Fall had started in earnest; a cool, light mist was falling. My wife Lisa and I decided to take our dog for a long walk foraging wild cèpes (porcini). I built a roaring fire in our small wood stove, placed a daube of beef on top to braise slowly, then walked out into the dank Mendocino woods….
One of my favorite go-to meals during the hotter months is this quick salad. 5 minutes from start to finish. A simple, refreshing summertime meal made with roast pork, tree-ripened peaches, and arugula. This chilled salad is something my mother prepared for me as a child when she did not have time to cook.
In the old days of France, wine grapes were traditionally pressed by feet. The winemakers nicknamed ‘bar rosi’, or pink bottomed, due to the pink color of their feet when they were done squishing the grapes. There is a lovely sculpture by sculptor Noël-Jules Girard in the center of Dijon of a bar rosi, or bareuzai in the traditional dialect of Dijon, treading grapes.
Steak Bareuzai is the true product of the Burgundy region; local Charolais beef cut into thick steaks, spicy mustard grown in nearby fields and milled in Beaune, wild mushrooms hunted for in the damp woods and great red wine that seemingly flows from every winepress of the region. I love the fact that this is so quickly prepared, with no advanced planning other than having the ingredients on hand and perhaps a bottle of wine open. The only controversy seems to be whether or not you finish the sauce with a healthy spoonful of Dijon mustard; some recipes add it and others shun it. I personally add a big spoonful and like the creamy punch good mustard provides.
‘Wa’ means Japanese and ‘gyu’ means cow
There is a lot of mystery and misunderstanding surrounding Wagyu beef in America. Stories run rampant even through the kitchens of the Nation’s best restaurants about sake massages and cows quaffing pints of delicious brews to fatten them up. The word wagyu simply means Japanese cow and refers to several Japanese breeds known for their intense marbling and high percentage of healthy unsaturated fat. There are four main breeds used. Japanese Black, Japanese Brown (also known as Japanese Red), Japanese Polled and Japanese Shorthorn. Out of these four breeds are roughly 200 unique wagyu programs, each with slightly different rules governing the characteristics. The most well known and often over generalized wagyu program available in the United States is Kobe beef. It has become as synonymous with the word wagyu as Xerox is for copying, Kleenex is for tissues or calling all sparkling wines Champagne.
Good full red. Captivating aromas of ripe red cherry, mocha and violet complicated by an herbal nuance. Sweet, dense and juicy in the mouth, displaying bright flavors of dark cherry, flowers and spices. Finishes very smooth, savory and spicy, with outstanding energy and focus and plenty of early appeal. This complex, multilayered wine strikes me as the best I have ever tasted from Feudi del Pisciotto.
93 points Ian D’Agata, Vinous Media
Cerasuolo. If I had to use one word to fully describe Paolo Panerai’s excellent wine ‘Giambattista Valli’ that would be it. Cerasuolo means cherry like. This wine is so chock full with bright cherry, pomegranate and strawberry flavors I had to wonder if my wife didn’t swap the wine with fresh cherry juice to fool me….
French Soul Food?
I pondered what soul food meant to me. My initial thoughts conjured savory images of collard green and cornbread filled adventures at Chicago soul food stalwarts like Gladys Luncheonette, Army & Lou’s and Soul Queen eaten to a soundtrack of Don Cornelius’s Soul Train. Even now, decades later, as I sit typing behind my computer keyboard I still can’t just casually say Soul Train (the hippest trip in America) without mimicking the high pitched intro of the program and licking my lips….