Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dining and Wining

The New York Times is running a really interesting multimedia exhibit online. Go see it here.
They asked readers to send in photos of their wedding meals that they planned themselves.

Which begs the question, what wines were served to celebrate the happy couples and their extraordinary menus? If you have an upcoming wedding, consider Syrah.

Here's Why:

An incredibly food-friendly wine, Syrah strikes a balance between power and finesse. Syrah is rarely as tannic as Cabernet, but has an equally deep color and a similar degree of flavor complexity. This combination gives Syrah a food-friendliness akin to Pinot Noir's, thus Syrah can match beautifully with rich seafood dishes as well as robust meats.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

EWE not EW

photo credit: Ben

Sheep's Milk Cheeses are incredibly earthy, creamy and mouth-coatingly rich. They set the perfect stage for Syrah. Especially Santa Barbara Syrah, in all its bold, bright purple gem beauty.

Fleur du Maquis is made in Corsica from the milk of the Lacaune ewes. Its name means "Flower of the Maquis," the maquis being the local term for the typical thickets of rough underbrush where highway robbers and guerrilla fighters used to hang out. This cheese is quite similar to Brin d'Amour, meaning "a breath of love." During production, the smallish wheels are encrusted with rosemary, fennel seeds, juniper berries, and the occasional bird's eye chile. It will pair well with Cotes-du-Rhone and Syrah.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

First Washington Syrah - Red Willow Vineyard

“In farming there is no substitute for the soil, water, and hard work. Inherently, the nature of farming brings a spiritual dimension to our efforts. There is a connection of past, present, and future generations.

For us wine brings the soil, the site, the season, and the efforts of many people together into a single vintage. Later that vintage becomes a cherished memory of that year.” –Mike Sauer

Wine News: David Lake & Mike Sauer wanted to plant syrah in their pet vineyard, Red Willow. It was 1985 - long before that colorful cast of California characters known as the Rhône Rangers had banded together, and all the arguments about heritage and origin had made Syrah a sexy varietal.

What does it all mean? Why celebrate? Whats the big deal? We are just simply honoring the 20th bottling of Washington State Syrah. We are just honoring Red Willow Vineyard. And of course, we are honoring two guys & one dream: Stupendous, Sexy, Sensual, Lip Smackin' Syrah.

Cheers Fellas. Keep Crafting Excellent Wines.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Kinton Sponsors Underground Dinner in Brooklyn

"Brooklyn, especially Williamsburg, is the epitome of cool and then it leaches out into the world." - Chris, co-chef at Homunculus

So what exactly IS an underground dinner? It's not a new concept at least not on either coast. Outstanding In The Field and Ghetto Gourmet made the concept famous. Guerrilla Gourmet continues the tradition. Bringing together people, chefs, fresh ingrediants for avante garde dining situations in warehouses, art galleries, private homes and outdoor spaces.

But the idea that just about anyone with a passion for food and a tolerance for hard work can spread the word and bring together communities ... is relatively new in our media-driven-freak-everyone-out-society. You're taking a chance by attending an underground dinner.

A chance you'll meet new friends. Try new foods. Go somewhere new. Let down your guard. Be adventurous. Team Sip.Snap.Savor was lusciously rewarded. Kinton Wines laced our table (the dinner was BYOB/BYOW) along with candles and lively conversation.

"Anything you can get in a store, you chould be able to make. I'm making my own sweater from washing, carding and knitting. The whole shebang. I've made my own sake, too" - Cale, Homunculus

Complete Menu:
Bread - Currant and toasted fennel seed white bread

Soup - Cold Celery soup

Beast plate - Cajuned pork, pistachio, thyme soaked veal pate on crostini
Sherry and Cassis chicken liver mousse on a house cracker
Maple candied bacon with almond butter
Foie gras bon bon on shortbread

Appetizer - Red curry and peanut souffle

Palate cleanser - Strawberry and thyme sorbet

Entree - Beef in Barolo, parsnip puree

Salad - Endive salad with fennel shavings, walnuts, chevre, loft dressing

Dessert - Three Layer Tart - Candied bananas, chocolate and cognac custard, black berries. Side of cardamom ice cream

