Friday, April 28, 2006

Advice on Cheese Course to end a meal

I recently got this inquiry from a fellow chef, and thought I'd share it with you:

Hi Mark, I'm hoping to pick your brain for a minute. I have a dinner party for two. 6th anniversary. She wants to do a cheese coarse at the end of the meal instead of a dessert. Do have any suggestions on three or four cheese that would go with a nice port wine? They seem to have a very educated palate.

This meal I'm doing is also going to be paired with wines. I think that with the port and cheese there will be three or four other courses. Starting with caviar, Then maybe scallops, a spinach salad with pine nut, dried cranberries and balsamic viniagrette, A duck course. I'm going to push for the green pepper and morel sauce from The Gilded Fork, sounds great, with Wild Rice pilaf and Proscuitto wrapped asparagus. Cheese is dessert.

I can get to a whole foods or a international farmers market that carries a large selection of cheese. Any help would be great. I came to you since visiting the Gilded fork web site, and I was very impressed with the sound of the various menus. Thanks for any help.

This was my reply:

Hi Chef, without knowing the specific Port they are drinking (whether it's a Vintage or Ruby), in general you need to pick strong cheeses to pair with it, since it's a fortified wine.

The "Stinky" cheeses tend to do well with port. I would definitely choose a Stilton, especially if you can get your hands on a real Stilton (and preferably unpasteurized, unless she's pregnant).

I generally like to have a variety of cheeses that will progress, so I would choose a Manchego and also serve some membrillo with it (quince paste or the firmer block of membrillo). I would also choose a La Fourme d'Ambert, which is a bit tangy, as well as a soft full flavored goat cheese.

If you want to give them something unusual, try an Irish Porter Cheese. It's cheddared using Guiness or other stout beers. I've never had it with port, but it may make for an interesting pairing. If they really want a great cheese course experience, they will do a tasting of several wines with the cheeses, ones that pair specifically to each cheese. But since it's just two people, that's unlikely. I would just have them start with the lighter cheeses, and to hold off on the port until they get to a cheese that will stand up to it, or else it will completely overpower the milder cheeses.

Good luck with this. I'm doing a similar cheese course for an upcoming birthday dinner, although it's at the end of a multi-course tasting menu, and he's pairing a wine with each course. Let me know how it goes.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

ReMARKable Palate Discussion Forum

I keep adding ways for you to interact with me and with the content here! In addition to the comments capabilities here, and the listener hotline and MyChingo, you can now enter into direct discussions on the ReMARKable Palate subforum at The Gilded Fork. There is a Topic heading for each Podcast, so you can discuss each show.

There's also a handy link there in the sidebar, in the "Talk to Chef Mark" section.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

ReMARKable Palate Podcast #36

#36: Interview with Aimee Tang of Fremont's Fine Foods

Fremont's Fine Foods has been providing Albuquerque, NM with fine European and Asian specialty food products since 1918. Here, I speak with my friend and high school classmate Aimee Tang, the fourth generation to run this family store founded by her great grandfather.

Kitchen Quick Tip: Skinning fish filets (an audio clip from one of my cooking classes)

I also speak about a new way to add audio comments to any podcast or webpage,

Theme Music: "Can't Hold it Down", Andy Sullivan.
"Piccadillo", Katy Stephan.

The ReMARKable Palate Podcast, a Production of The Gilded Fork.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I'm back from New Mexico

And I had my fill of Green and Red Chile!

I have tons of fun stuff to share about my trip, including lots of great audio from my cooking classes and my food adventures. I'll be posting a new ReMARKable Palate show with some of that audio.

Also, I now have a new audio comments service in the sidebar. You can click on the "Leave me a comment" button to the right, and leave me a comment that will appear right here on the webpage. I may also use it on the Podcast.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

ReMARKable Palate Podcast #35

#35: Chelsea Market Tour, Part 2

Rob Safuto and I took you on a tour of Buon Italia a few weeks ago. Here's the rest of our Chelsea Market Soundseeing tour, with visits to Chelsea Thai, Manhattan Fruit Exchange, and Bowery Kitchen Supply, with some gelato tasting along the way!

Kitchen Quick Tip: Keeping cookbooks and recipes clean

Listener Hotline: 646-797-3196,
Theme Music: "Can't Hold it Down", Andy Sullivan.
"Piccadillo", Katy Stephan.

The ReMARKable Palate Podcast, a Production of The Gilded Fork.

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Monday, April 17, 2006

A Taste of Vietnam

I taught the first of 4 classes this week at the Williams-Sonoma store in Albuquerque, NM. Tonight's class was "A Taste of Vietnam", and we went over the basics of the cuisine, making nuoc cham nem sauce, a traditional Vietnamese accompaniment to almost any dish, and a dipping sauce for the next dish, which was summer rolls.

I showed the people in attendance (an intimate group of 13, who all got some hands-on cooking experience, how to handle the banh trang, or rice paper wrappers, and we use a variety of fillings, including rice noodles, cucumbers, carrots, shrimp, and a mix of herbs, such as mint, cilantro, thai basil, and spearmint.

