I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Showing posts with label Other. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Other. Show all posts

Monday, May 20, 2013

Tour of Burgundy

One more trip into France here on the blog, this time with a sip bottle of wine thanks to a lovely tour of Burgundy with Ivan of Authentica Tours. I learned so much on this wonderful tour and hope to pass some of that along to you without completely bogging you down with too many confusing details.
Burgundy is one of the most renowned wine regions in the world, known for its gorgeous pinot noirs and elegant chardonnays. The terroir (the land, climate, soil, etc. that contributes to the wine's flavor) is known for producing the best wine possible out of these grapes and they've been doing it for hundreds of years so they know what they are doing. French wine regions and distinctions can be a little difficult to wrap your head around, and is a lot of info to try to fit into one blog post, but "Wine for Normal People" has a great 101 tutorial for Burgundy here.

The gist of it all? If you are drinking a wine from Burgundy it is either Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, or Gamay (if drinking a Beaujolais). There are different classifications, which are based on terroir and history, which can help to guide you in terms of the quality of the wine you are about to drink right there on the bottle and can tell you exactly where the grapes in your wine are coming from: starting with the top at Grand Cru level, to Premiere Cru, Village, and ending with Regional.

This tour completely schooled me on my knowledge of Burgundy wines--which I thought was decent but realized quickly was not quite so. I had very little idea of the specifics, which are what make these wines truly spectacular. As we took the tour, we drove the back roads through many Premier and Grand Cru vineyards of the Cotes Nuits (a decent map of the region here. We drove the back roads from Fixin to Ladoix and then the highway to Beaune for a little personal wandering time). I learned that all of the villages and the vineyards bump right up next to one another--barely discernible to the normal eye. And within each vineyard there were multiple owners--one person does not own a whole plot of land. Because of certain laws within Burgundy, a parent's plot of land is divided up among all of their children, meaning there are certain plots that only contain a few rows. And barely noticeable changes in the land make up the different sub-regions, so many times nothing but a small road or a few feet separate a grand cru from a premiere cru vineyard.

We pulled onto the back roads of the vineyards near Fixin, the village where Ivan our tour guide grew up. A tiny, charming village on the hill.

 In Burgundy the rows are planted 1 meter apart and the vines are planted 1 meter apart. The vines are kept low to the ground (only at knee height) to help keep production low and to allow the soil keep the vines warm during the colder months. There are only two branches kept on each vine--one long to grow the grapes and one short to use the following year. This also helps keep grape production low, which means each grape gets more nutrients and is packed with more flavor. Even with so much pruning back of the vines, they still cull some of the bunches from each vine as they grow. Two vines will make one bottle of wine.
Our guide, Ivan, talking about the reasoning behind the height of the vines in comparison with those in California.

Old French vines grafted onto American roots.
 You can see the graft where the French vines are attached to the American roots--necessary after the Phylloxera outbreak wiped out grape vines all over Europe. European roots are susceptible to the blight, but the American roots are immune.

You can tell by the thickness of the vines that these are a little older. If taken care of a vine can live for 80-90 years. Then the growers will pull up the old vines, let the ground sit vacant for at least 5 years to allow the soil to regenerate some of the nutrients. They they will not use the grapes from the newly planted vines until they are at least 5 years old since older vines produce more flavorful grapes and better wine.

"Downtown" Fixin

This church dates back to 902.

These trees remind me of the Whomping Willow...

The land is so valuable, no bit is wasted. Vines grow right up to the edge of cemeteries throughout the countryside.

Just a road divides the terroir of these two vineyards.

Chateau de Vougeot

 This tiny plot of land is part of a Grand Cru plot that extends on the other side of the road. The terroir of this plot is worth so much that a grower did not want to waste any bit of land.

Romanee Conti. The wine from these vines is the most expensive to come out of Burgundy. You have to get on a waiting list of a few years just to have the honor of spending thousands of euros on a case that has 1 or 2 bottles of this mixed with other bottles from Burgundy.

You can see the differences between some plots showing how each grower has a different manner of caring for their vines.

A closer look at the soil--where it all begins.

The cross that is shows the edge of the Romanee Conti vineyard and is displayed on its bottles. This vineyard, whose wines are worth so much, is only 4.3 acres.

Chateau de Corton-Andre. Where we would finally taste some wine.

The line-up. The wines are all from Pierre Andre.
When we finally made it to the chateau we tasted two whites and three reds from Pierre Andre.
Savigny-Les-Beaune 2007 Lemon, floral, big on the nose. Finishes like a lemon Starburst.

Mersault Premier Cru 2009 Honeysuckle, round, long finish.

Ladoix 2005 Pepper, garlic, like Provence on the nose. Light, easy drinking, easy tannins, slightly tart, rose and nutmeg.

Corton Grand Cru 2009 Plum, violet, slightly more tannic. Long finish.

Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru 2007 Brick colored, tannic, pepper and tomato jam.