Care to attend a dinner yourself? Email the fellas in Brooklyn and ask to reserve a spot. $40/BYOW

Mason Jar Butter

Take a clean, Quart Sized Mason Jar with a lid and pour into it Room Temperature Whole Milk or (even better) Cream. Screw on lid. Begin shaking at the jar. At 4-6 minutes you'll notice the milk is thickening. At about 9 minutes of shaking, the cream will start to separate from the sides of the glass. When you get to the half point at 14-16 minutes you'll notice serious solids. At 27-30 minutes it's time to stop shaking and start draining off the excess liquid from your butter. Use cheesecloth to solidly drain your butter and then salt it if you wish. Serve with warm bread.

Currant & Toasted Fennel Seed Bread
3 Cups Artisan Bread Flour
2 Cups Water, 1/2 Cup extra water (reserve)
1 pat of butter
handful of anise seeds
2 handfuls of currants
4 tsp salt
1/2 oz. dry activated yeast
5 tblsp evoo

Activate the yeast in 1/2 cup of water (water should be lukewarm/room temperature). Let stand for 15 minutes. Meanwhile toast anise seeds in a pat of butter, in a pan on stove, over medium heat. Continue toasting until browned.

Mix flour and salt together in a bowl. Imprint a dimple into the center of the dry goods. Add water, oil and yeast mixture s l o w l y and incorporate all ingredients together.

On a floured surface, knead the dough until elastic and no longer sticky. Grease a bowl with a touch of evoo and put the dough in the bowl and cover with a floured dish towel.

Let rise for 2 hours.

Gently remove dough from the bowl and fold it to remove all air bubbles. Return to bowl and cover with floured kitchen towel. Let rise once again.

After 30 minutes, remove from bowl, place on greased cookie sheet (in desired shape), in 350 degree oven for 35 minutes.

Serve piping hot with cool, homemade butter.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Syrah Trilogy Finale!

Here it is, the video you've been waiting for. The Kinton Finale!

This is a wrap up of everything covered in the first two videos, put into use at Eos Wine Bar in San Francisco.

Again, thanks to the guys at French Press Films for putting this together.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Urban Opportunistic Cooking

Photo by: Noah Berger for The New York Times

The NY Times recently posted up this story, all about the collection of fruit from trees that would otherwise drop all over public grounds and go to waste. You can find out what trees in your neighborhood are currently spilling over with fresh, local, in-season fruit HERE.

What do you think? In these harsh economic times, is pilfering otherwsie wasted fruit a crime?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

By Candlelight

Dinner, even if it's from a box or a bag, seems more romantic if you eat by candlelight. A meal shouldn't be a "fast refueling" but a slow re-energizing.

Meal time is an experience to share with others and yourself. There is great pleasure to be found in the tastes and textures on your plate. Share words and feelings. Discuss what's in your glass; what's in your world; what's in your mind.

Eat by candlelight tonite and feel the rhythm of your meal change!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

slow down

Instead of cursing the slow tractor driving in front of you on an ancient vineyard road. Praise the road. Praise the tractor. Notice the wildflowers that grow between the vines. Smell the fresh cut mustard grasses. See the sun winking between trees. Ponder where the tractor is headed and what it's accomplished already.

Instead of flying through 4 or 5 wineries in a single day. Why not just head to two and really taste through the wines. Picnic. Walk the vineyards. Examine the grapes growing. Decipher what direction the vineyard is facing and make guesses about the sun, the wind, the rain's impact.

Take pictures of the minutiae.

Smile alot. Why not. You ARE in wine country after all.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Racheal Ray Debate

Cathy at The Noble Pig
brings up a valid point ... she penned an entry about people either loving or hating Racheal Ray. I think the point is moot.

Photo Courtesy of jjdtx61

As long as people are cooking. Playing in their kitchens. Hitting the grocery store instead of Carls Jr or Wendy's. Preparing vegetables, meats and sauces at home. Preferably in front of their children and showing them how much fun it is to cook. Then who cares where they get recipes and ideas?