Paris Grocery News 4/9 Saturday, Apr 9 2011 

Three new reds from smaller, up-and-coming appellations. (Hint: that means terrific wines for cheap.)

Wine @ PG

Georges Duboeuf  Morgon Jean Descombes 2009

Sorry to keep beating the “OMG vintage of a lifetime” drum regarding the 2009 Beaujolais vintage but: Here’s yet another delicious example at a pretty incredible price. We’re all really loving wines from Morgon lately, too. “Light tannins and a smoky mineral note frame this lush red, which displays layers of black cherry, raspberry ganache, and tea rose flavors. There’s a spicy thread running through the wine, leading to a fresh, firm finish. 93 points.”  —Wine Spectator ($14.99)

Domaine Les Aphillanthes Vin de Pays de Vaucluse 2009

This lovely and light-bodied red features a good mix of cherry, cherry pit, and red licorice notes with a juicy finish. Wines from the small area of Vaucluse (located in Provence, on the border of the Rhône) are smart little table wines; many top producers from border areas have been buying parcels of land there so they can have more freedom to experiment with other varietals or biodynamic techniques. This one’s refreshing enough to sip as an aperitif, but also stands up to a game day meal of roasted chicken and frites. 86 points Wine Spectator ($11.99)

Château de L’Estang Côtes de Castillon 2004

Jefe couldn’t believe the fantastic value that this Bordeaux presented; he bought a whole case (we have really smart wine reps). This blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc comes from an up-and-coming appellation on the right bank of the Dordogne river east of Saint Emilion. Pleasing berry and mineral notes, and a price you can’t beat! ($9.99)

Food @ PG

Oh, Canada.

Just in from Nova Scotia: Wild Caught Boned Salted Cod ($15.99/1 lb box). Here’s a recipe for brandade that was originally printed in the New York Times for Passover.

Brandade de Morue

By Alex Witchel; adapted from Nicholas Lemann

Time: 40 minutes

Yield: About 3 cups.

1 whole head garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more as needed

2 Idaho or other starchy potatoes, peeled

1 pound boned dried salt cod, soaked according to package directions, or pre-soaked salt cod

1 onion, peeled and quartered

2 cups whole milk, or as needed

2 large eggs

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place garlic on a square of foil, rub with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to coat it, and wrap securely in foil. Roast until cloves are soft, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool, remove cloves from their skins, then mash cloves with a fork.

2. While garlic roasts, prepare potatoes and cod: Place potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water, and boil until tender, about 20 minutes. Place cod in a saucepan, add onion, and barely cover with milk. Place over medium-low heat and simmer until cod flakes easily, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove cod with a slotted spoon, transferring it to a plate to cool; leave milk at a very low simmer.

3. Drain potatoes; remove onion from milk and discard. Return potatoes to pot and mash them. Immediately and quickly break eggs into hot potatoes and stir vigorously until fully incorporated. Beat in 2 or 3 tablespoons simmering milk until mixture is very thick and smooth. Add one tablespoon olive oil, or as desired, for flavor and texture. Add garlic (it may not all be needed) and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Shred cooled cod as finely as possible, and add to potato mixture. Adjust milk, oil, garlic and salt and pepper as desired. Add parsley and mix well. Mound in a shallow serving bowl or on a platter. Serve at room temperature with toasty baguette or peasant bread, if desired.

We’re now packing out olives to order from our deli case, so you can get just as much as you need.

Black Olives with Herbs

These oil-cured black olives with herbes de provence have a dense texture and a full, earthy flavor. So savory—I think they’re the perfect olive to have with aperitifs.

French Country Olive Mix

A colorful blend of green, pink, and black olives, as well as lupini beans and bell peppers, are tossed in a lively marinade of spices, pepper, and vinegar. Perfect alongside antipasto plates and a cold Belgian beer!

Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Rachel

and
Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery

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Paris Grocery News 1/21 Friday, Jan 21 2011 

 

Wine decanter.

Wine @ PG

New to the shop: Wine accoutrements (seems to be the right word) for those of you who want to get the most out of your Champagnes and Bordeaux.

Stoppers and openers.

From True:

  • Wine decanter: a classic Italian design made with hand-blown, lead-free glass. The broad base of the decanter allows particularly heady red wines to aerate and open up (that means it’ll taste better). ($29.99)
  • Champagne cork remover: helps ease the cork out of high-pressure sparklers so you get the best presentation of bubbles. ($11.99)
  • Champagne stoppers: the stainless steel and silicone stopper offers a super-snug fit and a nice design. ($9.99); the cheaper chrome and rubber stopper works well, too ($4.99). I love being able to keep a bottle of sparkling fresh for days.

