Looking to the Stars

Star gazing
Rather than heading to the Methow Valley and the Rolling Huts this year for our summer vacation, we gratefully accepted an invitation to join the Wright's and friends at a spectacular house they rented on Blake Point at the northern bend of Orcas Island's horseshoe. Credit for this gorgeous time-lapse exposure of the sky belongs to the talented photographer, Eric Wright.

 

During the week, I was the butt of many jokes from Ken, as mythological stories about my days living on the island seem to belie the fact that I lived on Orcas for BUT a year. So much happened that shaped me, as a young English graduate from NY who was first discovering my destiny to live in the great Northwest. In my defense, I would have stayed an islander, had not my romantic interest of the time chosen to attend graduate school in Bellingham. And so I packed up my island life and followed my heart to another city.

 

Going back, I always encounter some familiar faces, but Orcas is new in so many ways. A barn tucked off the bay I used walk along (with thumb out as I hitch hiked into work--don't read this mom) now houses Buck Bay Shellfish.  Head here for succulent small clams spooned out of their "Exclusive Flow-Through Saltwater Tanks", weighed on an old-fashioned hanging scale, and scooped into a bag of ice. They also sell whole Dungeness Crabs that are boated over live from Lopez. We wanted them uncooked, and scored the last live dancing Dungies from Buck Bay's tank shortly after they opened on the 5th.

 

We all took turns cooking dinner, and Ken's contribution was his phenomenal Cataplana Clams and a Lamb Tagine with artichokes and favas, cooked outside on live coals. The cataplana has to be my favorite functional cookware--a copper clamshell designed for steaming shellfish, on the stove or on the beach. Until some culinary research this evening, I had no idea that Moroccan tagines and Algarve cataplanas were related, but the connection makes lots of sense.

 

Tonight my husband finally transcribed his Cataplana Clams recipe which was inspired by a trip to the now defunct winebar 750 ml in Portland, and it is my pleasure to share his secrets with you.

I'm so blessed to have been married to a chef for seven years, don't you think? BOM PROVEITO!

 Cataplana clams

 

CATAPLANA CLAMS

 

1/4 cup chopped shallots

1 Tbs chopped garlic

1/2 cup chopped linguica

1/2 Tbs orange zest

1 pinch saffron

1/4 cup fino, manzanilla, or Vinho Verde

1-2 lbs fresh manila clams

2 Tbs chopped parsley

2 Tbs chopped cilantro

Olive Oil

 

Heat olive oil and add shallots, occasionally stirring until transluscent. Add linguica and garlic and cook until sausage has colored the oil, becoming slightly crisp, and garlic becomes fragrant.  Stir in orange zest and saffron threads, then add the clams. Add sherry or wine, stir and then cover or clamp your cataplana shut at this point. Steam until the clams have opened, then toss in the parsley and cilantro. Taste for salt, but the linguica and clams naturally season the dish. Serve with crusty bread to sop up the delicious juices. If you're on Orcas, head to Rose's Bakery.


It's Been Forever!

since I posted anything on Madeleine. BUT I was asked to contribute recipes & home tips to my cousin Brian Harahan, who is getting married in a few weeks. I thought I would share my entry with you all as well.

Love,

Catherine

Favorite Recipes:

EL GAZPACHO DE HOY "GAZPACHO TODAY" from My Table in Spain by Janet Mendel

This gazpacho recipe is one of my favorites, & I am proud to say that Janet Mendel herself subscribes to my newsletter. Just thinking about gazpacho for dinner while listening to Camaron during the dog days of summer is something I look forward to every year.  my kitchen

Serves 6

4 oz (4 slices) stale bread, crusts removed
2 garlic cloves
2 lbs ripe tomatoes (about 5), seeded
2-inch square of green pepper (optional)
2-inch chunk peeled cucumber (optional)
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp salt
1/3 cup olive oil, preferably extra virgin
2 Tbs white wine vinegar (I say sherry vinegar!)
1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper (optional)
1/3 cup chopped onion (optional)
1/3 cup peeled, chopped cucumber (optional)
1/2 cup croutons or diced bread, toasted crisp (optional)

Break bread into big chunks & soak it in water to cover until it is softened, about 15 minutes. Squeeze out the water & place the bread in a blender (or, if you are using a hand-held blender, into a mixing bowl) with the garlic. Blend until the bread & garlic are smooth.
Add the tomatoes (it may be necessary to process the tomatoes in two batches) & the pieces of pepper & cucumber, if using, & puree. Add the cumin & salt. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a slow stream. As the oil is incorporated, the gazpacho will turn from tomato-juice red to a paler orange color. Blend in the vinegar & 1/2 cup water.
Place the gazpacho into a tureen, bowl, or pitcher & stir in 1 cup cold water. Chill until serving time.
Place each of the garnishes--chopped peppers, onion, cucumber, & croutons--in small bowls or on a relish dish & pass them when the gazpacho is served. This gazpacho also can be served, thinned with additional water, in tall glasses for sipping, without the garnishes.

JUNIPERITIVO Recipe adapted by William Grimes from Monzu, NYC, The NYT Country Weekend CookbookJuniperitivo 2

For the first ten months after my aneurysm, I wasn't allowed a drink until-- a physician miraculously cleared me. Since that fortuitous day, cocktails have been a gateway for my palate. Junipero is a distilled herbal gin made by San Francisco's Anchor Distilling Company. (Maker's of Anchor Steam Ale.) I'm anxious to see if we can find it here in the PNW.

4 large mint leaves
1/2 oz simple syrup*
1 1/2 oz Junipero, or other gin
1/2 oz lime juice
1/4 oz pomegranate syrup

In a mixing glass, using a spoon, crush 2 mint leaves in a simple syrup, & add gin, lime juice, & pomegranate syrup.

Pour into an ice-filled shaker. Shake well, & strain into a chilled cocktail glass. To garnish, float the 2 remaining mint leaves on the surface of the drink.

*Simple Syrup:
Boil 1 cup water & i cup sugar, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved & liquid is clear, about 5 minutes. Let cool before using. Store refrigerated for up to a week.

MASHED POTATOES WITH MANCHEGO & OLIVE OIL recipe by Jose Andres

Jose Andres is one of my favorite Spanish chefs & I've eyed this recipe ever since I saw it in Food & Wine's holiday issue a few years ago. By no means low fat, it does substitute olive oil for butter which might up the health factor just a *leetle* bit...
His tip: "Add the olive oil slowly to the potatoes because if you dump it in all at once, you'll get streaks of oil."
 
Serves 12

2 heads of garlic, top third of each cut off
1/4 cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
6 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
Water
Salt
3 cups heavy cream, heated
1/2 pound young Manchego cheese, cut into 1/4-inch dice


Preheat the oven to 350°. Stand the garlic on a large sheet of heavy-duty foil. Drizzle with oil and wrap in the foil. Bake for about 1 hour, until the garlic is very soft. Squeeze the soft cloves from the skins into a small bowl and mash with a fork.

Meanwhile, bring the potatoes to a boil in a large pot of water. Salt the water and boil over moderately high heat until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and return to the pot. Shake the pot over moderately high heat for 1 minute to dry the potatoes.

Mash the potatoes with a potato masher, then mash in half of the hot cream. Add the remaining cream and mash again. Stir in the Manchego to melt, then slowly stir in the mashed garlic and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with salt and transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and serve.

________________________________________________

GARDENING TIPS

Plant an herb garden. Herbs are expensive to buy in the produce section at the grocery store, yet are so easy to grow, & essential to great meals. Herbs do well in containers if you're limited on gardening space, but you can also let them go crazy in your garden plot or even around the edges of your house. Herbs are essentially tasty weeds. Let them grow freely & bring your dishes alive with flavor.

Not every herb survives a harsh winter, & others, like basil, require a heated summer just to flourish for a few months. Heat doesn't happen often in the Pacific Northwest, but with some-what mild winters we manage to propagate herbs outside year-round. Here are three of the easiest herbs to grow & the ones we use most in cooking:

Thyme

Sprinkle this easy-going fragrant herb as a garnish on fresh pasta dishes and you'll spark up any day of the week. Sometimes a gourmet meal can be as easy as fresh pasta, a couple pats of butter tossed in with a few spoonfuls of pasta water, freshly-snipped leaves, & a little grated Romano.

"Thyme is a hardy perennial herb used both for it’s culinary flavor and for it’s health giving properties.  Thyme can withstand many climates (except extreme winter temperatures) and has even been known to grow in the Alps.  Thyme comes in several varieties, and tends to be a creeping ground shrub.  It’s commonly planted as a border plant in an herb garden, or along retaining walls.  It can tolerate light traffic, so planting a low growing variety around the stepping stones of your walking path, makes for a lovely scented walk for passers-by.  Thyme’s tiny fragrant flowers are a favorite for bees, so plant them in strategic places around your garden to attract these important pollinators!  As a culinary herb, it’s commonly used for flavoring meat dishes, sausages, soups and stuffing.  Thyme makes a wonderful plant for container gardening! 

Thyme can grow as a perennial in most climates.  If you have extremely harsh winters, this herb will only grow outside as an annual.   (If that's the case for you, consider potting it and taking in for the winter.) 

Thyme requires little care… once it’s established, you should only need to water it during dry spells."

Rosemary

We use rosemary from everything from threading kebabs on the stems, smoking up a paella, & flavoring polenta. Here's what the experts have to say.

"Rosemary is one of those wonderful herbs that makes a beautiful ornamental plant as well as a welcome culinary seasoning. Its Latin name, Rosmarinus officinalis, means "dew of the sea" and rosemary is most closely associated with the cooking of the Mediterranean area. However you don't need perfect sunshine, sea mist or even a never ending summer to successfully grow rosemary. In fact, more rosemary plants suffer from too much attention than from too little.

Starting a Rosemary Plant

You will make things far easier on yourself if you start with a nursery grown plant. Rosemary can take some time to fill in as a plant, so expect to pay more for a mature plant than for a small rosemary start.

Rosemary is usually propagated by cuttings. Seeds can be difficult to germinate and often don't grow true to their parent. It's much faster to start with a cutting and you will be sure of what type of plant you will get. It's possible to root rosemary in a glass of water, but a bit more effort will give more dependable results.

  1. Snip about a 2 inch cutting from the soft, new growth of an established plant.

     

  2. Remove the leaves from the bottom inch and dip that tip into a rooting hormone. Rooting hormones can be found in any garden center.

     

  3. Carefully place the dipped end into a container of dampened, sterile seed starting mix. Choose a mix that says it is well draining, like something containing peat moss with vermiculite or perlite.

     

  4. Place the container in a warm spot with indirect sunlight.

     

  5. Mist the cuttings daily and make sure the soil does not dry out.

     

  6. In about 2-3 weeks, test for root growth by very gently tugging on the cuttings.

     

  7. Once your cuttings have roots, transplant into individual pots about 3-4 inches in diameter.

     

  8. Pinch off the very top of the cutting to encourage it to develop branches.

     

  9. Begin caring for your cutting as a rosemary plant.

Bringing Rosemary Indoors

Where the winter temperatures dip below 30 degrees F., rosemary plants will have to spend the winter indoors. In this case, it's easier to grow your rosemary in a container all year. Since rosemary likes it on the dry side, terra cotta pots are an especially good choice. Just be sure it doesn't bake and completely dry out while outdoors during the summer.

Bring the potted rosemary inside once the temperature inches into the 30s."

Chives:

Our chives come back every year & provide an instant garnish or addition of flavor to soups & salads. I love the garlic variety best.

Chives are probably the easiest herbs to grow in the garden.

They can be added to just about any meal you would normally add onions to, and they're very good for you!

"Chives are the smallest of the onion family and there are a fair few types to choose from.

I've grown 'garlic' chives for years in the garden, and they are really useful, especially if you've run out of garlic.


You can eat every part of the chive plant. The edible flowers add colour to the salad bowl or other garnish, the grass-like leaves can be cut up and added to cooked potatoes, salads, sauces and even sandwiches, and the bulb can be used as a mild onion.

