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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR SEPTEMBER 13, 2014

WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR SEPTEMBER 13, 2014
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com.
Creator of Canada's award-winning wine satire site at http://fauxvoixvincuisine.blogspot.com. My Internet compendium
"Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net" is a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, at www.deantudor.com since 1994. My LCBO tastings are based on MVC (Modal Varietal Character); ratings are QPR (Quality-to-Price Ratio). Prices are LCBO retail. Only my top rated wines are here. NOTE: The LCBO does NOT put out all of the wines of the release for wine writers or product consultants. Corked wines are not normally available for a re-tasting.
 
NOTE: It is getting more difficult to endorse wines under $20 for the simple reason that the LCBO does not release many of them into the Vintages program, ones that can be deemed to be worthy of your consideration. So I will now just ADD some "under $25" suggestions, along with point values.
 
 
====?>>> ** BEST WINE VALUE OF THE RELEASE *UNDER* $20
 
Stellenrust Wild Yeast Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2011 WO Stellenbosch, +382218, $17.95: wonderfully complex, better than many chardonnays at twice this price. 13% ABV, cork closure, oaky and nutty tones which follow through right on the mid-palate and the length. Could be aged two more years. QPR: 93.
 
TOP VALUE WHITE WINES under $25:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
1.Rosehall Run Cuvee County Chardonnay 2011 VQA PEC, +132928, $21.95. QPR: 90.
2.Auntsfield Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Southern Valleys Marlborough, +663286, $20.95, QPR: 89.
3.Cave Spring Estate Bottled Chardonnay Musque 2012 CSV VQA Beamsville Bench, +246579: vibrant, ripe and affordable, off-dry on the palate, in the peach mode of viognier-albarino-riesling, No oak, but dry finish. QPR: 89.
4.Flat Rock Riesling 2013 VQA Twenty Mile Bench, +43281, $16.95: another succulent riesling from Ontario, twist top, 11% ABV, but dynamite bursts on the palate. Off-dry. QPR: 91.
5.Domaine Chevallier Chablis 2012, +112227, $19.95: this now seems to be the LCBO chablis of the month, particularly for under $20. Expect orchard fruit, minerals, stony finish and lemons. QPR: 89.
6.Mallory & Benjamin Talmard Macon-Uchizy 2012, +733956, $16.95: a good basic burgundy chardonnay, affordable. Green tones (apples, peppers, lemon finish). Gold Medalist. QPR: 89.
7.Michel Gassier Les Piliers Viognier 2013, +669531, $18.95: richly aromatic, ripe orchard fruit (peaches), citric finish, better with food, good price. QPR: 89.
8.Bischofliche Weinguter Trier Dom Riesling Kabinett 2011 Mosel, +378828, $18.95: off-dry Mosel Riesling wine with mounds of flavour, 9% ABV. QPR: 89.
 
 
TOP VALUE RED WINES under $25:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
1.Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Franc 2012 VQA NOTL, +275958, $21.95. QPR: 90.
2.Reininger Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Walla Walla Valley Washington, +387027, $21.95. QPR: 89.
3.Cederberg Shiraz 2010 WO Cederberg South Africa, +374199, $24.95. QPR: 89.
4.Piccini Chianti Classico Riserva 2007, +134791, $20.95. QPR: 89.
5.Montes Alpha Pinot Noir 2012 Anconcagua Coast Chile, +143214, $19.95: good quality pinot MVC in the New World style at an affordable price-- red fruit, mocha, some licorice, lovely finish. Cork closure. 14% ABV. QPR: 89.
6.Cantine Ferri Oblivio Nero di Troia 2008 IGT Puglia, +380600, $19.95: very good complexity for the price, red fruit and leather dominate, plus other signs of being aged. 14.5% QPR: 89.
7.Coppi Peucetico Primitivo 2007 DOC Gioia del Colle Puglia, +724674, $13.95: amazing value for a Euro Zinfandel, 13.5% ABV, and well-aged too. A real winner. QPR: 90.
8.Quinta de Pancas Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Vinho Regional Lisboa, +380568, $18.95: nicely developed and aged cabby, like Bordeaux, 13.5% ABV. QPR: 89.
9.Luzon Seleccion 12 Meses Crianza 2008 DO Jumilla, +310219, $17.95: noteworthy blend of black fruit flavours from the monastrell, tempranillo, and cabby grapes. Full of the spirit and palates of Spain, tremendous value for the toastiness. QPR: 90,
 
 
VALUE: "RESTAURANT READY" or "BRING YOUR OWN WINE BOTTLE" over $25
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Restaurants should consider offering these FINE VALUE wines at a $10 markup over retail; the wines are READY to enjoy right NOW. Consumers should buy these wines to bring to restaurants with corkage programs.
 
1.Stratus Charles Baker Picone Vineyard Riesling 2011 VQA Vinemount Ridge Niagara, +241182, $35.20 retail.
2.Louis Jadot Pouilly-Fuisse 2012, +732917, $35.95.
3.Chateau des Charmes Merlot 2012 St David's Bench VQA St David's Bench, +453431, $29.95.
4.Lailey Vineyard Syrah 2012 VQA Niagara River, +184523, $27.20.
5.Seglas 2006 AC Margaux, +359810, $53.95.
6.Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva 2008, +368910, $29.95.
7.Quintarelli Primofiore 2009 IGT Veneto, +20867, $59.95.
8.La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva 2004 Rioja, +315531, $39.95.
9.Dominio de Tares Cepas Viejas Mencia 2009 DO Bierzo Spain, +379891, $29.95.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Sunday, September 7, 2014

* DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH! *

NATURAL WINE; in introduction to organic and biodynamic wines made naturally (Cico Books, 2014; distr. T. Allen, 224 pages, ISBN 978-1-78249-100-2, $24.95 US hard covers) is by Isabelle Legeron, the first French woman to become a Master of Wine, She runs the RAW Natural Wine Festival in London, and consults with restaurants and promotes "natural" wine. She's also got a website www.thatcrazyfrenchwoman.com, with a TV show on the Travel Channel under that name. There is a large argument raging in the wine world over what is a natural wine. Some believe that it should be applied only to organic and biodynamic farms; others think it should also mean "sustainable" or "green", etc. The key would simply be to get rid of the word "natural" and just have "organic or biodynamic" and "sustainable". It is only the organic and biodynamic wines that are certifiable. There are no controls over the rest of the "natural" wording on the label. Indeed, some organic wineries just press organic grapes and then use regular winemaking techniques. They can still call their wines organic. I know of many farms who use the term "natural" to reflect their organic practices, because they just do not have the money nor the wait time to apply for certification. Legeron offers one of the first books meant for the general reader to cover O & B wines. In general, wine is a process, and it is also an industry. Wineries try to be consistent from year to year because they have a product to sell. The weather determines what about of "corrections" the winemaker needs to take (more acid, earlier/later picking, more sugar, more irrigation, etc.). A natural O & B winery rolls with the punches and produces wine "as is". The author takes us through the year and discusses wine faults, stability, health issues, taste, fermentation, sulphites, and a load of contentious issues. She's assisted from time to time by other writers such as Nicolas Joly, Tony Coturri, and 11 others. She gives notes on 140 wines, sorted by types (bubbly, red, white, rose, sweet). Not surprisingly, France has the most listings, followed by Italy: these are the two leaders by production. Canada has one mention (Pearl Morissette in Niagara, a Chardonnay), but none in the longer list of "other" wineries. Other additional sections cover a glossary, lists of associations and wine fairs, restaurants and stores for the US and UK, and a bibliography
Audience and level of use: the curious reader, wine lovers.
Some interesting or unusual facts: "soils harbor 80 percent of the world's biomass. Earthworms alone, for example, amount to about the same weight as all other animals combined."
The downside to this book: too many gratuitous photos of just bottles and the like.
The upside to this book: a beginning – let's have more.
Quality/Price Rating: 90.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Saturday, September 6, 2014

* FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! * The Tastemakers (McClelland and Stewart)

THE TASTEMAKERS; why we're crazy for cupcakes but fed up with fondue (Signal McClelland & Stewart, 2014, 319 pages, ISBN 978-0-7710-7912-2, $29.95 CAN hard covers) is by business and food writer David Sax, who authored Save the Deli. He's also a Beard Award winner for his writing. Here he looks at the world of food trends: where they come from, how they grow, and their decline. It is a book full of anecdotal material plus some hard evidence from chefs, entrepreneurs, and analysts. Certainly it is good read about what we are "told" to eat. The "Tastemakers" are people who spread the news about new foods. They are a sub-category of who we used to call "opinionmakers". So this is an investigation into who is creating the buzz about a variety of food products. Most noticeably, there is kale, sriracha, quinoa, cupcakes (sales grew 56% from 2008 to 2012), chia seeds, apples, acai berries, pomegranates, kombucha, and more (there is an index from which you can pick out your fave food). Ultimately, it is all about  money and influence, and celebrities. I'm not too cynical, although the book can make you one (the difference between a pessimist and a cynic is that the cynic is better informed). He's got four types of trends: cultural, agriculture, chefs, and health. These trends break out mostly by marketers, and they matter mostly because they are profitable and cutting edge. Nobody wants to be left behind; everyone in this business is searching for the next big food trend. Most of the discussion is about "trends", but really, they are just fads. You cannot call the Paleo diet a fad (as he does) since it has been around since 1975, just bubbling under until recently. Cupcakes, though, are definitely a fad since the modern ones transmogrified from muffins and were featured in Sex and the City. And it is lacking in a discussion on wines (one half-page only), beers and cocktails (not at all for both). It's a good book, and a fine read for summer. More details can be found through his bibliography. Quality/Price Rating: 92.
 

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Event: Taste Local Love Local Ontario wines, Aug 14

The Date and Time: Thursday, August 14, 2014  5 - 9PM
The Event: Taste Local Love Local
The Venue: 1095 Queen Street West
The Target Audience: social media and food and wine writers
The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are in the Ontario promotion from Sept 14 to Oct 11. There was a catalogue for this show, with 21 wines, although vintage dates were lacking. Some wines were not presented, while others were on the table but ex-catalogue.
The Quote/Background: this was a celebration of Ontario wine and pie (sweet and savoury).
The Wines:
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Franc Organic 2012, $21.95
-Chateau des Charmes Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, $14.95
-Jackson-Triggs Black Series Meritage 2012, $13.95
-Norman Hardie Niagara Pinot Noir 2011, $39
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-The Foreign Affair The Conspiracy Ripasso Style Red 2012, $19.95
-Cave Spring Dry Rose 2013, $13.95
-Henry of Pelham Riesling Icewine 2013, $49.95
-Featherstone Cabernet Franc 2012, $17.95
-Rosehill Run Liberated Chardonnay 2013, $14.95 ($12.95 promotion)
-Rosehall Run Defiant Pinot Noir 2013, $18.95 ($16.95 promotion)
-Sprucewood Shores Lady in Red 2011, $14.95
-Pelee Island Lighthouse Sauvignon Blanc, $13.95
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Wayne Gretzky No.99 Riesling 2012
-Inniskillin Pinot Noir 2012, $15.95
-Grange of Prince Edward Trumpour's Mill Gamay Noir 2012, $14.95
-Sandbanks Sauvignon Blanc 2012, $16.95
-Sandbanks Estate Shoreline White 2012, $14.95
-Pelee Island Baco Noir 2012, $11.95
-Colio Estate Late Harvest Vidal 2013, $11.95 375mL
-Bricklayer's Predicament Chardonnay-Pinot Grigio 2013, $13.95
 
The Food: the Cheese Boutique supplied some Ontario cheeses, including Blue Celtic from Glengarry and Thunder Oak Gouda. Four pie companies were involved: Lakeside Bakery from Leamington contributed pumpkin pie tarts, Wanda's Pie in the Sky did a pear cranberry pie (excellent with all forms of wine, because of higher acid in the fruit), Sweet and Savoury Pie Company did a tandoori chicken cutie pie on a stick. There was supposed to be one other company, but I had to leave by 6:15 so I may have missed it – if it had arrived.
The Downside: 1095 Queen Street was an awkward venue in an awkward location.
The Upside: a chance to match food I never eat with Ontario wines.
The Contact Person:erin@themintagency.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 87.


Chimo! www.deantudor.com
AND http://gothicepicures.blogspot.com
AND https://twitter.com/gothicepicures

Dean Tudor, Ryerson University Journalism Professor Emeritus
Treasurer, Wine Writers' Circle of Canada
Look it up and you'll remember it; screw it up and you'll never forget it.
Creator of Canada's award-winning wine satire site at http://fauxvoixvincuisine.blogspot.com

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Event: dinner with Joseph Carr, founder of Joseph Carr wines and the Josh Cellars line of varietals.

The Date and Time: Wednesday, August 27, 2014  6PM to 9PM
The Event: dinner with Joseph Carr, founder of Joseph Carr wines and the Josh Cellars line of varietals.
The Venue: Biff's
The Target Audience: wine writers
The Availability/Catalogue: coming soon to the LCBO, prices are estimated.
The Quote/Background: Joesph Carr is passionate about his wines. As a negociant, he works with small estate growers and winemakers, even coopers, across California to source hand crafted wines. His company is now just nine years old, and maintains his winemaking philosophy as a chance to follow his dream of producing wines of balance and sophistication. They are all approachable in the distinctive California style, but with Euro lean labeling that stands out from the shelf. He sources his Carr wines from Napa for the reds and Sonoma for the whites. His entry level wines (Josh Cellars) are named after his father, and feature more varietals from all over California. Many are sold in American restaurants, and thus have a higher recognition factor in Canada. He uses two winemakers, one for Josh and one for Carr.
The Wines: We had some Josh Cellars wines for reception, and again with dinner. At dinner, we also had Joseph Carr wines from Napa.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Josh Cellars Legacy Red, $21.95 (FAVE of the night), with merlot-zinfandel-syrah-petite sirah.
-Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, $19.95
-Joseph Carr Cabernet Sauvignon Napa, under $30
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Josh Cellars Chardonnay, $17.95
-Josh Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, $17.95
-Joseph Carr Merlot Napa, under $30
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Josh Cellars Pinot Noir, $21.95
 
The Food: at the reception we had pork rillettes, oysters, and cheese croquembouche.  Dinner had choices. I opted for protein to catch the wines, so I began with smoked trout with apple and fennel (Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay did a great job of accompanying the food), followed by filet mignon (bleu for me) with smoked eggplant puree, and then orange and fennel bavarois. I had a wide variety of wines with the filet, but I thought the cabernets went best.
The Downside: I had just come from a frustrating ticket exchange for seats at the Met opera.
The Upside: a chance to connect with Joseph Carr.
The Contact Person: jcarr@josephcarrwine.com; rsandham@thekirkwoodgroup.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 89.


Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Event: a tasting of the Cuvee 2014 Winemakers selections, August 27/14

The Date and Time: Wednesday, August 27, 2014  1PM to 3PM
The Event: a tasting of the Cuvee 2014 Winemakers selections.
The Venue: LCBO Summerhill Scrivener Square
The Target Audience: Wine Writers' Circle of Canada plus guests.
The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are available through the winery and, in some cases, also through the LCBO.
The Quote/Background: WCO had stopped previewing Cuvee wines for the press, and in the transfer of Cuvee to Brock University, there was an opportunity for the WWCC to taste the wines as they came to market. Next year's tasting is expected to be in March.
The Wines: we tasted some 35 wines. I personally enjoyed the Wild Ferment savvy from Hillebrand and the Benchmark Red from Thirty Bench best of all. The Coyote's Run Meritage was the only red wine with a screw cap; about half of the whites had cork closures. There were no sparkling or ice wines submitted in Cuvee.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Bachelder, Niagara 2011    Chardonnay, Wismer Vineyard $44.95   
-Cave Spring Cellars    2010    Riesling CSV Estate Bottled $29.95   
-Hillebrand Estates 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, Clean Slate, Wild Ferment $32 (MY FAVE WHITE)
-Niagara College Teaching Winery Balance 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, Lincoln Lakeshore $12.95   
-Peller Estates    2013    Sauvignon Blanc, Private Reserve $18.75   
-Southbrook    2011    Winemakers' White "Whimsy"    Chard / Sem / Muscat    $35   
-Strewn    2011    Chardonnay, French Oak $24.95   
-Cornerstone Estate Winery     2010    Cabernet-Merlot $19   
-G. Marquis    2010    Epic - Silver Line    M / CS / CF    $29.95   
-Henry of Pelham Family Estate     2011    Baco Noir Reserve    $24.95   
-Inniskillin    2012    Merlot Reserve Series    $24.95   
-Rennie Estate Winery    2011    Assemblage "G"    M / CS / CF     $55    (16.9% ABV)
-Rockway Vineyards    2011    Small Lot, Block 11-140 Cabernet Franc $24.95   
-Thirty Bench     2010    Benchmark Red, Small Lot Meritage Blend $60 (MY FAVE RED)
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Jackson Triggs Niagara Estate2012 White Meritage, Grand Reserve SB 80/Sem 20 $24.95   
-Nyarai Cellars    2012    Viognier $21.95   
-Peninsula Ridge    2013    Sauvignon Blanc, Wismer Vineyard $19.95   
-Big Head Wines     2012    Pinot Noir    $48   
-Chateau des Charmes    2012    Merlot, St. David's Vineyard $29.95   
-Cooper's Hawk Vineyard    2012    Merlot Reserve $34.95   
-Pillitteri Estates Winery    2010    Exclamation Winemakers's Red Reserve $45   
-The Foreign Affair    2012    The Conspiracy    Meritage Blend    $19.95   
-Stratus    2010    Red     CS/M/PV/CF       
-Coyote's Run Estate Winery    2010    Meritage     $39.95 (the only red with a twist top)
-Hidden Bench Vineyards    2011    Pinot Noir, Beamsville Bench    $32.75   
-Kacaba    2011    Syrah, Terrace Vineyard    $24.95   
-Le Clos Jordanne    2011    Pinot Noir, Village Reserve $30   
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Calamus Estate Winery    2013    Pinot Gris     $16.95   
-Pelee Island Winery    2012    Singing Moon Pinot Blanc    $14.95   
-Reif Estate Winery    2012    Gewurztraminer Reserve    $19.95   
-Ridge Road Estate Winery    2013    Pinot Gris $16.95   
-Thirteenth Street Wine Co.    2011    Essence ArĂ´me    White Blend    $34.95   
-Domaine Queylus    2011    Pinot Noir Reserve $45   
-Magnotta    2010    Limited Edition Cabernet Franc $18.95   
-Malivoire Wine Co.    2011    Courtney Gamay    $24.95   
-Vieni    2011    Aglianico Al Passo    Aglianico    $29.95   
 
The Contact Person: btatarnic@brocku.ca
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 95.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Sunday, August 31, 2014

* THE REISSUES, THE REPRINTS, AND THE NEWER EDITIONS...

...all reflect a boom in the cookbook publishing business. A paperback reprint will lower the cost to the purchaser, and also give a publisher a chance to correct egregious errors or add a postscript. Some will reissue a book in paper covers with a new layout or photos. Others will rearrange existing material to present it as more informative text while keeping the focus tight. Some magazines will reissue popular or classic recipes in an "easy" format. Here are some recent "re-editions"...
 
 
25.EATING ON THE WILD SIDE; the missing link to optimum health (Little,
Brown and Co., 2013, 2014, 408 pages, ISBN 978-0-316-22793-3, $16 US soft
covers) is by Jo Robinson, a health writer and food activist in
Washington state. She's the author or co-author of some 14 books, and
runs www.eatwild.com. This is the paperback reprint of the 2013 book.
The premise of her book is to choose present-day
foods that approach the nutritional content of wild plants —our
original diet. Game, although on the website, is not covered in the
book. Log rollers include Andrew Weil and Loren Cordain. Ever since
agriculture was "domesticated", the nutrient value of produce has
diminished. Some wild potatoes have up to 20 times more anti-oxidants
than today's russets; wild tomatoes can have up to 30 times more
lycopene than most supermarket varieties. You do not necessarily have
to go foraging in the wild for such plants, but certain heritage
varieties are better for you than others, and they are worth seeking
out. Part one covers veggies (wild greens, alliums, corn, root
vegetables, tomatoes, crucifers, legumes, artichokes, et al). Part two
covers fruits (apples, berries, stone fruit, grapes, citric, tropical
fruits, melons). For each, there is a description of what the past has
been, what the present is now (and how we got that way), the loss of
diversity, storage, eating, a recipe, a table of recommended varieties
(with comments for each), and "points to remember". She tells you how to store broccoli in a way that increases its antioxidants by a quarter more. Frozen
berries can be thawed to double their anti-oxidants. Tearing romaine
lettuce the day BEFORE you eat it doubles its anti-oxidant content.
Cooked carrots have twice as much beta-carotene as raw carrots. Orange
juice made from concentrate has almost 50% more anti-oxidants than
fresh or canned juice. The 14 preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/Price Rating: 89.
 
