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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Some new cookbooks

ALMONDS; recipes, history, culture (Gibbs Smith, 2014, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-4236-3464-5, $21.99 US hard covers) is by Barbara Bryant and Betsy Fentress, co-authors of "The Bryant Family Vineyard Cookbook". Recipes are by Lynda Balslev, a food writer and recipe developer in the Frisco Bay Area. Along with some high powered log rolling, the team has produced a unique book of 60 recipes featuring the cuisines of China, India, Lebanon, France, Italy, Mexico and the US. All forms of almonds are here: raw, blanched, ground, roasted, slivered and sliced. The range is for every course, from snacks and starters to baked goods. Much of the data came from the Almond Board of California (www.almonds.com) but they also have a short bibliography. In addition to cultural notes and histories, there are sidebars from time to time with tidbits of material. The photography is also really good. Preparations have their ingredients listed mainly in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents.
Audience and level of use: nut lovers.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: almond granita and raspberries; mixed greens with roasted beets, feta and toasted almonds; almond and apricot skillet bread; almond and lemon crusted salmon; pulled pork with red mole; white peach and prosciutto salad; winter kale and quinoa salad with carrots and raisins; green olive and almond tapenade.
The downside to this book: more recipes would have been appreciated.
The upside to this book: a nifty book for almond lovers.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.
 
 
 
4.THE NEW SOUTHERN TABLE; classic ingredients revisited (Fair Winds, 2014, 200 pages, ISBN 978-1-59233-585-5, $21.99 US soft covers) is by Brys Stephens, food writer and restaurant critic, now operating as www.cookthink.com. His book is arranged by ingredient: okra, field peas, squash, rice, collards, corn, sweet potatoes, lima beans,peanuts, pecans,figs, peaches, and watermelons – with something for everyone. There are about 100 recipes showing French, Mediterranean, Latin and Asian roots through combinations and techniques. Okra and feta shows off Greek tones, hoppin' john with coconut seems to be from the Caribbean, while Sicilian watermelon pudding is from Italy. Each product is introduced, there is photography, and some general food matching principles. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents.
Audience and level of use: lovers of Deep South food looking for a change.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: buttermilk pecan ice cream; chick, collard, and country ham saltimboca; forbidden coconut rice with mango; steak tacos with watermelon salsa; quick cook collards, chard and escarole; flounder in parchment with field peas, squash and peppers; peaches with pecan mint pesto.
The downside to this book: more recipes would have been useful because this is a great idea.
The upside to this book: good concept.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
 
 
5.RAWSOME VEGAN BAKING (Page Street, 2014, 224 pages, ISBN 978-1-62414-055-6, $19.99 US paper covers) is by Emily von Euw, creator of the blog www.thisrawsomeveganlife.com which gets about a half million page views a month. The techniques, tips and preps come from the blog's site. It is a handsome book, made even the better with the exclusive Premium Binding which stays open for hand free viewing. The subtitle pretty much says it all: "an un-cookbook for raw, gluten-free, vegan, beautiful and sinfully sweet cookies, cakes, bars and cupcakes". It manages to combine three trends in one: raw, vegan, and gluten-free. Certainly these are healthier alternatives to many current desserts that are laden with bad sugars and bad fats. Over 100 recipes go into details such as use of the food processor and blender. An example given is the vanilla chocolate chunk cheesecake with peanut butter which uses oats, pitted dates, bananas, coconut oil, cashews, carob powder, peanut butter and chocolate – everything is raw. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no overall table of equivalents.
Audience and level of use: vegans, desert lovers, gluten-free eaters, fans of raw food.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: s'mores cupcakes; sorbet with strawberries, agave and mint; rhubarb almond crumble with maple oregano glaze; caramel tarts with pistachios and pumpkin seeds; chocolate nut butter cups; blueberry strawberry banana ice cream cake; "endless energy bars" (nuts seeds, figs, raisins, coconut).
The downside to this book: I would have liked more recipes, but I suppose these can be found at the blog.
The upside to this book: the concept and the binding.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.
 
 
 
6.EGGS ON TOP; recipes elevated by an egg (Chronicle Books, 2014; distr. Raincoast, 208 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-2368-4, $24.85 US paper covers) is by Andrea Slonecker, a food writer who is also head of the Portland Culinary Alliance and a chef instructor at the Art Institute of Portland (OR). It is a nifty, basic book about perfect protein. The first part of the book deals with how to cook eggs in different ways, including special basting with bacon dripping or special poaching in wine. The rest of the book (110 pages) covers recipes about adding whole eggs to dishes. The first chapter covers eggs on bread/sandwiches, then there is a section on eggs on soups and stews, followed by eggs on salads, eggs on veggies, eggs on grain and legumes, and eggs on noodles. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: egg lovers; those looking for relatively quick food.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: welsh rarebit with hide-and-seek eggs and burnt broccoli; oeufs en meurette; crispy lemon eggs and avocado on toast; sweet potato red flannel hash with fried eggs; Swiss chard, chickpeas and crunchy egg stew; salad of favas, radishes, beet-pickled eggs and wheat berries.
The downside to this book: there is a very short few paragraphs on using eggs on leftovers, which could be expanded.
The upside to this book: a unique presentation, well thought out.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.
 