Although the flower stalk is edible, once the flower has been produced, there is very little taste or nutrients left in the stalk. Discard the flower stalks, and crumble the flower heads into your salad.

 

Growing chives: positioning

Chives like sun but do like a little shade during long hot summers. They are fairly good at tolerating drought conditions, but are happiest in moist well-drained soil.

Place chive plants in different parts of the garden, so you've always got something to pick and eat!

Sowing and Planting:

Chives do very well from seed. Plant a few seeds in a pot very early in the year and keep warm and watered until the seedlings are large enough to plant outside.

Plant out in well dug soil, preferably with some organic compost mixed in. You won't need to feed chives once they're in the ground, unless your ground is particularly poor, in which case you should give the chive plants a monthly feed.

Keep weed-free and watered until well established.

Growing chives in containers is also possible! Keep a pot in the kitchen. Remember to water and the plant will see you right through the season. When the flowers start to die back, cut the plant down to about 2-3 inches high and the chives will grow again."


Tea Palace Dim Sum Review

Point Me to the Highlands, Dim Sum at Tea Palace

Dim sum, the Asian equivalent of dining à la carte.

By Catherine Reynolds | Email the author | December 30, 2010

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Lotus Leaf Credit Catherine Reynolds
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Stir-fried noodles with bean sprouts & onions. Credit Catherine Reynolds http://o2.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/PATCH/resize/273x203/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/patch/24228c858b6d42bab7d7cb8044005ac9
The steamed Gai Lan, Chinese broccoli is made to order and was  served hot, oyster sauce on the side. Credit Catherine Reynolds http://o4.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/PATCH/resize/273x203/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/patch/b06c629b3353f0f4f76d11a11bb965ca
The standout was the crisply golden fried shrimp balls,  oval-shaped and graced with a strip of nori, which gives them an  artistic touch. Credit Catherine Reynolds http://o4.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/PATCH/resize/273x203/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/patch/b13b4a6943f3362dccaa7a6d83ba013a
Fu Zhu Credit Catherine Reynolds http://o2.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/PATCH/resize/273x203/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/patch/e8999ca0833cdb3a81fd15a9f917f51f
Ha Cheong Fun Credit Catherine Reynolds http://o1.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/PATCH/resize/273x203/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/patch/93ee462ed93733776646702ac3f0e158
Har Gow Credit Catherine Reynolds http://o4.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/PATCH/resize/273x203/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/patch/3d4be2225315e0bb7bef7d1e85862d7a
Lotus Leaf Credit Catherine Reynolds http://o3.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/PATCH/resize/273x203/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/patch/6d4bd5f112765eb3ee063d1a3f942c6e
Wolf berry & longan “pudding” is knox blox on tropical  steroids. A jewel-like quivering cube of encased wolf berries and floral  longan strips, artistically topped with a cool layer of condensed  coconut milk. Credit Catherine Reynolds http://o3.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/PATCH/resize/273x203/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/patch/62b9181c2d68c6953313227866bd2cf
Shu Mai Credit Catherine Reynolds http://o2.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/PATCH/resize/273x203/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/patch/11eabb30305f3fc691449aeb8eb4579d
Sticky Rice (unwrapped) Credit Catherine Reynolds http://o5.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/PATCH/resize/273x203/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/patch/fc0f6e30bc3cfa8e84168bf949adc33f
Along with strands of chicken, fried tofu skin and minced  scallions, Tea Palace's congee also holds the surprise of Pi dan,  blueish preserved 'century eggs' at the bottom of the bowl. Credit Catherine Reynolds http://o4.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/PATCH/resize/273x203/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/patch/3fa1c6295268ecd84a7ba2f5026ab503
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"C'mon," I said nudging my husband as the hour grew closer to noon. "Let's go get dim sum!"

"You mean, fifty ways to eat shrimp?" my dozing husband laughed and rolled over. 

The true translation of dim sum is to "point heart." That being said, your stomach should point you towards Renton's Tea Palace

Tea Palace, situated in an enormous lot behind the Highland's Viet Wah,  is a staggeringly large restaurant, aimed to have banquets of up to 800, and is one of the largest Asian halls in the Northwest. The day after Christmas, the chandeliers glistened and several stages were set for live entertainment the night before. This is a place built for a serious party. 

I envied the large tables with families, set around Lazy Susans filled with various dishes. It's hard to do dim sum justice with only two or three people, even though it can make for splendid leftovers. I've laughed at another dim sum joint as a small Asian woman claimed the entire offering of shrimp and chive dumplings, then proceeded to break out her Tupperware.

While Tea Palace may not have Tupperware-toting Gow Choi Gau, it does have cordial service, a wagon train of carts and a relaxed yet elegant atmosphere.  And excellent jasmine-infused tea, as a tea palace should. Servers are friendly, and willing to answer questions, even if it requires sending over a translator. 

The congee was a comforting start, especially after a night of revelry. Along with strands of chicken, fried tofu skin and minced scallions, Tea Palace's congee also holds the surprise of Pi dan, blueish preserved 'century eggs' at the bottom of the bowl. A treasured dish, a first for me, and an acquired taste I believe.

Stir-fried noodles with bean sprouts and onions were quietly comforting, the fu Pi Kuen, or bean curd skin rolls were devoured quickly along with their hidden layer of minced pork & shrimp. The shu mei were up to snuff, although we agreed that it may have been our fault for ordering greedily, the dishes could have been warmer. The steamed Gai Lan, Chinese broccoli, is apparently made to order as we never saw it on a cart but on many a table, and was served hot, oyster sauce on the side. Just the way I like it and a great way to round out a meal of tasty fried dishes. 

However, the standout was the crisply golden fried shrimp balls, oval-shaped and graced with a strip of nori which gave them an artistic touch. And the surprise favorite for me? Wolf berry and longan "pudding." This is knox blox on tropical steroids. A jewel-like quivering cube of encased wolf berries and floral longan strips, artistically topped with a cool layer of condensed coconut milk. Not too sweet, but a refreshing finish.

If one is to judge the caliber of dim sum on the pleats of the har gao, I didn't count. I will say they stuck to the paper which is a dim sum faux pas. But would I rather eat here than head to madness of the International District after a major holiday? Dang ran, of course.

Our meal of over ten dishes barely pushed $50 with lots of leftovers. And as I spooned chili sauce into the side of my to-go box, I felt pretty merry for the day after Christmas.

Tea Palace Asian Restaurant & Banquet
2828 Sunset Lane NE, Renton, WA, 98056
(425) 228-9393


Monday - Friday :   10:00am - 3:00pm Lunch
                                        5:00pm - 10:00pm Dinner

Saturday - Sunday : 10:00am - 10:00pm


I'm a Renton restaurant reviewer!

Hey Madeleine readers...

It's been a long time since I've posted, BUT I AM writing again. I'm now a restaurant reviewer for Renton Patch. Feel free to give me feedback.

My reviews will be coming out every Thursday. Enjoy & HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Love & to a delicious 2011,

Catherine

The Scent of Great Papaya

Expand your flavor palate with coconut, ginger, lime and cilantro at Papaya.

By Catherine Reynolds | Email the author | December 23, 2010

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bánh canh tôm cua Credit Catherine Reynolds
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bánh canh tôm cua Credit Catherine Reynolds http://o2.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/PATCH/resize/273x203/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/patch/5cd2cc31ee86f512115f3207eb649df4
coconut juice Credit Catherine Reynolds http://o5.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/PATCH/resize/273x203/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/patch/a410f265626e4526ed5090e436ee61c
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soft shell crab fresh rolls with young coconut juice Credit Catherine Reynolds http://o2.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/PATCH/resize/273x203/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/patch/3670a60e56a569a136cf0adfe46caeb2
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The first time I walked into Papaya was on a summer afternoon. I came looking for a salad as light and cooling as the lime green walls, but as a bowl of pho passed by my table the smell of house broth (slowly rendered bones, star anise, peppercorn and cilantro sprigs) had me captivated. It's taken me a while to move about the menu as it's easy to fall upon favorites here, a small price to pay for quality service and selection. Thankfully as a south-end resident, I no longer need to visit Seattle's International District to satisfy my cravings for authentically-crafted, original Vietnamese dishes. 

While many of the customers dining during my most-recent December visit at the early hour of 5 o'clock were Asian families, this is a place that should attract all palates who crave flavorful cuisine and quality ingredients.  A soulful kitchen welcomes you from the moment you walk in. 

Not that I can call Papaya's external atmosphere homey, with its glassy high-reaching windows in The Landing's "pedestrian village," but there is soul in the kitchen. It is the smell of slow-cooked stocks and the sight of parents spooning broth into a bowl for their toddler. 


Should you be looking for a basic bowl of pho, the classic warming noodle soup, or an artfully prepared Vietnamese bahn mi sandwich replete with craving-inducing yam fries, you can fill up fast for under $20. If you are feeling adventuresome, you will be rewarded in selecting some of their more unusual offerings . 

In Vietnam, pho is a dish to cool off with while seeking nourishment with a bowl of steaming broth and chiles in a balmy climate. Here in the Pacific Northwest, it is the perfect healthful dish to enjoy year-round, especially on a crisp evening, the sight of a wintry full-December moon rising above a Doug Fir strung with lights at The Landing.

For the more adventuresome, I highly recommend the steamed coconut (bone-in) chicken rice in a cast iron pot for $12. This is a dine-in dish only, & the cast iron pot creates its own magical crust on the rice, much like a Spanish socorrat which is the crisp layer so prized in a paella. Lightly golden coconut rice mingled with ginger presents itself in joyfully crisped spoonfuls surrounded by tender chicken thighs. Asian soul-food indeed. It had my chef-husband swooning and he packed half of it home for lunch the next day.

The second dish we ventured out on was the bánh canh tôm cua, or Dungeness crab & quail egg croquettes, shrimp and pork dumplings udon soup for $12. Another winner. Unlike pho, which is anchored by a rich beef broth, this stands out with the clearest of chicken stocks, and has enough original flavor to shun the usual bean sprout, lime and basil side plates. Scallions, cilantro leaves and fried shallots float in a pool of fragrant chicken stock, bobbing with two curled shrimp, sausage slices, a seafood encased quail-egg, and pork dumplings — all floating above rice-based udon noodles. 

Next on my must-try list is the soft shell crab with braised egg noodle, soup on the side for $11, or the bún riêu cua: soft shell crab, shrimp & pork dumplings, tofu in tomato rice noodle soup for $12. I encourage you to give me your reviews of Salmon, taro and tofu skin rice noodle soup which sounds extremely intriguing, and the savory crepe (bánh xèo) filled with shrimp, pork, bean sprouts or tofu, enoki mushroom and bean sprouts.

There's plenty to explore here. Come back often, and choose boldly if you will.


Ken's Bourbon Pumpkin Pie & Turkey Day Vino!

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Hello to all my wonderful friends & foodie family!
 

Gobble gobble everyone! Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving in advance...
 
Today I have a specially requested recipe for Ken's version of pumpkin pie, plus some terrific Tempranillo recommendations. Just did a wine tasting for a fantastic group of wine enthusiasts that featured the terroir of Tempranillo from throughout Spain, so I'll recap the tasting for you in case you'd like to explore the grape yourself. Tempranillo is the perfect grape to serve with traditional turkey dinner, or with your own food traditions.
 
Don't forget to pick up a copy of this Sunday's Seattle Times & Pacific Northwest Magazine! Look for James Beard award-winning journalist, Rebekah Denn's article on me & Queso & Vino...
 
The other big exciting news is that I have a website, http://quesoyvino.net/  It is a work in progress, so look for more information on my current favorite wines in the coming weeks, but I am thrilled to finally have gone live on the web. MANY thanks to Katy at Little Pants Design for doing such an incredible job for me. Comments are welcome!
 
