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Sunday, October 19, 2014

SOME MORE FOOD AND DRINK BOOKS

3.THE COMPLETE COCONUT COOKBOOK (Robert Rose, 2014, 320 pages, ISBN 978-0-7788-0488-8, $24.95 US paper covers) is by Camilla V. Saulsbury, a freelance food writer and recipe developer (see her www.powerhungry.com blog). I've always been partial to single ingredient cookbooks that are also comprehensive; they tend to give you everything there is to know about a food, such as coconut. Even hard core health food people have embraced high energy coconut dishes. Her book as 200 gluten-free, grain-free and nut-free vegan recipes using coconut flour, oil, sugar, and other non-meat non-dairy vegan ingredients. It is also a typical Robert Rose book with that particular layout and design (large print, both forms of measurement, tips). She has about four dozen pages of notes emphasizing health and food partners for coconut, plus some bibliographic references at the end. She's got a bunch of coconut flour recipes (tortillas, flax bread, flatbread, focaccia, and pie crust), but most of the preps use coconut oil or coconut milk in place of dairy and fats. All courses are covered, from breakfast through desserts, with beverages, breads, and cakes. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements.
Audience and level of use: vegans, healthy lifestyle adherents.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: coconut pancakes; Moroccan sweet potato, butter bean and coconut tagine; coconut-braised baby bok choy; raspberry crumble bars.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
 
4.WILL IT WAFFLE? (Workman Publishing, 2014, 210 pages, ISBN 978-0-7611-7646-6, $14.95 US paper covers) is by writer Dan Sumski, currently living in Montreal. It is an attempt to impose waffle structure on a variety of food items. He promotes waffled bacon and eggs (waffle the bacon, waffle the eggs for lacy whites, and a waffle for a platform). Some may say it is too much of a good thing, but if you like the look and appearance of waffles, then you use a waffle appliance for anything that needs to be cooked. And I am all for using these small gadgets since they have a built-in cost of infrequent use and kitchen space. Here are 53 recipes to make in a waffle iron. He likes the Belgian machine best, for its deeper ridges. There's a short section on waffle history and culture, plus equipment use and safety. This is followed by chapters on breakfasts and brunches, mains, snacks and sides, and desserts. There is also a section on pitfalls, such as too little or too much liquid, how to waffle ice cubes and mixed drinks, and other silly stuff. Over all it is worth a look, but I'm sure that if you have a panini machine, it would work just as well – but with different grill marks. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: those who own a waffle maker.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: spaghetti and waffled meatballs; waffled raviolis; waffled calamari salad; bibimbap; s'mores (of course).
Quality/Price Rating: 84.
 
 
5.THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO MAKING MEAD (Voyageur Press, 2014, 160 pages, ISBN 978-0-7603-4564-1, $24.99 US paper covers) is by Steve Piatz, an award-winning beer and mead-maker. He's a Grand Master for the beer judge certification program, and an exam director the the BJCP exam program. It has been awhile since the last mead making book, but here you can find the latest up-to-date techniques. Mead seems to appeal to beer makers since many of the same processes are involved and bottling just involves beer bottles and crown caps. He offers us a brief description of what mead is all about in culture and history; this is followed by materials on mead's character and the varieties involved. He goes on to produce dozens of recipes for the basic meads (only honey), melomel (honey and fruit), metheglins (honey and spices), and braggots (honey and malt), the latter a definite connection to beer making. Chapters cover the basics of ingredients, yeasts, the process, finishing the mead, and bottling. He's got some advanced techniques (clarifying, blending, aging) and recipe development as well. There is a troubleshooting section covering faults (but not for beer malt) and controls, and a concluding glossary of terms. He introduces a log page which can be photocopied for each batch, and a source list. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of  equivalents.
Audience and level of use: home brewers, mead lovers
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: he stresses the no-boil process and the staggered addition of yeast nutrients.
The downside to this book: more recipes, please
The upside to this book: excellent photography for the equipment and use.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
 
 
6.PROOF; the science of booze (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014, 264 pages, ISBN 978-0-547-89796-7, $26 US hard covers) is by Adam Rogers, a science and technology award-winning writer. It comes with some heavy duty log rolling from at last 8 other writers, including a student dropout I once taught in journalism school! He begins with yeast, sugar, fermentation, and CO2 bubbles, and then the distillation process. After that, it is merely a matter of aging, smelling and tasting, reaction of the body, the brain, and then the hangover. At each point he goes into exhaustive detail. It is a scientific history, recapping all the advances that come together in the modern bottle. There is nothing social here such as religion and its impact, nor any mention of the Arabic world's contribution – at least not in the index. He has a discussion about craft brewers and artisanal distillers such as St. George, but little on wine.
Audience and level of use: spirit lovers.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: the major part of the book deals with distillation as it applies to whiskey.
The downside to this book: he doesn't look at the complete decomposition cycle where alcohol will turn to vinegar, and then vinegar to water.
The upside to this book: very well written.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.
 
 
7.THE ULTIMATE BEER LOVER'S HAPPY HOUR (Cumberland House, 2014, 307 pages, ISBN 978-1-4022-9632-1, $14.99 US paper covers) is by John Schlimm who also wrote The Ultimate Beer Lover's Cookbook. He's also a member of the brewing family Straub. Here he's got bar bites, beer cocktails, chasers, punches, etc. with nearly 1000 related pairing suggestions using the modern seasonal beer style. It is all for your own happy hour at home. He's got a short discourse on beer styles and a seasonal beer chart (winter is the time for doppelbock, dunkelweizen, stout and scotch ale). Then he presents different preps for nuts (including the hot spot nut bar with toasted pecans, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, coconut, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and cashews) and pretzels, chickpeas, kale chips, popcorn, etc.), corn fritters and dills, game day sauces/salsas/dips, tapas, pizzas, and burgers. All of it is easy to make. There is a resource guide and a glossary. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: beer hounds.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: see above
The downside to this book: so many preps.
The upside to this book: a good idea for a home Happy Hour. Saves money.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
 
 
 
8.YUMMY SUPPER (Rodale, 2014, 278 pages, ISBN 978-1-60961-544-4, $24.99 US paper covers) is by Erin Scott, creator of the blog www.yummysupper.com. It comes with log rolling by Deborah Madison, Alice Waters, and three others. Scott gives us 100 fresh and luscious recipes, mostly drawn from her blog. But gluten is not everywhere. Many of the preps were gluten-free to begin with: that is, the classic preps had (and hers continue to have) no wheat/barley/rye. Her divisions are slurp, egg, veg, sea, butcher shop, grain + seed, nut, fruit, and kid faves. Just carefully read any labels to avoid gluten. So you really won't find any gluten replacements here by way of bread or flour. There are a few substitutes such as pasta, but no preps for loaves of breads or cakes using GF materials. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: those who must avoid gluten.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: apple galettes; figs with prosciutto; pears poached in Lillet; preserved lemons; brown sugar caramel corn; baked eggs on a bed of roasted cherry tomatoes; frittata packed with greens.
The downside to this book: the use of faint green ink lessens the appeal when searching for items – it is hard to read, too faint.
The upside to this book: good looking index.
Quality/Price Rating: 85.
 
