Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
2008 Chateau Mas Neuf Rosé
Costieres de Nimes - Price: $11.99
Made with 45% Cinsualt, 20% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre and 15% Syrah. A brilliant little southern French rosé. Chock full of fresh strawberry and cherry aromas, but ripe fruit, later in the season-ripe. On the palate fresh squeezed lime and lemon zest with red fruit and a crisp, bracing finish. Perfect with almost any Summer dish, like the one below.
Cost of Risotto -- $5
Cost of Rosé -- $11.99
Cost of dining al fresco with your BFF (under $20) --- "Priceless"
1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
1 cup chopped fennel
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
4 to 5 cups simmering chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 pound thin asparagus
10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted, or 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh peas
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, preferably Italian
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving
Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter. Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed. Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the asparagus diagonally in 1 1/2-inch lengths and discard the tough ends. Blanch in boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, until al dente. Drain and cool immediately in ice water. (If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling water for a few minutes until the starchiness is gone.)
When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the asparagus and add it to the risotto with the peas, lemon zest, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm.
Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone together in a small bowl. When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives. Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I recently blogged about the 2006, but found the Catherine and Pierre Breton, Bourgueil, "trinch", 2007 at the Cheese Store of Silverlake for $19.99 and thought BINGO! The 2006 was so delish - how could the 2007 let me down?
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
What a month for celebrations! For Americans, July has the 233rd year of Independence and France her 220th. The “People” arose July 14th 1789 and stormed the 450 odd year old Bastille prison, number 232 Rue Saint-Antoine of Paris. Her revolution was internal and justice was swift. So swift, necessity being the mother of invention, a guillotine was the outcome for most of the royals.
From Wikipedia I quote: “In the early afternoon of around 1:00, the crowd broke into the undefended outer courtyard and the chains on the drawbridge to the inner courtyard were cut. A spasmodic exchange of gunfire began; in mid-afternoon the crowd was reinforced by mutinous Gardes Françaises of the Royal Army and two cannons. De Launay (the prisons Governor) ordered a ceasefire; despite his surrender demands being refused, he capitulated and the vainqueurs swept in to liberate the fortress at around 5:30. When the rioters had entered the Bastille, they collected cartridges and gunpowder for their weapons and then freed the seven prisoners (which they had to do by breaking down the doors, since the keys had already been taken off and paraded through the streets). Later, the governor and some of the guards of the Bastille were killed under chaotic circumstances, despite having surrendered under a flag of truce, and their heads paraded on pikes.”
Join the beautiful and talented Cara Bertone and the owner of Veritas John Winthrop (Los Angeles’ based direct wine importer of supreme French wines) at Pourtal on Tuesday, July 14th when we will feature wines for the “People” (hold the pikes).
They will both be there to share the storied wealth of these fantastic French country wines: Olivier Merlin’s Macon "La Roche Vineuse" 2006 (the secret choicest table wine of the Big Dog French winemakers) or the Jo Pithon Anjou "Les Pepenieres" 2005, an absolutely mind-bogglingly, stunning Chenin Blanc. Rounding out the red Burgundy contingent with Roland Thevenin’s Monthelie 2005 or Camille Giroud’s "Le Croix Moines" Maranges 1er Cru 2006 (an extraordinary “sleeper” wine for lover’s of les vrais Pinot Noir). Plus, who could not have the ultimate red summer sipper, Michel Lafarge’s deliriously guzzleable Bourgogne Passe-tout-grain "L'Exception" 2006, a Gamay & Pinot Noir tout de suite tradition or the sturdy Michel Guignier Morgon "Cuvee A L'ancienne" 2005. All told, we will have 18 wines to celebrate with AND one of the descendents of the Bastilles Governor De Launay, a Touraine Rose of such discretion and delicacy, capitulation is de riguer!
To those who joins us on the 14th, a complimentary Kir will be served to all who recite the serment du jeu de paume (the Tennis Court Oath).
“We swear never to separate ourselves from the National Assembly, and to reassemble wherever circumstances require, until the constitution of the realm is drawn up and fixed upon solid foundations.”
In the immortal words of Phineas Beck, “These French people know how to LIVE!” Salute!
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Sorry for the terrible photos, but there were taken surreptitiously with my iPhone.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Friday, July 3, 2009
No, I know you think I'm biased, but I'm not. This morning after Bootcamp Peter and I were trying to think of where to have breakfast and we thought about all the BAD places there are in town, I won't name them, but you know what they are. I have yet to have a breakfast that blew me away. Wait, I take that back, brunch at Ammo is totally fab. But other than Ammo, the usual suspects suck.
So we drove to Tavern - all the way to Brentwood - in our workout clothes. And half way there as we were sitting in traffic on the 10 I thought, we should have just eaten at home, this is too much trouble, etc. etc.
BUT after we sat down and ordered and I had tea and Peter had coffee and Suzanne came out to say Hi, we were so very glad to be there and then the almond croissant came out and we were in heaven. We ordered the smoked fish plate and the oatmeal with cherry compote and all I can say is that there really is no reason to have breakfast anywhere else in the city. It's totally reasonably priced and well worth the drive. Here's a peak at the breakfast menu. As a bonus the dining room is gorgeous and they welcome you in whatever attire you are wearing!
Next time I am ordering the butter crumbed eggs, which reminds me of a glorious brunch I had at Prune in NY last summer...
Soft-scrambled eggs with fontina and crème fraîche
Butter-crumbed eggs with arugula and soft polenta
Chorizo and eggs with fried potatoes
Priests pancakes with Vermont maple syrup
French toast with bananas foster and hazelnuts
Smoked fish with toasted rye & redwood hill cream cheese
scottish oatmeal with dried fruit and steamed milk
Housemade granola with milk or yogurt + berries
Seasonal fruit / berries
Vande rose bacon or ham
Country pork sausage patties
Toast basket with butter and jam
From the larder
Pain au chocolat
Pecan sticky bun
Caramelized apple turnover
Cornmeal blackberry shortcake
dried cherry and almond scone