BREATHE BACK LIFE INTO THAT HOLIDAY LEFT-OVER WINE….SALUD!!

If it was good to drink, it’s also good to cook with. The holidays may have left you with a few bottles of left-over Merlot, pinot grigio, Chardonnay, etc. It’s understandable; maybe, you had a few too many and left the remainder on the counter overnight. That happens. Of course, this action can leave your wines rather life-less (flat).

There is no need to toss. After all, you paid big ‘bucks’ for your spirits. You can bring back life to your wines by using them into stews, soups, casseroles, and mixed drinks. In the past, that happened to me on a few occasions. I learned my lesson. Now, I pour the left-over wine in an ice-cube tray.  When frozen, I empty the cubes in a ziplock baggie for future use.

Left-over cabernet sauvignon wine ready for freezer
Left-over Cabernet Sauvignon wine ready for freezer

I recently preserved some left-over Cabernet. I’ll be making a delicious Italian dish (chicken cacciatore) which calls for a little wine. I’ll be ‘rocking’ a few cubes of my red wine. I know for sure that my dish will be loaded with bold and amazing flavors that will transport my palate to another dimension.

Guys, the price of spirits and food items are exorbitant. It might seem small; however, every cent adds up. So, double-back on your left-over wines. Cheers!!

BRAISED OXTAILS WITH A HINT OF RED WINE….AND THAT WAS SUPPER!!

The price of oxtails is ‘through the roof’. I guess because of the holidays, the stores take advantage of their customers. I couldn’t believe the price the last time I saw it. It was close to $6.00 per pound. Come on,  you’re talking about a meat made up of bone, a little meat and fat to be discarded.  I’m glad I’m not a big lover of the meat. However, once in a while, I do get the feeling for it.

So, today, I had a feeling for a dish of oxtails. Already, I knew I had a few pieces in a small package that I had bought a couple of weeks ago. I’m used to the Jamaican way of cooking with butter beans and all the exotic spices and seasonings. This time I decided to exclude the beans.

Oxtails take quite sometime to be tenderized. If you have a pressure cooker then the duration of cooking is decreased enormously. Of course, I don’t own a cooker so I knew I had to at least give it a couple of hours and half to braise. It can be done in the oven or stove top. I decided to opt for the stove top.

Oxtails were seasoned  with salt and pepper along with crushed garlic and a dash of balsamic vinegar. A couple of hours later, a drizzle of canola oil was heated in a sturdy stock pot and oxtail pieces were tossed and browned after removing the pieces of garlic. A splash of red wine (cabernet sauvignon) was also added and scraped up all the bits at the bottom of pot.

To that, I added a few of root veggies like onions, carrots, bell peppers and celery. Also, thyme, allspice (pimento) were added. With a drizzle of soy sauce, I added tap water to cover oxtail pieces. Oxtails were slowly braised for approximately two and half hours after checking every 20 minutes to add extra liquid if needed.

When oxtails became fork tender, additional seasonings were added. Thanks to the butcher, I never had to skim any oil from my dish. I served my cooked oxtails with steamed asparagus and brown rice along with steamed green beans. I was happy.

Hmm, come to think of it, I should invest in a pressure cooker. You never know when I might need same.