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January 24, 2014     Cape Gazette
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January 24, 2014

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Cape Gazette FRIDAY, JANUARY 24 ,- MONDAY, JANUARY 27, 2014 81 "ave you ever attended a party and fallen in love with a dish brought by one of the guests? Maybe I'm fickle, but it happens to me quite often. The only problem is trying to learn how the dish was made while you're also socializing and nibbling. Typi- cally, you'll be told how easy it was to throw together in under five minutes. This statement is rarely true, and any recipe de- tails you subsequently receive will surely be incomplete. However, if you are lucky enough to be at a social event where our friend, Bob LaM- orte, has brought an appetizer, you are in for a treat. Not only will his food be delicious and beautifully presented, but if you ask how it was made, he'll actually tell you. And, he'll cite sources and alternate ingredi- ents, as well as the results of his preparatory experiments. Bob is the kind of cook who loves to experiment with new recipes, yet remains sensibly skeptical of what he finds on- line. This is a sound approach, since so much of what you see on the intemet has been serially plagiarized. It's not uncommon to fred the very same list of ingredients and description of assembly with different names and sources. For example, you can find a layer cake from one author's "Aunt Sue's secret files" and another posted as "my father's grandmother's favorite dessert." They will also share identi- cal typographical errors and missing ingredients. The most egregious of these has to be the multiple sites with recipes for an Italian meatloaf- all of which do not list ground meat as an ingredient. As you may imagine, this isn't something one would be inclined to serve the family for dinner. Which brings me to the phyllo mushroom triangles in the photo, lust for the record, you may spell the name of these paper-thin, flaky pastry sheets as filo, fillo, or phyllo (despite the feedback you may receive from your word-processing software's spell checker, which will flag all three versions as incorrect). Bob's recipe for these savory bites is included below. He warned that the preparation is time-consuming, which makes the appetizer a good candi- date for making ahead of the BOWS MUSHROOM PHYLLO TRIANGLES are sure to please a crowd. event and freezing for up to lem, as you need to be able to two weeks. His other piece of fold them neatly. One solution advice was to avoid folding the I found was to layer pieces of triangles too tightly, or the mix- two separate sheets in order to ture will burst through. After make one the correct size. making the batch in the photo, I Despite the complexity of can confirm this will happen, the instructions, I found Bob's The other tricky part about recipe adaptable to substitute the dish is dealing with the ingredients and techniques. I dough. Sold in the freezer didn't have any cream cheese, section of most groceries, you so I mixed in shredded cheddar. can't tell how it's been handled And, with my food processor during shipment. It's not out of commission, I had to rely uncommon to thaw the pack- on a knife to finely chop the age according to the directions shallots and mushrooms. and still end up with shredded No matter which version sheets. If you're using them you decide to serve at the next individually, this can be a prob- cocktail party, the guests will be JACK CLEMONS PHOTO sure to ask you for the recipe. Thanks to Bob, you'll be able to share. Bob's Mushroom Phyllo Triangles 3/4 oz dried porcini mushrooms 1 C boiling water 1 Ib white mushrooms I coarsely chopped onion 2 T olive oil 1 t dried oregano 3/4 t salt 1/2 t pepper 1/4 t nutmeg 1/4 t thyme 6 oz ligM cream cheese Continued on page 82 lthough this article was on the Yahoo front page, some readers may have missed it. Titled "How to open a bottle of wine with everything but a corkscrew," it was informative and fun. Go here if you are interested: www. open-a-wine-bottle-without-a- corkscrew-73520983092.html. The article missed one of the most exciting methods of open- ing wine I have witnessed, and that is Sabrage, using a saber to separate the cork and top from a champagne bottle. I'm guessing the writer and Yahoo were afraid of the lawsuits that instructions in this art might provoke from uncoordinated at- torneys. Go here for a look-see: Champagne-Bottle.htm. Tensley Colson Canyon Vine- yard Santa Barbara Syrah 2012 was rated 94-96 by Jeb Dunnock writing in Wine Advocate; Tan- zer said 93. I enjoy Syrah and I trust Tanzer, so I found a bottle to try. It could use a little cellar time but lived up to expecta- tions and shows great promise. I found that decanting and letting it stand for several hours allowed the wine to develop manyfold. In the glass, very dark purple and with plenty of aeration showed brambleberry fruit, cherry, and wood shavings with hints of cola, smoke, black pepper and wet gravel. The pal- ate was equally complex with cassis and cherry liqueur en- e hanced by pie spice and violet pastille flavors riding a lovely acid/tannin frame through a long, fruit-sweet finish. Best of all, this 95-point McD pick can be found under $34. For those who think Charles Shaw wines (Two Buck Chuck) make for good drinking, here is some useful information. Fred Franzia, formerly of Franzia Brothers and currently a princi- pal of Bronco Wine Company, produces Oak Leaf, found at Walmart as well as $2 Chuck. These products are blends of "mostly California wine." They are examples of wines that are consistent because the maker is unencumbered by the mandate of using specific juice and can blend to his taste. They employ leftover odds and ends that can be bought cheaply, mixed to taste, bottled and sold under $5. As a service to you, my wino friends, I put my taste buds at risk and sampled each of the 10 Oak Leaf products The Sau- vignon Blanc was acceptable. The rest appeared to be sugar infused or improperly ferment- ed and not to my taste. I'm not a fan of sweet, low-acid wines. Charles Shaw Cab, Merlot and White Zin were all well made and a decent QPR. I'm guessing if you served them from a de- canter, most folks would think they were $10 selections. While I was in the category, I took a look at Three Wishes from Whole Foods. They completely missed the boat with their three selections, Merlot, Chard and Cab. All were unacceptable. To quote one of my fay blogs, Wine Harlots "the virtue of vice," "Wine Harlots drink crappy wine, so you don't have to," I resemble that sentiment. Long- time readers know it is rare that I pan products. Too much good stuff out there to write about. One of my wishes is that this plonk disappears. Please keep in mind I am judging these wines as $5 products, so the bar is low. Two Buck Chuck costs closer to $4. Going way upscale, Paul Dwyer, a longtime pal, invited me to slug down some Domaine Paul Avril Clos des Papes CDP 2006. Opulent barely describ this gem. It is just ready to drink, and another couple of years in the cellar would defi- nitely improve it. Its youth was clearly indicated by the color, which was still a very deep ruby/purple, and an earthy, complex, redolent bouquet of strawberries and raspberries, garrigue, spice box, licorice and flowers. Berry flavors under- lined by candied lavender, low but proper acidity, and lovelF , ripe tannins round out the full- bodied palate. This is an elegant wine with a pure, long, clean finish. It came on the market in 2007 at $110 and was highly touted by all the likely suspects. The price raced to $175 in 2008, then followed the stock market down to $129. I'm guessing that big-buck buyers willing to buy six could get Clos des Papes 2003 for $650. It will cellar through 2020. Email John McDonald at chjonmc@yahoo. com.