 
 
9.I LOVE RAMEN (Gibbs Smith, 2014, 128 pages, ISBN 978-1-4236-3807-0, $16.99 US hard covers) is by Toni Patrick, who doesn't seem to have a life arc. In the Introduction, she appears to be a student somewhere living with five other students, all doing ramen. Of course, I should have realized it: ramen is the student's new Kraft Dinner – it is more affordable. Anyway, you'll need to be young if you want to survive the salt, which is quite a change from the sugar of teen years. Nothing in moderation, apparently. The arrangement is by course, from soup to sweets. Typical are puns such as beef ramenoff, or implement-driven such as slow cooker beef and noodles. Chicken fajita ramen salad sounded interesting. But then it hit me: the preps are basically stews that could also be made with vermicelli or rice. Why bother with ramen? It's a peer thing.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is a table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: college undergraduates, penurious millennials.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: see above
The downside to this book: ramen can be added anything if you avoid the packet.
The upside to this book: moderately=priced food.
Quality/Price Rating: 80.
 
 
 
10.FRENCH COMFORT FOOD (Gibbs Smith, 2014, 224 pages, ISBN 978-1-4236-3698-4, $30 US hard covers) is by Hillary Davis, a longtime food journalist who has been living in France for the past 13 or so years. She's written a few books on French food, and here tackles what is largely classic bistro and home food. Despite the price, it is a posh looking book with many large photos, giving the book an appearance of being a travel title. Comfort food involves good digestion, which in many cases means fat/salt/sugar in some form. She's got a short discourse on the regional flavours of France, and the preps come from all of these regions. She opens with iconic cheese souffles, but served in a mug – thereby capturing an old dish but in a new presentation. Very clever. She ends with brie melted in its box with brown sugar for two. Again, very clever. You can use a cheaper US brie knockoff in a melt dish (melted cheese is extremely popular) with all the sugar you can handle. Topics include apps, brunch French style, soups, sandwiches, family-style recipes, supper with friends, and sweets. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois with some metric measurements, but there is no table of equivalents  printed.
Audience and level of use: comfort food lovers, travel lovers.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: Other iconic dishes include duck breasts with black cherry sauce, flank steak with port sauce, lobster thermidor, chicken marengo, and pan bagnat.
The downside to this book: too many non-food larger photos.
The upside to this book: nicely presented.
Quality/Price Rating: 86.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Saturday, October 18, 2014

* FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! *

WORD OF MOUTH; what we talk about when we talk about food (University of California Press, 2014, ISBN 978-0-520-27392-4, $29.95 US hard covers) is by Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson, a sociology professor at Columbia University specializing in French cultural and cuisine studies. Here, in the social aspects of cross-cultural studies on food she delves into conversation about food, which she notes can often trump consumption. She explains the language behind culinary practices: how we talk about food says a great deal about the world and our place in it. I am reminded of a very recent New Yorker cartoon in which the man asks his wife, "Now that it's summer, should we talk incessantly about tomatoes or corn?" To master food talk in all its forms and applications she draws on documents, interviews, cookbooks, novels, comics, essays and films. The focal point is of course North America, but there is also a strong linkage with the mother cuisine of France since that is what most of the intelligentsia has been exposed to. There are end notes, a huge bibliographic section, and an index.
Audience and level of use: sociologists, food lovers, knowledgeable foodies.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: In the culture of haute food, culinary individualism trumps established authority, innovation takes precedence over tradition, and experimentation has priority over formality. The ordered world of haute cuisine has rules, regulations, and reverence for the whole over the part.
The downside to this book: it is a compelling book but a scholarly read.
The upside to this book: great topic.
Quality/Price Rating: 91.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Event: A vertical tasting of Osoyoos Larose VQA Okanagan, 2001 – 2010 plus their second wine Petales d'Osoyoos 2011.

The Date and Time: Monday, September 8, 2014   10:30AM to 1:30PM
The Event: A vertical tasting of Osoyoos Larose VQA Okanagan, 2001 – 2010 plus their second wine Petales d'Osoyoos 2011.
The Venue: private home
The Target Audience: a dozen Wine Writers' Circle of Canada members.
The Availability/Catalogue: current vintages are available, but the older ones are hard to procure. Two of our members produced wines from their own cellars; the rest came from the BC estate.
The Quote/Background: Michael Pinkus, President of the WWCC, worked long and hard to organize this tasting. We lined up the bottles in vintage order, pulled the corks, and tasted – and re-tasted. Most of us were at it for two hours. Michael later wrote to the Estate: "On behalf of the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada, I would like to extend a sincere thank you for providing us the almost complete vertical of Osoyoos Larose wines. The tasting was well-attended by members who unanimously felt the wines showed beautifully and demonstrated the pinnacle of red winemaking in Canada. In short, the familiarizing of the Osoyoos Larose wines was almost certainly a valuable exercise for our membership of wine opinion leaders. Please thank Mathieu and all those at Osoyoos Larose for us."
The Wines: These following notes are a mix of my notes and some data provided by Osoyoos Larose in view of the time frame of the wine, both "as is" and re-tried. The scores are mine alone. Collectively, the writers seemed to enjoy 2001, 2008 and 2005 in that order.
 
2001: Fully developed on the nose with medium intensity aromas of spicy dried black fruit, chocolate, green olive and oak. Lovely long length, 13.9% ABV. Very much an aged complexity, but ultimately faded an hour and a half later. The blend is 66/25/9 merlot/cabernet sauvignon/cabernet franc. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2002: Black fruit aromas with spicy smoke undertones and a touch of forest floor. Tannic, still needs time to develop, but opened up after 90 minutes. 13.5% ABV. The blend is 57% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Malbec, 7% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2003: Aging very well, some initial VA blew off. Much better 90 minutes later. Leather, plum. Medium coarse tannins. The finish is warm dry. 13.4$ ABV. The blend is 75% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec, 5% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2004: Developing, but great nose of black fruit, smoke, and herbs. A full-bodied wine with balanced acidity and ripe tannins. Some anise, tobacco leafiness. Very complete wine. 13.5% ABV. My fave of the tasting. The blend is 68% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Malbec. Quality/Price rating is 94 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2005: Persistent merlot tones throughout the tasting, even 90 minutes later. Pepper, spices, mocha, vanilla, licorice, cassis, black cherry, tobacco leaf, black olive flavours. 13.5% ABV. The blend is 67% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2006: Tannic with lots of spices and smoke. 13.5%. Slightly off-dry finish. 13.5% ABV. The blend is 69% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 3% Malbec. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2007: Quite similar to the 2006 with a typical nose (mocha, black fruit, olive). A tight compact wine, needs more time to evolve, even after 90 minutes of movement. 13.5% ABV. The blend is 70% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2008: This rich full-bodied wine with red fruit and caramel represents a shift in winemaking philosophy? Spices with a well-rounded tannin structure and fruit driven finish.13.5% ABV. The blend is 60% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec and 3% Petit Verdot, reminiscent of the 2002 blend. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2009: Exceedingly bright and ripe, rich persistence of red fruits and caramel/vanilla. One would swear it was California in style, with its ripe tannins. 13.5% ABV. The blend is 58% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec and 7% Petit Verdot. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2010: Made as a traditional Bordeaux-styled wine, with smoke and cedar and tobacco plus red and black fruit. But quite a ways to go. 13.8% ABV. The blend is merlot 67%, cabernet sauvignon 20%, petit verdot at 6%, cabernet franc at 4% and malbec at 3%. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
2011: Petales d'Osoyoos 2011, a second wine, with merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, petit verdot and malbec, 13.6% ABV. First made in 2004. It seemed to be a very nice version of a light Haut-Medoc. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
The Food: none, just water.
The Contact Person: emily@emacommunications.com; kate@katecolley.com; michael@michaelpinkuswinereview.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 95.


Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR OCTOBER 11, 2014

WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR OCTOBER 11, 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
 
Pella the Vanilla Chenin Blanc 2012 WO Stellenbosch, +389619, $14.95: remarkable price for oak inflected chenin blanc (previously, steen) with some viognier. Rancio tones start to dominate because of the oaky component. 12.5% ABV, cork closure, very well balanced. QPR: 90+
 
TOP VALUE WHITE WINES under $25:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
1.Vincent Mothe Chablis 2012, +390468, $22.95. QPR: 89.
2.Cave Spring Estate Bottled Gewurztraminer 2012 CSV VQA Beamsville, +302059, $17.95: good MVC, close to Alsatian spiciness but with medium body. Nicely attained bitterish aftertaste. 14% ABV. QPR: 89.
3.Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Marlborough, +686675, $18.95: tasty savvy minerality with greens, MVC leans more to salads as accompaniment. Twist top. 13% ABV. QPR: 88.
4.Argyros Assyrtiko 2013 PDO Santorini Greece, +387365, $19.95: very good citric acidity, volcanic soil and chalky. Pushing Chablis for dominance in the seafood market. QPR: 89.
 
TOP VALUE RED WINES under $25:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
1.Henry of Pelham Reserve Baco Noir 2012 VQA Ontario, +461699, $24.95. QPR: 91.
2.Rustenberg John X Merriman 2011 WO Stellenbosch, +707323, $24.95. QPR: 92.
3.Christian Moueix Saint-Emilion 2010, +979955, $23.95. QPR: 89.
4.Torrevento Vigna Redale Castel del Monte Riserva 2009 Puglia, +208256, $22.95. QPR: 91.
5.Giuseppe Campagnola Ripasso della Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2012, +313486, $16.95: this month's candidate for the LCBO Ripasso of the Month value. QPR: 89.
6.Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha 2012 DO Campo de Borja, +273748, $19.95: old vines  are used here, along with an ABV of 15% to plump up the juice. Red and black fruit, some chalk. QPR: 89.
7.Langa Tradicion Centenaria Garnacha 2011 DO Catalayud, +194795, $14.95: this month's candidate for the LCBO Garnacha of the Month. QPR: 90.
8.Lealtanza Reserva 2009 Rioja, +208223, $20.95. QPR: 90.
9.Muriel Gran Reserva 2004 Rioja, +984187, $24.95. QPR: 89.
10.Kaiken Terroir Series Corte Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Mendoza, +384305, $15.95: off-dry, expansive but soft cabby flavours, 14.5% ABV. QPR: 89.
11.Elderton Friends Shiraz 2011 Vineyard Series Barossa, +660480, $17.95: good body and depth, lots of Barossa power at 13.5% ABV. Some saddle leather and black fruit. Twist top. QPR: 89.
12.Chateau Peynaud 2009 Bordeaux Superieure, +391979, $16.95: bargain price for a Gold Medalist, now five years old and at its peak. Tannins are balanced and resolved. 13.5% ABV. QPR: 89.
13.Chateau Croze de Pys Prestige Malbec Cahors 2010, +681668, $17.95: off-dry finish of caramel and vanilla suitable for North American market in the newer style of Cahors. 14.5% ABV. QPR: 89.
14.Terrulenta Schola Sarmenti Roccamora Nardo Negroamaro 2006 Puglia, +379768, $17.95: another fine bargain in an older Italian wine. 13.5% ABV. Keeping well but do drink up this year. QPR: 89.
 
VALUE: "RESTAURANT READY" or "BRING YOUR OWN WINE BOTTLE" over $25
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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.Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard Chardonnay 2011 LCJ Vineyard VQA Twenty Mile Bench, +33910, $40 retail. QPR: 92.
2.Jean-Max Roger Cuvee Les Caillottes Sancere 2012, +65573, $25.95. QPR: 89.
3.Rodney Strong Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Alexander Valley Sonoma, +382325, $59.95. QPR: 91.
4.Bodega Noemia a Lisa 2012 Patagonia, +385765, $25.95. QPR: 90.
5.Chateau Barde-Haut 2010 AC Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Class, +262154, $56.95. QPR: 89.
6.Chateau Clarke 2009 AC Listrac-Medoc, +503904, $37.95. QPR: 92.
7.A e G Fantino Cascina Dardi Bussia Barolo 2007, +268516, $35.95. QPR: 89.
8.Gaja Sito Moresco 2012 Langhe, +976043, $61.95. QPR: 90.
9.Negro Cascinotta Barbaresco 2010, +268953, $26.95. QPR: 89.
10.Travaglini Gattinara 2008, +713354, $29.95. QPR: 90.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Some New Cookbooks this Month

3.DAILY TORTILLA; authentic Mexican recipes (Front Table Books Cedar Fort, 2014, 181 pages, ISBN 978-1-4621-1411-5, $18.99 US soft covers) is by Ricardo James (originally "Richard M. James") who was once a missionary in Mexico. This is fine home cooking, starting with basic tortillas, beans, rice, and salsas. Most of the items can be found in Mexican restaurants, such as bunuelos, torta de jamon y queso, tacos de pollo adobado a la parrilla, picadillo, and quesadillas. Nice illustrations with techniques carefully explained, and good bold print. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: beginner
The downside to this book: pretty basic, and I am not sure about lasana con habanero
The upside to this book: good little book for college students.
Quality/Price Rating: 85.
 
