Foodie Blog

The Daily Drink: Spicy Wok Clams and Leeks

By Cathy Huyghe   |   Friday, August 6, 2010
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Certain wines are reliable stand-bys when it comes to pairing with Asian food, and Chef Tsai’s recommendation for this dish — 2003 Hopler Gewürztraminer — is no exception. If your local wine shop doesn’t have that specific wine, however, know that the characteristics of Gewürztraminer that make it so appealing with Asian food also present themselves in other grapes such as Riesling, Pinot Gris and Muscat. A personal all-time favorite is Trimbach Muscat ($15-$20, depending on the vintage) because it’s exceptionally aromatic on the nose, clean and almost limpid on the palate, but finishes bone dry. That’s quite a lot to get out of one glass (or even one sip) of wine! But the complexity matches nicely with the spice and the layers of flavors in today’s dish.

The Daily Drink: Sweet and Sour Chicken and Peppers

By Cathy Huyghe   |   Friday, August 6, 2010
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For today’s dish and beverage pairing, why not step into something a little bit unfamiliar? Maybe you’ve already had sweet and sour chicken, but have you made it yourself with a spice as unique as tamarind? And maybe you’ve already had Riesling — which is my recommendation for a wine pairing with this dish — but have you had Riesling from the Finger Lakes region of New York state? The Finger Lakes, just like the better-known producers of Riesling, namely Germany and Alsace, produce both sweet and dry versions of the wine. Depending on your palate and whether you want to highlight the sweet or the sour of the dish, the choices are ever-expanding. Howie Rubin, co-owner of Bauer Wine & Spirits on Newbury Street, has just returned from a tasting and buying trip to the Finger Lakes. On sale in his store right now is one of his favorites from the trip, the 2008 Dr. Konstantin Frank Dry Riesling ($15, normally $18). It would be a lovely pairing with this dish, plus it gives you the chance to try a dry Riesling. Many Rieslings on wine store shelves in the US are sweet or off-dry, but a classic dry Riesling is a revelation.

Blueberry and Peach Prosecco Soup
By Lidia Bastianich

Friday, August 6, 2010
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It’s finally summer! Berries are in!

They are sweet, delicious, and full of antioxidants. And there’s no dessert that I love more than a berry and fruit salad, such as this Blueberry and Peach Prosecco “Soup.” It’s a seasonal favorite at our restaurant Del Posto in New York City.

I promise you will enjoy this refreshing dessert for eight — or more.

10 ripe, peeled, and sliced peaches
1 to 2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 oranges
2 lemons
Fresh mint

In a large bowl, set 10 ripe, peeled and sliced peaches, a cup or two of blueberries, add a 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, the juice of 2 oranges and 2 lemons, and about 15 torn mint leaves.

Pour in a half a bottle of sparkling wine (or a little more depending on how thirsty you are!). Prosecco is best; make sure to mix it in well. Let all marinate together for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.

Serve in fancy glasses, as is, or with vanilla ice cream, and you’ve got yourself one fancy and juicy dessert!

lidia bastianichLidia Matticchio Bastianich was born in Pola, Istria, on the northeastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. She is a cookbook author, restaurateur, and TV chef extraordinaire. Watch Lidia’s Italy Saturdays at 1:30pm on WGBH 2 or Sundays at 4pm on WGBX 44."

Ruth Reichl talks food at Berkshire WordFest

By Cathy Huyghe   |   Friday, August 6, 2010
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"Ruth Reichl is a familiar face to WGBH viewers and listeners, from Gourmet’s Adventures with Ruth to Diary of a Foodie. I’ve heard her speak in person on several occasions, most recently at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, California shortly after she heard the news that Gourmet magazine (where she had been editor-in-chief for some ten years) was closing its doors. At the time Reichl seemed shell-shocked, which she undoubtedly was since the news of Condé Nast’s came so suddenly and so, well, shockingly.

What’s clear now is that she’s over it.

On Saturday, Reichl spoke in dialogue with Albany-based WAMC‘s Joe Donahue at the first annual Berkshire WordFest, held at Edith Wharton’s estate in Lenox. Sure, she was asked about Gourmet – but mostly she talked about what she’s doing now and what’s on the horizon. She talked about her craft. She talked about how she does what she does.

Here’s how she does what she does:

    * With imagination. Reichl wrote her very first restaurant review, for New West magazine when she was living in Berkeley, as a short story. The food — the obvious point of a restaurant review — was woven through the story, but Reichl understood that even more than the highlights on the menu, readers want to be told a story. It’s a smart move.
    * With a strong sense of candor. “I think privacy is overrated,” Reichl said on Saturday afternoon. “Scratch the surface and we’re all pretty much the same. It’s comforting to know that.”
    * With the big picture in mind. “Restaurants are theater,” she said. “I’ve never thought they were just about the food. They’re about the experience.”
    * With a consistent voice. Reichl is at work on a novel now but, she said, “even if I think I’m not writing about food, I’m writing about food. I see the world food-first. I just do.”

Cathy Huyghe writes for the WGBH Daily Dish blog. Read new WGBH Daily Dish posts weekdays, where you can explore myriad ways and places to experience good food and wine."

The Daily Drink: Baked Penne & Mushrooms

Friday, August 6, 2010
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"Think mushrooms, and you probably think Pinot Noir. At least that’s been the rule of thumb within the food-wine pairing world for a long time. There’s a good reason for that, as the earthy, woodsy character of mushrooms matches well with the same qualities in a glass of Pinot Noir. Look for Anne Amie Pinot Noir from Oregon for about $18.

Or, depending on your mood when you make this dish, you might want to think outside the mushroom-Pinot Noir box. Just for kicks, consider what other liquid ingredients go into mushroom recipes you know. Port wine, for example. Or even white vermouth. Get a little retro. Invite some friends over. Have a little fun. This recipe — and the pure comfort of pasta, cream, cheese, plus mushrooms — makes plenty to share.

Sausages in the Skillet with Grapes
By Lidia Bastianich

Friday, August 6, 2010
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Serves 6

¼ cup extra- virgin olive oil
8 plump garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
2 ½ pounds sweet Italian sausages, preferably without fennel seeds (8 or more sausages, depending on size)
½ teaspoon peperoncino flakes, or to taste
1 ¼ pounds seedless green grapes, picked from the stem and washed (about 3 cups)

Pour the olive oil into the skillet, toss in the garlic cloves, and set it over low heat. When the garlic is sizzling, lay in all the sausages in one layer, and cover the pan. Cook the sausages slowly, turning and moving them around the skillet occasionally; after 10 minutes or so, sprinkle the peperoncino in between the sausages. Continue low and slow cooking for 25 to 30 minutes in all, until the sausages are cooked through and nicely browned all over. Remove the pan from the burner, tilt it, and carefully spoon out excess fat.

Set the skillet back over low heat, and scatter in the grapes. Stir and tumble them in the pan bottom, moistening them with meat juices. Cover, and cook for 10 minutes or so, until the grapes begin to soften, wrinkle, and release their own juices. Remove the cover, turn the heat to high, and boil the pan juices to concentrate them to a syrupy consistency, stirring and turning the sausages and grapes frequently to glaze them.

To serve family-style: arrange the sausages on a warm platter, topped with the grapes and pan juices. Or serve them right from the pan (cut in half, if large), spooning grapes and thickened juices over each portion."

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