 
26.THE ILLUSTRATED COOK'S BOOK OF INGREDIENTS; 2,500 of the world's
best with classic recipes (DK, 2010, 2013, 544 pages, ISBN 978-1-4654-1460-1,
$22.95 Canadian soft covers) is a nice book package from DK. This is the 2013 paperback reprint of the 2010 hard cover book. According to
the publisher, the reader can learn how to buy, store, prepare, cook,
preserve and eat about 2500 international foods. It's a visual
reference with thousands of photos and major contributions from such
top UK writers as Jill Norman (Elizabeth David's editor) on herbs and
spices, Jeff Cox on veggies, Judy Ridgway on oils and vinegars,
Clarissa Hyman on fruit, and the American Juliet Harbutt, cheese
consultant. Each has a separate chapter, so the book is not an
alphabetically arranged reference tool (there is an index). It's also a
heavy book because of the paper needed for the photos. 200 classic
regional recipes are also here. Some examples, such as "Slinzega: made in
Valtellina using smaller strips than bresaola, traditionally horse, but
increasingly venison or pork.", or p.154 has some nifty pix
of offal, including tongue and a pig's head. Preparations have their ingredients
listed mostly in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no metric table
of equivalents. The index is a gem, with leading and a larger than
normal typeface. It's pretty hard to beat the price of this book. Quality/Price Rating: 89.
 
 
27.ASD: THE COMPLETE AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER HEALTH & DIET GUIDE (Robert Rose, 2014, 408 pages, ISBN 978-0-7788-0473-4, $24.95 CAN paper covers) is by R. Garth Smith (developmental pediatrician), Susan Hannah (research associate), and Elke Sengmueller (registered dietician). Together they have created a package of material about ASD, from mild impairment to severely disabled. The first two parts cover what ASD is and how to manage it (120 pages). Then there are fifty pages on "feeding therapy" and "dietary therapy", leading to a gluten-free casein-free (GFCF) diet program which can be useful if children have milk and/or wheat allergies, food sensitivities, or gastrointestinal difficulties. This is followed by the 175 recipes, all GFCF and arranged by course. These come from 36 other Rose cookbooks (there is a list), and they are all consistent in their layout with chef notes, tips, advice, and nutrient listings per serving. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. At the back, there are resources and references for further reading or Internet viewing, plus, of course, an index. I cannot comment on
the ASD material, but the preps are of the usual Rose quality. Quality/price rating: 89.
 
 
28.FRESH PANTRY: eat seasonally, cook smart & learn to love your vegetables (Skipstone, 2014; distr. Raincoast, 256 pages, ISBN 978-1-59485-817-8, $21.95 US paper covers) is by  Amy Pennington, a Seattle cook, writer, and urban farmer (GoGo Green Garden). She's also the host of a PBS food show. Urban Pantry was her last book, but her current one (Fresh Pantry) is based on her monthly e-short series of the same name. Here she tells us how to select, prepare, and dine on fresh in-season veggies every day of the year. The 120 preps here are arranged by season, beginning with winter (cabbage, winter squash, onions) and moving through spring (rhubarb, lettuce), the berries and tomatoes of summer, and the peppers and kale of autumn. There are other vegetables too, but this is not a "vegetarian" book – she's also got meats (rhubarb-tarragon sausage) and fish (summer squash and corn fritters with lox). She's even got a 17 item pantry for us to use, after making the condiments. There is a list of recipes by course, as well as a developed index. Try Korean ribs with pumpkin puree, toasted pecan and cranberry relish,  or caraway-beet chutney. Good notes on growing. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
 
 
29.IDIOT'S GUIDES: The Anti-Inflammation Diet. 2D ed.(Alpha Books, 2014; distr. DK, 316 pages, ISBN 978-1-61564-430-8, $18.95 US paper covers) is by Christopher Cannon, MD, and Heidi McIndoo, RD. It was originally published in 2006 as The Complete Idiot's Guide etc. … There's been renewed interest in increased inflammation and its linkage to heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and many more including cancer and IBS. It is more a question of eating whole unprocessed foods and avoiding refined foods entirely. Thus, for the most part, you would need to do your own cooking or visit known restaurants. As with many other such basic how-to books, there is a detailed table of contents and a larger index, both to facilitate easy retrieval. Recipes are scattered about depending on the topic, and cover a range of foods (fats, grains, fish, meat, fruits, and veggies). There are chapters on the principles of dieting, nutrition, dining out, food shopping strategies, supplements and herbs, stress and weight reduction, exercises, plus commentary on other diets. The 60 or so preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
 
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Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Monday, August 25, 2014

WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR AUGUST 30, 2014

WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR AUGUST 30, 2014
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com.
Creator of Canada's award-winning wine satire site at
 
"Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net" is a guide to thousands of news
 
items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, at
 
www.deantudor.com since 1994. My LCBO tastings are based on MVC (Modal
 
Varietal Character); ratings are QPR (Quality-to-Price Ratio). Prices
 
are LCBO retail. Only my top rated wines are here. NOTE: The LCBO does
 
NOT put out all of the wines of the release for wine writers or product
 
consultants. Corked wines are not normally available for a re-tasting.
 
NOTE: It is getting more difficult to endorse wines under $20 for the
 
simple reason that the LCBO does not release many of them into the
 
Vintages program, ones that can be deemed to be worthy of your
 
consideration. So I will now just ADD some "under $25" suggestions,
 
along with point values.
 
 
====?>>> ** BEST WINE VALUE OF THE RELEASE *UNDER* $20
 
Boekenhoutskloof Porcupine Ridge Syrah/Viognier 2012 WO Swartland,
 
+79442, $16.95: smokey syrah with guts and fruit, twist top, 14% ABV,
 
great price. QPR: 92.
 
TOP VALUE WHITE WINES under $25:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
1.Blue Mountain Chardonnay 2012 Okanagan Valley, +350108, $23.95, QPR:
 
90.
2.Elk Cove Pinot Gris 2013 Willamette Valley, +955906, $24.95, QPR: 90.
3.Schloss Reinhartshausen Hattenheimer Wisselbrunnen Riesling Kabinett
 
2012 Rheingau, +114801, $20.95, QPR: 91.
4.Featherstone Black Sheep Riesling 2013 VQA Niagara Peninsula, +80234,
 
$16.95: typically Mosel-like, nicely soft but with stuffing for a
 
finish. 9.5% ABV, twist top. QPR: 89.
5.Chateau Ste.Michelle Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Columbia Valley, +385740,
 
$15.95: fruity west coast style, zestiness played down, good value, 13%
 
ABV, cork closure. QPR: 89.
6.Simonsig Chenin Blanc 2013 WO Stellenbosch, +981167, $13.95: good
 
alternative to savvy wine, lively fruit, longer finish with mid-palate
 
fruitiness and finishing acid, twist top, 13.5% ABV. QPR: 89.
7.Joseph Cattin Pinot Gris 2012 Alsace, +196956, $16.95: lovely ripe
 
pear tones and stone fruit, great body, 13% ABV. Gold Medalist. QPR: 89.
8.Vieil Armand Medaille Riesling 2010 Alsace, +377754, $15.95: loaded
 
with minerality and orchard fruit, but lacks petrol character. Gold
 
Medalist. QPR: 89.
9.Henri Bourgeois Petit Bourgeois Sauvignon Blanc 2013 IGP Vins de Pays
 
du Val de Loire, +672345, $15.95: a light tight savvy, along the lines
 
of Touraine, 12% ABV, twist top. QPR: 89.
 