 
4.MEATLESS ALL DAY; recipes for inspired vegetarian meals (Taunton Press, 2014; distr. T. Allen, 202 pages, ISBN 978-1-62113-776-4, $19.95 paper covers) is by Dina Cheney, a cookbook author, a free lance food writer, and a recipe developer. Here she gives us 80 preps for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. She's got a list of some 46 "power ingredients" which are supposed to be meat substitutes in that they are "meaty": eggs, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, parmesan cheese, seaweed, tomatoes, soybeans, avocados, pumpernickel, cauliflower, etc. This is an excellent array, and certainly useful to get the chewy meat eaters to convert at least some of the time. Just increase the umami!! Or, if you absolutely have to, just add some grilled meats/shrimp/poultry. Also, she's got useful tips on how to make the dishes vegan. It is all arranged by course, with many illustrations and a list of vegetarian resources.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: flexitarians and meat eaters
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: grilled cheese with apples, mustard and cheddar; potato and cheddar latkes; rigatoni with asparagus, leeks and goat cheese; bean loaf with maple cranberry sauce; Cuban black bean stew with sweet plantains; strata with cremini mushrooms, olives and sun-dried tomatoes.
The downside to this book: needs more recipes for variety
The upside to this book: a good beginning
Quality/Price Rating: 87.
 
 
 
5.VEGAN AL FRESCO; happy & healthy recipes for picnics, barbecues & outdoor dining (Arsenal Press, 2014, 267 pages, ISBN 978-1-55152-532-7, $26.95 CAN soft covers) is by Carla Kelly, who has authored two previous vegan cookbooks. This is a book slanted to the outdoor life, including BBQ, picnics, and even hiking/walking. It comes complete with 11 log rollers busy promoting the book. Everything here is portable, and allergies are carefully marked. It's arranged by ingredient type such as finger food, sandwiches, salads, grill food, baking, dessert, cookies, drinks, plus the needed dips, sauces, condiments, salad dressings, and more. She's also got a listing of uncommon ingredients that will perk up any meal, an allergen list and index, and 12 menu/themes for picnics or beach parties. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents.
Audience and level of use: vegans
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: buckwheat and onion mini-loaves; pickle and asparagus potato salad; fennel and wild rice salad; cilantro lime coleslaw; peanut butter adobo BBQ sauce; caper and edamame dip.
The downside to this book: while there are recipes for hiking trips, I'd like some preps for overnight camping stays.
The upside to this book: a great idea for the outdoors.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
 
 
 
 
 
7.THE SIMPLE ART OF VEGETARIAN COOKING (Rodale, 2014, 270 pages, ISBN 978-1-62336-129-7, $32.50 US hard covers) is by the remarkable Martha Rose Shulman, the New York Times health food columnist and author of over two dozen cookbooks. Here she tries to offer a simple and easy method for creating plant-based meals every day, regardless of season or availability of the veggie. She has a vast array of templated master recipes with simple guidelines for creating essential dishes such as a stir-fry, rice dish, pasta, soup, and frittata. Then there are notes for adding or subtracting ingredients based on seasonality. The arrangement is by templates; in addition to the above, there are gratins, polenta, whole grains, risotto, beans and lentils, tacos, couscous, stews, and savoury pies. Many dishes can be cooked ahead, with some finishing off when you return from the market. She's got a vegetarian pantry and a chapter on basics such as wilted greens, peppers, onions, mushrooms, roasted veggies, tomato sauces, pesto, and eggs.
Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: beginners, families
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: for minestrone, she has the template with dried beans. Variations would be with canned beans, with cabbage and winter squash, with spring and summer veggies, with lentils, with leeks and kale. Here are a number of variations here, such as using rice, shell beans, vegan versions, and advanced prep.
The downside to this book: some of the decision-trees needed to get to the prep will need attention to detail.
The upside to this book: lots and lots of variations
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
 
 
8.VIBRANT FOOD; celebrating the ingredients, recipes, and colors of each season (Ten Speed Press, 2014, 216 pages, ISBN 978-1-60774-541-9, $25 US hard covers) is by Kimberley Hasselbrink, a food photographer and blogger, so she would know all about the colour of food. Of course, she did her own photography. There's some log rolling, especially from Alice Waters. Some of the preps here have come from her food blog. It all begins with spring's soft colours, moving to the bold of summer, the rich of autumn, and the deep colours of winter. Within, it is arranged by ingredient, to include (for example, under spring) spring greens, alliums, spring roots, rhubarb, and flowers. Nicely laid out, great typeface, wonderful photos of each and every dish. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of equivalents.
Audience and level of use: armchair cooks (for the photos), vegetarians.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: sweet corn and squash fritters with avocado crema; summer squash pasta with green goddess dressing; scrambled eggs with cherry tomatoes and harissa; wild rice salad with rainbow chard and grapes; almond honey cake with poached quince.
The downside to this book: there's about 16 preps per season, I would have liked more.
The upside to this book: customized photography.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
 
 
9.COMPLETE FAMILY NUTRITION (DK Books, 2014, 256 pages, ISBN 978-1-4654-1949-1, $25 US hard covers) is by Jane Clark, a chef-nutritionist, top Harley Street consultant, and writer on health issues. It's a one-stop basic reference to balanced diets for families. She covers essential nutrients, wise food choices, ideal serving sizes, and how nutrition helps: optimal memory, development, digestion, and balanced moods. There are details on key nutrients for each of the fifty recipes which are at the back in a section called "classic recipes made healthy". Each has service details, prep times, cooking times, and nutrition data. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both avoirdupois and some metric measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: families, beginners.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: poached fall fruit compote; nut butters; cinnamon and maple granola; herb-topped fish pie; oat-crusted salmon nuggets; roasted chicken and root vegetables; falafel burgers with arugula and tzatziki; Thai rice noodle salad.
The downside to this book: I wish that there were more recipes.
The upside to this book: there are over 200 photographs and illustrations.
Quality/Price Rating: 86.
 
 
 
10.THE BAR BOOK; elements of cocktail technique (Chronicle Books, 2014, 288 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-1384-5, $30 US hard covers) is by Jeffrey Morgenthaler, an award-winning bartender in Portland OR, with Martha Holmberg, an award-winning food writer in Portland OR. It is a self-help book, almost like a textbook, focusing on techniques in order to enable the reader's skill set. His book is of value to both amateur and professional bartenders. It is a very detailed book, divided into chapters dealing with ingredients (citrus juices, other juices, sodas, mixers, simple syrups, compound syrups, infusions, bitters, tinctures, dairy, eggs, ice) and techniques (measuring, stirring, shaking, swizzling, blending, muddling, garnishing). For each, such as for cream, he notes that you are adding a layer of texture through foam and fat. You'll need to choose the best cream and apply it to the drink. He uses Alexander cocktail and Irish coffee as examples, using cream shaken by the Mason jar method. It is quite explicit.
Audience and level of use: budding bartenders, other bartenders wanting to improve themselves.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: there are about 60 cocktail preps, used to illustrate each technique or ingredient.
The downside to this book: it's a little too specific (Swissmar spoons?)
The upside to this book: good detail to help you.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.
 
