Saturday, May 22, 2010

A tale of two kitties

Welcome back one and all! I'll begin today's blog with a little 'site schedule' posting. We've been doing this project for under a week now but we are beginning to get a feel for how we want it to work. Our plans for this blog are as follows:

We will post our recipes / experiences on - Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday

Saturday - We're going to try to do something unique here. Either by featuring a cool kitchen tip, looking at a product that we really like or by showing a neat way to use (or re-use) an item in the kitchen.

Friday, Sunday - Friday and Sunday are scheduled off nights. (We do have to eat our leftovers sometimes after all!)

Monday - Monday is our grocery night. We might post our experiences shopping for a certain item (I.E. finding a good cut of salmon) or just a general observation. Monday's blog posting will probably be shorter, just a little snip-it of something or a preview of what's coming this week. **

** I'm tossing the idea around of using Mondays to hint at what's on the menu for the next three days. Maybe feature a certain vegetable that we picked up, or post what we picked up (I.E. Eggs, Salmon, Red Bell Pepper, Chile, Curry Powder) but not mention what recipes they're going into yet, and have a little suspense. Be sure to leave some feedback and let me know what you think of this idea.

(Once again, I have to apologize for off center pictures. On my end, everything looks centered, but when the post is published, it becomes...well, wrong. I'm looking into fixes and hope to have it figured out by Monday)

Now that everything 'formal' is out of the way...back to the fun! Today we have an interesting little project to share with you. Last week, while we were browsing the aisles of our favorite downtown market, we came across a very interesting little bottle:

The kitty bottle

Maggie squealed with delight because she instantly recognized the name on the bottle - something that held great significance to her. (I'll let her tell you why - )

About three years ago, my parents and I ventured over seas for a lovely three week holiday.  Most of our time was spent in the Netherlands and Germany.  While in Germany, we visited our relatives that my parents met over 20 years ago.  They live near the Mosel River, a branch of the Rhine River, and we spent a day or two driving the roads and towns around the Mosel.  

The Mosel River in Germany 

When we would take our day trips, I noticed that there was lots of grape plants along the steep hills along the river.  I asked my father's cousin, Norbert, why there were so many vineyards.  He explained to me that Germany produces a lot of wine, and most of that wine comes from the Mosel region.  During one of our day trips, we visited one of those towns along the river named Bernkastel-Kues: a quant little town on the edge of the Mosel.  This town was surrounded by vineyards and was the picture perfect town of what Germany looks like and one of the more significant places we visited when we were in Europe.  As Tyler mentioned before, when he saw Mosel on the bottle of wine, I exclaimed with joy, knowing that I had been in that region, and probably saw the grapes that went into that wine (okay, maybe an exaggeration, but I was pretty darn happy.)  I looked at the bottle a little more closely and saw it was from Bernkastel-Kues.  I almost did a backflip - one of the most memorable places we visited in Europe has a wine...AND it was in Iowa...I could have passed out right there!!  

Those hills are covered in vineyards

Thanks Maggie - So, we obviously had to pick this wine up and give it a try. It was a bit on the pricey side ($16 for a small bottle - we sucked it down in a night or so) but it was a very good wine. It's a white wine, very light on the palette and with a small fruity flavor. Not too overpowering, but not just sparkling grape juice either. Certainly worth a try if you every spot it on the shelves.

While we were carrying the bottle around the store, one of the employees noticed it and stopped us.
"Do you know why they make their bottles in the shape of a cat?" He asked.
"No, why?" We asked.
"Because the town in Germany (where they bottle the wine) is full of cats - they are everywhere. So they've become their unofficial spokesman."

Very interesting isn't it? This only added another reason to the list of why we love this market. Not only do they have an amazing selection of fresh food, but their employees are knowledgeable and friendly. Find a local market like this in your area (not a mass chain grocery store) the prices might be a little higher, but the experience and expertise of the employees really make it worth while.

Given the significance of the bottle to Maggie (and the fact that it is just a unique bottle) we wanted to find a way to use it after we had finished the wine. Rather than just sitting the bottle on the shelf, we came up with another idea. We decided to use the bottle to store olive oil. With the help of a $3 alcohol spout (Bed Bath & Beyond - they come in packs of two) and a plastic funnel, we converted this unique bottle into a stylish olive oil container.
Alcohol spout - works for olive oil too 

 A small funnel is a great help 

Now the kitty has a new (stylish) hat 

A unique way to store (and use) your olive oil

There you have it. For about $3 (not counting the bottle and the oil, which you would have bought anyway) you can add a very unique piece to your kitchen. Well, that's all we have for you today. We hope you enjoyed today's 'unique post' (even though there wasn't really any cooking involved). I hope everyone has a great weekend, and we hope to see you back here on Monday evening. Until then...


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