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Monday, January 27, 2020

FOOD AND DRINK BOOKS IN REVIEW

3.THE CBD KITCHEN (RylandPeters & Small, 2019, 128 pages, ISBN 978-1-78879-112-0 $19.95 hardbound) is by Leah Vanderveldt, a food writer and recipe developer in the wellness arena. She's also been certified in culinary nutrition. CBD oil (cannabidiol) has great anti-inflammatory properties, and is derived from hemp. It can alleviate anxiety, headache, and arthritis, but it is NOT psychoactive. Her 50 preps concentrate on  smoothies, teas and coffees, snacks and desserts, with light savoury meals also being useful. Mocktails and cocktails complete the food picture, but there is also CBD skin care and a coconut oil moisturizer. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: those who need or want to use CBD.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: in the AM, try match latte, chai latte, mango & ginger smoothie, green strawberry smoothie, super-powered yogurt bowl, and snacking granola clusters.
The downside to this book: not to be confused with "edibles".
The upside to this book: there is a CBD schedule for morning, noon and night, with suggested dishes and page references.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.
 
 
 
4.FOOD ON FIRE; create bold dishes with 65 recipes to cook outdoors (Dog 'n' Bone, 2019, 144 pages, ISBN 978-1-911026-88-4, $19.95 USD hardbound) is by Marcus Bawdon. Editor of UK BBQ Mag and social media channels such as "CountryWoodSmoke". Most BBQ authors are not British. And here Bawdon goes after a global thrust with local flavours and artisanal techniques such as searing directly onto the coals, rotisserie, wood-fired ovens, cast-iron grilling, campfires, smoke, and the like. As the late Anthony Bourdain said, "Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it's a start". The book could have been improved if it also used more metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart for the American avoirdupois volume measurements.
Audience and level of use: intermediate BBQ cooks and chefs.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: scallops on a silver-birch log; firepit lamb chops; cast-iron peaches; glazed chicken, bacon, and avocado skewers; stuffed porchetta; brisket pot roast; wood-fired eggplant.
The downside to this book: I wished that there were more recipes.
The upside to this book: a good idea, fulfills a need.
Quality/Price Rating: 89
 
 
 
 
5.SMOKEHOUSE HANDBOOK; comprehensive techniques & specialty recipes for smoking meat, fish & vegetables (Story Publishing, 2019, 189 pages, ISBN 978-1-63586-011-5, $24.95 USD hardbound) is by Jake Levin, a butcher who produces cured meats at Jacuterie in New York. Logrollers do include Ruth Reichl. The book covers a wide range of topics, from the basics of smoking (rubs, brines, cures) through choosing a smoker, the recipes themselves (divided into hot-smoke and cold-smoke), and ending with building your own smoker, including a tri-purpose smokehouse. There's a resources page with a bibliography for further reading. The book could have been improved if it also used both metric and avoirdupois completely in the recipes, but  at least it also had a metric conversion chart.
Audience and level of use:  BBQ lovers and the woodsy guys.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts:
The downside to this book: I think more than 36 recipes would have been useful.
The upside to this book: Excellent introduction and handbook to the varieties of smoking.
Quality/Price Rating: 90.
 
 
 
6.THE CAMPFIRE COOKBOOK; 80 imaginative recipes for cooking outdoors (DK Books, 2019,
160 pages, ISBN 978-1-4654-8396-6, $17.99 USD paperbound) is by Viola Lex and Nico Stanitzok, who had previously published the book in German in 2018. This is the first North American edition. This is total al fresco eating, ranging from the basics, the classics, and some contemporary spinoffs. Good writing and lots of technique photos. Each prep has checklists to make that you have everything before you actually start. Of course there is grilled fish, plus goulashes and orange-chocolate cakes. The theme is "vacation" and keeping it local with purchased foods. Prep times are given, which is really crucial with a campfire or firepit. The book could have been improved if it also used more metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart.
Audience and level of use: vacationers
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: cheese and vegetable gnocchi; paella; stuffed flatbreads; mussels in white wine; pannini with ricotta and prosciutto; strawberry sandwich.
The downside to this book: needed more metric measurements since it did not have a conversion chart.
The upside to this book: good single purpose book.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.
 
 
 
 
7.JUST PEACHY (Gibbs Smith, 2019, 168 pages, ISBN 978-1-4236-5126-0, $21.99 USD hardbound) is by Belinda Smith-Sullivan, a food writer concentrating on Southern US food (she lives in South Carolina). Here it is sweet and savoury peach preps from South Carolina. Prominent logrollers include Nathalie Dupreee and Sandra Gutierrez. Primer material includes a brief history of peaches, the varietals, canning and freezing. The preps range from breads, breakfasts to apps, soups and salads, mains, pies and other desserts – plus beverages. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is a table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: peach lovers
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: berbere flat iron steak with honey-grilled peaches; peach and sweet potato casserole; spinach-peach salad with Stilton cheese and walnuts; peach guacamole; brie-peach beggar's purse; blueberry-peach slump (grunt); blackened cod tacos with peach salsa.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Thursday, January 23, 2020

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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

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WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for JANUARY 25, 2020

 
WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for JANUARY 25,  2020
 
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. My "Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net", a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, has been at http://www.deantudor.com since 1994.
 
These notes for good wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca  or at  http://www.deantudor.com No winery can buy their way into – or out of – this publication.
 
Scores are a combination of MVC (Modal Varietal Character, e.g. a Southern Rhone would taste like a Southern Rhone) and QPR (Quality/Price Ratio value in the marketplace above or below its price).
 
NOTE: The first portion  is based on my sampling of the table wines chosen by the LCBO from this release for tasting. That presentation is about 50+  different labels out of about 125 released every two weeks. These wines are basically those that fit the categories of  any of the Featured Themes, Wines of the Month, Local Talent, and "new" -- wines that the LCBO has ordered in sufficient quantities for the Ontario marketplace. Not put out for us are the re-orders (even though they may be of a different vintage) , ISDs, or the expensive wines.  Thus, my report comes from a restricted database. I did not taste every one of these 50+ category wines, nor did I rate several of the wines I did sample because they did not seem to be of particularly good value in terms of their price.
 
NOTE: The second part (at the end) is a simple listing of  those wines that were NOT presented to the media, and are given here simply as a record of  what sampling I could not do. I have left in the name of the agency, in fairness to all.
 
