The Daily Drink: Soba Noodle-Shrimp Pancakes

This is one wild recipe! It’s carbonara the way you know carbonara, complete with pancetta, egg yolks, and Parmiggiano-Reggiano — but instead of the usual spaghetti or linguini, Chef Tsai tosses the sauce with soba noodles. Here’s a fun idea: Serve the dish with a glass of Jean Luc Colombo Rosé wine ($10), and don’t even mention that soba noodles have taken place of the more traditional spaghetti. See who notices first — then pour the lucky winner an extra glass of rosé.

Cathy Huyghe writes for the WGBH Daily Dish blog. Read new WGBH Daily Dish posts every weekday, where you can explore myriad ways and places to experience good food and wine.

Women of the Vine in Westborough

It’s one thing to attend a wine tasting. Normally they’re organized according to a theme, like the wines of South Africa or the Russian River Valley. You go. You hold out your glass. You taste. You hold out your glass again, and hopefully during the course of the event, you find something that interests you.

It’s another thing to work at a wine tasting. You go. You pour wines into the glasses of outstretched tasters. You pour again, and hopefully you interest the tasters in what you’re pouring.

Rebecca Miller, a member of WGBH’s Kitchen Crew and a wine associate at Julio’s Liquors in Westborough, worked at a tasting on Friday night called Women of the Vine. The tasting was held at Tatnuck Bookseller, partly because Women of the Vine is the name of a book as well as a wine company, and Deborah Brenner (the author and founder) was in town for a discussion and wine tasting.

Today’s Q&A with Miller is a glimpse of the event from the perspective of a fly on the wall.

CH: Who was the audience for this event?

RM: Between 20 and 30 people attended, and each of them was already very interested in wine. Interestingly, most people seemed to have learned about the event from flyers at Julio’s rather than at the bookstore itself. Brenner sold out of all of her books and she could have sold more. A lot of people bought the book at Tatnuck’s, and a bottle of wine, then went over to Julio’s to buy a bottle of wine to give as a gift.

CH: What wines did you pour?

RM: A 2009 Sauvignon Blanc by Alison Crowe ($15), plus the following:

  • 2006 Chardonnay by Alison Crowe ($18)
  • 2007 Signature Series Chardonnay by Signe Zoller ($27)
  • 2006 Pinot Noir by Alison Crowe ($30)
  • 2006 Merlot by Alison Crowe ($16)
  • 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon by Alison Crowe ($18)
  • 2007 Signature Series Cabernet Sauvignon by Signe Zoller ($30)
  • 2007 Signature Series Zinfandel by Carol Shelton ($34)

CH: How did you decide which wines you’d pour?

RM: Heather Christensen decided; her mother, Pauline Mullen, owns Gilbert Distributors, one of the very few women-owned distributors. Julio’s wine buyer, Tim Korby, also decided to stick to the sweet spot in terms of pricing, between $12 and $25.

CH: What was the reaction of the audience to the speaker and the content?

RM: Very positive. As I mentioned, most were already interested in wine, but I think when they left they were very interested in the story behind the wine. I mean the story of the author, Deborah Brenner, and how she got into the business, but also the women winemakers and how important it is to promote that. Women winemakers are there, they just don’t get much press.

CH: What was the reaction of the audience to the wines?

RM: Also very positive. Almost everyone who bought a book also bought some wine.

CH: Is a book discussion and event an effective way to educate an audience about wine?

RM: Absolutely. The wine and the story go hand-in-hand. Wine tends to be a male-dominated industry and, even though women have always been involved, their presence is now becoming more prevalent.

CH: What surprised you about this event?

RM: How differently women and men approach wine. Wine is a male-dominated industry, yet women are the primary purchasers of wine. Deborah Brenner emphasized the commitment, and I was surprised how physically hard people in the industry work. Winemakers and growers work in agriculture and farming; they love it but it’s hard work and a difficult life. She made it very clear that, as a winemaker, you don’t just show up in a cute outfit and taste wine. You’re there in the trenches.

