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paul o' vendange

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Everything posted by paul o' vendange

  1. Thanks again, Mark. To the extent possible, I would always like to find a good, solid representative of a given wine style, in order to know, "this is cahors," and not "this is an anomaly of the vintner," all in order to distinguish the great houses, regions, grapes, etc. (to the extent possible; e.g., I acknowledge there is not truly "one thing" as a Bordeaux). Sounds like you have given one for the Madiran, and I will be looking for it. First, let me slay that roebuck I've been stalking with my teeth...
  2. Mark - thanks for the heads up on the Madiran - I will give it a try. Have to say, as ridiculous as it sounds, the visual of the Cahors was almost enough to sell me. Like drinking blood.
  3. This may be out there, but I think it may be an interesting jumping off point for discussion. I am fond of Rhone wines generally, and thus Cahors/Malbec wines are not typically my first choice. Not knowing much about these wines, I called my cousin (Rick Boyer, winemaker for Jekel Vineyards/Richard Boyer Wines) to give his thoughts. He indicated that he had been to Cahors last year, and had a tremendous time. Seems there was an outdoor "art" festival consisting of all kinds of ribaldry and mayhem, all of it around the wine... The land is rough, sparse, and the people seem to have a certain rough-hewn "to hell with the others" bent when it comes to their wine, if I've gotten him right...they know their wine is rough, highly tannic (and in the bottle I recently tried, I would say high in lactic or malic acid) and huge - not too complex, to me, just big. And they like it that way. Not my taste, really - as I say, I prefer the forward, velvet fruit and spice of the Rhone, particularly Gigondas. But then, when I thought of the people, and the land, which is loaded with wild game (venison, fowl), I did see a perfect marriage with grilled meats, not aged at all, but wild as hell...I think now of boar, glistening with fatty remnants, grilled with local herb-crust and married with the tannic/acid, undeniably beautiful black wine. So, the point of my post: How much do you think the "cultural" terroir comes into play - not just the geographic inheritance, but the historical, and cultural, milieu of a given place - in the making of given wine(s)? All hype, or useful to understanding the "realm of play" of a given body of wines?
  4. Torakris - interesting article. From a brewer's perspective, yield is often at war with the quality of the finished product; more extract in the mash tun often comes by final runnings which are loaded with impurities (largely tannins, anthocyanogens, and high alkalinity by-products) which will greatly affect the final product. With sake, given that the finished product is wrought at the end, and pressing is exactly what is needed, it was sad for me to see so much loss by retained sake in the rice - and I would have liked to employ the alcohol addition method. Here, yield and quality seem complementary, not at odds. I'm with the article's conclusion: as long as it's known and by design (as opposed to by deceptive or shoddy trade practice), I care only about the quality of the final product, and if that can be abetted by the use of ethanol, making it superior to "pure" products, then so be it.
  5. Lemon and Thyme Roasted Whole Chicken, garnished with roasted whole-heads of garlic. Fresh thyme, minced shallots, minced lemon rind, lemon juice, kosher salt, pepper, stuffed under the skin of the bird; whole roasted garlic heads, both about an hour at 400. Simple, the fresh herb and lemon acts as a room vaporizer. Not quite ChefG's rosemary fumes, but redolent of la belle campagne... Xan, the beurre blanc with salmon, but making a pilgrimage to Isaacson's again, they've got grouper, mediterranean sea bass, who knows?
  6. I, too, use backs. Really, really cheap, work great. Whatever I've done, the single most important technique I've employed is to soak the bones in ice water for a good while before adding them to the stock pot to simmer, up to a couple of hours, changing the water often. Making a white (veal, or chicken) stock, I find that without this process, the skimming/clarifying process during the simmer is much more laborious, as the bones are much more productive of impurities (albumin, blood, etc.). With brown stocks (at least those where I've roasted bones, unlike FL), not a problem, as fats/proteins are kicked off with the roast and pour off prior to deglazing.
  7. By the way, Xanthippe, I love blood oranges, wish they were more readily available. Your tartlet sounds great. I want to make a blood orange beurre blanc for some more fish this week, if I can get ahold of the oranges...
  8. Mediterranean sea bass baked en papillote with fennel, tomatoes (and w/w, bouquet garni, kosher salt, cracked pepper). Potato-leek galette. More Riesling. Always, MORE RIESLING.