PART ONE:  The "best" wines of a reduced tasting  --
 
Under $20: note – this tasting was very similar to the "cheap and cheerful" Jan 11 release, but with different wines. Most "perfect pairings" are also (apparently) "cheap and cheerful"....
=========
W+9167    MOMO ORGANIC SAUVIGNON BLANC Marlborough, South Island    2018    $19.95     12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+10631    DOMAINE DE SÉRAME VIOGNIER    IGP Pays d'Oc     2017    $13.95
13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+745349    DOMAINE JACKY MARTEAU SAUVIGNON TOURAINE    AC    2018    $15.95     13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+577734    DE ANGELIS OFFIDA PECORINO    DOCG     2018    $13.95     13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+10969    CUATRO RAYAS 4R VERDEJO    DO Rueda    Castellana    2018    $13.95     13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR:  90
W+10952    COLOMBA BIANCA RESILIENCE INSOLIA    DOC Sicilia    2018    $16.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+451328    NOMAD WANDERLUST    VQA Niagara Lakeshore, Niagara-on-the-Lake    Hinterbrook    2016    $19.95 14.6% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+12844    QUARISA MRS. Q CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Coonawarra, South Australia        2015    $18.95 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+13316    GLENELLY THE GLASS COLLECTION CABERNET SAUVIGNON    WO Stellenbosch     2017    $15.95 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+12990    CHÂTEAU CAMPLONG GRANDE RÉSERVE CORBIÈRES    AP    2018    $13.95     14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+12978    FRANÇOIS VILLARD L'APPEL DES SEREINES SYRAH    France     2016    $19.95  12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+56267    REMO FARINA MONTECORNA RIPASSO VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO SUPERIORE    DOC     2017    $19.95      14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+446054    PROVA CEGA    DOC Douro    Quinta de Curvos    2017    $12.95     14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR:  91
R+10341    BRUSSET LAURENT B.    AC Côtes du Rhône     2017    $19.95     13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+494039    LAFAGE CAYROL VIEILLES VIGNES CARIGNAN    IGP Côtes Catalanes        2016    $18.95  14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR:  89
R+473132    CANTINA SAN PAOLO AGLIANICO    IGP Campania     2017    $14.95  13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR:  90
R+10689    JUAN GIL HONORO VERA ORGANIC MONASTRELL DOP Jumilla    2017    $13.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+10963    BARBANERA SPECIAL SELECTION DA UVE LEGGERMENTE APPASSITE    IGT Toscana Rosso 2017    $15.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+12092    MASSO ANTICO DA UVE LEGGERMENTE APPASSITE PRIMITIVO SALENTO    IGT    2017    $16.95 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+426247    CHÂTEAU LES TOURELLES    AC Bordeaux    Jean Darriet, prop.-vitic.    2015    $15.95  13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+10699    ALVIDES TINTO ROBLE TEMPRANILLO    DO Ribera del Duero    2016    $16.95  14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
 
Over $20
=========
W+360495    CHÂTEAU VITALLIS VIEILLES VIGNES POUILLY-FUISSÉ    AC    Denis Dutron, prop.-récolt.    2017    $31.95  13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
W+663286    AUNTSFIELD SINGLE VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC    Certified sustainable, Southern Valleys, Marlborough, South Island    2019    $21.95 MVC/QPR:  89
R+11827    CHÂTEAU BEAUSEJOUR CUVÉE PRESTIGE FRONSAC    AP    2016    $22.95  15% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89.5
R+12028    GERARD BRISSON LES CHARMES LA LOUVE MORGON    AC    2018    $20.95  12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+10822    SONSIERRA GRAN RESERVA    Rioja Alta, DOCa Rioja 2012      $20.95 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+134809    PICCINI SASSO AL POGGIO    IGT Toscana    2015    $23.95     14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+318352    LAZZERETTI BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO    DOCG    2013    $46.95  14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+85027    CASTELLANI CAMPOMAGGIO CHIANTI CLASSICO    DOCG     2015    $20.95 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
 
PART TWO: The "rest" of the release [not offered for sampling by media] with agency name  --
 
262881    PREVEDELLO ASOLO SUPERIORE EXTRA DRY PROSECCO    DOCG, Veneto, Italy        2018    $16.95    PREVEDELLO AND MATHEWS   
485326    ROCKWAY FERGIE JENKINS LIMITED EDITION RIESLING    VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Escarpment        2017    $16.95    ROCKWAY GLEN ESTATE WINERY  INC.   
27409    IRONY CHARDONNAY    Monterey County    C. Indelicato & J. Indelicato    2017    $24.95    SELECT WINE MERCHANTS INC.   
158790    KENWOOD CHARDONNAY    Sonoma County        2018    $18.95    CORBY SPIRIT AND WINE LIMITED   
269258    A TO Z WINEWORKS CHARDONNAY    Oregon        2017    $22.95    NICHOLAS PEARCE WINES INC   
295626    STADT KREMS GRÜNER VELTLINER    Certified sustainable, DAC Kremstal        2018    $18.95    B. COJOCARU AGENCIES INC.   
367284    HUGEL GENTIL    AC Alsace        2017    $17.95    HALPERN ENTERPRISES   
140624    CHÂTEAU DE VALMER VOUVRAY    AC        2017    $17.95    PHILIPPE DANDURAND WINES LTD.   
73072    BURROWING OWL SYRAH    BC VQA Okanagan Valley    Wyse Family Wines    2017    $43.95    WYSE WINE AGENCY   
350454    RODNEY STRONG ALEXANDER VALLEY CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Alexander Valley, Sonoma County        2016    $32.95    MARK ANTHONY WINE & SPIRITS   
537597    IRONSTONE CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Lodi        2018    $17.95    LIFFORD WINE & SPIRITS   
279810    PASO CREEK ZINFANDEL    Paso Robles        2017    $19.95    ARTERRA WINES CANADA INC.   
366013    BELLE GLOS DAIRYMAN VINEYARD PINOT NOIR    Russian River Valley, Sonoma County        2017    $59.95    ANDREW PELLER IMPORT AGENCY   
420695    LONE BIRCH SYRAH    Estate grown, Yakima Valley, Columbia Valley        2016    $20.95    H.H.D. IMPORTS   
387753    MERCER HORSE HEAVEN HILLS CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Horse Heaven Hills, Columbia Valley        2016    $24.95    SELECT WINE MERCHANTS INC.   
261586    LA POSTA ESTELA ARMANDO BONARDA    Mendoza    Laura Catena    2017    $15.95    TRIALTO WINE GROUP LTD.   
618348    NORTON D.O.C. MALBEC    Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza        2016    $15.95    PMA CANADA LTD.   
400150    EL ENEMIGO MALBEC    Mendoza    Adrianna Catena, Alejandro Vigil, Puerto Ancona    2015    $23.95    TRIALTO WINE GROUP LTD.   
295873    YALUMBA THE STRAPPER GSM    Vegan friendly, Barossa Valley, South Australia        2016    $19.95    BREAKTHRU BEVERAGE CANADA INC.   
538900    VIDAL RESERVE PINOT NOIR    Certified sustainable, Marlborough, South Island        2017    $24.95    HOBBS & COMPANY   
717991    RUPERT & ROTHSCHILD CLASSIQUE    WO Western Cape        2016    $24.95    PHILIPPE DANDURAND WINES LTD.   
630046    CHÂTEAU L'ESCADRE GRANDE RÉSERVE    AC Côtes de Bordeaux - Blaye        2016    $19.95    ROUGE ET BLANC LTD   
478263    DOMAINE LES PINS CUVÉE LES ROCHETTES BOURGUEIL    AP    Pitault-Landry    2017    $17.95    VINOLUNA   
995548    J.L. CHAVE SÉLECTION MON COEUR CÔTES DU RHÔNE    AC        2017    $22.95    HALPERN ENTERPRISES   
539916    ROC DES TEMPLIERS PLAN DE DIEU CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES    AC        2017    $14.95    GLENCAIRN WINE MERCHANTS   
11630    BLACK FOREST T/312 PINOT NOIR    Qualitätswein    Badischer Winzerkeller    2015    $19.95    H.H.D. IMPORTS   
981399    TERRA D'ALIGI MONTEPULCIANO D'ABRUZZO    DOC        2016    $13.95    DIONYSUS WINES & SPIRITS LTD.   
474437    MICHELE CHIARLO PALÁS BAROLO    DOCG        2015    $37.95    UNIVINS AND SPIRITS CANADA INC.   
638312    FONTANAFREDDA LANGHE NEBBIOLO    DOC        2018    $19.95    PHILIPPE DANDURAND WINES LTD.   
574137    CORTE MEDICEA CLETUS    IGT Toscana    Bollina    2016    $17.95    TRADESA CORP.   
247973    CABRIZ COLHEITA SELECIONADA    DOC Dão        2016    $14.95    NOBLE ESTATES WINES & SPIRITS INC.   
578807    WAYNE GRETZKY NO. 99 VIDAL ICEWINE    VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario        2017    $72.95    ANDREW PELLER LIMITED   
471813    LAKEVIEW CELLARS CABERNET SAUVIGNON ICEWINE    VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario        2017    $39.95    TRAJECTORY BEVERAGE PARTNERS   
387357    J.L. CHAVE SÉLECTION BLANCHE HERMITAGE BLANC    AC        2015    $75.95    HALPERN ENTERPRISES   
635136    MOUNT PEAK SENTINEL CABERNET SAUVIGNON    Sonoma County        2016    $79.95    E&J GALLO WINERY CANADA LTD.   
12177    DOMAINE GILBERT & PHILIPPE GERMAIN EN L'ORME BEAUNE 1ER CRU    AC        2016    $57.95    MARCHANDS DES AMERIQUES INC   
359109    J. L. CHAVE SÉLECTION OFFERUS SAINT-JOSEPH    AC        2016    $38.95    HALPERN ENTERPRISES
 

