Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sweet & Spicy Nuts

Sweet & Spicy Nuts

Based on the recipe printed in Gourmet magazine December 1994. The original includes pecans instead of peanuts and only uses cayenne. The recipe has some back heat, but not too much. It's definitely rounded out by the sweetness from the sugar.

- 2 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne
- 1 teaspoon New Mexican hot chili powder
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- 1 1/2 cups whole almonds
- 1 1/2 cups hazelnuts
- 1 1/2 cups peanuts
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2) Beat egg whites and salt with an electric mixer until very foamy.
3) Gradually beat in sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and spices.
4) Stir in nuts and butter, combining well, and spread in a large shallow baking pan. Make sure there is a single layer of nuts.
5) Bake nuts in middle of oven, stirring every 10 minutes, until crisp and golden, about 30 to 40 minutes.
6) Spread nuts on a sheet of foil and cool.
7) Break up nut clusters.

Nuts can be stored for a week in a airtight container.

Obviously perfect for enjoying with cocktails, but they really enhance the flavors of a well-made Manhattan.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Wines

Radikon 2004 Oslavje  Venezia Giulia IGT
Chateau Mouchac-La Rame 1982 Bordeaux
Chateau Beau-Site 1989 Saint-Estephe
Chateau La Grolet 1973 Cotes De Bourg

Radikon 2004 Oslavje Venezia Giulia IGT (1 Liter)
Love this wine, it's truly brilliant -- 40% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Grigio and 30% Sauvignon -- orange, rich, tannic, peach skin, apples, nuts, herbs. The bottle is unique, the neck is narrow and the cork tiny. Paired with Chicken Faux Gras and Garlic Chili Crab Dip.

Chateau Mouchac-La Rame 1982 Bordeaux
Found by my friend in his fathers basement -- probably untouched since purchased for a pittance in the early '80s. Sometimes it can be really fun to taste a well stored aged wine that was never meant to be something. Youthful and aged in the same taste. It worked well after starting with the Radikon.

Chateau Beau-Site 1989 Saint-Estephe
Structured, young, vibrant, mineral, like crushing blackberry on graphite and slate with a hint of smokiness. Paired with roasted guinea fowl, roast potatoes, roast brussels sprouts and celeriac puree. Also paired with stilton and cheddar cheeses.

Chateau La Grolet 1973 Cotes De Bourg
Very light, better nose than on the palate, but interesting nonetheless. Not much sense of fruit left, but definitely some tertiary flavors.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Luigi Perazzi 1971 Vino Bramaterra

Luigi Perazzi 1971 Vino Bramaterra

A delightful wine - light, elegant, not much weight or fruit, started out a little stinky, but blew off. Mushrooms, rose, tar -- classic stuff.

Paired with roasted rack of pork from Dickson's Farmstand Meats.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Patti Smith @ MoMA

Patti Smith performing at the MoMA in the atrium in celebration of Jean Genet's 101st birthday.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Some '78s And Other Italians

Giuseppe Mascarello 1978 Barolo Villero

Dinner @ Tomate Rouge with some esteemed wine fellows, a collection of wines of Piedmont and one Tuscan.

The highlights were:

Giuseppe Mascarello 1978 Barolo Villero: started very bright, almost hot, but quickly mellowed into a lovely aged Barolo full of life and energy. The best wine of the night.

Roagna 1978 Barbaresco Crichet Paje: all meaty beef broth on the nose with some classic Barbaresco flavors.

Giuseppe Mascarello 1991 Barolo Monprivato: very young, but in a good way, not in a lean muscular way. Structured, but with a solid base of fruit. With some air and time it opened up nicely.

The Tuscan: Talenti 1985 Brunello di Montalcino was a good showing, but up against unfair competition. Had the wine been opened on it's own then it would have been more welcomed. It was definitely less exciting than the Piedmonts.

