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Lewes, Delaware
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September 1, 2006     Cape Gazette
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September 1, 2006

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CAPE GAZETTE. Friday, September 1 - Monday, September 4, 2006 - 129 FOOD DRINK W .h I N E John McDonald Jack Clemona photo "Maque-choux," pronounced "mock shoe," is a Cajun form of succotash which uses corn, peppers and tomato. Maque-choux, ratatouille join forces as flavorful side dishes Once again, I went to the grocery store on an empty stomach and found my cart filled !othe brirnwben I reached the checkout. It was either the right time of day or best day of the week for produce, because the aisle was overflowing with a surprising selection of fresh vegetables - shiny eggplant, unblemished zucchini and mountains of fine-ripened tomatoes. Although the spoils of my weekday shopping excursion still covered my kitchen counters, I used my out-of-town guests as an excuse to go to the Saturday morning Farmers Market. :Walking through the market stalls before breakfast was the reason I collected more tomatoes, bright red peppers, new potatoes and too many ears of just-picked corn. As I unloaded my bags, I started planning how to use all these vegetables. We had several ears of corn for dinner and I set aside the remainder to make "maque- choux" (pronounced "mock shoe"). While "choux" means "cabbage" in French, there is no literal translation for the name of this dish, a Cajun form of succotash which uses corn, peppers and tomato. Some versions add bacon and others" call for andouilte sausage for smoky background flavors. If you'd like t0 avoid meat, simply use olive oil or butter to saut6 the vegetables; this cooks up quickly with either already boiled or uncooked corn-on-the-cob and is an ideal place for the almost overripe toma- CAPE FLAVORS Denise Clemon., make the dish richer (like a spicy creamed corn) by adding milk or cream during the final few minutes of simmering. I adjust the level of spiciness with cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes. If you prefer, try a Creole or Cajun seasoning mix to add some heat. My impulse purchases of eggplan t, zuc- chini; peppers and far too many tomatoes were about to join forces in a pot of rata- touille. The name comes from the French "touiller", to stir; and it's sometimes used in contexts outside the kitchen to refer to any toes. The recipe may also be modified t6 kind of a colorful mixture. Ratatouille is an extremely versatile dish: served hot, cold or at room temperature; as a side dish; as an appetizer with bread or crackers; or as a sauce for pasta. One key step in making ratatonille is preparing the eggplant by salt- ing it to reduce potential bitterness. This is also a good idea if you plan to use eggplant in a recipe that calls for frying or grilling: salting draws out water, collapsing air pockets in the spongelike flesh to reduce its tendency to soak up oil. Ratatouille is typ- ically associated with Provence (which is why I've used herbs de Provenqe in the recipe below), but you can give it other fla- vor signatures with your choice of season- ings. For a hint of Mexican, substitute jalapeno and chili peppers and season with cumin and cilantro; for an Asian flair, omit the tomatoes and add mushrooms, green onions, ginger and soy sauce. Finally, for an elegant, simple way to serve potatoes, try the recipe on page 130. Your choice of herbs can make this a per- fect companion to almost any main course - unless there are too many vegetables to leave room for anything else on your plate! MAQUE CHOUX 3 slices bacon I medium onion, chopped 1 green or red bell pepper, chopped 2 garlic cloves, minced 2 or 3 ears corn-on-the-cob, shucked 2 large tomatoes, seeded & chopped Continued on page 130 Reader's pick a fruit-forward, juicy beauty Prior to our moving on to the Lake Erie- Chautauqua region, I wish to address two very nice wines and a well-known, not so nice, wine. The first of the good guys is a recommendation from my friend Lewes Lynda D. Hazlitt Vineyard's Riesling 2004 is a fruit forward, juicy beauty. The nose is a complex bouquet comprised of a mixture of honey, White peaches, fennel and floral aromas. Although it has 3 percent residual sugar, there is an appropriate acid balance that extends through a long mineral finish leaving one with a clean palate. Move a bit west to Canandaigua. This is the name of a lake and a town, It is home to Atwater Estate Finger Lake Riesling 2004. The clear, pale yellow color and a good show of legs set up my nose for the aroma of Riesling. The full fruit nose gave way to mouthwatering flavors of citrus, peaches, minerals and herbs. Again the fer- mentation was stopped in time to allow enough residual sugar to balance the acidi- ty produced' by the grapes. While you're shopping try to find some of Atwater's Dry Rose 2004. Both should run about $16/bot- tie. A well-known wine name from the envi- rons of Canandaigua is Manischewitz. Their Concord based wine is poor. Manischewitz once made a respectable wine. It was bought by Grupo Modelo- Constellation Brands and its subsidiary Centerra, formerly known as Canandaigua Winery. The group now boasts $3.2 billion in sales of wine with decent reputations they have cheapened, in my opinion. Other wineries they have ruined in my opinion are Mondavi, Arbor Mist, Paul Masson, Almaden, Ravenswood, Alice White, Woodbridge, Talus and Vendange. If you are looking for a very nice Concord from the area, go even further west to Westfield, home to Mogen David. Mogen David is not my cup of tea now, but it used to be. MD 20-20 did me in once, as a "ute" when I lived in New York City. A person could : get whack on a bottle. Knowwatamean? The current wine is fruit Idled. It smells like a big bowl of smashed Concord grapes or Welch's Grape Jelly sp(ead on hot toast. It is sweet to a fault and packs three times as much alcohol as a beer. If you enjoy sweet wine, try it cool or over ice cream. Continued on page 130