May we all have 2020 vision.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Monday, January 20, 2020

* FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! LATERAL COOKING (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019,

* FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! *
  ++++++++++++++++++++++
LATERAL COOKING (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018, 2019, 612 pages, ISBN 978-1-63557-264-3 $40 USD hardbound) is by Niki Segnit, who also wrote "The Flavor Thesaurus". This current book, published in the UK last year, is a companion volume to that earlier book. As Niki says, the hand book is "designed to help creative cooks develop their own recipes. It is based around a set of recipes which, once you're familiar with them, will prove almost infinitely adaptable, according to what you have in your fridge, in season, on offer at the market, or you feel like making." Everything is arranged by 12  continuums, jncluding batter, roux, soup and stew, nuts, sauce, pastry and more. The chef's job is to taste flavour combinations, and this leads to lateral cooking where one dish leads to another. Segnit and Ottolenghi (in their introductions) explain it all. There is an extensive bibliography and index to help us all through it. It looks more complex than it is, but it is all laid out for you. As with most cookbooks published in America, the book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Still, it is a very weighty tome dedicated to the fundamentals of cooking – and well-worth a read.
Audience and level of use: the inquisitive cook. No dilettantes need apply.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: this is how chefs make food – they see something, they taste something, and then they tinker with it.
The downside to this book: in 608 pages there are lots of preps and background here.
The upside to this book: it is all very well laid out.
Quality/Price Rating: 92.
 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Sunday, January 19, 2020

* DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH! * FANCY AF COCKTAILS; drink recipes from a couple of professional drinkers (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019)

* DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH! *
++++++++++++++++++++++++
1.FANCY AF COCKTAILS; drink recipes from a couple of professional drinkers (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019, 208 pages, $35.99  hardbound) is by  Ariana Madix and Tom Sandoval. It's the perfect gift for millennials: a loud, brassy tome with lots of colour and photos of both the drinks and the authors. With plenty of personal data too. The work has four main sections: classy, trashy, shots and recovery – drinks for all occasions with bourbon, Champagne, gin, Cointreau, margaritas, rum, vodka, whiskeys and more. Perhaps best taken in small doses, but it is a readable and affordable guide. Quality/Price Rating: 90
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Friday, January 17, 2020

* COOKBOOK 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"...
 
 
 
19.BRONTE AT HOME; baking from the Scandi Kitchen (Ryland Peters & Small, 2019, 176 pages, $19.95 USD hardbound) is a foodbook by Bronte Aurell, Danish author and TV chef,  and restaurateur at ScandiKitchen Cafe in London UK. This is her seventh eponymous cookbook for Ryland Peters & Small. There are 70 recipes here, many from her earlier books. These are traditional recipes from Scandinavia. The themes of the ScandiKitchen centre around baking, and this is her home baking of comforting cakes and bakes. After introducing us to her pantry, the arrangement is by form: biscuits and cookies; buns; traybakes and no bakes; little fancy fika cakes; celebration cakes; breads and batters. Spices used include caraway, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds, ginger, saffron, orange peel. Grains are mostly oats and rye, with spelt and potato flour. Try custard tarts, blueberry stud muffins, honey cake, or hazelnut and mocha square. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, although this is inconsistent and conversion charts could have been useful. Quality/price rating: 87.
 
 
 
 
20.THE RED HOT CHILE COOKBOOK; fabulously fiery recipes for chile fans. Rev. ed. (Ryland, Peters and Small, 2012, 2019, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-788-1, $19.95 USD hard covers) is by Dan May, who began growing chiles in the North Pennines in 2005. He now has the world's most northerly chile farm, called Trees Can't Dance. He began producing chile sauces. Here he has about 70 preps loaded with heat at various Scoville unit levels. There's primer stuff on history, how to grow at home, how to identify the varieties, and their strength levels. It's all arranged by course, from apps to desserts (chile jam ice cream, chile pecan brownies) and drinks. Smoked peppers are also included, such as chipotle (five recipes). Each prep has a chile meter to indicate heat levels. At the back, there's a listing of both US and UK chile suppliers. Preparations have their ingredients listed, but mixed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements; there is no separate table of metric equivalents. Some interesting or unusual recipes: tropical fruit salad with chile and lime syrup; green chile bhajis; fruity African bean stew; roast pork chops with spicy lentils; Moroccan-spiced lamb burgers. Quality/Price Rating: 85.
 
