Thursday, November 7, 2013

Easy Way to Prep Squash for Roasted Butternut Squash

These are very large squash, I recommend buying small ones
I made roasted butternut squash for the first time the other day. I did a few new things that made the process of prepping it go a lot easier:

#1 I bought very small squash at the grocery store. Since they were small, they were much easier to cut up, especially that critical first cut that goes from top to bottom of the squash.

#2 I used a serrated vegetable peeler to peel the outside. The serrated edge really grabs the peel and moves easily down the curved side of the squash (serrated edge peelers are great for peaches and tomatoes too, so consider adding this to your kitchen tool arsenal).

Once I had my squash cut and peeled, I tossed it with olive oil, kosher salt, long pepper and Penzey’s garlic powder. Then I put it onto a baking sheet that was lined with foil and sprayed with olive oil spray. I baked it at 400 for about 30 minutes.

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Life has gotten in the way, but I am committed to good food and wine even with a hectic life. I have a lot of ideas for holiday posts and am working on some tips for eating and drinking well even when life is hectic, so watch for those periodically.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Three Tips for Finding Value in the Wine Aisle

#1 Be flexible about how much you spend on a bottle of wine. I had a friend tell me recently that she does not spend over $17 on a bottle of wine. I explained to her that some varietals work well at a lower price point, some do not.  You will probably use your wine budget more efficiently (and drink better wine) if you don’t have a rigid idea of how much per bottle you will spend, but instead take a longer view and say you will spend X on wine over a period of time. This way, you can allow for lower and higher priced bottles into the mix. A great example is pinot noir. It’s a tricky grape and most good ones are not cheap.  If I had $40 and I wanted to get two bottles of wine, I’d spend $30 on the pinot noir and $10 on a bottle of sauvignon blanc. This takes some practice and “research” (darn!) so experiment a bit.

#2 Be open to different varietals
Another way to get value out of wine is to look for off-beat varietals. Two to look for – Torrentes and Barbera. Torrentes is a white wine from Argentina that is cool, crisp and refreshing.  Zolo makes one that is typically less than $10 per bottle. Barbera is a red wine from Italy - check out my post on why Barbera is a great pizza wine. Ask for some recommendations the next time you are in a wine store and be open to varietals that are new to you.

#3 Take good care of your wine investment by doing these two things:
Store your wine correctly – Make sure your wine is at its best by storing it in a place that’s not too hot and not cold. Check out my post with more info on creative (and cheap!) wine storage ideas.

Serve wine at the right temperature – You can dramatically improve even a cheap bottle of wine by serving it at the correct temperature. It makes a difference and it’s worth the effort. Check out my post with more info on how to get your wine to the right temperature. Hint – all you need is a fridge and your kitchen counter.


Cheers!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Wine and Food Pairing: A Visit to the Bubble Room at J Winery

Wine and food pairings are a great way to expand your wine (and food!) knowledge. One of my favorite places to do this is in the Bubble Room at J Vineyard and Winery in Healdsburg. J makes a variety of wines – sparkling, pinot gris, chardonnay, pinot noir and viognier. The Bubble Room is a separate room at the winery where they have seated wine and food tastings. The setting is beautiful and the staff is very informative and attentive.  I went with five friends and we spent a wonderful two hours (you can do the tasting more quickly, but this is not something that can be done in an hour) leisurely tasting our way through the wonderful J wines and food. Here is a recap  of what we had: 


On left: Chilled zucchini & sorrel soup with almond, creme fraiche and bee pollen. On right: Heirloom tomatoes, popped quinoa, a goat milk cheese/foam concoction and black garlic. Wine pairing was the 2012 J Vineyards, Cooper Vineyard Pinot Gris, Russian River Valley for the soup and 2011 J Vineyards STRATA, Chardonnay Russian River Valley with the tomatoes.

Spaetzle with prosciutto, swiss chard and mustard sauce. Wine pairing was the 2010 J Vineyards Nicole's Pinot Noir, Russian River
Pan roasted duck with Dry Creek peaches, chanterelle mushrooms and lavender biscotti. Wine pairing was 2010 J Vineyards Freestone, Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley.