I am headed out to be with my San Juan Island family for the holidays on Wednesday the 24th & returning Saturday the 27th, but there's still plenty of time to get you some wine for Thanksgiving! If I owe you wine from a previous wine dinner, my apologies & let's meet up!!! (My next Harvest Vine dinner on 11/17  is full with a waiting list--sorry folks!)
 
Besitos,

Catherine Reynolds
Presidenta, Queso y Vino, 206-518-1166, quesoyvino@gmail.com

follow me on Twitter as @quesoyvino! Website: http://quesoyvino.net/

_____________________________________

BEST-EVER PUMPKIN PIE from Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax

classic  home dessertsFriends have heard the story for years, but the recipe has never been shared until now... Rarely have I seen my husband Ken cry, but there was a Thanksgiving. Ken & I were living in Madison Valley & had a small garden plot where he planted a pumpkin seed & watched it grow to fruition. Not only was he going to make a pumpkin pie from scratch, but from a pumpkin we had grown ourselves.

Well the pie was lovingly prepared, & set out to cool on our back porch. When Ken returned from the porch, he had tears in his eyes. There were crow tracks all throughout the surface of this beautiful heirloom pie, & it had to be thrown in the trash. Dawn this recipe is for you. Enjoy & don't leave on your deck!

I have included Ken's own personal notes which vary from the original recipe.

Makes one deep 9 1/2-inch pie; serves about 8

1 Pie Crust
2 cups pumpkin puree, preferable homemade*; if you use canned pumpkin, be sure it's unsweetened puree, not pie filling (*VERY important says Ken!)
2/3 cup packed dark or light brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground fresh-grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger (Ken says USE FRESH)
1/4 tsp allspice
Pinch freshly ground pepper (muy importante that it's freshly ground)
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 Tbs bourbon or rum (I kinda let that spill over, says Ken :))
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Whipped cream flavored with pure maple syrup or pure vanilla extract, for serving

If making your own dough, roll out on a lightly floured surface to a large circle about 1/8 inch thick. Fit it, without stretching, into a buttered deep 9 1/2-inch pie pan. Trim off the excess dough, leaving a 3/4-inch overhang. Fold under the edge of the dough, pressing along the rim of the pan & forming a fairly high fluted border. Chill the dough while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees, with a rack in the lower third.

Line the dough with a lightly buttered sheet of foil, buttered side down. Bake the pie shell for about 8 minutes. Very gently remove the foil, price the dough all over with a fork. Bake the crust until the surface of the dough is dry, but has not yet baked all the way through, about 5 minutes longer. Set the pie shell aside until needed; leave the oven on.

Meanwhile, whisk together the pumpkin puree, brown & white sugars, flour, salt, spices, pepper, cream, milk, eggs, spirits & vanilla in a large bowl. Taste & correct the seasonings. Pour the mixture into the pie shell.

Bake until the filling is set but still slightly wobbly in the center, usually about 45 minutes.

Cool the pie on a wire rack. Serve the flavored whipped cream.

 

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TEMPRANILLO TASTING!

I just did a wine tasting as an auction item for a lovely group of folks, featuring the "terroir of Tempranillo" from throughout Spain. Below is an educational introduction to  the grape & some top Tempranillo wines. Most any & all of these wines would be spectacular paired with Thanksgiving meals.
 
"The greatest and most famous varietal of Spain where it is grown in many regions under almost as many synonyms. Tempranillo ripens well ahead of its frequent blending partner Grenache (Temprano in Spanish means early) and has only low to medium levels of alcohol, an advantage under the hot Spanish sun. Tempranillo gained fame in the late 1800s when several of the famous Bordeaux Châteaus looked to Spain for grapes after the louse phylloxera had destroyed their vines. Tempranillo takes well to both oak and bottle aging, and the better examples can be extraordinarily long-lived. Often it is blended with Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Monastrell, and various other varietals. Look for flavors and aromas of dried cherries, spices, black currants and a wide range of earthy components such as dust, tobacco and black olives.

Spain is synonymous with Tempranillo, though many wine lovers are unaware of this because of its numerous and confusing aliases. The best and most famous regions are Rioja and Ribera del Duero (where it is known as Tinto Fino and Tinto del Pais) but fine examples can be found from Toro (as Tinta de Toro), Valdepeñas (Cencibel), and the Penedes (Ojo de Llebre and Ull de Llebre)." -excerpt from Winegeeks
 
Lopez Panach Tempranillo 2009, Vino de la Tierra Castilla $8.99

lopex  09No wonder this was #1 at the last Harvest Vine tasting. The price is astounding, the wine fresh as can be. 100% Tempranillo, stainless, no oak. Francisco Lopez Collado managed an estate based in roasted red peppers for pimenton before he took his chances at wine-making. The vineyards are ideally located with very cold winters & hot dry summers, a slight elevation, & a location in the heartland of Spain, the area of Albacete. Pour some boysenberry, black currants, & liquid raspberry into your glass. Soft, fun, clean, easy, with gentle spices. This should be your new vino de la casa.

Spanish Demon Tinto 2009, Rioja $9.99

spanish demon 2From the heart of the Rioja Alavesa, this renegade Rioja is aimed to please. 100% Tempranillo from 25-year-old family-owned vineyards located near the Medieval village of La Guardia, this is the earthy side of the Tempranillo grape. No oak that I know of, this Demon is earthy berries & peppery spice, with a silty gritty mouthfeel that speaks of underlying power. The inspiration for this innovative wine came from a favorite painting which hangs over the importer's desk.

 

 

Ercavio Tempranillo Roble 2008, Vino de la Tierra Castilla $11.99 (reg. $12.99)

tinajasMore than just a tourist destination, Toledo is beginning to export some fantastic wines. The local varietal Cencibel is a clone of Tempranillo with an earthier dark-fruited feel that has me crowing. Fermented partially in traditional tinajas, clay vessels dating back to 1851, Ercavio speaks the language of deliciously lush blackberry jam. Loved the melted chocolate essence of this vintage & this is always a fave when I've poured it. This fresh vintage knocked my calcetines off.

 
Bodegas Franco-Espanolas Rioja Bordon Crianza 2006, $11.99 (reg. $15.99)

bordon  labelBodegas Franco-Espanolas is one of the most classic Rioja producers out there, & I'm proud to finally have access to these quintessential Spanish wines. Both are absolute bargains. Rioja Bordon was formed in 1890 when Frederick Saurat Arglade of Bordeaux fled to Rioja after the phylloxera louse hit France. He founded the winery with several Spanish counts, in the famed town of classic Rioja, Logrono.

Rioja Bordon's Crianza spends 18 months in American oak & is a blend of Tempranillo & Garnacha. This is soft, accessible Rioja, plump with cherry & plum with a definite autumn warmth, & subtle spice.

Emilio Moro Finca Resalso 2007, Ribera del Duero $11.99 (reg. $13.99)
resalsoEmilio Moro is a model estate in the Ribera and Resalso is EM's newest bottling, named after the very first vineyard planted in 1932. This spends four months in French oak (which is unusually brief in traditional Spain) but just enough to support the sturdy spine of this new offering. I've gone to visit this regal estate and have always loved their wines but wished for a more affordable option to recommend. The wait is over!
"The 2007 Finca Resalso was sourced from younger vines and aged in French oak for four months. Dark ruby-colored, it emits an enticing perfume of mineral, violets, black cherry, and blackberry. On the palate it reveals an elegant personality, savory, spicy flavors, good depth, and a fruit-filled finish. Drink this tasty effort over the next four years." -90 points, Wine Advocate

Ontanon Crianza 2007, Rioja $12.99ontanon

My favorite new Crianza of late, I was bowled over by the bargain price. This is the most exciting Crianza I have tasted in a long time. The Perez family converted a caramel factory into a winery in the 1980's, so there is a modern feel to this silky red that still keeps the character of Tempranillo. The winery is filled with art by local Rioja artist Miguel Angel Sainz whose work is shown on the right here. Old vines are used: 90% Tempranillo with 10% Garnacha, & this has a gorgeous dark hue in the glass. Black & claret cherries abound, with a palate that's supple, smooth, & spicy. Don't miss this Rioja.

vega_murillo_tintoVega Murillo Tinto del Toro 2008, Toro $14.99
A new wine for me & I love it. Pure red cherry fruit, round & juicy. A delicious, ready-to-go Toro.


"The Bodega del Palacio de los Frontaura y Victoria is born as a differet kind of business project. From the start, and in every detail of its development, its goal has been to employ the culture of quality and to harmonize tradition with the avant-garde. Bodega del Palacio de los Frontaura sees the winemaking process as an artistic manifestation."

Bodegas Ochoa Tempranillo Crianza 2005, Navarra $17.99
ochoaFrom a classic producer in Navarra, this is 100% Tempranillo to the east of Rioja. This region is famed for its piquillos & I tasted spicy red peppers on the palate. Traditional all the way around.
"Deep red. Complex bouquet of cherry, redcurrant and licorice also shows a vague meaty aspect. Dense, ripe and sweet, with chewy cherry and licorice flavors and rather soft tannins. Ultimately a rather cool, reserved wine, with good finishing grip and lingering sweetness." -Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

Beronia Reserva 2005, Rioja $18.99
beroniaA group of friends belonging to the Sociedad Gastronomica founded Bodegas Beronia in 1973. The winery, situated in the Rioja Alta region, is now owned by Gonzalez Byass. Their Reserva is a true classic & a bargain. This Reserva is 90% Tempranillo with a balance of 4% Graciano & 6% Mazuelo. It spends 18 months in mixed barrels of French and American oak, and two years of ageing in the bottle. "Vanilla-like bouquet with wild fruits and compote, with a touch of toasted bread and spices." My speed-tasting notes read black plums...delicious. A fabulously affordable traditional Rioja.

Hazana Semi-Crianza 2007, Rioja $14
hazanaThis new Rioja tastes as good as it looks. Hazana translates as a literary "heroic feat" & that it is, a tasty Rioja with a handsome price. This is made at Vinicola Real, with its labyrinthine tunnels, where barrels age in the side of a mountain. Everything else about this Rioja feels deliciously modern. The semi-crianza is aged in new French & American oak for 6 months, just enough to give backbone, but not overwhelm the wondrous orchard fruit contained inside. Plums, spice & earth circle the nose, roses on the palate, this is solid & smooth with supple dark cherries. This is a new generation of Rioja not to miss out on.

Miguel Merino Vina Jovenes Crianza 2007, Rioja $19.99 (reg. $22.99)

merino

While Miguel Merino exported Spanish wines to the rest of the world, he dreamed of having his own winery. That dream came true twenty years ago when he restored an old 19th century house on the outskirts of Briones, in the heart of the Rioja Alta. All the grapes come from very old vines planted in bush formation between 1931 & 1963 in Briones. Estate-grown, another rarity in Rioja.This is 100% Tempranillo that's hand-harvested & aged for 12 months in barrels of 2 & 3 years of age, made with American oak staves & French oak bottoms. This is the first vintage of this wine, from one of thesmallest producers in Spain.

Triton 2008, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla $19.99

tritonThis was a big hit with the wine group. If you love Termes, check this baby out. With all the power of a Greek god... This is a collaboration between Jorge Ordonez & the Gil family. The area is comprised of alluvial soil on top of sand, river rocks & red clay, at an altitude of 800. The vines are a phenomenal age of 104 years old & the youngest are 45. Aged in French oak for 14 months. No wonder this is souped-up & super modern!  Funky Tinta del Toro nose, smokey & sweet, extremely spicy. Blockbuster my friends!

Vina Cubillo Crianza 2004, Rioja $22.99ffilosofia

I suddenly have discovered that I still have an audience for higher-end classic Spanish wines. And you can't get much more classic than the wines of Lopez Heredia. From the classified "Excellent" vintage of 2004, this is the very definition of tradition. In fact "tradition & conviction" is the motto of R. Lopez de Heredia. Cubillo is the gateway into the fantastic wines of the Heredia's. 65% Tempranillo, 25% Garnacha, with a balance of blended Mazuelo & Graciano. Toasty, warm dried cherries fill the nose, with a classic touch of "farm funk". Tangy, vibrant & very sassy despite the fact that Cubillo receives 3 years aging in barrels before bottling. A classic warmth to the finish makes this go down with an ahhhh.

"Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta winery, founded in the late 19th century in Rioja, Spain, is still one of best in the region, famous for its gorgeous top-of-the-line Viña Tondonia. But the quality extends down the line. Viña Cubillo, the estate's crianza, would be a reserva anywhere else. And priced in the mid-$20s, it's a bargain by any measure. Made from a blend of Tempranillo with 25% Garnacha and smidgens of Graciano and Mazuelo, it is a brilliant ruby, with an enticing scent of black cherries, anise and tobacco. The 2004, which is the current release, is focused and bright, with soft tannins and a finish that doesn't just get up and leave." ~Los Angeles Times

Bodegas Beronia Gran Reserva 2001, Rioja $26.99 (reg. $30)

beronia  grFrom the stellar 2001 vintage, this bargain Gran Reserva is aged for a minimum of two years in oak casks and three years in bottles. The casks used at Beronia are manufactured from a mixture of French and American oaks. Based at Ollauri, just south of Haro in Rioja Alta (the premium area of the Rioja), Beronia was established in 1973 and bought by the Sherry firm González Byass in 1982. This wine stems from the old Beronia vineyards, which are over 50 years years old. 87% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano 8% Mazuelo.

"Tobacco, licorice, raisin, dried cherry and a puff of smoke give this healthy gran reserva an inviting, traditional bouquet. The palate is lively yet smooth, with integrated acidity pushing mature flavors of berry, plum, caramel and chocolate. A classic Rioja that is ready to drink." -90 points, Wine Enthusiast

Nexus Crianza 2005, Ribera del Duero $40

nexusThis is a bit of luxury. Not a Cadillac, not a DeLorean, but perhaps a Peugeot. Sleek & refined Ribera del Duero, 100% Tinta del Pais that spends 12 months in New French oak. A Ribera with a feminine side. Solid blackberry fruit, juicy with a gorgeous texture & fine spices. Grapes are grown in the prestigious areas of Pesquera de Duero & Pinel, owned by a historic family from Toro. 

Frontaura Reserva 2005, Toro $45

frontaura20051Dios Mio this is a delicious wine! Toro has been producing fine wines since the 16th century, & wine built the wealth of the region--LONG before Numanthia became famous. Scarce rainfall & extreme temperatures naturally intensify the grapes grown here. Made from old vines, this spend 18 months in New French oak. Rich & sumptuous, packed with blackberry & coffee. Recognized for "power, body & harmony" this won a Gold Medal in the competition Mundus Vini Great International Wine Awards

"This powerhouse is made from 100% Tinta de Toro (Tempranillo) from 117-year-old vines, and is aged for 18 months in new French oak. The nose is an elegant mix of spicy bramble fruits, while the palate is firm, full-bodied and rounded, with tar, smoke and savoury notes wrapped around grippy tannins and bold, crunchy fruit that persists in the long finish - just what you'd expect from Toro." -5 Stars, Decanter

CUNE Imperial Reserva 1998, Rioja $51

cune98Okay you traditionalists. This is worth stepping up to the plate for. There was no Gran Reserva made in 1998 by CUNE so this Reserva got all the great juice & costs $20 less than the '96 Gran Reserva. This is totally classic with warm cherries & spice & the scent of a cigar box that SCREAMS Rioja.

"Highly nuanced, quintessential Rioja aromas of plum, strawberry, cherry, mocha, minerals and tobacco. Firm and quite dry, with sinewy flavors of plum, minerals and tobacco leaf. Solidly structured Rioja, finishing with dusty tannins and a minty note. With time in the recorked bottle, this put on weight and sweetness, showing a very pure strawberry flavor and considerable elegance." -90 Points-Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

What can I get for you?

quesoyvino@gmail.com

206-518-1166

MUCHAS GRACIAS!


WELCOME TO QUESO Y VINO... BIENVENIDOS!

If you are looking for more information on Queso y Vino & Catherine Reynolds, BIENVENIDOS!

  Biz card front


Since my official business website just launched this week: http://quesoyvino.net/ & doesn't have wines listed on it yet, I thought it important to provide some of my recent Queso y Vino newsletters that give a flavor of what I offer my customers... And a little bit of an introduction to what I do.

This is a "thoroughly modern - old fashioned" business. I believe in *authentic* wine & genuine customer service. I am proud that many of my customers have also become what I consider to be friends.

THE SHOP:

My wine is warehoused in the cellar of our house, kept at an ideal tempurature--(when I pulled bottles out this summer for delivery, they actually beaded up with condensation in the heat.)

As I do not have a physical store front there are two benefits to you as the consumer:

#1 I will bring the wine to you. I currently deliver within King County, & make occasional visits to the Portland area, or the San Juan Islands. As a bonus, this service is free for KING COUNTY residents if your order is $150 or more.

#2 My prices reflect honest markups & low overhead. I want you to be able to drink great wine, selected with care & often exemplifying a belief in tradition/terroir. I got into this business (after having served in the arts community for many years) because I have a love of great food & wine, and hope to pass that pleasure on to you as a customer while enhancing your lives. I wish I could welcome you into my store, but know I think of *you* each & every time I evaluate & taste a wine on your behalf. Tough job, right? 

 


Counting Blessings: Kindness is Activism

HospitalPhoto(5) "Aside from all that Mrs. Lincoln, How was the play?" That is one of my favorite lines taught to me by poet & adopted father, Tom Odegard of Toad Hollow, San Juan Island. I can actually enjoy the play now, without massive "mind chatter" now. Maybe I can become the Buddhist I was always meant to be, except I really enjoyed my chorizo, Japanese Oxheart tomato & white bean salad tonight!

My old boss called me a "chatty Kathy" but it's amazing when you open yourself up & talk to people in the world around you.That's why I know so many people who became not only customers, but friends.

Had an insightful walk & talk few weeks ago with a young woman (most likely younger than me, but she looked worn & didn't ask) I ran into near Skyway 7-11. She was excited *just* to have someone to talk to for a little bit. Was kicked out of Tent City because of someone she was associated with apparently & was now living under a bridge in a tent along with a bunch of Mexican folks who didn't speak English.

If you don't know what "Nickelsville" is, its a moving homeless encampment named after Seattle's former mayor Greg Nickels: Nickelsville

"Here are roughly 90 tents and about 95 people staying there. There are two families with children. Typically, Nickelsville has had a local sponsor, such as the Bryn Mawr United Methodist Church, to help provide some essentials.

But now it's going it alone. Donations of food, clothing, firewood, tents and tarps are gratefully accepted, Gilbert said. Candles and gas lanterns aren't allowed because of fire danger, so residents could use flashlights and batteries."

My new friend said she became homeless after a car accident took her son & she turned to heroin out of depression--she had been sober for 6 years & jobless & hoping to get her other 2 kids back. She said she didn't want anything, just was happy to have someone to talk to for a little while & borrowed my cell phone. I later called the # she did, just to give my ph # & left a message for her to call me if she needed anything.

One was a friend, the other was Nickelsville headquarters.

TODAY I met a woman in Skyway park who was studying nursing materials by the community "learning garden". I never see anyone there & it kills me to see good produce going to waste so I decided to pick some chard which we didn't grow this year. The friendly bleach-blond tattooed student  said that she had bursitis & had been a bartender but wanted to do something new that helped people. Because of recent medical expenses, she was forced to live with her mom again at 40, along with her 16 year old son. We talked for a long time & she was blown away by my aneurysm story. All of us agree I am so fortunate to have recovered, & I marvel that to have had options.

On a side note, I wonder if I could get the kids in the massive apartment structures by us interested in vegetables. 7-Eleven is the most popular establishment in Skyway, but actually the computers at the library are the other hot spot. I've marched on WA & organized rallies, but I think the best activism is small and personal. Really just reaching out to other people as human beings, in a kind & caring way. And honestly I"M probably the person who benefits the most from these experiences.

Many thanks to the UW students who DON'T live here but who have created this shelter & helped beautify our green space whose watershed leads into Deadhorse Canyon (an interesting but short, urban green hike which is a shaded blessing on hot days) & then Lake Washington. And to the salmon that use our watershed & inspire good doing! Thank you salmon, as people benefit from the caring that goes into your life.

Skyway.ashx


Queso y Vino March 30th enews: Spring Leek Tagliatelle & Fresh Flavors

Hello to all my wonderful friends & foodie family!

NewCiderTrees Watching the pea tendrils curling up to the sun, Sputnik arugula, & radishes start to look like a pond of lily pads. A quiet moment in all the social outings of late. Speaking of which, I tried some great wines at my first Taste of Washington & incredible local ciders. I'll see what I can do about getting my hands on some of Finnriver & Snowdrift's artisan ciders.

Gosh, what else have I been up to. I tasted many a fine French wine at Quinn's yesterday, and even drove myself. I definitely came upon some great deals for us all. Which leads me to two new 6 pack offerings: Ooh La La & Mama Mia. You pick the price & I'll select from the best bargains from France & Italy. Don't forget this is a wine newsletter, so keep scrolling to see what I have up my sleeve this week. Don't miss the new French wines I have on special & great Easter pairings!

And don't forget you can taste with me & enjoy food pairing at TWO upcoming wine dinners...more details below. Taste local glory at Seth Caswell's Emmer & Rye on April 13th, & enjoy the best of the Basque country at Harvest Vine on April 20th.

Besitos,
Catherine Reynolds
Presidenta, Queso y Vino, 206-518-1166, quesoyvino@gmail.com

I now have a Facebook fanpage so please become a fan!!!! It's where to stay ahead of the curve on events, new wines I'm recommending, & general food gossip. I keep up with gourmand Twittering for you... Oh yeah, you can follow me as quesoyvino there too.
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UPCOMING EVENTS

Emmerryetables Emmer & Rye! Tuesday April 13th 6:30 reception, 7:00 dinner
Seasonally inspired, locally derived cuisine paired with small producer wines 
5 courses plus amouse, 6 wines $65 (plus tax & tip)
We will have the entire upper floor of this gorgeous restored Victorian in upper Queen Anne.
Chef & owner Seth Caswell is president of Seattle Chefs Collaborative and his passion has found its roots in this welcoming space.

Wines will span the globe, with special emphasis on small producers that share our passion for the sustainable & the flavor of terroir.

Your browser may not support display of this image. Queso y Vino Wine Dinner

April 13, 2010 

amuse bouche

creamy parsnip shooter, nettle-mint puree, toasted hazelnuts 

first

scallop crudo, chiogga beets, mizuna 

second

hazelnut-fed pork belly, heirloom beans, foraged greens 

third

columbia river salmon, emmer&rye, asparagus 

fourth

cider-braised pork shoulder, collard green, turnips 

fifth

                                                         rhubarb semifreddo

Photo credit goes to the Wrights: check out their delicious review of Emmer & Rye here.


Harvest Vine wine & tapas April 20th
Finalizing details, but seats are already filling up!
Taste some of my new favorite finds from throughout Spain, along with individual small plates (which means more pairing fun!) from chef Joey Serquinia. Last dinner here I was in the hospital, so I can't wait to celebrate my return with all of you at Madison Valley's exquisite Basque Restaurant. If you've never been, now's your chance to enjoy Harvest Vine in a really special & intimate way. Pictures of the space we'll be in! Man, I'm sorry I missed this event, although I see my friends the Wrights didn't!!! See their amazing food blog for mouth-watering pictures and advance foodie new, plus more pictures of Emmer & Rye!
Here's a wonderful article on the trials & continued life of this beloved gastronomic gem.

