No, seriously. Here it is.
For some unknown reason, Charlotte and I love spring projects. Not just any project mind you. Oh-to-the-hell-NO. Instead of sensible stuff like cleaning out the garage, or filing that patent application on our cold-fusion generator, we do something BIG.
Like remodeling the ranch house.
It's not like we're in any rush. The single-story house was built in the 1940s and it's been in the family for more than a decade. Charlotte and I wound up with it after my father passed away. Up until that time, it'd been his exclusive hangout and it served him well.
Dad would have been the first to tell you that interior design wasn't his first love. Family legend is that he went to a garage sale and purchased the contents of a small frame house for $200 cash - and furnished the entire ranch house. He was the original one-stop-shopper.
For $100 more, he got a boat and trailer. They're setting in the big barn. Not to be confused with the little barn. Cattle pens. Garage. Wash house. Carport. Or storm shelter.
This thing isn't just a house.
It's an effin compound (religious zealots need not apply).
Sooooo....where do we start this adventure?
The Summer Blockbuster Movie Trailer!
When we upgraded to the new iPhone 5 a couple of months ago, I lost most of my apps in the conversion. But, instead of crying over spilt apps, I decided to find some that were better than what I lost. It didn't take me long to find the best and brightest flashlight app I've ever used.
I hate it when they resort to cannibalism.
Bob and I have different ideas about how to make the best mashed potatoes. He's a plain, milk-butter-potato-sort-of-guy while I like to dress them up with crunchy bacon, shredded cheese, green onions ... the works!
In the 1970s, I went through a phase. Back then, just about the only music I listened to was the guitar-heavy sounds of Neil Young, Crosby Stills & Nash, Buffalo Springfield, The Byrds...and wait for it...America.
Traditional cannoli are crispy fried dough cylinders stuffed with ricotta cream. This version, called Cannolo a Strati in Italian, is made with deep-fried discs of cannoli, stacked high with layers of ricotta cream in between, just like a napoleon. It is a much easier technique, frying the discs rather than the tubular cannoli shells, and the finished cannoli taste as good as the traditional version but look quite contemporary.
What were you looking for? It's not THAT kind of blog...yet!
Charlotte and I love our little crumb of rural heaven that rests on the lip of the Texas Hill Country. I especially like it because this time of the year the weather is in full-frontal Goldilocks mode: Not too hot - Not too cold - It's just right.
And the scenery...well, it ain't bad.
The views from Charlotte Mountain are beautiful...
I always take EVERYTHING off before bed. (Relax, I'm not about to make a 50 Shades of Grey-type confession here. We're talkin' makeup!)
If Charlotte and I have one vice, it's crunchy peanut butter. We love the stuff. But, it's always been a little bit of a guilty pleasure. I mean, the gooey, crunchy spread can't be good for you, can it? According to the folks at Prevention Magazine, peanut butter has some surprising health benefits.
Turns out, it's really pretty easy.
Nachos are a Saturday-night staple around our house. Bob and I prefer the simple, bean-and-cheese variety served with plenty of jalapenos (make mine hot!) and homemade guacamole.
Want a surefire way to make guac that rocks? Try award-winning cookbook author Bobby Flay's recipe for this super starter (shown after the jump).
Click "Read More" for details on this appetizing prize package and information on how to enter. Contest* ends May 2!
Last week, I was down at the ranch house contemplating our upcoming remodel (stay tuned, it's gonna be a helluva ride...!) and took a minute to look at the electronic relics we need to replace. In one corner is a 1960's era Admiral "color" television that weighs more than a cruise ship anchor. Across the room is a stereo hi-fi (sadly, no vinyl to be found) that doesn't work or even function as a piece of vintage furniture. Yeah Boomers, we've got work to do...
Why? Because the instructions read, "No Assembly Required". Smart, huh!
I've been a fan of Francis Ford Coppola since his 1972 classic The Godfather. So, when Charlotte and I were invited to dinner at Ruth's Chris Steak House with Coppola Winery Winemaker Corey Beck, I jumped at the chance.
No, the Godfather his own self didn't put in an actual appearance. But, you be the judge. An evening with great food. Great wine. Great conversation about wine and the chance of hearing some first-hand anecdotes about (arguably) America's greatest living filmmaker? Hmmmm...I would've pushed Fredo Coreleone into Lake Tahoe for that.
Not necessary, said the nice folks at Coppola. Then they seated us next to the wine making visionary who's been taking Francis Ford Coppola's wine empire into new and exciting areas for the past 15 years. It's a creative and demanding business **anecdote alert**...like the time when FFC was in Argentina working on a film and decided that Coppola needed to produce a Malbec. "Oh, and can we have it ready to release this year? That'd be great. Thanks."
A winemaker like that is capable of just about anything, so we put him to the test and tasted four of his best: Sofia Blanc de Blancs, 2011 Diamond Chardonnay, 2010 Votre Santé Pinot Noir and the 2010 Diamond Claret.
These wines are all reasonably priced, drinkable now and suitable for any taste. As they say in the film bidness - SPOILER ALERT -- Every wine we reviewed retails for under $20.
This soft, elegant white wine is named for Francis Ford Coppola's daughter, filmmaker/actress Sofia Coppola. He promised her **anecdote alert** that he'd someday produce a wine that matched her personality. This delightful sparkling wine is a cross between slightly sweet Italian Prosecco and dry French champagne.
The 2011 Sofia Blanc de Blancs is light, airy with a perfume of citrus, green apples and apricots, along with bright, effervescent flavors of pear, pineapple and honeysuckle. Just a hint of minerals tops the light, crisp finish. Blended with 74% Pinot Blanc, 16% Riesling, 10% Muscat. Charlotte says her Pinot Grigio and Champagne-drinking girlfriends would loooooove this wine. Retail: $19.00
Francis Ford Coppola's Grandmother Maria Zasa, who when she was about to
sip a glass of wine would say...