 
 
11.SIMPLE THAI FOOD; classic recipes from the Thai home kitchen (Ten Speed Press, 2014, 228 pages, ISBN 978-1-60774-523-5, $24.99 US hard covers) is by Leela Punyaratabandhu, who writes for blogs including her own She Simmers. She's got a WOW list of log rollers,  with the likes of David Tanis, Mollie Katzen, David Lebovitz, and Andy Ricker. These are family-style simple Thai dishes; they are accessible. The arrangement is by course, from nibbles through stir fries, salads, soups, curries, noodle dishes, rices, and sweets. At the end are basic dishes: homemade tamarind pulp, curry paste, toasted rice powder, chile jam, satay sauce, cucumber relish, and more. There is also a glossary and some mail-order sources listed. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are tables of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: beginners, those new to Thai cuisine.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: sweet potato fritters with peanut-sweet chile sauce; chicken and fried garlic on rice; bananas in sweet coconut cream; mango and sweet coconut sticky rice; shrimp paste rice; sweet dry curry of pork and long beans; rice noodles with chicken and Chinese broccoli.
The downside to this book: the presentation is more upscale than the book's contents.
The upside to this book: she does a really good job of explaining Thai cuisine to North Americans.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
 
 
 
12.THE BANH MI HANDBOOK (Ten Speed Press, 2014, 126 pages, ISBN 978-1-60774-533-4, $17.99 US hard covers) is by Andrea Nguyen, cookbook writer and blogger-owner of www.vietworldkitchen.com. She also writes for the LA Times and Wall Street Journal. Here she creates a nifty book for making your own banh mi sandwiches, created by Vietnamese street vendors in the 19th century as a local equivalent to the French snack of pate and bread. You will need three things: a crusty-chewy bun (French stick preferred but ciabatta buns also seem to be popular), toppings such as daikon and carrot pickles, chile slices, cucumber strips, cilantro sprigs, etc., and a filling (grilled pork, roast chicken, pork liver pate, Vietnamese cold-cuts). Then it is just up to you to create a classic or a modern innovation. Arrangement is by ingredient: bread, toppings, cold cuts, chicken, seafood, pork, beef, vegetarian. There are even two slider recipes, although just about everything can be reduced in size for two-biter dishes. For when you get tired of sandwiches, she's also got banh mi lettuce wraps and a banh mi salad (you can use gluten-free croutons here). All of these are so tasty...Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements; there is no table equivalents.
Audience and level of use: beginner, the curious snacker.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: grilled lemongrass pork; peppery portobello; egg and tofu pancakes; shrimp in caramel sauce; chicken liver pate; Hanoi grilled chicken; chicken satay.
The downside to this book: I wanted more!
The upside to this book: you can have fun with this book.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.
 
 
13.UN-JUNK YOUR DIET (Skyhorse Publishing, 2014, 300 pages, ISBN 978-1-62873-771-4, $24.95 US hard covers) is by Desiree Nielsen, RD, who has a private practice in Vancouver BC. There are fifty recipes here, and a lot of material on how to shop, cook and eat right – in order to fight inflammation and thus feel better. Of course, she's a whole food advocate. The book has an evangelical tone, since it is addressed to food sinners who eat too much junk food. But then she is a motivational speaker on a mission to improve life's qualities. The important element here is how to shop. The preps are at the back, and indexed. She's also got resources lists and bibliographic references to her positions. Well-written with verve. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: junk food addicts, others seeking nutritional information.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: liquid gold smoothie; real muffin; breakfast bars; salad for breakfast; turmeric chicken; crunchy nut candy bars; greens and beans casserole; baked apple oat pudding.
The downside to this book: I wished that there were more recipes.
The upside to this book: I appreciate her take on muffins, and how today they are basically white sugar and white flour.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.
 
 
14.THE 12 BOTTLE BAR; a dozen bottles, hundreds of cocktails, a new way to drink (Workman, 2014; distr. T. Allen, 412 pages, ISBN 978-0-7611-7494-3, $14.95 US soft covers) is by David Solmonson and Lesley Jacobs Solmonson, owners of the blog 12bottlebar.com. She's also a spirits and wine food writer, authoring a few books on gin and liqueurs. It's a good idea to have a restricted bar, limited to a few bottles with appropriate garnishes. It could be for a small bar in a tavern, or it could be for home. Either way it is useful for mixed drinks. The 12 bottles include 7 spirits, such as gin, rum, brandy, rye and vodka, plus 5 mixers involving liqueurs, vermouths and bitters. No bourbon, scotch, or tequila since these have limited cocktail applications. So it is a system to limit yourself to 200 classic drinks: sours, slings, toddies, highballs, martinis, etc. All of the beverages are "old school" as part of classic cocktails with some new innovations. New stuff such as tequila/mezcal are limited to two or three popular concoctions: they do include ONE prep for a margarita. Bourbons and scotches are neat or with soda or water. So you can still have them: just don't make cocktails with them. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: home bartenders or small bars.
Some interesting or unusual facts: there's a drink index by theme (poker night, brunch, pool party, bbq, Christmas/New Year's, girls night.
The upside to this book: good idea, and I'm glad they don't have the other liquors.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
 
 
 
15.MOONSHINE; the cultural history of America's infamous liquor (Zenith Press, 2014, 208 pages, ISBN 978-0-7603-4584-9, $25 US hard covers) is by Jaime Joyce, currently an editor at Time Inc. It is a straight forward book with notes and sources and indexes. I wish I could say that three armed border agents swarmed my house as this US book was delivered to my door, but it only seemed like it in these Canadian days of repressed alcohol beverages. I usually get goosebumps just walking into a Uvint, even though I don't use them. Nevertheless, this is a book review on a US book about US white lightning or mountain dew – but I am sure that the Internet police will know that I've written it. Moonshine is untaxed liquor made in an unlicensed still. It is clear and unaged – sort of like raw vodka. But cheap. Her history sets the cultural background beginning with Irish and Scottish immigrants used to making their own whiskey. There are two elements here: government denial of a liquor license, and excessive alcohol taxation. Without a license, you cannot legally make the stuff. But once made, you can sell it or give it away – and the government wants its cut. Does that seem fair? Shouldn't the still be licensed first if the state wants the tax? Unregulated stills can create health issues (e.g., blindness, death) but also folklore issues related to movies and television, folk and country music ("She was only the bootlegger's daughter but I loved her still"), and some white trash trailer park material.
Audience and level of use: beverage historians and those interested in moonshine
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: moonshine led to military involvement, NSCAR and the Prohibition.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
 
 
16.FLOURLESS; recipes for naturally gluten-free desserts (Chronicle Books, 2014, 191 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-1955-7, $27.95 US hard covers) is by Nicole Spiridakis, a recipe developer and wedding cake baker. She is also a free lance food writer, with a blog at cucinanicolina.com. Here she uses ground nuts, fluffy egg whites, ripe fruit, dark chocolate – such as plums, pistachios, apples and cornmeal, hazelnuts, coconut, lemons. These can create batters and doughs. Her book is in four parts: cakes and cupcakes, cookies, puddings and tarts, and candies/confections. The 80 or so preparations have their ingredients listed in metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents given.
Audience and level of use: those who need gluten-free food.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: almond cake with balsamic-roasted strawberries; vanilla cupcakes with lemon butter-cream; sesame-tahini cookies; Indian pudding; roasted stone fruit with honey mascarpone and mint.
The downside to this book: there is a fair bit of white space taking up room away from more recipes.
The upside to this book: a good contribution to the gluten-free bibliography.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Rosso tasting, Sept 23/14

