Posts from June 2013

25th Fronton Wine Tasting, Fronton Saveurs et Senteurs 2013, August 23-25, near Toulouse

A short bus or car ride from Toulouse is Fronton.

From August 23 to August 25, 2013, the city of Fronton showcases wines from Fronton appellation with Fronton Saveurs et Senteurs now in its 25th edition.


Production is 30% Rose wines and 70% Reds, no white wines, anchored around native variety Negrette.

Open air concerts add to to the festive atmosphere.

Saturday into Sunday Cocktail, Sweet Olive from Franny's Simple Seasonal Italian

Week-end is here.

Calls for Saturday into Sunday cocktail recipe like Sweet Olive from Franny's Simple Seasonal Italian (Artisan Books, May 2013) by Andrew Feinberg, Francine Stephens, and Melissa Clark.

Sweet Olive

Serves 1

Our former bartender Woody once took a trip to Venice and came back inspired to make this cocktail (pictured opposite). He’d had a version of it and fallen in love with all the elements—sweetness, saltiness, and a touch of bitterness. It’s marvelously complex and very Italian.

1 ounce Meletti amaro
1⁄4 ounce (just shy) Aperol
Dash of olive juice
3 small green cocktail olives (or 1 large)
An orange wedge

333_Sweet Olive

Pour the amaro, Aperol, and olive juice into a champagne flute. Top off with Prosecco. Garnish with the olives and orange wedge.

(* Excerpted from Franny's Simple Seasonal Italian by Andrew Feinberg, Francine Stephens, and Melissa Clark (Artisan Books). Copyright 2013. Photographs by John von Pamer.)

Mari, Riesling Meets Mate and Elderflower, Germany Meets South America in 1 Bottle

There are always offbeat offerings at wine tastings.

Here's one captured on last stop of Riesling Road Trip from Wines of Germany.

Riesling meets Mate and Elderflower, Germany meets South America in 1 bottle with Mari.


Not available in the USA yet.

Breton Pastry Recipe by Way of Boston, Kouign Amann from 'Flour, Too' by Joanne Chang

With native roots in Brittany, once I spotted this pastry recipe in Flour, Too: Indispensable Recipes for the Cafe's Most Loved Sweets & Savories (Chronicle Books, June 2013) by Joanne Chang from Flour Bakery in Boston, it was impossible for me not to share it.


A specialty of Brittany, the small, rich kouignamann, literally “butter cake,” is possibly the most extraordinary pastry of all time. Imagine a flaky croissant–type pastry filled with layers of butter and sugar, and then more butter and sugar, and baked until the sugar caramelizes into a marvelously sticky, crispy coating. The first time I had one—in Paris, of course—I knew I had to make it at Flour. It remains for me the most delicious pastry I’ve ever eaten.

Nicole, our executive pastry chef, spent hours perfecting the recipe to make sure it has the right balance of sugar to butter to dough, and then tweaked it so that it could be baked in a muffin tin rather than ring molds. Read through the recipe a few times to make sure you understand the directions. If you’ve made laminated doughs of any kind before (puff pastry, croissant), you’ll have no problem with this one. If you haven’t, it is not difficult to make, but you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the simple technique of folding and turning the dough, explained in the recipe. These small cakes are more of an after-party treat or decadent breakfast than an opulent plated dessert, although if you were to serve them with some ice cream and berries, I guarantee that you would be showered with compliments.

Makes 12 small cakes

1 1⁄8 tsp active dry yeast, or 0.35 oz/10 g fresh cake
2 3/4 cups/385 g all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cup/225 g unsalted butter, at warm room temperature, plus 1 tbsp melted
1 1/2 cups/300 g granulated sugar, plus more for rolling and coating
special equipment: stand mixer with dough hook (optional), baking sheet, rolling pin, bench scraper (optional), 12-cup standard muffin tin

Flour, Too_Kouign-Amann

1. In the stand mixer, mix together the yeast and 1 cup/240 ml tepid water until the yeast dissolves. Add the flour, salt, and 1 tbsp melted butter and mix on low speed for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the dough comes together and is smooth. (If the dough is too wet, add 2 to 3 tbsp flour; if it is too dry, add 2 to 3 tsp of water.) The dough should be soft and supple and should come away from the sides of the bowl when the mixer is on. To make the dough by hand, in a medium bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1 cup/240 ml water as directed and stir in the flour, salt, and melted butter with a wooden spoon until incorporated. Then turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead by hand for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the dough is soft, smooth, and supple.

2. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in a warm place for 1 hour to allow the dough to proof. Then transfer the dough to the fridge and leave it for another hour.

3. Transfer the dough from the fridge to a generously floured work surface. Roll it into a rectangle about 16 in/40.5 cm wide and 10 in/25 cm from top to bottom. With your fingers, press or smear the room-temperature butter directly over the right half of the dough, spreading it in a thin, even layer to cover the entire right half. Fold the left half of the dough over the butter, and press down to seal the butter between the dough layers. Turn the dough 90 degrees clockwise so that the rectangle is about 10 in/25 cm wide and 8 in/20 cm top to bottom, and generously flour the underside and top of the dough.

4. Press the dough down evenly with the palms of your hands, flattening it out before you start to roll it out. Slowly begin rolling the dough from side to side into a rectangle about 24 in/61 cm wide and 12 in/30.5 cm from top to bottom. The dough might be a little sticky, so, again, be sure to flour the dough and the work surface as needed to prevent the rolling pin from sticking. Using the bench scraper or a knife, lightly score the rectangle vertically into thirds. Each third will be about 8 in/20 cm wide and 12 in/30.5 cm from top to bottom. Brush any loose flour off the dough. Lift the right third of the dough and flip it over onto the middle third. Then lift the left third of the dough and flip it on top of the middle and right thirds (like folding a business letter). Your dough should now be about 8 in/20 cm wide, 12 in/30.5 cm from top to bottom, and about 11⁄2 in/4 cm thick. Rotate the dough clockwise 90 degrees; it will now be 12 in/30.5 cm wide and 8 in/20 cm from top to bottom, with the folded seam on top. The process of folding in thirds and rotating is called turning the dough.

5. Repeat the process once more, patiently and slowly roll the dough into a long rectangle, flipping it upside down as needed as you roll it back and forth, and then fold the dough into thirds. The dough will be a bit tougher to roll out and a bit more elastic.

6. Return the dough to the baking sheet and cover it completely with plastic wrap, tucking the plastic wrap under the dough as if you are tucking it into bed. Refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes. This will relax the dough so that you’ll be able to roll it out again and give it more turns. Don’t leave the dough in the fridge much longer than 30 minutes, or the butter will harden too much and it won’t roll out properly.

7. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a well-floured work surface with a long side of the rectangle facing you and the seam on top. Again, roll the dough into a rectangle about 24 in/61 cm wide and 12 in/30.5 cm from top to bottom. Sprinkle 3⁄4 cup/150 g of the sugar over the dough and use the rolling pin to gently press it in. Give the dough another fold into thirds and turn as directed previously. The sugar may spill out a bit. That’s okay, just scoop it back in.

8. Once again roll the dough into a rectangle 24 in/61 cm wide and 12 in/30.5 cm from top to bottom. Sprinkle the remaining 3⁄4 cup/150 g sugar over the dough and use the rolling pin to press the sugar gently into the dough. Give the dough one last fold into thirds and turn. Return the dough to the baking sheet, cover again with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for another 30 minutes.

9. Meanwhile, liberally butter the cups of the muffin tin and set aside.

10. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Sprinkle your work surface generously with sugar, place the dough on the sugar, and sprinkle the top with more sugar. Roll the dough into a long rectangle 24 in/61 cm wide and 8 in/20 cm from top to bottom. The sugar will make the dough gritty and sticky, but it will also make the dough easier to roll out. Using a chef's knife, cut the dough in half lengthwise. You should have two strips of dough, each 24 in/61 cm wide and 4 in/10 cm from top to bottom. Cut each strip into six 4-in/10-cm squares.

11. Working with one square at a time, fold the corners of the square into the center and press down so they stick in place. Shape and cup the dough into a little circle, and press the bottom and the top into more sugar so that the entire pastry is evenly coated with sugar. Place the dough circle, folded-side up, into a cup of the prepared muffin tin. It will just barely fit. Repeat with the remaining squares. Cover the tin with plastic wrap and let the cakes proof in a warm place (78° to 82°F/25° to 27°C is ideal) for 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the dough has pouffed up.

12. About 20 minutes before you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C, and place a rack in the center of the oven.