 
7.SUPER GRAINS & SEEDS (Ryland Peters & Small, 2014, 144 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-488-0, $24.95 US hard covers) is by Amy Ruth Finegold, who markets gluten-free baking mixes in the UK via Whole Foods. See www.amy-ruths.com. She now lives in the US. Here are 60 preps using chia, quinoa, flax, farro, and other grains and seeds. A good introductory book, based on her own health problems – that have largely disappeared with her new food eating patterns. She's divided the grains into gluten and non-gluten, and has also added acai berries, almond flour and coconut oil. Preparations have their ingredients listed in mostly avoirdupois measurements with some metric, but there is no table of equivalents.
Audience and level of use: beginning cooks, those with health problems.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: almond flour tea loaf with fresh berries; spice cake with mesquite flour; quinoa spaghetti with chilli crab; beetroot herb dip with seeded amaranth crackers; wild rice with artichoke, peaches and pine nuts.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.
 
8.THE ITALIAN VEGETABLE COOKBOOK (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014, 326 pages, ISBN 978-0-547909165, $30 US hard covers) is by Michele Scicolone, author or co-author of some 19 books, including The Sopranos Family Cookbook. She's gathered 200 preps from home cooks, chefs, produce vendors, and vineyard owners in Italy. Some are from Italian magazines, while others are her family faves. The whole range is here: antipasti, soups, pasta, mains, desserts. For the most part it is vegetarian except for some optional pancetta, anchovies or chicken broth as flavour enhancers. No other flesh is here. There is some material on storing veggies and fruit. This is followed with course-by-course sections of the meal. There is a good layout with leaded font giving the cook lots of room to view the instructions and the ingredients. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: home cooks who love veggies or Mediterranean foods.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: Easter Swiss chard and cheese pie; stuffed mushrooms; dragged penne; stuffed eggplant; acquacotta (bread, tomatoes and cheese); fruit focaccia; plum crostata; watermelon granita.
The downside to this book: a too short sources list – why bother?
The upside to this book: good selection of rustic recipes.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Report on Somewhereness Ontario VQA wines, April 9 tasting

The Date and Time: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 11AM to 1PM
The Event: Somewhereness Trade Show (Media portion)
The Venue: St. James Cathedral Centre
The Target Audience: wine media
The Availability/Catalogue: everything is available from the winery, with a
few at the LCBO. The catalogue gave both licensee and retail prices; I will
quote retail.
The Quote/Background: There are now 12 wineries who are part of
Somewhereness, a terroir driven group of wine producers who strive for a
sense of place.
The Wines: I had to leave by before 12:45, so I did not taste every wine.
Needless to say, all the wines are VQA wines.

**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Hinterland Wine Company Limited - Rosé Method Traditional 2011, $37
-13th Street Winery Cuvee 13 Rose NV, $24.95 retail.
-13th Street Winery Pinot Gris 2012, $19.95
-13th Street Winery Reserve Syrah 2011, $21.95
-Bachelder Niagara Chardonnay 2011, $29.95 [half-Wismer]
-Bachelder Niagara Chardonnay 2011 Wismer Vineyard, $44.95
-Bachelder Niagara Chardonnay 2011 Saunders Vineyard, $44.95
-Cave Spring Cellars Dolomite Brut NV, $24.95
-Cave Spring Cellars Gewurztraminer Estate Bottled, $17.95
-Charles Baker Wines - Charles Baker Picone Vineyard Riesling 2012, $35.20
-Charles Baker Wines - Charles Baker Picone Vineyard Riesling 2009
-Charles Baker Wines - Charles Baker Picone Vineyard Riesling 2007
-Tawse Winery - Limestone Ridge "Spark" Riesling 2012, $20.15
-Tawse Winery - Quarry Road Vineyard Chardonnay 2011, $36.15
-Flat Rock Cellars - Chardonnay 2010, $17.15
-Stratus Vineyards - Tollgate Viognier 2011, licensee only $19.21
-Stratus Vineyards - Stratus White 2010, $44.20 Vintages
-Stratus Vineyards - Stratus Red 2010, $44.20
-Southbrook Vineyards - Triomphe Chardonnay 2012, $22.95
-Southbrook Vineyards - Whimsy! Winemaker's White 2012, $34.95
-Norman Hardie Winery - County Chardonnay Unfiltered 2012, $39.20
-Norman Hardie Winery - Riesling 2012, $21.20
-Hidden Bench Estate Terroir Cache 2010

