Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category



27
Apr
10

Cooking with Lévana – Part 3 – The Rush of the Rustic


I think from now on I’m going to have to refer to the history of my taste buds and cooking experience as BCL and ACL. Before Cooking with Lévana, I was a quick, shelved or frozen, white flour, white sugar, margarine toting, powder smoking spice kind of gal. I’d bend to the will of the dish….whatever it took to make it taste good…as long as it was easy, standardized and accessible, I was there. Rosemary or thyme were my occasional exotic additions. I avoided shopping till the cupboard was nearly bare – only then stocking up on the shelf life ‘big easyz’ frozen over canned, fresh produce reserved for guests and/or lichvod Shabbos. I’d bring home the symmetric little dried herbs that pour forth from large holed plastic dispensers, meat and chicken over fish, and whatever was on sale that might creatively fit the menu in some form or fashion. Healthy meant replacing vegetable oil with canola or extra light virgin olive oil and using sea salt instead of kosher salt. Even when I used fresh garlic or onions, I would sprinkle some of the magic elixir vita bottled powder just to make sure it had enough flavor. Oh, I can just hear Lévana’s horrified gasps in response to this confession, as she feverishly prays for my culinary soul’s redemption.

Lévana opening last night's cooking session

OK… OK don’t worry, all you brilliantly talented kitchen foodistas out there, I’m learning. Last night’s feast included a whole exotic array of new flavors to my unexposed palate. Fennel, saffron, turmeric (OK once or twice) and haricot verts (don’t worry it’s just lovely skinny green beans), agave and grey salt. As before, Lévana’s gift for blending natural healthy ingredients in a quick uncomplicated way to create delicious, good tasting, good for you dishes is nothing short of Merlin magical. Tonight, Monet’s color palette was resurrected, as Lévana paid close attention to the color scheme and blending of the evening’s Spring fresh offerings. The menu included Chicken Breasts with Artichoke and Carrot, Zucchini and Fennel Soup, Haricots Verts, Roasted Peppers and Heirloom Tomato salad with Grey Salt, Herbed Yukon Fingerlings and Plum Granola Tart.

The cut Heirloom tomato wedges

Lévana likes to start out with the dessert prep while hands and surfaces are fresh, clean and residual free. Preparing the pie dough, Lévana talked about the perks of gluten free living and how the wide variety of healthy grain flours such as millet, granola, buckwheat, cornmeal, quinoa, chick peas, et al,  are readily available as substitutes for white flour. As she spoke about nutrition she quipped; “There is no idea regarding nutrition that I have not thought of. It’s my life’s work! I’ve found the very best way to do it, and this is it! I’m not a chef, nor a sous chef, I’m a housewife who wants to do the best job possible…simple, simple, simple.”

While preparing the Zucchini Fennel Soup, Lévana explained her choice of yellow zucchini squash over the green colored ones.  “Don’t throw off the color scheme. There is a color scheme in cooking…the yellow zucchini goes better with the colors of the fennel and leeks…light with light…” The soup was earthy and delicious. The flavors subtle and soothing, the licorice taste of the fennel blended well with its pale chartreuse partners.

Chicken Breast with Artichoke and Carrots platter

In preparing the Chicken Breasts with Artichokes, as well as the Haricots Verts salad, Levana did advocate for the frozen packages for these items, although she took the time to show us how to prepare a fresh artichoke.  She makes it look so easy…

The colorful Spring salad with its rich green colors, festively adorned with the reds and oranges of the tomatoes and peppers was tangy and flavorful; the chicken tender, rustic and delicious. CS, the potato lover, found the spuds scrumptious!

The Plum Granola Tart looked like a still life in a classic renaissance painting, its taste – especially the cassis custard – was fit for a king. What it did to my palate was reminiscent me of a fine dessert wine, a wine that starts tart and sweet but ends with delightful, slight hint of dryness.

Plum Granola Tart

Lévana uses what she describes as assertive ingredients.  “The very best ingredients don’t need enhancement, they are like that perfect little black dress…add a string of pearls and you’re good to go…it’s fully stated.”  And so was our evening, perfectly stated and sated.  Thanks again Lévana for a delightful night out.