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Cucina lidia TALGLIATELLE AI PORRI Tagliatelle with Leek Sauce from La Cucina di Lidia by Lidia Bastianich & Jay Jacobs

I love Lidia's recipes, & this book specializing on Northern Italian dishes emphasizes Istrian cuisine which takes its influence from Yugoslavia & Hungary. With sweet spring leeks showing up in the market, this dish seemed like a natural segway into the farmer's market flavors with a touch of heartiness still sticking to the ribs with the addition of sausage to fresh feather weight pasta. This dish hails from Piacenza, from the Latin "to please".

Serves 4

2 sweet Italian sausages
2 Tbs coarse salt, or to taste
2 Large leeks
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp minced shallot
4 Tbs unsalted butter
1 cup chicken stock
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1 lb fresh tagliatelle
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano, & more for table

Grill the sausages, slice them thin, & set aside.
Bring 6 quarts water to a boil with 2 Tbs coarse salt, or to taste, & start the sauce as soon as the water is on the stove.
Trim the leeks & discard the top 1/3 of tough green portion. Slice the remainder in 1/2"-thick rounds, & rinse in several changes of cold water to remove all soil & grit. Drain well.
Ina large skillet, heat the olive oil, add the leeks, & saute over moderately high heat, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the reserved sausages & the shallot, & cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add half the butter & the stock, & simmer genbtly 5 minutes. Season to taste.
Add the tagliatelle to the boiling water, stirring with a wooden spoon.The pasta will be done as soon as the water returns to the boil, 1/2 to 1 minute. Drain the pasta well, add the leek sauce, & toss well to coat the pasta with sauce. Add the remaining butter & sprinkle with cheese. Toss well & serve with additional cheese on the side.

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THIS WEEK'S QUESO Y VINO WINE RECOMMENDATIONS
I offer a 10% discount on whole or mixed cases, free delivery for orders over $150, smaller orders will be conveniently & gladly delivered to you for the nominal fee of $10. Start a buying club & I'll waive the delivery fee! Ask me if you'd like to arrange a free pick up at the Saturday University Farmer's Market or Sunday at the Ballard Farmer's Market or the West Seattle Farmer's Market. We're usually there from a window of 10:30 until noon depending on our order requests, and can be around to meet you before or after your market shopping.

Easter Whites, Sparkling, Lamb wines & Rose's!

NinedePena_Viognier_300dpi_Label_thumb Ninet de Pena Viognier 2007, Rousillon $7.99 (reg. $12.99)
This Viognier shows off its Catalan heritage with the Picasso-esque label. From a coop of five growers, this winery is situated 10 miles from Perpignan, a wind-swept region in the south of France. At this price, you could be like the locals & drink it out of a porron! Floral & fruity Vionier, with pineapple, mango & peach tropical fruit. Pleasantly soft, yet with crisp mineral accents, only the slightly nutty finish gives away its vintage. A spring deal to be sure.

La Fiera Pinot Grigio 2009, Veneto $8.99
"We're captive on the carousel of time" --Joni Mitchell. Here's to one captivating Pinot Grigio! This is not rocket science, but after tasting this fair Pinot (pardon the pun) and think of how many disappointing PG's I've had in Italian restaurants I wonder, why??? You don't have to pay a lot to get a great Pinot Grigio, you just need a good source. The Botter family knows their stuff. They are 3rd generation wine makers, with a rebirth in 2000 under son Luca who has gone with environmentally friendly practices. What really makes the difference here is that the grapes are immediately pressed and cooled after picking.Very fragrant nose of ice box peaches, soft, smooth, satiny crenshaw melons. Along with one of the $10 Chardonnays I've mentioned of late, this is a sure bet wedding wine of the summer, and generally great quaffer to have around the house. Funny, Zazou just came on the iPod, the gypsy swing band we had at our pastoral wedding in Poulsbo!

Las Valles Macabeo/Chardonnay, Carinena $9.99LasValles_MacabeoChardonnay_300dpi_Label_thumb
Bodegas Virgen del Aguila 'Virgin of the Eagle' is the name of the Cooperative where Handpicked Selections sources this wine. The title fits the vineyards, the highest in Carinena at almost 3000 feet, climbing up from south of Zaragoza. This is Aragon, a large, poor, historically important region of Spain known for its small population of hearty people. 80% Macabeo, 20% Chardonnay. Macabeo, which is widely planted in northern Spain, brings citrus character and a smooth texture, while the Chardonnay provides tropical fruit and mouthwatering acidity.

Graham Beck Chardonnay/Viognier 2007, Western Cape $9.99
I am so glad to have broadened my geographical wine horizons, especially after tasting a wine as fine as this. For me, this is an instant go-to recommendation for parties, weddings, and if you haven't tried a white wine from South Africa, this is a great opportunity to open up your wine horizons. Graham Beck is a third generation family estate, and Graham Beck himself is dedicated to bringing black South Africans into the wine industry, winning awards for revolutionary initiatives to improve the lives of their workers and families. This wine looks like it is all dressed up and ready to go to a wedding, but it's price will save you a bundle of money to spend on the honeymoon!

Uco torrontes Urban Uco Torrontes 2009, Salta $9.99
Need a little shot of summer in your glass right about now? Let the good times roll with Urban Uco. I'm sometimes surprised at how many requests I get for Torrontes even in the dead of winter, but it's such a wonderful food wine that the reason is beginning to dawn on me and am on the lookout for great ones. This Torrontes is like a cross between a Pinot Gris and a Gewurtztraminer which makes it an exotic choice. The floral tropical bouquet is everything a Torrontes lover adores, peachy chin-dribbling juice, and a minerally little zipper of a finish. Modern, fun, and sure to put a spring in your step.  Pair with the Gotan Project

Tabali Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Limari Valley $10.99 (reg. $12.99)Tabali sb
Be on the forefront of a new wine, and a fresh region! You may not be thinking about white wine much right now, but this is the best inexpensive Sauvignon Blanc I've tried and I would love to be the one to turn you on to it. We served this up at home with some stir-fried Taiwanese Garlic Tofu and Minced Chicken and were in seventh-heaven. Pink grapefruit and clementine abound, bright and snappy, with a seductive scent of rose petals that lingers in the glass after the wine is gone. It's always nice to have a reasonable year-round white to recommend and this has my major stamp of approval, and the points to back it up. They say the Valley is magical, and I would have to agree.
“The 2008 Sauvignon Blanc Reserva is a great value. It exhibits a fragrant bouquet of mineral, passion fruit, and citrus. This leads to a mouth-watering, vibrant, lengthy Sauvignon that way over-delivers for its humble price. Tabali is producing high quality wines from the newly developing cool-climate region of Limari." -90 Points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

Bielsa_label Bielsa Garnacha Vinas Viejas 2008, Campo de Borja $11.99
I saw this wine first in Portland at a Pastaworks & was intrigued. Good stuff. From a coop of some of the region's best growers, next to the stony Moncayo region. Interesting, Alto Moncayo fans! This is definitely an example of the ripeness that this appellation produces, with sweet & pure red raspberry & black plum fruit, a concentrated frame, but earthy/licoricey black pepper character. A great new find.

Fico Prosecco, Veneto $12.99
Bring on Spring! We popped this open to try with some Korean tacos & it went hand in hand, even though that blend of cultures is quite a mouthful. This is ready for a pile of cured meats & cheeses. I've written about the Botter family's achievements in the past & this Prosecco is grown on the hills of Venice, where I hope to return to some day. Their Proseco vines benefit from over 25 years of age, but this bubbly has a lovely youthful vernal feel. Dry white peaches, light on its feet, fine bubbles. Not to be confused with sweeter styles. You could definitely have this with prosciutto-wrapped figs.

Torres Vina Esmeralda 2008, Catalunya $12.99Esmeralda
This wine always represents spring in a bottle to me, & Gewurtz is such a lovely pairing with holiday fare. A big company, but a special wine. An unusual Spanish blend of Moscatel & Gewurtraminer, this is Catalunya's answer to Riesling. Refreshingly clean, floral & potent, this bounces open with a flourish of orange creamsicles, zesty minerals, & everything a ham could love. Tie these roses & lilies with a ribbon, & let the bouquet take a bow to your Easter feast.
90 points, Guia Campsa (and they're TOUGH)

Cocevola Tenuta Cocevola Rosso Coevola Vero di Troia 2006, Castel del Monte $13.99
Can I be transported there right now, please? "The Tenuta is located within a garden of sumptuous meadows & Mediterranean undergrowth." Puglia is the heel of the boot, & the wines from here are getting better all the time.The grape Nero di Troia (of which this wine is 100%) is known for its good acidity, finesse, elegance & richness. I found a glass brimming with boysenberry, raspberry, earthy plums & blackberry, anchored by a trail of ash. Nice lively acid, balanced body, dried plum authenticity: "good stuff" I penned.

Vevi 2008, Rueda $13.99
Vevi is like the fireworks of forsythia blooming on the crest of my lawn: a golden harbinger of spring. A lovely new Verdejo with some Viura to round it out, this is as clean as its package. Explodes with Pomelo, Buddha's Hand citron, & a zesty punch. Super crisp style, I loved it with saag paneer & a chickpea/eggplant side on our dinner table. Absolutely refreshing, clean, & affordable. Oak lovers, there's nothing for you here.

Les Vins de Vienne Remeage Rhone Blanc, Rhone Valley $13.99
The back label on this reads, "Sensual", and I would have to agree 100%. I fell for this sultry white in a big way, including the small price which is a result of direct importing. If the wines of Seyssuel have been forgotten, this surely puts them on my map. Pretty-as-a-picture Marsanne & Viognier with nectar-like peach, a caressing palate of rose petals, with minerals and verve at the finish. I have never like a reasonably priced French white this much. A direct import that is a direct steal.


Etiqueta_cuatrorayas Cuatro Rayas 2008, Rueda $13.99
In a time when Verdejo is being increasingly blended to taste, this is a wine that brought me straight back to Rueda, where I was first introduced to Tortilla Espanola the way it's meant to be. "What makes this so good?" I asked the winemakers between forkfuls. "Well, the potatoes are from down the road, the eggs were laid this morning, the local bar made this." My husband has become a master tortilla maker (ask him for his secrets when you get your next wine order!) and this white paired up beautifully with a midweek pobre dinner. Heck, I felt rich! Pomelo, lemon oil, & tangerine make this stunningly vibrant, and we threw in a Caesar salad on the side with some chickpea/meatball soup... Seventh heaven.

Graham Beck Brut NV, Stellenbosch $14.99
A.k.a.known as "Yes, we can!" wine... What did new President-elect Barack Obama pop open before he addressed the world at Grant Park?  This fantabulous Brut from South Africa!!!  The Obama's discovered this sparkling wine at the recommendation of a sommelier at their favorite restaurant in Chicago,  Blackbird, (hey, I've been there!) & then ordered six bottles for November 4th. Not only was Graham Beck used to commemorate this historic election in the US, but it was also the celebratory drink at the inauguration of South Africa's first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela.
Winemaker Pieter Ferreira studied his bubble-making at Krug before returning to South Africa & joining Graham Beck--impressive pedigree! This Brut is made in the Cap Classique tradition with Pinot Noir & Chardonnay, & sings with apple & pear, freshly buttered brioche, & ginger biscuits. What a way to celebrate...

Cristalino Brut Nature Vintage Cava 2005, $14.99 750 ml, $15.99 Magnums!!!
Okay, so everybody & their brother knows about Cristalino, but I hadn't seen their single vintage bottling since a tasting at their winery in Spain! This is special stuff, as they age for 30 months on the lees, & add 30% Chardonnay, half of which has been aged in oak. Intriguing notes of egg custard, toasty pears, & smokiness--this cava is completely unique. These are serious bubbles with a long-lasting austere grapefruit/lime finish with almost a Manzanilla-ish quality. Wow, pretty cool stuff.
So here's the deal with the magnum price--magnums of the regular Cristalino Brut were supposed to arrive, but didn't, so the distributor had to match the price. Normally the magnums of their Vintage Brut go for $20 wholesale--you'd be silly to pass this deal up!!!

