Archive for the 'food and wine' Category

Pancakes: impossible food-wine pairing?!?

pancake stack

It’s National Pancake Week starting March 1–who knew? The timing coincides with the week before Mardi Gras, since pancakes have been a temptation worth avoiding during lent for 2,000 years now.

Site reader John G. requests that we get a jump on this hedonism a little early. I’m a pancake purist myself making them from scratch since it is so easy and tasty. After many years of suffering through inferior syrup (and–be damned–fake maple syrup!), I’ve discovered Grade B maple syrup. Darker in color and richer in flavor, it’s the best kept secret in syrup because the “B” thing reeks of inferiority. But don’t be fooled, it’s the real deal and well worth the tariff.

As to the pairing, I think nothing goes better with a stack of pancakes than a cup of hot, black coffee. But perhaps you are more daring than I. What do you think–which wine would you pair with pancakes, or is it impossible?!?

Guacamole: impossible food-wine pairing?!?

guacamole

The Super Bowl brings to the host city all kinds of things ranging from pulse-pounding punt returns to prostitutes. Apparently the Super Bowl also brings out avocados in force (although it doesn’t have such an impact on sales as some may think according to snopes). But they end up mashed in a super bowl of their own with diced tomatoes, onions, lime juice and cilantro to make guacamole.

So, this week we have a pairing question for you by request: which wine would you pair with guacamole? Or is it…impossible?!?

Sauerkraut: impossible food-wine pairing?!?

schupfnudeln I finally got around to reading the food issue (Nov 22) of the New Yorker, and was amazed to find not one but two–two!–articles extolling the gustatory and health virtues of sauerkraut (sauerkraut!). In one brief piece, David Bezmozgis describes the making of this pickled cabbage as “part wrestling match, part science experiment.” That’s because after dumping the sliced cabbage in a large container, adding salt (about two tablespoons per head), the cabbage must be mashed or kneaded until it releases its juice, then kept submerged as fermentation occurs. The other, much longer article profiled Sandor Katz and his wild fermentations that transform, among other things, cabbage into kraut, rich in vitamins and isothiocyanates.

But does it taste any good? I went to my local farmers’ market and bought a pint from a vendor. I also bought a loaf of organic bread from the excellent baker Wave Hill, and some microgreens. At home, I spread Dijon mustard on a slice, added some cheddar, heaped on the kraut, cherry tomatoes, and greens to make a sort of a cold, vegetarian, full-of-flavor, crunchy, tart riff on the reuben. Next up I will have to try Schupfnudeln, a regional dish (with an odd name) from southwestern Germany that amounts to homemade gnocchi fried up with bacon fat and sauerkraut.

What do you say? Help the fermentation foodies. Which wine would you pair with sauerkraut (in any preparation)–or is pairing fermented grape juice with fermented cabbage…impossible?

Thanksgiving wine open thread

thanksgiving turkey Ah, Thanksgiving, it has a habit of recurring once a year. And with it come questions about what to serve with a meal whose flavors range from a neutral turkey to the crazy sides of candied yams and cranberry sauce.

Let’s make this an open thread to discuss all turkey-day wine questions. If you’ve never commented and have a query, now’s your chance to say hi! I’ll start the Butterball rolling with just two suggestions.

1. If I were having a lot of people over to my house for Thanksgiving (or were responsible for the wine at someone else’s house), I’d have lots of wine, in a variety of styles. I’d make it a tasting for people who don’t usually get to taste a lot of different things–red, white and bubbly–yet have some conventional choices for those relatives who don’t want a real challenge. I’d keep the pre bottle price down, maybe even throw in a box wine, and budget about a half a bottle per adult.

2. If I were having a more intimate Thanksgiving with known wine enthusiasts, I’d have fewer, more expensive wines.

What are you planning on serving and what’s your strategy? Also, is anyone having a non-turkey Thanksgiving–or is that heresy?

Cranberry sauce: impossible food-wine pairing?!?

cranberry sauce Nobody goes to a Thanksgiving meal and says, “Mmm, I can’t wait to try the cranberry sauce this year!” But while it is not the center of the meal, it is a crazy component of it.

Ever since the Native Americans opened the first can of cranberry sauce for the pilgrims in 1621, it has been a part of the Thanksgiving meal. And ever since 1976, in the wake of the Paris tasting, we wine enthusiasts have been trying to pair wine with it–or find a wine that won’t be demolished by the combination of natural tartness and the added sweetness.

So what say you: which wine do you pair with cranberry sauce…or is it impossible?!?

SPAM, Pop Tarts, crab meat – emergency impossible pairings!

navy food rescue A Carnival cruise ship headed on a seven-day tour of Mexico’s Pacific coast had a fire and was adrift for two days. Mexican tugboats and American Coast Guard and Navy ships have come to the aid of the 4,500 people on board Carnival Splendor. No one was hurt, but the AP reports that they were without air conditioning, cell phone service, and internet access! Here’s more from the story:

U.S. Navy Seahawk helicopters were ferrying supplies, including Spam, crab meat, croissants and Pop Tarts to the ship from the USS Ronald Reagan, an aircraft carrier that reached the Splendor after it was diverted from training maneuvers to help.

My goodness, are they trying to rescue these people or kill them? Pairing those with wine sound…impossible! (Crab meat is the easiest by far, though.) So in this emergency edition of our impossible pairings, consider which wine you would send these marooned vacationers to pair with their emergency rations and plight. Which wines would you send along if you were the Coast Guard sommelier?

reduced size crop of AP/Gregory Bull image.

Pumpple pie: impossible food-wine pairing?!?

pumpple

Tired of having to decide between apple pie and pumpkin pie? A Philadelphia baker now gives you the chance to try both–at once.

As Kathy Lee and Hoda demonstrated on the Today Show, the “pumpple” pie bakes a pumpkin pie inside a chocolate cake, an apple pie in a vanilla cake and slathers the two pies in buttercream icing. Move over turducken! A slice is purported to have 1,800 calories.

Which wine would you pair with this dessert that eats like a meal? Or is it…impossible?!?

Spaghetti tacos: impossible food-wine pairing?!?

spaghetti tacos Spaghetti tacos, abomination or stroke of genius? It depends on whom you ask, according to an article in the NYT last week. But for those who are “less than 5 feet tall and live with your mother,” the ital-mex dish derived from the TV show iCarly appears to be popular.

Although I haven’t yet tried it, I’d venture to say that from the sounds of it, probably a lot of parents have. Ah, the blend of (overcooked) spaghetti with (too much) sauce from a jar, tenderly tonged into a corn shell. Which wine pairs with this…or is it impossible?!? Pair if for the children, as this dish may well be the comfort food of the wine drinkers of tomorrow.

reduced size crop of Frencesco Tonelli/NYT image


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