SYR

23
Apr
10

Tasting Tabor Wines


Last evening the Israeli Wine Lovers Club met to taste 8 wines produced by Israel’s Tabor Winery.

Kfar Tabor was founded over 100 in the heart of Galilee by Baron de Rothschild. As most communities of the times it too was an agricultural settlement but primarily dedicated to its vineyards. Soon they became grape suppliers to Israel’s leading wineries. In 1997, four local families decided to start their own winery using Kfar Tabor’s fruit, by 2005 they were producing 300,000 bottles a year, with 40,000 going to markets around the world.

Last night's selection

Tabor produces three wine series:
Galil – The youngest series of Tabor Winery. This series is based on 100% of each variety, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and Chardonnay.
Adama – This series takes you on a sensual journey to the slopes of Mount Tabor. The vineyard takes advantage of its close proximity to chalk, volcanic and Terra Rosa soils and bubbling natural springs that supply its water.
Mes’ha – This is the crown jewel of Tabor’s wine series. produced from carefully chosen hand-harvested clusters of grapes grown in our top-quality vineyards. Due to the selective harvesting, only a small quantity of wine is produced each time and not every year does the wine get released, giving expression only to the cream of the crop, thanks to winemaker Arye Nesher’s “terroir” approach to winemaking. In the search for perfection, the wines in this series are produced only under maximum conditions.

Tal Cohen speaking on Tabor Wines

Tal Cohen, had a 12 year career in the Marketing Department of Coca Cola-Israel (Tabor Winery‘s current owners), prior to coming to the US. Last evening she introduced each wine at the tasting. I found her charming, witty and very knowledgeable thus ensuring everyone had a great time while enjoying good wines.

The wines selected for this tasting were:

Galil Chardonnay 2009 – Light, fruity.

Galil Sauvignon Blanc 2009 – Flavorful and pleasing

Adama Sauvignon Blank 2009Chalk Soil – Pleasant and light, well balanced, far more complex than the preceding selections. It would make a great wine for a warm summer day.

Galil Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 – Oaked for four months, it shows shows soft tannins integrating nicely with a light cedar note, opening with an appealing note of mint on the nose, then yielding to red currant, red berry and citrus peel notes.

Adama Chalk Soil Merlot 2008 – Intensely dark garnet in color, opens with a rich mineral and black fruit nose, with gentle tannins on a medium- to full-bodied frame. It opens in the glass to reveal currant, plum and licorice notes and finishes with a generous hint of espresso.

Adama Volcanic Soil Merlot 2006 – Aged for 12 months in French oak it has a dark garnet color, medium to full-bodied, with a sweet, almost jammy raspberry nose that goes on to show spicy plums, cherries and blackberries, complemented nicely by spicy cedar note, with fruits and tannins rising on the finish.

Adama Volcanic Soil Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 – Deep garnet, medium to full-bodied with hints of white pepper and vanilla from the oak in which it aged. On the nose and palate traditional currant and blackberry fruits, those matched by notes of citrus peel, flinty minerals and, on the generous finish, hints of licorice and espresso. The Wine Spectator awarded it an 89 rating.

Adama Terra Rosa Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 – Medium- to full-bodied, with soft tannins, hints of spicy wood and vanilla and mouth-coating tannins settling down nicely. Showing currant, blackberry and generous earthy minerals along with Mediterranean herbs. Round and generous.

Mes’ha Shiraz/Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 – Aged for 18 months in oak, this wine – Tabor’s pride – deep-garnet, medium to full-bodied wine with tannins and spicy wood integrating and opening to reveal black currant, berry and plum fruits on a background of spicy wood and Mediterranean herbs. Generous, well balanced and long. Daniel Rogov and Robert Parker each awarded it a 90 rating.

The evening ended with a Tabor Wine, not currently available in the US, Tabor Pninim Lavan – From the gewürztraminer grape, it differs greatly from other products of the same grape in that is far more robust. It isn’t merely a dessert wine like other gewürztraminer based wines. It is a sparkling wine, delightfully fruity but it ends in a dry note. For me it is a perfect wine, a perfect refreshment drink, for a hot lazy Sunday afternoon.

