The Daily Drink: Shredded Potato Cake with Leeks and Cheese

Ah, leeks. Their history goes back to the Egyptians (the pyramid-builders ate them) and ancient Welsh soldiers (they wore bits of leeks in their helmets to distinguish them from their Saxon foes). These days, we turn to leeks as a source of vitamin C, iron, and fiber. Leeks are often paired with potatoes, as they are in today’s recipe, or in a classic chilled vichyssoise. Sauvignon blanc is often recommended as a pairing partner for the soup, and it works for today’s recipe too — even more so when you consider how its crispness will cut the richness of the added cheese. Try a French Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire such as Pascal Jolivet Sauvignon Blanc ($14).

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 Drink: Sausages in the Skillet with Grapes

Is it weird to drink wine — made from grape juice, of course — with a recipe that already features grapes? Not exactly, but it is potentially clamorous, assuming that the table grapes you use in the recipe will not be the same kind as those used in the wine you’ll be drinking. This leaves us with a wide swath of options for beverages that pair well with the sweet heat of the sausages and the concentrated juices of the grapes.

When many people think of what to drink with sausages, they think beer. Choices like Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager, Kingfisher Premium Lager, and Stone Ruination IPA would work quite happily with this dish. But for an unusual twist that can be either alcoholic or non-alcoholic, try elderflower. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur is an exceptionally popular ingredient right now in cocktails at bars all over the city (it’s also available on the shelves of many wine stores to take home), and in specialty food stores you can find juices pressed from elderberries. Use either and play with your own version of a trumped-up, out-of-the-ordinary “lemonade” that will be refreshingly compatible with today’s Daily Dish.

The Daily Drink: Baked Penne & Mushrooms

Think mushrooms, and you probably think Pinot Noir. At least that’s been the rule of thumb within the food-wine pairing world for a long time. There’s a good reason for that, as the earthy, woodsy character of mushrooms matches well with the same qualities in a glass of Pinot Noir. Look for Anne Amie Pinot Noir from Oregon for about $18.

Or, depending on your mood when you make this dish, you might want to think outside the mushroom-Pinot Noir box. Just for kicks, consider what other liquid ingredients go into mushroom recipes you know. Port wine, for example. Or even white vermouth. Get a little retro. Invite some friends over. Have a little fun. This recipe — and the pure comfort of pasta, cream, cheese, plus mushrooms — makes plenty to share.

The Daily Dish: Icy Espresso Frappe

espresso frappe with straw

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Frappe di caffè

Serves 4

Recommended equipment
A blender and a food processor, if needed
4 tall glasses, chilled, and 4 long spoons

2 cups strong freshly brewed espresso
6 tablespoons sugar or more to taste
3 cups finely crushed ice or ice cubes
1/2 cup whipping cream

While the espresso is hot, stir in 5 tablespoons sugar (or to taste). Let the coffee cool to room temperature.

If you don’t have crushed ice, pulverize the ice cubes in a food processor (my preference) or a blender, into fine bits. Return the crushed ice to the freezer.

Whip the cream, with a spoonful of sugar if you like, until smooth and holding soft peaks. Keep it chilled.

When thoroughly cool, pour the espresso into the empty blender jar. Churn on high speed for at least 2 minutes, until it becomes light in color and frothy.

Pour an equal amount of the espresso frappe into each chilled glass, quickly add a share of crushed ice and top with a mound of whipped cream. Serve right away with a long spoon

lidia bastianichLidia Matticchio Bastianich was born in Pola, Istria, on the northeastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. She is a cookbook author, restaurateur, and TV chef extraordinaire. Watch Lidia’s Italy Saturdays at 1:30pm on WGBH 2 or Sundays at 4pm on WGBH 44.

The Daily Drink: Sweet and Sour Chicken and Peppers

For today’s dish and beverage pairing, why not step into something a little bit unfamiliar? Maybe you’ve already had sweet and sour chicken, but have you made it yourself with a spice as unique as tamarind? And maybe you’ve already had Riesling — which is my recommendation for a wine pairing with this dish — but have you had Riesling from the Finger Lakes region of New York state? The Finger Lakes, just like the better-known producers of Riesling, namely Germany and Alsace, produce both sweet and dry versions of the wine. Depending on your palate and whether you want to highlight the sweet or the sour of the dish, the choices are ever-expanding. Howie Rubin, co-owner of Bauer Wine & Spirits on Newbury Street, has just returned from a tasting and buying trip to the Finger Lakes. On sale in his store right now is one of his favorites from the trip, the 2008 Dr. Konstantin Frank Dry Riesling ($15, normally $18). It would be a lovely pairing with this dish, plus it gives you the chance to try a dry Riesling. Many Rieslings on wine store shelves in the US are sweet or off-dry, but a classic dry Riesling is a revelation.

The Daily Drink: Spicy Wok Clams and Leeks

Certain wines are reliable stand-bys when it comes to pairing with Asian food, and Chef Tsai’s recommendation for this dish — 2003 Hopler Gewürztraminer — is no exception. If your local wine shop doesn’t have that specific wine, however, know that the characteristics of Gewürztraminer that make it so appealing with Asian food also present themselves in other grapes such as Riesling, Pinot Gris and Muscat. A personal all-time favorite is Trimbach Muscat ($15-$20, depending on the vintage) because it’s exceptionally aromatic on the nose, clean and almost limpid on the palate, but finishes bone dry. That’s quite a lot to get out of one glass (or even one sip) of wine! But the complexity matches nicely with the spice and the layers of flavors in today’s dish.

The Daily Drink: Asian Pistou Dumplings in Lime Broth

Dumplings, as Chef Tsai points out, make for great hors d’oeuvres. And what’s great about hors d’oeuvres is that they’re usually just one or two bites, delivering a powerful and concentrated shot of flavor. As a beverage pairing for today’s dumplings, try a few drinks that pack a similar punch one sip at a time. A mango “coolatta,” for example, blends fresh mango, lime juice, coco cream, and rum (if you like), served over ice. A classic lime-ginger drink mixes ginger beer, concentrated lime cordial and mint leaves, and is also served over ice. Or for a twist on the most traditional sipper ever — a martini — try mixing vodka with Canton Ginger liqueur and some lime juice. Powerful and concentrated shots of flavor, indeed.