Choucroute Garnie

I’ve been looking for an excuse to checkout the German Deli and this recipe was it. The recipe is impossible to mess up, but you do need high quality German ingredients. The good thing about this recipe is you don’t – and shouldn’t – follow it exactly. Just use what you can find. I didn’t have any pork loin or pork belly, which I would have liked, so I just substituted different kinds of bratwurst.

Choucroute Garnie

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons rendered duck fat, or pork fat
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 lbs. sauerkraut
  • 10 juniper berries
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 3 cups dry white wine, preferably Riesling
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 4 boiled potatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 frankfurters
  • 4 boudin blanc
  • 4 slices of smoked pork loin
  • 4 slices of salted pork belly

METHOD:

  1. Heat duck fat in a large pot. Add the onion, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the sauerkraut, juniper berries, garlic, wine, spices and salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a simmer.

  2. Add the pork belly and smoked pork loin, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours. In a separate pot, bring water to a simmer. Then add the frankfurters, boudin blanc, and potatoes. Heat for 5 minutes.

  3. To serve: place sauerkraut in the centre of a large serving platter. Arrange meats and boiled potatoes around the sauerkraut. Serve a flavourful grainy mustard with all dishes except the fish choucroute.

Trick or Treat!

Trick or Treat!
Farpointe Cellar
Tasted Saturday, October 30, 2010

FLIGHT 1

2009 Orin Swift Abstract – USA, California, Sonoma County The nose had loads of chocolate covered oak, blackberry and raspberry, spice and vanilla, and a little earth at the end. The palate was soft, with cherry and strawberry, mocha and spice, and a good vanilla finish. (89 Points)

2006 Castello di Monastero Chianti Classico – Italy, Tuscany, Chianti, Chianti Classico The nose had barnyard and spice, wild berry and some floral notes. The palate was smooth, with berry and barnyard, spice and floral notes, and a good cedar finish. (88 Points)

2008 Cardwell Hill Pinot Noir Estate Bottled – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley The nose had cherry and strawberry, forest floor, and a little chocolate. The palate was rich, with black cherry and mocha, strawberry and spice, and a little earth on the finish. (87 Points)

2009 Paco & Lola Rías Baixas – Spain, Galicia, Rías Baixas The nose had citrus and fresh herbs, white flowers and apples, and a little spice. The palate was crisp, with apple and lime, floral notes and herbs, and a touch of spice. (86 Points)

Braised and Glazed Butternut Squash

I made Braised and Glazed Butternut Squash.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 11/2 lbs. butternut or other winter squash, peeled and cut into 1/2- to 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock or water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped parsley leaves for garnish

METHOD:

  1. Put the oil and garlic in a large, deep skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. When the garlic begins to color, add the squash and stock and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, and turn the heat down to low. Cook, stirring once or twice, until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes.

  2. Uncover the pan and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally and stirring somewhat less often, until all the liquid is evaporated and the squash has begun to brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Turn the heat back down to low and cook until the squash is as browned and crisp as you like. Taste and adjust the seasoning, garnish, and serve.

Tender Beef Tongue with Onions and Garlic

I made Tender Beef Tongue with Onions and Garlic.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 beef tongue
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno (optional), sliced in half or minced
  • Pinch of red chili flakes
  • 1 bay leaf

METHOD:

Put all ingredients into a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer for about 3 hours until tender. Let cool until you are able to handle. Peel off skin and slice.

NOTES:

Beef tongue can be eaten plain (many people recommend dipping it in mustard), pickled, or sauted until crispy.

Demi-Glace

If you took the plunge and made veal stock, here’s a quick and dirty way to use some of that to make a demi-glace.

The recipe is pretty simple: 1 part red wine, 3 parts veal stock, and a few chopped shallots.

  1. Put the wine and shallots in a pot over high heat and reduce by half.
  2. Had the veal stock and bring to a simmer (Never boil sock).
  3. Reduce like crazy until the stock is rich and dark and coats the back of a spoon. Be patient. It’ll take a few hours.
  4. Strain the stock thru a cheesecloth lined colander as many times as you can stand. The more the better.
  5. Stick the pot in an ice bath to cool it down.
  6. Put the cool sauce in ice cubes trays and freeze. They should last for 3 or 4 months.

