Posts from May 2011

Butcher's Guide to Well Raised Meat Contest, Win a Copy of this June 7 Book

I don't know enough about Brooklyn to link the multiple butcher shops and meat options the neighborhood offers to its history.

In any case, 10 days from now The Butcher's Guide to Well Raised Meat (Clarkson Potter/ June 7, 2011) will be gracing bookstore windows nationwide.

The book highlights, Joshua and Jessica Applestone love of a tasty and healthy cut of meat at Fleisher's Grass-fed & Organic Meats, their emporium.

Butcher's guide

Getting back to the book it aims for no less than teaching all of us "How to Buy, Cut, and Cook Great Beef, Lamb, Pork, Poultry (and More)", no small feat.

A visit to their co-writer Alexandra Zissu site brought unusual facts to the surface:

"Joshua, a third-generation butcher and former vegan, and Jessica, a former vegetarian, are advocates for humanely and ecologically raised local meat and promote these issues and their craft through wildly popular seminars. They taught butchery to bestselling Julie & Julia author Julie Powell and feature prominently in her book Cleaving."

Their butcher shop is not in Brooklyn by the way. It's in Kingston, New York.

What's your ticket to a copy of The Butcher's Guide to Well Raised Meat?


Tell us what the best alternative to Hanger Steak is.

E-mail your answer to info [at] njconcierges [dot] com

All entries must be received by Thursday June 1, 2011 (8 PM, U.S Eastern)

There is one copy to win so this contest is on a first come, first serve basis.

It is reserved to U.S readers.

Henschke Hill of Grace 1996, 2 Bottles Offered in Dreweatts Fine Wine Auction, June 9

Only 500 cases of Henschke Hill of Grace 1996 vintage were made.

Collectors and those who revel in the joy of drinking rare finds will be able to bid on 2 bottles of this one of a kind Shiraz thanks to Dreweatts Fine Wine, Port & Champagne Auction on June 9, 2011.

Thanks to Wine House (Old and Rare Wines), I learned that the name Hill of Grace "is a translation from the German 'Gnadenberg', a region in Silesia, and the name given to the lovely Lutheran Church across the road."  For Prue and Stephen Henschke it is the name of both the vineyard and the wine.


Starting price will be £400-450 for this lot (1575)

Hill of Grace first vintage was in 1958.

You can either visit the auction house at Donnington Priory in the UK or bid online.

Savoring the Hamptons for Memorial Day, Summer Corn and Scallop Salad Recipe

There would not be enough room for all interested parties to visit the Hamptons on Memorial Day week-end.

Don't feel blue, get a taste of the Hamptons at home thanks to this Summer Corn and Scallop recipe from Savoring the Hamptons (Running Press, 2011) by Silvia Lehrer.


WHEN MY DEAR FRIEND AND TALENTED COOK LYNN ROGERS RABINEAU VISITED ONE SUMMER, she whipped up this uncommonly delicious and visually beautiful corn and scallop salad. Like Lynn,this dish is a winner.



2 shallots, finely chopped
1 to 11/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons sherry wine vinegar
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
4 or 5 ears fresh corn, shucked
3 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced (white and light green parts)
18 diver or large sea scallops, side muscle removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Bunch baby arugula, washed and spun dry
1/2 cup pear or cherry tomatoes, halved
Chive stems, for garnish


For the vinaigrette, put the shallots in a mixing bowl. Whisk in the mustard, vinegar, and lemon juice. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and season to taste with salt and white pepper.

For the salad, cook the corn in a pot of boiling salted water for 2minutes. Drain and cool. Cut the kernels from the cobs into a mixing bowl. Add the scallions and about 11/2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette; toss to mix. The salad up to this point can be prepared up to a couple of hours ahead.
Rinse the scallops. Pat them dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper to taste. Melt the butter with the oil in a skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat until hot and the butter is a light golden brown.

Working in batches, put the scallops into the hot pan and cook, basting with the foaming butter, for about 11/2minutes on each side, until a golden crust is formed. Transfer to a warm platter.
To serve, toss the arugula with about 11/2 tablespoons dressing and place on a serving platter or divide equally among six individual salad plates. Spoon the corn and scallion mixture over the arugula and artfully arrange the scallops and tomato halves around the platter or plates. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the scallops and tomatoes. Garnish the platter or plates with chives and serve at room temperature.