On left: Savory Point Reyes Blue cheesecake with thyme and walnut crumb and cherries. On right: Plum upside down cake with cardamom cream. Wine pairing were two sparking wines - J Cuvee 20 Magnum, NV, Russian River Valley with the cheesecake and J Brut, 2006, Russian River Valley with the cake



If you go, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Make a reservation.
Plan on being there for about an hour and a half, at least.
Consider appointing a designated driver or hiring a limo as the tasting offers quite a bit of wine and it’s all wonderful.

This is not a cheap experience but I think you get a lot of value for your money. Cheers!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Gravenstein Apple Juice in the Vitamix

Gravenstein apples
It’s fairly common knowledge that Sonoma County is known for its grapes and wine. You may not know that the area is also known for its apples – Gravenstein apples in particular.  Gravenstein orchards were planted long before the grapes and sadly many have been ripped out to make room for grapes.  Yet, among other things, there is still a Gravenstein Highway and a Gravenstein Apple Fair which celebrates these early harvesting apples.


I got a few Gravenstein apples at the farmers market recently and decided to try to make apple juice in my Vitamix, using this recipe from the Vitamix site. I followed the directions and it turned out really well – the juice was thick and very apple-y.  It does not make very much, maybe about 8 – 10 ounces. I think it would be a good ingredient for some sort of apple cocktail or maybe mixed with some sparkling water. Or, you can do as I did and just drink it all by itself!
And here is the finished juice!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Peach and Lemon Verbena Spa Water

I’ve been making what I call spa water – water with fun, fresh add-ins – every week this summer.  I was on a lemon cucumber – lemon verbena – lemon water kick for a few weeks. This week I changed it up to fresh peach and lemon verbena.  I make up the mixture on the weekends and just add water to the pitcher throughout the week to refresh it.  It’s tasty, healthy and a really easy way to drink more water. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sonoma County Wow Dishes: Liberty Duck from Willi's Wine Bar

Willi’s Wine Bar is a wine bar and small plates restaurant in Santa Rosa.  The food is consistently great and the wine menu is interesting. They do a good job of having a rotation of seasonal items on the menu and maintaining old favorites that regulars would miss if they were not there.  


My favorite dish there, and the one I get every single time no matter what, is the Liberty duck. the Liberty ducks themselves are local from a place called Sonoma County Poultry.  The dish is sort of a duck stew where the duck has the consistency and feel of pulled pork.  It sits on a bed of white cheddar polenta and has plenty of sauce. It has a bit of sweetness to it and is the ultimate comfort food. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Sonoma County Wow Dishes: Burger from Healdsburg Bar & Grill

Healdsburg Bar and Grill is just off the main square in Healdsburg (which was recently included in a list of the 10 best small towns in America).  It’s an unassuming place in a town filled with lots of nice restaurants.  The menu is not large, but it has a range of choices and is a great stop for a quick lunch while wine tasting. 

I almost always get the HBG burger. The bun is perfect – not too hard, not too spongy and it comes from Costeaux Bakery which is also in Healdsburg. The meat itself is juicy and tasty. You can add toppings such as Fiscalini White Cheddar, bacon, heirloom tomato, etc.   The pickles on the side are right combo of tart, sweet and spicy and local, they come from Sonoma Brinery.  Garlic aioli is the perfect condiment. Fries with chipotle seasoning are nice on the side.


Fries with Chipotle seasoning

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Sonoma County Wow Dishes: Croque Monsieur from Chloe's

The first thing to know about Chloe’s French Café in Santa Rosa is that it is in a really odd location – it’s tucked into the bottom of an office building in Santa Rosa. The second thing to know, they are only open Monday through Friday.  Neither of these things deter the throngs of people I see there every time I go.  And why is that? Because the food is great! And the people who work in that office are extremely lucky.

I always get the Croque Monsieur at Chloe’s. It’s a grilled ham and cheese sandwich made with thick white bread filled with ham, cheese and a sweet Dijon sauce.  The top is drenched with béchamel sauce and broiled.  On the side are what I think are homemade pickles. It’s probably fairly obvious, but it’s not a diet meal by any means. One time I went here after running 13 miles. I think I might have come out even.

If you still have room for dessert, give the Napoleon a try. Bon Appetit!

