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  1. I'm looking to tour Sonoma Valley wineries that offer free tastings; do any of you guys know of great wineries that don't charge for tasting, or any routes that would take us past a good number of these wineries? Many thanks!
  2. you can render it over med-high heat and save the fat that runs out; this is what Jews call "Schmaltz," and it is a valuable cooking medium and ingredient. Use it instead of butter the next time you make roux, and you will introduce a nice chicken flavor to your dish. Use it to fry in, as long as you're not using super high heat (the schmaltz doesn't have a really high smoke point, as is the case with a lot of saturated fats).
  3. I'd call it citrus beef stew, or something like that, but you're being dishonest if you call it beef burgundy. However, it happens all the time, so you won't be alone in your liberal choice of name. Or, hell, make some real bourguignon, and than make that sangria stuff. By the time you finish drinking your sangria, you'll have no problem calling the stew Boeuf Bourguignon, citrus beef stew, beefy Tang goulash, warm beef love juice, or, simply, beefalupagus suprise. Do you see what I'm saying about names? On the one hand, they don't matter, and on the other, they do matter very much.
  4. Afterburner, your post made me smile. I love the idea of throwing caution to the wind, and bravo for not feeling stuck by the rigidity of classic cuisine. However, I believe that one should respect all of the attention and work that previous (French) generations have put into developing and refining the recipes and techniques that make up the lexicon of classic cuisine on which all serious cooking in the western world is based. So I like it when people mess around, but not when they try to call their creations by classical names. The citrus in your wine scares me, but I look forward to hearing how it turns out and truly hope you'll like it. It seems to me that all that tangy booze would be better made into a kind of sangria, by cooking some of it down with some apples, cloves, cinnamon sticks, honey and maybe a little cardamom as a flavor base, then adding it back into the chilly citrus-wine.
  5. I had the pleasure of being introduced to Monsanto's Chianti Classico (I didn't write the vintage down in my notes, dammit; probably a 1999 or 2000) just today, in my wine class at culinary school. The instructor (Steve Eliot; heard of him?) had us try it against one of the nicest fiasco-wrapped Chiantis available, i.e.: some of the nastiest, thinnest, most acrid volumes of swill I've ever had in my mouth. I found the Classico well-rounded, with cherry/berry fruit balanced under layers of rich earth. It was a good example, to me, both of what chianti can be and of what traditional Italian winemaking means, as compared to a super-tuscan we also tried.
  6. well, regardless of one's opinion of the merit of jug wine, wine mixed with citrus juice and reduced with beef and vegetable essences sounds to me like an invitation to the barfs. please don't barf, Afterburner.
  7. I don't mean to offend you, AfterBurner, but this scares the hell out of me. I truly hope your dish turns out to be palatable, but please don't call it boeuf bourguignon.
  8. I think the food there is pretty much poop, though the dessert's all right. I'd suggest doing your own fondue, for about 1/30th the price.
  9. purple bread? maybe you mean white port. maybe I'm a purist; what about good old duck fat potatoes?
  10. "Lend to the eye a terrible aspect"
  11. oh man... I grew up in this category. I think I was mayor of this category from ages 14-15. After a couple years spent cooking, though, I just can't eat that way anymore. Food really needs to connect with me on some level, even if it's just my favorite brand of tasty potato chips or gummy bears.
  12. Hell, the reality is that a lot of people are in the industry because it's better than jail. Don't kid yourself; it's not all magic in there. The inherent power you're talking about must be yours, because it simply won't jump out at you unless you're messed up enough in a specific way to resonate with the magic that does lie in the kitchen. I worry about people who think about the industry in overly flowery terms (not necessarily saying that you just did that). Yes, there are tons of ways to cook outside of a restaurant: be a caterer, personal chef, corporate chef, culinary instructor, etc. But the kitchen's where you get your hard-core experience, and that's probably where those nasty editors are coming from. I wouldn't hire a food writer who's never worked in a kitchen either. I think, though, that non-restaurant work can actually broaden your horizens, because what you learn in a restaurant (if you're not the chef) is just how to prep for and cook that menu really well.
  13. I really appreciate that, daddy-a; thank you! YES! he's coming to the City!
  14. On the order of actually posting some news, I did one thing for the first time last night, called teambuilding. It's where my school whores itself out for an evening at $100 a head to corporate types can pretend they're learning how to cook in the structure of a given theme (last night: the Iron Chef "competition"), with cooking students "directing" them. The problem: they get tossed beforehand. There was one guy last night who was helpful, but so much so that he wanted to take over my station. There were a couple of people who just wandered off with their drinks. The remainder were dicks, who wondered, after trying to get breadcrumbs, cheese, vinaigrette, garlic, and cilantro all into one chicken dish (an airline breast where the first thing they had me do was remove the skin and cut the bone off), who, after all this, wondered why their presentation sucked so much compared to that of other groups. I don't like this side of the industry. I'm all for teaching people about cooking, as long as they're receptive. They can even be drunk, as long as they listen. God knows I could teach the class drunk.
  15. guys, how do you find out what the cities the tour is going through? I looked on his website and there's no mention.
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