An unfortunately loser of the evening was the Giacosa 1978 -- corked.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Sausage Martini A La Joe Beef

The Sausage Martini A La Joe Beef

Take a classic vodka martini recipe, skip the twist, skip the olives, add a little Vienna sausage, and you have the Joe Beef Sausage Martini.

This fantastically fun recipe sparked me to laugh when I read it in their new book: The Art Of Living According To Joe Beef.

The ingredients are vodka, dry vermouth, some of the sausage juice, Tabasco sauce and garnish with a Vienna sausage -- get the ingredients.

If you haven't had a Vienna sausage in a while, the smell from the can might surprise you, but can you really beat having a little meat in your martini?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Note To Self: Don't Drink Large Producer Champagne

About 7 years ago, I'd received a gift of a bottle of large producer champagne -- this was before I knew better -- before I worked at Chambers Street Wines -- before I drank the Kool-Aid and came to my senses. Champagne was champagne and I could love it for celebrations, for births, deaths, and marriages.

This bottle sat around waiting for a celebration and then just sat around.

Then, this week, I got champagne and fried chicken into my head. The idea was stuck there. So Japanese chicken wings and chicken katsu were ordered from Tebaya (on West 19th Street) and my "lost" bottle of champagne had its chance to shine.

It didn't. It started out fine enough and the pepper and soy sauce from the chicken wings were a nice foil.

Deep down, I'd hoped the age would have helped it. Even deeper down, I knew it wouldn't. As we drank through the bottle, the sugar came on stronger and it became less and less drinkable. A gentle reminder to myself -- don't drink mass produced champagne.

Incidentally - the chicken wasn't that great from Tebaya either. I guess it was just one of those nights.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Sherry: Lustau Almacenista Manuel Cuevas Jurado Manzanilla Pasada de Sanlucar

Lustau Almacenista Manuel Cuevas Jurado Manzanilla Pasada de Sanlucar
Dry, rich, fruity, salty -- a cracking good sherry.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Galveston, TX

Drinking Lone Star...

Crazy Oaks - a classic, off the beaten path local's bar.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Joe Dressner 1951 - 2011

Joe hated getting his picture taken -- he only let me get this shot for our Find. Eat. Drink. article because he was thought it was funny to have his picture taken in front of a "shitty place" where they stored hot dog carts.

And that summarizes Joe -- he did everything his own way. It turns out that his own way was pretty spot on when it came to wine.

He'll be missed for his impact on the wine world and he'll be missed for his interactions. He could always be counted on at a wine tasting - especially a tasting open to the public - to offend, annoy, frustrate and down-right upset someone.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from my wine and food discussion with him:

On real wine: "Real Wine is wine that is concrete; it tastes different. It’s hard to talk about the benefits to the consumer - for example, if someone doesn’t like the taste of liver, it won’t matter how it is prepared. And this is true in art, film, literature, wine, and food - if you like to be challenged and learn beyond your average existence, then you are willing to try different experiences."

On wine writing: "There’s nothing more boring than wine talk. Wine is about inspiration, why reduce wine to boredom. Wine discussions are not sustainable. Wine is interesting, writing about it is not. I’d rather know what a wine maker is reading or what movies he enjoys."

On wine drinkers: "People tend to express their personality at the table and drinking wine. If you are pretentious in life, your pretensions will show up at the table. You are what you eat/drink and you eat/drink what you are."

On the local food movement: "I hate that shit. America really doesn’t have a history of a food culture - it is still finding its way."

On where he finds new winemakers: "Craigslist..."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lamb Burger With Kimchi Slaw

Chef Edward Lee's Lamb Burgers with Kimchi Slaw

I used Mother In Law's Kimchi which is a wonderful, natural product made in New York. You open the jar and it start to bubble - doesn't get more natural than that. They note on the label that like a blue cheese, the kimchi will age.

The kimchi slaw, made with kimchi, mayonnaise, lemon juice and mint, is simple to made and adds a spicy, tangy, crunch to the burger.

