Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Three Mustard Crusted Pork Chop

- 1.5 inch thick pork chop (room temperature, patted dry, seasoned with salt and pepper)
- 1 heaped teaspoon whole grain Dijon mustard
1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon English Mustard (Coleman's)
- Panko breadcrumbs

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Mix the three mustards together in a bowl and coat the first side of the chop, avoiding the lovely fat on the edge of the chop. Cover the mustard side with breadcrumbs, coat the clean side with mustard, and subsequently coat that side with breadcrumbs.

On a broiler pan (covered with aluminum foil for easier clean-up) put the pork chop in the oven. After 10 minutes, the first side should be slightly browned. Turn over the chop and put back in the oven, raising the temperature to 450 degrees. After another 10 minutes, check the chop for doneness. It should be reasonably medium at this point. Turn up the oven to broil and crisp both sides of the chop until the breadcrumbs are browned.

Remove from the oven and let the chop sit for 5 minutes. Serve.

Wine Pairing:
Peybonhomme 2005 Quintessence de Peybonhomme.
I love the Peybonhomme and La Grolet wines and after reading a couple of reviews was hoping and expecting perhaps a little too much. Still a great bottle and an excellent value, but may be just a little closed right now. I could sense something interesting there and there is definitely a solid structural backbone. It is a lovely weight and is balanced. There are some red fruits and some cocoa and the tannins worked really well with the pork chop - especially the crispy fatty edge of the chop. I am going to give this another try, but I just think I prefer the base bottling for everyday drinking and the La Grolet Tete de Cuvee for something a little more serious.

Mushroom and Chicken Risotto

Mushroom season is upon us; it was getting cooler outside; comfort food was calling. Comfort food for me is making risotto at home. It's easy and ridiculously tasty.

Ingredients (for two with leftovers):
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 1/2 garlic clove, minced
- couple of handfuls of mushrooms (cremini work well, porcini are flavorful, this was a medley), chopped
- chicken breast (one), cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 1 1/12 handfuls of frozen peas
- 1/2 cup arborio rice
- 6+ cups of chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
- olive oil
- salt and pepper

Warm the chicken stock in a pan over medium to medium low heat. In a medium pan, add olive oil and brown the chicken pieces over medium high heat. When browned, remove from the pot and save in a bowl. Turn down the heat to medium; add the onion and the garlic, season. After a couple of minutes add the mushrooms (add olive oil if the pan looks too dry) and season. Cook until the onion is translucent. Add the arborio rice and stir until the oil has coated the rice - about one minute. Add the 1/2 cup of red wine (I used the Nebbiolo I was drinking with dinner) and stir until the wine is gone. Add chicken stock 1 cup at a time, stirring until the stock is mostly gone each time. Continuously stir until the rice is pretty much cooked through (al dente). You'll start to see a creaminess and the rice will still have a little bite to it. Taste for seasoning. Add the butter and stir until melted, then turn off the heat and add the grated cheese. Stir through and serve immediately. It should be a little runny, although not soupy, nor stodgy.

A note on the mushrooms: I have used dried porcini mushrooms in risotto with great success. A little goes a long way - reconstitute using hot water for about 10 minutes and use the strained liquid in the risotto. Just the smell from opening a packet of dried porcini mushrooms gives you a kick of earthy, woodsy pungency.

Wine Pairing:
De Forville '07 Langhe Nebbiolo: lighter bodied, good tannins, well structured, red fruits, balanced. A wonderful pairing with the risotto. The earthiness and creaminess of the risotto are countered with the acidity and tannins of the Nebbiolo.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sardines: La Quiberonnaise Aux Achards et Piment

Vintage sardines may seem like an interesting phenomenon, but if you think about it, they make complete sense. Especially, when you think about it terms of other products like wine. You know where the product came from and when they were harvested.