***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating
terms):
-Malivoire Wine Company - Mottiar Chardonnay 2011, $29.95
-Norman Hardie Winery - County Pinot Noir Unfiltered 2012, $39.20
-Norman Hardie Winery - County Cabernet Franc Unfiltered 2012, $25.20
-Stratus Vineyards - Stratus Cabernet Franc 2010, $38.20
-Stratus Vineyards - Tollgate Red 2011, $19.95
-Flat Rock Cellars - Nadja's Vineyard Riesling 2012, $20.15
-Flat Rock Cellars - Nadja's Vineyard Riesling 2013, $20.15
-Flat Rock Cellars - Riesling 2013, $17.15
-13th Street Winery Riesling 2012 Creek Shores, $23.95
-Cave Spring Cellars Dolomite Riesling 2012, $16.95
-Cave Spring Cellars Riesling CSV 2011, $29.95
-Charles Baker Wines - Charles Baker Ivan Vineyard Riesling 2013, $27.20
-Charles Baker Wines - Charles Baker Picone Vineyard Riesling 2011
-Charles Baker Wines - Charles Baker Picone Vineyard Riesling 2008
-Charles Baker Wines - Charles Baker Picone Vineyard Riesling 2010, $35.20
+241182 Vintages
-Tawse Winery - Limestone Ridge Vineyard Riesling 2012, $22.15
-Tawse Winery - Frost Vineyard Gewurztraminer 2012, $20.15
-Tawse Winery - Grower's Blend Pinot Noir 2010, $27.15
-Flat Rock Cellars - Gravity Pinot Noir 2011, $30.15
-Hidden Bench Estate Riesling 2012, Vintages $23.75
-Hidden Bench Estate Chardonnay 2012, Vintages $28.75
-Hidden Bench Estate Rose 2013, $19.75
-Hidden Bench Estate Pinot Noir 2010 Locust Lane
-Hinterland Wine Company Limited - Ancestral Method Ancestral 2013, $25
-Hinterland Wine Company Limited - Lacus Method Charmat 2012, $22


*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Flat Rock Cellars - Unplugged Chardonnay 2012, $17.15
-Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery - Felseck Vineyard Gewurztraminer 2011,
$28.20
-Hinterland Wine Company Limited - Whitecap Method Charmat 2013
-Malivoire Wine Company - Melon 2013, $19.95

The Food: some cheese was given to us by Monforte Dairy and the Upper Canada
Cheese company, and Fat Chance Hand Sliced Cold Smoked Salmon provided some
fish.
The Downside: I had to leave early, so unfortunately, I could not taste
everything.
The Upside: Schott Zwiesel glasses.
The Contact Person: somewhereness@gmail.com or jennifer@flatrockcellars.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 89.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Report: Burgundy wine tasting at Victor Restaurant, April 8...

The Date and Time: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 11AM to 3 PM
The Event: One Moment – One Bourgogne Wine seminar tasting and lunch
The Venue: Victor Restaurant, Mercer Street
The Target Audience: wine media and sommeliers
The Availability/Catalogue: all 15 of the wines are available in Ontario
The Quote/Background: the seminar was led by John Szabo, with the presence
of Francois Labet, Chairman of the BIVB Marketing and Communication
Commission (since the beginning of this year). Regions were talked about, we
sampled, and each wine had a Q & A session for over an hour in total.
The Wines:

**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-J Defaix Rully 1er Cru Mont Palais 2011, $41.99 Cons Lifford
-Chateau Vitallis Pouilly-Fuisse Vieilles Vignes 2010, Vintages +360496,
$27.95
-V Girardin Chassagne-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes 2011, Vintages +364141,
$55.75
-Bouchard Pere & Fils Beaune de Chateau 2009 Beaune 1er Cru +325142, $36.90
-Roche de Bellene Beaune 1er cru Les Greves 2010, $46.95 Cons Tannin
-D Rion Nuits-Saint-Georges Vieilles Vignes 2011, Vintages +356600, $53.75

***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating
terms):
-La Chablisienne Chablis 1er cru Montmains 2010, Vintages +265090, $28.95
-Louis Jadot Bourgogne Blanc 2013, Vintages Ess $20.95
-J Burrier Chateau de Beauregard Pouilly-Fuisse Vers Cras 2010, $49.95 Cons
Lifford
-Dom Thenard Givry 1er Cru Cellier aux Moines 2008, Cons $32.50 Small
Winemakers

*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Domaine Gautheron Chablis 2012, +207902 Vintages, $24.95
-J Drouhin Macon Villages 2012, Vintages +356956, $17.75
-A Delorme Bourgogne Rouge 2010, Vintages +366427, $20.95
-A Bichot Dom du Pavillon Pommard Clos des Ursuline 2011, +23820 Vintages,
$49.95
-Dom A Verdet Morey-Saint-Denis 2010, Vintages +354316, $36.25

The Food: we had choices. I opted for the sushi "pizza" of lobster salad,
tuna, wasabi mayo, and crispy rice, followed by cassoulet with pork loin,
duck confit and house sausage. There was a cheese course with three slivers
of artisanal cheeses (Quebec for the most part?) and nuts and dried fruit,
and for dessert there was a light cheesecake or a pot de crème. There seemed
to be no point to dessert since there were no wines, no marc or cremant. But
it was enjoyable. Call me a cheap date, but the wines I enjoyed most with
the food were the Bouchard Beaune ($36.90) and the Vitallis Pouilly-Fuisse
($27.95). Also appreciated with the food were the Nuits-Saint-Georges
($53.75) and the Chassagne-Montrachet ($55.75).
The Downside: unlike other regional presentations from Sopexa, there were no
regional wines on sale from the SAQ in Quebec, which was a shame.
The Upside: a chance to match definite food wines with food.
The Contact Person: susan@thesirengroup.com and johanna.raynaud@sopexa.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 90.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Event: California Wine Fair 2014 Tour