The burger recipe seemed to be like a meatball recipe with eggs and breadcrumbs included, but it turned out juicy and meaty - just how you want your burger.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

New Gin Cocktail

New Gin Cocktail

- Hayman's Old Tom Gin
- Bar Spoonful Pimm's No. 1 Cup
Bar Spoonful Dolin Dry Vermouth
Bar Spoonful Luxardo Maraschino
- Lemon Twist

- Stir ingredients over in a mixing glass.
- Strain over chilled cocktail glass.
- Garnish with a twist of lemon.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Sunday Roast

Roast Pork Loin and Crackling

The key to getting crispy pork crackling is:
- make sure the butcher leaves the pork skin on the loin.
- the skin needs to be very dry before you start cooking, so leave the loin in the refrigerator uncovered.
- if the butcher hasn't scored the skin (which I think is the norm in the US), score it diagonally with a sharp knife.
- as with any piece of meat, allow it to come to room temperature for about an hour before cooking.
- heavily salt the skin.
- roast at a high heat to start with for 20 minutes and then reduce to a lower heat for the remaining cook time.

The result: thick, crispy, crunchy crackling. Basically the best part of the Sunday roast.

Friday, August 26, 2011


JFK in the morning...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bone Marrow & Parsley Salad

The Four Phases of Bone Marrow

The most perfect, meaty, juicy spread that a piece of toast will ever see. The marrow bones were purchased from Dickson's Farmstand Meats and cooked using chef Fergus Henderson's (St. John Restaurant in London) recipe from The Whole Beast: Nose To Tail Eating.

- 2 horizontally cut bones
- handful of parsley leaves (no stems)
- 1 tablespoon salted capers (capperi al sale)
- 0.5 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and pepper
- rustic bread slices, toasted

1) Roast the bones in a 450 degree F oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Check on the bones after 15 minutes, if you cook the bones too long the marrow will just render down.
2) Make dressing with lemon juice, olive oil, and capers. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
3) Dress the parsley leaves with the dressing.
4) As per Fergus, don't season the marrow bones when pulled out of the oven, season as you eat with a good sea salt.
5) Scoop the bone marrow onto the toast, season with salt, and add the parsley salad.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sammy's Roumanian

Schmaltz & Soda

Don't go for any of the individual reasons you might normally go to a restaurant.

Don't go for the food, although it has a point of view.

Don't go for the vibe.

Don't go for the service.

Don't go for the music.

Go, because it is an overall entertaining, unique, and fun experience. And go with a group of friends.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Benton's Smoked Country Ham Sandwich

This sandwich has a wonderful variety of flavors: smokey, bright, salty, fresh.

- 2 slices Benton's Smoked Country Ham
- 2 slices tomato
- 4 slices of parmigiano reggiano
- saffron mayonnaise
- fried bread in Benton's bacon fat
- basil, thinly sliced

1. In a saute pan over medium heat, cook the smoked ham on each side (about a minute or less per side). Remove and set aside.
2. In the same pan, add some Benton's rendered bacon fat (from previously cooking bacon and saving the fat).
3. Toast / fry the bread in the bacon fat.
4. Spread saffron mayonnaise onto toast.
5. Add the cooked ham, the slices of cheese, the tomatoes (seasoned with sea salt), the basil.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hot & Sticky = Rose Time

You can't really complain when you have the opportunity to grill outside in New York City, but last week, when the temperatures were creeping towards 100 degrees, it could be said that it wasn't that satisfying outside.

The answer? Rose, of course. In this instance, it was the Caves Coopératives de Donnas Larmes du Paradis 2010 Rose from Italy's Vallee d'Aoste.

This nebbiolo (mostly), is all about the fresh wild strawberries. It's not a serious nebbiolo, but a fresh fruit wine, perfect for slurping on a hot summer's eve. Drink up and don't think too much.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Wine @ Otto

Otto - drink the Aldo Rainoldi Valtellina Superiore Grumello, an inexpensive Italian nebbiolo.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

New Mexico - Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

Louisiana Head-On Shrimp - Spanish Style

Sauteed Shrimp Spanish Style
The shrimp will be pungent, juicy, slightly smokey and the sauce needs a crusty loaf for mopping. Depending on the shrimp, the shell is pretty much edible. Oh - and suck the heads.