Vinturi wine aerator.

From Vinturi:

  • Wine aerator: Nothing worse than waiting for a wine to optimize. Our wine buyer, Sharon, swears by this very cool gizmo. Simply hold the aerator over your glass and pour; its design attracts and mixes air to the wine, so you get more intensity from the aroma and flavors of the wine. ($38)

From Private Reserve:

  • Wine preserver: A environmentally safe bottle of inert gas that blankets the wine’s surface and displaces oxygen, maintaining its freshness and flavor. Works for not only wine but also things like scotch, cognac, and port. ($10.50)

Craves @ PG

Roland anchovies.

The other night I went out to dinner at Cascina Spinasse on Capitol Hill, and the kitchen sent out an amuse-bouche that was utterly perfect: a slice of toasty bread smeared liberally with butter and an anchovy fillet. Savory, crunchy, and creamy, all at the same time. I’m so glad to see anchovies making such inroads into the culinary scene; it seems like they’re on every menu these days! We have lots of options for anchovies, in cans and jars. But the customer favorite seems to be these Roland brand anchovies in the flip-top glass jar. Packed in olive oil, these are ready to be added to salads, pasta, flatbread pizzas, or crostini. I think there is some interest in reusing the cool jar, as well. And: They’re good for you!

Gifted @ PG

Tagine and cookbook.

This week’s idea would make an excellent gift anytime of the year, but as a Valentine’s Day gift, it’s a unique choice for someone who likes to cook. We have these colorful tagines ($40) from Le Souk Ceramique in a wide range of colors (green, yellow, red, white, and blue), as well as simple glazed terra cotta. They are a fantastic addition to a cookware arsenal, and they’re also really pretty as objects. I’d suggest getting this excellent cookbook as well; many people who first start cooking with tagines need good ideas. “Flavors of Morocco” by Ghillie Bașan ($24.95) is simply laid out and full of bright, tantalizing pictures. Along with the classic meat and seafood tagine dishes, there are recipes for simple things like making your own harissa or bissara (a garlicky fava bean dip). She also includes background and stories for the recipes and traditions of Moroccan cooking, including instructions for a mint tea service. Finally, it might also be fun to toss in a jar of preserved lemons or ras-el-hanout, the typical spice mix for tagines.

 

Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Rachel

and
Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery

Paris Grocery News 9/3 Saturday, Sep 4 2010 

A most delicious bivalve

September. Please note the last letter. Yes, it’s an r. Get your shuckers ready because it’s oyster season! A group promoting the wines of the Loire Valley has ingeniously paired up with local restaurants and oyster farms to bring us Muscadet Seattle. This event spotlights the fantastic natural affinity between the crisp, mineral-driven Muscadet wines and the sublime sea flavor of oysters. Both are also incredible adventures in texture. Eric Asimov of the New York Times recently revisited Muscadet, and he suggests that it’s actually a quite versatile wine that could also pair well with other seafood dishes, poultry and pasta. We say: when it comes to Muscadet and food, we’re fine with trying out every combination possible (in the name of culinary exploration, of course).

Wine @ PG

2008 Clos des Briords Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie VV $16.99

While there may not be a more natural pairing than Muscadet and oysters, straying from the beaten paths will bring delightful surprises. The high acidity and low alcohol brighten flavors and refresh the palate, enhancing and marrying the flavors of seafood, herbs, and seasonings. This one comes from an old vine planting, and the wine is aged on the lees for 18-24 months. With the exquisite minerality that is typical of Muscadet, the wine exudes fresh notes of limestone and sea breeze. The slight salinity is off-set by a touch of creaminess on the palate. It is one of my favorite whites in the shop.

“Bright straw. A piercing, energetic array of citrus and floral scents, complicated by strong minerality and a note of white pepper. Bitter lime pith and quinine flavors gain flesh and weight with air, taking a turn to sweeter tangerine and quince. Strikingly balanced and precise, with a long, spicy, mineral-dominated finish. This should be even better with a couple years of bottle age.” 92 points Stephen Tanzer

2009 Bonnet-Huteau “Les Dabinières” Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie $14.99

Run by Rémi Bonnet (president of the region’s Maîtres Vignerons cooperative cellar) and his brother Jean-Jacques, the estate is based around the ruins of a château dating to the Middle Ages and has 48 hectares under vines, with some 42 ha planted with Muscadet. This particular cuvée has loads of finesse and a bright texture on the palate.

