Tuesday, November 28, 2006

ReMARKable Palate Podcast #67

ReMARKable Palate #67: Hellenic Food and Wine

Opa! I was recently invited to a Hellenic Food and Wine event at the Battery Gardens Restaurant in Battery Park, in New York City. It overlooks the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor, and was a fitting setting for celebrating the food and wines of the Grecian isles. With wine merchants and restaurateurs from around New York City, they represented producers from Cyprus, the Cyclades Islands, the Peleponnesus and the Greek mainland, we got a chance to taste many wines and mezes from all around the region, and I got a chance to practice my pronunciation, with varying degrees of success! It was a wonderful evening, as we learned that Hellenic food and wine is more than just spanikopita and retsina.

Links: www.cyprustradeny.org, www.atheneeimporters.com, www.ammosnewyork.com, www.sotirisbafitisselections.com, www.artopolis.net, www.moschofilero.com, www.nestorimports.com,

Boutique Spotlight: Buy $300 in merchandise, and get $50 off. shop.gildedfork.com

Voice Mail: 646-797-3196

The ReMARKable Palate Podcast is a production of The Gilded Fork. www.gildedfork.com
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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Side Dish Dilema solved

I got this response from the reader who had a Side Dish Question for Thanksgiving.


The Mac 'n Cheese turned out perfect. Great suggestions. I never made a Bechamel sauce before but now I realize what a great base it is for many Italian dishes. At first when I got worried when I put the fontina cheese into the milk and it melted into a think blob at the bottom of the pot. Thankfully, I had so many other things going on I just left it on low heat and in 10 minutes or so the whole thing folded together into a very nice smooth cheese sauce. Thanks so much for your quick response and help.

Bob C.

Right on, man. You're welcome! Yes, that can be scary when it looks like a lumpy mess, but as you discovered, it melts nicely.

To clarify, the béchamel is a white roux (butter and flour) and milk base, and it can be the starter for many sauces. it can be a binder for croquettes, to finish creamed vegetable dishes, or in lasagnas or pasta dishes.

Make a Mornay sauce by adding 8 ounces each of gruyère and parmesan, and finishing with a little butter.

Cream sauce: Add 1 pint of heated heavy cream to the béchamel.

Cheddar Sauce: Add 1 pound of grated sharp cheddar to the béchamel.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Christmas Time's 'acomin!

Well, it's Black Friday, and it seems the whole world is in a frenzy to get down to the megamall and fight with each other over nintendxboxes and the like. Well, you can avoid all that razzmafrazzle by purchasing a Gilded Fork Gift Certificate to treat your friends and relatives to their choice of quality gourmet gifts. We have them in $50, $100, $150 and $200 increments. We'll send it to you in a gilded gift bag that you can tuck under the tree.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Reader Side Dish question

Wow, just a few hours after the Wall Street Journal article mentioning me came out, I got this question from a new reader:

Hi Mark,
Nice article! A question about a pasta side dish for tomorrow. I want to make a pasta for the kids and teens who don't like the traditional Thanksgiving fare. I have a recipe for Four Cheese Al Forno and one for creamy Macaroni and Cheese. I want to use the Four Cheese one as my base (which is a much drier, baked pasta and cheese than "Kraft Style" mac & cheese) but use some of the milk & cheddar from the creamy one so I end up with something in between. Do you think that is just going not come out right or taste good? Should I stick with one or the other?
Bob C.

Hi Bob,

If your Mac 'n ' Cheese recipe uses as a base a bechamel type sauce, you can use that to make the whole dish creamier. Here's what I would do:

In a medium saucepan, mix 3 Tbsp flour with 1 1/2 cups milk until there are no lumps. Add 1 Tbsp butter and a dash of salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sauce boils and thickens slightly. Remove from the heat. Stir in 1/4 pound Fontina cheese, a little nutmeg, and a splash of vermouth until sauce is smooth and the cheese melts. You can then mix this with the cooked pasta, THEN add your other cheeses before you bake it in the oven. Let the bechamel cheese sauce coat the pasta, cool it a little and keep the other cheeses from melting until you bake it. I would stay away from cheddar in this dish, and focus on the italian style cheeses.


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Chef Mark mentioned in the Wall Street Journal

Soggy Stuffing, Dry Turkey?
Now You Can IM a Chef

November 22, 2006; Page D1

For cooks planning a Thanksgiving meal, it's crunch time.

When things go wrong, the idea of taking questions to a professional chef has long seemed about as realistic as pushing through the swinging doors at a restaurant and heading into the kitchen.

But that's changing quickly. A growing number of chefs are communicating with home cooks via phone, email and instant-messaging services. Web-based services like ChefsLine.com and chefs.com, both launched in the past year, let anyone contact a chef for help with a cooking crisis or a routine query -- investigating why that flourless chocolate cake never cooked through, for instance, or explaining how to truss or tuck the legs of a turkey after seasoning the inside.......

Because people are accustomed to being intimidated by chefs, they often are surprised to find them so accessible. Mark Tafoya, a personal chef who runs an online food magazine, creates cooking podcasts, and has answered a few calls from Chefs Line customers, leaves contact info via email, his Skype phone number and his voicemail on his blog at remarkablepalate.blogspot.com. One day, a man called Mr. Tafoya and hung up, only to call back and say that he was so shocked that Mr. Tafoya actually answered the phone that he couldn't figure out what to say.