 
 
 
21.GARLIC Rev. ed. (Ryland Peters & Small, 2016, 2019, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-78879-153-3, $19.95 USD hard covers)is by Jenny Linford, a UK freelance food writer and multiple cookbook author. It was originally published in 2016; this is the revised edition. Garlic adds immense flavour to dishes; some do not like it, but many do. It's a member of the lilies: leeks, onions, chives, and is used internationally. Here are over 65 preps that use garlic extensively as a main component, either for flavour or for textures. It is a full range, divided into areas from "mellow" through to "go wild", and including "comfort" and "fiery" along the way. There is also material about types and use, garlic festivals around the world (Gilroy comes to mind), medicinal and folklore use, and home cultivation. In general, preparations have their ingredients listed in both avoirdupois and metric measurements (with some inconsistency in treatment), but there is no table of metric equivalents. Some interesting or unusual recipes: kimchi pancake with black garlic crème fraiche; toast garlic herbed labneh; Spanish garlic soup; wild garlic cheese scones; tzatziki; ajo blanco.  Quality/Price Rating: 85.
 
 
 
 
 
 
22.HOME BREW BEER (DK Publishing, 2013, 2019, 224 pages, ISBN 978-1-4654-8737-7, $22 US hard covers) is by Greg Hughes, co-owner of BrewUK, an online brewing website. He also organizes beer competitions. It is a fun book – anyone can make their own beer, from a simple kit or from an elaborate setup with friends. There are 100 recipes here from around the world, in different styles, with colour photos of techniques and the finished beers. The range includes lagers and ales, wheat beers, herb-spice-fruit beers, all with different levels of strength and concentration of flavours. I used to make beer for seven years, but had to switch to ciders for my weight problems. So it is a treat to revisit a basic home brew book. There is the usual DK treatment of pictures and graphs illustrating timelines, geography, ingredients and techniques. There are many
complications involving yeast treatment, hops, adjuncts, and even waters. A simple recipe is all you need to get started – the rest are for the big boys' club, which you can join after experience. The first rule is to never, ever use sucrose (table sugar) because the resulting brew will taste too apple-y. Of course, you may like that style, so do go ahead – it's a shandygaff. Equipment can be basic or extensive, but will always involve transfer hoses, air locks, and carboys. More than a third of the book covers all this material. The recipes are the remainder. Preparations have their ingredients listed
in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is also a table of metric equivalents. He has a glossary, a trouble-shooting FAQ, and some online forums for  further help and assistance and recipes. Quality/Price Rating: 90.
 
 
 
23.STARTING AND RUNNING A COFFEE SHOP (DK Books, 2019, 324 page, ISBN 978-1-4654-8379-9 $21.99 USD paperbound) is by Linda Formichelli and Melissa Villanueva. It was originally published in 2005 as "The Idiot's Guide to Starting and Running a Coffee Bar." It has now been upgraded (from bar to shop) with recent material and a second author (Melissa). In the business world 15 years is a long time. The publisher promises that you will brew success with proven strategies for every aspect of your espresso startup – which presumes that you only run an espresso coffee shop. There are a bunch of questions that need to be answered by the reader: are you a self-starter? Do you have money in the bank? Do you have your family's support? Plus the pros and cons of being your own boss. Melissa gives us a "day in the life", from opening to closing. Business plans are also discussed, as well as partnering and branding, and finding a good location that hasn't already been taken by the big boys. It is all fairly comprehensive, except that dealing with the landlord comes in on only 4 pages. Really? There's décor, equipment, layout and design, hiring a crew, baristas, what to sell, and the like. The appendices cover a glossary and forms, plus checklists and resources. There are even a few recipes. Quality/price rating: 87.
 
 
 
 
 
24.BISTRO: classic French comfort food (Rizzoli, 2015, 2018, 260 pages, ISBN 978-0-78933698-9 $19.98 USD hardbound) is by Alain Ducasse. It was originally published in French in 2015; this is the English translation.  These are classic foods served at his restaurants Allard, Benoit, and Aux Lyonnais – all are older bisros but now managed by Ducasse. Preps are sourced as noted from one of the three. The arrangement is by course, with appetizers followed by mains (fish, organ meats, meats, poultry, game, veggies) and desserts and some basic preps, along with a glossary. Typical are civet of wild boar with chestnuts, porcini and crabapples; pheasant with cabbage and chestnuts; traditional calf's head with ravigot sauce; pate en croute; tournedos of beef; veal kidneys with Madeira sauce. Recipes are detailed, and accompanying wines (all French) are noted. Given its price and many photographs and provenance, the book is a bargain. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Indexes are by course and by restaurant. Quality/price rating: 90
 
 
 
25.THE SOUP BOOK: season by season (DK Books, 2009, 2019, 352 pages, ISBN 978-1-4654-8613-4 $19.99 USD paperbound) has been edited by Sophie Grigson. It was originally published in the UK as "Soup". It's a good database of some 200 soups, arranged by season, with an opening chapter on techniques and a finishing chapter on bread. In between we have Spring (with soups based on asparagus, wild garlic, nettles), Summer (edamame, crab, beef, chicken, pork), Fall (pumpkin, pears, sweet potatoes, mussels, chicken) and Winter (kidney beans, parsnips, leeks, kale, duck, pheasant, smoked haddock). Each recipe has indications of service, prep times, cooking times, and freezer life (minus cream). Preps have been sourced as to author, and of course there is a comprehensive index. Contributors are advocates of organic growing (such as Alice Waters). Soup – easy enough to do! Proceeds from the book will support the work of the UK Soil Association, a non-profit that deals with sustainable and organic growing. The book could have been improved if it also used more metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 90.
 
 
 
26.HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING; simple recipes for great food. Third ed. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019, 951 pages, ISBN 978-1-328-54543-59, $37 USD hard covers) is by Mark Bittman, PBS host of a similarly named show and the weekly New York Times writer called "The Minimalist". He is mainly responsible for simplifying the cooking process; some others would say "dumbing down". This book was originally published in 1998 (updated in 2008), and since then he has been a dynamo in the word and kitchen factories with such books as "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian", a book on the basics, a quick and easy book, and books associated with his PBS and other television shows. But this book is the motherbook (2 million copies sold by 2008, and both IACP and Beard awards winner). It first appeared in 1998, with 2000 recipes, and this is its second revision as a "twentieth anniversary edition". There was a tenth anniversary edition in 2008. He begins "Much has changed…since 1998…" And so his book has expanded to include more international and spicy preps. Gone is the attempt at recreating haute cuisine at home: this is wholesome everyday cooking. These are the recipes that people cook every day at home on every continent and region. Many recipes here can be made ahead or prepared in under 30 minutes. He has plenty of cook notes and sidebars for explanations of techniques and unusual ingredients. There is material from some of other books. He has instructional drawings, but his stress is that many techniques are the same the world over, such as pies, food wrapped in pastry, soups. The main differences are in the seasonings and the local ingredients. The book has also been reorganized, to include new symbols for fast, make-ahead, and vegetarian recipes. He opens each chapter with an "Essential Recipes" section. He has more detail in chapters on vegetables and fruits, grains and beans. There are newer charts and illustrations. There are lists such as "22 Picnic-Perfect Salads". Recipes use avoirdupois weights and measures but there are conversion charts. There's a section on menus, complete with page references, and his top choices for make-ahead, essential, fast, and vegetarian recipes (about 100 each). The price of the book has gone up in 10 years – by two bucks. Other changes include new recipes and new features. Information has been updated, and photos are in colour. It is unbeatable for the price. Quality/Price Rating: 92.
 