TOP VALUE RED WINES under $25:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
1.Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir 2012 Yarra Valley, +178897, $21.95, QPR:
 
90.
2.Longview Yakka Shiraz 2010 Adelaide Hills South Australia, +378539,
 
$22.95, QPR: 90.
3.Domaine des Amouriers Signature Vacqueyras 2011, +381038, $24.95, QPR:
 
89.
4.Brancaia Tre 2011 IGT Toscana, +164715, $23.95, QPR: 89.
5.Bodegas San Prudencio Depadre 2009 Rioja, +379917, $22.95, QPR: 90.
6.Chateau des Charmes Estate Bottled Old Vines Pinot Noir 2010 VQA NOTL,
 
+256834, $18.95: delightful aged character from older vines, some forest
 
floor to support the fruit. QPR: 89.
7.Domaine Jean Bousquet Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Tupungato
 
Mendoza, +678813, $14.95: organic grapes, MVC for cabby savvy, black
 
fruit and black mushrooms, value priced, 15% (!) ABV. QPR: 89.
8.Maipe Reserve Malbec 2012 Mendoza, +247320, $14.95: aged a year in
 
French oak, showing dark plums and chocolate, value priced at 14.5% ABV.
 
QPR: 89.
9.Sister's Run Cow's Corner Grenache/Shiraz/Mataro 2011 Barossa,
 
+346510, $15.95: has BBQ written all over it, stamped on your palate.
 
14.5% ABV, twist top. QPR: 89.
10.Maison Sichel Chateau Argadens 2011 Bordeaux Superieur, +681643,
 
$17.95: reasonably-priced entry level Bordeaux, typical but instantly
 
recognizable as Bordeaux. QPR: 89.
11.San Marzano Falo Negroamaro 2012 IGT Salento Puglia, +380212, $14.95:
 
ripe, firm, fruity, North American soft tannins appeal, 13.5% ABV, good
 
price point. Gold Medalist. QPR: 89.
12.Quinto do Quetzal Guadalupe Red 2011 Vinho Regional Alentejano,
 
+336313, $13.95: lots of character, red fruit-driven, bright, longer
 
length through dryness. QPR: 89.
13.Barahonda Barrica Monastrell/Syrah 2011 DO Yecla, +378869, $17.95: in
 
French oak for six months, fruit from 45-year old vines, 15% ABV, very
 
good dark fruit and underbrush. QPR: 89.
14.Bodegas Campina Sabor Real Vinas Centenarias Tempranillo 2007 DO
 
Toro, +244772, $15.95: another nicely aged Spanish wonder, longer
 
length, some wood tones among the raisinated flavours. QPR: 89.
 
VALUE: "RESTAURANT READY" or "BRING YOUR OWN WINE BOTTLE" over $25
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Restaurants should consider offering these FINE VALUE wines at a $10
 
markup over retail; the wines are READY to enjoy right NOW. Consumers
 
should buy these wines to bring to restaurants with corkage programs.
 
1.Adelsheim Chardonnay 2013 Willamette Valley, +332833, $25.95 retail.
2.Bernard Reverdy & Fils Sancerre 2012, +200055, $25.95.
3.Sperling Vineyards Pinot Noir 2012 Okanagan Valley, +382283, $27.95.
4.Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Napa Valley, +642124, $79.95.
5.La Crema Pinot Noir 2012 Willamette Valley, +385757, $34.95.
6.Penfolds Bin 128 Shiraz 2012 Coonawarra, +509919, $34.95.
10.Chateau Fourcas-Borie 2010 Listrac, +361048, $29.95.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Event: A Winemaker RAW experience with South African KWV winemaker Izel van Blerk

The Date and Time: Tuesday August 5, 2014   6PM to 8PM
The Event: A Winemaker RAW experience with South African KWV winemaker Izel van Blerk
The Venue: iYellow Wine Cave (Queen and University)
The Target Audience: wine media and regulars of iYellow Club
The Availability/Catalogue: all wines are available via LCBO or private order.
The Quote/Background: Angela Aiello had initiated a meet and greet series, between her some of her club members and the wine media. This time it was Ms. Van Blerk from KWW. We briefly chatted (she had to see everybody one on one) on her winemaking skills – she's been woith the company for awhile but now she is in charge of the brands we tasted. I had commented to her on how the Cathedral Cellar Chardonnay had gradually lost its oak component over the years since 2005 (it was 50% oak aged by last year) but this new vintage was terrific. She pointed out that it was now 75% barrel aged.
The Wines: I did not try the Paarl Cape Ruby port, nor the Paarl Five Star Brandy.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-KWV Cathedral Cellar Brut Methode Cap Classique 2010, +296426, $16.95
-KWV Cathedral Cellar Chardonnay 2012, +328559, $15.95
-KWV Contemporary Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2013, +544668, $9.45
-KWV The Mentors Chenin Blanc 2012, +18689, $24.95 PO from Von Terra
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-KWV Cathedral Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, +328839, $15.95
-Cafe Culture Coffee Mocha Pinotage 2013, +292466, $12.95
-KWV The Mentors Canvas 2011 [2/3 shiraz, rhone blend] +348839, $24.95 PO Von Terra
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-KWV Contemporary Chenin Blanc 2013, +18689, $9.50
-KWV Roodeberg Red 2012, +7187, $12.40
 
The Food: biscuits and bread, water, and avariety of cheeses via Cheese Boutique – there were Ossau Isaty, Pied-de-Vent, St. Maure, Montasio, and cheddar from PQ.
The Downside: it took me a few minutes to find the cave entrance, and then I had to carefully adjust my eyes to the stairs leading down.
The Upside: a chance to meet Izele van Blerk
The Contact Person: ange@iyellowwinegroup.com; vblerki@kwv.co.za; amikaelian@thekirkwoodgroup.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 91.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Thursday, August 21, 2014

* THE RESTAURANT/CELEBRITY COOKBOOK...

 
...is one of the hottest trends in cookbooks. Actually, they've been around for many years, but never in such proliferation. They are automatic best sellers, since the book can be flogged at the restaurant or TV show and since the chef ends up being a celebrity somewhere, doing guest cooking or catering or even turning up on the Food Network. Most of these books will certainly appeal to fans of the chef and/or the restaurant and/or the media personality. Many of the recipes in these books actually come off the menus of the restaurants involved. Occasionally, there will be, in these books, special notes or preps, or recipes for items no longer on the menu. Stories or anecdotes will be related to the history of a dish. But because most of these books are American, they use only US volume measurements for the ingredients; sometimes there is a table of metric equivalents, but more often there is not. I'll try to point this out. The usual shtick is "favourite recipes made easy for everyday cooks". There is also PR copy on "demystifying ethnic ingredients". PR bumpf also includes much use of the magic phrase "mouth-watering recipes" as if that is what it takes to sell such a book. I keep hearing from readers, users, and other food writers that some restaurant recipes (not necessarily from these books) don't seem to work at home, but how could that be? The books all claim to be kitchen tested for the home, and many books identify the food researcher by name. Most books are loaded with tips, techniques, and advice, as well as gregarious stories about life in the restaurant world. Photos abound, usually of the chef bounding about. The celebrity books, with well-known chefs or entertainers, seem to have too much self-involvement and ego. And, of course, there are a lot of food photo shots, verging on gastroporn. There are endorsements from other celebrities in magnificent cases of logrolling. If resources are cited, they are usually American mail order firms, with websites. Some companies, though, will ship around the world, so don't ignore them altogether. Here's a rundown on the latest crop of such books –
 
