I call this blog Education On The Plate, but so far it has been almost all education and very little plate.
Today will be different.
Yesterday was Thanksgiving. As I make every attempt to be thankful for all the good things in my life every day, yesterday was mostly about food.
If anyone ever tells you to try a sparkling Shiraz, take his or her advice. If they really know their stuff they’ll tell you to drink it VERY cold (yes, cold red wine) from red wine glasses, not champagne flutes. Listen to them.
I go to a great wine store in Orangeburg, NY and they introduced me to Bleasdale Vineyards The Red Brute Sparkling Shiraz, a deep purple liquid with an abundant share of all the typical Shiraz berry and chocolate flavors, plus bubbles. Festive and perfect with turkey.
My brother-in-law’s table groaned with turkey, cornbread stuffing, roasted sweet potatoes, carrot-parsnip puree, red cabbage, and two cranberry-based dressings. My wife’s concoction involving cranberries, tequila, jalapenos and some other stuff was a big hit.
My contribution to the meal, aside from my appetite, was cranberry chutney made from a recipe belonging to a food writer whose pen name was Vladimir Estragon. I clipped it from the Village Voice in 1982.
Here’s the recipe:
Two cups cider vinegar
1 & ½-pounds light brown sugar
1 & ½-pounds fresh whole cranberries
½-pound currants (substitute white raisins if you can’t find currants)
½-pound seedless raisins
2 ounces fresh ginger, sliced very thin
1 medium head of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
2 large lemons, chopped fine (remove seeds, but include peel)
½-teaspoon cayenne pepper
Bring vinegar and water to boil and then add the sugar. When all the sugar is dissolved, add all other ingredients. Bring to boil again, and then simmer two hours or so. Stir gently from time to time, adding more water if necessary. (You may want to use a heat diffuser under the pot to help prevent scorching.) It’s okay if it seems a little thin; it will gel when cooled. Put in jars and seal.
I usually make a double batch so I have lots to spread on leftover turkey sandwiches. It is also good with pork, chicken, and cheddar cheese. It lasts for months in the refrigerator.
I’m probably not going to be posting a lot of recipes here, but I hope to do more writing about food and drink now that my food writer/restaurant critic newspaper gig has come to an end.
School lunch, anyone?