Tag Archives: wine

Vampire Proof Your Life: Garlic Wine


Henry and I have been dabbling in home brewing for a year and a half now. We started with hard apple cider, which ended down the drain. Next was watermelon wine, which is still chilling out in the bottle, waiting to mature. After that was a lager, which has turned out the best of all of our recipes. Now we have moved on to garlic wine. The brew shop owner suggested it to us the very first time we went to see him, ask him questions, and buy his equipment. It sounded easy enough, and it was easy–but we didn’t think it through all the way, and neither did he give us any warnings.

So let this be your warning. Making this wine is only for the strong of will. You will smell things you wished you hadn’t. It will permeate your walls. Furniture. Everything. But you have to finish it–the damage is done. Roast, mince, boil, ferment. Do it. I’ll let you know how ours turned out next summer.


1.  2 gallon food safe bucket

2.  1 gallon carboy and airlock

3.  Racking siphon


  • 1.5 cups of orange juice
  • 1 can of apple juice concentrate
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • 2 pounds of sugar
  • 1 tsp Yeast nutrient
  • 1 tsp Pectic enzyme
  • 1 Packet Lalvin EC-1118 yeast
  • 12 large heads of garlic
  • 1/4 tsp tannin


First, prepare a yeast starter.  Mix the juice, yeast nutrient, and pectic enzyme. Pitch the yeast.

Roast 6 of the heads of garlic for two hours at 350. When it cools, squeeze the cloves out.

Take the other 6 heads and peel them. Boil the raw garlic and roasted garlic together with 1/2 gallon of water for 45 minutes. Try to not die. The smell–oh, the eye burning smell! This boiling step will the longest 45 minutes of your entire life.

Strain the liquid into your food safe bucket, also known as your primary fermentation vessel. I used a combination of colander and cheese cloth. Add the apple concentrate, lemon juice, and tannin to the bucket. Stir. Add water until your volume equals one gallon.

Record the specific gravity. Or have your husband do it.  It should be at least 1.074. 

Oh, yeah. Don’t pitch the yeast into the other ingredients until it’s cooled to 90 degrees.  Don’t want to fry the yeast.

Leave it in your food safe bucket for a week.  Rack to a one gallon carboy, fitted with an airlock.

Rack it again after three weeks, and then after that, once or twice a month for six months. After you bottle it, it’ll be done a year from when you began the entire process.




My go-to meal


I think it’s important to have a fall-back meal. The meal that you always have the ingredients for on-hand. Inexpensive, filling, and versatile. For me, that meal is pasta with red sauce. I always have pasta–several different styles.  The same goes with canned tomatoes. I prefer to use crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and no-salt-added tomato sauce. What else do you need? Well, the mood and level of commitment you are feeling has a direct correlation to the outcome of your sauce. It can be good, solid sauce–or with a couple extra ingredients and a couple hours, you can take it to exceptional.

Henry and I have been putting off Christmas all week. We got our shopping done, put left the presents in piles on the floor. We got a tree, but didn’t decorate it. There’s a lot of pressure surrounding the holidays, especially for me, and putting off preparing and watching Food Network seemed like the better choice. Until the Food Network started airing Christmas specials. Then I couldn’t avoid Christmas any longer.

These were the circumstances from whence this pasta sauce was born. I don’t think I’ve ever typed the word “whence” before. Anyway, after trimming the tree, wrapping presents, and cleaning, I just didn’t feel like cooking.  But a pasta sauce, once you do the prep work, simmers and cooks itself. It’s basically a hands off endeavor if you do the prep. So here’s what I came up with:


  • 1 20 (I think it was 20) ounce can of crushed tomatoes. I always make sure to get the least salty. Especially when you’re putting several cans of salted food into your sauce, there is no way you can control the flavor or salinity. So it’s super important to read the labels and get no-salt-added if you can.
  • 1 small can of tomato paste and 1 small can of no-salt-added tomato sauce.
  • 1 can of fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 cups of red wine
  • 1.5 pounds of browned hamburger
  • salt and pepper
  • oregano, basil, crushed red chili peppers
  • 1 cup or so of water
  • 1 tablespoon or so of sugar

Method: Brown the meat and drain it. Add the onions and garlic and spices and saute until the onions are soft and the garlic is fragrant.Add the tomato paste and cook for a few minutes.  This caramelizes the paste and gives a big depth of flavor. Add the tomato sauce and simmer briefly. Then add the wine and let that boil off.  Then add the rest of the tomato product, water, sugar, simmer for another five minutes and then adjust for salt.  I simmered this for two hours and let it deepen in color and reduce.

To go with the sauce, I boiled some whole wheat shells and made some garlic bread.  It was the perfect meal for a couple of Christmas procrastinators to eat while watching Scrubs.


Sunday Menu Planning


Jeff and I just got back from the grocery store.  We went without a real plan–I had some inkling of pot roast, but we ended up coming home with ingredients for clam chowder and Greek-inspired chicken.  I don’t plan to follow recipes for either, but here are a few that are similar to what I have in mind.

New England Clam Chowder

As for the Greek chicken–all I have planned is using oregano, lemon, feta, olives, and garlic.  It could look a little something like this, this, this, or this. I really haven’t made up my mind yet.

In other news, we went to the World Market yesterday to buy some wine.  Is it a sign of immaturity that we purchased the wine based solely on the awesomeness of the label?  Behold: Luchador and Red Lion

Roasted tomato, oyster mushroom, and garlic pasta (with mizithra)



  • Tomatoes (some.  I think I used five or six)
  • Oyster mushrooms (some?)
  • 1 onion (finally, something quantifiable!)
  • 1 head of garlic
  • s&p
  • basil, oregano, cayenne pepper
  • splash of balsamic vinegar
  • linguine
  • mizithra cheese


In a 450 degree oven, roast tomatoes (tomatoes [chopped], seasoned with s & p, doused with balsamic vinegar and olive oil) and whole head of garlic (wrapped in tin foil, doused in oil and salt and pepper), until desired doneness.

While tomatoes and garlic are roasting, saute mushrooms and onions until caramelized.  Add s & p, basil and oregano–cayenne, also.

Add tomatoes and their juices to sauteed mushrooms and onions.

Mash your roasted garlic and add that to the tomatoes, mushrooms, and onions.

Simmer ingredients together for awhile.  Realize that you are getting tired and the wine you bought from Trader Joe’s is making you drowsy.  Also realize that two dishes in one night is quite ambitious.  You decide to finish your sauce and put it in the fridge.  Pasta can be made tomorrow.

Interesting Food Links, News, and Recipes


Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese

Homemade Twix

Patented Glo-fish Sushi? How One Activist Is Cooking with Experimental Frankenfoods to Raise Consciousness About GMOs

The husband thought this was funny…I feel the need to apologize for posting this.

13 Bloody Halloween Recipes

Wines to Pair with Your Halloween Candy