 
 
 
15.DELICIOUSLY VINTAGE (Ryland Peters & Small, 2014, 144 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-486-6, $24.95 US hard covers) is by Victoria Glass who runs Victoria's Cake Boutique. She also does design work for the cakes, and has written Boutique Wedding Cakes. Here she concentrates on sixty baking classics (cookies, cakes, pastries). They range from jumbles to chocolate chip cookies, scones, Victoria sponge cakes, sachertorte, eclairs, lemon meringue pie, trifle, madeleines, Black Forest, peach cobbler and more. All of them are easy enough o do, and it is good to have them all under one set of covers. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric (mostly) and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
 
 
16.MARY BERRY COOKS; my favourite recipes for family and friends (BBC Books; distr. Random House Canada, 2014, 320 pages, ISBN 978-1-849-90663-0, $39.95 CAN hard covers) is meant to accompany the TV series of the same name, for the BBC. It is a new collection of her preps, covering about 100 recipes. It's arranged by plate or course, beginning with the primer and moving on to quick bites, canapes, starters and apps, veggies, salads, cold desserts and hot puddings. There are separate chapters on sharing plates, family favourites, suppers, and afternoon tea. It is very British, with aubergines and courgettes, but it is vitally useful to her legion of worldwide fans. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, and there are even tables of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
 
 
 
 
17.MUSSELS; preparing, cooking and enjoying a sensational seafood (Whitecap Books, 2014, 196 pages, ISBN 978-1-77050-214-7, $29.95 CAN paper covers) is by personality Alain Bosse (chef, consultant, food editor) and Linda Duncan (executive director of the Mussel Industry Council). If you love mussels and want to cook them at home, then this is the book for you. The collaborators tell how to purchase, store and prepare mussels. The variety of 77 preps range from classic marniere to curried, risottos and carbonaras to more  contemporary offerings which move into South East Asia or Latin America. There's Tom Kha soup with mussels and lemon grass, mussel ceviche, chorico cider mussels, and sweet Thai chili mussels. Mussel strudel used mangoes. It's arranged by course (apps to BBQ, with sides and breads covered) with plenty of detail on home cooking such as BBQ. They are enthusiastic and the pix are gorgeous. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 89.
 
 
 
18.THE DELICIOUSLY CONSCIOUS COOKBOOK (Hay House, 2014; distr. Raincoast, 240 pages, ISBN 978-1-4019-4580, $19.95 US paper covers) is by Belinda Connolly, a private chef who runs a stall at the Totnes Market in Devon, England. She's got about 100 vegetarian recipes here: many are GF, dairy free, low sugar and/or vegan. There are some notes on her philosophy of cooking plus some memoirish material. This is followed by savoury recipes, from soups to salads to pastries, and then sweet recipes (tarts, cakes, cheesecakes). She's also got a resources section, both US and UK, with some recommended reading. Try her butternut-berry & goat's cheesecake, or Thai cauliflower with coconut and lime as a soup. For the unusual, there is adzuki bean fudge brownies and tropical parsnip and polenta cake. Also mushroom chard and cheddar quiche. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of  equivalents. Quality/price rating: 86.
 
 
 
19.BEEROLOGY (Appetite by Random House, 2014, 179 pages, ISBN 978-0-449-01612-1, $24.95 CAN, paper covers) is by Mirella Amato, a Master Cicerone (a beer sommelier) living in Toronto. Indeed, she is an award-winning judge and the first non-US resident to be a Master Cicerone, and heard on CBC Radio. Any book with French flaps and the word "Cicerone" gets my immediate attention. She's written a convincing introduction to the world of suds, one that is not gung-ho with machismo prowess, thus it appeals to women as well. There's some log rolling from Brooklyn Brewery and Dogfish, both American craft breweries, but the book needs American sales to thrive. Amato has been promoting local beer and beer appreciation since 2007. The first part of the book deals with the mechanics of making beer and other basics. Then she has a section on beer styles, ranging from light to heavy, with top notch descriptions, what each is fun with, food to pair with, and some international label examples (there are a lot of Canadian and US examples here). The last section is the "entertaining" one, with points on constructing a beer tasting, pairing beer with food, and beer cocktails. These have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements. At the end, there is a resources section with a glossary, evaluation sheet, beer flavour wheel, and some visual reference charts. There is more to be found at beerology.ca where she has news and a blog. Quality/price rating: 90.
 
 
20.SCOOP ADVENTURES; the best ice cream of the 50 states (Page Street, 2014, 191 pages, ISBN 978-1-62414-034-1, $19.99 US soft covers) is by Lindsay Clendaniel, a blogger at scoopadventures.com. It comes with log rolling endorsements from some head pastry chefs. Here are the preps from great ice cream shops in New York, Maryland, Illinois – at least one per state. Clendaniel has adapted the recipes from the creameries for home use. There are over 80 ice creams here, with anecdotes behind the flavours, photos of the shops (but not the people) and photos of the finished scoop. It is arranged by region; even DC is covered. There are names and locations for each place, including websites (but for three places, just phone numbers: nice to know that not everybody is on the web. And their ice cream is also old-fashioned). Try key lime pie ice cream, purple cow ice cream, or chipotle raspberry ice cream. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, with no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.
 
 
 
21.MERINGUE GIRLS; incredible sweets everybody can make. (Chronicle Books, 2014; distr. Raincoast, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-3353-9, $19.95 US hard covers) is by Alex Hoffler and Stacey O'Gorman, the Meringue Girls in London UK who plan food-events and supply sweets and food stylings. It was originally published in the UK in 2013 by Square Peg. It is a basic book about what you can do with meringues, incorporating ideas for design. There are many preps for kisses, summery desserts, and winery puddings, plus gift ideas.  Of particular value is the chapter on "using your yolks". In addition to the regular meringue method, they highlight three others: marshmallow meringue, Italian meringue, and maple meringue. It is an extremely colourful and playful book, bound to reward all younger readers. Try almond meringue roulade, Eton mess, pomegranate meringue slab, or meringue Easter eggs. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
 
 
 
22.PALEO GRILLING; a modern caveman's guide to cooking with fire (Fair Winds Press, 2014, 176 pages, ISBN 978-1-59233-612-8, $22.99 US paper covers) is by Tony Federico, who hosts a paleo radio show and is a full-time writer, and James Phelan, who last was chef at Matthews' restaurant in Florida but is now a gourmet paleo delivery service. So this is the paleo guy book of meats and sides. There are also drinks and desserts, but mercifully short with only five apiece. There are over 100 preps here for grilling (charcoal, gas, smoking, BBQ), along with a primer and a "primal pantry". There's a good section on smoking without a smoker and a resources list. Log rolling comes from five other paleo authors. The book is arranged by meat type, and does include wild game and offal. Try smoked offal meatloaf, or BBQ bison ribs, lamb steaks with gremolata, herb-smoked clams, or Korean frilled pork belly. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements. Quality/price rating: 88.
 