The Date and Time: Monday, April 7, 2014 1Pm to 5:30 PM
The Event: California Wine Fair 2014 Tour
The Venue: Fairmount Royal York
The Target Audience: wine trade
The Availability/Catalogue: everything seemed to be available through the
LCBO channels or as private orders, consignments, etc.
The Quote/Background: I did not taste every wine, but we did have a media
room where it was quiet enough to do some tasting beyond sampling.
The Wines:

**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs NV, $27.95 September Vintages
-Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut NV, $27.95 December Vintages
-Sebastiani Chardonnay Sonoma 2012 Select
-Grgich Hills Estate Chardonnay 2011 Napa, $63.95 Cons Rogers
-St. Supery Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Napa, $19.95 Vintages
-Beringer Luminus Chardonnay 2012 Oak Knoll, $39.95 TWE
-Hahn SLH Estate Chardonnay 2012 Santa Lucia Highlands Ponte
-Marimar Estate La Masia Chardonnay 2010 Russian River Valley Family Wine
Merchants
-Mumm Napa Brut Prestige NV Corby
-Nichols Winery Primitivo 2006 Paso Robles
-Silver Oak Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Napa

***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating
terms):
-Robert Mondavi Oakville Fume Blanc 2012 Napa
-Domaine Chandron Rose NV Charton-Hobbs
-Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc 2013, $17.95 Vintages
-Benovia Chardonnay 2011 Russian River Artisanal
-Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Napa
-Beringer Quantum Private Reserve 2010 Napa
-Buena Vista Chardonnay 2011 Carneros
-Ca'Momi Chardonnay 2012 Napa
-Ca'Momi Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Napa
-Chateau St.Jean Cinq Cepages Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Sonoma
-Clos du Bois Marlstone Meritage 2010 Alexander Valley
-Toasted Head Chardonnay 2012 California, $17.95 LCBO
-Cuvaison Brandlin Vineyard Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Mount Veeder Napa
-Deep Sea Chardonnay 2013 Santa Barbara
-Davis Bynum Chardonnay 2012 Russian River
-Dierberg Chardonnay 2011 Santa Maria Kylix
-Duckhorn The Discussion Red Wine 2010 Estate Grown Napa
-Etude Chardonnay 2010 Carneros
-Fog Crest Pinot Noir Estate 2011 Russian River Valley
-Fog Crest Elevage-Estate Chardonnay 2010 Russian River Valley
-Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection Chardonnay 2012 Monterey, $18.99
licensee
-Gloria Ferrer Chardonnay 2011 Carneros
-Hahn SLH Estate Pinot Noir 2012 Santa Lucia Highlands Ponte
-Heitz Trailside Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Napa Rutherford
-Heitz Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Napa Oakville
-Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Napa Rutherford
-Jordan Chardonnay 2011 Russian River Valley
-Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Alexander Valley
-Nichols Petite Sirah 2006 Paso Robles Le Sommelier
-Crossbarn by Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Napa Authentic
-Peju Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Napa Le Sommeleir
-Pine Ridge Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2012 Carneros
-Rodney Strong Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Alexander
-Schug Chardonnay 2012 Carneros Lifford
-Schug Chardonnay 2012 Sonoma Coast Lifford
-Schug Pinot Noir 2011 Carneros Lifford
-Signorello Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Napa
-Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Artemis 2011 Napa Profile
-Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Chardonnay Karia 2012 Napa
-Stags' Leap Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Napa TWE
-J Vineyards Brut Cuvee 20 Russian River Halpern
-J Vineyards Brut Rose Russian River Halpern
-J Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Paso Robles Profile

*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Wente Vineyards Morning Fog Chardonnay 2012 Livermore, $16.95 LCBO
-Cline Cellars Viognier 2012 North Coast
-Dierberg Pinot Noir 2011 Santa Rita Hills Kylix
-Three Saints 67 Bordeaux Blend 2007 Happy Canyon Kylix
-Fog Crest Estate Chardonnay 2011 Russian River Valley
-Geyser Peak Winery XYZin Old Vine Zinfandel 2012 California Mondia
-Geyser Peak Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Alexander
-Kenwood Zinfandel 2011 Sonoma Rogers
-Marimar Estate Mas Cavalls Pinot Noir 2010 Sonoma Coast Family Wine Merch
-Marimar Estate Acero Chardonnay 2012 Russian River Valley Family Wine
Merch
-Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir 2012 Russian River
-Pedroncelli Zinfandel Mother Clone 2011 Dry Creek Valley
-Pedroncelli Chardonnay 2012 Dry Creek Valley Kylix
-Peju Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Napa Le Sommelier
-J Wilkes Pinot Blanc 2012 Santa Maria Valley Grape Inc
-Waterstone Winery Pinot Noir 2011 Carneros Small Winemakers

The Food: terrines, cheeses, breads, dried fruit.
The Downside: it was difficult to challenge the crowds.
The Upside: the media room.
The Contact Person: paula@praxispr.ca
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 87.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Sunday, April 13, 2014

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

...all reflect a boom in the cookbook publishing business. A paperback reprint will lower the cost to the purchaser, and also give a publisher a chance to correct egregious errors or add a postscript. Some will reissue a book in paper covers with a new layout or photos. Others will rearrange existing material to present it as more informative text while keeping the focus tight. Some magazines will reissue popular or classic recipes in an "easy" format. Here are some recent "re-editions"...
 