Creme de Cassis We also got a taste of the sweet liquor made by the winery. It is mixed with the cheap white wine (aligote) of the region for an aperitif, or is used to drizzle on desserts or in recipes. Actually pretty lovely in small doses if you find the right producer--the one from Pierre Andre was luscious, thick and perfect for drizzling over a scoop of ice cream.
Ivan explains how the shape of the glass can affect how you taste the wine.
"Everything matters when you are tasting wine: temperature, the shape of the glass; if you are with a good friend the wine can taste better!" --Ivan

Our tour group excited to finally taste the wine we've been learning about all day.

Wine being aged in the cave below the Chateaux. The temperature down here is nice and cool all year round despite the weather outside, perfect for keeping the wines at an even temperature.

Unlabeled wine aging in the cellars.

The gorgeous tasting room in the caves.

The view from the front door of the Chateaux. We tasted wine made from the grapes right beyond the trees/car (Ladoix).

Wandering around Beaune for an hour before our return trip to Dijon
The tour was so packed with information that my head was left full and spinning when it was over (though the wine perhaps lent a little to that...). I highly, highly recommend it to anyone who will be spending any time in Dijon or Burgundy (just a short trip from Paris!).

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Remedy Quarterly Article

In case you missed it, my first ever true byline in a publication came out last month. Pick up a copy of the "Risk Issue" of Remedy Quarterly to check it out! Lots of fun food stories and recipes involved in the cute magazine.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Valentine's Day Catering

NYC Couples: Valentine's Day is just over a month away. It's time to start considering where you will make your reservation for a restaurant where you will be seated mere inches from the next couple over, where the server's job will be to push you out as fast as possible to get the next couple down, and the food will be overpriced because it's a "special day."

OR you can contact me and spend the night in the comfort of your own home, without the madness, with a delicious meal that you will only have to do minimal work to get on the table. Three courses (appetizer, entree with side, dessert) and wine, all of the prep work done, with detailed instructions on how to finish off the dinner in your kitchen. Perfect to impress a date or for those that want a home cooked meal but have to work all day.

Here's the details:
You will choose between the meat version and the vegetarian version. This time around I will only be offering these two meal choices, but in the future will be able to work on menus for those with allergy/diet restrictions. You will choose either a red, white or sparkling wine. I will purchase all of the ingredients needed, then do all of the prep work for you. I will deliver the food and wine to you on Valentine's Day. The appetizer and dessert for both meals will be fully prepared save for the plating. For the entree you will need to do a little bit of work to cook, but I will give you step-by-step instructions to get through the process. The cooking of the meal should take you no more than 15 minutes tops. You will serve the meal to your date, who will obviously be impressed by your kitchen prowess, meaning you will definitely get some action. You will call the next morning and thank me for the best Valentine's Day ever.

The Meat Option: $110 (will feed 2)

-Crostini with Whipped Ricotta and Olive-Tomato Tapenade

-Lamb Rib Chops with Pistou
Sauteed White Beans with Vegetables

-Salted Chocolate Mousse

-Red, White or Sparkling Wine

The Vegetarian Option: $100 (will feed 2)

-Crostini with Whipped Ricotta and Olive-Tomato Tapenade

-Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Sauce
Kale Salad with Cranberries and Orange Vinaigrette

-Salted Chocolate Mousse

-Red, White or Sparkling Wine

If interested, please contact me at sarahbodeclark at gmail dot com. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Quick Pickled Grapes

Through the years of learning to cook I have come to find that the most important component in any successful recipe is balance. The layers of flavors added to a dish should all compliment one another. Like how oftentimes adding a bit of lemon juice will add enough acidity to balance out rich notes in a recipe. Toasted nuts add texture. And a pinch of red chili flakes can add just enough heat.

A fun way to play with recipes it to change up how these balancing ingredients are added. Grapefruit juice in place of lemon, fresh peppers instead of the chili flakes, anchovies for salty umami. When I whipped up the roasted duck legs and risotto last week I decided to add an acidic bite to the uber-rich meal with tart pickled grapes. They have just a hint of sweetness and would be great on top of any braised meats or in a salad. I'm also thinking of ways to use them in cocktails--perhaps a gin grape gibson. Yum.

Quick Pickled Grapes
serves 2-4 as a garnish
1/2 c. grapes, halved
3/4 c. white vinegar
1/3 c. sugar
2 t. salt
1/2 t. peppercorns
1/2 t. mustard seeds
1/8 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. chili flakes

Place the grapes into a heat-proof bowl.
Pour the vinegar, sugar and salt into a small saucepan and turn on the heat to medium high. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Then stir in the peppercorns, mustard seeds, cinnamon and chili flakes and remove from the heat.
Pour the vinegar mixture over top of the grapes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours before using.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Latest Over at Pine Tar Press

With football season now is swing, it's the perfect opportunity to head on over and check out what I've been posting on "Batter Up and Fry: Tailgating Treats" for Pine Tar Press.

Panzanella Salad

Fried Zucchini Blossoms

Baked Clams

Chicago Dog Spread

Baked Beans

"Beaver Nuggets"

Tailgating Gear