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Fritole Agli Agrumi con Uvetta e Pignoli // Citrus Fritters with Raisins and Pine Nuts
courtesy of La Cucina Italiana
Wine pairings: Felsina Vin Santo or Sagrantino di Montefalco Passito
Having a past career as a baker/pastry chef & my love of all things Italian, I can't even explain the depths of my saddness when I learned I could no longer have anything with gluten in it. I love fresh baked bread, freshly made pasta...and I could go on and on about my sincere love for cannolis. Determined not to have to give all that up entirely, I started my journey to recreate all my favorite things, but gluten free. It has been a challenge, but I have had several successes. My latest creation, Agli Agrumi con Uvetta e Pignoli from La Cucina Italiana, was so incredibly delicious and perfect, no one knew that it was made with gluten free flour blend. I will admit, I did a happy dance in my kitchen I was so excited. These little guys are just one example of street food that you'll find in Venice during Carnevale- a celebration treat if you will. Lightly fried, super moist, and oh so flavorful. Pair these fritters with an Italian dessert wine like vin santo from Tuscany, or sangrantino di montefalco passito from Umbria.
Here at City Wine Merchant, we have Felsina Vin Santo which is quite a lovely expression of this wine, and at a great price as well.
So go ahead, gather friends and family together and make this delicious treat. It is sure to put smiles on many faces!
45 mins plus rising. Makes about 80 fritters.
3/4 c raisins
1/2 c dry white wine
1 1/2 c whole milk
3 1/2 t dry yeast
1/3 c sugar
4 c flour (i replaced this with Bob's Red Mill gluten free all purpose flour)
1/8 t salt
1 c pine nuts
1 t grappa
1 qt vegetable oil for frying
confectioners sugar for dusting
In a bowl combine raisins and wine- set aside. In a small sauce pan, heat 1 c milk over medium heat to luke warm. Then remove from heat and add yeast and a pinch of sugar. Let stand until foamy (10 mins) (If yeast mixture does not become foamy, start all over. You will be able to tell within 5 mins)
In large bowl whisk together remaining 1/3 sugar, flour, salt. Form a well in center. Add eggs to well. Whisk together eggs incorporating a little bit of flour from inside rim of well.
Strain wine through a fine mesh sieve into bowl with flour mix, set aside raisins.
Add yeast mix and remaining 1/2 cup milk to flour mix.
Whisk the batter to combine. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let bowl rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk. approx. an hour. Add reserve raisins, pine nuts, and grappa. Fold to combine.
Line two large plates with paper towels.
Heat oil to 325 in a 4-5 qt pot on medium high heat.
Working in batches of 5-7 drop tablespoon size batter in the oil, turning once until puffed and golden. (2-3 mins)
Using a slotted spoon, scoop out fritters and place them on paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Enjoy while still warm.
paired with Chateau Cantelaudette Graves de Vayeres 2011
FEATURED WINE OF THE MONTH
Only $12.74/bottle through the entire month of May!
Its (finally!) time to fire up the grill! This easy recipe is a crowd-pleaser & especially tasty with this awesome white Bordeaux!
Four – 1” Thick bone in Pork Chops
1 Sprig of Rosemary
Juice of 1 Lemon
¼ cup of Olive Oil
3-4 Granny Smith Apples - halved, pealed, and cored
1. Pull the leaves off of the rosemary sprig
2. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, and rosemary with salt and pepper
3. Place the chops in a shallow baking dish and cover with the marinade. Marinade for at least an hour.
4. Preheat your grill on high
5. Place the pork chops on the grill, flip every 3-4 minutes 4 times for a 12-16 minute cooking time depending on the chop thickness for a medium doneness