You can read the whole article HERE.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

ReMARKable Palate Podcast #66

ReMARKable Palate #66: The Wines of Rioja, Part 2

In Part 2 of our visit to the bodegas of Rioja, we go modern, with visits to 2 of the most innovative architectural wineries in the region, Ysios, designed by famed Valenica architect Santiago Calatrava and Viña Real, part of the Cune group. We also train our sense of smell at the Museo de la Cultura del Vino at Bodegas Dinastía Vivanco.

Also, Jennifer gives us a clip from her Food Philosophy #30, and we hear from Gianni Gagliardi a trailblazing winemaker of Barolo in Piemonte.

Boutique Spotlight: Gift certificates for the hard-to-please on your holiday gift list. shop.gildedfork.com

www.bodegasysios.com, www.cvne.com, www.dinastiavivanco.com

Voice Mail: 646-797-3196

Music: "Go Fish", by Big Money Grip; "Alabanza Real", by Josh Lopez; "Coffee Bean", by Sonic Deviant; "Libre", by Rich Hernandez; "Next Town", by KCSaito & Zetton. Find them all at music.podshow.com

The ReMARKable Palate Podcast is a production of The Gilded Fork. www.gildedfork.com

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Monday, November 13, 2006

ReMARKable Palate Podcast #65

ReMARKable Palate #65: The Wines of Rioja, Part 1

Today, we visit 3 of the most notable wineries in Rioja: Muga, López de Heredia and Marqués de Cáceres, and learn a bit about the process of winemaking. Juan Muga of Muga explains the process of fining, filtering the wine using egg whites, and takes us into the cooperage, explaining the the art of barrel making. Maria José Lopez de Heredia explains the heritage of Viña Tondonia, founded by her great grandfather. We also get a tasting session with Christina Forner of Marqués de Cáceres, who explains the reasoning behind their wines. www.bodegasmuga.com, www.lopezdeheredia.com, www.marquesdecaceres.com

Also, Jennifer and I share some Thanksgiving entertaining tips, and we hear from Pepper, one of our Gilded Fork Kitchen Elves.

Boutique Spotlight: YUMMIE Top Hat Circus Tin. Use code RPYUMMIE for a 10% discount through November 30th. shop.gildedfork.com

Voice Mail: 646-797-3196

Music: "Go Fish", by Big Money Grip; "Bad Writer", by Gokee Quateto; "Last Tango in NYC", by The Four Bags; "Libre", by Rich Hernandez; "Next Town", by KCSaito & Zetton. Find them all at music.podshow.com

The ReMARKable Palate Podcast is a production of The Gilded Fork. www.gildedfork.com

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

A Photo Triptych from Rioja

All photos Copyright Mark Tafoya. All rights reserved.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

ReMARKable Palate Podcast #64

ReMARKable Palate #64: Cranberry Time!

On my first show as a member of the Podshow Podcast Delivery Network, I speak with Chef Ming Tsai and Gary Garretson, cranberry farmer, about the "Bogs Across America" cranberry bog they built in Rockefeller Center to raise money for America's Second Harvest, the nation's food bank network. Cranberries are an important fruit this time of year on the American table, and a great source of antioxidants and proanthocyanidins. Gary Garretson talks to us about how he farms cranberries, and Ming gives us some tips for holiday cooking using cranberries. We also speak about Ming's appearance on Top Chef, and discuss the phenomenon of Reality cooking shows.


Music: "Go Fish" by Big Money Grip. www.bigmoneygrip.com, "Coffee Bean", by Sonic Deviant. www.sonicdeviant.com

The ReMARKable Palate Podcast is a production of The Gilded Fork. www.gildedfork.com

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Gehry's jewelbox in the heart of Rioja

Frank Gehry, the reknowned 82 year old Canadian architect, has unveiled his second major design in the North of Spain with a new Starwood Hotel at Marqués de Riscal Bodegas in Enciego. After a splashy debut with the Guggenheim in Bilbao, which revitalized the city and made it into an international art and architectural destination in 1997, his latest project is more of a jewelbox, highlighting the colors so important in Rioja.

Marqués de Riscal is one of the oldest wineries in the region, dating from 1860 (a date reflected in the name of one of the two Francis Paniego helmed restaurants on the property). This new hotel is part of an endeavor to bring people to Riscal's "Cuity of Wine", with the old cellars and tasting room just steps away, and a gorgeous view of the old hill town of Elciego just across the way.

As a Starwood hotel, the property has just over 40 rooms, and only a month after officially opening, the hotel is booked solid for the foreseeable future. As a luxury destination, the hotel houses a Caudalie spa, where guests can be pampered with luxury treatments featuring crushed grapeseeds, grape must, and even a grape massage(don't ask).

Gehry's canopy of multi-colored titanium reflects (literally and symbolically) the colors of Rioja in gold, silver and rosé. Like all of Gehry's buildings, the light at different times of day shifts ones perception of both the building and the surrounding vines. Especially seen at this time of year, when the grapes have been harvested and the tempranillo vines turn shades of orange, blush and vermillion, this strange yet somehow organic building seems to capture the spirit of the grape itself.

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