I've eaten my fair share of vegetable "pastas" in the past. While slivered carrots and zucchini are not necessarily a bad thing, they're not a true substitute for their starchier cousins. In Try This at Home, Richard Blais's has a number of what he calls "impastas," including this Potato "Linguine" with Conch and White Wine, which is actually brilliant.
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Blais has a number of what he calls "impastas" in the book--most are in the "I-wouldn't-mistake-this-for-pasta-any-day" camp. However, the potato "linguine" stands out. He first made the dish on Top Chef Masters (those viewers among us will probably remember the chef-testants doing their best to look cool cooking in bathing suits) and appeared to fool the judges into thinking that the potatoes were indeed freshly made pasta. Indeed, russet potatoes make ideal pasta substitutes, as they are mild in flavor and high in starch. Mingled with chopped conch (or clams), parsley, oregano, and bread crumbs, this "linguine" is more than just a substitute for pasta.
When you visit the Spanish Basque Country, walk into any pintxo bar in San Sebastián or Bilbao and you'll see an entire wall of green bottles. What's in them? A bright, slightly fizzy wine called txakoli. There are three regions that make this wine, and I recent visited them all to learn about the differences in the wines they produce.
It's stew season, or at least that's what my thermometer has been telling me. Unfortunately, most stews take longer to make than an hour to make, meaning they don't often work for a frantic weeknight meal. But this one is just close enough that it's worth giving it a noble try. If you're quick and efficient this wonderful lamb stew from the New York Times can be whipped up in one hour, but it will taste like it's been bubbling away for far longer than that.
For Sauvignon Blanc from France, you gotta know an AOC or two. We sampled some Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé to get you on your way.
Bordeaux is a wine with baggage. I always assumed it was an out-of-reach, snobby wine that was too expensive and available only to collectors and le wine buffs with deep pockets. And while it's true that some Bordeaux wines are indeed expensive (top-of-the line Bordeauxs are snapped up for hundreds or even thousands a bottle!) it's just not true across the line. Another common assumption: Bordeaux wines are all red. Nope. Learn more about the misunderstood wine here.
We crave tangy New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, but NZ is not the only place making tasty wines from our beloved varietal. This week, we checked out a few more affordable examples from around the globe.
This recipe for Vin d'Orange from Put 'em Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton is an ideal introduction to the world of home infusions. For those of you familiar with Lillet, that lightly sweet, elegantly orange flavored French apertif, this is a do-it-yourself approximation. White wine is mixed with pieces of whole orange (including the skin and pith for a pleasant bitterness), vanilla bean, cinnamon, and a mix of vodka and sugar for sweetness and shelf life.
Sauvignon Blanc is the fresh, tart limeade of affordable wine—a thirst-quencher for gulping on the patio on a hot summer evening. It's bright, tangy, and tasty, especially with some salty chips and guacamole or a plate of grilled fish. Whether you're stocking up for a party or just watching your budget, you can find quite a few decent bottles that sell for under ten bucks. In fact, we found more than a case full.
Today we wind up our Grenache series with six wines made from Grenache Blanc. This grape probably developed from a mutation in red-skinned Grenache—the same way Pinot Gris arose from Pinot Noir. Grenache Blanc is common in southern France, where it's blended into white Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Côtes du Rhône wines.
If you're looking for better value in wine, you should consider looking inside the box. Don't just assume that all boxed wine is bad. We found a few to recommend. And unlike the bottle, which goes bad after a few days, the wine bag collapses as you drink and the liquid doesn't get exposed to oxygen, so the shelf life can last up to seven weeks.
When it comes to the whites, we always try the same tired varietals: Chardonnay. Sauvignon Blanc. Pinot Grigio. Riesling. Each can be wonderful, but there's a whole world of really interesting and unusual whites out there to try.
This new monthly feature proves that drinkable and actually enjoyable wine can exist for south of ten bucks. Here are two suggestions (a red and a white) to get you started.
Despite its tongue-twisting name, it's easy to fall in love with Gewürztraminer because the grape produces wines that are aromatic, spicy, and pair brilliantly with spicy food—especially Asian food.
Every other week, Deb Harkness of Good Wine Under $20 joins us to talk some Serious Grape. Here's the latest. Photograph from Zed.Cat on Flickr Is it just me or is everyone suffering from the early fall crazies? The Labor Day holiday is looming ahead of us. Kids need back-to-school supplies and rides to and from soccer, ballet, and piano lessons (circle as appropriate). Then there's your boss, who returned from vacation full of new plans for office efficiency and greater productivity. It's enough to make the lazy days of summer seem all but a distant memory. Here's my wine survival tip for late summer and early fall: buy a mixed case of wine now, because things will only get...