These vintage sardines where from 2008 and had a very mellow flavor. The flesh was soft and less firm than other sardines I have had. In the bottom of the can, you'll find a lemon slice, a hot red pepper, a couple of peppercorns, and a piece of bay leaf. These all added subtle and enhanced flavor components. They were delicious on baguette with salt and lemon - just clean and simple preparation. And the best part? Dunking bread into the remaining olive oil and mopping up the left over little bits of sardine.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rolling Stones Short Interview 1965

This definitely falls under the category of "Stuff". I found this interview posted by Drinkin' and Dronin'. Classic stuff.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Two Wine Finds @ The Right Price

Having just returned from a 10 day trip to Spain, it was time to tighten the belt a little bit. Fortunately, I found two new arrivals at Chambers Street Wines under $14 that we fantastic. I had started to give up hope for the under $15 bracket, but this has given me new found hope.

The first wine was the
Tue-Boeuf 2008 Touraine Le P'tit Blanc du Tue-Boeuf which costs $13.99 and is made from Sauvignon Blanc and Menu Pineau. I have a soft spot for Tue-Boeuf's Brin de Chevre which is 100% Menu Pineau. Menu Pineau is also called Arbois, is an old Loire varietal that survives in some areas, but is rarely vinified on its own. The Brin de Chevre used to be served by the glass at Le Cercle Rouge in TriBeCa when Jorge ran the wine program there. It paired perfectly with the onion and goat cheese tart they had as an appetizer. The residual sugar and slight funkiness was a perfect match.

Le P'tit Blanc du Tue-Boeuf seems to be mostly Sauvignon Blanc with a little Menu Pineau, but it's a great fully dry, crisp Loire white which we drank as an aperitif with bread and surimi baby eels. It's medium bodied, with floral notes, citrus, apple, honey.

The second wine was the Hauner 2008 Salina Bianco IGT which we
paired with dinner. Dinner was parpardelle pasta with flaked salmon fillet with onion and peas. I really like this wine and was stunned by how good it was for just $11.99. And by good, I mean interesting, complex, delicious. Medium bodied, but crisp. There's a lovely brininess which I always enjoy in white wines - especially when I am having fish. The color is straw, gold, and there are citrus and exotic fruits with some almond in there. I think I just found my new house white. It's made from Inzolia and Catarratto (two grapes I had not heard of). Here's some information I found on the two grapes from winegeeks:
  • Inzolia is a varietal confined mainly to Sicily although it is also found in Tuscany under the synonym Ansonica. Together with Grillo and Catarratto part of the blend that goes into both sweet and dry versions of Marsala.
  • Catarratto is the second most-planted light skinned varietal in Italy, most notably the island of Sicily, where it dominates the western portion of the island. Used in great quantities in Marsala, a wine that can be made in either sweet or dry styles, although a large portion is also used to make industrial alcohol.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Spain & France: 10 Days Eating & Drinking

JFK Airport, Vino Volo

- White wine
- Sweet caramelized almonds
- Smoked salmon canape

Iberia Flight 7084, JFK to Barcelona (Dinner & Breakfast)
- Chilean red wine
- Salad with grape tomatoes
- Chicken and vegetables
- Cheesecake
- Coffee

Pinotxo Bar
, Barcelona (Tapas)
- Cafe con leche
- Chick peas with blood sausage
- Gambas a la planxa

, Barcelona (Tapas)
- Sweet vermouth
- Anchoas del Cantábrico prensadas en aceite (anchovies cantabrico 000)
- Ensalada de tomate con cebolla tierna y ventresca de bonito (grilled rare tuna with tomato sauce)
- Pulpo al horno a la Murcian (octopus)
- Croquetas caseras de jamón ibérico
- Pipas de camejo (rabbit ribs deep fried)
- B
erenjena frita con miel de cana (deep fried eggplant with honey)
- Homemade liqueur with apricot, anise, amaretto

Negroni, Barcelona
- Negroni on the rocks
- Tom Collins

Bou Cafe, Barcelona (Breakfast)
- Cafe con leche
- Croissant
- Tortilla (eggs, potato, zucchini, vegetables)

Quimet y Quimet, Barcelona
- Cervesa
- Boquerones w/ olives
- Smoked fish plate (tuna, herring, salmon, cod, tomatoes, hot peppers, peas, tapenade, pickle relish)
- Mussels
- Sardines canape (sardines, tomato puree, toast)