6. At the same time drizzle the apples with a little extra virgin olive oil, and place flat side down on the grill
7. Cook until softened
8. Remove the pork and place on a platter, and allow the chops to rest for 10 minutes.
9. Remove the apples and slice the cooked apples and place atop the pork chops.
I enjoyed a fantastic pairing diiner with a colleague last week at Buffalo's Ristorante Lombardo. Bravo to Tommy Lombardo, Jr. and his team for a great meal and great wine pairings. While Lombardo's remains one of Buffalo's classic Italian restaurants (over 35 years in business), Tommy is helping to transform the restaurant into an exciting vinoteca with one of the most exciting wine programs in town. He recently returned to Buffalo after spending time in New York City working around some of the hottest wine destinations in the city. He is clearly bringing a progressive approach with him, and I am excited to work with him and Lombardo's on wine events in the near future. In the meantime, I highly recommend checking out their themed wine pairing dinners. On our visit, we were treated to a partial preview of an upcoming Sicily-themed dinner. Some of the highlights were Murgo Brut Rose pairied with Blue Point Oysters and Horseradish Marmalata (one of the best pairings I've had in a long time), and Venturini Baldini Lambrusco with Tagliatelle Bolognese. Look for some of these wines at City Wine Merchant soon!
Our menu for the evening:
Murgo Brut Rose, 2009
with Tuna Tagliatta, blood oranges, fennel, arugula
and Blue Point Oysters with horseradish marmalata.
'Zagra' Valle dell'Acate 2011
with Grilled Octopus, pickled fennel, smoky white beans
'Quadrio' Valtellina Superiore, Nino Negri, 2009
with Wood Roasted Figs, gorgonzola, prosciutto
Venturini Baldini Lambrusco NV
with Tagliatelle Bolognese
COS Pithos Rosso, 2011
with Veal Marsala
Vigna la Miccia Marsala, Marco de Bartoli, NV
paired with Domaine de Terres Dorees Beaujolais Blanc 2011
FEATURED RECIPE WINE OF THE MONTH
Only $15.29/bottle through the entire month of March!
4 Sprigs of fresh Tarragon
5 Sprigs of fresh Cilantro
½ Tablespoon Honey
1 Tablespoon of Dijon Mustard
¼ Cup Red Wine Vinegar
½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 Heads of Boston Bibb Lettuce
- The easiest way to make this dressing is to use a mason jar.
- I also like to leave the lettuce leaves as whole as possible to cup this delicate and delicious dressing.
1. Peal and slice the cucumber and wash and dry the lettuce. Place in a bowl.
2. Mince the shallot and tarragon
3. Add the juice of the lemon and the vinegar
4. Add the mustard and honey
5. Season with salt and pepper
6. Add the olive oil
7. Shake the jar until the ingredients emulsify
8. Pick the leaves off of the cilantro and add to the lettuce.
9. Add the dressing to the lettuce and herbs.
10. Toss and enjoy!
paired with Hardin Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010
1 Whole De-boned chicken, wing tips removed
1 Stalk of Celery diced
2 Minced Shallots
8oz. of Chopped Mushrooms
3 Strips of thick Bacon cut into lardons
11/2 Cups Chopped and Pealed Chestnuts
1. You can either de-bone the chicken yourself or have your butcher prepare it for you.
2. Preheat your oven to 425°F
3. Add the bacon lardons to a cold pan and turn to a med/high heat and render out the fat
4. Remove lardons from pan
5. Add the shallots and celery, and cook until translucent
6. Add the chopped mushrooms, and sauté until softened
7. Add the chestnuts, and toss with the ingredients
8. Allow the stuffing to cool to room temperature
9. Place the deboned chicken skin side down
10. Pool the stuffing in the center of the cavity
11. Fold the skin over tucking in all the flaps
12. Tie with butchers across the length of the roast and then every inch widthwise down.
13. Place in a shallow pan and season well with salt and pepper
14. Roast in the oven until internal temperature reaches 165oF, it will continue to cook outside the oven
15. Allow to rest. Remove the lengthwise string and slice at the remaining ties
16. You can deglaze the pan with some white wine for an instant sauce
La Maialina Chianti 2009
paired with Murrays Cavemaster Reserve Hudson Flower
Cheese producers add flavor in many ways, from brinds and wraps to booze-infused leaves, and now Murray's Cheese is adding flavor to some of the world's best cheese and it all happens in the caves. If you haven't heard of the cheese caves that sit below Murray's Cheese shop on Bleeker Street, let me fill you in - it is one of the coolest places I have ever been. As sterile as an operating room, the man-made caves are divided into sections based on humidity and extreme temperature control, to perfectly ripen over 100 cheeses from around the world. Common in Europe, the practice of affinage is done right in the middle of Manhattan!