El Perro Verde Verdejo 2007, Rueda $14.99Perro
 Verdejo lovers, I've got something else new for you!!! I guarantee that once the temperature rises you will see this label around town--it's an eye-catcher. Turquoise hounds chase a monarch across a pastel yellow field... Guava fruit perfume, zesty yet round, this is like catching the juice of a cantelope that's been split open into your glass. Get ready to taste spring!
"Light yellow. Subtle orchard fruits on the nose, with a suave tangerine note emerging with aeration. Nervier lime and orange zest on the palate, which offers good fleshy texture and gentle mineral lift. Gains heft on the finish, which features musky yellow plum and succulent herbal qualities. An impressive blend of power and verve."
 -90 points, Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar


Benaza Godello 2008, Monterrei $14.99
I've never seen a wine here from Monterrei, even though it appears to have become a DO in '96. This wine also contains a grape I've never seen listed called "Dona Blanca". Cool! Monterrei borders on Portugal, in the valleys of the Tamega River--it has a different climate than other Galician DO's as it is warm & dry, which can be tasted in the wine. Benaza uses 30-50 year old vines, so this Godello has wonderful weight. Stonefruits, apricot, & white nectarines flood from the glass, with zingy & spicy citrus rind, plus zesty minerals. An absolutely delightful wine I'm taken with...

Cana  La Cana Albarino 2008, Rias Baixas $15.99
Relax into the zen side of Albarino... This is a new project of the Gil family of Jumilla along with Jorge Ordonez and I look forward to this varietal even in the turning point of the seasons. Albarino has always been my winter white of choice. Floral lychees and apricots spin a Galician/Celtic tale laced with an ocean of minerals lapping the shore. Smooth & petal soft but exuding the graceful fragrance of Albarino. Can't wait to drink this with one of the dishes out of my new Taiwanese cookbook, Blue Eye Dragon.

Chateau Paradis Rouge Tradition 2006, Coteaux d'Aix $16.99Paradis
This wine is so good with grilled lamb I could scream! From the lovely town of Aix en Provence, this 45 acres estate indeed looks like a "little piece of paradise". I visited Aix on my poetry fellowship & was astounded by the fairy tale quality of this walled village. I even visited a restaurant where there was a swing perched in the middle of the dining room. Pardise indeed. This is ripe & sexy with firm anise notes, jammed with blueberry & blackberry. Cab, Syrah, & Grenache. A solid earthy mouthful that loves rosemary & herbal flavors.

Schroedel Schroedel Brut Rose, Cremant d'Alsace $17.99
Schroedel is a family estate and this is 100% Pinot Noir--yeah, baby. Tingly minerals meet with guava and quince for a perfect spring glass pour at Chez Vous. Easter brunch, Easter brunch, Easter brunch!

Fitz-Ritter Riesling Extra Trocken Sekt, Pfalz $19.99 (reg. $21.99)Fitz
 Sekt means "sparkling wine" in this region of the world, and this bubbly is one of the most fascinating & delightful finds I've come upon lately... A bottle that screams spring, Fitz-Ritter will satisfy wine geeks along with all your Easter brunch guests. This is 100% old-vine Riesling from the sunny micro-climate of the Middle-Haardt region. The family has been producing since 1785, & is one of the earliest producers of Sekt, now on its 8th generation. One of the oldest producers in the Pfalz, this scenic winery is graced with almond trees planted between the vineyards. Just another lovely fact about it. It was instant love for me. Salty, springy, & ever-so floral, this has acidity in spades to make it an intellectual's quaff, or a truly versatile food wine. I am so excited to sell this!

LarocheLaroche Laroche Chablis 1er Cru Les Fourchaumes VV 2006, Chablis $60
"...the Laroche '06s are wines with compelling freshness and plenty of Chablis character. They have largely avoided the exotic, superripe side of the vintage." -Stephen Tanzer "You're going to write about a $60 French wine?" querulously asked my husband. "YES!" I fervently answered. I just love even thinking about it, and remembering the taste in my mouth. The Laroche family has been producing wine since 1850, going from 6 hectacres to 100. And in an uber-ripe vintage, winemaker Bourdonnaye blocked 40% of maloactic fermentation to retain freshness. My notes read, crenshaw melons & honeycrisp apples, luxurious mouthfeel of lanolin and minerals. Ooooooo
"Bright, pale yellow. Fresh, perfumed nose of lemon, ripe stone fruits and spices. Broad, rich and spicy but more austere than the Vaillons. There's sweetness of fruit here but no sugary impression and no heaviness. The alcohol here is just below 12.5%, notes Bourdonnaye, which is quite low for a 2006 from this normally warm premier cru. The lingering finish shows brown spices and a slight dry edge." -Stephen Tanzer
 
Didn't find your perfect wine this week? Go with a

Specially Selected Six-Pack!
This has been such a successful way to serve you that I say we shall continue this tradition, holidays or not. You pick the theme and price level you want to pay & I'll mix and match from my favorites in the cellar. Limited quantities, thoughtfully selected.

Choose your juice theme & your 6-pack price level:

Ooh La La
$60; $75; $100

Mama Mia $60; $75; $100

The Pride of Portugal $60; $75; $100


Savor South America $60; $75


Celebrate Spain $60; $75; $100

Great Grenache $60; $75; $100

Throwing a Party  $50; $60; $75; $100

I have created a tip jar (click on link to the upper left), and I hope if you get something from my writing but don't want to order anything--maybe a recipe idea for an upcoming dinner, or wine advice that you put to use elsewhere--I hope you'll slip a couple of bucks in the jar from time to time. It's like sending your pledge money to public radio, only I don't interrupt the airwaves for a fund drive.Thank you & enjoy!!!!!!


Copyright, queso y vino 2010

Queso y Vino March 23rd enews: Rare Grape Finds & Lamb Koftes!

Hello to all my wonderful friends & foodie family!

So much good wine to talk about this week, so I hope you are ready. Foodportunity Had a blast at yesterday's Foodportunity, (photo borrowed from The Frantic Foodie herself!) which is a must-go event for all Seattle foodies out there. Great food, interesting peeps, & so nice to be back in the world with my foodie family at last!

Talking & scheming with chefs about places for upcoming Queso y Vino dinners, so there should be some fun events coming up in the near future. Don't want to jinx myself by giving too much away, so stay tuned...

Enjoy the glorious weather, this week's wine recommendations, & hope to see you all soon. See the upcoming events listed below.

Besitos,
Catherine Reynolds
Presidenta, Queso y Vino, 206-518-1166, quesoyvino@gmail.com

I now have a Facebook fanpage so please become a fan!!!! It's where to stay ahead of the curve on events, new wines I'm recommending, & general food gossip. I keep up with gourmand Twittering for you... Oh yeah, you can follow me as quesoyvino there too.
_______________________________________________
UPCOMING EVENTS

Flamenco shows at Taberna del Alabardero!Viewer
Jesus Montoya will be performing with guitarist Jose Tanaka & dancers
on March 25, 26 27 (with 2 performance times!)
Attend both the show & dinner for $65, or take in the show only in the bar for $20

I am not organizing this event (just attending!), so call Taberna for reservations at (206)448-8884

Croquetas de Jamon y Pollo
Iberico Ham and Chicken Croquettes
Pincho de Jamon Serrano
Serrano Ham on Tomato-Rubbed Toasted French Bread
************************
Gazpacho de Remolacha
Red Beet Gazpacho with Goat Cheese Mousse
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Paella Mixta
Mixed Paella, Made with Saffron Rice, Chicken, Shellfish and Vegetables
************************
Panacotta de Frutos Rojos

Harvest Vine wine & tapas April 20th (menu forthcoming)
Stay tuned for
Olivar
and other special appearances in the works  
__________________________________________________

Jamie GRILLED LAMB KOFTE KEBABS WITH PISTACHIOS & SPICY SALAD WRAP from Jamie at Home:Cook Your Way to the Good Life by Jamie Oliver

The Facebook fan club asked for this recipe when I mentioned making it this week, so you got it! Hopefully we have more beautiful grilling weather in our future. We have a meat-grinder attachment on our Kitchen aid, so we went for grinding our own, but already ground lamb (or as we found, even buffalo!) works with this tasty recipe. Tofuboy, are you really upset with me now? It was pasture-raised lamb from a family in OR's Umpqua Valley!

Serves 4

1 lb trimmed shoulder, or neck filletof lamb, chopped into 1-inch chunks

2 heaped Tbs fresh thyme leaves
1 level Tbs ground chili pepper

1 level Tbs ground cumin
4 level Tbs sumac, if you can find any, or finely grated zest of 1 lemon
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
a good handful of shelled pistachio nuts
a few handfuls of mixed salad leaves, such as romaine, endive & arugula, washed, spun, dry & shredded
a small bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked
1 red onion, peeled & very finely sliced
1 lemon
a bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves picked
extra virgin olive oil
4 large flatbreads or tortilla wraps
4 heaped Tbs plain yogurt

This dish is best cooked  on a barbecue over hot coals, but if that's not possible, put your broiler on to its highest setting or heat up a griddle pan. Either way, get your heat source preheated.

Place the lamb in a food processor with most of the thyme, chili, cumin, & sumac (reserving a little of each for sprinkling over later), a little salt & pepper, & all of the pistachios. Put the lid on & keep pulsing until the mixture looks like ground meat.

Divide the meat into 4 equal pieces & get yourself 4 skewers. With damp hands, push and shape the meat around and along each skewer. Press little indents in the meat with your fingers as you go--this will give it better texture when cooked.

In one bowl, mix the salad leaves & mint. In another, combine the sliced onion with a good pinch of salt & pepper & a squeeze of lemon juice (the acidity will take the edge off & slightly pickle the raw onion). Scrunch this all together with your hands, then mix in the parsley leaves.

Grill the kebabs until nicely golden on all sides. Dress your salad leaves & mint with a splash of extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice & some salt & pepper. Meanwhile, warm your flatbreads for 30 seconds on your griddle pan or under the broiler, then divide between plates.& top each with some dressed salad leaves & onion. When your kebabs are cooked, slip them off their skewers onto the flatbreads--you can leave them whole or break them up. Sprinkle with the rest of the sumac, cumin, chili & fresh thyme, & a little salt & pepper. Now either toss the salads, grilled meat & juices together on top of the flatbreads & drizzle with some yogurt before rolling up & serving; or let your friends toss theirs together at the table, then dress & roll up their own, drizzled with some extra virgin olive oil.

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THIS WEEK'S QUESO Y VINO WINE RECOMMENDATIONS
I offer a 10% discount on whole or mixed cases, free delivery for orders over $150, smaller orders will be conveniently & gladly delivered to you for the nominal fee of $10. Start a buying club & I'll waive the delivery fee! Ask me if you'd like to arrange a free pick up at the Saturday University Farmer's Market or Sunday at the Ballard Farmer's Market or the West Seattle Farmer's Market. We're usually there from a window of 10:30 until noon depending on our order requests, and can be around to meet you before or after your market shopping.

Tn Verasol TN Tempranillo 2008, Navarra $9.99
Verasol MCS.J Monastrell 2008, Jumilla $9.99
I'm extremely excited to have brand new $10 Spanish reds to offer you. The Verasol wines are the project of respected winemaker Pedro Sarrion, whose mission is to search out old vines & native grapes from up & coming wine regions. The wines are all aged without oak to show off the true nature of the varietals & their indigenous grapes. Modern, fun, true.
TN Tempranillo comes from the southern slopes of the Pyreness & tastes a bit like a sassy Grenache. My co-taster Naomi Andrade said, "this is Good" when we were going through a big line up of new wines. TN is light, supple, easy with cherry acidity. Clean & fruity, a totally enjoyable quaff, with violet essence & a spicy finish.
The MCS.J pops with fragrant bramble berries, smoky juicy plums, baked pie fruits, cloves & blackberry. Juicy, spicy & peppery with a licorice stick finish. Both GREAT wines for so little.