The Date and Time: Tuesday, September 23, 2014  11AM to 3 PM
The Event: Tasting of Cabernet Sauvignon with Michael Martini of Louis M. Martini Wines
The Venue: Vintage Conservatory, Lombard Street.
The Target Audience: wine writers and sommeliers
The Availability/Catalogue: two wines were library wines, the others are available in Ontario or BC.
The Quote/Background: Third-generation winemaker Michael Martini (now in his 38th harvest) spoke anecdotally about his company. For about 80 years, LMM focused on cabernet sauvignon in Napa and Sonoma. But they also made 11 different varietal wines by 2002 when they were bought by EJ Gallo (who wanted them to concentrate exclusively on cabernet sauvignon). No wine was made as vines were pulled and vineyards replanted with cabernet sauvignon. Now there are some PV/PS/Zinfandel for local blends and local distribution; otherwise, the LMM name is only for Cabernet Sauvignon. He commented on all of the wines, giving us his impressions are he went along.
The Wines: We also had a Zinfandel 2008 to try as well as some current Ghost Pines Chardonnay 2012. The LMM Cabernets were delightfully heavy and unctuous (Lot 1 was 15.2ABV, Monte Rosso 2004 was 15.4ABV, Monte Rosso 2010 was 15.2ABV). Of note is the high percentage of new oak, principally French. 
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Louis M. Martini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, $29.95 +232371 Vintages Ess
-Louis M. Martini Lot No 1 Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, $150 Consignment
-Louis M. Martini Monte Rosso Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 Library Wine
-Louis M. Martini Monte Rosso Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 Library Wine [fave of the day]
-Louis M. Martini Monte Rosso Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 $99.95 Classics Feb 15
-Louis M. Martini Monte Rosso Zinfandel Gnarly Vine 2008 $45 in British Columbia
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Louis M. Martini Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, $18.45 +292151
-Louis M. Martini Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, $40 PO
-Ghost Pines Chardonnay 2012 California (Napa, Sonoma, Monterey) +308122, $19.95 LCBO
 
The Food: it was buffet style, with salad, roast potatoes, asparagus, and flank steak – just perfect for accompanying the various remainders of the Cabernet Sauvignon bottles. Salmon was available for vegetarians.
The Downside: the rooms were noisy with chatter unless Michael Martini was speaking.
The Upside: good location.
The Contact Person: kevin.lefort@ejgallo.com; gillian@praxispr.ca
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 92.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Friday, October 3, 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 –
 
 
17.PORK CHOP (Chronicle Books, 2014, 128 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-1367-8, $22.95 US hard covers) is by Ray "Dr. BBQ" Lampe, a multiple cook-off champion who has made multiple appearances on TV and has written other outdoors books. He's also at www.drbbq.com. Here he concentrates on pork chops, and the 60 preps include spicy pork chop lettuce wraps and pork chop noodle soup. Chops are a lower fat alternative to ribs, and can be prepared in much the same way, allowing time constraints for not drying out. Not everything is grilled: there are also recipes for breaded, fried, baked, jerked, stir-fried, slow-coked, sandwiches, and even in a salad. To be fair, some of the chops have been boned, so loins can be used too in those cases. The contents are arranged by classics, contemporaries, one-pots, "international" and something called "extreme" (pastrami pork chop, jalapeno pork chops, pig wings with spicy mustard dipping sauce, and pork chop-stuffed French toast. Great fun. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois and some metric measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
 
 
 
18.SUNDAY CASSEROLES (Chronicle Books, 2014, 176 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-2120-8, $24.95 US paper covers) is by Betty Rosbottom, a food writer and PBS host. She's writing her way through Sunday – with Sunday Brunch, Sunday Roasts, and Sunday Soups (all published by Chronicle Books). There's some logrolling from Anne Willan. She meanders through the homes of New England, New Orleans, Singapore, Provence, and other places, scoping out preps for the American family and entertaining. Unfortunately, a lot of people (including my own kids) blanch at the word "casserole" – hey, they left home to avoid them, now they'll return? It'll take a lot of pressure and some tasty preps. Rosbottom supplies the preps – you've got to apply the pressure yourself. There's a usual primer and pantry section, and then the recipes start with poultry, meats, seafood, veggies, toppings (biscuit, potato, etc.), pasta casseroles, and then breakfast casseroles. All of these are mains and all of them are tasty. In addition to mac and cheese, there's mac and lobster, mac with peas and pancetta, and mac with smoked sausage. If you like olives, there's baked fish on spinach, Provencal daube, rigatoni and tomato sauce, and shrimp with tomatoes and artichokes under saffron croutons. A very good spread, nicely done in under 100 recipes. At the end, there is a menu listing for when to serve what casserole (crowds, feasts, holidays, one hour, longer times, economical, splurge-worthy, healthy, and freezable). Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois and mostly metric measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 87.
 
 
19.BROCCOLI, LOVE & DARK CHOCOLATE (Whitecap Books, 2014, 304 pages, ISBN 978-1-77050-211-6, $29.95 CAN paper covers) is by Liz Pearson, RD, author of two other books dealing with healthy foods and diets. She was the nutrition columnist for Chatelaine and appears regularly on TV and radio. She comes with five log rolling endorsers. The bulk of the book is composed of bite-sized, science-based nutrition information on superfoods, dietary and food misconceptions, weight loss, and chocolate. She tackles alcohol, multivitamins, water, snacking, coffee, gluten-free diets, and what are known as "heartfelt life lessons". Certainly the writing style is upbeat. There are about 60 recipes, divided by course or ingredient, which are fully indexed, plus a nutrition index and a resource bibliography. Typical are quinoa salad with black beans, sweet potato fries, chili, arugula salad, and other family faves. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements. Quality/price rating: 86.
 
20.MEAT AND POTATOES; simple recipes that sizzle and sear (Clarkson Potter, 2014, 240 pages, ISBN 978-0-307-98524-8, $22.50 US soft covers) is by Rahm Fama, formerly the executive chef of The Lodge at Vail, now a corporate chef at US Foods, and TV host for the Food Network. He calls it chuckwagon cuisine, with mostly just a cast iron skillet for the guys. And it is based on his TV show. There are 52 meals here, one for each week of the year. He includes one-pot preps, sandwiches and other ideas for leftover meats. Try lamb parmesan with mint-tomato sauce (accompanied by orzo with chevre and stovetop ratatouille), or brick chicken with goat cheese and potato croquettes plus fava beans and oyster mushrooms, or even hefeweizen braised pork belly with brie mac and cheese plus cilantro-glazed carrots. Great stuff for during the week: there is nothing subtle here. There is also a short listing of resources. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 86.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

* DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH! * -- Wines of South America