I found Tal Cohen charming, witty and very knowledgeable as she directed the evening, ensuring everyone had a great time while enjoying good wines. Once again, Avi Ashman – founder and President of the Israeli Wine Lovers Club – has put together another superb evening of wine, cheese and fruit.

CS

RELATED POSTS

Sweet Wines Tasting
Benyamina Wines Tasting, Getting Ready for Tomorrow’s Tasting

28
Mar
10

Passover Chilean Sea Bass


Chef David Kolotkin, from Prime Grill, has appeared on this pages before ( here, here, here, and here); now he’s back to give us one his superb recipes. As you already know, Chef David doesn’t do things the traditional heimische way but… the result are incredibly delicious!

Chilean Sea Bass Mousse, Wrapped with Smoked Salmon,
Sweet and Sour Beet and Basil Salad, Horseradish Lemon Aioli

Feeds 6-8 people

Chilean Sea Bass Mousse:

[Non-gebroks]
-1 small onion peeled and quartered
-2 small carrots peeled and cut into 1″ pcs
-1 celery stalk cut into 1″ pcs
-1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped fine
-1/2 cup basil, chiffonade
-1 1/2 # chilean sea bass cut into 1-2″ pcs
-2 whole eggs
– sugar to taste (approx 1 1/2 tbsp)
– kosher salt to taste( approx 2 tsp)
-1/2# sliced smoked salmon
Preheat oven to 325

1. In a food processor with the blade attatchment, process onions until fine and minced. Place in a large mixing bowl.
2. Place carrots and celery in the food processor and repeat step #1. Place with onions in the bowl.
3. Add herbs to the vegetables.
4. Process Sea Bass until fine. Add the eggs, sugar, salt and pepper and mix until combined. Add this to the bowl with the vegetables and herbs. Mix well with a spoon.
5. Using a spoon, make 2-3oz quenelles and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.
6. Bake for 12-15 minutes until tender and firm. Cool and reserve. We will use the smoked salmon during the assembly of this dish so keep it refrigerated for later.

Sweet and Sour Beets with Basil

-1 cup sugar
-1 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
-1 1/2 cup water
-3 red beets peeled and cut into batons( or matchstick pcs 1/4″ thick)
-8 basil leaves chiffonade.

1. Combine sugar, vinegar and water in a deep pot.
2. Add the beets to the pot and bring to a simmer uncovered until beets are tender. Approx 45 minutes and until only a little liquid is left. The remaining liquid should be a syrup.
3. Cool and when cool, add the basil chiffonade. Reserve

Horseradish and Lemon Aioli

-3 egg yolks
-2 tbsp prepared white horseradish, liquid squeezed out.
-1 Lemon, zested and juiced
-1/4 tsp kosher salt
-1 cup vegetable oil

1. Place all ingredients except the oil into a mixing bowl.
2. Combine using a flexible whisk.
3. Slowly start to drizzle the oil in while whisking vigorously in a slow steady stream. Whisk until all the oil has been emulsified. This entire aioli can also be done in a food processor.
4. Set asside.

To assemble:

1. Place a small dollop of the aioli on a pc of the chilean sea bass mousse.
2. Depending on the size of the smoked salmon slices you may need 1-2 pcs per mousse. Lays the salmon flat on a cutting board. Place the Chilean bass mousse ontop, and roll so the smoked salmon wraps evenly around. Repeat this process until done.
3. Place 1 -2 pcs of the Chilean Sea Bass Mousse, Wrapped with Smoked Salmon, on a plate with the sweet and sour beets next to them. It is nice to drizzle some of the natural beet syrup on the plate. Extra horseradish lemon aioli can be placed on the plate as well.

Enjoy!!

David Kolotkin
Executive Chef
The Prime Grill

16
Mar
10

Benyamina Wines Tasting, Getting Ready for Tomorrow’s Tasting


On the evening of  Thursday, January the 21st, I attended a wine tasting of Benyamina wines given by Avi Ashman’s Israeli Wine Lovers Club. Asaf Paz, one of the two wine-makers at the Benyamina winery, presented a selection of wines in all price ranges.

