Sunday, January 19, 2020

You're Invited: Indigenous and Godforsaken French Grapes #Winophiles #GodforsakenGrapes


Inspired by Jason Wilson's book Godforsaken Grapes: A Slightly Tipsy Journey Through the World of Strange, Obscure, and Underappreciated Wine,* for the second French Winophiles' event of 2020, I am inviting the #Winophiles crew to explore indigenous or 'godforsaken grapes' from France with me. Last year this book came across my desk and I was instantly intrigued because I love learning new things and I, especially, love tracking down oddball wines.

You might be asking yourself: didn't I just see this event for #WinePW?? Well, yes. Just at we shined the spotlight on biodynamic wines across all three of our wine groups last year with Gwen of Wine Predator at the helm, I decided to ask the groups to look at godforsaken grapes through multiple lenses.

Last month, the #WinePW discussed godforsaken grapes from anywhere in the world. We had wines from Macedonia, Georgia (the country, not the state), California, Austria, Turkey, Italy, and Southwest France. You can see that line-up in my post for that event, An Unlikely Match: A Thai Favorite + A Qvevri-Aged Wine from the Republic of Georgia.

This month, the #Winophiles are looking specifically as grapes in that category from France only!

Here's an excerpt of Wilson's book to whet your palate: "Wines made with off-the-beaten-path grapes are fascinating and eccentric, but they are also practical: They repay an adventurous drinker by providing excellent value.

"When I think of interesting-but-affordable wines, I think of southwest France, and places like Dordogne, Garonne, and Gascony. ...the best wines here are made from négrette, tannat, mauzac, fer servadou, and petit manseng. No, I am not just making up gibberish words, I promise. Those are names of grapes that come from Fronton, Madirn, Marcillac, and Gaillac. ...Theya re actually quite ancient. Winemaking, in fact, flourished here with the Romans, long before it did in Bordeaux" (pg. 46).

You do not need to have the book in order to participate. Just pick a French varietal that is indigenous or that you think is underappreciated. Open it, taste it, pair it, and share it with the #Winophiles for our February 2020 event on February 15th. But I will create some suggestion lists and post them in our Facebook planning group if that helps to inspire you.

Details for participation
Are you ready to jump in and participate in the February #Winophiles of 2020? I hope so. This is a slightly more focused look at Indigenous or Godforsaken FRENCH Grapes, versus the worldwide look from last month’s #WinePW. Here are the #Winophiles’ details…

Send an email to tell me you're in. Include your blog url, Twitter handle, link to your Pinterest profile, and any other social media detail. If you know your blog post title now, include that...but you can send me that a bit closer to the event, I'd like to get a sense of who's participating and give some shoutouts and links as we go. The email is constantmotioncamilla[at]gmail[dot].com.

Send your post title to me by end of day Sunday, February 9th, to be included in the preview post. I will do a preview post shortly after getting the titles, linking to your blogs' homepages. Your title doesn't need to include the hashtag #Winophiles, but all your social shares should.

Publish your post anytime from Friday, February 14th until Saturday, February 15th at 6:00 a.m. Pacific time. You can always schedule your post in advance if you will be tied up around then.

Include a link to the other #Winophiles participants in your post. I'll provide the html code you can easily put in your initial post--which will link to people's general blog url--then updated code for the permanent links to everyone's #Winophiles posts on Saturday morning.

Get social! After the posts go live, please visit your fellow bloggers posts' to comment and share. And join us for the Twitter chat, if you can.

Sponsored posts OK if clearly disclosed. Please be sure to disclose if your post is sponsored or if you are describing wine or other products for which you have received a free sample.

Live #Winophiles Twitter Chat February 15, 8 a.m. Pacific time: Participating bloggers and others interested in the subject can connect via a live Twitter chat. It's a nice bring way to bring in others interested in the subject who didn't get a chance to share a blog post. You can definitely still join the blog event if you're not available for the live chat.

Please let me know your thoughts and questions in the comments; or you can also email me at constantmotioncamilla[at]gmail[dot].com. Cheers!

*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.


Friday, January 17, 2020

Roasted Parsnip Soup Topped with Candied Bacon and Cheese Curds #SoupSwapDay


National Soup Swap Day is being hosted by Kate of Kate's Recipe Box. She wrote: "The third Saturday in January is National Soup Swap Day! Bring your favorite soup to the virtual soup swap!" There is no link list for this event, so please check out her Pinterest Board!