Our good friends at Murray's have an amazing selection of Cave Aged cheeses, which literally means that the farmers produce the cheese, then pass it off to Murray's to complete the aging process. Besides caring for and aging cheese, Cave Master Brian Ralph has the ability to make an amazing cheese taste better and often totally different. Murrays Cavemaster Reserve Hudson Flower is a perfect example! In its original form, this cheese is a decadent, young wheel of sheep's milk cheese from Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, a few hours north of NYC. This fresh cheese is fat, dense and perfectly delicious on its own and then in the Caves at Murray's, a secret blend of rosemary, lemon thyme, marjoram, elderberries and hop flowers is added to the cheese and it rests for a about a month, or until Brian says its ready.
If you've been to one of Murray's classes, then you know that there's one thing that could make this cheese even better: Wine! La Maialina Chianti 2009 is a Tuscan gem and a great match for the herbal richness of Hudson Flower. The name ‘La Maialina’ (little pig) references the Cinta Senese heirloom breed that originated in the Siena area during the 1300’s and is the only Tuscan native pig to survive extinction. Made from 100% Sangiovese, this is an honest expression of Chianti and it is only $11! Consulting oenologist Attilio Pagli sources the fruit from one of Tuscany's most elite properties in the Chianti Classico zone (we've been there and the vineyards are spectacular), then ages and bottles the wine in his own facility. Sound familiar?
Together the wine and cheese are wonderful. Textured, rich and smooth, the flavors compliment each other, without over powering one another. The wine is ruby red with bright aromas and flavors of red cherries and ripe strawberries with hints of sweet spices and a soft finish. Delicious!
In NYC or planning a visit? Check out one of Murray's most exciting classes Mystery of the Caves, or sign up for a cave tour. Details are available on their website.
Paired with Chateau Sainte Colombe Cotes de Castillon 2006
One of my all time favorite ways to cook a steak! Best to be done in a cast iron pan.
2 - 16oz NY Strip Steaks
4 - Sprigs Fresh Thyme
2 - Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
3 - Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
Salt and Pepper
1. Allow the steak to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes, then pat dry with a paper towel
2. Heat a cast iron pan on high to almost smoking
3. Season the steaks liberally with salt and pepper and place in the pan.
4. Turn after about 4 minutes and cook on other side for an additional 4 minutes
5. Turn heat down to medium and add the sprigs of Thyme and Rosemarry
6. Add the butter to the pan
7. Slide the steaks to one side of the pan and tilt the pan so the butter pools on one side.
8. With a spoon baste the steaks with the frothy butter for about 1-2 minutes a side, making sure the butter comes in contact with the herbs and steak
9. Remove steaks and place on a cutting board and allow the steaks to rest for 5-7 minutes.
10. Slice in half inch slices and serve immediately. Enjoy!
Also, consider pairing this with Domaine Les Grands Bois Cote-Du-Rhone Cuvee Philippine 2010! Only $14.44 with our mix and match case discount!
I enjoyed a wonderful dinner at a friend's home this week prepared by Chef Paula Danilowicz. Chef Paula is a true talent in the kitchen, and has a connection to some of Buffalo's most well-known restaurants. She did not disappoint on this night. Her delicious appetizers paired with well with Domaine Michel Niellon Chassagne-Montrachet 2009 and Peter Michael Chardonnay Ma Belle-Fille 2009. Both wines were enjoyable albeit not the focus of this night. I did not formally evaluate these wines. Our conversation topics ranged from Washington State wines to the NHL lockout (with a bit of fiscal cliff tossed in). For the record, no one was confident that there would be a hockey season.
Our host cellars an impressive collection of Bordeaux, particularly from the right bank. I offered to bring a bottle of 1975 Trotanoy and we decided to pour the wine side-by-side with a 1995 Trotanoy from his impeccable cellar. I have never tasted any vertical of Trotanoy, so this was a special opportunity. I have always loved wines from this chateau (and have previously professed my love for right bank Bordeaux). Both wines were paired with a delicious duo of lamb chop and lamb loin, and both matched well with the dish.
