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Food & Drink 98 FRIDAY, MAY 19 - MONDAY, MAY 22, 2017 Cape Gazette H ow many of you have turned off the news? Regardless which side of the aisle you abide, the recent hubbub is beyond the pale and for me beyond belief. Drives a man to drink! To be fair, in my case, a very small goad is needed. Lots to cover this week. Jamey asked about older Beaujolais. He wrote, "I thought it was all about November Nou- veau. Recently, one of my critics was touting some vintage prod- uct. What's up, John?" The short story for me is that November nuttiness surrounding Nouveau Beaujolais stems from folks vy- ing to be in front to sample the first release from Burgundy. I think that is a fun exercise, but unlike Steve Martin, I don't want some of the new wine. Like your critic, I prefer the older stuff. There are 10 Cru Beaujolais. My favorites in most vintages for aging are Moulin a Vent and Morgon. You can usually buy them around $25. To learn more, go to vinepair.com and search for Beaujolais per- sonality map. You will find that any of the listed Cru Beaujolais will easily age several years. The Nouveau is usually just a huge fruit bomb, light in body, and fun. The MD2020 of the jet set. Always remember about opinions - everybody has one.  On Fattoria Felsina Be- rardenga Fontalloro 2013, I recommended hold fire, and it is back down to a reasonable price after the surge caused by critic Monica Larner's 96 and Suckling’s 95-point laud were driving buyers. Larner was on the money with her description, but the price pop was unwar- ranted. I thought the ratings by WS and Galloni were more accurate at around 93 points. In the end, these are only very well-made Sangiovese (Chianti) from a terrific vintage. Suckling: "Aromas of plums, clay tiles and sage follow through to a full to medium body, silky tannins and a linear and racy finish... Excellent." Antonio Galloni said, "The richer, creamier style of the vintage while maintaining plenty of Fèlsina character," and wrote it is "...one of the most dramatic, bold, young Fontal- loro I can remember." McD says pricey pick to accompany a shared bowl of spaghetti and meatballs with a cocker spaniel.  Have you ever attended a Kevin Zraly wine class? Do you know who Kevin Zraly is? One of the most famous U.S. wine experts who made his bones with Wine Spectator, Kevin is world renowned and does jour- neyman work with his classes and tastings. I want to recommend those with time and the means to en- joy serious tasting opportunities to check out his site, kevinz- raly.com. I realize these events appear to be pricey. However, regulars are well aware I am a penurious, penny-pinching, price-conscious procurer. I try to only recommend high- value products. To date, I have received no, zero, nada, zilch complaints from any who took me up on recommended events of these sorts. Put it on your bucket list. High/fair price, higher value.  I would be remiss indeed if I did not write a brief eulogy for a wonderful woman and long- time acquaintance and friend, Mama Nicola. Joan Caggiano has left a large hole to be filled in the fabric of the Rehoboth restaurant and charity scene. I'm sure many will write of her charitable efforts and her smil- ing, friendly demeanor as she presided over Nicola's for so many years. Joan befriended Barbara and me when we first came to Rehoboth, and we were start- ing new restaurants and raising young families. She and her husband Nick were fans of fine wine, and from time to time we would discuss our mutual enjoyment. As much as Joan enjoyed her restaurant, her charitable work and an occa- sional glass of wine, it was when she spoke of her family that her entire demeanor bloomed. Joan's family and friends were paramount in her life. Somehow, she managed many other avenues, but there was no doubt where her heart lay. The McDonalds send sincere condo- lences to Nick, his children and extended family. You were all blessed with Joan's presence in your lives. R.I.P. Joan. Email John McDonald at chjonmc@yahoo. com. Forget about nouveau, try the older Beaujolais WINE John McDonald » O n a recent visit to the grocery, I succumbed to the mountain of clam- shell boxes filled with juicy ber- ries. The sign advertising "buy one get one free" made them all the more alluring. And, unlike the desiccated fruit more often offered, these berries were un- blemished and perfectly ripe.  After a few bowls of raspberry- garnished morning cereal and a spinach salad tossed with blackberries, there were only a few berries left. I decided a light dessert might be the best destination for these beauties and began searching for a fruit custard recipe.  