Here’s good news, Feb. 18 is National Drink Wine Day. Yippee!
How do you celebrate such a happy holiday? Go for a wine tasting, take a wine tour, visit a wine bar, yeah, right. OK, open a bottle at home — even in isolation we can pay homage to this ancient of all beverages.
Although winemaking is thousands of years old, no one knows for sure who did it first. Evidence of early winemaking has been discovered in China, the Middle East and Greece. For example, a winery discovered in Armenia was determined to be over 4,000 years old, the ultimate aging.
Wine is complex and is often “prescribed” to boost your blood. My Baptist, teetotaling grandfather would drink, on his doctor’s orders, 2 inches a night.
There are purported other uses as well. It is said that the Aston Martin owned by Prince Charles is powered by a wine-based fuel. I wonder how that exhaust compares to petrol.
Wine affects men and women differently. It is said that the difference in stomach enzymes found between the sexes results in women being more susceptible to intoxication. Hence the old saying, “candy is dandy but liquor is quicker.” Hmm.
And, with so many varieties, colors, tastes and vintages, there are many ways to enjoy wine.
This week, I’m bringing to your attention two of my favorite recipes that call for wine.
A longtime favorite of my mother’s is pepper steak. A delicious treatment of a fairly inexpensive cut of meat. The main ingredient here is a good butcher. You, to be specific. This recipe calls for top round or London broil as it’s sometimes called that must be 2-inches thick. So, if you can manage to get that chunk of meat, give pepper steak a try.
Follow up with dessert, a favorite with my family since the early ’60s. In fact, it is one of the first recipes I shared in the Spoon, July 8, 1971, to be exact.
Take note: For the cake, freshly grated nutmeg is an absolute must.
And notice, neither recipe call for a lot of wine, so dispose of leftovers as you wish. Cheers!
1 2-inch thick London broil or top round steak
unseasoned meat tenderizer
1-1/2 tablespoons dried minced onions
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced fine
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 crushed bay leaf
1/4 cup wine vinegar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup salad oil
1/2 (or more) cup burgundy wine
1/2 cup coarsely cracked peppercorns
Moisten meat; sprinkle a liberal amount of meat tenderizer on both sides and pierce all over with a sharp-tined fork. Place in shallow dish, add remaining ingredients (except cracked peppercorns) and marinate 6 hours, turning occasionally.
When barbecue is ready, cover steak with cracked pepper. To do this, sprinkle exposed side of meat with pepper and, using a large spoon, press firmly into meat. Place meat on grill, peppered side down and repeat procedure on uncoated side.
Cook for 8 minutes per side; take off heat, tent and rest for 15 minutes. To serve, slice crosswise and place on a platter.
SHERRY WINE CAKE
1 package yellow cake mix
1 small package instant vanilla pudding
1/2 cup oil (I use olive oil)
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup cream sherry
Mix all ingredients and beat for at least 4 minutes. Pour into well-greased and floured bundt cake pan and bake 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Invert onto plate and top with following.
1-1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup cream sherry
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Mix until smooth. Prick cake all over with toothpick and “paint” with glaze, covering top and sides well. When glaze has set, sprinkle with additional powdered sugar if desired.