 
 
27.TARTINE; a classic revisited (Chronicle Books, 2019, 328 pages, ISBN 978-1-4531-7873-8 $40 USD hardbound) is by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson, co-founders of Tartine in San Francisco. It opened in 2002, and this book was originally published in 2006 with 224 pages (and $5 cheaper). Liz does the pastries, Chad does the breads. They are both Beard winners and they have both authored other baking books with the word Tartine in the title. The book was an instant classic, and now it is been updated and revised, with 68 all-new recipes and 55 updated "faves". Modern flavours and ingredients are here: matcha, einkorn, teff, rye, buckwheat. Variations include natural sweeteners such as coconut sugar and maple syrup, More than two dozen recipes are gluten-free. Gentil + Hyers did the photography this time around. The arrangement is traditional, with breakfast (and their popular Tartine morning buns of croissant dough and cinnamon pinwheels), tarts and pies, cakes, cookies, pastries, holiday treats, and the basics.
The book could have been improved if it also used more metric in the recipes as equivalent to American volume measurements, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Scaling is used but "tsp" and "Tbsp" remain unscaled. Quality/price rating: 91.
 
 
28.DINING AT DUSK; evening eats – tapas, antipasti, mezze, ceviche and aperitifs from around the world (Whitecap, 2018, 2019, 240 pages, ISBN 978-1-77050-338-0 $34.95 CAD papercovers) is by Stevan Paul. It was originally published in Vienna in 2018, and then translated to English by Murdoch books. This is a co-publication. The range covers today's cuisine for the twilight time: comfort foods and relaxation. The preps are simple and easy to prepare, and  )in addition to the subtitle indications) include the Italian cicchetti, Mexican tacos, Japanese yakitori, and items from Samoa, Australia, India, Morocco, Brazil – wherever good food is to be found. It is all arranged by  country with background data. From China, expect wonton soup or spring onion pancakes; from Denamrk, a herring platter; from Hungary, sauerkraut puff pastry pockets; from Turkey, imam bayildi (of course); from Austria, the Heuriger platter; roll mops from Germany; Swiss raclette; Swedish smorgasbord; even haggis meatballs from the UK...A great idea for a cookbook. For the most part, preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois and matching metric measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. Quality/price rating: 90
 
 
 
29.THE FLEXITARIAN COOKBOOK; adaptable recipes for part-time vegetarians and vegans (Ryland Peters & Small, 2019, 144 pages ISBN 978-1-78879-146-5 $19.95 USD hardbound) is a publisher's book based on prior recipes that RPS have published. Julia Charles is the compiler; recipe credits (all sourced) come from Ross Dobson, Mat Follas, Liz Franlin, Vicky Jones, Jenny Linford and seven others. The Introduction tells you how to do it, especially for dinner with mixed philosophies, and then the arrangement is by course such as breakfast/brunch, snacks, salads, sides, soups, stews, pasta, sheet pans, and others. Expect such dishes as Mexican tortilla wraps of black-eyed beans, or pink pancakes with goat's cheese, or halloumi and veggie kebabs, or veggie jambalaya, curried veggie paneer, cheese beetroot and feta risotto, even pan-fried salmon Caesar salad. Try the awesome Syrian eggplant and chickpea ragout. The book could have been improved if it also used more metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 88.
----------------------------------------------------

Chimo! www.deantudor.com
 

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES: under/over $20 for JANUARY 11, 2020

 
WORLD WINE WATCH TOP WINES AT VINTAGES:  under/over $20 for JANUARY 11, 2020
 
By DEAN TUDOR, Gothic Epicures Writing deantudor@deantudor.com. My "Wines, Beers and Spirits of the Net", a guide to thousands of news items and RSS feeds, plus references to wines, beers and spirits, has been at http://www.deantudor.com since 1994.
 
These notes for good wines available through  LCBO Vintages (on a bi-weekly basis)  can always be found at http://www.gothicepicures.blogspot.ca  or at  http://www.deantudor.com No winery can buy their way into – or out of – this publication.
 
Scores are a combination of MVC (Modal Varietal Character, e.g. a Southern Rhone would taste like a Southern Rhone) and QPR (Quality/Price Ratio value in the marketplace above or below its price).
 
NOTE: My recommendations are based on a sampling of the table wines chosen by the LCBO from this release for media purposes. That presentation is about 50+  different labels out of about 125 released every two weeks. These wines are basically those that fit the categories of  any of the Featured Themes, Wines of the Month, Local Talent, and "new" -- wines that the LCBO has ordered in sufficient quantities for the Ontario marketplace. Not put out for us are the re-orders (even though they may be of a different vintage) , ISDs, or the expensive wines.  Thus, my report comes from a restricted database. I did not taste every one of these 50+ category wines, nor did I rate several of the wines I did sample because they did not seem to be of particularly good value in terms of their price.
 
THIS MONTH'S SPECIAL FIND --
Sherry+745448    HIDALGO LA GITANA MANZANILLA    $17.95    DO Manzanilla - Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain   15% ABV, MVC/QPR: 93
 
Under $20
=========
W+458687    NOBLE VINES COLLECTION 446 CHARDONNAY    2017    $18.95    San Bernabe, Monterey County  14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+514927    VINO ROSSO    2016    $17.95    Washington State  13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+226530    NOBLE VINES COLLECTION 181 MERLOT    2016    $19.95    Lodi 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+378869    BARAHONDA BARRICA MONASTRELL/SYRAH    2016    $16.95    DO Yecla 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+10548    MARQUES DE LA CONCORDIA VIÑA ALARDE RESERVA    2013    $17.95    DOCa Rioja 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+480764    TUSSOCK JUMPER CHENIN BLANC    2019    $12.95    WO Western Cape 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+13512    SOLAR DOS LOBOS REGIONAL TINTO    2017    $12.95    DO Alentejo 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
R+12606    MATAHIWI ESTATE ME PINOT NOIR    2018    $19.95    Wairarapa, North Island 12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90.5
R+12124    BROTHERS IN WINE PRIMITIVO    2016    $15.95    IGT Salento 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90.5
W+10950    RIOLITE IL POGGIO GUERRIERO FALANGHINA BENEVENTANO    2017    $15.95    IGP  12.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+670505    CHÂTEAU DE TRÉVIAC CORBIÈRES    2017    $17.95    AP 14.5 % ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+368167    CHÂTEAU RECOUGNE    2016    $15.95    AC Bordeaux Supérieur 14.5 % ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+11355    DOMAINE TANO PÉCHARD LES BRUYÈRES RÉGNIÉ    2017    $16.95    AC  13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90.
W+10927    DOMAINE DE JOx ENVIE    2017    $14.95    IGP Côtes de Gascogne  MVC/QPR: 89
W+10697    LACHETEAU MUSCADET    2018    $13.95    AP  11.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
W+10683    PIERRE SPARR SOL CALCAIRE RIESLING    2015    $18.95    AC Alsace 13% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
W+10514    CHÂTEAU SAINT-LOUIS LA PERDRIX L'ENVOL    2018    $12.95    AP Costières de Nîmes 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+10006    CAMILLE CAYRAN CAVE DE CAIRANNE LE CHÊNE NOIR    2017    $15.95    AP Côtes du Rhône-Villages 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 91
W+11953    FOGOLAR RIESLING    2016    16.95    VQA Niagara Peninsula  9.1% ABV,  MVC/QPR: 89
R+10968    PIATTELLI RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON    2016    $16.95    Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza  14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR:  89
R+203158    THORN-CLARKE TERRA BAROSSA CABERNET SAUVIGNON    2018    $17.95    Barossa, South Australia   14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
 