 
 
23.CAESARS; the essential guide to your favourite cocktail (Appetite by Random House, 2014,  200 pages, ISBN 978-0-449-01648-0, $19.95 CAN paper covers) is by Clint Pattemore, chief "mixing officer" for Mott's Clamato; he has been the brand ambassador since 2012. Connie DeSousa and John Jackson, partners in CHARCUT Roast House in Calgary, developed the 20 food recipes designed to accompany or "pair" with the 50 drinks here (which include such variations as blackberry lemon Caesar, Thai mango Caesar, and smoked lime and tequila Caesar). A Caesar or Bloody Caesar is a cocktail created and primarily consumed in Canada. It typically contains vodka, Clamato (a proprietary blend of tomato juice and clam broth), hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce, and is served with ice in a large, celery salt-rimmed glass, typically garnished with a stalk of celery and wedge of lime. The Caesar was invented in Calgary (1969) by Walter Chell to celebrate the opening of his new Italian restaurant in the city. It quickly became a popular mixed drink within Canada where over 350 million Caesars are consumed annually and it has inspired numerous variants. However, the drink remains virtually unknown outside Canada. The standard is vodka with clam and tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce and "other" spices, quite similar to a Bloody Mary. But like the Martini, it has been popularized with other base alcohols. All of the preps here use some product from Mott (such as Mr. and Mrs. T), but you can, of course, substitute your own. The arrangement of the drinks is by season. None of the food recipes use Mott materials, except for one vinaigrette. All of them have been paired with a suggested "Caesar" of different provenance. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements. Try some figs stuffed with blue cheese, turkey breast porchetta, or grilled asparagus with tarragon dipping sauce. Quality/price rating: 85.
 
 
 
24.THE POUND A DAY DIET (Grand Central Life & Style, 2014, 298 pages, ISBN 978-1-4555-2367-2, $26 US hard covers) is by Rocco DiSpirito, a Beard winner and author of 9 other diet and cookbooks. He founded Union Pacific restaurant (which became a major food show on US TV), and is also now a host on the Food Network. This current book says that you can lose up to 5 pounds in 5 days by eating the foods you love. This is accelerated weight loss by virtue of eating six low-calorie meals a day. The principles are explained, followed by the recipes for both the diet and the maintenance program. There are about 60 recipes, mostly quick and easy, and with five ingredients or fewer. There is also some advice on how to buy store-bought versions of the main foods. He's got some menus and shopping lists as well as calorie counts. Typical preps include rotisserie chicken and teriyaki Asian noodles, turkey Alfredo, cab taco, frozen dark chocolate shake, and sweet potato chips. Worth a shot. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. At the end there is a resources list. Quality/price rating: 85.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

SOME MORE FOOD AND DRINK BOOKS IN REVIEW

KEEP YOUR BRAIN YOUNG (Robert Rose, 2014, 384 pages, ISBN 978-0-7788-0472-7, $24.95 CAN soft covers) is by Fraser Smith, ND, prominent naturopathic academic, and Ellie Aghdassi, PhD, RD, dementia researcher and academic in Toronto. It is a book in line with other self-health books from Rose, covering arthritis, skin, diabetes, liver, et al. Because we are all growing older, we need to keep our brains in shape to avoid neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. It is more important than ever to age well. The book deftly summarizes the issues on age-related diseases, proposes a 12-step healthy brain diet to help prevent or delay damage, and has 150 recipes done up in Rose style, with tips and notes and nutrient tables. Recipes come from other Rose books, and these are noted as to author or authority. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no overall table of equivalents.  At the end there are periodical and book references as well as websites and web-pages listed.
Audience and level of use: those interested in a program to prevent brain damage.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: the number of those with Alzheimer's is expected to triple by 2050. Anti-oxidants from fruits and veggies can protect the brain against disease. The brain can make new neural connections in the elderly.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.
 
 
 
4.HOMEGROWN TEA; an illustrated guide to planting, harvesting, and blending teas and tisanes (St.Martin's Griffin, 2014, 272 pages, ISBN 978-1-250-03941-5, $23.99 US paper covers) is by Cassie Liversidge, a UK gardener-food writer who last wrote Grow Your Own Pasta Sauce, about eating home grown food. Here she looks at tea gardening (backyard, balcony, and window sill). She delves into growing tea from seeds, cuttings and small plants. She gives details on when and how to harvest, plus how to prepare and dry the teas for year-long storage. She's got sections on nutritional and medicinal benefits as well as an illustrated guide on prepping fresh and dried teabags. Arrangement is by part of the plant: leaves, followed by seeds, fruits, flowers, and roots. There is also a plant reference chart, and index of plants, and some recommended sources.
Audience and level of use: a book for the tea completist.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: under sage, she lists varieties and botanical names, medical benefits, growing, harvesting, making the tea, some relevant tips for making bag blends – as well as an illustration of the leaves.
The downside to this book: no recipes for cooking with teas.
The upside to this book: good encouragement for tea drinkers.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
 
 
5.LOW & SLOW; the art and technique of braising, BBQ, and slow roasting (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014, 246 pages, ISNM 978-1-118-10591-7, $19.99 US hard covers) is by Robert Briggs (professor) and the Culinary Institute of America. The basic principles here concern low heat and slow cooking times for prepping tough but flavourful cuts of meat. It tells one how to make the most of every cut of meat, any time of the year. There are chapters on homemade rubs and sauces, plus some accompanying sides to prepare. It is arranged by the three techniques, and each chapter begins with a master recipe, with all the techniques fully illustrated and explained. Under braising, there are two recipes for each prep, one using a slow cooker, the other a stovetop or oven braise. Under BBQ, there are extensive notes on prepping and regional styles. The emphasis throughout is on international cuisine influences. It is a good thorough book, with plenty of techniques illustrated and good suggestions for sides. Just under 100 preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: beginning cooks, and men.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: braised pulled pork BBQ sandwiches; Korean-style braised short ribs; beef braised in beer and onions; braised oxtail; Moroccan chicken tagine; Eastern North Carolina BBQ pork butt; spit-roasted garlic and lime chicken.
The downside to this book: could have had more recipes.
The upside to this book: very compact.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
 
 
6.THE FRENCH COOK: souffles (Gibbs Smith, 2014, 128
pages, ISBN 978-1-4236-3612-0, $21.99 US hard covers) is by Greg Patent, a Bear Award winning author for 2002, a blogger, and radio host. This is the third in a new series on French cuisine, here dealing with the basics of souffles: mainly how to beat eggs and how to create the sauces. There are photos and step-by-step techniques. The basic souffles are here (hot, cold, sweet, savoury, molded, unmolded) plus more and some variations are noted. The book is set up as a primer for beginners. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is a table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: beginner
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: leek and pancetta souffle; fennel and salmon; chocolate; vanilla; fresh fruit; almond and praline.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
 
 
 
7.300 BEST HOMEMADE CANDY RECIPES; brittles, caramels, chocolates, fudge, truffles & so much more (Robert Rose, 2014, 288 pages, ISBN 978-0-7788-0475-8, $24.95 CAN soft covers) is by Jane Sharrock, who comes from a long line of candy-makers (her mother was also a Home Ec professor). This is candy as it used to be, and it you really want to duplicate it, try using organic fair-trade sugar for authenticity (that's my opinion). There's a primer for candymaking, sections dealing with heirloom candies, fudge, farmhouse faves, and short and sweet for a quick fix. Thus, there are chocolates, pralines, creams, toffee, holiday treats, and no-bake cookies. There are two indexes: one by level of difficulty, from novice to expert) and one alphabetical by ingredient. The book is also loaded with cook's notes and tips for most recipes.  Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. This is the usual thorough Robert Rose package.
Audience and level of use: beginner to intermediate
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: caramel pecan pralines; Mexican candy; Mexican orange drops; patience candy; brown candy; butterscotch nut marshmallows; lollipops; turtles; raspberry fudge truffles.
The downside to this book: I really don't think we should eat this much candy, so the 300 recipes should really last us a lifetime before repeats. But she does have a top 40 list, so begin with those.
The upside to this book: there is an excellent selection of popcorn candy recipes.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.
 