Now you time you need to add a little punch to a sauce or dish, just throw 1 or 2 of these in.

Basic Brown Veal Stock

Have you ever wondered why your meat dishes and stews taste like crap? You know the ones I mean? The ones were the recipes call for beef stock or beef broth? It’s not because you’re a bad cook. (Well, you might be, but in that case everything you make tastes like crap.) It’s because you’re using that crappy store bought stuff. The stock is the base of dish, so if your base is crap, then the dish will be crap too.

The solution is very simple. Make your own veal stock.

Basic Brown Veal Stock from The Elements of Cooking by Michael Ruhlman.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 10 lbs meaty veal bones and joints (knuckles, breast, shank), cut into 3- to 4-inch pieces
  • 4 large carrot, peeled
  • 4 ribs celery
  • 2 large onion, peeled
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons peppercorns, cracked
  • 5 stems thyme
  • 5 stems parsley
  • 2 bay leaf

METHOD:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F and lightly oil two large sheet or roasting pans. Place the pans in the oven. When the oven and the pans are hot, remove them, and place the meat and bones on them. Make sure they’re spread out so they brown as evenly as possible. Roast them for 30 minutes, then turn them and continue roasting for another 15 minutes or until they’re appealingly golden brown and smell delicious.

  2. Place the bones in a stock pot. Pour off the fat from the pans, add a couple of cups of water to the pans, place them over high heat, and scrape the brown bits stuck to the pan. Taste this liquid. Sometimes the juices from the bones can burn and make this deglazing liquid bitter – if it’s bitter, don’t use it. If it tastes good (its flavor will be much milder than its deep color will indicate), add this liquid to the stock pot, then continue to add enough cold water to cover the bones by a couple of inches, about 10 quarts. Bring the water to a simmer, skimming the surface of any fat and impurities that rise. Place the stock pot in the oven and heat it to between 180 degrees and 200 degrees F. Let the stock cook for at least 8 hours and up to 12 hours.

  3. Meanwhile, clean and roughly chop your vegetables. When the bones have cooked for 8 to 10 hours, remove the stock pot from the oven. Add the remaining ingredients. (For an even deeper, richer stock, roast the vegetables and tomato paste till they are slightly caramelized, and then add them to the stock.) Bring the pot back up to a simmer, skimming as necessary, then return the pot to the oven for another 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

  4. Strain the stock through a colander or strainer as soon as it’s out of the oven. Strain the stock a second time through a kitchen cloth. Refrigerate the stock. Remove and discard the congealed fat on the top of the stock. Use within a week or freeze as necessary.

Blind Tasting

Blind Tasting
Farpointe Cellar
Tasted Saturday, October 23, 2010

FLIGHT 1

2007 Seven Hills Malbec – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Walla Walla Valley The nose had tobacco and blueberry, bouquet garni and shaved chocolate. The palate was rich, with dark chocolate and blueberry, herbs and pepper, and a good tobacco finish. (93 Points)

2005 Giovanni Manzone Barolo Castelletto – Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo The nose had licorice and herbs, cough syrup and cherry, and some spice at the end. The palate was smooth, with dried cherries and licorice, herbs and cough syrup, and a good spicy finish.

2007 Carr Cabernet Franc – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Ynez Valley The nose had pickles and thyme, black currant and oak, and a touch of vanilla. The palate was rich, with cedar and sage, black currant and mocha, and a good vanilla finish. (91 Points)

2006 Rusden Shiraz Stockade – Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley The nose had spice and pepper, blueberry and flowers. The palate was soft, with blueberry and spice, floral notes and pepper, and a slight oak finish. (91 Points)

2007 Honig Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley The nose had berry pie and spice, floral notes and vanilla, and some sweet oak at the end. The palate was soft, with blueberry pie and spice, sweet oak and floral notes, and a nice vanilla finish. (90 Points)

Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon Mustard Dressing

I made Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon Mustard Dressing from The Primal Blueprint Cookbook.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk, or half & half
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, hazelnuts, or pecans
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

  2. Toss the cauliflower with salt and the oil on a sheet or roasting pan. Cook until tender and lightly browned (about 15 minutes), stirring once or twice.