Casa de Mouraz Organic 2006, Dao $10.99
Mouraz Lovely, lovely, lovely. Casa de Mouraz was one of the first in the Dao to go organic & then biodynamic, hence the ladybugs on the label. There are even several holdings that go back to the 16th century, & the vineyards coexist with pine, oak, chestnut & cork tree forests. The granite soil & gentle 8 months in oak create a delightful wine, with feminine leanings. 40% Touriga Nacional, 30% Tinta Roriz, 20% Jaen, 5% Agua and 5% Alfrocheiro. Inviting red raspberry nose, supple, pliable body, an approachability that keeps leading you back to the glass. I am very happy to find this wine.
 
Maritavora 2004, Douro $10.99 (reg. $18.99)
This wine has some serious Douro grip! Bang for the buck, baby. The father of poet Guerra Junqueiro bought a group of farms in the mid-19th century, and this upper-Douro Quinta was founded in 2004 by someone who worked with the Niepoorts. Quinta-da-maritavora-2004 Their practices are the perfect confluence of past & present. 40% of the wine is foot-trodden & fermented in traditional stone lagares. Then 40% of the wine is aged in French oak for 12 months. The flavor from this blend of Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, & Touriga Nacional is a big & bold Douro mouthful. Crushed rock, candied cherries, this was fantastic with a bowl of black olives. Serve this meaty red with Fillet of Beef with Porcini, Olive, & Manchego Butter from Spanish Kitchen by Jane Lawson. I think it's a little too big for a Portuguese duck recipe.
-90 points, Wine & Spirits

Chateau Douley Premeieres Cotes du Bordeaux 2006, Bordeaux $11.99 (reg. $13.99)
Adamsfrenchvineyards_chateau_douley_label This delightful French wine came home in my husband's bag, where it was passed from Bruce Naftaly's kitchen at Le Gourmand to ours. Bruce liked it too, I hear... This hails from the east bank of the Gironde River, surrounded by the pricey & prestigious regions of Pomerol & St. Emilion. This is 80% smooth Merlot, & a balance of spicy Cab Franc & Cab Sauvignon. Smooth & fleshy with dusty plum skins, allspice, & green pepper, and a flourish of violets on the finish. Bring this bistro-style wine into your home & enjoy Marjolaine de Coninck's work.

Guimaro Mencia 2008, Ribeira Sacra $14.99 (reg. $16.99)Guimaro vines
Calling all Mencia lovers, this is a lovely example of how good this pocket of Spain can get, at price tag I can get a handle on. Guimaro exemplifies the Mencia grape, which is that exotic Galician varietal that some say may be related to Cab Franc. Young winemaker Pedro Rodriguez Pérez lives and works in the tiny village of Sober (ironic eh?), where he is one of only nine residents. Can you imagine?! The average vine age for his project is 40 years. But this is the kicker: grapes are grown on the slopes of Ribeira Sacra, so steep, they recall The Mosel with vines on slopes up to 75 degrees. "Working these vines requires a fully manual operation. Grapes are harvested into baskets worn on pickers’ backs, moved by small carts on tracks down the steep hillside, and, finally paddled back to the cellar along the Rio Sil." Incredible! A feminine & elegant expression of the grape, with typical white pepper & pomegranate flavors, redolent with silken spice. Mineral sanguinal aspect typical of the grape, this is true elegance with a slightly ripe finish. Another for vine geeks & anyone up for pleasant dinner company.

Fitz-Ritter Riesling Extra Trocken Sekt, Pfalz $19.99 (reg. $21.99)
Fitz haus Sekt means "sparkling wine" in this region of the world, and this bubbly is one of the most fascinating & delightful finds I've come upon lately... A bottle that screams spring, Fitz-Ritter will satisfy wine geeks along with all your Easter brunch guests. This is 100% old-vine Riesling from the sunny micro-climate of the Middle-Haardt region. The family has been producing since 1785, & is one of the earliest producers of Sekt, now on its 8th generation. One of the oldest producers in the Pfalz, this scenic winery is graced with almond trees planted between the vineyards. Just another lovely fact about it. It was instant love for me. Salty, springy, & ever-so floral, this has acidity in spades to make it an intellectual's quaff, or a truly versatile food wine. I am so excited to sell this!Sparkling riesling

Didn't find your perfect wine this week? Go with a

Specially Selected Six-Pack!
This has been such a successful way to serve you that I say we shall continue this tradition, holidays or not. You pick the theme and price level you want to pay & I'll mix and match from my favorites in the cellar. Limited quantities, thoughtfully selected.

Choose your juice theme & your 6-pack price level:


The Pride of Portugal $60; $75; $100


Savor South America $60; $75


Celebrate Spain $60; $75; $100

Great Grenache $60; $75; $100

Throwing a Party  $50; $60; $75; $100


On my Madeleine blog, I have created a tip jar (click on link to the left above), and I hope if you get something from my writing but don't want to order anything--maybe a recipe idea for an upcoming dinner, or wine advice that you put to use elsewhere--I hope you'll slip a couple of bucks in the jar from time to time. It's like sending your pledge money to public radio, only I don't interrupt the airwaves for a fund drive.Thank you & enjoy!!!!!!


Copyright, queso y vino 2010

Queso y Vino March 17th enews: Scallops ala Arzak & No Green Beer For Sale

Hello to all my wonderful friends & foodie family!

Article_Spain - Flamenco Poster Spring is in the air... I just read it's going to be 67 on Saturday! The Mobile Chowdown was a lot of fun & it was great to see some of you there amongst the queues. I guess we should be thankful that it was a little chilly instead of the forecast we have for this Saturday. The lines would have been to the stadium. Also had a great time at the Art of the Table anniversary party--I was listed as a food "celeb" sighted at the party :)

And attended an amazing tasting at Via Tribunali with Small Vineyards this week & I can't wait to start selling their Italian line up.

But I have much to tell you about that is available right now. Brought home lots of new wines & have been tasting away. My work is never done :) I now have a Facebook fanpage so please become a fan!!!! It's where to stay ahead of the curve on events, new wines I'm recommending, & general food gossip. I keep up with gourmand Twittering for you... Oh yeah, you can follow me as quesoyvino there too. Into the 21st century I go!

Oh & happy St. Paddy's Day all you O'Hara's... I'm wearing my green garden clogs. A fava is sprouting outside in a determined spring way.

Besitos,
Catherine Reynolds (O'Hara)
Presidenta, Queso y Vino, 206-518-1166, quesoyvino@gmail.com
_______________________________________________
UPCOMING EVENTS

Rest_pic Stay tuned for Harvest Vine wine & tapas April 20th
and other special appearances in the works  
__________________________________________________

SCALLOPS WITH PISTACHIO VINAGRETTE from The New Spanish Table by Anya von Bremzen

Even my friend Chef D. at Art of the Table loves this cookbook! I made this recipe for my friend & blogger Seattle Tall Poppy (who took this gorgeous shot of food porn) a few summers ago & she was wowed by it's restaurant-like appearance. No surprise, the recipe came from Basque super-star Juan Mari Arzak of San Sebastian. Scallops So while I associate this dish sunny summer weather under our umbrella table on the deck, I was amazed to see scallops on the University Farmer's Market fresh sheet for this week. Here's where you can check out what's Ripe and Ready in town. Ready, set, make your shopping list! They're predicting a balmy 67 degrees for Saturday!

Makes 6    

1/2 cup Txakoli (a Basque white wine) or Portuguese Vinho Verde
2 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 medium-size garlic clove, crushed with a garlic press
1 Tbs minced shallot
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup light olive oil, plus more for brushing the scallops
1 small pinch of sugar
Coarse salt (kosher or sea) & freshly ground black pepper
18 sea scallops
A handful of baby lettuces, for garnish
2 Tbs minced chives
1/3 cup lightly toasted unsalted pistachios, finely chopped or coarsely ground

Place the wine in a small saucepan over medium-high heat & cook until reduced to about 1/4 cup, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the wine to a bowl & whisk into the vinegar, garlic, shallot, & lemon juice. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, then season the vinaigrette with the sugar & salt & pepper to taste. Let the vinaigrette stand while you prepare the scallops.

Light the grill & preheat it to medium or preheat a ridged grill pan to medium-hot over medium heat.

Soak 6 bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels & lightly sprinkle salt & pepper over them. Thread the scallops on the skewers through the sides, placing 3 scallops on each skewer. Brush both sides of the scallops with olive oil.

Grill the scallops, working batches if necessary, until just opaque inside & lightly browned on the outside, about 3 minutes per side.


To serve, place each skewer on a small appetizer plate & arrange a few leaves alongside. Stir in the chives & the pistachios into the vinaigrette & dab some vinaigrette on the scallops. Serve at once.
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THIS WEEK'S QUESO Y VINO WINE RECOMMENDATIONS
I offer a 10% discount on whole or mixed cases, free delivery for orders over $150, smaller orders will be conveniently & gladly delivered to you for the nominal fee of $10. Start a buying club & I'll waive the delivery fee! Ask me if you'd like to arrange a free pick up at the Saturday University Farmer's Market or Sunday at the Ballard Farmer's Market or the West Seattle Farmer's Market. We're usually there from a window of 10:30 until noon depending on our order requests, and can be around to meet you before or after your market shopping. Farm mkt pick


Don Tiburcio 2006, Mendoza $9.99
Bring on the rub-your-eyes-at-the-price factor--I love direct imports so much. The Benegas-Lynch family immigrated from France & has one of the flagship properties in the Argentine wine industry. Out of all the Benegas wines this one is named after Don (the MAN!), Tiburcio Benegas, who started Trapiche & founded the wine industry in Mendoza, so you better believe it's good. A plush blend of Malbec, Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, & Merlot, this is Bordeaux beauty at South American prices. Sumptuous plump black cherry juice & rolling currant liqueur, topped off with roasted vanilla bean finish. My goodness this is wonderful for TEN BUCKS!!!!!

Podere Il Caio Roso Umbria Sangiovese Merlot 2008, Rosso Umbria $11.99

You should see their gorgeous agriturismo. Umbria is a modest wine region (look at this price) east of Tuscany, north of Rome, in the "green heart of Italy". Corbara Perfect for St. Patrick's Day! This Sangio Merlot blend has a little Cab & Montepulciano thrown in for good measure, & it swept me off my feet. It spends a brief 3-5 months in cask which keeps it fresh, but solid with raspberry, black cassis, ground pepper mill, & juicy plum preserves. I happily drank this with last week's recipe for Minestra with cabbage, wheat berries & sausage--perfect pairing, perfect price.

Chateau de Pena Rivesaltes Ambre, Rivesaltes $11.99
This delicious & tres interessant wine is hard to classify as it is recommended as an aperitif, with foie gras, & chocolate tart (not all at once) by the producer. That's a lot of latitude! We served this at Art of the Table with olive oil cake & a sweet orange compote-mmmm. A blend of Grenache Rouge, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris aged for 3 years in large French oak barrels. This comes from the foothills of Corbieres in the heart of the Rousillon in Francce, but is still culturally a Catalan area. Beautiful plump apricot jelly, gingerbread & caramel, butterscotch & toffee, spiced bitter oranges.Lightly nutty & smoky. A steal of a dessert wine that doesn't have to be for dessert.

Fico Prosecco, Veneto $12.99
Bring on Spring! We popped this open to try with some Korean tacos & it went hand in hand, even though that blend of cultures is quite a mouthful. This is ready for a pile of cured meats & cheeses. I've written about the Botter family's achievements in the past & this Prosecco is grown on the hills of Venice, where I hope to return to some day. Their Proseco vines benefit from over 25 years of age, but this bubbly has a lovely youthful vernal feel. Dry white peaches, light on its feet, fine bubbles. Not to be confused with sweeter styles. You could definitely have this with prosciutto-wrapped figs.