13. When the dough is ready, place the muffin tin in the oven, reduce the heat to 325°F/165°C, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the cakes are golden brown. Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool just until you can handle them, then gently pry them out the muffin tin onto a wire rack and leave them to cool upside down. They are extremely sticky and will stick to the muffin tin if you don’t pop them out while they are still warm. Let cool completely before serving

(* Recipe from Flour, Too: Indispensable Recipes for the Cafe's Most Loved Sweets & Savories - published by Chronicle Books, June 2013- by Joanne Chang, reproduced with permission, all rights by Michael Harlan Turkell)

Citrus Marmalade? Coteaux du Languedoc Blanc 'Clos des Benedictins' 2009, Rolle With It

Rolle With It, Coteaux du Languedoc Blanc 'Clos des Benedictins' 2009 from Chateau La Roque is a biodynamic wine even the non-purists will like.

Rolle goes under the name Vermentino in Italy.

This white wine blend is 45% Rolle, 45% Marsanne and 10% Rousanne, golden robe, 'citrus marmalade' (says domain) and stone fruit flavors.


Winemaker suggests thyme flavoured roasted langoustine, "poulet de Bresse aux girolles", and any blue cheese as perfect pairings.

Brought to US shores thanks to Kermit Lynch.

Apricots, No Pork, Salad of Curried Lamb Prosciutto from 'Smoke and Pickles'

No pork, no problem with this recipe from Smoke and Pickles, Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen (Artisan Books, Spring 2013) by Brooklyn born, Louisville based chef Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia ...

Salad of Curried Lamb Prosciutto
With dried Apricots, Pine Nuts, Fennel, and Tarragon Vinaigrette

Fennel is a nice foil for salty curried lamb. Here the fennel adds brightness to the salad, while the apricots lend a layer of sweetness. But you can be creative with the mix: Try it with fresh figs, washed-rind cheeses from Alsace, or pickled watermelon rind. And enjoy the salad with a crisp Pinot Blanc.

Feeds 4

3 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, finely minced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, stalks removed
½ teaspoon kosher salt
8 to 10 slices Curried Lamb Prosciutto (page 36)
4 dried apricots, sliced very thin
¼ cup toasted pine nuts

39_Salad of Curried Lamb Prosciutto

1. To make the vinaigrette: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together until emulsified. (The vinaigrette can be made ahead and stored in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.)

2. To make the salad: Using a mandoline, shred the fennel as fine as possible. Transfer to a large bowl, add the salt, and toss gently. Allow to wilt at room temperature for 15 minutes.

3. Toss the wilted fennel with enough of the vinaigrette to just moisten.

4. Arrange the lamb slices on a plate. Layer the fennel on top and scatter the apricots and pine nuts over it. Drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette.

( Excerpted from Smoke and Pickles by Edward Lee (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2013. Photographs by Grant Cornett.)

Fork that Checks our Food Chewing Habits, Watch that Monitors Sleep and Stress

We are all accustomed to see joggers wearing a wristband while running.

Are we ready to have our (electronic) fork monitor our food chewing habits and beam suggestions to our smart phone on changes we should make to pace of our fork lifting and food intake?

The Hapilabs team seems to think so.


I could definitely use their HAPIwatch to monitor stress and sleep.

HAPIfork created by Jacques Lepine.

Shiso Sprouts in Refreshing Orange and Sumac Scented Quinoa Recipe from 'Full of Flavor'

Keeping it vegetarian on a hot and humid Monday with refreshing quinoa recipe from Full of Flavor: 18 Ingredients...Endless Possibilities (Kyle Books USA, April 2013) by Maria Elia 

Orange and sumac scented quinoa 

When I first tasted quinoa I thought the health benefits outweighed the taste. I decided this needed to change and experimented cooking it in flavoured stocks and fruit juices. Here's the result of one experiment.

Serves 4 

2 tbsp olive oil

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 celery stick, finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

120g quinoa

finely grated zest of 1 orange

240ml freshly squeezed orange juice

sea salt and black pepper

25g flaked almonds, lightly toasted

1/2 bunch coriander, finely chopped

1/2 bunch mint, finely chopped

1 avocado, diced into 1cm cubes

shiso sprouts, if available

2 tsp sumac, plus a pinch for garnish 


Heat the oil in a medium pan. Add the carrot, celery and onion and cook over a medium heat until tender. Add the quinoa and cook for 1 minute while stirring. 

