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Friday, June 28, 2013

Perfect Rhubarb Compote Recipe

There are rhubarb haters and rhubarb lovers. I'm a lover!  I love the color of rhubarb and the gorgeous pink syrup you get when you cook it.  Rhubarb, which we consider a fruit is actually a vegetable. It's high in vitamin C, potassium, fiber and the phytochemical lindleyin . While green rhubarb isn't as pretty as red rhubarb, it's just as delicious.  Juicy, sweet and sour rhubarb compote is quick and easy to make and perfect for breakfast or dessert. The challenge with rhubarb is cooking it. It goes from crunchy and hard to mushy goo in no time. I've tried cooking it many different ways--steaming it, boiling it, and roasting it and finally settled on this recipe which manages to cook it through and yet allows it to maintain it's shape and texture. I rarely use the word "perfect" in recipes, but this one really is. I got the basic recipe from my parents who got it from a friend, who got it from her mother.  I put my own spin on it by adding a sl...
Friday, June 21, 2013

Krug Collection 1989 Champagne--Wine on Friday

"You've never had good Champagne." That was response I gave to someone who told me they didn't like Champagne. Because there's a big difference between low end sparkling wine and decent sparkling wine and Champagne. Sure enough, once he had a glass of lovely Nicholas Feuillatte bubbly he changed his mind. Typically I can find good Champagne and sparkling wines in the $30 - 50 range, retail. But this is not about good sparkling wines or Champagne, this is about outstanding Champagne, namely Krug .  At a recent tasting and lunch hosted by Krug, I got a chance to try various offerings including their non-vintage Grand Cuvee and their lovely Rosé, but there was one Champagne that really stood apart from the rest and that was the Krug Collection 1989 . It has haunted me ever since. If you read reviews of this Champagne here are some of the flavors that are used to describe it: cardamom, tea rose, freshly ground coffee, honeycomb, kumquat, oyster shell, d...
Monday, June 17, 2013

All about Strawberries

Nothing tastes better than a freshly picked strawberry, sweet and bursting with juice, still warm from the sun. Strawberries are easy to love--they are gorgeous to look at, delicious to eat and very healthy. But growing strawberries is no piece of cake. Their roots can be susceptible to rot and fungus, pests attack them and unpredictable weather patterns can make growing them a risky proposition. The California Strawberry Commission invited me to visit some farms and meet with growers. Here is some of what I learned about strawberries on my trip to the Central Coast. California is the leader in growing strawberries, over 80% of all fresh and frozen strawberries in the US come from California and the majority come from the Central Coast. Why the Central Coast? The weather conditions with fairly warm sunny days and cool foggy nights are very good for growing strawberries, and the breezes coming off the ocean help keep the pests away. Strawberries are harvested for 9 months of ...
Monday, June 10, 2013

Un Diet Cookbooks

When is a diet book, not a diet book? Diets are often considered temporary, just until you lose weight, or get a medical condition under control. But if you are celiac, then gluten free is more than just a diet, but a a way of life. Some dietary changes are necessary, others might be considered optional. Several books have caught my attention recently, because on first glance you might think they are diet books, but they could really be seen as "lifestyle" books, because they represent changes for the long term, not the short term.  Recently I was at a breakfast with Mark Bittman and he discussed his latest book, VB6 . After being told his health was at risk, Bittman decided to adhere to a new way of eating, "vegan before 6 pm." Everyone wants to talk to him about cheating, and the first thing he did at the vegan breakfast was request dairy milk for his coffee. Let's just say he's flexible and that's probably key to his success. He's lost weight,...
Friday, June 07, 2013

Jordan 2011 Chardonnay--Wine on Friday

Recently I've been drinking more Chardonnay. I wrote an article for a magazine about it and the "anything but Chardonnay" phenomenon. Was I one of the sheep who avoided Chardonnay because of one style in particular, the butter bomb? Yes, I think I might have been. All the sommeliers I interviewed were big fans of Chardonnay, but were very particular about the ones they liked. They told me about the regions they favored--which ranged from France to Chile and South Africa. The Russian River came up in conversation quite a bit as a preferred region. I think of Russian River and Pinot Noir, but it's also known for Chardonnay and even Zinfandel. They talked about minerality and a balance of acidity with structure. Chardonnay is the number one selling varietal in the world, it grows in lots of places and can be made in a very wide range of styles. Not just overly oaky. It's easy to see why Jordan  wines are so popular on restaurant lists, they are elegant. Jordan...