(* Recipe from Savoring the Hamptons by Silvia Lehrer, Running Press, 2011, reproduced by permission of the publisher, photo by Karen Wise)

Feeling Lucky, Pair of Tickets to Holland within Reach thanks to Holland/ KLM Contest

To clear things up first, this contest is not our idea.

We thought we should share it in case anyone (in the U.S) wants to try their lucky at winning a trip to Holland, a country with much to offer beyond tulips, gouda and windmills.

Airline KLM and Holland's official tourist office joined forces for this campaign.

How can you try your luck and what's the prize:

"With Just Be. In Holland you are given the chance to get a taste of Holland with a luxurious World Business Class trip for a 3-night hotel stay in Amsterdam for TWO! All you have to do to enter is head to the KLM or Holland Facebook page and answer what 10 cities the chosen U.S. cycling teams will be touring in Holland."

Visit the Holland and the KLM USA pages on Facebook, try your luck and see what happens.

Did Holland Tourist Office share snapshot of bicycles and canals (on Facebook) to make us green with envy?


I don't know if you will meet with local band Mecano (are they still active) and be drawn into discussing the guillotine and Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky as happened to me on my one and only visit to Amsterdam.

Contest ends on Sunday May 29, 2011 so there is no time to waste.

(* This is not a Sponsored Post. It could have been)

Pulling a Rabbit in Porchetta Recipe out of the Tuscany Book

It is not too late to read Lucca Olive Oil to Rigatino, Real Tuscany my interview with Mario Matassa on  Tuscany (Phaidon Press, Spring 2001)

To build your appetite for it, let me share a second recipe from the book. First one was Chesnut Cake Alla Pistoiese Recipe ...

Rabbit in Porchetta

Coniglio in Porchetta

Preparation time: 30 minutes, plus 1 hour for marinating

Cooking time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Serves 6

1 5 lb skinned and cleaned rabbit, boned, liver reserved

Scant 1 cup white wine vinegar

3 sprigs sage, chopped

3 sprigs rosemary, chopped

3 sprigs wild fennel, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

7  oz prosciutto, sliced

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

Scant ½ cup dry white wine

1 bay leaf


Put rabbit into a shallow dish.  Mix together the vinegar and 1 ¾ cups water, pour mixture into the dish and let marinate for 1 hour.

213 Coniglio in porchetta

Remove the rabbit from the dish, rinse under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

Trim and chop liver, then mix with the sage, rosemary, fennel and garlic.  Open out the rabbit and spread half the herb mixture in the cavity.  Season generously with pepper, put the slives of prosciutto on top and sprinkle with the remaining herb mixture.

Roll up the rabbit as tightly as possible and tie with trussing thread or kitchen string.  Melt the butter with the oil in a large oval pan.  Add the rabbit and cook over mediu high-heat, turning frequently, for 10 minutes, until evenly browned.  Pour in the wine and cook for a few minutes until alcohol has evaporated. Add the bay leaf, reduce the heat, cover and simmer, adding a little hot water if necessary, for 1 ½ hours, until tender and cooked through.  Remove the pan from heat and let cool completely.  Life out the rabbit, remove and discard the string and cut into slices to serve.

(* Rabbit in Porchetta recipe and photo from Tuscany (May 2011, $39.95) reproduced by permission of the publisher Phaidon Press)

Art Nouveau Influence on Japanese Floral Imagery and Vice Versa, Le Japon Artistique

If you cannot get to the museum, the museum comes to you.

In this case, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston culled from its collection of rare books  floral imagery created at the end of the 19th century that reflect the influence of Japanese artists on Art Nouveau and vice versa, this selection graces the pages of Le Japon Artistique (Chronicle Books, April 2011).


Le Japon Artistique was also a magazine published in late 19th century France dedicated to what was then called Japonisme.

According to Wikipedia:

"Japonism started with the frenzy to collect Japanese art, particularly print art called ukiyo-e of which some the first samples were to be seen in Paris. About 1856, the French artist Félix Bracquemond first came across a copy of the sketch book Hokusai Manga at the workshop of his printer; they had been used as packaging for a consignment of porcelain."