  9. J Acord - Second on the food - beautiful work, thanks for the photos.
  10. Hi Xanthippe, will pull it back and bit and start from the beginning - the salmon tuiles, No. 1 in the book... The old guy who used to own/run the Inn was worth the price of the pint itself. Like stepping into an English country pub, or more, his home, with the fire going strong. He was old then, fear he has left this mortal coil by now. A nice, honorable man. Never tried Flint's Blondies was the Berkeley hang I (and it seemed, every student went to) for cheap eats...I remember huge buckets of tomato sauce lining the entryway. Must have been laced, by the addiction the place held over many... Your strawberries sound great - esp., Frangelico, something I haven't put together before. Tonight's something fish (our great market is L. Isaacson, a nice wonderland of fresh seafood for this landlocked region), but have some nice berries to finish with.
  11. Nothing big - the aforementioned duck leg confit in a mesclun salad, sherry vinaigrette, apples, roquefort; sorrel soup. Rheingau riesling.
  12. Jinmyo - yikes! Where/when do we sign up? What is "coffee sand?"
  13. Xanthippe - thanks for the idyllic description of the valley in another time. Growing up in Ventura, a town then, if memory serves, of about 60,000, great memories of a backyard loaded with peach, satsuma plum, orange, tangerine, and avocado trees. Ah, to be in a fruit basket! From your post, I gather you're in California, now? Berkeley's my alma mater. If in California, please say hello, will you? My wife grew up in Atlanta - her dad was finishing up his PhD, they lived in no less than Margaret Mitchell's old home while there, she remembers that time with great fondness. Made the duck roulade last night; came out really wonderful. The last minute addition of brunoise (turnip, carrot, leek), minced shallots, chives, italian parsley to the morel/duck sauce was not only beautiful to look at, but absolutely flavorful. Enjoying the hell out of the French Laundry book. Anyone else out there working through it? If so, care to share your experiences?
  14. Margaret, would like to try the nigori you mentioned; the thickness/sweetness meant one was probably enough, and I would like to try a more "drinkable" version. Also would like to try more by the kimoto process. When I made mine, I used the yamahai-moto method, again, interested to see more in what nature provides (aided by the brewer's process design) than by additives (such as added lactic acid). Thanks for the heads up on the other sakes. There is a California sake, name escapes me, which my former roshi loves very much - and as I know he has a demanding palate for sake, I imagine it to be fairly good. And it's very reasonable. I will try to remember.
  15. Chris - EVOO, thanks. I used to cook alot more asian than I now do; I used sriracha alot when making Thai, if it's the stuff like a thinnish-paste, with some (yellow) seeds still intact, if memory serves?
  16. Jinmyo, with you on the flavored sakes. I generally don't like flavored beers of any kind - with the exception of belgian lambics, but I stay away from things like pumpkin ale, etc. What is the yuzu? Inventolux, I have heard of the "Hawk in the Heavens," though never had (much to my misfortune, from what I have heard). I will have to re-read your post on the food aspect...very interesting. What is spuma?
  17. Jinmyo - It's hard in the States, too - I had the Otokoyama alot when my wife worked for Sushi Doraku (a Benihana concern). Also enjoyed onakuroshi (sp.?). But buying same via retail has been more difficult. Two of our emporiums, Sam's and Binny's, are moving into carrying very high-end sake, but on a regular basis beyond our budget. I did have a tarusake I enjoyed a great deal, sorry to say I've forgotten the name. Ah, Kikusakari, I think. We get the momokawa line here, too. One of my former iterations was as a brewer - worked for a regional craft brewery here in Chicago, and not a big stretch to make a not bad nigori; I called Momokawa and the brewers there were very kind, very available, and very helpful - I enjoy their filtered sake, and their "Pearl" nigori is nice, too. Will keep my eye out for the others you mentioned. Thanks!
  18. Chris - sounds great. What is evoo and sriracha?
  19. Recently joined the website after lurking for awhile. Really enjoy artisanal sakes. Question to the community: what is your favorite sake, and why? Also, any thoughts on food pairing? To get started: Otokoyama. Wonderful, not complex, light fruit and clean expression of the mountain water and fresh koji-taste.
