Archive for November, 2010

Duck breast with black raspberry sauce.

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

My blogging associate, Vinogirl, likes duck. After a comment about duck that she made on her blog, I promised a duck recipe.

This one is duck breast with black raspberry sauce, for two.

Ingredients:

Two duck breasts
Flour
1 Shallot chopped
2 Cloves Garlic minced
Cup of Black Raspberries
Cup of Ruby Port
Crushed black pepper
Olive Oil
Two large potatoes cut into small cubes
1 Onion sliced
½ cup Chicken Stock
Paprika

Pound the duck breast, sprinkle one side with pepper and then flour; do the same for the other side.

I keep some black raspberries from my garden frozen whole through the winter. When I want some, I remove as much as I want, let them warm up and then run them through a sieve to remove as much of the little seeds as possible.

In a skillet with a little olive oil, brown the duck at high heat on both sides and remove.

Deglaze the skillet with ½ cup Port until it cooks down to half; then, bring heat to low, add the shallot, half of the garlic, raspberries, and the rest of the port and let simmer, but don’t let it dry out. If that is about to happen, add wine.

In a pan, add tablespoon oil, onion and cook on medium for a minute; then, the rest of the garlic and cook for another minute; then, add the potatoes, sprinkle as much paprika as you want on them, add stock, mix things up, cover and simmer on low flame until the potatoes are soft—it should take about twenty or so minutes.

Gauge your stovetop and calculate how much time you need to allow the potatoes to cook so that the potatoes and the duck are ready at the same time, based on how rare—or not—you like your duck.

In another pan add a teaspoon olive oil over low heat; then, add the duck breast and cover. Let cook for about three minutes, turn over and let cook for three minutes; then cover for two minutes. Check the duck breast to see if it is as rare as you like it, or not too rare. If you need to cook more, keep watch over the breast so that it doesn’t overcook (I like mine pink to juicy). Always remember that meat cooks a little more after you turn off the flame.

When done, the potatoes should be soft and moist. If they are done slightly before the duck, just turn off the flame and let them sit covered.

When it is done, plate the duck, either pour the sauce over it or beside it, whether you like to cut and dip or sauce and cut.

Before serving the potatoes, sprinkle some pepper over them (salt too if you use it, I never do).

Add your greens of choice or salad.

Which wine would you pair with this meal?

Vinogirl Blog

Copyright Thomas Pellechia
November 2010. All rights reserved.

Lifting a blog entry without the author’s permission (and without recompense) is a copyright infringement–period.

Which wine for Pork chop?

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Wine writers, reviewers, critics, and bloggers are in the business of telling readers what to drink. Let me try something new and have readers tell me what to drink.

I’ll write out a meal, with recipes, and you pair it with wine. Tell me which wine you’d have with the meal and most of all, tell me why that wine.

First meal: thick cut pork chop in Madeira sauce, with roasted potatoes and sweetly infused Brussels sprouts.

The potatoes:

If you can find small new potatoes use them; if not, use the larger ones. The difference will be in how you cut them for the roasting. I like to thinly slice off the top and bottom of a small potato so that it stands flat and it has a plateau surface on which to add the ingredients. If the potatoes are large, I cut each in half and then slice the rounded edges to create the same flattened bottom and plateau on top, but to make the large potatoes small enough for quicker roasting.

While a small toaster oven (or similar unit) heats to 350 degrees F, dribble olive oil over each cut potato then sprinkle winter sage leaves and crushed white pepper over the potatoes so that they stick to the oil. Place in the oven and set for 50 minutes.

After 20 minutes into the potatoes roasting, turn main oven to 350 (I use a convection) and then drop a tablespoon olive oil into a cast iron pan and turn heat to high.

Place pork chop(s) on a meat-cutting surface, sprinkle crushed black pepper on one side and then lightly flour it; turn the chop over and do the same. Then, roll the chop in the rest of the flour that has fallen to the surface.

In the hot iron pan, brown the chop on each side and around its edges and then remove from heat. Immediately deglaze the pan with a ½ cup sweet Madeira and then reduce flame to low.

Place chops into the oven and turn timer to 20 minutes.

Add chopped shallot and garlic clove to the Madeira, plus ½ cup more Madeira and a few dashes of soy sauce. Separately, mix an ounce of Madeira with two teaspoons of flour until it is a thick gooey substance and add to the pan, turn flame to simmer and stir constantly.

Rinse and then cut a cross hatch into each Brussels sprout. Slice a garlic clove and thin carrots. In a sauté pan, over very low heat, add a teaspoon of olive oil, the sprouts, garlic and carrots, plus ¼ cup Madeira and cover to steam.

When the potatoes and chops are done, turn flame up under the Madeira/shallot sauce and stir vigorously until it is less liquid-like and more solid-like.

Check to see that the sprouts and carrots are firm but cooked.

Plate everything and pour the sauce over the chops—garnish with parsley.

Eat with the wine you prefer, but do tell me which one you have chosen.

Copyright Thomas Pellechia
November 2010. All rights reserved.

Lifting a blog entry without the author’s permission (and without recompense) is a copyright infringement–period.

Ten best–no, not again!

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

Each year, columnists, bloggers and sundry writers complain about the commercial aspect tied to Christmas and how much they hate it that earlier and earlier store windows are decorated, we are subjected to insipid “holiday” music loops, and magazines (and now Web sites) bombard us with “sales.”

Another of the holiday traditions is the end-of-year best of this and that lists, something I railed about here last year. When it comes to what to say as another year bites the dust, bloggers prove as uncreative as regular old print writers—instead of saying anything, they make a list!

The only good thing about those lists is that the assault is held off until late December or early January, after the insipid music stops—until this year.

In what appears like an attempt to get the jump on the annual listing crowd, two of my favorite wine bloggers have hit us with lists in early November.

Luckily, neither Tom Wark nor Jeff Lefevere chose to attach to their lists the undercurrent of some insipid music (the number of times that I mention the music indicates how much I despise having to be subjected to holiday music wherever I go).

Tom did a simple list of ten.

On the other hand, Jeff is not the kind of guy who will say something in five words when he knows that he has at least 50 words sitting around somewhere—his list came in four parts, in four separate blog entries.

Me, I don’t do end of year lists. But I’m also a realist. I know that the list crowd isn’t going to stop on my request. So, in the spirit of the early season, and since I am not as much of a curmudgeon as I want everyone to believe, I will join the fray, the early list fray.

Here are the Best Ten Excuses of 2010 to which this writer has been subjected:

1. I get so much email I must have missed yours.

All fifteen of them?

2. I didn’t see that invoice.

It was copied in all fifteen of those emails.

3. I was traveling.

By now, doesn’t everyone know what a laptop and wireless are.

4. We are a start up online magazine so we can’t pay you for your work, but we can offer you exposure.

Exposure can cause cancer.

5. We aren’t publishing any books this year.

…and why do you call yourself a publisher?

6. I’m sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner, but…

No, I can’t stop everything to write 500 words in fifteen minutes.

7. I’m too busy right now to meet with you.

Yet, each time I call to try for a meeting you spend 50 minutes on the telephone with me complaining about the publishing business.

8. He’s at a meeting.

How come he takes phone calls when he’s meeting with me?

9. That wasn’t my fault.

It never is.

10. Oh, I forgot.

Your honesty will come back to haunt you.

Tom Wark

Jeff LeFevere

If you are reading this entry anywhere other than on the vinofictions blog, be aware that it has been lifted without my permission (and without recompense), and that’s a copyright infringement, no matter that the copyright information appears with it.

Copyright Thomas Pellechia
November 2010. All rights reserved.