Carrot Vichssoise


2 cups chopped, peeled white potatoes
1 leek, white part only, sliced
1 1/4 cups sliced carrots
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt Dash of white pepper
1 cup heavy cream
Shredded raw carrot (for garnish)


In a large soup pot over medium heat, add potatoes, leek, carrots, and vegetable or chicken broth.

Increase heat and bring just to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Remove from heat and let cool 10 to 15 minutes.

In a food processor or blender, puree mixture until smooth.


The soup can be made 1 to 2 days in advance up until this stage. Refrigerate until ready to finish.

To serve, stir in white pepper, salt, and cream. Serve in chilled bowls with a topping of shredded raw carrot.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Rhubarb Muffin


2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/3 cups packed brown sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
3/4 cup diced fresh or frozen rhubarb


1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon cold butter


In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In another bowl, whisk the egg, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in strawberries and rhubarb. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.
In a small bowl, combine the pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over batter.
Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: 1-1/2 dozen.


Wine is regarded as a gift to the civilized world. Obviously, there is etiquette related to it and if one claims to have sound knowledge of wines and their tastes then he/she should be familiar with wine etiquettes as well. There is more than enough to learn about wines and wine etiquettes is an integral part of it. Most people, however, wish to have knowledge of basic wine etiquettes and tips to enjoy their wine more. So, here are some of the wine etiquettes that a wine lover should know.

Etiquettes in a Wine Tasting Room

White wines are generally tasted in the beginning, in a winery tasting room. This is followed by reds, which in turn are followed by dessert wines. Again, in each of these categories, light bodied wines are tasted before fuller-bodied one. One can eat crackers or drink water in between to cleanse the palate after drinking each wine. You need not finish every glass of wine that has been offered to taste. Extra wine can be disposed off in jars provided.

Wine Etiquettes in a Restaurant

Generally, wine that has to be ordered in a restaurant should go with the food you have ordered. If the food ordered is too varied then you can consider the option of ordering by the glass or purchasing splits. You can avail of the services and advice of the waiters and sommeliers but for that you need to ask specific questions. When the wine is poured in your glass, you swirl it and only then do you smell it and then taste it. This is done to make sure that the wine is not spoiled.

Corkage Etiquettes

Many restaurants allow patrons to bring their own wine. However, it is best to call the restaurant to know if corkage is allowed. Also, ask about the fee for it. The fee might be waived, if you purchase an additional bottle from the restaurant; but it is best to confirm first. The wine that you bring to a restaurant should be rare and unique and definitely not in the list of the wines offered by the restaurant. Proper wine etiquette requires that you should offer the sommelier/waiter a taste after he opens and pours the contents.

Dinner Party Etiquettes, when you are The Host

You should let the wine breathe at room temperature before pouring it for your guests. Also, ensure discreetly that that the wine is unspoiled and sound. Do this away from the company. Also, sample a small sip before pouring it. When serving more than one wines, serve them in logical procession. If the wine that you are serving is old, there might be significant amount of sediment at the bottom of the bottle. It is very embarrassing if the last person receives an unacceptable amount of solids in his/her glass. To avoid this, it is better to refrain from pouring the last half glass.

You might need to decant a wine to expose it to oxygen or to remove the sediments. You should be very cautious with this process as older wines might fade away if left in the decanter for a long time.

With these few tips in mind you are ready for most of the occasion where you might need a good knowledge of wine etiquettes.