Simon Says: Daily Food Quote, August 27, 2013 | No category

Simon Says: Daily Food Quote, August 27, 2013

By Tuesday, August 27, 2013 Permalink


by Simon de Swaan

Simon de Swaan, Simon Says, The Rambling EpicureThe ambition of every good cook must be to make something very good with the fewest possible ingredients.–Urbain Dubois

 

Urbain Dubois (May 26, 1818 – March 14, 1901) was a French chef who wrote a series of recipe books that became classics of French cuisine, including Artistic cookery: A practical system suited for the use of the nobility and gentry and for public entertainments in 1870.

 

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Elements of Wine 7: Finish

By Tuesday, August 27, 2013 Permalink


 

Elements of Wine 7: Finish

by James Flewellen

The ‘finish’ of a wine is also known as its ‘length’. It refers to how we perceive the wine once we have swallowed it. Much of our sense of taste is actually due to olfactory senses in our nose picking up volatile aroma chemicals from inside the nasal cavity (called ‘retronasal stimulation‘). Thus, we can continue to ‘taste’ the wine after it has left our tongues.

Senses of smell and taste.

Senses of smell and taste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think about the finish of a wine in a number of ways. Firstly, I consider the length: how long does the sensation of the wine’s flavours last after swallowing? Simple wines will disappear from the palate almost immediately after swallowing, whereas the flavours of the finest wines continue to be experienced after many minutes. Indeed, there have been occasions where I’ve woken up the next morning (even after brushing my teeth) and am still able to recall the flavours and aromas of a particularly fine wine the night before!

 

The finest wines in the world have finishes that can last for hours.

The finest wines in the world have finishes that can last for hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secondly, I think about the quality of the finish. Inasmuch as the wine on the palate needs to be balanced, so too should the finish be harmonious. A final sensation of too much acidity without any fruit flavours present, or too much alcohol leaving an unpleasant burn on the back of the throat is not the sign of a fine wine – no matter how long these sensations last. Likewise a bitter tannic finish, or a cloying sweet finish, are signs that the wine is not well balanced structurally. Some wines can leave unpleasant flavours in the mouth that you would rather disappeared quickly! An ideal finish is one that combines length with elegance and has the perfect balance of flavour, alcohol, acidity and sugar.

Sign up for Jonell Galloway and James Flewellen’s  “Celebrate the Chartres Festival of Lights & Autumnal Equinox with a Food & Wine Tasting Masterclass” in France from September 19 to 22, 2013.

 

__________________

Dr James Flewellen is The Rambling Epicure wine columnist. James is a biophysicist at the University of Oxford. Originally from New Zealand, James learned his trade in taste through the Oxford Blind Wine Tasting Society, of which he was the President from 2010-2012. During his term, he represented Oxford at many international blind tasting competitions – twice winning the prestigious ‘Top Taster’ Award in the annual Varsity blind tasting match against Cambridge University and captaining winning teams in competitions throughout Europe.

James runs wine education courses in Oxford through the Oxford Wine Academy and is completing the WSET Professional Diploma in Wine and Spirits. He is the founder of  The Oxford Wine Blog and co-author of the forthcoming book: The Concise Guide to Wine and Blind Tasting.

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Simon Says: Daily Food Quote, August 27, 2013 | No category

Mediterranean Food Connection: “Cocas à la Frita”, or Sweet Pepper & Tomato Compote Turnovers

By Tuesday, August 27, 2013 Permalink


Recette de Christophe Certain

This recipe is currently being translated into English.

Les cocas à la frita recette facile en images, chaussons de pâte brisée fourrés d’oignons, tomates et poivrons revenus

Voila ma recette de cocas, testée à de nombreuses reprises, elle est infaillible, même si elle n’est pas traditionnelle.

Ne pas mettre trop de farce (2 C.A.S.) sinon les cocas risquent d’exploser à la cuisson.

Si vous utilisez de la frita, veillez à ce qu’elle ne soit pas trop liquide pour les mêmes raisons. Otez le jus s’il y en a. Le blanc d’oeuf permet de bien stabiliser la fermeture de la pâte à la cuisson, le jaune d’avoir une belle couleur dorée.

La recette traditionnelle de la pâte à coca se compose de 50% farine, 50% saindoux, avec un peu de sel. Comme ça vous pourrez comparer !

