Archive for the 'food and wine' Category

The pork belly contract is dead. Now pair it with wine.

As of today, the venerable contract for pork bellies is no longer trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. So important was the contract at one point, the CME was once known as the “House that Bellies Built.” But it was Eddie Murphy who cemented the contract in popular culture using it in his explanation of market dynamics (see below). Even though bacon has off-the-charts popularity today, interest in the contract had dwindled to two a day–both from the same trader.

So let us honor the now-defunct contract as only Bacchus would–pairing it with wine! Let me use my blogger’s privilege to launch the thread by suggesting…a great off-dry Riesling. The sweetness and acidity are a magical pairing (assuming you’re not a vegetarian) with the saltiness and fattiness of the pork. Which wine say you?

More Eddie Murphy after the jump! Read more…

Beet salad: impossible food-wine pairing?!?

Beets are contentious. Not because one variety can be made into sugar cubes or ethanol. But because some people don’t like them!

I was at lunch with a friend who has fine taste when a beet salad appeared. And a zinfandel. He didn’t touch the beets. I asked him if it was the unflattering pairing with the wine. He said no, he just not a fan.

But some people are. And summer is a great time for a beet salad as a part of a buffet or a picnic (don’t spill them on the blanket, however). They are good for you, packed with folate, featuring in the number one slot on a list of “The 11 Best Foods You Aren’t Eating.” So if “eat your beets” is the new “eat your peas,” then we should at least know which wine to pair with them! Complicating factors in the beet salad for the wine pairing are the sugars in the beets as well as a vinegar dressing. After many trashyimpossiblepairings, here’s a healthy one to help us all look awesome in our swimsuits.

Which wine would you pair with a beet salad–or is it impossible?!?

Pancakes: impossible food-wine pairing?!?

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?!?

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?!?

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

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?!?

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!

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.


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