This Chateau is often referred to as the "little brother" of Petrus. I find that moniker somewhat unfair given that Trotanoy is itself a world-class wine. However, the vineyards of Trotanoy do sit a mere 1 km from Chateau Petrus, situated on clay and gravel soils. The wine is vinified and handled in exactly the same manner as Petrus (which is owned and managed by the same family), except that only 40% new oak barrels are used each year (compared with 100% at Petrus). The blend for the 1975 vintage is 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc (the vineyards are planted with a 90/10 ratio). I was anxious to taste the 1975 following Ian d’Agata’s recent positive review of the wine in March. The wine exceeded expectations. It delivered seamless layers of cherry, blackberry, violet and cedar, with a gorgeous backbone of mineral and very fine, integrated tannins. Amazingly, it was difficult to tell which wine – 1975 or 1995 – was the older vintage.
The younger 1995 Trotanoy offered a completely different flavor profile, despite the identical blend. Tasting blind, I would have thought the wine included a higher percentage of Cabernet Franc than the actual 5%. Cedar and dried herbs were much more prominent in this vintage, and the tannins were slightly more broad than the 1975, as expected. This was an incredibly well-made and balanced wine. It lacked the purity of the 1975, but delivered more weight and soft texture. Overall, the two wines offered different, highly pleasurable experiences. However, I do not think the 1995 will have the long life that the 1975 is currently enjoying. I recommend drinking both vintages over the next 10-15 years.
Overshadowed but definitely not forgotten was the 1990 Joseph Voillot Volnay 1er Cru Les Champans, enjoyed with wild mushroom consommé. Voillot, one of my favorite producers in Volnay, makes beautiful, generally long-lived wines. The wines, most under $100, also offer very good value. Les Champans is a 4.2 acre vineyard with vines dating from 1934, 1971, and 1985. It is one of the great vinayards in Volnay, and typically produces wines with bolder fruit than some of its more delicate counterparts in the region. I have often likened this wine to great wines from Chambolle-Musigny in the Cote de Nuits. Generally no more than 30% new oak barrels are used for aging the premier crus. The wine showed very nice dark garnet color, medium body, dark cherry and earth. Some of the fruit seemed tired, but the wine was still holding together. It is not the most complex wine from Champans I have had, but it should provide pleasure over the next 5-8 years. It was a nice match with the dish, and I felt we were drinking it at the right time.
|1975||Chateau Trotanoy Pomerol||95-99 Classic||2012-2030|
|1995||Chateau Trotanoy Pomerol||90-94 Outstanding||2012-2030|
|1990||Joseph Voillot Volnay 1er Cru Les Champans||85-89 Very Good||2012-2017|
Note: Wine Record posts are Eric Genau's reflections and tasting notes on food, wine and conversation enjoyed with friends and family. This is the only place you will see Eric formally "score" a wine. As with all scores, they are meant only as a guide to help readers discover new wines. Readers may find they have a similar palate to Eric's, or not at all, but hopefully these notes and scores provide some valuable guidance in any event. Likewise, drinking windows are provided only as a guide, and based solely (unless otherwise indicated) on a single bottle and singular experience. Eric generally only scores wines in ranges, with the following as a guide:
100 Flawless: a wine without any flaws that can be articulated
95-99 Classic: a great wine that displays the best attributes of its varietal(s) and region
90-94 Outstanding: an outstanding wine displaying most of the best attributes of its varietal(s) and region
85-89 Very good: a wine with special qualities
80-84 Good: drinkable and shows some positive characteristics
<80 Not recommended
2009 and 2010 have been stellar years for California Pinot Noir and I have enjoyed these past two vintages more than any other Pinot I have ever tasted from the region. We have been able to procure some pretty awesome wines from both vintages and with the arrival of cool autumn weather, the timing couldn't be better - Fall is the perfect season to spend time sitting around the table with friends and famly, enjoying robust red wines and hearty dinners.
Last week, I opened a bottle of Arista Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2010, which I knew I wanted to pair with one of my favorite recipes. Arista is committed to sustainable farming, and owns some of the top Pinot Noir vineyards in Sonoma. They work closely with local growers that share the same philosophy to create this Pinot Noir, which is blend of grapes from different vineyards within Sonoma. The wine is defined by its refreshing acidity and floral aromatics, making it an ideal candidate to pair with food. It has flavors of raspberry, wild cherry, and some baking spices, a full mouth-feel and integrated tannins with aromas of light smoke and cocoa. Only 850 cases have been produced, and as this month's featured recipe pairing, we're offering 15% off! This is a great wine at $28.04/bottle
I made one of my all-time favorite things to cook -- simple roasted chicken. One of the best tricks I have discovered is that if you line the roasting pan with a blend of mushrooms and leeks. It makes an easy and delicious sauce to accompany the chicken, and allows a red wine to pair a little nicer with the white meat.
