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: 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 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: Wok Stirred Maitakes with Blood Oranges

Chef Tsai’s team recommends the 2007 Mas de la Dame Rosé as the pairing for this dish. It tastes, they say, of “subtle flavors of fresh berries and fennel with a flowery finish” and has an aroma of “fresh strawberries, peaches and roses,” all of which I love, especially since we’re talking about a rosé that’s likely served chilled on a hot summer evening.

But the added bonus of this particular wine is its label. Mas de la Dame means “Farm of the Woman.” Currently the winery and its olive grove are owned by Anne Poniatowski and Caroline Missoffe, granddaughters of Auguste Fay, a Burgundian wine merchant who founded the property in 1903. The land, and the wines, have a storied history. In 1889 Vincent van Gogh painted the farmhouse, located near the village of Les Baux de Provence in the Apilles Mountains. And Simone de Beauvoir drank the wine on her first trip to the south of France. She arrived at night, she wrote; the wind was blowing hard and lights twinkled in the valley. “A fire was crackling in the grate at the Reine Jeanne, where we were the only guests. We had dinner at a little table close to the fireplace, and drank a wine the name of which, Le Mas de la Dame, I recall to this day.”

If it’s good enough for van Gogh and de Beauvoir, it’s good enough for me.

The Daily Drink: Deviled Eggs with Tuna and Black Olives

There’s something very retro about deviled eggs that inspires me to suggest pairing them with a classic cocktail like an Old Fashioned or a Tom Collins. Go that route, and you’re in the realm of matching atmosphere with atmosphere even more than food with drink, which is hardly a bad thing. You can also take inspiration from Chef Ana Sortun’s wine lists at Oleana and Sofra restaurants — this is her recipe, after all, and her Mediterranean-inflected list of ingredients — and pair a white wine from her list like Pierre Morey’s Bourgogne Aligote from Burgundy, France ($16). Since this recipe — with its hard-boiled eggs, tuna, and olives — is a spin on the classic French Tuna Niçoise salad, I especially like the idea of a crisp French white.

The Daily Drink: Miso Butter Pork Udon Noodles

I would love a chardonnay with this dish! Take the 2006 Qupe “Bien Nacido” Y Block from California’s Santa Maria Valley ($18). There are a few reasons it works so well. 2006 was a cool vintage, so the Chardonnay will be less buttery and have more minerality; that makes it a nice counterbalance to the miso butter. Chardonnay also works well with the white-meat components of the dish, namely ground pork and chicken stock. The wine has enough structure and character of its own, though, so it won’t get lost among the assertive flavors of the dish.

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.