WINES OF SOUTH AMERICA; the essential guide (University of California Press, 2014, 302 pages, ISBN 978-0-520-27393-1, $39.95 US hard covers) is by Evan Goldstein, a Master Sommelier with his own consulting firm. Previously, he had authored two books for UC Press on wine and food matching. Here, he conducts a country-by-country tour of South America, which includes Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay plus Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela. He begins with an overview and grape varieties grown (along with acreage by country: did you know that Chile has 10 acres of Tannat?). For each country, he gives a history and some notes on "game changer" people. This is followed by a region-by-region analysis, with maps and recommended producers. Each country concludes with some winery profiles with directory information, what wines it is known for, its signature wines, and occasionally a black and white photo. But no real tasting notes. The maps and statistics are generally uptodate. He has a list of significant and important wines to try, and I find it rather disheartening that most are not available in Ontario since they cost more than $20. At the end he has sections on touring, dining, and selecting wines. But he does need to devote more words and space to some wine terms such as Reserva and Gran Reserva, which are appearing more frequently on South American wine labels in order to differentiate wines on the shelf.
Audience and level of use: wine lovers, reference libraries, schools of hospitality and wine schools.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay lead the way for whites, while Bonarda, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot have the largest acreage for the reds.
The downside to this book: the scene is so volatile and expanding that it is hard to keep up with in book form.
The upside to this book: good insight, and an indication of problem areas.
Quality/Price Rating: 92.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Event: Champagne tasting- Ayala and Palmer & Co.

The Date and Time: Tuesday, September 16, 2014  3PM to 6PM
The Event: Champagne tasting- Ayala and Palmer & Co.
The Venue: Fine Wine Reserve
The Target Audience: wine media, sommeliers, and private clients
The Availability/Catalogue: wineonline.ca and Hanna Neal Wine Merchants
The Quote/Background: It was a crowded room, which was good. The wines were laid out and served nicely chilled. It was a taste and try before you buy session; all cartons were six packs.
The Wines:
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Ayala Perle d'Ayala 2005, $160
-Palmer & Co Blanc de Blancs 2008, $79.95
-Palmer & Co Brut Millesime 2004, $84.95
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Ayala Rose Majeur N/V, $79.95 – my overall fave in terms of price/value
-Ayala Blanc de Blancs 2007, $99.95
-Palmer & Co Brut Reserve N/V, $61.75
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Ayala Brut Majeur N/V, $64.95
 
The Food: none
The Contact Person: andrewhanna@winetrader.ca; service@wineonline.ca
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 89.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Event: Tasting the wines of Versado and Sperling Vineyards

The Date and Time:  Tuesday, September 16, 2014  2:30 PM to 5:30 PM
The Event: Tasting the wines of Versado and Sperling Vineyards
The Venue: LCBO Summerhill Premium Tasting Room
The Target Audience: wine media and sommeliers
The Availability/Catalogue: wines are available or will be.
The Quote/Background: Ann Sperling presented four Sperling Vineyards Okanagan Valley BC VQA sparkling wines [traditional method] plus a Pinot Noir 2012; Peter Gamble presented six Versado from Lujan de Cuyo Mendoza Argentina. Both winemakers were available for extensive conversations about the winemaking and the wines.
The Wines:
 
-Versado Mendoza Malbec 2013, $25.95. QPR: 90. new release
-Versado Mendoza Malbec 2012, $25.95. QPR: 92.
-Versado Mendoza Malbec 2010, $25.95. QPR: 92.
-Versado Mendoza Malbec Reserva 2011, $59.95. QPR: 94 [fabulous oaking] new release
-Versado Mendoza Malbec Reserva 2010, $59.95. QPR: 93
-Versado Mendoza Malbec Reserva 2009, $59.95. QPR: 92
 
-Sperling Vineyards VQA Okanagan Brut Rose 2012, $42 QPR: 91 pinot noir, new release
-Sperling Vineyards VQA Okanagan Brut Reserve 2010, $50 QPR: 94 new release
    70%PN/30%Ch, 36 months on lees
-Sperling Vineyards VQA Okanagan Brut 2009, $39.95 QPR: 91 pinot blanc
-Sperling Vineyards VQA Okanagan Brut 2008, $39.95 QPR: 90 pinot blanc
-Sperling Vineyards VQA Okanagan Brut Rose 2012, $42 QPR: 91 pinot noir, new release
-Sperling Vineyards VQA Okanagan Pinot Noir 2012, $27.95 QPR: 92 new at Vintages
 
The Food: Ace breads
The Contact Person: peterjgamble@sympatico.ca; ann@southbrook.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 92.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Annual Tasting of Sparkling wines by Wine Writers' Circle of Canada, Sept 26/14

The Date and Time:  Friday, September 26, 2014  10:30 AM to 1:30 PM
The Event: Annual tasting of sparkling wines, both imported and domestic, by the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada
The Venue: LCBO Summerhill
The Target Audience: Wine Writers' Circle of Canada members.
The Availability/Catalogue: Most wines are available through the upcoming holiday season. For Ontario wines, this may be at Vintages and/or at the winery. Some of the data is unfortunately missing, not all of it was on a requested spreadsheet. But there is enough here to scout around.
The Quote/Background: About a dozen WWCC members signed up, the entire membership received the spreadsheet.
The Wines: There were about 90 wines, both imported and domestic. They are grouped together by my measure of tasting and notes. They are NOT ranked. Nor are they reflective of any group consensus or of any other member's comments, etc. These are my own personal groupings as a wine writer/taster/judge.
                       
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Louis Roederer Champagne    NV    Brut Premier    $69.95     268771
-Piper-Heidsieck Champagne    NV $54.95 LCBO                           
-Iron Horse Classic Brut    2007        $29.95 Sonoma Private order        Glazer's -Cave Spring Cellars    NV    Blanc de Blancs    VQA Niagara $29.95     213983 LCBO
-Huff Estate Cuvee Peter F. Huff 2010 PEC, $39.95 (2007 is at Vintages)
-Fresita  Chile NV [strawberries and white wine]                           
-Henry of Pelham        Cuvee Catharine Brut     $29.95     217521 LCBO
-Henry of Pelham    2009    Cuvee Catharine Carte Blanche Blanc de Blanc    $44.95 315200
-Henry of Pelham        Cuvee Catharine Rose Brut    $29.95     217505 LCBO
-Tawse    2011    Spark Blend     $24.95     384966
-Chateau des Charmes n/v Brut $22.95 224766  LCBO
-ANGELS GATE WINERY    2011    HANDSOME BRUT    $24.95    395160 LCBO
-Philipponnat Champagne    N.V.    Royal Reserve Brut    $59.95     995720 Vintages
-Taittinger Champagne        Brut Reserve     $62.95     365312
-Champagne Tarlant    NV Brut Reserve    $42.40     325167
-Champagne Pannier    N/V    Brut Selection    $46.95     374421
-Paul Goerg Blanc de Blancs Champagne $49.95 Private order        Glazer's Canada -Champagne Lacroix Triaulaire    N/V Brut    $42.95 Consignment
 