Tapac 24, Barcelona
- Caus 2006 Penedes white wine
- Pan Tomate
- Bikini Comerc 24 (ham, cheese, truffle sandwich)
- Ous estrellata al gust (black sausage, eggs, potatoes)
- Sonso (fried small whole fish)
- Timbol d'esqueixada de bacalla (salt cod timbale)
- Croquettas with Iberico ham
- Tripe, chickpea, chorizo, pork stew
- Xocolata amb pa, oli, i sal

Bar Churreria, Layetana, Barcelona (Breakfast)
- Churros con chocolate
- Porras

Blavis, Barcelona
- White wine
- Tomaquets de vinya amb cabrino i oli d'alfa brega (vine tomatoes with goat cheese and basil oil)
- Creta de carbassa (cold zucchini cream soup)
- Verduretes saltejades all i julivert (salted roasted vegetables)
- Ivoquis a la piassola, saquets de pernil amb salsa de rossiyols (pasta pillows in mushroom sauce)
- Bonita a la planxa amb piquillos (grilled tuna with piquillo peppers)
- Flan de formatge (cheese creme caramel)

La Vinateria Del Call, Barcelona (Tapas)
- Rosado
- Liquor (herbes de galicia)
- Olives
- Anchovy fillets
- Bull blanco y noir (black and white sausage thin slices)

Bar Mut, Barcelona (Tapas)
- Fefinanas 2008 Albarino
- Ventresca de atun
- Suckling pig
- Carpaccio huevos fritos (fried egg carpaccio with fried potatoes)

Gimlet, Barcelona
- Gimlet, Tom Collins

Dibar Cafe, Barcelona (Breakfast)
- Cafe con leche
- Trenzas chocolate (pastry stick)
- Palmera (palmier)

Cuines Sant Caterina, Barcelona
- Cervesa
- Anchoas (anchovies salted)
- Patatas bravas
- Tataki de atun con guacamole (tuna tataki w/ guacamole)

La Vina
, Bilbao (Pintxos)
- White wine
- Jamon sandwich
- Bonita

El Globo
, Bilbao (Pintxos)
- White wine
- Jamon on mushrooms
- Anchovy, red pepper on cheese on bread
- Bacalao and cheese on bread

Cafe Iruna, Bilbao (Pintxos)
- Rioja Crianza
- Lamb kebab and bread pintxo

Carolina, Bilbao (Breakfast)
- Cafe con leche
- Croissant

Victor Montes
, Bilbao (Lunch)
- Cantabria Rioja Crianza
- Pig's trotter stuffed with foie gras

Asador Etxebarri, Atxondo (Dinner)
- Txomin Etxaniz 2008 Txakolina
- Homemade chorizo
- Homemade smoked butter
- Tomato with white tuna
- Grilled Palamos prawns
- Grilled oyster
- Grilled mussels
- Grilled porcini
- Grilled baby squid
- Grilled bacalao
- Grilled beef with bone-in
- Wild fruit infusion, fresh cheese ice-cream
- Grilled apple tart, smoked milk ice-cream

Hotel Elorrio, Elorrio (Breakfast)
- Cafe con leche
- Croissant, sliced ham, cheese, yogurt

Elkano, Getaria (Lunch)

- Txomin Etxaniz 2008 Txakolina
- Percebes (barnacles)
(hake throat) three ways (fried, grilled, pil pil)
- Rodaballo (whole turbot)
- Arroz con leche

L'Auberge Basque, Saint Pee Sur Nivelle, France (Arrival Snack)

- Fresh juice cocktail and lemonade
- Macaron de Maison Adam (St. Jean de Luz, Biarritz)

L'Auberge Basque
, Saint Pee Sur Nivelle, France (Aperitif)
- Txabarri 2007 Bizhaiko Txakolina Rosado

L'Auberge Basque, Saint Pee Sur Nivelle, France (Aperitif)
- Basque beer
- Savory popcorn
- Savory crisp