 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sonoma County Wow Dishes: BBQ Pork Spring Rolls from Simply Vietnam

Next up on my list of Sonoma County wow dishes is BBQ pork spring rolls from SimplyVietnam in Santa Rosa. The restaurant is in an odd location – right in the middle of an industrial area – but don’t let that stop you.  The BBQ pork spring rolls are terrific!  Each roll contains barbequed pork, vermicelli noodles, lettuce, and I believe a hint of cilantro, all wrapped up in soft rice paper. On the side is peanut dipping sauce which has some sweetness to it and chopped peanuts which add some crunch. They are the perfect thing for a light lunch or for an appetizer for a party.  My friends and I have also gotten several orders of them and used them as snacks for book club meetings.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sonoma County Wow Dishes: Burrata Cheese from Rosso

Burrata cheese from Rosso in Santa Rosa
I put together a list of several of the “wow” dishes from some of my favorite restaurants in Sonoma County. None of these restaurants are fancy. Several are in sort of odd locations.  But they all have in common at least one dish that is delicious and memorable.  I’ll be rolling out this list over the next few weeks so stay tuned.

Here is the first entry … Burrata cheese from Rosso Pizzeria.



 Rosso Pizzeria has sort of taken Sonoma County by storm. They opened their first restaurant in Santa Rosa a few years ago and now have another restaurant in Petaluma and a thriving catering business. Their mobile pizza oven is a fixture at winery “pick up parties” – parties wineries have where their customers can pick up wine, taste a bit (current releases, barrel samples and library wines are all fair game) and have a bite to eat, preferably catered by the great Rosso team.

The pizza at Rosso is terrific but what makes it special is the house-made burrata cheese.  According to Wikipedia, the name burrata means buttered in Italian and that’s a pretty good description of the cheese. The outside of the cheese is a thin layer of fresh mozzarella that has been rolled out.  The thin outer layer is then filled with a mixture of mozzarella cheese curds, fresh ricotta and mascarpone cheeses, along with salt, pepper and olive oil.  

The freshness hits you first. Then the creaminess. Then the smoothness of the olive oil that you douse it with. Then the pepperiness of the pepper. Eat it “neat”, no bread, no distractions. Try not to lick the plate. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

An Early Morning Run Through Dry Creek

I ran through the Dry Creek area of Sonoma County last Saturday as part of my training for the Water to Wine Half Marathon next month. It was perfect running weather – overcast and cool but not cold. The vineyards are heavy with grapes and there are some early signs of fall even though it’s late July. I thought I would share a few of the things I saw on my run. Enjoy!
Most of the leaves on the grapes are still a vibrant green, love the contrast with the lighter plant on the ground

Grapes are not the only things growing here - I saw peach trees, apple trees and olive trees

Love this mailbox - very appropriate for a country road


Old vine Zinfandel - I can tell because the vines are thick and gnarly

The yard ornament above is made from the metal hoops off of an old wine barrel

It's not uncommon to see signs advertising flowers, eggs or produce for sale, sometimes on the honor system
And here are the zinnias that were advertised


These grape leaves are just starting to change color

I love the way the red roof of this barn contrasts with the green of the vineyard

This is so fun and whimsical!
I hope you have enjoyed this short pre-harvest tour of Dry Creek. Have a great week!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A trip to the Farmers Market

Last weekend I went to the Windsor farmers market. We are very lucky to have several farmers markets close by on both Saturdays (two in Santa Rosa and one in Healdsburg) and Sundays (Windsor).

I got my first heirloom tomatoes of the season, some kale, peaches and nectarines, both lemon and regular cucumbers, and the prettiest heirloom carrots I have ever seen. Here are some photos of what I made with my produce.


Salad with kale and white peach
Salad with cucumber, lemon cucumber, cherry tomatoes and heirloom carrots
Pretty heirloom carrots are good in a salad or all on their own

Monday, July 22, 2013

Spa Water: Trio of Lemons

I love to make spa water - you know, the sort of water with cool things in it like you would see at a fancy spa. My current pitcher of spa water has a trio of lemon flavors - lemons, lemon cucumber from the farmers market and lemon verbena from my herb garden. It’s a very fragrant, a bit tart and very refreshing on a hot day.  Have a great week!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Try This: Sonoma Brinery Pickles

Outrageous Bread & Butter Pickles from Sonoma Brinery
Barbeque season is in full swing here in Sonoma County and it will last well into the fall.  Given the long season, I periodically tweak my standards because if not, things can get old.   

