Monday, February 06, 2006

~February Cooking With Washington Wines~

Valentine's Day is almost here. When I think of that day, I think of chocolate. I love eating a rich piece of chocolate with a good red wine. Some people enjoy Port with chocolate, but I am happy with a Bordeaux style blend of red. As far as I am concerned, a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon and a Hershey bar is reason to celebrate. Lots of excellent Bordeaux style blends out in the Walla Walla Valley, especially some of the lower priced red table wines. Good value for eating with a Hershey chocolate bar. To name some of my favorite Walla Walla wine bargains, check out Waterbrook's Melange, Forgeron Cellars Anvil Red, Bergevin Lane's Calico Red and most definitely K-Vintner's House Wine.

Here is one of my favorite chocolate cookie recipes. I make the batter the night before I plan on baking. It is easier to handle if the dough is chilled.

1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. cocoa powder
2 c. white sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. powdered sugar

Mix vegetable oil, cocoa and the white sugar until creamy. Add vanilla and dry ingredients (I always sift dry ingredients first because of hard sediment from baking powder and soda). Mix well. Chill several hours. Shape into teaspoon size balls, drop in powdered sugar and then drop on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees, but do not overbake. Let cookies cool for a minute or so before removing from tray. Makes approximately 3 1/2 dozen.

When I am lazy and not wanting to go the trouble of measuring ingredients for a batter, let alone roll cookies out, I always keep a couple of boxes of brownie mix around. I take brownie mix to another level and when I am done they no longer look or taste like a boxed brownie mix. One of the things I do is change the "boxiness" is instead of adding water as per intructions, I add leftover coffee or espresso from that morning. You can toss in some chocolate chips or nuts. Use semi-sweet, milk chocolate or white chocolate or toss all of them in and make it a Death By Chocolate Brownie. To make the brownies with a south of the border flair add some cinnamon or if you are bold - chopped hot green chiles!

I often make a glaze out of powdered sugar, cocoa powder and leftover coffee to top the brownies. If you really want a jet starter brownie to get you through the day, not only add the brewed espresso but toss in some finely ground coffee beans, as well. So delicious and especially tasty with Cabernet Franc or Cabernet Sauvignon. It's one way to guarantee the three important daily "C" food groups - -Cabernet, Chocolate and Coffee!

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