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92 FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 21- MONDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2014 Cape Gazette 'ith Thanksgiving around the corner, it might be a good time to clarify a common confu- sion. Even though your local grocery store may place a sign that says "yams" over a bin of reddish-orange potatoes, don't be fooled. They're not yams, they're sweet potatoes. The two are completely different plant species and neither are related to white potatoes (which have several colored varieties). Yams are botanically related to lilies and grasses, native to the African continent and vCidely grown in the Caribbean. They're oblong-shaped with rough-textured brown skins and starchy, dry flesh that ranges in color from white to purple. These are not typically avail- able in local supermarket chains and are sometimes found in Asian or Latin speciaky stores. Do not believe you have a can of yams, despite what the label may say; these are actually sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are native to Peru and Bolivia, where they've been cultivated for thousands of years. Somewhat smaller than yams, sweet potatoes are related to morning glories. They're typically about six inch- es long; elongated with slightly pointed ends. Their skin is quite thin and comes in a variety of colors: white, yellow, tan, red and purple. Sweet potato flesh is yellowish to orange in hue and sometimes appears mottled if cut crosswise. Growers in the southeastern United States follow the guid- ance set out by George Wash- ington Carver, who recom- mended curing sweet potatoes before storing them. After removing the tubers from the ground, they're spread out in the warm sun for several hours. This protects their flavor and nutrition while allowing any wounds in their skin to heal. White potatoes originated in the Andes Mountains and made their way to Europe and North America during the 16th century. These flowering peren- nials are members of the night- shade family. Over the years, through wild and domesticated cross-pollination, over four thousand varieties of potatoes have evolved. Today, potatoes CAN'T DECIDE? Make a sweet potato swirl. are one of the world's most important foodstuffs. Potatoes are classified by type (e.g., Russet, red, Yukon, purple, etc.) and by their culinary quali- ties. When considering which type of potato to select, you'll need to consider its starchi- ness or waxiness. A light, mealy texture means greater starch content, which is best for bak- ing - choose the familiar Russet. Waxier potatoes like reds and Yukons hold their shape after cooking and work best in salads and stews. As for mashed potatoes, there are a few tips to whip- ping up the fluffiest version. Use a starchy variety for the JACK CLEMONS PHOTO most tender mash; again, Rus- sets work well. As you peel the potatoes, toss them into a bowl of cold water to prevent them from browning. After you've cut them into a uniform size, fill the saucepan to cover them with fresh, cold water; this ensures Continued on page 93 First Italy and Spain, last week Cali and this week I J[. will be looking at France for sparklers for the holidays. Before I do so, following is an at icle for my Indian friends (subcontinent not American for the PC crowd) and those enjoy Indian food. Many regulars know I am an avid reader of Snooth.. They pro- vide a wealth of info. This referral includes recipes and wine selections. One admoni- tion! You must read the entire 1- ewspaper, ads and all, before proceeding to the site. Those ers are who ignore this warning may have their software bumed to a crisp by that agency located outside Baltimore that is watch- ing everyone and whose name is not to be spoken or written by those who wish to prevent drone attacks on their homes. Go to wines-to-pair-with-indian-food- classics/#[slide--3. I'm breaking my own rules here - please avoid these two - Barefoot Brut and Yellowtail Sparkling White. If you are in this market, your best bet may be Pink by Yellowglen, an Aus- sie wine priced under $10 with strawberry aromas and refresh- ing fruit flavors of sweet berry and lime. Not brut, more like dry. Sparkler shoppers soon realize finding "cheap" French sparklers and champagnes is very difficult. Many think there is little available under $50 that is drinkable. Non, ce n'est pas vrai, mes amis! Here are several rated 90 points priced under up lrl price $20. Lucien Albrecht Cremant D'Alsace Brut NV has tart, green apple, crisp with pleasing finish showing notes of honey and lemon. Their Ros6 is lovely salmon color, dry, acid bright, refreshing strawberry through- out. Albrecht has been produc- ing wine since 1425, and Jean Albrecht is the 18th-generation leader. Pride of place and fam- ily is apparent in their entire panoply of wines. These are made for food. Try them with schwienebraten (roast pork) or bratwnrst or Weinachtsgans (Christmas goose mit sauer- kraut) and bratkartoffeln (home fries). You will be lovin' life. Then there's JCB No. 21 Brut Cremant de Bourgogne NV made by Boisset Falnily Estates of juice from the Cote d'Or in Burgundy. Cote d'Or is home to the most famous French Bur- gundy. No. 21 is apples, lemons, crisp, very dry and finishes cleanly due to its high acidity. Must be served cold. Langlois-Chateau Cremant de Loire Brut NV is another gem. Made "methode champenoise." The brand is owned by Bol- linger. They follow the strict tradi- tions observed in Champagne, Beautiful active tiny bead, very pale yellow color, showing a complex, tickly bouquet of grapefruit, peaches and quince. I enjoy this with smoked fish or oysters Rockefeller. Slightly up price at $26 but worth it. Dollar doldrums the prior few years drove all big-name Cham- pagne prices through the roof. I will be curious if the buck's rise will lower them. So this list is scant. Pol Roger (pronounce ro-ihay) Brut Reserve NV, best in price class at $35, pale ginger ale, flinty mineral nose with toast, lemon, ginger and spicy flavor and finish, 91 McD. Nico- las Feuillatte Brut NV was rated all over the lot, 85 points, Wine Connoisseur; 87, Tanzer; and 92 by WS. My notes: bright golden color, orange zest, apples, and mild yeast nose. At $43 1 would look elsewhere and go up to $50. Their Ros6 NV I rated 83 points and ignore at $43. Bollinger Special Cuvee Brut NV is rated 90s priced around $55. RP gave it 91 but waxed eloquent, writing, "The NV Brut Special Cuvee is fabulous." WS 93, WE 92, and Tanzer, IWC 91 points, wrote, "poached pear, Meyer lemon, chalky minerals and toasty lees. Fleshy pear and honey flavors show very good depth, picking up refreshing citrus pith and mineral nuanc- es." Several others agreed. WS writer was in zoomy land with his description, "poached apple, mille-feuille, black currant, kumquat and honey, show- ing hints of ground spice and smoky mineral." I neither tasted nor smelled any of those, unless the mille-feuille is a reference to pastry smell. I define mille- feuille as the pastry used to construct a Napoleon or Apfel Strudel. The yeast-like nose I detected and the toast from resting "sur lies" are specific and have little to do with mille- feuille. Ending on a brighter note, Happy Thanksgiving, the sea- son for eating, not flipping, the bird. Email John McDonald at chjonmc@yahoo. com.