 
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-ANGELS GATE WINERY    2011    ARCHANGEL CHARDONNAY    $23.95    227009 LCBO
-Iron Horse Wedding Cuvee    2007        $41.00 Sonoma Private Order Glazer's Canada
-Cattier Champagne    N/V    Cattier Brut Premier Cru Champagne    $44.60     325720
-Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Champagne (LCBO# 537605)                    
-ANGELS GATE WINERY    2009    PINOT NOIR ROSE    $25    BEAMSVILLE BENCH
-Fielding Estate Winery    NV Brut $34.95 Winery
-Jackson-Triggs 2011 Grand Reserve Series Entourage Sparkling Brut $22.95 234161 Vintages
-Featherstone Winery    2010    Joy    $34.95     310334 Twenty Mile Bench Dec 6, 2014
-Flat Rock Riddled Sparking     2009    VQA $24.95 Vintages               
-VIICOLTORI ACQUESI BRACHETTO D'ACQUI SPKLNG 375667 $ 12.90 LCBO               
-Freixenet Sonoma Caves    N/V    Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut     $27.95    Airen Imports
-Kim Crawford 2009 Small Parcel Fizz Sparkling    $29.95     +381236    New Zealand
-Codorniu Raventos    NV PINOT NOIR LCBO $15.95
-Cono Sur    NV    Sparkling Brut    $13.95     215079    Chile    Bio Bio Valley
-Cono Sur    NV    Sparkling Pinot Noir Rose    $13.90     365205    Chile    Bio Bio -KWV Cathedral Cellar Brut 2010 $16.95     296426    South Africa
-Ste. Michelle Wine Estates    NV    Michelle Brut    $16.85 LCBO    363341 Washington
-Contraband    Sparkling Wine, +400127 LCBO $18.95 [also on tap too]               
-Lacheteau    NV    Chateau de Montgueret Cremant de Loire    $19.95     217760
-Creekside Estate The Trad Reserve 2011 Queenston Road Vineyard MT
-Gancia    nv    Gancia Sparkling Brut    $14.95     n/a    Italy    Piedmont
-Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad     $29.95?                       
-Tawse    2013    Spark Riesling    $19.95     VQA 370361
-Grange of Prince Edward     2010    Lot 2 Brut     $29.95 Prince Edward County
 
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-ANGELS GATE WINERY    2011    SAUVIGNON BLANC    $23.95 BEAMSVILLE BENCH
-Coyote's Run Winery    2011    Sparkling Chardonnay    $24.95    398388 LCBO Nov 22
-Coyote's Run Winery    2009    Sparkling Pinot Noir Rose    $29.95    359125 LCBO -Jackson-Triggs    2012    Reserve Series Cuvee Clos    $14.95    217679 LCBO
-John Howard Cellars of Distinction/Megalomaniac     2012    Bubblehead    $28.95     363655  LCBO
-Diamond Estates Winery    2012    FRESH Sparkling Rose    $13.95
-Lakeview Cellars    2008     GMR Sparkling    $19.95
-Diamond Estates Winery    2013    20 Bees Buzz & Bubbles    $13.95     332577 LCBO
-Chandron Brut    Sonoma                                       
-Bodega Santa Julia    N/V    Organic Sparkling Brut    $14.85     314237 LCBO    Mendoza
-Juve e Camps    NV    Brut Rose Pinot Noir Cava    $19.95     385088 Catalunya
-Jackson-Triggs    2010    Grand Reserve Series Entourage Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc    $29.95    353078 Vintages
-Jackson-Triggs    2010    Grand Reserve Series Entourage Sparkling Merlot    $29.95
-Sue-Ann Staff     2011    Sparkling & SASSY    $27.95     344622 Vintages
-Sue-Ann Staff     2011    Sparkling & Icy    $34.95     359703 Riesling Vintages Dec 4 -Colio Girls Night Out Sparkling $14.95
-PELEE ISLAND WINERY    2012    SECCO    $15.75 LENS    225946    LCBO
-Grange of Prince Edward 2013    Sparkling Riesling $19.95 392746 Prince Edward C Vintages
-Codorniu Classico    NV                               
-Fantinel    NV    Spumante Prosecco Brut One & Only DOC Millesimato    $19.95     390617 LCBO
-Palatine Hills    NV    Prestige    VQA $20.00
-Redstone    2011    Sparkling    $24.95 at Tawse VQA
-Barefoot Cellars    NV    Barefoot Bubbly Pinot Grigio    $12.95    216952 LCBO
-Segura Viudas Brut Reserva $14.25                                   
-Delegat's Wine Estate    NV    Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvée Brut    $21.95     163634    New Zealand    Hawke's Bay
-Delegat's Wine Estate    NV    Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvée Rosé    $21.95     280172    New Zealand    Hawke's Bay
-Freixenet    N/V    Freixenet Carta Negro Brut    $13.95     216945    Spain    Penedes
-Freixenet    N/V    Freixenet Carta Nevada Brut    $12.45     216887    Spain    Penedes
-Freixenet    N/V    Freixenet Cordon Rosado Brut    $13.95     217059    Spain    Penedes
-Bottega SPA    NV Vino Dei Poeti Prosecco DOC    $13.95 897702    Italy    Veneto
-Bottega SPA    NV    Vino Dei Poeti Brut Rose    $13.45 277202 Italy    Veneto
-La Marca    NV    La Marca Prosecco DOC    $17.95    Vintages #287987    Italy    Veneto
-Pierre Sparr Cremant Brut Reserve    $18.95     388603    France     Alsace
-BELCANTO DI BELLUSSI PROSECCO DI VALDOBBIADENE SUPERIORE VINTAGES 53215 $18.95
-Ruffino     N/A    Prosecco DOC    $16.95         Italy
-Foss Marai     NV    Foss Marai Extra Dry Prosecco     $19.95     72939    Veneto
-Villa Sandi Prosecco (LCBO# 394387)     $14.45                           
-Saphora Rose    New Zealand                                   
-Saphora Sparkling    New Zealand                                   
-Gancia    nv    Gancia Prosecco DOC    $16.95     n/a    Italy    Piedmont
-Gancia    nv    Gancia Sparkling Rose    $14.95     n/a    Italy    Piedmont   
-Rockway    Patio 9 Niagara    $12.95                                   
-Rockway    Patio 9 Rose Niagara    $12.95                           
-Huff Estate Cuvee Janine 2012 PEC, $29.95 Winery
-Tenuta S. Anna    N/V     Tenuta S. Anna Prosecco  Extra Dry    $17.95     388710
-Mionetto Prosecco Treviso $17.95                                       
-Il Prosecco Mionetto    $13.30                                       
-Santa Margherita Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Brut (LCBO# 687582)     $17.95   
-Hungaria    $12.25                                           
-Sumarroca Prosecco                                           
 
The Food: bread and water
The Downside: my own personal feeling is that, overall, the wines were not as good as last year's wines. It may be different vintage years, it may be changes in wine submissions, it may be pricing levels – I do not know.
The Upside: a chance to taste a large collection of sparklers.
The Contact Person: deantudor@deantudor.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 93.


Chimo! www.deantudor.com