Monday, May 31, 2010

a good excuse to be a bad influence

Wind me up and watch me go
Where she stops, nobody knows
It's a good excuse to be a bad influence on you (and you and you and you and you)
(click here for the soundtrack to this post) 

I don't like to drop names (so I won't), but I know a lot of people in the music biz...enough people that other people are sometimes impressed with me, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but makes me feel like the rockstar I was destined to be.  After all, there are at least two CDs sold in music stores across the country where you can hear my voice, so I can feel a little special, can't I?

Regardless, because of these people, I readily recognize that celebrities (generally) are just like us normal folk, they're just more visible.  I'll grant you, not everyone can afford the things they have or the places they go, and no one cares what Mister and I order from the local Chinese place, but They have the same feelings, the same needs, the same desires, for the most part as you and me.  Because of all that, I rarely hold a celebrity in high enough esteem to emulate their behavior/dress/etc.  I have one weakness:  P!nk.

I would like to believe that I would be cool if I met her, that I wouldn't be starstruck or stupid and I would be able to have an intelligent conversation with her.  Heck, she's even a local girl - raised in the Philadelphia 'burbs.  We share a common ethnic heritage and we both have great cheek bones (toot toot).  So, perhaps it was more out of respect for her than a moment of celebrity worship that I took her advice on wine.

In an interview you can view on her website, P!nk (aka Alecia Moore) describes her favorite wines.  I had heard of Super-Tuscans before and when I googled them I realized why in the same answer she made the comment that she "a very expensive date."  Most Super-Tuscans retail for $175 and up, averaging in the mid $200s for one bottle.  To think I've spent a great deal of my life enthralled by the idea of a $100something bottle of Dom Perignon is shameful in comparison.

I figured I may as well give it a try, since I had been craving a good, new red anyway.  Summertime (or warm weather) usually brings out the part of me that craves a crisp, clean Riesling, or a Pinot Grigio every few years.  I have been drinking almost exclusively Riesling since April, but I prefer reds, so I was happy to give Super-Tuscans a go.

Fortunately for my non-rockstar wallet, I stumbled upon an article on, leading me to more affordable luxuries than those commonly enjoyed by P!nk.  Although I realize that $80 is a bargain on a wine that usually costs upwards of $250, it just isn't something I'm willing to spend when I'm the only one drinking it, so I went with the "most affordable,"  Castello Banfi Centine Toscana (pronounced chen-TEE- nay).

I opened it tonight, to accompany the delightful Italian-inspired dinner Mister chose (more in a minute) and it was just as spectacular as I'd hoped.  We're on the third glass now, so pardon me if I start to lose the thread, I just don't want to waste it and I can tell it's prone to spoil quickly.  How, you ask?  From the one prior experience I had with a Super-Tuscan, I can tell you that they are relatively dry and bold in flavor, and as a result, they do what I call "vinegarizing" fairly quickly after being opened.  Something I noticed about this particular wine is how disparate the first taste is from the one that lingers on your tongue after you swallow.  I could use the technical terms, but sometimes that takes all the fun out of it.  When you pull the wine into your mouth, it is obviously colored with dark berries (by the way, this wine is so dark as to be opaque in the glass) and a hint of subtle spice, not unlike a Pinotage.  However, there is a slight sting at the back of your throat as you swallow and you're left with a slightly vinegary taste, along with some more savory notes.  It was under $20, so please take my word for it and do your best to find this and serve it with your next Italian dinner.

Good segue?

Mister chose from my fridge-posted menu tonight.  I've been trying to involve him more in the process, so I just show him the menu, tell him what we've already eaten (he's not one to remember fancy names), and request his input in selecting dinner.  He chose Orecchiette with Broccoli, Chickpeas, and Tomatoes from Vegan Italiano, not surprisingly.  I'm pretty sure Mister would be perfectly happy if I made 50% (or more) of our dinners Italian-influenced.  After all, he bought that cookbook for me for my birthday a few years ago.  Aside from the cheeses, Italian cooking is very amenable to the vegan lifestyle, so I'm okay with that too, but honestly, cooking pasta annoys me.  It requires the sink to be empty so I can strain the pasta, and frequently, that means I need to either do the dishes before dinner or just have half-nasty dishes on my counter a foot away from where I'm preparing dinner.

Anyway, dinner was wonderful - despite the canned tomatoes and canned chickpeas, there was something about it that just tasted fresh.  The broccoli is finally done being gross, even if it is still a little small.  There is a part of me that wants to make this again tomorrow, but with fresh tomatoes and basil and see what a difference that makes.  I am so pleased with this dinner.  I served it with Sicilian-spiced olives, Kalamatas, and Parmesan for Mister, Centine for me.

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