Even though I live on the very temperate central coast of California, and the temperature is consistently between 45 and 65 degrees, I still have a soup season. Soups are easy to make; can be made ahead of time, if needed; and are simple to multiply for large groups. Some of my favorites - that are in our regular soup season rotation - include...

Kimchi Soondubu Jjigae (Kimchi-Tofu Stew)



Then I have soups that are less typical on our table, but tasty nonetheless. These might be highly seasonal or include specialty items I can't get regularly. Think Ling Ngau Tong (Lotus Root and Nut Soup), Salmorejo de Conejo, Chilled Watermelon and Rosé Soup, and Cucumber Gazpacho.

And we love a good seafood soup or stew for a hearty, one-pot dinner. You can check out my versions of Zarzuela de Marisco, Brodetto Marchigiano, Suquet de Pescados (Catalan Seafood Stew), Cioppino, and Moqueca.

But today, I decided to share a blended soup made with root vegetables. It's gussied up with some bacon crisps and salty curds. Enjoy...

Roasted Parsnip Soup Topped with 
Candied Bacon and Cheese Curds

Ingredients
  • 6 to 8 C chopped parsnips
  • olive oil
  • 2 C chopped carrots
  • 1 C chopped celery
  • 1 C chopped leeks
  • 8 C organic chicken stock
  • 1 t minced ginger
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1 t  minced lemongrass
  • 1/4 C fresh chopped herbs (I used a mixture of parsley, cilantro, and chives)
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
For Serving


Procedure
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss parsnips in a splash of olive oil and turn out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes until the parsnips are soft and beginning to caramelize. Remove from oven and set aside.

In a large soup pot, cook the carrots, celery, and leeks in a splash of olive oil for 5 minutes. Add in the roasted parsnips, chicken stock, ginger, garlic, and lemongrass. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat. Cook till carrots are soft. Fold in the fresh herbs.

In a batches, carefully blend until smooth. You can use an immersion blender or a regular blender; I only have the latter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve hot with candied bacon and cheese crumbles as a garnish.

Kjötsúpa (Icelandic Meat Soup) #SoupSwappers


Here we are at the very first Soup Saturday Swappers event of 2020. Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm started this event and, every month, I get a new array of soup recipes to put in my to-try pile.

And Wendy herself is hosting this month. She wrote: "Let's stay warm this New Year with hearty, stick to your ribs, soups and stews that are a meal in themselves."

Kjötsúpa

This hearty soup was the main dish for my Jolabokaflod holiday party in December. But I held off on sharing the recipe till now. It's perfect for Wendy's theme.


Kjötsúpa is simply and literally kjöt (meat) súpa (soup). Most of the recipes I found used lamb, but they also use salted meat and even horse meat; I opted to blend ground lamb and chunks of beef. Traditionally, there were no vegetables in the original versions of the soup. Sometimes they included grains, predominately barley, but by the late 19th century, vegetables became more common.


I was excited to find birch-smoked salt from the Westfjords of Iceland. It's so strong and unique. But use any flake salt that you have on hand. Also, this soup is best made the night before you want to serve so that the flavors can meld. Then just reheat before serving.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 pound beef, cubed
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 6 C water or stock (I used a combination of beef bone stock and water)
  • 2 t sea salt (Icelandic if you can get it!) + more for serving
  • ½ t freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves (not traditional, but I love that flavor in all my soups)
  • 1 leek, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 T herbs + more for garnish (I used parsley and thyme)
  • 1 pound potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
  • 4 to 5 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 to 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 C green cabbage, cubed

Procedure

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add in the ground lamb and cook until browned. Stir in the ground beef and cook until lightly browned on all sides. Pour in the water and/or stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 2 hours. The meat should be tender enough to be cut with a spoon.

Stir in the salt, pepper, bay leaves, leeks, onions, potatoes, celery, and carrots. Return the soup to a simmer and cook for an hour. Fold in the cabbage and the herbs. Simmer for another 30 minutes.

If serving immediately, serve hot. However, it is much better if you let the soup sit overnight for flavors to meld properly. Reheat and serve with the garnishes - more herbs and smoked flake salt.

Aimee's Vanilla Pear TeaTinis



I have always loved a good tea party. Even better? When my friend made a fun adult libation for her tea party several years ago. These were divine. And she was gracious enough to share the recipe with me. 

At the time, Aimee used the Lavender Citrus infusers from Tea Forte, but I couldn't find those anywhere now; so, I just used two teaspoons organic lavender and zest from one organic lemon. 