Some of the wines we would taste...

Eran Elhalal, the club’s chef, prepared a nice assortment of cheeses (sharp and mild), fruits and sweets. Raphael Sutton, who edited Israel Food and Wine magazine and wrote on wines for Globes (Israel’s premier financial publication) was the resident expert together with Eran and Avi.

Asaf started the presentation with a Chardonnay 2007, we tasted it first at room temperature. It was pleasantly tart, with hints of citrus, grapefruit and apricot. When chilled it became fruitier with peach and floral notes. It’s made in the Champagne style since the Chardonnay grape together with its red grape cousins, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier is part of the triumvirate of grapes used for Champagne. This grape which easily adapts to every climate, no matter how extreme, is also used in large proportions in the production of classic sparklers around the world.

We followed with Yogev 2007, that combined Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. With Cherry and berry notes, the Shiraz gave it a smoky spiciness. Made from classical warm weather grapes, it won’t age as well as other higher end wines.

We continued with another Yogev 2007 selection, also a dry red. This wine combines 20% Petit Verdot (grown in the Negev Mountains, it has high acidity and produces fruity tannins) and 80% Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s aroma brought out mint and black currant tones. Ages well and has a very unique strong personality.

Next we had a Reserve Merlot 2005, with hints of cherry and sweet spices. it goes well with lamb shanks and strong flavored meats. Next we had a delightful Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2006.

Some of the higher end selections

Sapir 2004 followed this wines is aged for 16 months in the cask and 4 years in the bottle before it leaves the winery. It has 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Shiraz, and 25% Merlot, fruity with floral accents and sweet spices.

Odem 2005 was next, this wine has 97% Syrah and 3% Viognier it has a nice smoky taste and goes well with charcouterie meats.

Finally we got to taste Benyamina’s top of the line, The Cave – Hama’arah 2006, a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend. A superior wine that is aged not in the main winery but in a 300 year old cave in the heart of the Carmel Mountains, hence its name. This top quality wine, a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot, the grapes were harvested in  the Upper Galilee. The wine was aged over 24 months in new French oak barrels and will continue to age well. Truly a superb wine.

Tomorrow, March 17, the Israeli Wine Lovers Club will be meeting again in Manhattan, at:
Quint, Miller & Co.
34 West 38th Street (between 5th & 6th Ave.) NYC
6th Floor
The buzzer, on the ground floor, is # 6.

As Avi’s email advised: “Earlier today I got the wines for the “How Sweet It ISrael” tasting from the Royal Wine Company (the largest Kosher wines importer/distributor). The list is great — Carmel Shaal, Gamla White Riesling, Carmel Moscato, and more. Eran (our Club’s Chef) promised to make special treats for the tasting…. So, are you ready for a sweet feast as I am? We’d like to see you at the event.

You can RSVP at their web site: http://www.meetup.com/Israeli-Wine-Lovers/calendar/12765713/ The cost for this tasting is $36 at the door. Hope to see you there.

CS

15
Mar
10

Chef Laura Frankel’s Cooking Demo at DeGustibus Tomorrow


Kicking off De GustibusInspired Kosher Cooking Series, Chef Laura Frankel will do a demo tomorrow.

The official announcement says:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 | 1 – 3:30 PM
LAURA FRANKEL, executive chef for Wolfgang Puck Kosher Catering in Chicago, formerly of Shallots, and author of two cookbooks, most recently Jewish Cooking for All Seasons, returns to demonstrate healthy and delicious kosher fare inspired by greenmarkets.

De Gustibus is located on the 8th floor of Macy’s (151 West 34th Street, 8th Floor; NY NY 10001; Telephone: 212.239.1652; Fax: 212.494.4741), in Manhattan. Having attended a class there myself, recently, I can attest to the high quality of teaching and the delectable food everyone is served.