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Simon Says: Daily Food Quote, August 27, 2013 | No category

Food Poetry: Blackberry Dumplings, by Gayle Black

By Monday, August 26, 2013 Permalink


Food Poetry: Blackberry Dumplings, by Gayle Black

Blackberry Dumplings

by Gayle Black

Blackberry cobbler in Trinidad
jinxmcc / Foter / CC BY-ND

 

Descending the hillside,
After days of drizzle
The weeds trampled down in preparation
Drying out between the bramble
I arrive to gather the bounty
Blackberries, true gems of deep purple
And shining red in promise of another raid
Tomorrow, for now the sun is gentled in July
By the soft wind and departed rain,
Woven into new clouds above me
As I weave along the hillside, remembering
My mother’s nimble fingers
Filling a metal bucket so quickly on other hillsides.
For this task alone she donned men’s work pants,
Which fitted her awkwardly around her belly
That had carried six of us into the world
While she gathered in the fruit she would sometimes remember
Beaux from long ago and an early marriage ended by untimely death.
“He treated me like a woman.,” she would always say
And I would sigh in regret because I knew it meant
My own father just took her long toil and good heart for granted.
And perhaps so did I as a child, but now remembering
Her blackberry dumplings, I feel that she was even more than a woman
Nearly a  goddess I was lucky enough to have been granted the privilege to call mother.
Blackberries which ripen in July, her birth month always will be her token to me.
And I  pluck them and eat them and sometimes make jam for cake at Christmas
All in memory of her immeasurable bounty that continues though she left all toil behind long years ago.
And the little toil I expend gathering the fruit is simply a little line to her great work ended yet unending forever.

 

 

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Food Art: Still Life with Pears, Apricots and Grapes III

By Monday, August 26, 2013 Permalink


Food Art: Still Life with Pears, Apricots and Grapes III, a Painting by Mia Brownell

Still Life with Pears, Apricots and Grapes III, by Mia Brownell, http://www.miabrownell.com/

Still Life with Pears, Apricots
and Grapes III, by Mia Brownell.

 

Mia Brownell, Still Life with Pears, Apricots and Grapes III, 2006, Giclée print, courtesy of the artist, New Rochelle, New York. See more at Art State.

 

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A cozinha como metáfora:o ato culinário e seus horizontes

By Monday, August 26, 2013 Permalink


Exif_JPEG_422

A COZINHA COMO METÁFORA: O ATO CULINÁRIO E SEUS HORIZONTES

by Betina Mariante Cardoso

English translation coming soon

Minha cozinha

Sou eu, Betina, na minha cozinha de hoje!

E por falar em subjetividade, a partir da minha escrita sobre a obra de M.F.K. Fisher, “The Gastronomical Me”…Você já pensou na cozinha como   metáfora? Pois a reflexão de hoje  é sobre o ato culinário e  seus horizontes,  sua subjetividade… Deste  universo, nasceu minha  escrita  de cozinha, em começo de 2012,   pelo meu desejo de compartilhar  as epopeias criativas de forno-e-  fogão. Não apenas as receitas,  mas toda a riqueza que a  culinária pode produzir em  nosso mundo interno, do  autoconhecimento à percepção  de aptidões, anseios,  sensibilidade e tantas outras  riquezas. Assim, surgiram meu blog Serendipity in Cucina, em  março, e meu livro, nove meses  depois. No  entanto, esta história tem início  há trinta anos atrás, lá na minha infância.

Explico.

Para mim, a cozinha sempre foi um território mágico, um espaço de descobertas, de experiências, de sabores, de liberdade. Quando éramos crianças, meu irmão e eu fazíamos o ‘bolo inventado’, onde tudo era possível na elaboração da massa do bolo, estimulados e supervisionados pela mãe. Aprendíamos a sentir o efeito dos ingredientes na textura da preparação, a conhecer os aromas e cores que cada etapa assumia, a viver nossa criatividade de modo lúdico, livre e, sem dúvida, cauteloso nas tarefas que só os adultos poderiam executar. Espiávamos o bolo crescendo no forno, sentíamos o cheiro inundando a cozinha, e entendíamos que o resultado era produto de nossas ideias, possibilitado pela expertise da mãe. Preparar receitas, conhecer elementos e reações químicas aplicados, vivenciar a diversão ímpar de mexer a massa e de vê-la crescer no forno, tudo isso era viver a culinária como objeto de nossa primeira autoria. E, além de tudo, saboreávamos o bolo no lanche da tarde!

