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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Wines Under $20

Today Show: Spooky Beers and Wines

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Had a great time on Today yesterday with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford, talking about spooky beers and wines for Halloween parties. The clip is here if you're interested, but I also thought it would be worthwhile to run through the wines in Tasting Room, and add a few extra for fun. Halloween's still a few days away, so there's time left to shop.

2008 Spellbound Chardonnay ($16) Rob Mondavi, Jr. (of those Mondavis) makes this juicy, eminently drinkable Chardonnay with fruit primarily from the Lodi region. (find this wine)

2007 Bogle Phantom ($20) This is a juicy, dark-fruited blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Mourvedre. Plus, it's got an eerie label that looks like a haunted forest at night, though I suspect it's actually gnarled old Zin vines. (find this wine

2006 Flora Springs Ghost Winery Cabernet Franc ($40) Flora Springs will be doing a "ghost winery" release every year on Halloween (or just before, so it can be shipped in time to arrive for Halloween). This year's is an appealingly aromatic Cab Franc with good tannic bones. So to speak. (find this wine)

2008 Edmunds St. John Bone-Jolly ($18) Gamay, the grape of Beaujolais, vinified by the talented winemaker Steve Edmunds: it's a great combination, resulting in a wine that is much more full of life (and lively red fruit) than the skeletons on the label might suggest. (find this wine)

2009 Owen Roe Sinister Hand ($24) Why not pour a wine on Halloween whose label happens to have a blood-dripping severed hand on it? Especially why not, when the wine is a peppery, berry-bright, Washington State Grenache blend like this one. (find this wine)

Recipes

Halloween at Food & Wine’s Office

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© Alessandra Bulow
From left: Rory Tischler, Jon (Smooth) Varriano & Seton Rossini man the bar at The Old F&W Art Saloon

Halloween is two days away but the art department staff of Food & Wine’s marketing team is kicking off the festivities today by transforming their office space into The Old F&W Art Saloon. In addition to dressing up in awesome 19th-century Western costumes, they’re serving beef chili with beans, buttery corn bread and fantastic homemade black pepper beef jerky.

(Last year they dressed as the Simmons Family including Top Chef judge and F&W’s own Gail Simmons, Gene Simmons and Richard Simmons—no relation.)

Scrounging for a last-minute Halloween costume or party idea? Get inspiration from F&W's Dress Like a Chef and Halloween Party slideshows.

Cooking

Matzo 10 Ways

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© Quentin Bacon

Since it's Passover, I'm eating (and eating and eating) matzo, the flour-and-water cracker. Here's how:

Matzo balls My favorite way. This is a rosemary-accented version (pictured).

Matzo Brei Since this is fried (that's what brei means), it 's a very close second to matzo balls. I like it as a sweet, once-a-year treat.

Matzo meal It makes for a spectacularly crunchy coating, like on this matzo meal–crusted trout.

Matzo with lox and cream cheese Old habits die hard.

Matzo, butter and jam Don’t overthink it.

Matzo with chopped liver A legend in the field. Just swap out the crostini for matzo in this recipe.

Matzo pizza Add sauce and cheese, and broil.

Matzo flatbreads Extraordinarily simple. Here's how to make them.

Matzo (broken) lasagna Using this recipe, replace the lasagna noodles with pieces of matzo that have been lightly soaked in warm water until just pliable.

Chocolate-covered matzo Obviously.

Baking

Terrific Passover Desserts

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© Quentin Bacon

I've always viewed Passover desserts as a bit like magic tricks, since no flour or leavening agents like baking powder and baking soda are allowed. But there are still plenty of fantastic desserts, from chocolate cakes to macaroons (one of the secrets to amazing unleavened desserts is in the wrist action involved in making snowy whipped egg whites). Here, five desserts for the five nights of Passover still left, like strawberry-red-wine sorbet with crushed meringue, flourless chocolate almond cakes and Mexican chocolate pots de crème (pictured).

Recipes

Goodbye, Gelfite Fish

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© Tina Rupp

While gefilte fish has no symbolic reason for being invited to the Passover table, one cannot underestimate the power of nostalgia. And that’s gefilte fish’s main virtue. (The dish was originally prized for its economy: It stretched a bit of boneless white fish with fillers such as matzo meal, carrots and sweetened fish stock that turned to jelly.) I’ve concluded that the best way to get people to love gefilte fish is not to serve it at all. For the six remaining nights of Passover, here are six delicious alternatives: herb-broiled fish with lemon aioli (pictured), grilled halibut with tomato butter, and tilapia with tomato and artichoke sauce.

