30 May 2009

2006 Domaine Meyer-Fonné Pinot Gris Réserve Particuliére

I'm generally much more of a red wine fan than white, but I have a real fondness for pinot gris, due to its being generally a tasty but not-too-sweet white, with a dry finish. So when I had a chance to pick up the Meyer-Fonné on sale for $10 (usually a $20 bottle) at 3Cups the other week, I leapt at it. And it's certainly a nice wine, and very much worth it for me at $10. But... I pretty much echo Stephen Tanzer's thoughts on the 2005 - this probably could have used a little more time, as it was pretty sweet (almost Chardonnay-y, even), fruity and didn't finish particularly dry. Tasty though, with a nice sharp mineral character in the nose and the body, but if I'm going to pay full price for a pinot gris, I'm definitely going to go with one of the incredibly reliable and delicious Oregon marques.

Collard Greens and Spring Onions in Soy Sauce

The collards and spring onions at the farmer's market here are and have been absolutely beautiful for months now, and I usually pick up some of both each week. This leads to the good-problem-to-have situation of needing to innovate within the delicious-green genre. Potluck the other week was a tofu stir-fry with Sriracha and soy, so I decided to make something that would complement that well, and this was a big, big success.


  • One bunch collard greens
  • 4 large spring onions (with big bulbs), or about twice/three times that many skinny spring onions
  • medium-heat oil of choice
  • a bit of sesame oil
  • 1 tbs. chili garlic sauce
  • sherry/marsala/similar sweet cooking wine
  • rice vinegar
  • soy sauce


  1. Set large pot of water to boiling, and boil collards for five minutes
  2. Remove collards from water and slice off stems; chop collard leaves and set aside
  3. Return stems to water and cook down into delicious broth – use for other dishes, freeze for later, etc.
  4. Separate spring onions into bulb section and stem section; slice stems cross-wise and set aside, mince bulbs finely
  5. Heat oil, mixed, in large pan or wok over medium; add minced onion bulbs
  6. When onions begin to soften, add soy sauce and mix thoroughly; cook for 1-2 minutes
  7. Add chili garlic sauce and rice vinegar and mix thoroughly; cook for 1-2 minutes, mixture should be a bit sludgy at this point
  8. Add cooking wine to taste, cover and cook down until about half of liquid is gone
  9. Add collards, mix thoroughly, adding more cooking wine if necessary; cover again and cook for 3-5 minutes
  10. Uncover and add sliced spring onion stems, mixing and cooking for only about a minute
  11. Serve and enjoy!


Universally a hit. Just super-tasty, a bit of heat but not too much (this can obviously be modulated in either direction to taste), and a good compliment to a wide range of dishes. Very healthy and vegan to boot!

16 May 2009

Carrot cake to finish graduate school

Oven preheated at 350 F. Butter 2 (9 inch) round cake pans.

In a medium bowl: mix the dry stuff:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar (yeah, right)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl: whisk the wet stuff:
  • Beat the 4 eggs lightly, then whisk in the canola oil (1 and 1/3 cups).

Add the dry ingredients (of the medium bowl) into the large bowl. Stir. Stir in the carrots (3 cups shredded) + 1 cup chopped pecans. (optional: ½ cup raisins).

Divide the batter into the two pans evenly, bake for 30-35 minutes.

Then there's something in the recipe about frosting, which I don't believe in at all. What I did was bring one of the cakes to friends at school who were in a studying frenzy, while i kept one at home. You may want to experiment in the stacking of the two cakes, i hear cream cheese is good, but who knows, maybe marmite or peanut butter could make your cake more braincell-friendly.

13 May 2009

Penne col Sugo di Funghi Coltivati

Mushrooms were on special at WSM today, and I immediately thought: that'd make a great pasta sauce. So I tapped Marcella's Italian Kitchen and was, of course, not disappointed. Slightly modified a mushroom penne recipe of hers (subbed out the anchovies and parsley, and a few other things) and it worked like a charm. Highly recommended.


  • 1 lb. fresh mushrooms
  • 1 tbs. butter
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tsp. chopped garlic
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup rosé
  • 1/2 cup canned peeled plum tomato, drained and cut up
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lb. penne


  1. Wash the shrooms under cold water and pat dry
  2. Cut shrooms lengthwise, thinly
  3. Heat butter, oil and onions in large sauté pan (with lid, for later) on medium high heat
  4. When onions become translucent, add garlic
  5. When garlic turns golden, add shrooms, salt and many grinds of pepper. Stir thoroughly and lower heat to medium.
  6. Cook until shrooms have exuded all liquid
  7. Add wine; stir 2-3 times
  8. When wine has cooked off, add tomatoes and bay leaves. Stir thoroughly, cover and cook for 10 minutes
  9. Cook penne; transfer to serving bowla dn toss with mushroom sauce and a thin stream of olive oil
  10. Enjoy!


Huge success. Highly recommended.

08 May 2009

Turkish Coffee

I've been itching for an excuse to fire up my ibrik ever since I found one at PTA Thrift, and the opportunity came this week when I got some super-dark-roasty coffee. I searched around for a good cardamom-blend recipe and this one seemed good:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tablespoon of extra finely ground coffee (powder consistency)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar [might double this next time]


  1. Bring water and sugar to a boil in ibrik.
  2. Remove from heat and add coffee and cardamom.
  3. Return ibrik to heat and allow to come to a boil. Remove from heat when coffee foams. [This happens very quickly – make sure to pay attention]
  4. Again, return to heat, allowing to foam and remove from heat.
  5. Pour into cup, and allow to sit for a few minutes for the grounds to settle to the bottom of the cup. Cardamom pod may be served in cup for added flavor.