“Demurely scented with under-ripe honeydew melon, white peach, fresh lemon, clover, and a hint of chalk dust. Soft in feel and expansive on the palate for its genre, yet tingling in its bright citricity, it offers generous refreshment. The strong personality of this cuvee comes in its terrifically long, animating finish, with saliva-inducing salinity and citric juiciness.” 91 points Robert Parker

2008 Chateau de la Chesnaie Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie $12.99

Bernard Chéreau owns three separate estates within the house of Chéreau Carré, which occupies one of the most privileged positions in Nantes. Chateau de la Chesnaie represents a 25-year old parcel in the heart of Sèvre-et-Maine. Chéreau uses only indigenous yeasts and ages his wines on the lees for four months, putting him at the forefront of pushing the boundaries of Muscadet production. We found the 2008 vintage to have a wonderful freshness, with notes of seashell and lime. Mineral-laden and with a dry finish, this wine would be excellent with any delicate preparation of shellfish or oysters.

Craves @ PG

Casali Choco-Bananas

These little chocolate-covered banana candies are enormously popular. I’m not sure if it’s because they’re cheap (they are), or because of their must-look-and-touch packaging (reptile brain), or because they’re delicious (yep, that too). Try them frozen! You will thank me.

Feed Your Mind @ PG

About Alice by Calvin Trillin

This book is not about food or wine, although it is written by the illustrious Calvin Trillin, who has often taken food as his subject. This slim little hardcover book is, obviously, about his wife, Alice, written five years after her death. It’s just a divine little book. He creates a glowing portrait of a hilarious, complicated, engaged, and uniformly charming woman with whom he made a long, lovely life. The picture above is taken from the back cover, and I think it’s worth the $6.99 price alone to be able to take the book down from time to time and get some ideas about how to live with grace, and maybe to complain about how people don’t dress like that anymore.

Paris Grocery News 7/30 Friday, Jul 30 2010 

Burgundian Vineyards

Revisiting the classics

What makes a classic? What give certain films, books, wine, and ingredients the ability to endure, to create a legacy of greatness? Quality is one part of the equation. But the key is in versatility, the ability to evolve. A great wine is open to interpretation; its complexity lets you find new elements each time you taste it, over the course of a meal or a decade. A great ingredient is versatile in its uses but also complements and enhances all kinds of other flavors and ingredients. So this week we’re taking a look at a couple of wine regions and staple ingredients that have been making cooks smile for centuries.

Wines @ PG
Buy any six bottles of wine and get 10% off!

We often talk about uncovering little-known wines and unusual grapes. But our penchant for the peculiar is in no way a dismissal of the classics. The “Great Wines of France” — Burgundy, Bordeaux, Châteauneuf-du-Pape — haven’t earned their reputations for nothing. There are times when nothing can beat one of these grand, elegant wines. We have a few new Burgundies and Châteauneufs that we are drooling over, so we highly recommend that you indulge in one of these wines from the eastern half of France.

The many faces of Burgundy.

2009 Château de Puligny-Montrachet Burgundy Rosé ($24.99)
Fresh, utterly elegant, and addictive, this is the Audrey Hepburn of wine. It’s not overly common to find a rosé from Burgundy, but if you do, count yourself as very lucky. Pinot Noir makes rosés that are crisp like their Provençal cousins but with a layer of gravity. This wine is beautiful and refreshing, but hardly forgettable. Quite aromatic, the strawberry and cranberry notes are carried along with a lot of minerally verve. The finish is lengthy and has just the right amount of tartness.

2007 Robert Chevillon Nuit-St-Georges ($65.00)
We dreamt of this wine for months after tasting it. Robert Chevillon is known as the elder statesman of Nuits-St-Georges, a sub-region of Burgundy that produces some of the finest Pinot Noirs in the world. He produces earthy, concentrated, yet silky Pinots that honestly proclaim their terroir. As Stephen Tanzer reports, “Raspberry, smoked meat and a hint of spun sugar on the very ripe nose. Supple, sweet and easygoing; in a distinctly tender style.” We loved the woodsy notes of truffle, spice, and cranberry. The incredible, long-lasting finish made us covet this wine, and now we’ve brought it into the shop for you to enjoy, as well.

2007 Domaine de Montille Bourgogne
($35.00)
This wine haunted Sharon for months (in the best possible sense). An incredibly delicate Pinot Noir, almost dusky rose in color. Despite the subdued color and texture, the wine explodes on the palate. Expressive nose of raspberry and cherry, with a subtle earthiness and a satiny, mouth-coating length. An astounding, evolving complexity.