According to The Jew And The Carrot website, Chef Laura is currently Executive Chef and head of food services at the Wolfgang Puck Kosher Catering and café at the Spertus Institute for Jewish studies in Chicago. She is the former chef and founder of the Shallots restaurants. Mrs. Frankel has training and extensive experience in both savory and pastry kitchens. Before committing herself to her culinary passion, she played both alto and baritone saxophones. She taught and played professionally. She is the author of Jewish Cooking For All Seasons and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes. After class you will be able to buy cookbooks at 10% off.

I’ve eaten many times at Shallots when it used to be located in Manhattan at the atrium of the SONY building’s where Solo is now situated. I definitely can vouch for her succulent creations!!!

Having communicated recently with Chef Laura I can attest to her charm and wit. I have no doubt this will be an exciting class with superb food. Who can ask for anything more?

CS

09
Mar
10

Les Petites Fermières plus Organic and Kosher


A small selection of Les Petite Fermieres and Organic And Kosher cheeses

I like cheeses, as does CS, I use them in cooking, I use them in sandwiches and even in between wines at wine tastings. Thus I was happy to find that Les Petites Fermières (distributed by Anderson International Foods in Mineola, NY), has an interesting collection of available cheeses and most can be found at supermarkets and kosher groceries throughout the US and Canada. Some of my favorites include Gouda, Fontina, Havarti and Havarti with Dill.

Gouda is a distinctively flavored cheese, first developed in Gouda (Netherlands), as it ages it develops a slight caramel like taste.

Fontina, like Gouda, is made from cow’s milk and it originated in Italy’s Valle d’Aosta. Today, however it is also made in the US, France, Denmark and Sweden. Les Petites Fermières’ selection is softer and creamier than its fully aged, darker, Italian sibling.

Havarti was first made in the mid 19th century in an experimental farm, just north of Copenhagen, Norway. It has a subtle flavor that makes it perfect for slicing, grilling or melting. I also like its sibling Havarti with Dill, which has a somewhat stronger yet delightful taste due to the herb.

When I want something sharper I go for their Cheddar or the Mediterranean Jack. Frankly, I found all of them delicious! I like a cheese omelette for breakfast, so I made one using various cheeses.

CS’ Simple Cheese Omelette

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup of Les Petites Fermières Chef’s Blend (natural cheddar and pizza style blend) Shredded Cheese
  • 1 slice of Mozzarella
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Roland Oven Roasted Tomatoes (optional)

Preparation

  1. Melt the butter in an 8” inch skillet, over a medium flame, until it starts sizzling. Tilt skillet until bottom is completely covered.
  2. Drop in the two eggs and tilt the skillet to cover as much as much of it as possible.
  3. Sprinkle the Chef’s Blend cheese on top of the eggs liberally. Within a few seconds it will melt.
  4. With a spatula reach under the omelette and fold it over itself.
  5. Immediately cover the top with slice of Mozarella.
  6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. I also added a couple of oven roasted tomatoes over of the Mozarella. Do not overcook.

Sometimes I also add other spices, when I mix the eggs, prior to folding them into the skillet. Delicious!

For those of you who prefer organic food, Anderson International Foods also distributes Organic and Kosher. If you love cheese you’ll notice the difference between organic and regular cheeses. I did and absolutely liked the difference.

SYR

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08
Mar
10

Cooking Steak at The Center For Kosher Culinary Arts


Did you ever have a perfect steak? I did, when I attended a session at CKCA, (1407 Coney Island Avenue; Brooklyn, NY 11230; 718.758.1339 – they are right above Happy Home Housewares) when Chef David Ritter was teaching class the evening class. Though I’m not a student at the school, like all those present my attention was fully taken by Chef David’s directions and explanations.