Over $20
=========
W+226936    RODNEY STRONG SONOMA COUNTY CHARDONNAY    2017    $23.95    Sonoma County  13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR:  89
R+013246    BOGLE VINEYARDS OLD VINE ZINFANDEL    2016    $22.95    California 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+12407    LUCIANO ARDUINI CLASSICO SUPERIORE VALPOLICELLA RIPASSO    2017    $20.95    DOC 14.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 89
R+461699    HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE BACO NOIR 2017   VQA Ontario  $24.95  14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
R+12675    CLOS DE LUZ MASSAL 1945 CABERNET SAUVIGNON    2016    $21.95    Almahue, DO Rapel Valley 14% ABV, MVC/QPR: 88
R+164715    BRANCAIA TRE    2016    $24.95    IGT Toscana  14% ABV, MVC/QPR:  89
W+273334    BACHELDER MINERALITÉ DE L'OREGON CHARDONNAY    2015    $24.95    Willamette Valley 13.5% ABV, MVC/QPR: 90
 
 

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

* THE RESTAURANT/CELEBRITY COOKBOOK reviewed --

 
...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 –
 
 
 
8.GATHER: a Dirty Apron Cookbook (Figure.1, 2019, 2016, 216 pages, ISBN 978-1-77327-067-8 $32.99 USD hardbound) is the creation of David Robertson, author of the Dirty Apron Cookbook. He founded The Dirty Apron Cooking School and Delicatessen in Vancouver, and now teaches some 35 classes a year. His current book is a follow-up to the earlier DAC; it has 80 recipes which reflect seasonality and personality in its flavours. The arrangement is typical: brunch, salads, soups, vegetarian, seafood, poultry and meats, breads, and deserts. He has a strong emphasis on the "mise en place" organized kitchen: that is half the battle (locating your materials). Brunch can be a gravlax and breakfast biscuits, or it can be a Thai beef steak sandwich with lemongrass aioli. A vegetarian feature is the pan-seared halloumi cheese and caramelized fennel with an orange-pomegranate reduction. Poultry and meats include a South Indian spiced pork tenderloin with lemon rice, and a bison mushroom stroganoff with thyme sour cream. Excellent plated food photography. A portion of the proceeds from this book will be donated to the Joy Smith Foundation. The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, but at least it had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 89.
 
 
 
 
9.BIGGER BOLDER BAKING: a fearless approach to baking anytime, anywhere (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019, 320 pages, ISBN 978-1-238-54632-6 $30 USD hardbound) is by Gemma Stafford, one busy lady: chef and host of an eponymous online baking show (from whence the book derives its title), judge on Food Network and Netflix, YouTube lady, Facebook, Instagram, and her own website www.biggerbolderbaking.com. Here are 100 recipes for maximum deliciousness with minimal effort, taken from her weekly show. Chapters are organized by tool: wooden spoon & bowl, pots and pans, rolling pin, baking pans, mixer, "no oven needed", and basics. Typical are confetti mug cake, fancy pavlova, lemon curd mousse, devil's food cupcakes, homemade jelly doughnuts, peanut butter and fudge ice cream pie. The book could have been improved if it also used more metric in the recipes, but at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 88.
 
 
 
 
10.ANTONI IN THE KITCHEN (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019, 274 pages, ISBN 978-1-32863134-3 $30 USD hardbound) is by Antoni Porowski, the food and wine expert on Netflix's Queer Eye who also works as a food consultant and sommelier in New York City. It comes with log rolling by Ted Allen, Jacques Pepin, and Dorie Greenspan among others. Mindy Fox is the focusing food writer and recipe developer. It's also a memoir- as Ted Allen says, "a veritable culinary travelogue, with nods to his family's Canadian roots, and detours to every place from Lyon to Athens to Melbourne." Chapters are headed Apps and Snacks, "Greens, Veg and other sides", soups and stews, pasta and rice, weeknights, animal, and bakes. Typical are chickpea masala, butter beans and tuna in tomato sauce, farro bowl with sweet potatoes, fish tacos with chipotle mayo, bigos (Polish hunter stew), Moroccan-style (lamb) pasta Bolognese, and kielbasa Polish-style. He's also got some French-Canadian recipes from Montreal plus some of his family Polish recipes, The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 88.
 
 
 
11.WHOLE FOOD COOKING EVERY DAY (Artisan Books, 2019, 400 pages, ISBN 978-1-57965-802-1 $40 USD hardbound) is by Amy Chaplin, author of the Beard and IACP award winning book "At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen" . She's the former executive chef at NYC's vegan restaurant Angelica Kitchen. She's now mostly a teacher, recipe developer, and personal chef. The sub-title pretty well says it all: "transform the way you eat with 250 vegetarian recipes free of gluten, dairy, and refined sugar." Contents are arranged by ingredient and by course. Thus, she begins with chia bircher bowls, moving through whole-grain porridges, gluten-free breads, nut and seed milks, drinks, and butters, soups, beans, veggies, sauces, cauliflower bakes, and a variety of desserts headed by puddings, granola, waffles, muffins. Quite through, with a string of variations after just about every prep. Helpful additional matter includes resources, tables of nut and seed roasting times, grain soaking and cooking times, ingredients for the pantry, essential equipment, and so nifty tips and advice for meal preps and meal plans. Most of the book is vegan. The book could have been improved if it also used more metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Some of the metric is inconsistently applied. Quality/price rating: 89.
 