Boston's Museum of Fine Arts is credited as having one of the largest Japanese art collections outside Japan.

Blast from the past with Japonism and Japon Artistique for Tokyo Thursdays # 192

Previously: Japanese Girls Hold Batman Close with Aimerfeel Batman Lingerie

Champagne New Generation Bubbles to the Surface, Louis and Florent Talk

Besides tasting a number of great Champagnes (which means made in Champagne, France) I managed to conduct 2 interviews.

I found inspiration for the first one while walking the tasting floor.

Two of the young men sharing their passion for their brilliant bubbles were part of the new generation.

I took Florent Roques-Boizel (Champagne Boizel) and Louis Coquilette (Champagne Stephane Coquillette) away from their table duties for a 30 minutes conversation. Both houses are still family operations.


Q: Florent and Louis, what's your place in the family operation?

Florent: Even though my involvement with the family business goes way back, I have been officially a member of the team only for the past 12 months. I deal mostly with exports as I have experience in that field from working with other producers from New Zealand to the Rhone. I am getting my feet wet in winemaking and I also deal with relationships with growers whose fruit we buy.

Louis: I don't appear on the org chart. What I do is out of shear passion. I do share my ideas as far as winemaking goes yet I have been mostly involved in marketing. I find importers for our wines. I travel abroad. I do this type of things using vacation time from the day job.

Q: What matters most to you both?

There is the underlying passion of sharing how a good to great Champagne is created. All that takes place in the vineyard and so on before the harvest, the transfer of knowledge amongst generations (a slow process) is crucial (Louis). Each Champagne house run by a family has its own sensibility. (Florent)

Q: Can you tell us about your respective families?

My grandfather is 80 years old and is still at it, involved (Louis).

My father has 35 vintages under his belt (Florent).


Our fathers know which parcels, which grape varieties will work for this or that wine. In bad vintages there might be more flexibility in family owned houses than corporate ones (Florent and Louis).

Q: What drives the choice of wines, what will come to market?

My parents decide what to release based on what they love first (Louis). Each wine should reflect the personality of its producer.

Q: What influence does your generation have on the winemaking?

My grandfather led the family for 40 years. He can be settled in his ways. I suggested we use 'futs' that had already be used, I bring a spirit of experimentation, all that with the ultimate goal of making an ever better Champagne. (Louis)

A lot of the timeless learning is passed on from generation to generation. Personally I also bring an experience acquired through a variety of sources. I do understand though that change is incremental, small change takes place.

Q: What is accent on in 2011?

We both are learning every day from our parents. Our foundation is quality rather than quantity (Louis and Florent).

Q: What's the biggest difference berween your families wines and say global brands in Champagne?

Lets say that for example in famille 'vinifie barrique' existed only in 1990 and 2000 (Florent)

My grandfather has 10 years of stock which is a luxury for us and would be hard to finance or justify for a 'corporate' house. My grandfather feels that at his age, there is one luxury he wants to have, release only wines he believes he can feel are ready (Louis).


Q: What's your yearly production?

Give and take, we produce around 500.000 bottles on 65 hectares (Florent).

It varies with the years at Coquillette. We have 20 hectares and we don;t judge on bottle numbers. We measure how many hectares bear fruit in each vintage (Louis).

Q:  How influential is your generation in communicating with the world at large what your respective houses are about?

A number of small Champagne houses do not have an internet presence. Champagne Stephane Coquillette is one of them. It comes down to the fact that my grandfather feels that he would loose control of the message. He wants to control our image. I don;t have the power to change that. (Louis)

My parents are somewhat opened to technological changes around us. Champagne Boizel has a web site since 1997. (Florent)

Q:What makes both your maisons stand out from the crowd?

Our houses are amongst the few 'recoltants-manipulants' left. we harvest , pick, select our grapes (Florent and Louis).

There has been an opening (evolution) in ways winemaking can proceed. I bring back ideas whenever I travel to Napa and other regions.

Q: Last words?

Big forces, small changes.

Thanks to Florent and Louis for their time.

(* Florent on left, Louis to the right)

Wine Sisterhood Steals the Show with BlogWorld NY Opening Party on May 25th

Juggling a schedule can be hard when too mant things take place at the same time.