This particular session was devoted to making Steak au Poivre (Peppercorn Steak)…

Steak au Poivre

Below is the recipe Chef Ritter has graciously agreed to share with us. As you read, you’ll see how dramatic the very act of cooking this recipe can be:

Steak au Poivre

2 tournedos – Tender Beef Filets – preferably Rib Eye medallions

1½ ozs. Cognac (Brandy)

2 ozs. Non-Dairy Creamer

1 ozs. Shallots – chopped

1-2 ozs. Margarine (optional) cold & cubed

1tspn Black Pepper – crushed

½ tspn Green Peppercorns

2 tblspn Clarified Margarine or Olive Oil

3 ozs. Demi-Glace (or, buy boxed beef stock and reduce it by ¾)

Preparation

Step 1 – Season Filet w/ Salt & Pepper.
Step 2
– Sautée Both Sides in Clarified Butter or Oil.
Step 3
– Remove meat; add shallots & sweat, Deglaze food particles on pan with Cognac – FLAMBÉE!
**(MUST REMOVE PAN FROM HEAT WHEN POURING ALCOHOL INTO PAN)**

Step 4
– Add green peppercorns.
Step 5 – Add Creamer and Demi Glace, reduce ‘til slightly thick.
Step 6 – Swirl in some margarine cubes without boiling sauce (optional).
Step 7 – Arrange plate and pour sauce over meat.

The aroma will conquer you. Just surrender and enjoy the taste!

CS

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26
Feb
10

Hamentashen!!!


I had always made Hungarian Lekvár filled hamentashen, but for this upcoming Purim I wanted something different. So here is my variation on an old theme. These hamentaschen look great and truly taste great.

Peanut Butter Crunch Hamentashen

(Makes about 20 Hamentashen)

Dough Ingredients

2 cups flour
1 large egg
¼ tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ cup sugar
8 TABLESPOONS melted margarine (1 stick)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 3 tbsp. parve milk
1 tbsp. orange zest

Dipping chocolate

2 ounces semisweet chocolate, 3 tablespoons parve cream
2 tbs.p oil or margarine

Filling

Semisweet chocolate chips
8 tbsp. Chunky Peanut Butter
1 tsp. Confectioners’ sugar

Dough prep

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. Add in melted margarine, orange zest, parve milk, egg, vanilla. Mix at medium speed in electric mixer for about 1 minute.

Roll out dough to ¼ “ thickness on well-floured surface. Cut into circles with cookie cutter or glass mouth. ( around 3” circumference) Place about 4-5 chocolate chips in center of circle. Pinch three sides, and place on oil sprayed cookie sheets. Bake at 375° for approximately 15 minutes, till golden. Cool.

When hamentashen have cooled, squeeze peanut butter filling into center.

Microwave semisweet chocolate for 30 seconds, then stir, then heat for another 30 seconds and stir till smooth and of dipping consistency. Dip each of the three corners of the hamentashen into chocolate dip. For added color and décor, sprinkle dipped edges with topping of your choice. I used butter crunch, and colored mini chocolate chips. but get a little crazy and creative. Invite the kids to bake with you inventing fun alternative fillings and toppings… Hey it’s Purim. Turn up the music and let your creative and simcha energies flow into the foods you make for family and friends.

A freilachen Purim, chag Purim same’ach!!!

SYR

22
Feb
10

A Private Wine Tasting


I recently had a private wine tasting with Costas Mouzouras, the Wine Director at Gotham Wines & Liquors (2517 Broadway; New York, NY 10025; Telephone: 212.932.0990). Costas, who’s been in the business for 22 years, selected four outstanding wines for me to try. To keep everything strictly kosher, I opened and poured the bottles for both of us.

The choices were: 2007 Lambouri Ya’in Kafrisin, 2006 Shiloh Secret Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007 Dalton Reserve Wild Yeast Fermentation Viognier and a 2007 Yatir Sauvignon Blanc.

We started with the 2007 Lambouri Ya’in Kafrisin. This wine comes from Limassol, Cyprus. It’s made from a mixture of Cabernet Sauvignon, Mavro and Grenache Noir grapes. These grapes are grown in Europe’s highest vineyards. The color is a dark garnet with orange and purple reflections. The Mavro grape is indigenous to Cyprus, and unlike any grape grown in the rest of Europe, it is still grown on ancient rootstock. Most mainland Europe’s vineyards have been attacked by the Philoxera Epidemic during the 19th century, as a result most European vineyards were devastated and their grapes had to be grafted on American rootstock. You can, therefore, surmise that while most European grapes may have, however subtly, changed their taste, the Mavro grape remains untainted and has tasted the same (with fair consistency) for thousands of years.  One will detect a nice fruitiness, with emphasis on blackcurrant, blackberry, purple plum fruits and notes of bitter orange peel, those on a background of white pepper and oriental spices, with the tannins and fruits rising on the finish. It leaves the drinker with an unusual but delightful after taste. Goes superbly well with juicy meats. Definitely one of my new favorites!