- 8 Louisiana Head-On Shrimp
- 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1 tablespoon pimenton de la vera - picante

- Combine ingredients in a sealable plastic bag and blend.
- Add shrimp to the bag and marinate for about 30 minutes.
- Heat a saute pan until hot.
- Add the shrimp the pan and cook through.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Modified Daiquiri

The Modified Classic Daiquiri

July 19th is National Daiquiri Day - didn't know this when I had a hankering to make a cocktail with Smith & Cross rum.

- 1.5 oz. Smith & Cross Rum
- 0.75 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
- 0.25 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
- Slice of lime

- Add ingredients (minus garnish) over ice and shake
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
- garnish with lime slice 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Reindeer Pate: Looks Like Dog Food, Tastes Fantastic

Reindeer Pate & Toasted Baguette

Reindeer pate would be the perfect addition to a Christmas celebration. This can of pate was picked up at Fortnum & Mason in London. It really does look like dog food, but it has a slight gamey, rich, meaty flavor, enhanced by the cognac that its prepared with.

Try new things -- you never know what you'll experience.
The company that produces this particular pate is Edible.

Monday, June 27, 2011

To Ithaca & Back

Tickle My Pig in East Stroudsburg, PA -- order the Messy Bessy with pulled pork, beef brisket, coleslaw, pickled, spicy BBQ sauce.

Sitting on the dock of the lake - Lake Cayuga.

A & W Root Beer Drive-In in Cortland, NY -- order the root beer float (of course), the bacon cheeseburger, and the chili-cheese hot dog.

Fall Creek -- Ithaca is Gorges after all.

Visit the Ithaca Beer company off Elmira Road, take the small tour, but more importantly try sample of their beers on tap (including the excellent root beer) and pick up a growler of your favorite.

Hitting The Palms before it possibly closes is a must.

More of the Royal Palm Tavern - old school Cornell college town.

If you are passing through Scranton, PA and looking for a touch of the old school -- stop in for lunch at Coney Island Lunch.

Order a Texas Wiener and a Texas Cheeseburger. You heart might complain, but they taste great.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Big Apple BBQ Block Party - 2011

Whole hog delivery to Martin's via fork lift.

Breaux Bridge, LA

For Sale - Old Bar - Breaux Bridge, LA
Next to the bridge and a school.

Cajun Country. Travel. + Eat.

Cafe Des Amis in Breaux Bridge, LA. Known for their Saturday morning Zydeco breakfasts. It's mayhem on Saturday mornings, but for a quieter more food oriented experience drop by any other time and say hi to chef Mark Roberthon.

Pick up some Chaurice creole sausage and the cracklins at Poche's Market in Breaux Bridge.

At the levee in Henderson, LA where there was some flooding.

Stay at the Isabelle Inn Bed & Breakfast in Breaux Bridge - really mellow, elegant, and delightful.

A local's hat in an open Jeep.

For the best crawfish in Cajun country, head down a dirt road to...

Seriously good crawfish, only available in season, and purged in a tank.

Babineaux's Meat Market - the place for the best local boudin noir.

Road food - Fried Pork Skins.

Flooding in Morgan City.

Flooding along the Bayou Black Drive between Morgan City and Houma.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New Orleans. Stuff.

Leeches @ New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

Antique English Marrow Spoons @ Lucullus - they ain't cheap though.

Jackson Square

Warehouse District - some real great stuff going on in this part of town.

Little Debbie Snack Cakes - found in the Warehouse District.

Outside of Lafayette Cemetery # 1.

Flowers in Lafayette Cemetery # 1.

Neophobia: a fun selection of mid-century furniture and other bits and bobs.