Cathy Huyghe writes for the WGBH Daily Dish blog. Read new WGBH Daily Dish posts every weekday, where you can explore myriad ways and places to experience good food and wine.

The Daily Dish: Thai Curried Clams and Chorizo

Thai Curried Clams and Chorizo

listen icon Listen to the Daily Dish

Not only do I look to the East and the West for sources of inspiration, I also look to the past for great ingredients about which we may have forgotten…like buttermilk, which used to be a staple in American kitchens. It’s not only a lighter alternative to cream, but also to Asian coconut milk, as I’ll show you today with my Thai Curried Clams and Chorizo. It’s a great one-pot-meal that features a clams and sausage combo that’s well-loved in both the East and West.

Serves 4

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups 1/4-inch-dice chorizo or 1/4 pound ground sausage
2 large leeks, white part julienned
2 pounds cockles or small littleneck clams, purged overnight in water/cornmeal/pinch of salt solution
3 tablespoons red Thai curry paste
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup buttermilk
Juice of 2 limes
2 cups cooked orzo
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Canola oil

Directions
In a stock pot coated lightly with oil over medium-high heat, add chorizo, leeks, cockles (discard any open cockles), and curry paste, and sauté about 2 minutes, then season. Deglaze with wine and cover; cook for 6-8 minutes. Add buttermilk, lime juice, and orzo, stir to combine and check for seasoning. Serve, discarding any unopened cockles.

Drink recommendation:

Chateau Villa Bel-Air Blanc, Bordeaux, France

Taste: Rich and complex with white fruit and caramel flavors.
Aroma:
Honey mixed with smoky notes
60% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Semillon

__________________________________________________________
chef ming tsaiMing Tsai is the host and executive producer of public television series Simply Ming. Each week, Simply Ming brings mouthwatering recipes inspired by the combination of East and West into homes across the country.

The Daily Drink: Thai Curried Clams and Chorizo

Today’s dish packs some serious flavor punch, yet it takes less than 10 minutes of cooking time. It’s also one of those dishes that is as interesting to look at as it is to smell and taste. With its flavors, its quick ease, and its visual appeal, it beckons guests – whether they’re family members or visitors to your home – to hang out with you in the kitchen and sip a few bottles of beer as the whole evening comes together. Why not try Singha Beer ($8 for a 6-pack), from the first and largest brewery in Thailand, to cool off the heat of the Thai red curry paste? This full-bodied, 100% barley malt beer is rich with strong hop characteristics and makes, in its own right, for some very lively kitchen talk!

Cathy Huyghe writes for the WGBH Daily Dish blog. Read new WGBH Daily Dish posts every weekday, where you can explore myriad ways and places to experience good food and wine.

Ferran Adrià, food science, and Nova

We all know WGBH viewers love food — hence outstanding programs like Simply Ming and Lidia’s Italy.  And we know you love science, à la Nova. So for a “taste” of how WGBH brings together food and science, check out Nova scienceNOW: The Science of Picky Eaters.

Food and science are a natural combination for chef Ferran Adrià, too. When Adrià came to Boston, it caused quite a stir, not only because of his professional fame – as the father of molecular gastronomy, he is often mentioned as one of the best, most innovative chefs of the world – but also because of the people who brought him here. That would be a team of researchers and faculty at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Adrià’s kitchen is the equivalent of a scientist’s laboratory, where he runs experiments, calibrates equipment, and tests materials and ingredients.

This year, Adrià has released Modern Gastronomy A to Z: A Scientific and Gastronomic Lexicon. Organization, apparently, is high on the list of things that make this chef tick. The entries are in alphabetical order, and each listing is subdivided into the following categories as possible:

  • What is it?
  • Where does it come from? How is it obtained?
  • Form (i.e., crystallized product, liquid, etc)
  • Additional information
  • General uses (in the retail food industry, in restaurants)
  • Quantity and instructions for use (maximum/minimum amounts, basic quantity in cooking, instructions for use)

Since professionals cooks, and Adrià in particular, wrote the book, the text has a very practical quality to it. For example, I thumbed to the “T” section of the book and looked up “tannin,” the science of which I know a little something about through my experience with wine. Here’s how that entry reads:

What are they?