Ingredients makes two cocktails
  • 8 ounces of vodka, room temperature
  • 2 t organic culinary grade lavender blossoms
  • peel from one organic lemon (I used a Meyer lemon)
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract + 4 drops to finish
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, scraped
  • 2 thin pear slices for garnish
  • Also needed: ice, cocktail shaker, dropper for extract

Procedure
Pour your vodka into a mason jar. Add in the lavender, lemon peel, 1 t vanilla extract, and vanilla bean. Let stand for at least thirty minutes. Strain the vodka into a cocktail shaker.

Add ice cubes to the shaker and shake for at least 1 minute.

Strain your libation into chilled martini glasses. Top each glass with 2 more drops of vanilla extract. Garnish with thin pear slice.

Cheers!

Deciphering French Wine Labels #Winophiles


This month, our first of 2020, Jeff of Food Wine Click! asked the French Winophiles to write pieces that would fall into the categories of French Wine 101 or Introducing a Friend to French Wine. You can read his invitation here.

If you're reading this early enough, feel free to jump online for our live Twitter chat. We start at 8am, Saturday, January 18th. Follow the hashtag #Winophiles and be sure to include that if you chime in so we can see your tweet. In the meantime, check out the articles from the group. These will go live from Friday, January 17th through Saturday morning before the chat.


Deciphering French Wine Labels

I'll be honest: one of the biggest things holding me back from buying more French wine - at least in the beginning - was my confusion at the labels. Since I've learned more about the terms, it's much less daunting. So, I figured that I would give you a quick rundown on French wine labels for this first event of 2020. First, you might see: Vin. That one is easy; it just means 'wine.' Second, Produit de France is also an easy one; it is a literal translation of 'product of France.'

Now I'll jump into definitions for the majority of terms you are going to find when you read French wine labels. These will help you understand the 'when' (year), 'where' (AOC), 'who' (Château or Domaine), and 'what' (varietal).

When

 Année. This means 'year' in French and refers, as with the same information on other wines, to the year in which the grapes were grown and harvested. For the bottle above - Domaine Illaria Irouleguy - you can clearly see the '2016.'

Where

Appellation or Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC). This is the area in which the grapes were grown. The bottle above - Louis Jadot Mâcon-Villages Chardonnay - is from the Mâcon-Villages, an appellation for dry white wines produced in selected communes of the Mâconnais wine area of southern Burgundy.

Who

Château. This means 'house' or 'manor' in French and refers to the estate where the wine was produced. For the bottle above, it was produced by Château Lamothe de Haux.


Domaine. Similar to Château, also refers to the place where the wine was made. You can see this one was from Domaine de Verquière.

What

The label might give you the varietal so you know what kind of grapes were used to make the wine. You can see that the Domaine Poli Niellucciu Rosé is 100% Niellucciu grapes.


It might give you the breakdown of the blend. So you can see the Domaine de Verquière AOP Rasteau 2015 and 2017 were both 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah.


The label might also have a color designation, including: Blanc – White wine; Blanc Sec – Dry White wine; Brut – Dry wine; Demi Sec – Medium/half Dry; Rosé – Pink wine; Rouge – Red wine, etc. The two bottles on the left in the photograph above - a Crémant de Bourgogne and a Crémant de Loire - are both Brut Rosé, so both dry pink wines.

More Information

You can discern other things from the label, but the terms above, in my mind, give you enough information to know what is in the bottle. These just give you more information!


Côte. Which you can see on the bottle above – Côte de Brouilly - means 'slopes' or 'hillsides' in French. Confusingly enough, Cote or Côte is a French word that has many meanings and variations depending on the context in which it is used. Without the accent, it simply means 'side' while with the accent, it can mean 'coast' in addition to the hillside or slope.

Mis en Bouteille. This indicates that the wine was bottled at the estate itself, but it literally means 'placed in the bottle.' In the photograph of the Domaine Illaria Irouleguy, you can read 'mis en bouteille au domaine' which means it was 'bottled at the estate.'


Vieilles Vignes. Just means 'Old Vines' in French and you can clearly see that on the bottle above - La  Lôyane 2016.

You might also see Centenaire (produced from grapes grown on vines more than a century old); Millésime (vintage in which the grapes were harvested and is synonymous with 'Année' or year);

'Cooperative' indicates that a group or syndicate of growers pooled or mixed their grapes; 'vendage' means harvest; 'vigneron' is the owner or grape grower; 'vignoble' is the vineyard; and then there are all of the terms surrounding the crus. More on that later.

