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January 4, 2013     Cape Gazette
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January 4, 2013

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i il I a 70 FRIDAY, JANUARY 4 - MONDAY, JANUARY 7, 2013 Food & Drink Altering recipes? Keep. flavor in mind of garlic and bay leaf), the host has time for any last-minute tasks. It is described as the first main course offered at the shop, and I thought it would be a good recipe to try. However, we had to make a few changes. First, the quantities had to be scaled back. We needed enough for two people, not 10. The trick to scaling a highly seasoned dish is to be careful which of the in- gredients are reduced and how much. It's one thing to go from four chickens to a single bird, but if you disturb the balance of acid, sweet, salty and tart, you could lose the flavor signature. To address that, we didn't re- duce the quantities in the mari- nade ingredients by the same factor as the chicken parts. The next change had more to do with preference than any- thing else; we skinned the chick- en pieces. That allowed the marinade to reach the flesh and perform both flavoring and ten- derizing more directly. I as- sumed the skin was left on to keep the meat from drying out, but that wouldn't be an issue, since we'd be serving it as soon as it was ready, rather than leav- ing it in a warming tray in a store window. Another change was made de- liberately: We omitted the brown sugar. According to the instructions it was to be sprin- kled over the marinated pieces ; ast week, we followed a L friend's recommenda- tion and tried a recipe from the "Silver Palate Cookbook." Originally published in the early '80s, the book is a collection of favorite dishes cre- ated by the authors for their New York City gourmet food shop. Like most recipe refer- ences, it's organized by type of food (appetizer, soup, salad, etc.) and includes notes about ingre- dients and techniques. While ,!'Joy of Cooking" is considered a primer on the basics, "Silver Palate" is a tutorial on how to impress your guests when enter- taining. The suggested recipe was for a dish called Chicken Marbella: marinated chicken parts roasted with olives, capers, prunes and seasonings. It would be an ideal main course for a dinner party or informal gathering, because the preparation is all done in ad- vance. While the chicken roasts (filling the kitchen with essence CAREFUL ADJUSTMENTS to a Silver Palate Chicken Marbella recipe yielded a feast for two. just before baking, most likely to promote browning and crisping of the skin. The dish certainly didn't need any more sweetness; the prunes provided that, and we'd already dispensed with the skin. The last change was an ac- cident; we had to leave the chicken in the refrigerator an ex- tra 12 hours, which postponed the roasting and prolonged the marinating. The results? As you may guess from the photo, after a single bite, we were convinced our ver- sion was better than the original. There was no fat to strain from the pan sauce; the meat was moist and highly seasoned, and the overall calorie count was lower. This recipe modification was definitely a success. Of course, not every recipe can be altered without potential- ly negative consequences. For example, you can't change the chemistry between specific amounts of liquid and dry ingre- dients in cakes, batters and breads. Even more important, you need to follow instructions for leavening agents such as bak- ing powder, baking soda and yeast. Cape Gazette JACK CLEMONS PHOTO You do have some leeway with sugar. Except when can- ning jams and jellies, you can usually reduce the amount of sugar by one-third. In cookies and cakes, a rule of thumb is one-half cup of sugar for each cup of flour; for quick breads and muffins, use one tablespoon of sugar for each cup of flour. As a treat for me, Jack made the apple tarts in the picture for our holiday dessert. He used less sugar than called for and also substituted some vanilla sugar - the results were delicious and Continued on page 71 Explore Austrian wines at Maryland tasting event Jan. 20 ell, the new year has finally arrived. The Mayan end of the world has been thwarted somehow, and it appears, as I'm writing, we are going over some type of cliff. Sounds to me like it is time to ei- ther celebrate or commiserate, and wine is a pretty dum good solution for either scenario. Af- ter you read the next paragraph you will rush out for some com- miseration juice. I will provide the best bets. You need to know these facts because the mainstream media has failed to inform us appropri- ately. They have allowed Sen. Reid and Mr. Obama to blame all the stalemate in D.C. on the GOP. I guess they forgot that Mr. Obama's most recent budget went down 400-0 in the House. There are only 234 GOP mem- bers in the House, therefore 166 Dems voted against Mr. Obama's budget in a bipartisan manner. In the Senate the bill failed 99-0 O n May 16, 2012. Since there are 100 senators, it is obvious this votewas bipartisan also. Mr. Reid has refused to even allow the last two Republican House budgets to go to the floor for dis- cussion, let alone a vote. As nsua,l the guy who says, "You can trust me," is the one stretch' ing the truth most. If you have any big bucks after they tax you rich guys, 95-point (both WS and WE) Fonseca Vin- tage Port 2009 is on sale for $70/bottle when you buy three. Winesearcher has most of it at $90. This is a true bargain, but I would buy a small ladder of the 375 mi bottles: 2009, 95 points, $45; 2007, 93 points, $48; 2003, 97 points, $50; and 2000, 95 points, $55. These are the best that are findable and would provide the opportunity to get a terrific read on Port. During the doldrums of Janu- ary, on the 20th, the Tasters Guild of Maryland is staging an Austrian wine tasting at the Caf de Paris in Columbia, Md. I have tried to convince folks to ac- quaint themselves with Austrian wine, and this is a free opportu- nity. Go to Tasters Guild and contact Dottie Wayne. The tast- ing information is on the site, bcevents.htm. Nonmembers pay $32. 2007 La Ferme Du Mont Chateauneuf du Pape Cotes Capelan, recommended here in 2010, is ready to drink now and for the next few years. We bought it at $47, and I am pleased to say if you tried to purchase it now it would cost $70 plus shipping. If you could find it. I opened one for a roast leg of lamb, and it was lovely. The bot- tle did need aeration and de- canting, as it has thrown off some sediment. It is startg to open. A Splendid bouquet of dark fruits, slight game and lavender aromas precedes a smooth palate that is rich and full but has the structure to keep it clean. The tannins continued to soften the longer it was in the glass. Cotes Capelan went fan- tastically with leg of lamb with rosemary marinade. I think the perfect window will open next fall, and I can't wait. Color, tan- nins and bouquet all say it can cellar several more years. Parker loved this and, give the devil his due, he was right on the money. While I'm on the varietal, the 2006 Zaca Mesa Winery Re- serve Syrah Santa Ynez Valley 2006, recommended in 2010, is drinking beautifully. We bought it at $18 with a 2010-15 window. Today it is sold out at the win- ery, but there are some around priced at $36. Patient folks might wish to lay in some of the 2009. Most rate it around 90 because it is a bit hot. I think they are wrong due to the color, nose, body, huge dark fruit and tan- nins. The 2009 defines the ter- minology "brooding" as it e- lates to wine. Do not go for the hype on the Black Bear Block bottling from ZM. Although it is lovely, it is not worth the $60 plus: I heard there was a move afoot to ban lighters and matches. Who needs a 20-match book or box? Let's disarm those dement- ed arsonists. Write your con- gressmen and senators today about this issue, before they fall off that cliff. Email John McDonald at