Add the orange zest and juice, and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10–15 minutes until the quinoa is tender and the orange juice has been absorbed. Season with sea salt and pepper. 

Leave to cool a little before stirring through the almonds, coriander, mint, avocado and sumac. Garnish with shiso sprouts if available and sprinkle with a pinch of sumac. 


• I like to serve this with oily fish, such as mackerel.

• It’s also delicious served chilled with prawns or on its own.

• Great with chilli-roasted feta too.

• Try cooking the quinoa in apple juice instead of orange juice.

(* Recipe from 'Full of Flavor' by Maria Elia- published by Kyle Books USA, April 2013-  reproduced with permission- Photography by Jonathan Gregson)

Home Brew for Gluten Free Girl or Guy on First Day of Summer, Gluten Free Pale Ale from True Brews

After Mango Lassi recipe, here's a home brew for gluten free girl or guy on first day of summer from 'True Brews' How to craft Fermented Cider, Beer, Wine, Sake, Soda, Mead, Kefir and Kombucha at Home (Ten Speed Press, Spring 2013) by Emma Christensen.

Gluten-Free Pale Ale

Makes 1 gallon

Target Original Gravity Range = 1.045–1.050
Target Final Gravity Range = 1.010–1.015
Target ABV = 5 percent

Going gluten free means giving up many beloved foods. Beer should not be one of them. Sorghum is the closest gluten-free equivalent to a base malt, though it’s currently only commercially available as a syrup. It tastes like a cross between brown sugar and honey, and it plays nicely with the whole range of hops. Other grains, such as buckwheat and quinoa, give gluten-free beers more depth and character. Be sure to use dry yeasts when brewing gluten-free beers since liquid yeasts are cultured with barley malts.

Yeast Starter
2 tablespoons sorghum extract
1 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons (1 packet) dry ale yeast (such as Safale US-05)

11⁄2 gallons water
11/4 cups / 8 ounces toasted buckwheat groats
21⁄8 cups / 11⁄2 pounds sorghum extract
2 tablespoons / .7 ounce / 20 grams Cluster hops (bittering)
1 tablespoon / .3 ounce / 10 grams Cluster hops (flavoring)
1⁄8 teaspoon dried Irish moss
1 tablespoon / .3 ounce / 10 grams Saaz hops (aroma)
3 tablespoons / 1 ounce corn sugar dissolved in 1⁄2 cup boiling water and cooled, for bottling

Gluten Free Pale Ale

Make the yeast starter 1 to 3 hours before you plan to brew. Sanitize a 1-pint canning jar and a spoon. Stir 2 tablespoons of sorghum extract into 1 cup of boiling water until dissolved and cool to room temperature in the jar. Add the yeast and cover the jar with a piece of plastic wrap secured with a rubber band. Give the jar a good shake and let it stand until needed. The starter should become foamy after a few hours, and you will see tiny bubbles popping on the surface of the liquid. 

In a large stockpot over high heat, warm 8 cups of water to 155°F. While doing this, preheat your oven to 150°F to 155°F to create a nice, comfy environment for mashing the grains. If you don’t have an oven setting this low, or don’t own an oven thermometer, just warm your oven for about 5 minutes on the lowest setting. Turn off your oven once it has warmed.

Remove the pot of water from the heat, pour the buckwheat into the water, and stir. Check the temperature of the mash with an instant-read thermometer. Stir until it reaches at least 155°F.
Cover the pot and put it in the oven. Set a timer for 30 minutes. Halfway through, pull the pot out, stir the grains, and check the temperature. Maintain a mash temperature of 150°F to 155°F. If the temperature starts to drop below 150°F, set the pot on the burner for just a minute or two to warm it up again. If it’s too warm, stir the mash off the heat for a few minutes to bring the temperature down.
After 30 minutes, the buckwheat is mashed. Place the pot on the stove and heat the mash to 170°F. Hold it at this temperature for about 10 minutes. While doing this, heat the remaining 1 gallon of water to around 170°F in a separate pot to use for the next step.

To sparge the grains, set a large strainer over another large stockpot, your fermentation bucket, or another vessel large enough to hold all the liquid from the mash step, and place this in your kitchen sink. Pour the mashed grains into the strainer. The liquid, now called wort, will collect in the pot beneath. Slowly pour half of the warmed water over the grains, rinsing them evenly.
Clean the stockpot used for making the mash and transfer the strainer with the used grains back to this pot. Pour the wort through the grains again. Repeat this sparging step twice more, ending with the wort back in your original stockpot.

