Sunday, March 26, 2017

WSET Week 2: white grapes

The two wines for this week are a northern Italian neutral white and a brand name Oaked Chardonnay.

In addition, we will be doing a blind tasting with a Riesling, a Sauvignon Blanc and a Chardonnay.

The puzzle on tap for our Friday, 3/31/2017 event.

The menu :
  • French Country Pata: Minces pork shoulder and chicken liver with brandy, creme, spiced with nutmeg, cloves, ginger, green and red peppercorns and shallots. Cooked in a bain-marie (water bath). Served with baguette, cornichons and dijon on the side.
  • Ceviche. I served the ceviche in a large bowl but this is what it would have looked like is served in a martini glass.
  • cheeses
  • Spanish Broad Bean Dip with Pita Chips, made by Jan from her current Spanish cooking class.
  • Beth brought delicious chocolate filled croissants.

We did a blind tasting with the French Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc and German Riesling. Then we did a side by side with a neutral Italian white and brand name Chardonnay.

Cherry Squares

 Cherry Squares
From the kitchen of Emma (ForrayPentrak -sister of Mary (ForrayLutri
My aunt, Mary Lou, was going through my Grandma Lutri's recipe box and shared this. Grandma's
The actual recipe
sister died in the late 50s.

1 ¾ cup shredded coconut (very fine)
½ cup sugar
½ cup butter or margarine
1 ½ cup sifted all-purpose flour. 
Combine and blend until mixed and crumbly in appearance.  Press half of mixture into greased 9-inch square pan. 
1 can of cherries – drained. (reserve juice) 
2 T. cornstarch – add to reserved juice 
Mix cornstarch and juice and add cherries.  
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened and clear.  
½ cup sugar – add to cherry mixture and stir until sugar is dissolved.  
Pour cherry mixture over flour mixture in pan.  
Top with remaining flour mixture. 
Bake at 400F about 30 minutes.  Cut into squares to serve.  

Saturday, March 18, 2017

WSET Week 1 Wine Assignment plus Shiraz vs Syrah

Here is the assignment:

Each week you are recommended to taste 2 wines from the course syllabus.
In your tasting this week you should try:
  • Aromatic unoaked white (preferably Gewurztraminer or Torrontés, alternatively German Riesling)
  • Light bodied red (e.g. Beaujolais or Valpolicella - note Valpolicella should not be Classico or Amarone)
If you have difficulty finding these particular wines styles, feel free to post your notes on any wines you try this week in the Group Tasting Area. Your tutor will give you guidance on your notes.
Once you have written your notes, you should taste each wine with some food including a crisp green apple and mature cheddar cheese (or a similar cheese) to see what effect they have on each other. 
Here is the line up for Tues. We have an aromatic unoaked white and an oaked white, plus a light red. We will test those again a green apple and sharp cheddar cheese. Then we will try the new world and old world Shiraz/syrah. That will they will taste great with the stew. Dennis Kohl suggested this amazing Recioto for dessert.

It was especially fun tasting the La Hitaire and Allegrini with the green apple and cheddar cheese. The comparison between an unoaked white and the oaked white was also good. The old world and new world Syrah/Shiraz comparison was also a great activity.  The new world Autralian Shiraz was so much sharper than the more rounded Syrah. They were both a pretty good with the beef bourgogne though I think a lighter red would have been better, such as a Pinot Noir.  The Shiraz was too harsh.

The good news is that the puzzle was completed!

Link to labeling assignment.

Link to flash cards,  

Tasting Note Assignment

Exploring Germany

We decided the save the Gruner Veltliner and Sylvaner for another day. I did add a Dornfelder.
Dianne supplied a cool tasting guide and we tackled the Reisling's first,
We started with the Kabinett and then the Spatlese.  Jan, approved of the Spatlese.

Beth made a delicious spaetzle which paired beautifully with the Kabinett. The cheeses supplied by Jan were amazing.

With our focus on Germany and my charge to make a dessert I contacted a family friend who lives in Germany, Alina and she gave me 2 ideas. The one I chose was Schwarzwälder Kirsch Torte  This recipe came from her Grandmother. It was a huge hit and a dessert I will definitely make again.

Thanks puzzlers for another great day of wine study and puzzling.

I did not care for the Dornfelder, too sweet. and was surprised at how earthly the German Pinot Noir was. I tried it again the next day with a hamburger and it was very good.  

I have had Gewurztraminer before but this one was a little sweeter than expected.  Diane said she enjoyed it when it was served a little cooler.

Exploring Languedoc-Roussillon

On March 14th we began our study of Languedoc-Roussillon wines. Thank you Dennis Kohl for helping me pick them out.