Com sete ou oito anos, disse para a Vó Léia que desejava fazer um bolo de Natal, de maçã com castanha-do-pará, recheado e coberto com doce de leite e castanhas raladas. Nem imagino de onde tirei esta ideia, e nem mesmo porque escolhi esses ingredientes. Cozinheira de mão cheia, ela me deu um dos maiores presentes que eu poderia ganhar naquele Natal: a confiança na minha ideia e os ensinamentos práticos de como realizá-la – explicou-me tudo, tim-tim por tim-tim, deixando que eu mesma fizesse cada passo, exceto quando a atividade envolvesse cortar alimentos ou mexer no forno. Ali, pude descobrir que poderia inventar uma receita, mas isso envolvia uma nova etapa: descobrir que as medidas devem ser seguidas à risca, que há uma metodologia para o desenvolvimento da criação, que certos cuidados são essenciais, e tantas outras coisas que sei hoje sobre as receitas culinárias. Inventar ganhava um método.

Entretanto, o mais importante que aquela ocasião me proporcionou foi saber que eu poderia, a partir de um desejo, elaborar sua realização através de passos definidos, prestando atenção em cada detalhe de cada etapa. Então, a autora daquela torta seria eu mesma, da teoria à prática,  com supervisão cuidadosa dos adultos. Claro que minha compreensão, na época, estava muito longe desta complexidade toda, mas me lembro de ter sentido alegria, muita alegria, e um orgulho por ter criado a receita. Era como o prazer de abrir um presente de Natal. Aquela experiência ficou profundamente marcada em mim, assim como a prática do bolo inventado. Criatividade e método eram atributos que começavam a me despertar encanto. Repeti o ‘como-se-faz’ da torta de maçã com castanha-do-pará nos outros Natais, seguindo os registros da primeira experiência. Com isto, verifiquei que o método, seguido à risca e com atenção aos passos do processo, resultava muito semelhante entre uma e outra vez. Acredito mesmo que tenha nascido ali meu prazer em inventar receitas e repeti-las.

Exif_JPEG_422

A lasanha feita por minha mãe, desde nossa infância…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seguiu-se então o aprendizado  de preparar receitas já  conhecidas,  como a da Nega  Maluca, sempre sob supervisão.  E, como toda a  família    era  adepta da prática culinária, as  oportunidades de  observação e  de    treinamento eram  múltiplas, e o encanto era  crescente. Via minha mãe    fazendo  a lasanha anotada em  seu caderno  de receitas – feito à  mão  por  uma tia –, camada por  camada da  lasanha, tudo passo a  passo. E fui    gostando cada vez  mais de ler  cadernos de  receita:  dos ingredientes ao  modo de  fazer, da leitura das   receitas  escritas à mão ao exercício mágico do preparo dos quitutes.  Além disso, via o entusiasmo coletivo da mesa da cozinha nas vésperas  de festas, principalmente nos Natais, em que a mãe, as avós e as tias picavam oleaginosas, preparavam sabores e compartilhavam a alegria festiva de produzir os cardápios de nossa história. Aquelas reuniões de cozinha pareciam ser a coisa mais divertida do mundo, um lugar em que se reuniam o prazer e a prática de todas as gerações, em uma vivência contagiante. Ajudando nos preparativos, observando a força de cada uma das criações próprias da mãe, da Vó Léia, da Vó Alda – cuja ambrosia ensolarava qualquer mesa de doces – e das minhas tias, descobri que cada uma tinha suas especialidades, suas preferências por esta ou aquela receita e a habilidade fervorosa na execução das gostosuras.

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Food Play: Piruletas de gazpacho / Gazpacho lollipops

By Monday, August 26, 2013 Permalink


Food Play: Piruletas de gazpacho / Gazpacho lollipops, in English y Español

por SandeeA / by SandeeA

Quieres impresionar a tus invitados con un plato diferente? Típicamente español, el gazpacho es una sopa fría con múltiples variantes dentro de la geografía española, que suele incluir tomate, pepino, cebolla, ajo, vinagre, y en ocasiones pan para espesar, y que se suele tomar en los meses calurosos de verano.

