Archive for March, 2010

Relevant/Current Food News….

Friday, March 26th, 2010

For many, it is both an exciting and terrifying time, right now, to eat.  The coming to light of so many harmful and horrible practices (production, farming, breading, importing, genetic engineering to name only a few) has led to not only an awareness of what it is we’re putting on our plates, but a major backlash and a call for more socially conscious practices and products.  There is so much information and disinformation out there right now that its incredibly and increasingly difficult to sort through which is which.  Put plainly, it can be confusing.  I am on a constant search to stay(or get, more accurately) on top of the issues that effect our food systems, consuming habits, and overall health.  I am going to try and use this space as place to post interesting links to articles, blogs and insights that I find throughout my research travels.

The connectivity that technology has given us is absolutely amazing.  We no longer have to be kept in the dark about not only what we’re eating and where its coming from, but what types of practices are common, legal and deemed acceptable.   It’s truly an amazing time to be working with food.  The call for (and ascent to) a return to basic, honest, time-honored principles and practices is yielding amazing results, wonderful food to eat and work with.  Its just beginning though.  There’s much work to do in making it accessible and affordable  every day.   The more light we shed on those hardships and the more we become aware of the real cost of “cheaper” food, the closer we’ll get to making it happen.

“From Farm to Fork” by Karen Barlow

“Push to Eat Local Food Is Hampered by Shortage” by Katie Zezima

“Cows On Drugs” by Donald Kennedy

“The Naivete Of Cooking” by Chef Matt Jennings

Australian wine luncheon…

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

This past Tuesday I had the pleasure in hosting a small private luncheon for an Irish born-Australian winemaker/importer that is breaking into the market with some amazing bottles and a new project.   It’s a collection of wines, predominantly Southern-hemisphere based that he’s brought together under one label called World Wine Headquarters.

So this was an advance tasting lined up for prospective buyers only(chef’s, owners, wine-shop buyers, and beverage managers).  The tasting was happening in flights, or groups, with four to five wines to taste with each course.    My job, as ever, was to support the wine groups with dishes that complimented them.  Tasting this many wines at once can be challenging at times, so the food plays an important part in not only making the meal special, but functional.  If the portions are too large then diners will get too full and they and their palettes will tire quickly.  If the flavors are too intense, the nuances of the wines will be lost, masked completely and defeating the purpose of the event entirely.  The portions, the chosen herbs, spices, choice of proteins and accompaniments has to be well thought out.  For me, the idea is to bring out the best in the wines and make for a great experience with out trying to hog the center stage.   As always, I want people to feel great during and after the meal, so again, I cannot stress the importance of portion control and how it effects this.

In retrospect, it went really well.  There were some impressive wines in the flights that I know I and the rest of the staff and guests really appreciated.  I was very happy with the food, and from the empty plates (even six courses in!), I think my colleagues were as well.   So here’s the menu and the lists of wines we tried with each course.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed creating it, and who knows, maybe you’ll see some of these wines when you come into the restaurant!   (the Elderton Shiraz is currently being offered, amazing wine, really.)

Tasting Series March 9 2010 with nicks on broadway and John Larchet

Vibrant Dry Whites (Spring is Coming)

2008 Altivo Classics Torrontes, Uco Valley, Medoza, Argentina

2009 Lobster Reef Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand

2008 Hewitson “LuLu” Sauvignon Blanc, Adelaide Hills, South Australia

2008 Ichanka Sauvignon Blanc, La Rioja, Argentina

2007 Rocky Gully Dry Riesling, Frankland River, West Australia

Citrus roasted Sea scallops + Shrimp with grapefruit, blood orange, frisée + honey

Chardonnay & Beyond

2008 The Wishing Tree Unoaked Chardonnay, Western Australia

2008 Elderton “E Series” Unoaked Chardonnay, South Australia

2008 Altivo Reserva Chardonnay Viognier, Uco Valley, Mendoza

2006 Rutherglen Estates ” The Alliance”, Rutherglen VIC

Warm brie + onion “tartlet” with apple, walnut + baby greens

“Cherry & Spice”

2006 Hill Of Content Pinot Noir, Adelaide Hills/Mornington Peninsula

2009 Lobster Reef Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand

2007 Altivo Classics Malbec, Uco Valley, Medoza, Argentina

2007 Ichanka Malbec, La Rioja, Argentina

2006 Tir Na N’og Old Vine Grenache, McLaren Vale

Crispy-skin roasted salmon with thyme, mushroom, kale + allspice

“Magic of the Blend”

2006 The Wishing Tree Shiraz, Western Australia

2007 Rocky Gully Shiraz-Viognier, Frankland River WA

2005 Rutherglen RED Shiraz-Petit Sirah, Rutherglen VIC

2006 Elderton “E Series” Shiraz-Cabernet, South Australia

2005 Hill Of Content Shiraz, Western Australia

Sage-roasted breast of duck with turnip-carrot puree + clove jus

“Shiraz Story

2006 Hewitson “Ned and Henry” Shiraz, Barossa Valley, South Australia

2006  Aramis “Black Label” Shiraz, McLaren Vale

2006 Elderton Estate Shiraz, Barossa Valley, South Australia

2004  Elderton “Command” Shiraz, Barossa Valley, South Australia

Leg of lamb with potato, parsnip, smoked bacon + rosemary-anis jus

“Liquid Dessert”

2007 Mt. Horrocks “Cordon Cut” Riesling, Auburn Clare Valley

Butterscotch panna cotta with pecan + molasses