I recently made Sonoma Brinery’s Outrageous Bread & Butter Pickles my go-to pickles for burgers and I could not be happier. I first discovered them in a restaurant as a side to what else, a burger. I tracked them down and found out that they are sold at my local grocery store.

Packaging for Sonoma Brinery pickles
The Outrageous Bread & Butter pickles are simply pickle chips and thinly sliced bits of onion.  They have a bit of heat and bit of sweetness and are downright addictive.  I like that they are local (the company is working on national distribution, go here to check where in your area you can buy them) and they are fresh (look for them in the refrigerator section of the grocery store).  The pickles are great with a burger and are also good chopped and stirred into tuna.  Or, you can just eat them straight out of the container. I won’t tell.


P.S. July is national pickle month, so yet another reason to expand your pickle repertoire and give a Sonoma Brinery Pickle a try!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Easy, Healthy Coleslaw Recipe



Barbeque season is in full swing right now. If you are looking for a healthy side dish for burgers, steaks or ribs, consider a healthy coleslaw. The recipe that’s below is very flavorful and healthy too.


Here are the instructions for making one serving, you can easily increase this to make more:
1 tablespoon lowfat or nonfat plain yogurt
1 teaspoon mayonnaise or olive oil*
 ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
A few handfuls of pre-shredded cabbage and carrots

Mix the first four ingredients in the bottom of a bowl and then add the cabbage and carrots.  I usually dress the coleslaw and serve right away. You could also let it sit a bit to let the flavor set. 
*You can actually make this without any fat. However, I think the addition of a bit of fat really adds to the flavor and smooths it out.

What is your go-to for a healthy side dish in the summer?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Roadtrip to Bones Roadhouse for BBQ Sauce

Each table at Bones has both hot and mild BBQ sauce
If I told you that my favorite barbeque sauce comes from a place almost two hours from my house would you think I was crazy?  OK, maybe a bit.  In my defense, it’s really good barbeque sauce. Want to know what it is? Thought so.

The barbeque sauce in question comes from a restaurant called Bones Roadhouse in Gualala. Gualala is on the Northern California coast, just past where Sonoma County ends and Mendocino County begins. The drive up there from my home in Santa Rosa, CA is beautiful with great ocean views.

Pulled pork + homemade chips + BBQ sauce = yum!
Once at Bones, the first reward is getting to have lunch there.  The food is classic barbeque – ribs, pulled pork, brisket, etc.  I am a big fan of their pulled pork, my husband likes the brisket.  Most dishes come with homemade potato chips on the side. The first time we ate there, we saw people putting barbeque sauce on the chips and wondered a bit about that. Turns out, it’s really good and another way to get to have more of Bones’ wonderful sauce.

The second reward for the long drive is getting some barbeque sauce to take home. So, what’s the sauce like? It’s smoky with a bit of a bite but not too hot (they have both hot and mild versions) and just a bit sweet. We use it on everything – ribs, brisket (ours is not a good as Bones’), whatever!


Have you ever roadtripped for food? 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Easy Idea for 4th of July Entertaining: Ice Cream Bar Bonanza

Looking for a quick, no-fail dessert idea for the 4th of July or any other entertaining occasion this summer?  Consider an ice cream bar bonanza.

I was introduced to the ice cream bar bonanza at a book club that I was in years ago.  At one of the meetings, for dessert, the hostess opened a bunch (and I mean bunch!) of ice cream bar boxes, dumped them on the table and let the group go at it.  We all felt like kids again, almost as if we were gathered around the ice cream truck, money in-hand, waiting to get our favorite treat.

We had a barbeque last summer and it turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year. It called for an ice cream bar bonanza so I got a big cooler, dumped in a bunch of ice and a large assortment of popsicles, ice cream bars, you name it!

Here are some tips for your own ice cream bar bonanza:
·        Go for variety and quantity
·        Go for a mix of retro (Otter Pops anyone?), favorites (for me that’s Its Its and drumsticks) and something new that you have been wanting to try
·        Get a mix of full-size and fun-size treats
·        Get more than you think you need
·        Store and serve in a big cooler with LOTS of ice

Then, just step back and let your guests dig in.
 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Power of Salt & Pepper



Salt and pepper are really simple seasonings and it hardly seems worth mentioning them. But they are so powerful it seems negligent not to mention them. So, let’s discuss.