 
 
 
12.SHUK; from market to table, the heart of Israeli home cooking (Artisan Books, 2019, 368 pages, $53 hardbound) is by Einat Admony and Janna Gur.  Admony is chef-owner of three NYC restaurants; Gur lives in Tel Aviv and has authored some 40 other cookbooks. "Shuk" is an Israeli market and usually features  Mediterranean culinary crossroad food, a sort of cultural melting pot. The food here is flavourful, and comprises salad for breakfast, many cooking techniques for veggies, rich stews and soups, couscous and chicken, liberal use of lemon and oil, fresh herbs and lots of fish. These are 140 home comfort food preps, with tons of tips and on-site photos of the shuk tour of Israel. Included are Ethiopian chicken, Yemenite malawach sficha, crispy za'atar, green shakshuka, and Jerusalem bagels. The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 88
 
 
 
 
13.THE BEST OF AMERICA'S TEST KITCHEN; best recipes, equipment reviews, and tastings 2020 (America's Test Kitchen, 2019, 326 pages, $45 hardbound) is a group effort from the PBS television show. It comes out in late summer but is meant for the next year:  in this case, 2020. So all material here is pretty well is written up by the spring of 2019. This is a" best of the best" collection, active since 2007. It's arranged by course, from starters/soups/salads through veggies, pasta/pizza/panini, meat, poultry, seafood, breads, and desserts – with stops along the way for sides, breakfast and brunch. There are concluding sections on test kitchen resources, nutritional info, and conversion equivalents. Quite a lot packed into a handy package, and excellent value (particular for the buying guides and the technique photo displays). The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 92
 
 
 
 
14.YOU ARE WHAT YOUR GRANDPARENTS ATE: what you need to know about nutrition, experience, epigenetics & the origins of chronic disease. (Robert Rose, 2019, 320 pages, $37.95 paperbound) is by long time food author Judith Finlayson who also writes about personal well-being and women's history. She provides an up-to-date global overview of the science linking one's experience as a fetus with the development of chronic illness later in life, and the possibility that one will pass on lifestyle choices to future generations. Epigenetics is the connection between our genes and  our environment: the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the lifestyle we choose.  It's a good basis for those millennials who try to understand where they are from and where they are going. Nature and nurture are intertwined, and early life experiences have an effect on diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancers.  She does a good job in making hard science accessible and readable. Something to think about over the holiday seasons. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements. Quality/Price Rating: 89
 
 
 
15.SAVE ME THE PLUMS; my Gourmet memoir (Appetite by Random House, 2019, 268 pages, $32 hardbound) is by the inspired Ruth Reichl, a great food writer with a gripping-can't-put-it-down style – just perfect for the holidays. She's been the restaurant critic for the LA Times, the NY Times, and then editor of Gourmet magazine for a ten year gig. Then the magazine shut down, primarily because of the incursion of the Internet where recipes abound. This is her story, her memoir of the glamourous, high-stakes world of magazine publishing. Under her management, Gourmet flourished as a cutting-edge food magazine, far from its stodgy beginnings. It is also the story of how Reichl grappled with the changes and how the changes affected her and then how the shutdown affected her. There are about a dozen recipes here, but one caveat: no overall index to neither the preps or the subject content.
 
 
 
16.THE MUNCHY MUNCH COOKBOOK FOR KIDS (Familius, 2019, 170 pages, $28.99 spiral-bound) is by Pierre A. Lamielle, and award-winning kids' cookbook author with titles such as "Alice Eats" and "Kitchen Scraps: a humourous illustrated cookbook".  He's also competed on Top Chef Canada and Chopped Canada (which he won). Great illustrations that even adults or new cooks will enjoy. These are the essential skills and recipes every young chef should know, beginning with ten pages of "safety". That deal with hot, sharp, and germs. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements. Quality/Price Rating: 87.
 
 
 
17.SOUTH; essential recipes and new explorations (Artisan Books, 2019,  376 pages, $60 hardcover) is by Sean Brock, once chef of Husk restaurants. Now he will have his own place in Nashville (working name: The Kudzu Complex, serving Appalachian food and a tasting menu). His first cookbook "Heritage" was both  a Beard and Child winner in 2015. He's also been a subject on The Mind of a Chef and Chef's Table TV series. Here Brock goes all out with heirloom and indigenous Appalachian ingredients. 125 recipes cover boiled peanuts, fried green tomatoes, she-crab soup, grilled catfish, hoppin' john, pot of greens, dirty rice, cornbread, buttermilk pie, BBQ, plus a Country Ham, Road Map. With an eye on international sales, there are also metric conversion charts. It has already been named one of the best new cookbooks of 2019 by a dozen publications. The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 91
 
 
 
 
18.SALT & TIME; recipes from a Russian kitchen (Interlink Books, 2019, 240 pages, ISBN 978-1-62371-921-0, $35 USD hardbound) is by Alissa Timoshkina, chef, curator and supper club host with a PhD in film history. In 2015 she launched KinoVino, which offers film screenings and sit-down dinners with unique menus inspired by the films. Her firm is also an event planner for film and food activities. One of these projects is exploring the cuisine of the former Soviet Union. And she does it here with this book, especially for Siberian food (her birthplace). She's got 100 recipes, mostly about the crossroads of Eastern European and Central Asian cuisine – all adapted for modern tastes and our western kitchens. Interesting preps include Napoleon cake, khe (Soviet-Korean ceviche), golubtsy (layered cabbage pie), plus dumplings, sauerkraut, doughnuts, chicken with prunes. There is an extensive chapter on ingredients and the pantry, plus drinks.
The book could have been improved if it also used more metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart. Quality/price rating: 90.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com
 