The wines of new popes.

2008 Mas de Boislauzon Chateauneuf-de-Pape ($40.00)
“A very strong effort with surprising length, depth, and attractiveness, it possesses a dark plum color along with a big, sweet nose of soy, black currants, black cherries, and garrigue. This is a richly fruity, long, well-endowed 2008 to drink during its first 7-8 years of life. Ever since I began following this small domaine (22 acres) fifteen years ago, the quality of their wines has increased with every top vintage. The brother and sister team of Daniel and Christine Chaussy is responsible for the wine.” 88-90 points Robert Parker

2008 Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-de-Pape ($65/750mL or $30/375mL)
“Deep red. Fresh red berries, flowers and spicecake on the nose, with a hint of white pepper adding energy. Juicy, finely etched strawberry and raspberry flavors show a pinot-like character and are framed by silky tannins. The lively finish features a lingering note of candied flowers. This graceful, understated wine should be delicious on release.” 90-92 points Stephen Tanzer

2008 Domaine de la Côte de l’Ange Châteauneuf-de-Pape ($35.00)
Though it had the classic dark, brooding textures and aromas of the appellation, the Côte-de-l’Ange also had a fruity freshness about it that makes it our pick for those of you who want to enjoy a 2008 Châteauneuf-de-Pape sooner rather than later! Try it against the 2005 Ferraton Châteauneuf for an edifying (and delicious) look at two different vintages.


Food @ PG

Oils & Vinegars

We gave our oil and vinegar shelving a facelift this week, making them more accessible and orderly. It’s salad season, and if you’re bored of the same old balsamic vinaigrette, try some of these:

Verjus is unfermented grape juice, a staple in French country kitchens. Tart and acidity, but never harsh, it makes a great substitute for lemon juice or vinegar in marinades and dressings. Here’s a simple Verjus and Walnut Oil vinaigrette for salads:

2 tbsp verjus
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup walnut oil
salt and pepper to taste

A drizzle of Truffle Oil over anything from a charcuterie plate to a pasta salad to a flatbread pizza adds a savory depth to your everyday meals.

A l’Olivier spreadable flavored olive oils are delicious on toasted pieces of leftover baguette as a side to your salad or chilled soup. They also work well as a rub for seafood or in savory baking.

Your grilled veggies will steal the show if they are marinated in Blood Orange Vinegar, a sweet and sour vinegar.

Les Mouettes d’Arvor Sardines come in three kinds: sundried tomato, chili, or extra virgin olive oil. Use them in an arugula salad or in pastas.

Craves @ PG

Emmi Swiss Yogurt

Luscious, ubercreamy yogurts hit the spot for breakfast, snack time, or dessert.

Feed Your Mind @ PG

Cooking with Verjuice

Maggie Beer is an advocate for regional products and traditional practices. Her book will open your eyes to the many uses of verjus, drawing from the traditions of French provincial cooking. Buy the book along with a 720mL bottle of verjus and we’ll knock off 10%!

Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Abi & Rachel

and
Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery

Paris Grocery News 7/15 Thursday, Jul 15 2010 

We understand, Betty Draper. We don't feel like cooking either.

Recipes from two cookbooks on our shelves
Items available in the shop are in bold.

This week we went to our bookshelves to find some inspiration for cooking in this hot weather. We were thinking of the fresh and savory flavors of seafood and shellfish in simple salads and sandwiches that can be made to share or made to take along for a picnic. Here are two that we found that also happen to involve many of our favorite pantry items (go figure).

Recipe from Rice Pasta Couscous: The Heart of the Mediterranean Kitchen By Jeff Koehler

 Rice Pasta Couscous

Camargue Red Rice Salad with Shrimp

Ingredients:

1 cup Camargue red rice
1 cup long-grain white rice
4 plum tomatoes, stemmed and chopped
2 cucumbers , peeled and chopped
36 green olives
3/4 extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 shallot, finely chopped
Pepper and dijon mustard, to taste
24 to 36 cooked jumbo shrimp or prawns, peeled
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered lengthwise

In a large pot, bring an abundant amount of water to a boil. Add 2 pinches of salt and the red rice and boil until al dente, 35 to 40 minutes. Drain the rice, rinse briefly under cold water, and drain again.

Meanwhile, in another pot, bring an abundant amount of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and the white rice and boil until al dente, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain the rice, rinse briefly under cold water, and drain again.

