The holidays are fading fast and melding into the memories of my mind.
For most of us, the holiday season equates to entertaining, spending time with family and friends, celebrating and wine.
Wine? Celebrations usually entail bottles of wine that are presented as hostess gifts and then several bottles of wine, both red and white that are opened to celebrate the season and ring in the New Year.
Fast forward to today and that extra refrigerator in the garage. I opened the door and shrieked! Bottles of open wine shimmered and beckoned to be dealt with.
A simple solution that will reap benefits long after the tinsel and ribbons have vanished is to freeze the wine. The procedure takes little effort. Combine all leftover wines of one color into a saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer until the wine is reduced by one half and becomes more like a wine syrup.
Allow to cool completely and pour into ice cube trays. Freeze until wine syrup cubes are formed. Pop out of the trays and store in a freezer bag or container.
Now let the fun begin. Ideas for using your white or red wine cubes:
• To make a salad dressing, thaw a wine cube and whisk it with 2 teaspoons vinegar (white wine vinegar or Champagne vinegar for white cubes, red wine vinegar or balsamic for red cubes.) Add 1/2 teaspoon honey and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste.
• Add a wine cube to stews or hearty soups to boost flavor.
• Prepare a sauce for serving with pan seared meats such as pounded boneless, chicken breasts or pork tenderloin.
Melt 1 to 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet. Add 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Add 1cup low sodium chicken or beef broth to flour mixture and a wine cube.
Simmer for 6 to 10 minutes until sauce is thickened. Remove from heat and if desired, whisk in 1 tablespoon of butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. This is great with seared meat, fish or vegetables.
• Add a wine cube to the cooking liquid when preparing risottos or rice.
• Add one to two one cubes, thawed to your favorite meat marinade.
In no time, you will discover many more uses for frozen wine cubes. It is always great to open a bottle of wine, and now you can relax a bit as there are no worries about what to do with the wine that is left.
Roxanne Wyss is one of two cookbook authors and food consultants that make up The Electrified Cooks. Her most recent cookbook is Triple Slow Cooker Entertaining. She develops the recipes for the “Eating for Life” column for The Kansas City Star and is a member of Les Dames d'Escoffier. She blogs at pluggedintocooking.com