  3. Toast the nuts in a dry skillet.

  4. Mix the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, add the roasted cauliflower and toasted nuts, and toss everything to coat.

Chicken Breast with Orange, Olives and New Potatoes

I made Chicken Breast with Orange, Olives and New Potatoes

Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large chicken breasts, split in half down the middle – skin on
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup medium black olives, pitted
  • 1/2 orange, sliced into round circles
  • 4 large new potatoes, skin-on, 1/4-inch thick-sliced
  • 1/4 bunch flat leaf parsley, for garnish

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Set a large oven-proof pan over medium heat and add a 3-tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Season breasts all-over with plenty of salt and pepper then add to the pan skin-side down. Cook for 7-8 minutes until the skin is nice and golden then turn breasts over and add potatoes, orange slices and olives evenly over and around the pan. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and shake the pan around a little so everything get’s coated nicely with the oil and chicken juices – this also helps settle everything into place. Cook for about 5 minutes on the stove-top until you get a little color on the potatoes. Season once more with salt and pepper then pop the whole pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley stems.

Wines of Napa and Sonoma

Wines of Napa and Sonoma
Farpointe Cellar
Tasted Sunday, October 17, 2010

FLIGHT 1

2006 Bond St. Eden – USA, California, Napa Valley The nose had cherry and forest floor, plum and spice, mocha and raspberry, and some oak at the end. The palate was soft, with cherry and chocolate, raspberry and plum, spice and some oak. (93 Points)

2006 Von Strasser Petit Verdot Port – USA, California, Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain The nose had raisin and fig, spice and chocolate, and some flowers at the end. The palate was rich, with espresso and fig, berry and mocha, and a nice chocolate finish. (92 Points)

2007 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Estate – USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena The nose had cherry and graphite, blueberry and vanilla, and a little spice. The palate was smooth, with cherry and pencil lead, spice and blueberry, and a big oaky finish. (92 Points)

2007 Beaulieu Vineyard Tapestry Reserve – USA, California, Napa Valley The nose had spice and graphite, cherry and licorice, cherry and cranberry, and a little chocolate. The palate was soft, with mocha and pencil lead, cherry and licorice, spice, and a nice cranberry finish. (91 Points)

2003 Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir Russian River Valley – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley The nose had cherry and earth, spice and raspberry, and some cedar towards the end. The palate had cherry and forest floor, raspberry and spice, and a great cedar finish. (91 Points)

1999 Mayacamas Vineyards Merlot – USA, California, Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder Decanted about 1 1/2 hours. The nose had cherry and earth, cedar and plum, mocha and spice, and a faint vanilla finish. The palate was soft, with cherry and chocolate, plum and earth, spice, and a good vanilla finish. (90 Points)

2007 Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir Ulises Valdez Vineyard Russian River Valley – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley The nose had black cherry and plum, earth and spice, and fresh herbs at the end. The palate was soft, with cherry and forest floor, chopped herbs and plum, and a nice cedar finish. (90 Points)

2007 Paul Hobbs Syrah Kick Ranch – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley The nose had pepper and black currant, tar and raspberry, and some graphite. The palate was a bit tannic, with black currant and pepper, tar and pencil lead, and a big oak finish. (89 Points)

2008 Hirsch Vineyards Chardonnay – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast The nose had apple and pear, spice and vanilla. The palate was crisp, with pear and apple, spice and citrus, and a slightly creamy finish. (88 Points)

2007 Darioush Shiraz – USA, California, Napa Valley, Yountville The nose had espresso and roasted herbs, cherry and raspberry, and some oak at the end. The palate had coffee bean and herbs, cherry and raspberry, and a huge oak finish. (86 Points)

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