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April 11, 2014     Cape Gazette
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April 11, 2014

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Cape Gazette Food & Drink FRIDAY, APRIL 11 - MONDAY, APRIL 14, 2014 87 Bru'nch remains a popular Sunday tradition s we look forward to celebrating Easter, ,we've started planning our favorite meal of bunny Sun- .day - brunch. How exactly did the notion of brunch begin? The name is easy enough to puzzle out, a combination of breakfast and lunch. Menus for a typical brunch reflect the same fusion: offerings from eggs to a stand- ing rib roast. And, the timing of brunch can be anywhere from late morning through early afternoon. Conventional wisdom for the origins of brunch points us to an 1895 issue of the magazine Hunters Weekly. In his essay, "Brunch: A Plea," Guy Beringer made the case to forgo both the hurried breakfast before church and the heavy meal afterward. Blending these two menus and serving the meal late in the morning would also benefit those who preferred to sleep in on Sundays (especially if Saturday evening's activities included late-night carousing). What started as a suggestion to more conveniently feed the foxhunting crowd after their long momings chasing hounds has evolved into a tradition that remains popular today. Because of the wide range of foods served for brunch, it's common for restaurants to offer a buffet instead of a menu. In many cit- ies, restaurants and hotels have become legendary for their extensive brunch buffets. Walk past the array of chaf- ing dishes, pick up a plate and begin with breakfast items such as eggs, bacon and sweet rolls or opt for the waffles, pancakes and sausage. The next step is to segue into the lighter side of lunch, a middle ground where you'll find soup and salad or chilled seafood cocktails. Finally, you're ready for the carving stations, where you choose from ham, lamb, pork or beef- don't forget the mashed potatoes and gravy. Another popular brunch menu item is the moming cock- tail, usually a mimosa or bloody Mary because of their juice content. This helps encourage diners to linger over their meals and may make them less aware of the uneven quality or failings of the food. Chefs have been known to express their dislike for brunch, which comes far too soon after a busy Saturday night at their restaurants. While there are a number of places in this area that serve an excellent brunch, we prefer to stay home on Easter Sunday. As a test for one of the items on our upcoming menu, I made the fluffy miniature biscuits in the photo. Unlike angel biscuits, which call for yeast, or plain baking powder biscuits, I used a leavening agent called BakeweU Cream. The maker, the New England Cupboard in Maine, sells tins labeled with the description "a leavening agent for better baking." A chemist looking for a replacement for cream of tartar during shortages in the 1940s created the product by combin- ing sodium acid pyrophosphate and redried starch. When the acid in Bakewell Cream mixes with baking soda, the chemical reaction produces prodigious amounts of carbon dioxide and a higher rise than with baking powder. The Bakewell Cream biscuit recipe printed on the can calls for a different baking process, as well. Once the dough is cut into rounds, the biscuits are baked at a very high heat for a few minutes; then the heat is turned off and the biscuits are left in the oven for another 10 or so minutes. The rise happens quickly, and the remaining time in the oven allows the biscuits to reach a delicate golden brown. In addition to its wonder- ful leavening effects, Bakewell Cream is aluminum free. If you've ever eaten a muffin that left an unpleasant tinny flavor in your mouth, blame it on the baking powder's aluminum con- tent. And, while baking powder has a limited shelf life (figure less than a year) Bakewell JACK CLEMONS PHOTO A BASKET of freshly baked homemade biscuits for brunch. Cream will keep for several years in your cupboard. I've included several recipes that feature Bakewell Cream, so you can compare your results to baked goods made with ordinary baking power. You'll be sure to add some of them to your menu for Easter Sunday brunch. BakeweU Cream Biscuits* 2 C flour 2 t Bakewell Cream 1 t baking soda 1/2t salt 1/4 C unsalted butter 3/4 C milk Preheat oven to 475 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Sift together dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resemble' cornmeal. Stir in milk and pull dough together into a ball. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 5 or 6 times. Roll out to one-half-inch thickness and cut into rounds with a biscuit cutter. Place on prepared cookie sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and continue baking until lightly golden, about 12 minutes. *Note: adapted from the manufactur- er's recipe. Continued on page 88 Unusual varietals can be worth a try iv i .... i,  ., i! here are very few dis- advantages to living in the backwaters of the coastal resorts, as opposed to the urban sprawl of the Route 95 corridor. For those of us who enjoy the panoply of wine, the missing varietal wines are one such issue. They are tough for the local stores to shelve. So few are aware of them. Once we have found our favored few, many are reluctant to risk our hard-won cash on outliers, no matter how highly they are rec- ommended or by whom. There are literally hundreds of wine grapes. Those who wish to see a fairly complete listing may go to a search engine and type in vitis vinifera + wine for an extensive listing. That said, I sampled a flight of Chignin made from Jacquere grapes from the Savoie, a region of France bordering Switzer- land in the Alps foothills. As you may imagine, most of the wine grapes grown near the Alps are white. Other common varietal whites are Rousanne, Gringet and Rousette aka Alt- esse. The cool growing climates don't normally allow the reds to fully ripen on a consistent basis. Those who read here will also remember that these conditions usually-produce cru designated Chignin, a dry white wine. The wines of Chignin are either light, dry, white wines made predominantly from the Jacquere grape variety or a red Chiguin Bergeron made from Mondeuse. Anyhow, ask your local wine store pals to order a case of Denis and Didier Berthollier Domaine la Combe des Grandes Vignes Chignin Vieilles Vignes 2011, Savoie, France. I have seen Chignin described as a halfway house between Sancerre and Chablis, a catchy phrase that works well for me. The 2011 BerthoUier is very pale lime-colored. It opens to a clean, focused nose, with rose, mineral and white peach notes leading to green apple and apri- cot flavors. These are very dry and crisp with a clean finish. A porch sipper that complements spicy Central American, Asian and Indian non-meat foods. You should be able to buy a case for $180 or so. Those who would enjoy trying some Swiss varietal wines can look up Nick Dobson Wines. Make sure you get com- plete price since shipping can be murder. Another producer of note is Andre & Michel Que- nard. John Gilman of View From the Cellar is the wine geek's wine geek. He recently laid a big, wet 93-point kiss and wrote, "It is one of the most complete examples in recent vintages," for Marc Olivier's Domaine de La Pepiere Muscadet Sevre et Maine sur Lie 2012. It is extremely rare for Muscadet to get a 93-point rating from Gilman or from anyone for that matter. Rarer still to fred this quality being sold for $13/bottle, when you buy a case. Olivier is one of those great winemakers we try to follow. The 2012 adds to his creds. Pale green-tinged, it opens to a complex bouquet of lime, green apple, gravel, and dried flowers. I found this Muscadet to be much more full-bodied and better balanced than many, which are often a bit austere for my palate. Leaving on the lees (sur lie) means the wine stayed in contact with the spent yeast cells and grape sediment, and usually that it is bottled without fining. The best easy-to-try example is that of buying flesh-squeezed apple juice, allowing i t to separate then tasting the clear. Next, shake to remix, then drink the mixture. Completely different, n'est-ce pas? - I sampled a lovely Reserve Viognier 2012 from Barbours- ville Vineyards in Virginia. This wine was also left on its lees. It did not see oak, nor did it go thru malolactic fermentation. Goes well with balsamic and/or fruit sauces. Peach and nec- tarine nose with tropical fruit flavors, some pear, passion fn,it, and herbs. Appropriate balance between acidity and fruit nose. Can be found under $20. Email John McDonald at chjonmc@yahoo. com.