 
21.A LA MERE DE FAMILLE (Chronicle Books, 2014, 280 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-1828-4, $35 US, hard covers) comes from the Parisian confectioner of the same name (founded in 1761). It was first published in France in 2011 by Hachette; this is its North American debut in English, with a text by Julien Merceron and photography by Jean Cazals. There are 9 locations of the store in Paris, but of course, only one of them was the first. So of course, this is also the history of the company. There is a lot of material on the French style or manner of doing confections, followed by a judicious selection of recipes for chocolates, cakes and pastries, candymaking, jams, cookies, tuiles and meringues, syrups, candied fruits, and frozen treats. About 100 in all. The photography is drop dead gorgeous; my fave is the candied pineapple on p179. "As with all candied fruits, the process for candying stretches out over a week (p178)." But the techniques and steps are simple and do not take much time in themselves. These are recipes for the patient: praline paste, lady fingers, orange-chocolate cake, montelimar nougat, crunchy almond spread, pistachio ice pops. Well worth it if you have the available time for the project; many preps require a maturation period which is down time for the chef. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents. No index, but there is a table of recipes and a handy bookmarker ribbon. Quality/price rating: 88.
 
 
22.THE FLEXITARIAN TABLE; inspired flexible meals for vegetarians, meat
lovers, and everyone in between (Houghton Mifflin, 2007, 2014, 342 pages,
ISBN 978-0-544-27390-0 $19.95 US soft covers) is by Peter Berley, a well-
known former chef and now cookbook author and magazine food writer.
This is his third such book – his last one got both a Beard and an
IACP. Yet he still needs logrolling from Rachel Ray and Mollie Katzen. This is the soft cover reprint of the 2007 book, with nothing changed. The book has been authored "with Zoe Singer" who is not identified, but is presumably a focusing
writer. A "flexitarian" is an outer limit vegetarian operating on the
fringes: a flexible vegetarian. It is also an excellent weasel word
used to describe those eaters who consume more non-meat than meat. He
has 150 recipes, sorted by 40 seasonally arranged menus (10 per
season). All recipes can be mixed and matched, but of course should
remain within the season if the principle of eating seasonally is to be
followed. Thus, he has convertible meals that can be prepared with a
vegetable and/or meat protein; some hearty vegetarian meals for the
meat lover; and meals with fish, poultry, and some red meats, with
ample veggie sides that could become mains when your back is turned. He
has additional ideas for adding flesh and for getting dinners quickly.
His main foods for heartiness include only organic or wild meats, beans
and tofu, dairy and eggs, plus nuts and seeds. US volume measurements
are used, but there are no metric tables of equivalents. One menu has lentil and
rhubarb curry with potatoes and peas, a cucumber lime raita, naan
bread, and roasted spring carrots with cumin and lime. Another has
roast duck with spiced red onion marmalade, goat cheese frittata, rice
with herbs, and sautéed asparagus and fiddlehead ferns. Quality/Price Rating: 86.
 
 
23.THE HEALTHY SLOW COOKER. 2d ed. (Robert Rose, 2014, 352 pages, ISBN 978-0-7788-0479-6, $27.95 CAN soft covers) is by Judith Finlayson, who has sold over a million cookbooks. The first edition was in 2006 when healthy food meant low fat, low calorie, no saturated fat. Since then, thought has shifted on saturated fats and on wheat. So it is back to the drawing board with new versions of older dishes. Since 2006, Finlayson has authored a slew of slow cooker books on comfort foods, veggies, gluten-free whole grains, and paleo dishes. Some of the recipes in this book had appeared in those earlier books. Indeed, the subtitle now reads "135 gluten-free recipes for health and wellness" – inasmuch as slow cookers can retain certain nutrients. Try her creamy morning millet with apples, leek and potato soup, Thai-style coconut fish curry, butternut chili, New Age succotash, or poached pears in chocolate sauce. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. She also has a reading list and a table of diabetes food values.
Quality/price rating: 87.
 
 
24.THE NEW VEGETARIAN COOKING FOR EVERYONE (Ten Speed Press, 1997, 2014, 666 pages,
ISBN 978-1-60774-553-2 $40 US hard covers) is by Deborah Madison. It was
originally published in 1997, and it had won both a Beard and a Child
book award. It came back as a "tenth anniversary edition", but nothing was changed in that edition. Today, the food world has changed in the past 17 years, and Madison acknowledges this in a brisk introduction. "you will find nearly all of the recipes you have come to love. But you will also find over 200 new ones and information on new ingredients that we have come to know." If you have the original book, then there is no real need to buy this one, except as a gift or replacement copy. Our own copy for 1997 is still serviceable, but I will retain this one for the new recipes. In 1997, she had 9 quinoa recipes, which was probably – at that time – 9 more than any other book.
Quality/Price rating: 94 for first time purchase.
 
 
25.NEW FLAVOURS FOR THE LEBANESE TABLE (Ebury Press, 2007, 308 pages, ISBN 978-0-091917241, $22.99 CAN soft covers) is by Nada Saleh, a cookery writer from Beirut and lately a cook at Books for Cooks in Notting Hill. It is a straight reprint in paperback of the 2007 edition. 200 recipes are compiled, most of them classics with contemporary leanings. Everything here is highly aromatic, but may I recommend the makdouss? (cooked baby eggplants stuffed with walnuts and chili – can be frozen). Large typeface too. Preparations have their ingredients listed in mostly metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents. Quality/price rating: 88.


Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR APRIL 12, 2014

WORLD WINE WATCH (LCBO VINTAGES TIP SHEET) FOR APRIL 12, 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.
 
 
====?>>> ** BEST WINE VALUE OF THE RELEASE *UNDER* $20
 
Bertani Villa Novare Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2010, +95810, $19.95: one of the finest appassimentos to come along from Valpolicella region in quite some time, absolutely delicious in its fruitiness and diminished dried black fruit. Smokey. 13.5% ABV. QPR: 92.
 
====?>>> ** BEST WINE VALUE OF THE RELEASE *OVER* $20
 
Bollig-Lehnert Trittenheimer Apotheke Riesling Spatlese 2005, +368787, $22.95 ISD.
 
 
TOP VALUE WHITE WINES under $20 or so.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
1.Lailey Chardonnay 2012 VQA Niagara Peninsula, +193482, $19.95: very good quality in the balance of fruit and oak wood, from older vines, Mid-palate shines with orchard fruit. QPR: 89.
2.Seresin Momo Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Marlborough, +9167, $17.95: another kiwi over-the-top savvy, for the savvy, lots of green tones with a citric-like finish. 13% ABV. QPR: 89.
3.Boekenhoutskloof Porcupine Ridge Sauvignon Blanc 2013 WO Western Cape, +126797, $13.95: excellent value in a Capricorn all-purpose savvy (sip, party, patio, first course wine). Warm, inviting, fresh: green tones but some ertswhile fruit for balance. Great price. QPR: 90.
4.Loosen Brothers Dr. L Riesling 2012 QbA Mosel, +599274, $13.95: probably the best value German riesling wine in the LCBO at this price, twist top, 8.5% ABV. It screams summer...QPR: 89.
5.Finca Nueva Blanco 2013 Fermentado en Barrica Rioja, +280560, $16.95: lightly oaked from barrel fermentation, just enough to ooze fruit tones and spices. Good mid-weight sipper or food. QPR: 89.
 
TOP VALUE RED WINES under $20 or so.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
1.Trivento Amado Sur Malbec/Bonarda/Syrah 2012 Mendoza, +37036, $16.95: another good value blend from Argentina. Mostly Malbec, but the other two support it with black fruits and some spicing. QPR: 89.
2.Valle Las Acequias Oak Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Mendoza: this wine had me with "oak" on the front label – 10 months worth of French oak, full, oaky, value priced, 13.5%. Almost Euro with its currants and spices. QPR: 89.
3.Stella Bella Skuttlebutt Shiraz/Cabernet 2009 Margaret River, +58131, $19.95: almost everything from the Margaret River at the LCBO costs a buck more than something comparable from other Oz regions at the under $20 level. But it is worth it, here for its great syrah flavours and 14% ABV. Trust me. QPR: 89.
4.Zonte's Footstep Baron von Nemesis Single Site Shiraz 2010 Barossa, +212936, $17.95: loaded with character from the old vines used, bitterish character on the finish, well-developed now. 14.5% ABV, twist top. QPR: 89.
5.Masseria Altemura Sasseo Primitivo 2011 IGT Salento, +366955, $16.95: bright, North American appeal (choco-cherry), off-dry on the palate. Gold Medalist. QPR: 89.
6.Caparzo Rosso di Montalcino 2011, +333575, $19.95: one of the last Montalcino bargains, affordable, better than a lot of comparable chianti, 13.5% ABV. QPR: 89.
7.Quinta do Portal Frontaria 2009 Douro, +324533, $14.95: smooth, silky, oak-inflected (is there such a phrase?), 13.5% ABV. QPR: 89.
 
VALUE: "RESTAURANT READY" or "BRING YOUR OWN WINE BOTTLE" over $20
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
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.Bachelder Oregon Chardonnay 2011 Willamette Valley, +273334, $29.95 retail.
2.Sylvain Mosnier Vieilles Vignes Chablis 2010, +357152, $26.95.
3.Terres de Vidalba Tocs Grenache Blend 2006 Priorat, +268904, $37.95 ISD Flagship
4.Julicher 99 Rows Pinot Noir 2010 Te Muna Road Martinborough, +367979, $24.95.
5.Chateau La Croix de Gay 2010 Pomerol, +259150, $49.85.
6.Domaine des Marinelles Hermitage 2009, +112268, $54.95.
7.Michele Castellani Colle Cristi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2008, +222109, $45.95.
8.Tedeschi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2009, +433417, $39.95 VE
9.Zenato Ripassa Valpolicella Superiore 2010, +479766, $25.95 VE
10.Club Lealtanza Reserva 2005 Rioja, +293852, $29.95.
 