A set of compounds from the group of polyphenols (associated with flavonoids) that are characterized by giving a certain color to some vegetables and for their astringency.

Additional information:

  • They are abundant in nature, present in many vegetable products, especially fruit (grapes, etc.), as well as in cocoa, coffee, and tea.
  • Tannins are responsible for the astringent nuance in wine as well as in tea, cocoa, and coffee.
  • In fruit the astringency caused by tannins reduces with ripening.
  • Because they are associated with flavonoids, they are considered antioxidants.
  • In addition to the retail food industry, tannin extracts are used in tanning to turn animal skins into leather, and in medicine to prepare astringent substances and to treat burns.

General uses:

  • In the retail food industry: wines, tonics, etc.
  • In restaurants: in experimentation

That last bit — experimentation in restaurants as a general use — really speaks to the brilliance of this book. The motivation and the freedom to experiment, and having those experiments win critical acclaim, is the driving force and lifelong goal of the author — and, perhaps, readers as well.

Cathy Huyghe writes for the WGBH Daily Dish blog. Read new WGBH Daily Dish posts every weekday, where you can explore myriad ways and places to experience good food and wine.

The Daily Dish: Asian BBQ Chicken Wings

listen icon Listen to the Daily Dish

If you’re like most people, your first encounter with hoisin sauce involved the Chinese dish mu shu pork, in which the sauce serves as a dipper for meat- enclosed pancakes. Today I bring you the flavor of hoisin along with one of my favorite finger foods- WINGS.

Serves 4

Ingredients
2 red onions, rough chopped
2 cups whole San Marzano tomatoes (canned or super ripe)
1 tablespoon sambal
1 cup hoisin sauce
1 cup naturally brewed rice vinegar
3 pounds chicken wings, washed, dried
Canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Jicama sticks, for serving

Directions
In a sauce pan coated lightly with oil over medium-high heat, saute onions for about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, sambal, hoisin and naturally brewed rice vinegar. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes. Add kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Using an immersion blender, buzz sauce and check seasoning. Season wings with salt and toss wings in sauce. Marinate as long as you can, up to 24 hours, ideally.
Preheat oven to 475 degrees standard or 450 degrees convection.

Line a rimmed sheet pan with foil and place wings in a single layer in pan. Bake wings for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through and crispy. You could also grill these wings. Serve with jicama sticks.

Drink pairing
Rocca delle Macie Chianti Classico
—Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany, Italy

Taste: Rich, well-structured, berry fruit flavors, pairs exceptionally with the Turkey-Tomato Loaf and Michela Larsen’s Hoisin-Glazed Salmon with Heirloom Tomato Salad.

Aroma: Intense, mature fruit aromas

—Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Guarantita, or “controlled and guaranteed designation of origin,” an Italian wine classification for wines with more strict regulations than DOCs, including a specific bottle size, lower allowed yield, required tasting checks and in-depth chemical analyses.

—95% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot

—Produced with grapes from estates situated in the heart of the historical zone of Chianti Classico

__________________________________________________________
chef ming tsaiMing Tsai is the host and executive producer of public television series Simply Ming. Each week, Simply Ming brings mouthwatering recipes inspired by the combination of East and West into homes across the country.

The Daily Drink: Hot and Spicy Wings

The Fourth of July is right around the corner, and few things are more American than an innovative twist on a classic recipe. In today’s recipe, the classic recipe is New York chicken wings and the innovative twist is an Asian-influenced version of the hot and spicy “Buffalo sauce” to go with them.  If you prefer wine, the Grove Mill Pinot Gris from Marlborough, New Zealand ($14) works well because the clean refreshment of the wine offsets the heat of the dish. But if you prefer beer, go with a hoppy, citrusy, slightly bitter IPA to balance out the spice of the wings – try the Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA ($11).

Cathy Huyghe writes for the WGBH Daily Dish blog. Read new WGBH Daily Dish posts every weekday, where you can explore myriad ways and places to experience good food and wine.