Add 11⁄2 pounds sorghum extract and enough additional warmed water to make about 11⁄2 gallons of total wort, measuring based on the size of your pot (a 2-gallon pot will be three-quarters full). The amount of additional water needed will vary depending on how much liquid the grains absorbed during mashing. Discard the used grains.

Bring the wort up to a rolling boil over high heat on the stove top. This will take 30 to 45 minutes. Watch for the hot break and be careful that the wort doesn’t boil over as this is happening. Stir the wort or lower the heat as needed.

Set a timer for 60 minutes and add the 2 tablespoons Cluster hops for bittering. When 20 minutes are left, add the 1 tablespoon Cluster hops for flavoring and the Irish moss. When 1 minute is left, add the
1 tablespoon Saaz hops for aroma.

Prepare an ice bath in your sink. Cool the wort to around 85°F, changing out the water in the sink as needed.

Sanitize your fermentation bucket and lid, the air lock, a long-handled spoon, a strainer, a funnel, and a hydrometer. Set the strainer over the 2-gallon fermentation bucket. If desired, line the strainer with a flour sack towel or several layers of cheesecloth (sanitized by submerging in the sanitizing solution). Strain the wort into the fermentation bucket. Check to make sure you have at least 1 gallon of wort. Add more water if needed. Take a hydrometer reading to determine the original gravity (see Brewer’s Handbook, page 16).

Pour the yeast starter into the wort and stir vigorously to distribute the yeast and aerate the wort. Snap on the lid and insert the air lock. Set the bucket somewhere out of the way, out of direct sunlight, and at moderate room temperature. You should see active fermentation as evidenced by bubbles in the air lock within 48 hours.

Let the beer ferment undisturbed for at least 3 days or up to 7 days, until fermentation has slowed and the sediment created during brewing has had a chance to settle. At this point, the beer is ready to be transferred off the sediment and into a smaller 1-gallon jug for the longer secondary fermentation.

Sanitize a 1-gallon jug, its stopper, the racking cane, its tip, the siphon hose, and the hose clamp. Siphon all of the beer into the jug. Tilt the bucket toward the end to siphon all of the liquid. Stop when you see the liquid in the hose becoming cloudy with sediment. Seal the jug with its stopper. Sanitize the air lock and insert it into the jug’s stopper. Let it sit somewhere cool and dark for 2 weeks.

To bottle the beer, sanitize a stockpot, a hydrometer, ten 12-ounce beer bottles or six 22-ounce beer bottles, their caps, the siphon hose, the racking cane, its tip, and the bottle filler. Siphon 1⁄2 cup of beer to the hydrometer and use to determine final gravity. Drink the beer or pour it back into the jug once used.

Pour the corn sugar solution into the stockpot. Siphon the beer into the stockpot to mix with the corn sugar solution, splashing as little as possible. Siphon the beer into bottles, cap, and label.

Let the bottles sit at room temperature out of direct sunlight for at least 2 weeks to fully carbonate. Store for up to 1 year. Refrigerate before serving.

( Reprinted with permission from True Brews: How to Craft Fermented Cider, Beer, Wine, Sake, Soda Kefir & Kombucha at Home by Emma Christensen, copyright © 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Photo credit: Paige Green © 2013)

D Minus 2, Viva Voce, Fete de La Musique-Make Music 2013, June 21, Music is Free

On D minus 2, Fete de la Musique 2013 program map shows 53 events for Americas and Caribbeans, 28 in Asia Pacific, 15 for sub-saharan Africa, 16 for North Africa and Middle East and 94 in Europe.

Celebrate Summer's arrival with Free Music.

Theme for 2013 is Viva Voce.

For Americas, top 3 is USA with 18 happening followed by Mexico and Columbia with 5 each.

Checking mexican list gave me a chance to discover Xalapa

In Colombia the fiesta in Pereira takes place on Saturday, June 22.

USA events can all be found on National Music Day site.

US site descibes event as "music in the streets, music in your church, music in the cafes, the parks, and wherever you feel like playing."


Many US cities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Santa Fe and Denver use Make Music moniker, so does Kalamazoo.

Will there be a Silent Man- Viva Voce thread?

(* Illustration from National Music Day site)