We also make a grilled pork which was marinated in fish sauce, lime juice, cilantro root and sugar, and used it in the rolls.

We finished the class making a Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken with a Lemon Caramel Sauce.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Poached Pears in Sagrantino Wine

This is one of the recipes I will be featuring in my "A Taste of Umbria" class this coming week, while I'm away in Albuquerque. It's adapted from Mary Ann Esposito's Ciao Italia in Umbria cookbook.

Poached Pears in Sagrantino Wine
Sagrantino is a wonderful fruity wine from Umbria. When paired with the sweetness of poached pears, it makes for a wonderful dessert. If you can’t find Sagrantino, Barbera makes a suitable substitute.

4 servings


4 slightly ripe Anjou, Williams, or Bartlett pears (I'm partial to Anjou)
4 cups Sagrantino wine (or another full bodies fruity Italian wine)
¾ cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
Zest and juice of 1 lemon


Peel and core the pears, leaving the stems intact. If necessary, slice a thin slice from the bottom of each pear so that it stands up on its own. Place the pears in a small saucepan that will fit them without crowding, but without allowing them to drift around. Add the Sagrantino wine, sugar, cinnamon stick, lemon zest and juice. Be sure that the pears are covered. Bring to a gentle simmer and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, or until tender. A knife should be able to easily penetrate the pear. Remove the pears with a slotted spoon and allow to cool.

While the pears are cooling, boil the wine until it is reduced by half. Set aside.

Cut the pears in half lengthwise, and use a small spoon to remove the inner core and seeds. Place two halves on each of 4 individual serving plates. Drizzle a little of the reduced wine over the top of each dish and serve.

You may also wish to serve the pears whole, standing on the plate.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Congratulations to Molly Haynie

The winner of the Caserta Italia luxury leather snake skin iPod case contest is Molly Haynie, a college student from San Antonio, Texas! Congratulations to her. The case is already in the mail.

I'll have a recording of a skype call with Molly on my next show. Feel free to call and share your thoughts about the show on our listener hotline at:


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

ReMARKable Palate Podcast #34

#34: A Day in the Life

Follow me on a Day in the Life of a Personal Chef. I take you through the ins and outs of a full cookday, where I make 8 different dishes for a client, all in a short 35 minutes (in podcast time)!

Guest Kitchen Quick Tip: Cooking temperatures for meat
Drawing for the lucky winner of the Caserta Italia luxury leather iPod case.

Chef Mark teaches in Albuquerque April 17-20

Listener Hotline: 646-797-3196,
Theme Music: "Can't Hold it Down", Andy Sullivan.

The ReMARKable Palate Podcast, a Production of The Gilded Fork.


Monday, April 10, 2006

Last chance to win a free iPod case

Today's the last day for you to get your entry in to win a free Luxury Leather iPod case hand made by Caserta Italia.

Just fill out the Listener Survey and send me an e-mail at telling me the last question on the survey, and you'll be entered into the drawing, which will take place Tuesday night.

Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb

We're celebrating lamb this month at The Gilded Fork, so there's no reason not to make a traditional lamb for Easter, Passover, or for a Spring celebration!

My Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb with Garlic Smashed Potatoes and Balsamic Reduction is today's featured recipe.

This is an easy yet impressive preparation, so your guests will be wowed, and you'll keep your sanity while preparing it. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

New York Minute Video Tour of Chelsea Market

Rob, over at the New York Minute Show has posted the video of our Chelsea Market tour. Background music is provided by C-Will. Stick around at the end to watch a live performance of My Blue Shoes, a song featured on this video podcast.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

ReMARKable Palate Podcast #33

#33: Interview with Vic Cherikoff, pt 2

I conclude my talk with Vic Cherikoff, Producer and co-host of Dining Down Under, who talks about the wide array of Australian spices and plants now available to chefs and home cooks. Vic also offers us this week's Kitchen Quick Tip.

Plus, a new addition to the CPN family.

Jennifer's Weekly Meditation: Cooking with the Senses - Umami
Featured Website:

iPod case giveaway reminder: Listener Survey

Theme Music: "Can't Hold It Down", by Andy Sullivan.

The ReMARKable Palate Podcast, a production of The Gilded Fork.


Saturday, April 01, 2006

New Listener Hotline!

Now you can reach Chef Mark directly with your comments and questions about the ReMARKable Palate Podcast!

Just call 646-797-3196

and leave your comment. You may even get Chef Mark in person!

The New York Minute Show

You will recall that on ReMARKable Palate Podcast #30 I brought you a soundseeing tour of Buon Italia in the Chelsea Market. Well, Rob Safuto, who joined me on that tour, has put up the full tour we did in the market on his New York Minute Show podcast.

Rob is a cheerleader for all things New York, and his show is an online guide to all the great places and events you can find here in the city so nice, they named it twice!

Rob does soundseeing tours, talks about great bars and pubs, concerts, events, and the parks. He also does video podcasts, and you'll be able to see some video of our tour of Chelsea Market in an upcoming video podcast.

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