Looking through my cook- books, I found not only lemon custard (featured as a filling for pastry or to hold up a layer of meringue on a pie) but also lemon curd. What's the differ- ence? They differ in both essen- tial ingredients and preparation.  Custards are a cooked mix- ture of milk and egg, typically assembled stovetop or baked in a water bath. They range in texture from a pourable sauce to a pudding-style consistency, depending on the amount and type of thickener, which can be flour, cornstarch, gelatin or a combination.  Custards are often sweetened and flavored with vanilla, citrus juice or chocolate for desserts. Savory preparations such as quiche feature vegetables, herbs and cheese or meat. Knowing this, you would correctly expect lemon custard to have a smooth texture and a delicate lemon flavor.  Lemon curd, on the other hand, offers an intense lemon flavor and a silky consistency. Simmered stovetop in a double boiler, ingredients include fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, egg yolks, sugar and butter. Instead of added thickeners, lemon curd relies on the natural pectin in the grated rind to thicken the mixture.  Both preparations are straightforward and simple to make, but require time and attention for success. With custard, the eggs are tempered to keep them from hardening when they're added at the end of the cooking time. To do this, a bit of the heated mixture is whisked into the beaten eggs and then returned to the pot for the final minute or so of cook- ing.  Lemon curd uses only egg yolks, which are whisked together with the other ingre- dients before the mixture is heated. The color is a lovely yellow shade, compared to the lighter hues of lemon custard. While both can perform the role of filling for a pie or pastry, lemon curd's richer flavor and thicker texture make it a star when spread on toast or a warm scone.  As I sorted through various recipes, I realized the filling for a lemon meringue pie is actu- ally a cross between a custard and a curd. I also noticed I was missing a key ingredient: lem- ons (we only had one). How- ever, we did have eight oranges in the refrigerator, which could readily substitute for lemon in a custard.  To avoid the additional calo- ries from a graham cracker or pastry crust, I simply poured the custard into ramekins be- fore topping with fresh berries. As you can see from the photo, the mixture was thick enough right out of the pan to keep the berries from sinking. What you can't see from the photo is that Jack didn't wait for them to be chilled before sampling one.  I've included my recipe for the orange custard in the picture, a decadent lemon curd, and a traditional lemon meringue pie - all delicious served with fresh berries.  Orange Custard  1/3 C sugar  1/3 C flour  1/4 t salt  1 C whole milk  1/2 C orange juice  1 egg  Sift sugar, flour and salt into a saucepan. Whisk in milk, stirring until smooth. Whisk in orange juice and place pan over medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly until mixture boils. Cook for 1 minute and remove from heat. In a small bowl, beat egg until frothy. Whisk 1/2 C hot mixture into egg and return mixture to the pan. Cook just below a simmer, whisking con- stantly, until thickened. Transfer custard into 4 ramekins and top with fresh berries. Chill before serving.  Lemon Curd  5 egg yolks  3/4 C sugar  4 lemons  6 T salted butter, chopped  Fill a saucepan with water to 1/3 from the top. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Re- duce heat to keep the water at a gentle simmer. Zest and juice the lemons; set aside. Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a me- dium bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat until smooth. Add lemon zest and juice; mix to combine. Set the bowl on the rim of the saucepan and cook, whisk- ing constantly. The mixture is thickened enough when it coats the back of a wooden spoon or reaches a temperature of 170 F. At this point, place bowl on a trivet or hot pad and add the chopped butter. Whisk until butter is incorporated com- pletely. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving as a spread or filling a pie shell. To keep, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.  Lemon Meringue Pie  9-inch pie crust  Custard is ideal light dessert CAPE FLAVORS Denise Clemons » JACK CLEMONS PHOTO ORANGE CUSTARD TARTS with blackberries and raspberries. Continued on page 99