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

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

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! *

DONE; a cook's guide to knowing when food is perfectly cooked (Chronicle Books, 2014; distr. Raincoast, 224 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-1963-2, $27.50 US hard covers) is by James Peterson, the prolific award-winning food writer and former restaurant chef. He's authored 15 books and has won seven Beards. And, of course, a great food reference book almost always trumps a cookbook in the category FOOF BOOK OF THE MONTH. Here, Peterson tells you how to know – by sound, smell, look and/or feel – when more than 85 vexatious cooked foods are really cooked to their standard. You can check out too-firm artichokes, rubbery shellfish (e.g. calamari), uncooked (in the middle) fish or chicken, runny pies, limp bacon, dry poultry, gray yolked eggs – and more. There are three alone for asparagus: boiled, steamed, roasted. Great photography of the finished products keyed to the text, so you can see what it "should" look like. He opens with a small section on how to determine "doneness", for sauteing, glazing, braising, frying, roasting, poaching, grilling, broiling, smoking, and barbecuing. Then he goes on to cover the elements of sauces, the prep work for eggs, and then the other foods of veggies, seafood, meats, and desserts. Lots of hand tests and visualizations. Terrific for beginners and an aide-memoire for the unsure. No real recipes (just narratives) but what there is have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, with no table of equivalents. Be aware that there are no fixes if you screwed up – just ways to prevent it from happening again. Quality/price rating: 91.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Sunday, April 6, 2014

County in the City: Tasting of Prince Edward County wines in Toronto, April 3/14

 
The Date and Time: Thursday, April 3, 2014  1PM to 4PM
The Event: County in the City – tasting of Prince Edward County wines in Toronto
The Venue: Berkeley Church
The Target Audience: wine trade
The Availability/Catalogue: all wines available through the winery, some are also at the LCBO.
The Quote/Background: I did not taste all the wines as I was off to another tasting afterward.
The Wines: all wines are VQA, most were also PEC but some were blends of PEC and Niagara (this becomes "VQA Ontario" on the label). Prices are retail.
 
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Karlo Estates Chardonnay 2012 CHOA [local cherry, hickory, oak, ash staves], $25
-Keint-He Winery Hiller Blanc 2011, $28 [pinot meunier, chardonnay]
-Keint-He Winery Voyageur Chardonnay 2012, $16
-Norman Hardie Riesling 2012, $17.73 licensee
-Closson Chase Loyalist Chardonnay 2012
-Closson Chase Brock Chardonnay 2012
-Rosehall Run Chardonnay Estate 2011
-Rosehall Run Pinot Noir 2010
 
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Karlo Estates Pinot Noir 2010, $29
-Karlo Estates Lady on the Lake Riesling 2012, $22 [old oak]
-Keint-He Winery Portage Chardonnay 2012, $20
-Keint-He Winery Portage Pinot Noir 2011, $25
-Keint-He Winery Portage Pinot Noir 2012
-Keint-He Winery Fox Croft Chardonnay 2012, $28
-Keint-He Winery Voyageur Pinot Noir 2012, $18
-Grange of Prince Edward County Estate Pinot Noir 2009, $16.75
-Grange of Prince Edward County Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2008, $24.75
-Broken Stone Winery Pinot Noir 2011
-Casa Dea Pinot Noir 2010
-Closson Chase Brock Chardonnay 2011
-Closson Chase Watson Pinot Noir 2011
-Devils Wishbone Winery Wicked White 2012, $19
-Harwood Estate Pinot Gris 2012
-Huff Estates South Bay Chardonnay 2010
-Huff Estates Off-Dry Riesling 2012
-Lighthall Chardonnay 2011
-Lighthall Progression Sparkling 2012
-Lighthall Gewurztraminer 2012
-Rosehall Run Pinot Gris 2012
-Stanners Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011
-Stanners Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010
-Stanners Vineyard Chardonnay 2012
-Three Dog Winery Vidal 2011
 
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Karlo Estates Pinot Gris, $21
-Karlo Estates Frontenac Gris Rose 2011, $16
-Norman Hardie Pinot Noir 2010, $32.93 licensee
-Sandbanks Sauvignon Blanc $13.34 licensee
-Grange of Prince Edward County Select Chardonnay 2009, $17.50
-Grange of Prince Edward County Estate Pinot Gris, $14.75
-Broken Stone Winery Pinot Noir 2010
-Casa Dea Riesling 2011
-Casa Dea Rose Sparkling 2012
-Devils Wishbone Winery Pinot Noir VQA PEC 2012
-Devils Wishbone Winery Riesling VQA PEC 2012
-Stanners Vineyard Riesling 2011
-Three Dog Winery Doghouse White Vidal/Riesling 2012
 
The Food: Canadian cheeses, crackers7
The Downside: there seemed to be a fairly light crowd.
The Upside: there was a separate area for wine writers to be alone with the bottles of wines, for concentration.
The Contact Person: brittany@powerjuncture.ca; brandielynnecm@gmail.com.
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 87.

Chimo! www.deantudor.com
.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

REPORT from the Good Food and Drink Festival, Direct Energy Centre, Toronto, April 3/14

The Date and Time: Thursday, April 3, 2014  6PM to 10PM
The Event: The Good Food and Drink Festival VIP Preview Party
The Venue: Direct Energy Centre, CNE grounds
The Target Audience: VIPs and media
The Availability/Catalogue: all wines and foods are available, not only for sampling, but for purchase later from the winery, LCBO, or provisioner. The only things sold tonight were sampling tickets.
The Quote/Background: After 22 years, the the Festival opened up a VIP night. It gave me a chance to taste some wines. The regular show features music, a Taste Culinary Stage, and eight Food Trucks along Food Truck Alley. I started with the wines, moved over to the delightful Pommies Dry Cider (real Ontario apples from juice, $12.95 a four-pack, www.pommiesdry.com) and then took the opportunity to sample some draught beers. From Kensington Brewing Company, I enjoyed the bold IPA Baldwin FishEYE-PA (strong US hops) and Augusta Ale (British style). Granville Island Brewing was serving Lions Winter Ale, English Bay Pale Ale, and Robson Street Hefeweizen – all references were to Vancouver, of course. From St. Thomas, there was the delightful Dead Elephant IPA, named after the death of Jumbo in St. Thomas, by the aptly named www.railwaycitybrewing.com. It is a big beer of course, with lots of character and finish. Craft Brew United also had Witty Traveller and Bell City brews. There were more beers, but by this time my red tie was showing.