Vevi 2008, Rueda $13.99Vevi_08Rueda
Vevi is like the fireworks of forsythia blooming on the crest of my lawn: a golden harbinger of spring. A lovely new Verdejo with some Viura to round it out, this is as clean as its package. Explodes with Pomelo, Buddha's Hand citron, & a zesty punch. Super crisp style, I loved it with saag paneer & a chickpea/eggplant side on our dinner table. Absolutely refreshing, clean, & affordable. Oak lovers, there's nothing for you here.

Hazana Semi-Crianza 2007, Rioja $13.99
This new Rioja tastes as good as it looks. Hazana translates as a literary "heroic feat" & that it is, a tasty Rioja with a handsome price. This is made at Vinicola Real, with its labyrinthine tunnels, where barrels age in the side of a mountain. Everything else about this Rioja feels deliciously modern. The semi-crianza is aged in new French & American oak for 6 months, just enough to give backbone, but not overwhelm the wondrous orchard fruit contained inside. Plums, spice & earth circle the nose, roses on the palate, this is solid & smooth with supple dark cherries. This is a new generation of Rioja not to miss out on.

Benaza_godello Benaza Godello 2008, Monterrei $14.99
I've never seen a wine here from Monterrei, even though it appears to have become a DO in '96. This wine also contains a grape I've never seen listed called "Dona Blanca". Cool! Monterrei borders on Portugal, in the valleys of the Tamega River--it has a different climate than other Galician DO's as it is warm & dry, which can be tasted in the wine. Benaza uses 30-50 year old vines, so this Godello has wonderful weight. Stonefruits, apricot, & white nectarines flood from the glass, with zingy & spicy citrus rind, plus zesty minerals. An absolutely delightful wine I'm taken with, & a great match for this week's almost-Galician scallop recipe.

Borsao Crianza Seleccion 2006, Campo de Borja $14.99Bors big
This was the big hit out of the line up we tried this weekend with my tasting crew. I've gone to visit Borsao & the wonderful thing about these guys is that it is a mass effort--the day I arrived at the winery they took us out in dozens of all-drive vehicles & we went right to the vineyards, ducking grape vines and bumping along instead of examining all their pumps & tanks. Just the way I like it! The nose is pure sumptuous berries, boysenberry freezer jam. This is plump as a pin cushion, but not overly ripe or sweet. #1 at our Sunday evening taste off, & I have to say a handsome new label of Moorish-looking tile adds to the appeal.
"Dense and balanced, this polished red carries plum, blackberry, black pepper and tar flavors. Muscular tannins are well-integrated, and fresh acidity carries coffee, floral and mint notes through the finish. Tasted twice with consistent notes. Drink now through 2014" -92 points, Wine Spectator

Joao Portugal Ramos Falua Conde de Vimioso Reserva 2003, Ribatejo $19.99 (was $27.99)
You don't get more legendary that JP Ramos. Infamous for his Moscatel de Setubal wines, he's also known as a trendsetter & was one of the first to put Alentejo on the map. Now the hottest Portuguese wine region on the map, Alentejo wines are recognized for their deep earthy flavors & structures, but Vimioso from neighboring Ribatejo has a royal elegance about it. A large but undisclosed amount of Touriga Nacional gives itself away with a nose of pure blueberry & garrigue. Very dark plum hue with good acid & elegance, soil tones & a charcoal note.
"Rich, full-bodied palate. Deep, sweet ripe fruit. Great balance." -Decanter

Didn't find your perfect wine this week? Go with a

Specially Selected Six-Pack!
This has been such a successful way to serve you that I say we shall continue this tradition, holidays or not. You pick the theme and price level you want to pay & I'll mix and match from my favorites in the cellar. Limited quantities, thoughtfully selected.

Choose your juice theme & your 6-pack price level:


The Pride of Portugal $60; $75; $100


Savor South America $60; $75


Celebrate Spain $60; $75; $100

Great Grenache $60; $75; $100

Throwing a Party  $50; $60; $75; $100

I have created a tip jar and I hope if you get something from my writing but don't want to order anything--maybe a recipe idea for an upcoming dinner, or wine advice that you put to use elsewhere--I hope you'll slip a couple of bucks in the jar from time to time. It's like sending your pledge money to public radio, only I don't interrupt the airwaves for a fund drive.Thank you & enjoy!!!!!!


Copyright, queso y vino 2010

Queso y Vino March 10th enews: Meet Me @ the Mobile Chowdown & Apricot Nectar

Hello to all my wonderful friends & foodie family!

Big dusty LOTS OF EXCITING NEWS THIS WEEK. Tonight is our Art of the Table event & I am so excited for Q y V's dinner #2, back in action. Since I didn't take the RSVP's this time, I have no idea of who's coming! Surprise... Looking forward to seeing you, and the olive oil cake with honey ice cream!

I worked late last night on bringing to life the previous newsletter on my blog last night. Both this & last week's wines are readily available. Take a look below & actually get to SEE the wines I've been talking about. We seem to have misplaced our camera, but if you took some at Art of the Table or Gaudi, send them along.

Oh & I almost forgot... This week I want you to meet me somewhere different: Mobile Chowdown III !!!!!!! This Saturday we have the opportunity to get down with the best food trucks of Seattle & Portland. I could not be more excited. I talked with one of the organizers, & they have agreed to let me hand off wine orders at this food extravaganza. After my recent trip to Portland I am all about the food truck scene & I can't believe it's happening here! Check out the folks you've been hearing about like Marination Mobile, Skillet, Whiffies. It's a dream come true. Bring cash for the trucks...I take checks, cash, or credit card info (which I can charge at home beforehand). The food fest starts at 10 am & goes until at least 1 pm. There's free parking & here's a map & info on this ultra-foodie event.

Also, I have set up a fan page for Queso y Vino on Facebook. Become a fan & get updates, sneak previews on events, heads up on special wine finds, share your reviews & news... Be my FB friend & thank you so much!!!!!

Besitos,
Catherine Reynolds
Presidenta, Queso y Vino, 206-518-1166, quesoyvino@gmail.com
_______________________________________________
UPCOMING EVENTS

 Art of the Table ... March 10th  
Stay tuned for
Harvest Vine / Txori     April
and other special appearances in the works   hmmm, things are heating up!
__________________________________________________

CELERY ROOT CREAM WITH BACON from Pork & Sons by Stephane Reynaud

PorkandSons Just when we were all firing up our barbecues here in Seattle we got snow.  I know, play me a tiny violin all of you in other parts of the world who really got hit with snow, but the heat's back on full blast, the cover's back on the grill, & soup is sounding appealing again. I believe you can still find some gnarled rounds of celeriac at the farmer's markets, & there's plenty of choices for small producer bacon from Samish Bay at UD, B’Way & WS. Wooly Pigs at UD and WS. Sea Breeze Farm at UD and WS. Skagit River Ranch at UD.  See what's ripe & ready this week at the link above!

Serves 6    

1 slice of dry-cured ham, such as prosciutto

2 Tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 celery root, cut into cubes
2 large potatoes, cut into cubes
1 leek, white part only, chopped
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
scant 1/2 cup heavy cream
scant 1 cup fresh whole milk
6 thin slices of smoked bacon

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Place the prosciutto in an ovenproof dish & dry out in the oven for 30 minutes, until crisp, then crumble, & set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the onion & cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until light golden brown. Increase the heat to medium, add the celery root, potatoes, leek, & nutmeg, pour in water to cover, & bring to a boil. Lower the heat & simmer for 30 minutes.

Transfer the vegetables & cooking liquid to a blender & process to a puree. Return to the pan, stir in the cream, & season lightly with salt & pepper. Preheat the broiler.

Transfer scant 1 cup of the soup to another pan, add the milk, & heat to just below boiling point, whisking with a hand-held blender until frothy.

Broil the bacon for 2-4 minutes on each side & reheat the soup, but do not let it boil. Ladle the soup into serving bowls, top with the frothy mousse, sprinkle with the crumbled ham, & add a slice of bacon to each.

_____________


THIS WEEK'S QUESO Y VINO WINE RECOMMENDATIONS
I offer a 10% discount on whole or mixed cases, free delivery for orders over $150, smaller orders will be conveniently & gladly delivered to you for the nominal fee of $10. Start a buying club & I'll waive the delivery fee! Ask me if you'd like to arrange a free pick up at Saturday's http://www.seattlemag.com/0p66ev1967/mobile-chowdown-round-iii/ Mobile Chowdown!!! or Sunday at the Ballard Farmer's Market or the West Seattle Farmer's Market. We're usually there from a window of 10:30 until noon depending on our order requests, and can be around to meet you before or after your market shopping.

Marinada 2007, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla $6.99
This had always been one of my favorite cheapies, & I am happy to say Marinada has a fresh look for spring. Macabeo is akin to Spain's Pinot Grigio, and almost always appears in a fresh, unoaked style. For the money, it's hard to argue with juicy clean fruit & a bargain basement price. I've sold this to many a customer who was having a party, an event, or wedding, always with great results. Juicy pineapple & guava, apricot, a touch of pie crust, with a slightly salty finish. Ahhh, the sun came out just writing about it.

Benegas__37126_std Don Tiburcio 2006, Mendoza $9.99
This is definitely the steal of the week. Bring on the rub-your-eyes-at-the-price factor--I love direct imports so much. The Benegas-Lynch family immigrated from France & has one of the flagship properties in the Argentine wine industry. Out of all the Benegas wines this one is named after Don (the MAN!), Tiburcio Benegas, who started Trapiche & founded the wine industry in Mendoza, so you better believe it's good. A plush blend of Malbec, Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, & Merlot, this is Bordeaux beauty at South American prices. Sumptuous plump black cherry juice & rolling currant liqueur, topped off with roasted vanilla bean finish. My goodness this is wonderful for TEN BUCKS!!!!!

Chateau de Pena Rivesaltes Ambre, Rivesaltes $11.99Rivesalte
This delicious & tres interessant wine is hard to classify as it is recommended as an aperitif, with foie gras, & chocolate tart (not all at once) by the producer. That's a lot of latitude! We will be serving this one tonight at Art of the Table with olive oil cake & a sweet orange compote-mmmm. A blend of Grenache Rouge, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris aged for 3 years in large French oak barrels. This comes from the foothills of Corbieres in the heart of the Rousillon in Francce, but is still culturally a Catalan area. Beautiful plump apricot jelly, gingerbread & caramel, butterscotch & toffee, spiced bitter oranges.Lightly nutty & smoky. A steal of a dessert wine that doesn't have to be for dessert.

Hazana Semi-Crianza 2007, Rioja $13.99
Hazana This new Rioja tastes as good as it looks. Hazana translates as a literary "heroic feat" & that it is, a tasty Rioja with a handsome price. This is made at Vinicola Real, with its labyrinthine tunnels, where barrels age in the side of a mountain. Everything else about this Rioja feels deliciously modern. The semi-crianza is aged in new French & American oak for 6 months, just enough to give backbone, but not overwhelm the wondrous orchard fruit contained inside. Plums, spice & earth circle the nose, roses on the palate, this is solid & smooth with supple dark cherries. This is a new generation of Rioja not to miss out on.

Didn't find your perfect wine this week? Go with a

Specially Selected Six-Pack!
This has been such a successful way to serve you that I say we shall continue this tradition, holidays or not. You pick the theme and price level you want to pay & I'll mix and match from my favorites in the cellar. Limited quantities, thoughtfully selected.

Choose your juice theme & your 6-pack price level:


The Pride of Portugal $60; $75; $100


Savor South America $60; $75


Celebrate Spain $60; $75; $100

Great Grenache $60; $75; $100

Throwing a Party  $50; $60; $75; $100


On my Madeleine blog, I have created a tip jar (click on link upper left hand corner), and I hope if you get something from my writing but don't want to order anything--maybe a recipe idea for an upcoming dinner, or wine advice that you put to use elsewhere--I hope you'll slip a couple of bucks in the jar from time to time. It's like sending your pledge money to public radio, only I don't interrupt the airwaves for a fund drive.Thank you & enjoy!!!!!!


Copyright, queso y vino 2010