In a large bowl, combine the two rices with the tomatoes, cucumber, and olives. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

In a small bowl, add the oil and vinegar and whisk until cloudy. Add the shallots, season with salt and pepper, and whisk again until blended. Whisk in just enough of the mustard to taste.

When ready to serve, toss half of the vinaigrette with the rice. Divide the rice equally among six bowls, mounding the rice, and then place the shrimp and egg quarters over rice. Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the top.

Serves 6.

Recipe from Nirmala’s Edible Diary by Nirmala Narine

Sardines Stuffed in French Baguettes

Nirmala's Edible Diary

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 small red jalapeño or cayenne chiles, seeded and finely chopped
1 16-ounce can sardines
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Sea salt, to taste
1 12-inch baguette (available Fridays and Saturdays!), halved crosswise and sliced open horizontally
Lettuce leaves (optional)
Slices of tomato (optional)

In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and chiles and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the sardines (along with whatever sauce they may be packed in), oregano, parsley, and lime juice. Stir well, mashing up sardines, and cook for 5 minutes more. Season with sea salt. Remove from heat and set aside.

Make sandwiches by spreading the sardine mixture on the bottom of the bread, adding the lettuce and tomatoes (if desired) and replacing the top. Slice into smaller sandwiches, if you like. Serve immediately.

Serves 2.

Wines @ PG
Buy any six bottles of wine and get 10% off!

2008 Domaine de Laballe Cotes de Gascogne ($9.99)

This Cotes de Gascogne is pure and bright, a reminder of the freshness of spring. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and French Colombard, it has the signature grassy, herbal aromas rounded out by soft grapefruit and lime. It is refreshing and pleasant, ideal as an aperitif but also a versatile table wine. Try it with shellfish, or with the mild heat of Vietnamese dishes.

2009 Domaine Le Clos des Lumières Cotes du Rhône Rosé ($9.99)

A fun, medium-bodied Rhône rosé, made from Cinsault (45%), Grenache(45%), Mourvedre (15%), and Syrah (10%). With ripe strawberry and floral notes, the wine shows nice persistence and a hint of spice at the end. You’ll want to drink it all summer, and long into the fall.

2007 Domaine Sainte Eugenie “Le Clos” Millesime ($8.99)

An unforgettable blend of Merlot (45%), Carignan (20%), Grenache Noir (20%), and Cabernet Sauvignon. From an estate in Corbières, this wine exemplifies the traditional, sun-drenched countryside wines of Southwestern France. Fairly full bodied but with an incredible suppleness, it finishes with freshness. Red fruit flavors are countered by aromatic spices, and a light presence of oak. Tobacco and cedar are integrated into the structure with elegance. Excellent with summer fare such as barbecued beef, flavorful sausages, and terrines.

Le Clos and Les Raisins Gaulois

2009 Marcel Lapierre Raisins Gaulois Gamay ($12.99)

Marcel Lapierre is one of the “Gang of Four” rebel winemakers in Beaujolais, a group of vitners dedicated to making natural, delicious wines and bucking convention and appellation when necessary. Despite his disregard for the system, he is one of the most respected producers in France, highly regarded by wine critics, importers, and fellow winemakers. His Raisins Gaulois Gamay is made from the young vines in his Morgon Cru Villages vineyard. Absolutely charming, it is grapey and fresh, with spicy back cherry notes a little dustiness. Though not an “official” Beaujolais, it shows how great these light-hearted wines can be. It is the perfect summer red.

2006 R. Dubois et Fils Cote-de-Nuits-Villages
($14.99)

An estate Pinot Noir from one of the top subregions in Burgundy. A lovely perfume of rose and cherry greets you as you open the bottle, and the bright cherry shows up again on the palate. The fresh fruit is supported by a bit of spice and earthiness, which linger pleasantly on the palate. Another great choice for the warmer days, it pairs well with charcuterie, smoked salmon, and washed rind cheeses.

Craves @ PG

Ketchup, with a twist!

The Dulcet line of ketchups comes in three flavors: Peppery Moroccan, Sweet Orange Chili, and Mild Indian Curry. They’re an easy way to spice up your hamburger and frites!

Powerhouse Pantry @ PG

Connetable Sardines

These multi-tasking sardines can be used in pastas, salads, hors-d’oevres, and the sandwich recipe at left. They are available in Olive Oil, Lemon, and Mustard.

Thanks for reading, see you soon!
Abi & Rachel

and
Steve Winston and Sharon Baden
Owners, Paris Grocery