Don’t be afraid to use salt and pepper.  Even if a recipe does not call for salt and pepper take a minute and consider if it will add to the dish (I am talking mainly about cooking here rather than baking). Take meat and poultry for example. I have not encountered a piece of meat or poultry that was not improved by sprinkling it with both salt and pepper. On both sides. Why both sides? Because you eat both sides! I learned that in a cooking class, no joke. Anyway, no matter what the recipe says, I always start by salting and peppering my meat and poultry. And don’t be stingy, sprinkle away! Vegetables too.  A little salt and pepper goes a long way here. And eggs! Eggs need salt and pepper.

 
Consider two easy upgrades for your salt and pepper that will bring benefits to your daily cooking:

·        If you don’t have one already, invest in a pepper grinder. I am partial to copper pepper grinders.
 
·        Toss your regular salt and use kosher salt.

 
Looking for more ideas for upgrading your salt & pepper?

·        Try a special salt such as Hawaiian salt, sea salt or grey salt. To learn more about gourmet salts go here and here.

·        Consider trying truffle salt the next time you grill meat.

·        Try Florida Pepper which is a citrusy pepper that is wonderful on vegetables.

·        Consider the fragrant long pepper next time you fill up your pepper mill.

 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Lobster Many Ways


I just got back from a quick trip to Martha’s Vineyard. It’s very pretty there – the beaches are beautiful and the houses are immaculate, with pretty flower boxes and/or potted flowers out front.  But enough about that, let’s talk about the food. Specifically, lobster.
Lobster rolls are the way to go in this part of the world and there is a debate about the best way to make a lobster roll.  They are typically served either hot with butter or cold as more of a lobster salad with mayonnaise.  In the name of research, I tried both.

First up, a hot lobster roll with butter from Menemsha Fish Market. This featured 1/3 pound of lobster, served hot with butter on a roll. We opted to add a cup of lobster bisque on the side.  If you are looking for the pure taste of lobster, this is the way to go.  The lobster was fresh, a bit sweet and yummy.  The squeeze of lemon was just enough seasoning. The bisque was so-so. It was a bit greasy and not as flavorful as it could have been.

Next up, a cold lobster roll from Edgartown Seafood. This featured less lobster than the hot one, but there was still a lot of lobster. The roll was pretty much the same (In both cases, the roll was a whimpy white bread roll – I was longing for a nice brioche roll).  Fortunately, the mayo content was light, just enough to moisten the lobster. It was a nice sandwich but it needed salt or some sort of seasoning.

The verdict? If you are looking for a pure lobster experience go with the hot roll and commit to spending some serious money to get one with plenty of lobster (the lobster roll + bisque at Menemsha Fish Market was $22.99). Otherwise, you can get the cold one (they are usually cheaper). But if you ever get the chance and can try both do it.


I also tried several other forms of lobster.  A whole lobster (also from Edgartown Seafood) was nice but a bit difficult to eat. We got it cooked and cracked but lacked the tools in our hotel room to properly eat the lobster. If I were to do that again, I’d make sure to bring some tools.  We got bisque with that lobster too and it was fairly flavorful and had a good amount of lobster meat.

 
 
Fried lobster from Sandy’s at Plymouth Beach (we were headed back to Boston by this time) was a bit dry and maybe not the best use of lobster.   Their cold lobster roll was quite good though.

Have you ever had a lobster roll? If so, do you prefer hot or cold?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Try This: Long Pepper



I took a cooking class in Italy a few years ago and not only learned to make homemade pasta and focaccia bread but was introduced to a pepper called long pepper. What is long pepper? Well, as you can probably guess from the name it’s called that because the peppercorns are fairly long – some are about two inches long. Tastewise, it has less heat than regular pepper. It’s more fragrant too. After we got home from Italy we tracked down long pepper online (I am not sure I have ever seen it in a store).
Over time, it has replaced common black pepper at my house. I like it better because it’s more mellow and flavorful than regular black pepper. I also like that is does not have as much heat.

One thing to know, due to the large pepper corns you’ll need to break them up a bit before they go into your pepper grinder. I use a mortar and pestle do to this. You could also put the long pepper into a plastic bag and hit it with either the smooth side of a meat cleaver or a hammer wrapped in a towel.