The Wines: I tried a variety, but not from every stand, and mostly whites.

**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Strewn Barrel Aged Chardonnay VQA NOTL, +522730, $12.95 [on sale to April 26, $11.95]
-Rockway White Assemblage 2012 Small Lot, $15.95 [75% chardonnay]
-Coyote's Run Estate VQA Niagara Red Paw Chardonnay 2012, +336115, $21.95

***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Strewn Two Vines White 60% Riesling 40% Gewurztraminer, +467662, $11.95
-Strewn Terroir 2007 $24.95 [Bordeaux blend]
-Rockway Red Assemblage 2012 Small Lot, $16.95 [Bordeaux blend]
-Tenuta S. Anna Cabernet Franc Lison Pramaggiore Veneto 2011, +338368 $14.25
-Fabiano Bianco di Custoza Veneto 2012, +339341, $10.95
-Fabiano Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso, +338350, $17.95 [$1 off to April 26]
-Coyote's Run Estate VQA Niagara Rare Vintage Meritage 2010, $39.95 winery
-Coyote's Run Estate VQA Niagara Sparkling Chardonnay 2011, $24.95 winery
-Coyote's Run Estate VQA Niagara Five Mile White 2012, +195669, $14.95
-Coyote's Run Estate VQA Niagara Red Paw Pinot Gris, +116582, $16.95
-Coyote's Run Estate VQA Niagara Pinot Noir 2012, +53090, $19.95

*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Rockway Fergie Jenkins Series Baco Cabernet 2012, $14.95 [60% baco noir]
-Pelee Island Secco Sparkling, $14.45 [to April 27]  +225946
-Coyote's Run Estate VQA Niagara Five Mile Red 2010, +283416, $16.95

The Food: it was mainly samples, so I kept to the food trucks because I almost never come to one on the streets. The best was Busters Sea Cove (fish tacos).
The Downside: it was a long day, coming after the PEC tasting. I skipped the Dairy Farmers and the Wine Country Ontario trailer.
The Upside: a chance to taste some wines new to me.
The Contact Person: nathalie@thesirengroup.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 88.
 
Dean Tudor, Wine Writer, www.deantudor.com

Friday, April 4, 2014

DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH! *

1.SUPER FRESH JUICES & SMOOTHIES (Ryland Peters & Small, 2014, 144 pages, ISBN 978-1-84975-493-4, $24.95 US hard covers) is by Nicola Grimes, a former editor of Vegetarian Living magazine and an award-winning British author of more than 25 books. Here she emphasizes flavourful beverages for all occasions, such as pick-me-up, a detoxifier, a weight-loss aid or an anti-ageing rejuvenator. Fresh fruit and veggies are augmented in most cases by a variety of superfoods such as spirulina. wheatgrass, maca, baobab, lacuma, acai berries, chia seeds, and raw cacao – to name a few. And these are all going to be better for you than store-bought shelf-sitters. Over 100 recipes are presented – with no additives, no sugar, and no pasteurization. She's got the usual introductory material on buying a juicer or blender, what superfoods are, seasonal foods, and shopping tips. Other areas covered include making yogurt and nut milks, sprouting beans and seeds. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: those seeking nutritional beverages.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: apple zinger; breakfast booster; purple days; smooth as a peach; cherry aid; berry good; vanilla shake; virgin apple mojito; aniseed twist.
The downside to this book: too much colourful photography gives the book a party atmosphere, which may have also led to a disclaimer re: children.
The upside to this book: there is a list of both UK and US suppliers.
Quality/Price Rating: 90.


Chimo! www.deantudor.com

Thursday, April 3, 2014

KITCHEN WORKSHOP: PIZZA COOKBOOK

KITCHEN WORKSHOP: PIZZA; hands-on cooking lessons for making amazing pizza at home (Quarry Books, 2014, 160 pages, ISBN 978-1-59253-883-6, $24.99 US paper covers) is by Ruth Gresser, owner of Pizzeria Paradiso (since 1991) in Washington, DC. It's being touted as a complete pizza kitchen manual, detailing all the techniques and skills needed to produce pizza at home. It is loosely arranged by level of difficulty: basics (seven variations on tomato-cheese style, including a gluten-free one), the "classics" (margherita, quattro formaggi, calzone), a selection of originals from the pizzeria, and  chapters for creating your own (seven sauces, seven protein toppings, seven veggies, and seven fruit). That's 49 in all, a good number to begin with. It is a nice book, easy to use, and is clearly meant for those who are bored with eating out of a box or doing takeout. Inviting food photos too. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no overall table of equivalents.
Quality/price rating: 89.
 
Chimo! www.deantudor.com