Monday, January 6, 2020

SOME NEW BEVERAGE SAMPLES SENT TO ME FOR TASTING in December 2019–

SOME NEW BEVERAGE SAMPLES SENT TO ME FOR TASTING  –
 
1.Sandbanks Sleeping Giant Foch – Baco Noir 2018 VQA Ontario +164087 LCBO, $19.95: based on marechal foch and baco noir grapes, this wine comes loaded with the intensity of rustic red fruit and mocha tones, tempered by deftly placed wood notes. Try with roasts. OWA Gold Medal 2018 and All Canadian Wine Championships Gold Medal 2018. 14g/L residual sugar and 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
2.Sandbanks Baco Noir Reserve 2018 VQA Ontario +225920 LCBO, $19.95: plenty of full-bodied black fruit here, displaying also some mocha in its development. Some light barrel aging as well. Best with grilled meats. OWA Bronze Medal 2018 and All Canadian Wine Championship Double Gold 2018. 13 g/L residual sugar and 13% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
3.Sandbanks French Kiss Cabernet-Merlot 2017 VQA Ontario +361881 LCBO, $19.95: another full-bodied wine, loaded with charm and character reminiscent of typical Bordeaux. The blend is cabernet franc, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon, all showing black cherry-berry aromatics and textures coupled with some oak tones from extended barrel aging. Best with strong cheeses or (heavily) sauced meats. 9 g/L residual sugar and 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
4.Sandbanks Pinot Grigio 2018 VQA Ontario +372219 LCBO, $15.95: this is a competitive category, but Sandbanks goes up very well against other grigios in Ontario. Typical nuances include orchard fruit (peach, pear, apple) with some aromatic tropical overtones. It is refreshing on the mid-palate, finishing with citric notes. 8 g/L residual sugar and 12.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
5.(not to be confused with Sandbanks) Sand Point Family Vineyards Chardonnay 2017 Lodi +11194 LCBO, $16.95: delivers the "California sunshine in a glass" taste, with tropicality and juicy toasted oak and vanilla notes. Lean orchard fruit of pears and apples with a lemon-y finish after the mid-palate. Great at parties for its smoothness. 10 g/L residual sugar and 14.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 88 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
6.(not to be confused with Sandbanks) Sand Point Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 Lodi +11193 LCBO, $16.95: another CaliCab that is positioned nicely at a sweet spot of under $17. It's full-bodied with dark red fruit tones of raspberries and cherries. And it has developed after some time in wood (it's three years old now); the low sweetness level is engaging. A good wine to have with conversation. 8 g/L residual sugar and 14% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
7.Santa Carolina Carolina Chardonnay Reserva 2018 Leyda Valley Chile +304022 LCBO, $12.95: one of the better chardonnays available at this price level. It's a cool climate wine from the breezy morning fog contributed by the Pacific. There is strong minerality here with native yeasts: some barrel fermentation and some stainless fermentation. Aged six months in French oak with lees contact and no malolactic fermentation. The creaminess is expected, with vanilla tones, nuttiness, orchard fruit on the mid-palate, finishing with citric flavours. 13.8 % ABV with 3.65 g/L RS. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
8.Santa Carolina Carolina Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2019 Leyda Valley Chile +337535 LCBO, $12.95: Chilean savvies show great value. Here is one from the cooler climate area of the country, all fermented in stainless and kept on its lees for a month. It has all of the savvy character: stones, herbs, grass, zest, lemons, minerality, but also some body from the lees treatment. Very fresh, at this point only 6 months old.
13.5% AVB, 2.19 g/L RS. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
9.Santa Carolina Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2018 Colchagua Valley Chile +275925 LCBO, $13.95: one of Chile's best cabbies at this price level, from a mild dry Mediterranean climate. Done up in stainless and then transferred to French oak for eight months wood contact. Expect intense freshness without the overwhelming hard tannins. Fruit includes raspberries and other members of the rose family, some peppery overtones, and a lush finish. Twist top closure, 13.5% ABV, 3 g/L RS. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
10.Adelaide Wines Estates Victoria Park Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 South Australia +11939 LCBO, $14.95: the LCBO appears to have added more Cabernet Sauvignon to its shelves as the grape is in a comeback mode, principally because of climate warming and softer tannins. Can it replace Merlot??? Well, this one can very easily. Plenty of mocha and dark berries, with a soft tannin finish. It is also vegan friendly, with no animal matter in the fining/filtering process. Selling for far more in the United States, somewhere at $19 USD retail. 13.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
11.J. Bookwalter Winery Readers Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 Columbia Valley AVA Washington State +132382, $35.95 Vintages February: comes from older vines at Washington's oldest vineyards. There are about 1000 wineries in Washington, most being family owned. This particular wine comes from higher elevations, and is 82% cabernet sauvignon with 18% syrah added. It has been aged 26 months in all French oak barrels, 30% of which are new. It's a wine meant for aging (I did a double-decant and tasted it over a few days).  The wine has power (14.9% ABV) and huge aromatics at this point, with black fruit such as blackberries (both cab and syrah) and coffee/chocolate tones to mesh with the vanilla from the wood. 2 g/L residual sugar, needs aging. Twist top. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
12.Prova Cega 2017 Douro DOC +446054 Vintages, $12.95: a full and generous wine from three varieties used for making port: touriga nacional 50%, touriga franca 25%, and tinta roriz 25%. The emphasis of the fruit is a mix of red first followed by the black after the mid-palate. Some spices are present but none dominate. Both the aroma and the taste are moderately complex, even at this price level. The density of the wine suggests rich meat dishes, and certainly very hard cheeses. A new Vintages entry into the Portuguese red wine sweepstakes, coming in at a low 1.5 g/L residual sugar and a high 14.5% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
13.Poggio Landi Brunello di Montalcino 2013 DOCG +573980 Vintages, $49.95: 100% sangiovese grosso, aged 38 months in French oak barrels. Fresh ripe red fruit dominates (berry-cherry), black pepper and anise, vanillin, some forest floor complexity showing, but tannins still need resolution. A cellar keeper, or try it over several days after exposure to air. Start with a double-decant. Long finish with some herbaceousness. Best with hard cheese and game. 14% ABV. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
 
14.Henry of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Baco Noir 2018 VQA Ontario +461699 $24.95 Vintages Essential: These low yielding grapes come from Short Hills Bench which was planted in 1984. Some of these old vines are still producing, and you can find some of their juice in this bottle.  As with their previous baco noirs, HOP has maintained both the rich jammy black currant spicy character and the low price – under $25. Aged in premium American Oak for more than 18 months. It's still young, needing another two years or so for proper aging, but with multiple decanting it can be consumed now. 13% ABV on the label. Works best with pronounced meats such as pork, lamb, farmed or wild game – all either braised or grilled. And spicy foods. Speck Family Reserves are the top tier by HOP. Quality/Price rating is 90.5 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 
15.Henry of Pelham Family Estate Chardonnay 2018 VQA Short Hills Bench, $21.95, +268342 Vintages Essential: this bottling continues the tres elegante Burgundian character of earlier years. Some ripeness, pleasant balance of oaking and fruit, integrated style in place, wood integration produces some creaminess in the finish. Overall balance of fruit and wood, vanilla, modest spices. 13% ABV on the label, cork closure, barrel fermentation in French and American oak (25% - 33% new), barrel aging for 8 or more months. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
 
 

May we all have 2020 vision.
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

* DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH! -- The Beer Lover's Table by Claire Bullen (Dog 'n' Bone)

 
 
1.THE BEER LOVER'S TABLE: seasonal recipes and modern beer pairings (Dog 'n' Bone, 2019, 176 pages, ISBN 978-1-911026-78-5 $19.95 USD hardbound) is by Claire Bullen (London food and beer writer) with Jen Ferguson (craft beer specialist at London's Hop Burns & Black). It's a book meant to be an alternative to wine-food pairing. The authors have 65 seasonal modern recipes that are matched to a range of craft beers. They've divided craft beers into five categories: sours/saisons, lagers, wheat, IPAs, and dark beers. There is a chapter for each, with accompanying food recipes. Bitters, of course, have been accounted for. So right away, we leave behind about 90% of the world's beer: the commercially light Buds, Coors, Euro equivalents, etc. Now of course it makes more sense. The hoppy, malted, spicy, bitters of IPA-styles really kick in with pungent foods such as mushroom pasta, aged cheeses, cured salami, gamey lamb (and game in general). The book could have been improved if it also used more metric in the recipes (an not imperial volumes), or at least had a metric conversion chart.
Audience and level of use: beer lovers, those wanting different alcohol with food.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: for IPAs – nectarine panzanella salad with croutons; fried avocado wedges; dal with fried onions and lime cream; heirloom tomato and whipped goat's cheese galettes; fusilli with chanterelle cream sauce; Indian-spiced fried chicken; peach upside-down cake with miso caramel.
The downside to this book: needs metric conversion charts,
The upside to this book: great recipe ideas for a gastro-pub, and really fine photography.
Quality/Price Rating: 92.
 

Chimo! www.deantudor.com