Want to impress your guests? Gazpacho is a typical Spanish dish, a cold soup with many variations within Spanish geography, but which usually includes tomatoes, cucumber, onion, garlic, vinegar, and occasionally bread to thicken. It is usually served in hot summer months.

Continue Reading…

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Mindful Eating from a Buddhist Point of View

By Sunday, August 25, 2013 Permalink


The Rambling Epicure, Editor, Jonell Galloway, food writer.Mindful Eating from a Buddhist Point of View

by Jonell Galloway

I’ve been talking a lot about Mindful Eating lately. It’s a term that came to me out of the blue, and only weeks later did I realize that I picked up the word “mindful” in my many years of studying Buddhism and Hinduism. I studied these for so long that the vocabulary has become somewhat incorporated into my way of expressing myself and my subconscious. I am mindful; I live mindfully.

As a result, before publishing my own Mindful Eating Manifesto – a practical approach to my favorite subject of food – I only thought it fair to publish the somewhat more philosophical article by Buddhist thinker and teacher Thich Nhat Hanh.

Traditional Buddhist and Hindu teachings urge us to be mindful about every act, at every moment, every day of our lives. The word “mindful” is not a trademark. It is a way of being. Mindfulness gives meaning to every action, and creates a sharper awareness and a greater understanding of the interconnectedness of all living things.

What does mindfulness have to do with the way I eat?

This may not seem to have anything to do with how you eat, but indeed it does. It’s the current food trend in the developed world, and I feel confident that it will spread at a rapid pace. Eating is not just about filling your belly.

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The Mindful Eating Series: Interview with Geneva Farmer David John Kong-Hug

By Friday, August 23, 2013 Permalink

The Mindful Eating Series: Interview with Geneva Farmer David John Kong-Hug

by Jonell Galloway

In the context of the concept of Mindful Eating, I plan on posting a series of articles that show people who are already practicing this in one way or another, without necessarily calling it by that name.

I’d like to start with an article about Geneva farmer, foodie and ecologist, David John Kong-Hug, whose family’s fruit and vegetables have given my family and me endless satisfaction and nourishment.

I see in the Hugs the same integrity and pride in what they do as I saw in the land of Wendell Berry. There is a mutual satisfaction when he puts an organic red pear into my hands and tells me exactly how to make my rissole. We form a mutual appreciation society; we have a mutual “affection” for the product and awareness of the hard work and care that went in to producing it.

David is a linguist and speaks so many languages I couldn’t possibly name them all. He has traveled extensively, and lived in South America, Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

He grew up on the family farm in Vandœuvres, right outside Geneva, and has never lost his love and respect for the land. He started working on the family farm from a young age, where he remained while studying agriculture and later doing a Ph.D. in environmental management.

Like the Swiss, like Wendell Berry, the love of land and soil is in his blood. With this personal history, need we ask what he thinks about Mindful Eating?

Interview with David John Kong-Hug

We are one of the last Genevan families who sell organic vegetables and fruits grown in our little one-hectare farm in Vandoeuvres (GE) along the Seymaz river. We have been working at the Rive and Carouge farmers market since 1946. For us, eating organic is a misnomer. Food is organic by its very nature! But since the green revolution in the seventies, food has become partly chemical. We have always refused to use chemicals on our land. How could we poison our land and water, add sulfites to the food we eat, feed our animals and serve to people?

Until the seventies, people took seasonal crops as a given. They knew that tomatoes with irregular shapes and apples with flaws were actually natural and tasty. They did not ask for strawberries in winter. Our tomatoes are not calibrated and cannot be kept for two months in the fridge. In winter, eating soups made of seasonal vegetables such as pumpkin, cabbage, leek, radish bring all the nutrients the body needs. Winter salads, such as bitter chicory or endive, are bitter in order to compensate for the extra fat people add by eating more meat when it’s cold.

Organic products are a bit more expensive than the industrial ones for two reasons. First of all, growing organic food is labor-intensive. Soils have to be weeded manually; manure spread evenly with the pitchfork; then fragile crops have to be covered with linen sheets to prevent birds from eating them. Greenhouses also protect from the cold and the predators, but field mice dig from underneath. As a result, a good deal of the production is lost, and only one third is actually brought to the market stall.

