A claIMG_2803ssic ragu bolognese with a homemade pasta is one of my top 10 favorite dishes to prepare as well as eat. It’s my gauge for the authenticity of an Italian restaurant and unfortunately I’ve had very few in the USA that come close to the real thing. A recent trip to  enjoy the beautiful colors of autumn in Vermont inspired this twist on a classic bolognese. I used a cooking method similar to what one might see in a more classic version of the recipe, but a few substitutions made for a crowd favorite.

I didn’t snap too many photos while I was cooking. The kitchen in the cabin was chaotic and the wine was flowing! I should mention that I used larger chunks of carrots/celery/onion in the mirepoix as I wanted to add a bit of texture/rusticness to the dish. The small pot on the back right burner of this stove is showing a vegetarian version of the same dish. I’ll redo that one and post the recipe at some point, complete with a homemade veggie stock that only takes an hour or so to put together! Read More →

Coq Au VinCoq au vin is a dish that exemplifies what cooking with good ingredients and some patience can accomplish. This dish really shows me the complexity of texture and flavors that can develop over the course of a few hours. I really the work that goes into this recipe. Things like removing the pork, then adding the chicken only to re-add the pork later really allows the flavors to develop. It’s not a complicated dish from a technique perspective, but does require some attention to details as there are a few steps that really allow things to come together.

For a nice history on this dish with a classic recipe, check out the SmittenKitchen: Coq au Vin

My version gets rid of the dried thyme and substitutes tarragon. Also, I add a bit more garlic and mushrooms, whole white onions (quartered), and use a homemade stock from the same chicken I use for the dish.

I’d allocate 2 hours for prep/cooking from start to finish.
Read More →

I read an article this morning by NYTimes writer Eric Asimov which prompted me to fire up the old domain name, install the latest version of WordPress and get back to my wine blogging roots! In his article titled “Wine as the Supporting Player in an Ensemble Cast at Home,” Asimov makes the recommendation to drink more wine at home and learn to love it.

The title alone was enough to have me find something else to read…wine as the “supporting player in an ensemble cast”…who thinks this stuff up? But I clicked. And read. And found a few good tips for the wine novice such as get a simple corkscrew, decent stemware, to make friends with a good wine salesperson at your local shop (this is a great tip, actually). That said, overall the article is a bit vague as to how to actually keep, serve and enjoy the wine at home.

Here is my guide to how to have wine at home:

1. Keep at least 12 bottles of wine in the house. For some of you this sounds like 1/2 a shelf in your cellar of 100’s or 1000’s of bottles. To others, this is 11 more than you have on hand at any time. But I can make the argument that 12 is the perfect number (and never below 6 bottles) and this list gets you good coverage for peoples varying wine tastes: Read More →