I hope that this brief rundown of terms has bolstered your confidence in how to read a French wine label. It's not that tough when you get the hang of it. I hope you'll give it a go and drink some French wine soon. Cheers! Next month I will be hosting the group as we turn our focus on indigenous or godforsaken grapes of France. Stay tuned for more information on that.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Zarzuela de Marisco #FishFridayFoodies

It's time for Fish Friday Foodies' first 2020 event. We are a group of seafood-loving bloggers, rallied by Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm, to share fish and seafood recipes on the third Friday of the month. And this month Sue from Palatable Pastime is hosting as we post Mediterranean seafood recipes.

Here's the line-up...
Zarzuela de Marisco

Compared to some, I guess we eat a lot of seafood. I whipped this up after a long day of robotics when my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and niece came for a quick visit.

"Do you eat a lot of seafood?" Abe asked, as he tried the soup.

Yes.

"Then we need to come visit more often!"

Definitely.

This particular dish - one filled with fresh seafood and a touch of herbs and spices - hails from the northeastern region of Catalonia in Spain. On the day that I served it, we were on the tail-end of a twelve hour day at robotics and I was exhausted. Hence the lack of photos during the process and the messy bowl of the finished dish. Sorry!

You can use whatever seafood you have available to you, but I used halibut, salmon, shrimp, mussels, clams, and crab. Yum!

Ingredients serves 6 to 8
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 2 California bay leaves
  • 6 C broth or stock (I used organic chicken stock for this batch)
  • 1 C clam juice
  • one 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • one 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 C white wine
  • 1 T hot sauce or 1 t dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound wild caught large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 pound wild caught salmon, deboned and cubed
  • 1 pound wild caught halibut, deboned and cubed
  • 1 pound clams 
  • 1 pound mussels
  • 1 pound cooked, cracked crab
  • 1 T fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 t smoked paprika
  • two pinches of saffron
  • freshly ground salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Also needed: bread, for serving

Procedure

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy pot. Add in the garlic, onions, and bay leaves. Cook till aromatic, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the red pepper and cook for another 2 minutes. Pour in the stock, clam juice, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, white wine, and hot sauce. Whisk in the smoked paprika and the saffron. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

While stew is simmering, prep your seafood. Add the seafood to the pot, timing so that the ones that will take the longest to cook will be done around the same time as the ones that need to barely be blanched. I did shrimp, then halibut, then salmon, then clams, then mussels. Place the cooked, clean crabs on top, cover, and remove from the heat. Let steam for 5 minutes.

Discard any of the shellfish that don't open. Remove the bay leaves, fold in the oregano, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the soup immediately in large soup bowls with hunks of bread.

A note: If you want to save some time on the day you're serving this, you can make the broth the day before. Let cool completely, then refrigerate. Bring the broth to a simmer before adding the seafood.

Siguemchi Namul (Korean Spinach Salad) #FoodNFlix


This month, I am hosting the first Food'N'Flix event of 2020; and I asked the bloggers to watch Always Be My Maybe. You can read my invitation: here.

Since I've already shared my thoughts about the movie in the invitation post, I'll jump straight into what I was inspired to make for my Food'N'Flix offering this month.

Actually, I made an entire Korean-inspired dinner, based on things I could envision being on the menu at Sasha's new restaurant, Judy's Way. I relied on a conversation that pre-teen Sasha had with Marcus' mom, Judy, for some direction.

Kimchi-jjigae is very simple, but that's what makes it so good. It's about using the best ingredients.

"It smells so good, Mrs. Kim."

Sasha, I've told you a million times, call me Judy. And we Koreans use scissors for everything. Vegetables, noodles...our children.

Siguemchi Namul
Korean Spinach Salad

Since Kimchi-jjigae is something we have on our table regularly - see my Kimchi Soondubu Jjigae and my Kimchi Dubu Jigae - I wanted to make something different. We even like to make our own kimchi: my Purple Napa Kimchi or my Empty the Veggie Bin Kimchi!

So I went in search of something to chop with my kitchen scissors and finally decided on sigeumchi namul, an easy side dish (side dishes are called banchan in Korean) made with spinach. This really is little more than blanching the spinach and seasoning it. But it's delicious and so simple to make.