The second reason is that organic farming is not subsidized at all. Agro-industries that grow specific crops, sold to certain wholesalers, receive subsidies for mechanization, pesticides and fertilizers. The chemical and agro-industrial lobby in Switzerland is very strong. Pesticides and fertilizers are therefore indirectly sponsored by the government, that is to say the taxpayers.

These chemicals are necessary for intensive, calibrated and zero waste agriculture. Produce is harvested before it is ripe and sometimes kept a month in enormous refrigerators before being delivered to supermarkets. Local organic farmers still harvest at 4 A.M. the very day of the market. Their produce has to be sold within two or three days, or otherwise composted.

Unfortunately, selling bio or organic has become a business niche, not only for the large retail stores, but also for the government. Acquiring a green label is outrageously expensive for small independent farmers. Besides, their norms do not measure levels of pathogenic elements, but concern hedges and fallow, water conservation and soil erosion, which local farmers have been implementing for decades.

Therefore we created our own label “EKO”, for which we claim homegrown organic seasonal vegetables and fruits, aiming at eighty – ninety percent organic and chemical-free, which our customers recognize thanks to the taste and quality. Being an organic farmer is challenging. We just hope that our customers find their way to both the heart and stomach.

  • “Bringing It to the Table” by Wendell Berry
  • Wendell Berry: No technological fix to climate change
  • The Missouri Table: A Response to Ethical Foodies From a ‘Factory Farmer’
  • The Importance of Agriculture
  • Manifesto: The mad farmers liberation front
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Elements of Wine 6: Oak

By Thursday, August 22, 2013 Permalink


by James Flewellen

Elements of Wine 6: Oak

Ageing a wine in oak barrels has two main effects. The first is to imbue the wine with flavour and aroma compounds from the wood. This occurs most notably when the wine is matured in barriques (225 litre barrels) made from ‘new’ oak. New oak means the barrels have not been used before for ageing wine, thus there is a higher concentration of flavour molecules to impart to the wine. Wines aged in new oak typically develop notes of butter, toast, nuts, spice, or – if the wine has been aged in American, rather than French oak – coconut and white chocolate.

wine barrels
Oak barriques for the maturation of red wineJim Nix / Nomadic Pursuits / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second effect of oak maturation expresses itself structurally in the wine. Oak barrels, while impermeable to liquid, still allow a small amount of air into the wine. This air exchange allows for a very slight oxidation of the wine, an effect that can be controlled by the size of the barrel and the length of time the wine spends inside. As well as changing the colour of the wine (white wines deepen and red wines lighten) this natural micro-oxygenation ‘softens’ the wine, giving a rounder, fuller, creamier mouth-feel. Red wines also benefit from their tannins polymerising and becoming less harsh, thus integrating better into the body of the wine. Oak barrels are also often conducive to the conversion of malic acid to lactic acid.

Large oak vessels are also used as vinification vats.
Large oak vessels are also used as vinification vats.theqspeaks / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old oak barrels – that is barrels which have been already used at least once to mature wine – give the benefit of the oxygen exchange with the wine without the transferal of wood flavours. It can thus be difficult to detect the use of old oak on the palate; although look out for more density on the palate and a harmonious integration of fruit flavours, body and tannin.

Sign up for Jonell Galloway and James Flewellen’s  “Celebrate the Chartres Festival of Lights & Autumnal Equinox with a Food & Wine Tasting Masterclass” in France from September 19 to 22, 2013.

__________________

Dr James Flewellen is The Rambling Epicure wine columnist. James is a biophysicist at the University of Oxford. Originally from New Zealand, James learned his trade in taste through the Oxford Blind Wine Tasting Society, of which he was the President from 2010-2012. During his term, he represented Oxford at many international blind tasting competitions – twice winning the prestigious ‘Top Taster’ Award in the annual Varsity blind tasting match against Cambridge University and captaining winning teams in competitions throughout Europe.

James runs wine education courses in Oxford through the Oxford Wine Academy and is completing the WSET Professional Diploma in Wine and Spirits. He is the founder of  The Oxford Wine Blog and co-author of the forthcoming book: The Concise Guide to Wine and Blind Tasting.

 

 

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