L'Auberge Basque
, Saint Pee Sur Nivelle, France (Dinner)
- La Tomate (crue et confite en salade, framage frais et glace del la ferme Oheta)
- Le Touron (de foie gras, amande, figue et betterave au vinaigre de miel)
- Le Maigre de Ligne (legumes d'ete au vinaigre de cidre, jus d'un Ttoro)
- Le Cochon Ibaiona (roti au thym citron, guindillas, pomme de la vallee d'Iraty coulante aux piquillos)
- Cheese plate (choice of 12 local cheeses)
- L'Omlette Norvegienne (aux Grand Crus de chocolat, flambee au rhum, banane et raisin)

L'Auberge Basque, Saint Pee Sur Nivelle, France (Breakfast)
- Cafe au lait
- Fresh mixed berry juice
- Yogurt (from Cremerie Lohitzun)
- Honey
- Various local breads and pastries
- Local sliced ham and cheeses
- Oeuf en cocotte

Astelena Taberna, San Sebastian (Pintxos)
- Rioja crianza
- Txakoli
- Tuna salad on toast with anchovy fillet
- Shrimp, crab salad on toast

Argitan, San Sebastian (Dessert, Pastry)
- Florentine type cookie with chocolate, orange peel hazelnuts (whole and chopped), raisins

Victoria Cafe
, San Sebastian (Breakfast)
- Cafe con leche

, San Sebastian (Pintxos)
- Cervesa
- Egg, smoked salmon, shrimp on small round toast
- Salmon mousse with mayonnaise on toast
- Jamon croissant sandwich
- Mushroom terrine with mayonnaise on toast
- Bacalao croquetta

, San Sebastian (Snack)
- Cafe con leche
- Custard creme donut with sugar on top

, San Sebastian (Dinner)
- Enate 2008 Chardonnay
- Rioja Alta 1997 Gran Reserva 904
- Puding de kabrarroka con fideos fritos
- Raiz de loto con mousse de arraitxiki
- Chorizo en tempura con tamarindo
- Mejillon en escabeche con vinaigre de arroz
- Bola de setas y polvo de maiz
1st Course:
- Higos con aceite de foie
- Patata, bogavante y copaida
- Huevo con temblor di tierra
Main Course:
- Rape bronceado
- Bonito en hoguera de escamas y cebolleta
- Pichon con perdigones dulces
- Cordero con bizcocho de algas
- Sopa y chocolate "entre vinedos"
- Chocolate y cristales de colores
- Dulce lunatico
- Bizcocho esponjoso de yogur

Mercato de la Bretxa
, San Sebastian
- Cafe con leche

, San Sebastian (Pintxos)
- Cervesa
- Anchovy fillet, roasted red pepper, onion on toast
- Anchovy fillet, smoked salmon on toast
- Hot bacalao (cod) stuffed red pepper on toast

, San Sebastian (Pintxos)
- Cervesa
- Brocheta de gambas (shrimp)
- Fried anchovy fillet
- Morcilla with small fried hot peppers (spanish blood sausage)

A Fuego Negro
, San Sebastian (Pintxos)
- Cervesa
- Tortilla with potatoes and onion
- Jamon, queso, sun-dried tomato on toast

Bar Martinez
, San Sebastian (Pintxos)
- Txakoli
- Vegetarian terrine with mayonnaise
- Jamon on bread
- Anchovy, jamon, roasted red pepper on bread
- Anchovies with tomato, onion salsa on top, on bread

La Vina, San Sebastian (Pintxos)
- Canutillo de queso y achoa
- Champiñónes (m
- Anchoa (anchovies)
- Pulpo (octopus)
- Crujiente de pimento y bacalao
- Cheesecake
- Txakoli


Oyarzun Gozotega, San Sebastian (Breakfast)
-Pastel Vasco
-Cafe con leche

San Sebastian Airport (Snack)

- Pintxo jamon sandwich

Iberia Flight 8231, San Sebastian to Madrid (Snack)