Pairings

Great Kosher for Passover Wines

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"There's no injunction in the Talmud that says kosher wine has to be sweet," explains Toronto wine writer Tony Aspler. For the seven remaining nights of Passover, wine writer Natalie Maclean  recommends these dry kosher-for-Passover alternatives:

© Tina Rupp

2007 Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Cabernet Franc ($13) A rich, full-bodied wine from Israel with aromas of dark red berries, plums and smoke. Pair it with roasted eggplant, like this tangy eggplant caponata (pictured).

2004 Yarden Pinot Noir Golan Heights Winery ($27) This full-bodied Israeli wine has ripe, almost jammy, cherry and raspberry flavor. It's a great match for roasted and braised lamb, as well as grilled salmon, like this salmon dish topped with cilantro-pecan pesto.

2007 Golan Heights Winery Cabernet Sauvignon ($18) A lovely, supple Israeli wine with notes of dark raspberries and black plums. It would go well with skillet-roasted lamb loins with herbs.

 

Recipes

Kosher Recipes for After the Passover Seder

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© Joseph de Leo

Although I’m a hard-core fan and consumer of bacon the rest of the year, during the eight days of Passover I keep kosher. After two nights of amazing 10-course meals at my mother’s home for the seders, I’ll be cooking some lighter recipes for the remaining days of Passover. Here are a few kosher for Passover recipes I’m planning to try:

Recipes

Excellent Valentine's Day Cocktail

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Bartender extraordinaire, friend to F&W, and general all-around good fellow Jim Meehan of NYC's PDT came up with this cocktail a few months back for a wine-vs-cocktails smackdown held at NYC's Nios Restaurant. I attended the event, drank the drink, and at the time thought to myself, well, that's about the best Valentine's Day cocktail I've ever run into. It's gorgeous to look at, tastes terrific, and also packs a reasonable punch. (Note: It might not be the thing to stir up for a crowd of longshoremen; it's a very pretty drink.)

Raspberries Reaching
recipe courtesy of Jim Meehan

1.5 ounces Clear Creek Framboise (or other Framboise—the eau de vie, not the Belgian beer)
1 ounce Royal Tokaji 5 Puttonyos Red Label (or other 5 Puttonyos Tokaji)
1/2 ounce Pama Pomegranate Liqueur
3 drops Rose Flower Water

Stir ingredients in a cocktail shaker and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a rose petal, particularly a peach-colored one if you can find it...

Baking

Whoopies for Valentine’s Day

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Mail-order whoopie pies for Valentine's Day

© Magenta Livengood
Whoopie pies from B. Hall Baker

For anyone looking for a sweet worth mail-ordering for Valentine’s Day, or any day, B.Hall Baker’s new mini whoopie pies are now available online. Washington, DC-based Beryl Hall, a former Hill staffer, keeps the calories low by keeping the pies small (she bakes them in madeleine molds). She gives her red velvet pies a rich tang (and a vibrant red color) with raspberry juice, raspberry extract and powdered raspberries from France. “Whoopie pies are a Yankee thing, but I’m trying to make them Southern,” the San Antonio native says, so this spring she’ll release coconut-cake and bananas Foster versions.

Entertaining

A Little Caviar Splurge

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Kaviari "Kristal"

© Kaviari
Kaviari "Kristal"

A few months ago, wine editor Ray Isle and I enjoyed some amazing caviar at Atelier Robuchon, made all the more intriguing because Joël Robuchon called it his official caviar and said it came from China. We were hoping someday we'd be able to buy tins of it to serve at parties, and now we've just about gotten our wish. Epicure Pantry, supplier to many of New York's finest chefs, just released a version called Kaviari "Kristal," made from the eggs of Schrencki sturgeon farmed in China, and selected and packaged by the Paris-based Kaviari company. Kaviari is guarded about its sources, but assures that these are among the best fish farms in the world. What we do know: The eggs are plump, briny and buttery, with a lovely pop and a clean finish. They'd be great on their own or on a blini; to offset the splurge-level cost ($138 for 50 g/1.75 oz), pair them with a terrific value Champagne.




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