semi reasonable price of 65 dollars.  I know its a bit high but its a good wine.  In the future I will list others that are much lower but today we will start with 2006 Vieux Telegraphe CDP.

Vieux Telegraph Chateauneuf 2006


The 2006 Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape, which is aged only in foudre and bottled with minimal clarification, is a more masculine, muscular effort than most 2006s. Its dark ruby/purple color is followed by notions of the sushi seaweed wrapper, nori, interwoven with incense, lavender, pepper, and copious quantities of black cherry and raspberry fruit. Medium to full-bodied, with moderate tannin, and good structure as well as depth, it will benefit from 3-4 years of bottle age, and should keep for 15 or more years.

93 points Wine Advocate (Robert Parker)

I had  this wine few weeks back.  While the wine was still very young and can for sure benefit from another few years in the bottle it was an exceptional wine.  Big, crisp and spicy with peppery blackberry and blueberry fruit.  Hints spices like vanilla, clove and cinnamon can be tasted in the mouth.  Lots of sweet tannins which should help withe the aging of this beauty.

I would give this wine 4 stars and at 65 its not cheap but the quality for price ratio is very high.  This should be a great combo with grilled lamb or even pork chops