- Mixed nuts
- Tomato juice with salt and pepper

Madrid Airport

- Pintxos: egg & potato tortilla sandwich, cheese sandwich

Iberia Flight 6253, Madrid to JFK
(Lunch & Snack)
- Couscous with shrimp, green pepper, green beans
- Beef (???) meatloaf with creamed spinach, sliced potatoes
- Fruit and chocolate cake
- Spanish tempranillo
- Coffee
- Chicken and queso sandwich
- Kitkat
- Small palmeras (palmiers)
- Tea

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

Whole Spanish Mackerel & Luneau-Papin 1997 L D'Or Muscadet

The fish guys at The Lobster Place in Chelsea Market had a fantastic value this past Saturday. Whole Spanish Mackerel was being sold for $4.95 a pound. I picked up a two pound whole fish and just cooked it very simply with salt, pepper, lemon slices for about 25 minutes in 375 degree oven. I served it with boiled white potatoes and green beans, both from the Union Square farmer's market.

The fish was unbelievable - perhaps one of my favorite whole cooked fish from them so far. It really tasted so fresh; it reminded me of the ocean. The good news is that there were lots of left overs, but here's the really sad part: I don't think cooked Spanish Mackerel is so appetizing as leftovers the next day. It took on this mushy consistency and just seemed too fishy. It's not that I have a problem eating leftovers. The potatoes with sea salt, dipped in mayonnaise were fantastic - creamy, cool, and just very potatoey. The fish was such a disappointment though, especially based on the high I felt the previous night, enjoying it when it was warm.

Wine Pairing
A little celebrating was in order, so a bottle of Luneau-Papin 1997 L D'Or Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine was opened. Straw colored, vibrant, mellowed with a little age, but still youthful, mineral. It was very easy to compare this to a much more expensive Chablis. Not that I would turn down drinking Chablis, but the aged Luneau-Papin Muscadets blow me away every time I try them. Just fantastic stuff.

Sardine Pate a la David Lebovitz

I found the base for this Sardine Pate recipe on David Lebovitz's website. Being a bit of a sardine freak, I was initially excited, but after reviewing how easy it was to prepare, I could barely contain myself. It really is as easy as it sounds to make. I even went one easier than using fresh sardines, I used a can of Matiz sardines (my favorite) the recipe worked out stunningly.

- 1 can of sardines in oil
- salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- 1/4 small red onion, chopped fine
- 1/4 bunch of chives, minced
- big pinch of chile powder
- 1 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- Juice from 1/2 lemon

Add ingredients to a food processor (except for lemon juice) and pulse until a reasonably smooth mixture forms. Taste for seasoning, add lemon juice, additional salt and pepper as needed and mix. Spoon into serving container. I used a small ramekin.

Serve with whole wheat toast points.

Wine Pairing
Dry, crisp sparkling wine, such as Pinon NV Brut or a still white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadet, or Albarino. A perfect match would be a bottle of Txakolina.

An All American Day

I was recently sworn in as an American citizen and decided that as much as possible, it was to be an all American food and wine day. This meant lunch at the Red Cat with some new American food. Ok, I have a mild bias against American wines and we didn't drink American wine with lunch since we found a great value on a Spanish Txakolina. The debate as to what would be eaten for dinner was still being waged, so we talked to the chef afterwards about the dilemma of what defines American cuisine. The consistent response to this question seemed to be: since America is the ultimate melting pot, shop at the farmers market and pick up what looks good to you.

Here's the all-American menu and wine pairings that we enjoyed to celebrate the proud occasion of me officially joining the ranks of American citizen.


Sardine Pate with Toast Points

Wine: Schramsberg J. Schram 1996


Iceberg Lettuce Wedge with Flying Pigs Farm Bacon, Beefsteak Tomatoes, Blue Cheese Dressing, Crumbled Blue Cheese

Wine: Schramsberg J. Schram 1996, Martin Ray La Montana Cabernet Sauvignon


Cornish Hen with Figs and Thyme, Potato Gratin, Green Beans

Wine: Martin Ray La Montana Cabernet Sauvignon, Ridge 1989 Geyserville, Chateau Montelena 1998 Calistoga Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon


Tea Cake with Farmer's Market Raspberries and Blueberries with Whipped Cream