 
8.SOUTHWEST DUTCH OVEN (Gibbs Smith, 2014, 128 pages, ISBN 978-1-4236-3635-9, $15.99 US spiral bound) is by George and Carolyn Dumler, both seasoned Dutch oven cooks preparing food for large crowds. They have qualified for the World Championships every year since 2009. Indeed, some of these preps here are reprinted from cookbooks of the 2010-2012 World Championship Cook-Off Dutch Oven Recipes. There's a primer, and then the book is arranged by course or ingredient such as chiles, sauces, sides, mains, breads, and desserts. There is also a menu for a big Southwestern Thanksgiving, with nine recipes. This must be the tenth book published this year on Dutch ovens: a really popular item?
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is a table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: Dutch oven users.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: mashed potatoes; turkey with chile garlic marinade; turkey breast with chipotle gravy; chorizo and pistachio stuffing; corn pudding; cheddar jalapeno twists; tequila cranberry compote; pumpkin pinon bread; and pecan chile pie.
The downside to this book: ripped out pages are easy (spiral binding)
The upside to this book: spiral bound, lies flat.
Quality/Price Rating: 86.
 
 
9.GLUTEN-FREE MADE EASY (Front Table Books, 2014, 268 pages, ISBN 978-1-4621-1408-5, $22.99 US paper covers) is by Christi Silbaugh and Michelle Vilseck. Silbaugh is an active blogger, with three on the go, plus lots more food social media interactions; her daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2009. Vilseck has needed to be gluten-free for the past 11 years or so. Together they have created more than 150 preps in this book plus the tips and tricks involved in putting the dishes together. There's a primer (here, called FAQ) and some resources, plus a glossary and endnotes. The thrust here is on family cooking, so there are lots of things that kids could make, eat and enjoy. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are also tables of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: those who need GF foods.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: raspberry breakfast bars; peanut butter power balls; cauliflower pizza crust and cheesy bread; parmesan crusted halibut; mini-taco salads; flour-free cloud bread.
The downside to this book: like many other GF books, this one – sadly – has no "chewy" bread recipe. It's the Holy Grail of GF food.
The upside to this book: I love the large print and the bolding of the ingredient lists.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
 
 
10.COOKING TECHNIQUES AND RECIPES WITH OLIVE OIL (Two Extra Virgins, 2014, 132 pages, ISBN 978-0-9893289-2-0, $26.95 US hard covers) is by Mary Platis and Laura Bashar. They have a variety of olive oil social media websites (Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Google Plus, and more). This book originated as an ebook; in fact, it was a gold medalist as a Global Ebook Award. They have basic olive oil information followed by chapters devoted to poaching, braising, marinating, steaming and baking. There are also some bibliographic references at the end. Lots of tips and advice, nicely integrated with the photos. Prep times and cook times are indicated. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: beginning cooks.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: Rosemary-Garlic Lamb Chops with Mashed Potatoes and Artichokes; Tuna with Citrus and Avocado Salad; Greek Style Vegetables with Tomatoes; Chicken Kabobs with Cucumber-Mint Barley; Stuffed Grape Leaves with Brown Rice, Kale and Fresh Herbs; Olive Oil Almond Cookies with Rosewater and Cardamom; Olive Oil and Vanilla Ice Cream; Watermelon Shooters with Persia Mint Syrup and Olive Oil.
The downside to this book: as a basic book, it could use a few more recipes.
The upside to this book: great photography.
Quality/Price Rating: 86.
 
 
11.THE GREEK YOGURT KITCHEN (Grand Central Life & Style, 2014; distr. Hachette, 242 pages, ISBN 978-1-4555-5120-0, $20 US paper covers) is by Toby Amidor, MS, RD, a top nutrition advisor and consultant to major groups, including Foodnetwork.com. Here she gives us a basic yogurt cookbook, using Greek yogurt as the base since it is a trendy power food. And with seven log rollers. So long as the nutritional benefits of Greek yogurt carry through, then you can cook with it. Otherwise, it may be best just as it comes out of the fridge. It's a form of yogurt that has been strained to remove a lot of the whey, which results in a lower fat content and higher protein content. This also means that it has lower levels of lactose. If you have to, you could substitute just about any unflavoured organic yogurt. Whatever you do, you must check the label to see what is in the yogurt: go for simple, cultured, and unflavoured. The 133 recipes here are a beginning. They range from traditional breakfast food through snacks, apps, salads, mains, and desserts. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is a table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: those who are lactose sensitive, health food fans.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: crustless mushroom quiche; buttermilk chicken fingers; mexican-sty6led creamed corn; coconut lemon cookies; dulce de leche bowl.
The downside to this book: the use of "Greek" yogurt is overplayed when other forms can also be used.
The upside to this book: good selection of recipes, including one for making your own low-fat Greek yogurt by straining out the whey.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.
 
 
12.MARINADES; the quick-fix way to turn everyday food into exceptional fare, with 400 recipes (Harvard Common Press, 2014; dist. T.Allen, 320 pages, ISBN 978-1-55832-827-3, $17.95 US paper covers) is by Lucy Vaserfirer, recipe developer and cookbook author. This is a great idea for a book, as an alternative to a slow-cooker. With the right marinade, you can dress up meats or veggies in the morning, put the food in the fridge for the day, and finish off the plate at night with a broil, grill, microwave, or saute. Of course, for meat like beef, this only works on the softer textured cuts. The heavy duty stewing meats may be a tad too tough for quick cooking. The 200 marinades here are vinegar-based, oil-based, fruit-based, milk-based, and alcohol-based. There is certainly something for every day; each marinade comes with a recipe that shows one way to use it.  More than half the "suggested use" recipes are for grilled dishes and BBQs, but they can be adapted for indoor use. She opens with the marinades, in separate chapters for herbs, spices, citrus, tomato and the like. Then she moves on to different cuisines, such as southwestern marinades, South American marinades, European, Chines-Japanese-Korean, Southeast Asia, Indian, African, Caribbean, and even "sweet" dessert marinades.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: those willing to experiment or looking for more jazzy flavours.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: Buffalo wing marinade; balsamic-soy marinade; grilled portobellos; cranberry-cider marinade; teriyaki marinade.
The downside to this book: I just wish that there was something that can be done for the bully beef and the mutton, and other tough cuts of meat, that can happen within the 12 hour spread of AM and PM in the fridge.
The upside to this book: there are two indexes, one to the marinades and another to "suggested use".
Quality/Price Rating: 89.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com