We followed it with the 2006 Shiloh Secret Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a very good Israeli wine, grown in the Judean Hills. Aged aged in French oak casks, it is very fruity with blackcurrant and plum undercurrents and vanilla (due to the French oak casks). It goes well with drier meats.

We then went on to the whites. 2007 Dalton Reserve Wild Yeast Fermentation Viognier was our next selection. It started with a certain smokiness, showing intense, vibrant and complex spicy, floral, fig and melon aromas and flavors. Deep and rich with a long, broad finish. This wine was, by far, much better than its price range would suggest!

We ended the tasting with a 2007 Yatir Sauvignon Blanc. Crisp and lively, with elegance and subtlety. It is light golden in color with orange and green reflections, showing citrus, passion fruit, green apple and grapefruit aromas and flavors on a grassy and stony-mineral background.

All in all, these four selection running in price range from $15.99 to $37.99 were excellent! Costas Mouzouras started working at Gotham Wines & Liquors in 1988, where he soon became the kosher wine buyer, at a time when most of the few available kosher wines were of the extra sweet variety. In his 22 years at Gotham he has seen an explosion of kosher wines with award winning selections from all over the globe including many dry wines (which would have been unthinkable to our older generation), as well as semi dry, semi sweet, and sweet ones.

I liked the wines enough that I had to bring each one home, this is their aftermath...

Currently, they are offering 10% off on any bottles and 15% off on solid cases. (solid meaning a case of the same product.)

On Sunday, March 7th, Gotham Wines & Liquors will present its 7th annual Wine Tasting. It will take place in the afternoon at the Lincoln Square Synagogue (200 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY; between 69th and 70th). They will present over 300 bottles from all over the world, starting at 2:00pm and going until 5:00pm. Pay $30 per person at the entrance or $25 on line at Gotham Wines & Liquors‘ own site. At 1:15 going on until 2:00 there will be a guided VIP tasting for $45 which is only available at the door.

CS

12
Feb
10

El Gaucho Steakhouse


Walking into El Gaucho Steakhouse, (4102 18th Avenue; Brooklyn, New York 11218; Telephone: 718.438.3006) brought back many fond memories from my childhood in Montevideo, Uruguay. The authentic decor, the food, the aromas… ah…

A detail of the wall mural

The meal consisted of some favorites from my childhood and adolescent years… yeap, these dishes were just as good as I remembered them… maybe even better!

I started out with their Empanada Casera de Carne. A turnover with beef and criolla sauce and a salad. It has a crispy exterior, and a very flavorful interior.

I followed with a Chorizo Parillero.

Chorizo Parillero and the authentic ambiance at El Gaucho Steakhouse

It was juicy and very aromatic!

For the main I ordered their mock Filet Mignon.

Filet Mignon

This cut is made from the eye of the ribeye, I ordered it medium. It was served with potato puree and mushroom sauce, garnished with minced scallions and mixed vegetables.

For dessert, I ordered their cake of the day.

Chocolate Cake and Ice Cream

It consisted of a hot molten chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream with chocolate topping. A fitting crown for a meal filled with memories and tastes of yesteryear. A true delight for decadent pleasures!

I washed it all down with a very good 2006 Layla Malbec from the Mendoza region of Argentina.

El Gaucho Steakhouse has a well stacked cellar with a nice selection of Argentine, Italian, American, French, Israeli and Australian wines, all kept at the proper temperature.  Mr. David the owner got his education in a restaurant in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They have a large Argentinian parrillador (grill) on premises and the Chef himself is from Argentina.

The food was delectable, the memories came flooding amidst the decor and the aromas… I’ll be back!!

CS




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