Monday, November 19, 2007

Wine Time

Here are a couple wines we've liked recently:

Quinta do Ameal Loureuro 2006
a nice dry white wine with just enough mineral and crispness
goes perfect with light seafood dishes

Domaine La Fage Cote Sud and Chateau Pesquie Terrasses 2004
both really nice reds that are satiny smooth on the palate and give just enough 'umph' to be memorable
perfect for everyday table wine paired with light summery foods or just to sit and sip while reading a book which is my favorite way to enjoy wine

A late addition
Tour de Mandelotte 2005 Bordeaux
under $10 but tastes like a more expensive wine
blackberries and red currants give a full bodied Bordeaux experience

Thanksgiving is looming...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Better than Xmas

I'm excited. Not only is Thanksgiving almost here and Rock Band mere days away, but I also have a big box of cookbooks coming my way very soon. While flipping through a copy of Saveur last night, I came across an ad for the Good Cook Book Club. I'm sure I've seen it before but I actually read it this time and succumbed to their terribly good deal. They offer 4 cookbooks for $1 each with membership. The only catch is you have to buy 2 at regular price within the year. If that wasn't enticing enough, they also offer 50% off 1 book to count towards the 2 you are required to buy. So I perused the site to see if they had any decent cookbooks. Sure the site is filled with Rachel Ray's cookbook #37 and Sandra Lee's semi-homemade-thoroughly-worthless cookbook, but if you can get past all the junk there are some really wonderful books to be grabbed. Here's what I picked up:

Beard on Food
The Lee Brother's Southern Cookbook
Dorie Greenspan's Baking
Asian Flavors of Jean-Georges
A Tale of 12 Kitchens

I'm of the opinion that you can never really have too many cookbooks. I'm looking forward to cooking anything out of these books. I certainly have my work cut out for me.

Monday, November 12, 2007


I love to see how the trends change periodically in food. Ten years ago everything in the grocery store was low fat/low calorie. Five or so years ago everything was marked low carb. Now we have whole grain, high fiber, all-natural, organic, free-range, antioxidant rich, hormone free, etc. This is all fine and good but what I'm most excited to see is non-inflammatory food peering it's lovely head out into an otherwise inflamed world. How exciting is it that organic milk now comes with added DHA, and dried pastas are fortified with omega-3 fatty acids! Foods that are naturally packed with omega-3 fatty acids, like olive oils and fish, are now labeled so to educate the consumer. This is a step in the right direction.

Unfortunately the average American probably has no idea that the food pyramid should be debunked, and high quantities of grains (even whole grains) are considered hugely responsible for the high incidences of inflammatory diseases in this country like diabetes, Alzheimer's, heart disease, and arthritides. Grains are high in omega-6 fatty acids which when in conjunction with low levels of omega-3's, create a cascade of inflammatory processes in the body. This boils down to some common sense food habits we all know. Don't eat processed foods, loads of grains, bad oils (canola, seed oils, soy bean, etc), or a lot of refined sugars. Do eat loads of fresh fruits and vegetables, eat lots of fish, eat meats that are grass-fed, and supplement with quality fish oils. Anyway, nutrition related topics are my bread and butter. Loads of information is available online about it. And this new book I think will touch on some of these things as well. I'll read it and get back to you, blog.

So put all those new non-inflammatory foods to good use with a guilt-free recipe.

Lemon Thyme Smoked Salmon Spaghetti
adapted from
Maninas: Food Matters

8 oz dry, omega-3 fortified spaghetti
1 large package quality smoked wild salmon, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
6 or so sprigs of thyme
1 lemon and zest
1/2 C cream
Parmigiano-Reggiano to taste
olive oil (this is a good recipe to use a more expensive, tasty oil)

Boil a big pot of salted water to cook the pasta. The enriched pastas take a little longer to cook than regular semolina. Meanwhile, make an infused oil. Line the bottom of a medium saucepan with a thin layer of oil. Add the sliced garlic to the oil at medium-low heat and cook until the garlic is just soft and fragrant then add the thyme and zest and reduce the heat. Add the cream after a few minutes and stir to combine. Add the salmon right before you add the drained pasta and give it a good squirt of lemon. Add more thyme and Parmigiano-Reggiano to garnish.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Fall is in the air

I'm always missing the four seasons I once had living in Virginia. Thankfully there is finally a chill in the air here in Florida. All the rain has subsided and now we have nice sunny days with enough of a breeze to leave the windows open. With the chill I'm ready for Fall flavors and hearty, stick-to-your-ribs meals. I've been making lots of heavy pasta dishes, eyeing the pomegranates, pears and oranges, and craving gourds. I can't wait until Thanksgiving and the smell of roast chickens stuffed with rosemary and sage.

Here's the perfect Fall cocktail to sip on cool evenings while visions of butternut squash dance in your head. (I feel a 'you know you're a foodie if....' joke coming on....)

Pear Martini

2 oz Pear vodka
< 1/2 oz Amaretto
1/3 oz fresh lemon juice
> 1/2 oz simple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and serve perfectly chilled.