Whole Chicken Roaster (5-6lbs.)
Blend of Mushrooms (1lb.)
White of 1 Leek Cleaned and chopped
8 Sprigs of fresh Thyme
1. As always, pour yourself a glass of Pinot Noir
2. Pre-heat oven to 450ºF
3. Truss the chicken, by taking about 3’ of butchers twine and wrapping around the breast, keeping the wings tucked in, around the legs and tie
4. Season the breast liberally inside and out with salt and pepper
5. Rough chop mushrooms and scatter around the bottom of the roasting pan with the leeks and the thyme
6. Place the trussed bird atop the mushroom leek mixture
7. Place in oven and roast until the internal temperature reaches 160ºF (about 90 minutes) and allow the bird to rest for 20 minutes before carving.
8. Discard the thyme sprigs and serve with the formed sauce.
I dined with a colleague at Rue Franklin in Buffalo, one of Buffalo's longest standing restaurants. After spending years in the kitchen with longtime Chef and owner, Joel Lippes, Chef Corey Kley recently purchased the restaurant and has continued a tradition of excellent traditional cooking. I've always felt that the Rue was in somewhat of a unique category -- it is clearly one of Buffalo's more formal and traditional dining experiences, but it has the soul of a great neighborhood bistro. One thing is for sure, and that is that the Rue's food hasn't missed a beat under Chef Kley's ownership. Over the next couple of years, I expect that he will put some of his own touches on the food and overall experience. The room, while still one of the most elegant in town, could use some small updates. I would also be pleased to see an expanded, more interesting wine list, and perhaps an expanded focus on smaller producers and appellations. An update to the stemware would also add the overall experience for wine lovers. It is worth noting here that the Rue has one of the most beautiful garden patios of any restaurant I've visited. Sadly, it wasn't in the cards for this September visit.
My colleague shares my love for Right Bank Bordeaux. In fact, we both rank multiple vintages of Chateau Cheval Blanc among our all-time favorite wines. Tonight though, Pomerol (not Saint-Emilion) would be in the spotlight. I had mentioned to him recently that I had not had much experience with Chateau Lafleur, and this dinner and wine was his reaction to that. I was thrilled when he invited me to dinner and said that he wanted to share his bottle of 1985 Chateau Lafleur, a vintage he enjoyed in the past. As soon as our Filet Mignon arrived, we filled our glasses and spent a little time with the wine.
This was an absolutely beautiful, powerful wine, still showing a deep garnet color. It exhibited aromas of figs, blackberries, licorice and leather. At the start, it reminded me of great Merlot from Italy - almost more like Masseto than Pomerol. After a few minutes in the glass, a dark cherry and mineral character took over. On the palate, it showed tremendous lift for a wine with this much weight. Layers of black and red fruit, figs, licorice and plum all follow through to an extremely long finish. There is something intriguing about this wine that made me want to hold the glass up to my nose again and again. Outstanding.
Located near the legendary Chateau Petrus, and across the road from Chateau Le Gay, this small estate clearly deserves to be mentioned as one of the world’s greatest wines. The vineyard (4 hectares) is planted with 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc, and annual production is around 1,000 cases of the Grand Vin. Pomerol has no official wine ranking or classification, but it is clear who the stars are here: Petrus, Le Pin…and yes, Lafleur, all rank with the world’s best.
|1985||Chateau Lafleur Pomerol||95-99||2012-2030|
Note: Wine Record posts are Eric Genau's reflections and tasting notes on food, wine and conversation enjoyed with friends and family. This is the only place you will see Eric formally "score" a wine. As with all scores, they are meant as a guide to help readers discover new wines that suit their own palates. Readers may find they have a similar palate to Eric's, or not at all, but hopefully these notes and scores provide some valuable guidance in any event. Likewise, drinking windows are provided only as a guide, and based solely (unless otherwise indicated) on a single bottle and singular experience.