  20. Hi Xanthippe - paul o's great! The wines are Richard Boyer wines. Here's one link: http://www.californiawineriesmall.com/cgi-...wines.com/boyer I love the French Laundry book; Thomas Keller's attention to the intrinsic value of food, brought to its pinnacle through technique and thought, is really grabbing me...I appreciate his lack of "bells and whistles," just the simple expression of intense, concentrated flavor and texture; simple, yet exceedingly "finished." It's what I hope to bring to the table eventually. We shall see. Very excited that I will be attending the French Culinary Institute in March of next year. I first picked up Chef Pepin's La Technique some 30 years ago, when I was a young lad (12-13, something like that), and, similarly, worked through it then... and will be meeting "the man," as well as another long-followed-from-afar Chef, Andre Soltner. I haven't had Rick's wine (as opposed to Jekel) for some time...it was his pinot we had at a family gathering a few years back, absolutely wonderful. Hope you enjoy, if you get it! By the way, funny you should mention corn pudding...my wife and I were at a farmer's market today (Evanston, Illinois - we hail from Chicago), and head a really nice breakfast of eggs sardou - eggs atop artichokes with hollandaise (again, not exactly "FCI's Salute to Healthy Cooking"), both atop corn bread croutons - man, good! Where did you/your mom's corn pudding hail from?
  21. Xanthippe, bagged on the game-hen with morels; instead I made a paste of tarragon, shallots, white wine, and some really wonderful french whole grain (Vilux, George Giliot) mustard; stuffed under the skin, and balance as a crust, roasted whole. Excellent, livened up the bird quite a bit. I'm with you, too, though - I think morels on Wheaties would work just fine. Today, making duck breast roulade with the morels and creamed corn (again, a' la Chef Keller), and finishing off the legs as confit (salted last night). Thanks very much for the kind words re: Jekel. I am quite proud of my cousin (Rick Boyer, the winemaker). He also has a small vineyard nearby, making very-small release vintages under his own label. Bon appetit!
  22. I am working through the French Laundry book; last night made the pan-roasted squab with oven dried figs and red chard; as I didn't have any foie gras, made a base of baked polenta, sauced with squab sauce. The figs, sauce and chard were incredible. The squab, maybe a touch overdone (small squabs, and as he points out in the book, a tough bird to get right, it would seem - a little more red in the center would have suited me more, went from 0-60 very quickly), had a very slight bitter tinge at the finish, although my wife thought they were perfect. With a Givry 2000. Excellent, although these days it's tough to pull me from Gigondas. Love the ripe, forward fruit and the Rhone spice. Tonight, either going to do: roast pork loin stuffed with walnuts, chevre, and herbs de provence, with balsamic-apple glaze, and braised fennel with pancetta; or game hen with morels (have both on hand; not a fan of game hen, a marketing game to me, but helluva lot cheaper than guinea or other "game" bird). Will be drinking Jekel rieslings (late harvest after with some really ripe French cheese - perigord goat cheese, picandine crottin du Perigord) (and sorry, shameless plug - my cousin is Jekel's winemaker; really enjoy his wine).
  23. Mediterranean sea bass (Loup de Mer), as simple as possible. Little olive oil, I do like sel gris, fresh cracked pepper. Don't like to mess with it too much. I use a basket.
  24. Can second the flaming Grand Marnier. When I was 12, making a "Grand Dinner" for my extended family, concluded with Crepes Suzette. Didn't know not to heat the butter/orange sauce up to super-heated, then toss the grand marnier in the chafing dish, allow to come to boil (almost instantaneously), then set a match and WHOOF - off goes my eyebrows, a good part of my front-locks...kept my cool, though - dripping flames across the floor as I carried the chafing dish away from the crowd, trying to pretend all part of the show... More recently, several years back, made a demi-glace, my partner (my wife) and I doing biweekly prix-fixe dinners and sharing the kitchen with another outfit - we had a "bankruptcy dinner" to do, a noted Chicago Corp. going under, wanted to do so in good style by ordering a "Surf and Turf" at $70 (including two plates of Striped Bass with Red Pepper Coulis and Filet with Sauce Financiere), not labeling the cooled demiglace - which had been on shelf 2 of the walk in, now on shelf 3, sharing the shelf with the similar-looking balsamic vinaigrette - and we made a very gelatinous/savory set of salads before catching it and correcting...appreciated the fine art of labelling ever since...
  25. Lamb loin chops with Rosemary Oil, Rosemary Sauce Robert, julienned deep-fried sweet-potatoes; Previously, Horseradish-crusted salmon with cabernet black pepper sauce.
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