Women in wine is not all about Femmes Vigneronnes (Women Winemakers).

Ladies don't have to rely on their male companion to make wine choices for them.

They can form their own opinions and meet with fellow female wine lovers thanks to initiatives like Wine Sisterhood which will steal the show in New York with BlogWorld Expo and New Media opening party on May 25th.

I don't think I will be able to join them as I already have a plate full. I will make sure to tell you more about Wine Sisterhood beyond that one night.

Party runs from 8 to 10 PM.

Drop the Kazoo, Try Stuffed Mirliton Recipe from A Southerly Course

Like my recent pet peeve about Sacoches, the word Mirliton sounds to me as comforting as a piece of furniture with a nice patina can be.

I have not had the privilege to interview Martha Hall Foose since the publication of A Southerly Course (Clarkson Potter, Spring 2011).

Next best thing I can do is share a second recipe from her book.

Stuffed Mirliton

Chayotes and Kazoos

A mirliton is a chayote squash or a vegetable pear. It is also the name for instruments in which a voice resonates over a membrane, as in a kazoo. The Carolina Chocolate Drops are bringing the kazoo back in style with their unique take on traditional jug-band music. I am mounting a campaign to bring the squash back too.

Serves 6

3 mirlitons

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

½ cup chopped red bell pepper

½ cup sliced green onions, white and green parts

½ cup diced ham

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup fresh or frozen peeled salad shrimp

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1½ cups plain dried bread crumbs


Heat the oven to 375° F.

In a large pot, boil the mirlitons in lightly salted water until the flesh is tender, about 6 minutes. Remove from the pot and cool under running tap water. Halve them and, using a metal spoon, remove the seeds and discard. Gently scoop all of the flesh out of the shells. Set the flesh and shells aside.

In a medium saucepan set over medium-low heat, melt 6 tablespoons of the butter. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, green onions, ham, and garlic. Cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are wilted. Add a little of the chicken broth if the mixture becomes too dry. Add the mirliton flesh and cook for 20 minutes. Add the shrimp and parsley and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle in 1 cup of the bread crumbs.

Mound the stuffing mixture into the mirliton shells. Put the halves in a baking dish and top with the remaining cup bread crumbs. Dot with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and pour the remaining broth in the baking dish. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the crumbs are golden brown.

(* Recipe from 'A Southerly Course' reprinted by permission of the publisher, Clarkson Potter, photograph by Chris Granger)

One Third Tequila, Two Thirds Tacos, Camarena Food Truck Takes New York by Charm

After a long day of interviews, book and new media talk split between Book Expo America and BlogWorld Expo and New Media (under one roof, thanks God), I will be heading on Wednesday evening first to a Publisher's party and last but not least to the launch party for Camarena Taco Truck all around New York visit.


Take one third tequila, two third tacos, put this tasty mix in Jesse Vega's hands (he's the sous-chef at Sueños Restaurant in Manhattan) and here's the menu he came up with:

New York Camarena Taco Truck Menu
Created by Chef Jesse Vega

Tacos Al Pastor
with Camarena Pineapple Salsa
Camarena Pinto Beans
with Queso Fresco, Corn Tortilla Chips and Tomatillo Salsa
BBQ Beef Taco
with charred Corn Pico de Gallo and Queso Fresco
Camarena Chicken and Chihuahua Cheese Taquitos
with Guacamole and Radish
Platano Canela Tostada
with Dulce de Leche, Mulato Chocolate Sauce and Lime Fleur de Sel


The Camarena Taco Truck arrived in the Big Apple on May 19 and will be criss crossing the city until June 28.

Six generations of tequila making experience stand behind Familia Camarena Tequila. It is "made from 100 percent Blue Agave grown in the Los Altos Highlands region of Jalisco, one of Mexico’s most prestigious tequila districts. Produced in Arandas at the family-owned and operated distillery, each bottle is double distilled, as well as bottled, labeled and packaged by hand."

Follow the adventures of Familia Camarena Tequila on their Facebook page.

After New York roadtrip moves on to Austin, Dallas and Chicago.

Entry to the launch party is by invites only.

(* This is not a sponsored post. It coud have been. I have not even tasted the Tequila yet...)