Wine 201 – Cooking with Wine: Marinating

See...this is the fourth installment of cooking with wine. There was no possible way to cover all of this in one post. For those of you new to the cooking game, marinations have two purposes...tenderizing meats and adding flavors. I point you to a previous post on marinades. I will also re-iterate a point about Marinades I made in that post: Kate's Rule of Thumb #1:You should only use a marinade on a piece of meat that is either lacking in tenderness, lacking in taste, or both. Keep that in mind when following the tips below.
  • - The better the wine, the better the taste of the food. Conversely, the lower quality of the wine, the better the chance your food will taste pretty strange. Choose your cooking wine accordingly (This is redundant is it not?).
  • - Use freshly opened wine. Wines opened two weeks or later should be looked upon with suspicion, as it probably has oxidized to the point of affecting the wine taste(See parenthetical above).
  • Use only ceramic or plast...
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2003 Marchetti Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico

Here's a news flash. Italy makes some kickin' white wines. When I started my reading and research on Italy, I only knew of Chianti, the deep red wine that comes in the bottle with the straw base. I never knew the joys of Italian whites. Verdicchio is another lesson in the Italian Whites syllabus. Verdicchio (overall) is slightly green-yellow in color and has a delicate bouquet. It is medium bodied with surprisingly strong flavors, a crisp acid balance and a slightly bitter finish. It is best consumed within the first two years from the vintage date. The bottle I received, a Marchetti Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico was a little bit more than that. Eyes:Nearly Translucent. Golden yellow with no hint of green. Solid legs that take their good ol sweet time to fall back into the wine. Nose: Slight herb aroma with an only slightly stronger lemony smell. Taste: A very light wine. Very watery. Sweet overtones with a tiny little taste of bitterness. Very citrusy, like g...
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2000 Carpineto Chianti Classico Riserva

One of the things about wine that isn't explained enough is that until you have a good wine, you don't know what the wine is generally supposed to taste like. To extend the metaphor a bit, if one has only eaten industry Cheddar cheese, one doesn't really know what true cheddar is all about. Never has this idea been better illustrated to me than when I've started tasting Chiantis. The basic problem I have with Chiantis (and a fair majority of red wines) is that they contain tannins, a substance in which I seem to have a particularly sensitivity toward (probably from being a bit of a tea snob). Unless the tannins are held in check, or developed properly, most reds end up tasting simply bitter to me. Chiantis were/are especially guilty of this. Back in college, when money was most certainly an issue when purchasing wines, I thought I'd be cool and buy one of those wines that comes in those famous chianti bottles. Unfortunately, these wines were so bitter to me that I quickly swor...
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The Night of Coffee Liqueur

I had meant for the evening to be a bit of Sicilian Food and rest. Alas, Tara had different plans for me. She and I had been going back and forth about Coffee Liqueur for quite some time. She had dismissed the Starbucks brand outright, and I felt that she was dismissing the brand, simply because of the brand name. We're at that point in our relationship where the discussion of the minutia of coffee liqueurs is high comedy. So a taste test was demanded. Chants of "Three coffee liqueur brands enter, one brand leaves" were heard throughout the west Seattle peninsula. Our choices for the battle? Kahlua: The coffee liqueur from Mexico that is widely regarded as the best. Starbucks: The upstart from our hometown of Seattle, bankrolled by the world's largest coffee house. Monarch: A last minute addition to the challenge, this coffee liquor bills itself as Mexican, with phrases such as 'licor de caf' and 'hecho del caf en grano mas fino de mxico' (Which translates to "fact of...
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The Beauty of Omakase

I have come to a conclusion: Western chefs could easily benefit from incorporating aspects of Omakase into their skill set. I have come to this conclusion based on no facts, figures, and only a rudimentary knowledge of maintaining restaurant profit margins. In fact, I make this statement based on nothing other that I think it's a cool idea. For those of you unfamiliar with Omakase, it's practice found at Sushi restaurants. The word translates into something along the lines of "Chef, I'm in your hands" and it means that the sushi chef will provide you a meal based on either: what they believe you will like best whatever the heck the chef feels like making you Either way, if you order omakase, you get a real feel for the personality and temperament of the sushi chef. In Seattle, I have had omakase at five different places on several occasions. From those experiences, I can tell you which chef is a traditionalist, which one carries a workman-like approach to sushi, and w...
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Spinach Thoughts

I find the whole Spinach/E.Coli event telling and yet at the same time, utterly frustrating. In my opinion, the series of events surrounding the outbreak are a perfect microcosm of the larger food industry. You have a crop coming from an industry which has been suspected in 20 outbreaks over the last decade. For whatever reason, there's little to no national press coverage surrounding these outbreaks - most likely because the number of people affected is not statistically significant. As a result of these 20 outbreaks, the FDA shows concerns and offers suggestions, and little else. When the most recent outbreak get national attention, there's little traceability in place to determine where (and how) the outbreak occurred. The end result is that the FDA doesn't just shut down the culpable farms, but shuts down the entire Spinach industry. One of two basic scenarios that are going to play out in the coming weeks. Either: 1) The FDA and other State officials will find one f...
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