Ingredients
  • 1 pound fresh spinach, rinsed clean
  • water
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 1½ t soy sauce
  • 1½ t sesame oil
  • ½ t gochujang (Korean chili paste)
  • sesame seeds for garnish
  • Also needed: scissors

Procedure
Place spinach in a saucepan and cover with water. Heat the water over medium heat. As soon as the water begins to steam and the spinach turns a brilliant emerald green, drain the spinach and rinse with cold water. Squeeze out excess water from the spinach with your hands. Use scissors to cut the blanched spinach into bite-sized pieces.

In a medium mixing bowl: whisk together garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, and chili paste. Add in the spinach and toss to coat. Let stand for, at least, ten minutes to let the flavors meld together. 

Garnish with sesame seeds before serving.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Tamagoyaki (Japanese Rolled Omelet) + Japanese Home Cooking #FantasticalFoodFight #FoodieReads


I love the Fantastical Food Fight coordinated by Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes. For more information about the event, click here.


I haven't been very good at participating, but for 2020, I am going to try to be better! Our theme for the month is: omelets.  Sarah wrote: "January is National Egg Month and I thought omelets would be an easy recipe for after the holidays (for those who celebrate)/winter break (for those with kids in school in the US)!"

Here's the line-up of omelets for the #FantasticalFoodFight bloggers...

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Japanese Home Cooking

I have always liked the sweet-savory of this Japanese rolled omelet. And I decided to give it a try and pulled my copy of Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking by Masahuru Morimoto* off the bookshelf.

Oddly, I do not think that I've ever written about this book. So, I'm adding in a brief bit about it and adding this to my #FoodieReads list for the year.

The photos in the book are vibrant and beautiful. And the book is organized logically from the foundations - dashi (stock), gohan (rice) - to similarly prepared dishes - yaku (to grill, broil, or sear), itame ru (to stir-fry) - all the way to gorgeous pickled extras in tsukeru (to pickle).

Chef Masaharu Morimoto, owner of the popular Morimoto restaurants (I have never had the pleasure, though I think the closest one to me is in Napa), aims to make Japanese cuisine accessible to the home cook. In Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking, he introduces readers to some surprisingly simple dishes that are big on flavor. He helps readers build a pantry necessary to create Japanese food at home and he provides helpful instructions on turning those ingredients into wonderful meals.

I will admit that Japanese cuisine is something that I most often leave to the experts. We have a favorite Japanese restaurant and I haven't had the need to really delve into Japanese recipes. Whenever any of us is in the mood for Japanese, we just head to Ocean Sushi and our friend Shiho takes care of all our cravings! But, with this cookbook, permanently stationed on my kitchen counter, I am bolstered and think: I can do it!

Tamagoyaki
Japanese Rolled Omelet serves 4
very slight adapted from Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking

So, I gave it a go with a little bit of guidance from Morimoto's book. The omelet was a hit though my entire crew complained about it being cool. I'll try it warm, but I think that it holds its shape better when cold. Thoughts?

Ahhh...on second read, it was supposed to be warm. Next time. Also, note that I don't have a traditional tamagoyaki pan. My Scanpan Professional Griddle was sufficient.*

Ingredients

  • 1/4 C fish stock
  • 2 t organic granulated sugar
  • 1 t flake salt
  • 1 t soy sauce
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 to 2 T oil
  • black sesame seeds for garnish, optional

Procedure 
Combine the stock, sugar, salt, and soy sauce in a mixing bowl and stir until the sugar has just dissolved. Whisk the eggs into the mixture and beat until well-combined.

Preheat your pan over medium heat. Let it get hot for a few minutes. Swirl oil over the surface until it is shiny.


Pour one-third of the egg mixture into the pan and swirl to get a thin layer. Use chopsticks or a spatula to push any egg down that stick to the sides. Pop any bubbles with your chopsticks and cook until it just sets, approximately 30 seconds.


Gently use chopsticks to roll the omelet from one end to the other, leaving most of the pan clear.

Pour another third of the egg mixture into the pan, slightly lifting the cooked eggs so that the raw eggs runs beneath it. Cook until the raw egg has set, again, approximately 30 seconds.


Repeat one more time until the egg mixture has been used. Once you have your roll, place the omelet into a clean kitchen towel and roll gently. Let the omelet cool slightly and set into the cylindrical shape.


Transfer the omelet to a cutting board.


And slice it crosswise into 3/4" thick slices.  Serve warm. 


Garnish with black sesame seeds, if using.

*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.

Click to see what everyone else read in January 2020: here.

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