I won't pretend that I'm up to the standards of dar-al-Islam, and I probably need to amp up the sugar (the cardamom pod also sounds like a good idea), but this is a damn tasty cuppa. Great for dark roasts, and makes me think again about getting a proper Turkish grinder from Mariakakis'.

UPDATE: For cup two, added more sugar and the cardamom pod. Zing! Very very tasty. Thinking now maybe add a little chili powder? Or maybe add some of the chili schnapps for a caffé corretto-style business.

02 May 2009

MKD Foodstravaganza: Beer Reviews

Terrapin Big Sloppy Monster: dark, rich, complex and sweet. A bit of hop finish with very strong bourbon tones – definitely a sipping beer, but a very very good one. Maybe not quite up to KBS or Paul's Day Off, but highly excellent.

Duck Rabbit Paul's Day Off: a very limited edition from Duck Rabbit – no bottles and only a few kegs with no future plans for more. Very complex, cocoa tones and a crisp hop finish with steady bourbon flavor throughout. Really just an exceptional beer, and still available at Milltown for as long as the keg lasts – you should try it if you get a chance.

New Holland Full Circle Kölsch-Style Beer: crisp, refreshing and not too yeasty as some summer beers can be. Nothing truly spectacular, but solid on all fronts - a very well-balanced summer beer, and recommended.

Stoudt's Pils: an excellent Pils. Hoppy finish, a little sweet and very satisfying.

Dogfish Head Burton Baton: very, very smooth for an imperial IPA - that would be the oak talking. A tasty beer.

01 May 2009

MKD Foodstravaganza: Recipes

Of course MKD's visit is marked by incessant consumption of foodstuffs and beerstuffs. Recipes follow, and beer reviews below.

Mexican (?) Chicken a la MKD


  • 2 split chicken breasts
  • juice of 1-2 limes
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 of 1 medium white onion (sliced)
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • chili powder
  • cayenne or other spicy pepper powder
  • (all spices to taste, don't over-do it)

  1. Place chicken in an oven-safe pan, cover with liquid and dry ingredients, toss to coat
  2. Dust top of chicken with a touch more pepper and/or salt
  3. Cover pan tightly with foil
  4. Place in oven preheated to 375F for about 25 minutes
  5. Remove foil, toss chicken in remaining liquid, and continue to cook uncovered until thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast reads 165-170 (another ~20 minutes)
  6. Let the chicken cool for at least 10 minutes, then using a fork, pull it into shreds.


Delicious, tender, tasty.

Mushrooms with Roasted Poblano Peppers

  • 1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 poblano peppers, roasted, skinned
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  1. Roast poblano peppers. Place in paper bag to cool and sweat, remove skins and slice in 1/2" strips
  2. Wash and, if mushrooms are not already sliced, slice them
  3. Heat olive oil over medium heat in sauteé pan
  4. Add mushrooms, sprinkle salt over them, and continue adding olive oil until mushrooms are well coated
  5. Cook mushrooms until they begin to soften, and add peppers
  6. Mix peppers and mushrooms and cook for several more minutes until thoroughly combined
  7. Serve and enjoy!


Super-good and, obviously, very very easy.

Ancho-Roasted Jalapeño-Roasted Red Fresno Salsa

  • 4 dried ancho chili peppers
  • 4 large jalapeño peppers, roasted
  • 2 red fresno peppers, roasted
  • white vinegar


  1. Rehydrate anchos by setting in a bowl and pouring near-boiling water over them; let sit until they swell, and then chop roughly
  2. Roast jalapeño and red fresno peppers. Place in paper bag to cool and sweat, remove skins and chop finely
  3. Combine all peppers in a small blender and blend on low, adding small amounts of white vinegar to desired consistency (should be a usable paste)


A real winner – smoky, spicy-but-not-too, and compliments a wide range of other foods. Very highly recommended.

Refried Pinto Beans


  • 2 cups pinto beans (either from a can, or rehydrated)
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • salt
  • water
  • vegetable oil
  1. Skin garlic, and either chop very finely or combine in blender with jalapeño and onion
  2. Heat oil to medium in large cast-iron skillet with high sides
  3. Add garlic, pepper and onion and fry in oil for 1-2 minutes
  4. Add pinto beans, salt and cumin. Mix all thoroughly.
  5. Add water covering beans thoroughly; raise heat to medium-high
  6. Allow beans to cook down, adding water periodically, for 30-45 minutes
  7. When beans soften, begin mashing (potato masher works well), adding more water and some more oil as necessary
  8. Beans will begin to stick to the pan – this is good, just make sure they don't burn too much
  9. When it looks like refried beans, you're done


An old stand-by, this never does me wrong. Also works quite well with black beans, subbing in a section of fresh ginger root for the cumin powder.

Roast Tomatillo Salsa


  • 2 lbs. tomatillos, de-husked and washed
  • 1 jalapeño pepper
  • 1/2 large white onion
  • 2 roast poblano peppers
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • white vinegar
  • salt


  1. Roast tomatillos and poblano peppers in separate pans (make sure the tomatillos are in a deep baking pan)
  2. Place poblanos in paper bag to cool and sweat, remove skins and set aside
  3. When tomatillos are blackened on top and beginning to fall apart, remove from oven and set aside to cool
  4. Add onion, garlic, jalapeño, poblano and lime juice to blender and blend until fine
  5. Add tomatillos and their juices to blender; blend until all is combined
  6. Add several liberal dashes salt, and liberal pour of vinegar; blend all again, adding vinegar until reaching desired consistency (anywhere from very viscous to more liquidy)
  7. Enjoy!


Been making this one a while and there was a little too much lime juice in this iteration, but adding the poblanos (which I did late) saved it. Very much a favorite, there's always some of this in the fridge.