First we sample the white wines. My favorite was the La Ciboise. It was a blend of......
As we sampled the white wine we also sampled delicious cheeses provided by Jan: Brie, Swiss and Cammebert the delicious quiche made by Beth.  The quiche was a great pairing especially with the Marsanne. 
I love the way Jan labels the cheeses with the wines they best pair.

More about these wines later.....

Next we turned to dessert. I made a cherry sauce and sweet wine served brioche. It was so much fun making brioche for the first time.  It was so pretty and super delicious. We used Sauterne for the
sweet wine.
It was great to sample the red wines with Jan's spicy arugula salad and the salsa and onion relish that Dianne provided with baguettes.

More about the reds later....

Through all that tasting and analyzing the puzzle was also completed. Yeah puzzlers.  Thanks for coming with me on this wine journey.

Cherries with Sweet Wine and Brioche

This recipe is from Jacques Pepin Heart and Soul in the Kitchen cook book, p. 359

I made this for one of our puzzling, food and wine events in March 2017. We were studying the
wines of the French Languedoc-Roursillon region. We tasted wonderful cheeses, Brie and Camembert. The quiche was a great pairing with the Marssane. Then on to dessert. We then shifted to some red wines and a great arugula salad.

Serves 4

2 cups sour cherries, pitted ( sweet can also be used)
1/4 cup sugar (2 T sugar if using sweet cherries)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 brioche rolls ( about 2 ounces each) split in half) Note: 8 made a brioche loaf and used 1/2 slice for each serving.
4 fresh mint leaves
1 375 ml bottle sweet Sauternes, chilled. Can used Madeira or port.

Mix the sugar and cherries Ina bowl and cover and refrigerate. This can be done a few hours ahead.
Whip the cream to a soft peak. Refrigerate..
If you are making brioche, you will need to do that 2 days in advance. Fun but time consuming.
At serving time, arrange a brioche half in each of 4 martini glasses. Cover with cherries and their juices. Top with cream and mint sprig and serve.
At the table, pour about 1/3 cup of Sauterne into each dessert glass, taking care to pour it around the whipped cream, not over it. Serve the extra Sauterne in wine glasses as an accompaniment to the dessert.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Exploring South America and South Africa

On February 27th we tasted 4 reds and then did a blind tasting. That was so much fun!
I made a coconut butternut squash soup (Sopa de Abóbora e Coco)
which paired perfectly with the Torrontes.

Jan made a salad and Dianne made 2 breads one from Peru and one from Brazil.

We actually did pretty well with the blind tasting.  The Malbec did throw us off a bit.

Jan liked the Muscato from South Africa.  I wasn't very fond of the Chardonnay.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Schwarzwälder Kirsch Torte

Recipe from Alina Kunze's Grandmother (3/2017)

So first you make what we call "biskuitboden", that is the thin layer of cake that goes between the other layers.
For that you need:

5 eggs
175 g of white sugar (3/4 cup)

125 g of flour (1 cup)
A tbs full of baking powder
50 g of corn starch (1/4 cup)
15g of Cocoa powder (1/8 cup)

Separate the eggs and beat the egg whites with half of the sugar until they are firm.
Then mix the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar. Combine the two masses slowly by hand.
Mix flour, baking powder, starch and cocoa and carefully mix under the mass. Add vanilla.

You need to preheat the oven to around 180 degrees Celsius and bake the dough in a "springform" baking tin ( I hope you know what I mean here 😀 that's all my translator told me). It needs to bake for around 25 minutes and then be taken from the tin and cooled all the way down.

Then you will need
around 350 g of cherries ( the same that I described above)
30 g of starch (1/4 cup)
25 g of sugar
And a sip of cherry water ( it's a liquor, and can also be left out)

You need to separate the cherries from the juice and keep 250 ml of it. Then take four spoons of that juice and mix it with the starch and the sugar. Bring the rest of the juice to a boil and slowly mix in the starch mix to thicken everything.
Let it cool down and then mix in the cherries and add as much alcohol as you'd like.

The last component is the cream. For that you need:
800g of cream (28 oz)
40g of sugar
2 packages of the powder that helps making cream hard 😀 is it cream of tartar in English?
Just mix everything together until it is really firm

When the cake has completely cooled down, you should cut it into three layers horizontally. One of them will be the base of the cake. If you put it back in the baking tin, it will be easier to layer but you can also do it free style 😉
So on the first cake layer, you put a layer of cherries, then cream and repeat until you have used all three cakes. Be sure to keep some cream for the sides, to make the cake look pretty 😉 on top of the outer layer of cake you can put little dollops of cream and then sprinkle the whole cake with chocolate shavings

It should then go into the fridge for at least 3-4 hours