Have you ever tried long pepper?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Great Kitchen Tool - Microplane Grater



Today I’d like to introduce you to one of my favorite kitchen tools – the Microplane grater. It’s my go-to tool for grating hard cheeses such as parmesan and romano , zesting citrus and grating carrots for coleslaw.  I have had mine for at least 10 years and it shows no sign of slowing down, it’s still as sharp as ever. Speaking of sharp, I have grated my fingers more than once on it, so be careful when you use it.
I love how easily the Microplane grates the toughest of foods into light, fluffy bits.  Clean up is easy too, it goes into the dishwasher. 

What are some of your favorite kitchen tools?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Looking for a perfect pizza wine? Try Barbera!


This photo is neither wine nor pizza. I took it at a truffle fair in the
Piemonte region of Italy (Barbera comes from Piemonte.) and thought
it was a nice photo to share.
Last week I wrote about pizza on the grill. This week I want to share a great wine that goes well with pizza – Barbera!  What is Barbera you ask? It’s a grape type (or “varietal” in wine speak) not a brand.  The grape is originally from Italy and there are many wonderful Barbera wines from there, but some American wineries also make it and those wines are definitely worth a try.

Why is Barbera a good pizza wine? First off, it’s got good acid. This makes it pair well with pizza. Actually instead of the word “pair” I should say “stand up to it” since pizza typically has some pretty strong flavors and it can quickly overwhelm  a wine.  It will go pretty well with your pasta and red sauce too. Second, it’s usually a fairly inexpensive bottle of wine.  I don’t know about you, but I never seem to feel that pizza really deserves a great bottle of wine.  So, finding something that pairs well with pizza and is priced well is a winner in my book.
I have listed below some Barberas that are tried and true. I will warn you that wine distribution is a funny thing and you may not be able to find these in your area. What to do?  Go to a wine store you trust, pick up a Barbera or two, grab a pizza and find your own perfect pairing.

Miraflores: http://bit.ly/16EONLt
Michele Chiarlo: http://bit.ly/18JXK3s
Fontana Fredda: http://bit.ly/ZIVZTB

 
This Barbera costs a bit more but is very worth it if you can find it:
Aldo Conterno: http://bit.ly/13h7oZ7

 

What is your favorite pizza wine?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

How to get rid of wine stains


One of the biggest problems with wine - red wine in particular - is that sometimes it ends up where it's not supposed to be. Your new (really expensive, of course!) white shirt or an upholstered dining room chair are prime targets for wine spills. Here are some ways I have been successful in wine stain removal:

Clothes: Wine removal when out and about. I discovered Tide to Go in a tasting room in Paso Robles, CA. I was wearing a light colored top and dribbled some wine down the front of it. The woman behind the tasting counter whipped out a Tide to Go pen and offered it to me. A few swipes later, no more spot! I now take them wherever I go, especially wine tasting.

Clothes and Linens: Wine removal at home. I use a one-two punch of Wine Away and OxyClean:

1.      Treat with Wine Away. I spray a good amount on the stain and let it sit for 3-5 minutes, per the directions on the bottle. You may need to repeat this.
2.      Treat with OxyClean. If there are still stains (likely the stain will have turned blue), you may need to treat the stain with OxyClean. I like to spray it first with OxyClean spray and then soak in a sink of cold water and OxyClean powder. How long you soak will depend on the stain. I have gotten stains out with as little as a one-hour soak and as long as a weekend soak (you will need to change the water a few times if you are soaking this long).
Upholstery: First, resist the urge to put water, club soda, etc. on the stain. Instead, spray the stain with a good amount of Spot Shot and blot with a clean white towel. I usually do this a few times. At this point, you will still see a stain. Go away and leave it alone. Check again in a few hours or the next day and the stain should be gone.

A word on fabrics: With the exception of upholstery, the treatments I describe above are best for washable fabrics. If you get wine on something that is dry clean-only, don't put anything on it and get it to a dry cleaner as soon as you can. I had someone spill an entire glass of red wine on a light blue jacket once and I stupidly put water all over it trying to get the stain out. The water made water rings and was actually worse than the wine stain. Needless to say, the jacket was ruined.

 And ... don't forget ... it's always best to take action on a stain as quickly as you can and never put something in the dryer without first checking to see if the stain is gone as the heat may set the stain.

 If you have some great tricks for wine removal please let me know!