Category Archives: Wine & Food

Bonus Blog, Recipes — Super Dips for the Super Bowl

Here’s my annual Super Bowl Super Dip Recipes (Jalapeño Pesto and Lipton’s® California Onion dips):

First up: Jalapeño Pesto Dip:

The great things about this recipe are:

  • It’s healthy as all get out.
  • It’s so tasty you’ll completely forget how healthy it is.
  • It’s not as spicy hot as it sounds (although it’s definitely not for the timid of tongue, either).
  • It goes great with anything from tortilla chips to corn chips to potato chips to even pretzels.
  • It’s so simple to make even a husband can do it.
  • The leftover jalapeño pesto is great on a whole variety of dishes ranging from omelets to burgers (use as a topping)  and even mixed with ground beef for tacos or chili.  By all means use your imagination with the leftover pesto, because you’ll probably think up dozens of uses for it.


  • 2 pounds fresh whole  jalapeño peppers
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. granulated or fresh crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • ⅓ cup good extra virgin olive oil or other healthy monounsaturated oil

Step 1. Bring to boil just enough water to immerse the jalapeños.  Once the water is boiling, add the jalapeños and bring the water back to boiling.  Gently boil the jalapeños, stirring occasionally, for fifteen minutes.  Drain the jalapeños and set aside until they are cool enough to handle.

Step 2. Slice the jalapeños in half lengthwise and remove the stems.  Now, this next procedure is where you control the heat to some extent.  On most of the jalapeños, remove the seeds and the ribs to which those seeds are attached.  Keep the seeds and ribs on approximately one-third of the jalapeños, choosing in particular those jalapeños with very white, healthy-looking seeds and discarding those seeds that are dingy or brown in color.  Increasing the number of seeds and ribs retained will increase the heat; decreasing that number will help to tame it.

Step 3. Place the jalapeños, cumin, garlic, and salt into a food processor.  While pulsing, slowly drizzle in the olive oil.  Do no overdo the processing or you’ll destroy those beautiful white seeds and lose texture, but you do want a fairly smooth consistency.

Other uses: In addition to the suggested uses below (besides as a chip dip), I’ve since taken to using this Jalapeño Pesto recipe also as a pizza sauce and in macaroni and cheese.

Serve either warm or cold with your favorite chips (my choice is good quality tortilla chips). Warm is particularly interesting, especially if you contrast that with a well-refrigerated . . .

Lipton’s® California onion dip:


  • 1 envelope of Lipton’s® Onion Soup Mix
  • 1 pint reduced-fat sour cream

Step 1. Mix together thoroughly in a bowl, preferably the day before the Super Bowl; wrap tightly or put back into the sour cream container and chill

Step 2. Serve with the chip of your choice; my favorite for this is Fritos® Scoops!®

Variation: Try mixing together some of the California Onion Dip with my Jalapeño Pesto dip, but go easy and taste frequently until you arrive at just the right kick to suit your tastes.

And since this is listed under Wine & Food the next question would have to be, what kind of wine would you serve with this?  Well, first of all, this is definitely an accompaniment to beer, especially a good, fairly strong ale. Or, one of my favorite Mexican beers, Modelo Negra™.  But if you would like wine with this, it’ll have to be one that helps tame the fire.  That suggests a semisweet white.  Think:  Johannisberg or German Rieslings, Chenin Blanc, or Gewürztraminer.  The cooler white wine serving temperatures supply immediate relief and the sweetness helps neutralize the capsaicin (the compound that gives peppers their “heat”) in the long term.

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Circumnavigating Australia — Yarra Valley; Yering Farm Wines

Yering Farm Wines

We were in for a very long haul for our next tour stop. The ride from Yarra Valley Dairy to Yering Farm Wines took place over a nap-inhibiting 1.6 kilometers, which took nearly three long minutes to transverse.

Yering Farm Wines vineyard

This Yering Farm stop was a fun one. The views were nice, the wines tasty, and the staff friendly.

Yering Farm Wines — Our knowledgeable server with Duck Down Under Cabernet Rose

One of the first things that strike you as you approach the tasting room is the old, weathered, rusted-roof structure. It’s like a scene right out of the Old West.

Yering Farm Wines — Like something right out of the Old West

Facing the other direction we were greeted with colorful scenery.

Yering Farm Wines views

Inside, the tasting room appeared right out of a square dance hall.

Yering Farm Wines tasting room

Our server poured us a good representative selection of Yering Farm wines, which range from there Farmyard Series, to a mid-range Estate Series, on up to their top line Reserve Series. None were disappointing.

Yering Farm Wines views

This week’s Fun Photo Friday will conclude this Circumnavigation of Australia series. One destination I’m going to have to skip. That was Tasmania. The weather was miserable the entire time, and I only acquired a very few shots. Three photos simple would not be enough to do an article on this destination.

Starting the Monday after next I’ll begin a series on traveling around New Zealand. As with this Australia series, the New Zealand photos were acquired over two separate cruises — March 2019, and March 2020.

Next week will be a bit of a vacation. During that time I’ll be posting photos of El Paso desert flowers and a spectacular sunset, all of which were taken April through June of this year.

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Circumnavigating Australia — Yarra Valley; Yarra Valley Dairy

Yarra Valley Dairy

You’ll recall from last Wednesday’s article that our previous stop on this tour of Yarra Valley was the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery. A little over ten minutes later we arrived at our next generation, Yarra Valley Dairy.

Yarra Valley Dairy

The shop here is a marvel in cheese selections — marinated cheeses (loved their “Fiery”), fresh cheeses (try their Chevre & Dill), and matured cheeses (try everything!). Check out their recipe page for some really fun ideas as well.

Yarra Valley Dairy

The Yarra Valley Dairy cheese shop goes well beyond just cheeses, however. There also a selection of other foodstuffs, and even complete platters. Each platter gives you four cheeses to sample along with bread, crackers, and locally made relishes.

Yarra Valley Dairy

Beyond the cheese selections are some great kitchen souvenirs, such as this cutting board made from native Australian woods, mostly from Tasmania:

Souvenir from Yarra Valley Dairy

But it’s the main attraction here is, of course, the exquisite cheeses made here.

Yarra Valley Dairy

We’ll head on down the road on Wednesday for yet another stop, this time at a winery for some tasting. Until then, I’ll leave you with a couple more shots of Yarra Valley:

Yarra Valley

Yarra Valley

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