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Bœuf Bourguignon

2014 October 26
by Eric Hwang

Bœuf BourguignonI’m not a fan of recipes that are overly complicated, especially when it comes to rustic French cooking. Bœuf Bourguignon or beef burgundy was originally a peasant dish first described by Auguste Escoffier and later popularized by Julia Child. However, over time, rustic cooking was transformed in haute cuisine with fancier methods of cooking and more sophisticated equipment. Unfortunately, so many of the cookbooks that had a recipe for bœuf bourguignon made it into a much bigger production than I thought it should be. The technique and the basic ingredients are still the same, but  I just simplified the process to dirty only one pan. The cooking method probably owed to the inexpensive cuts of beef available and braising is particularly good for tough gristly meat. The ingredients were those readily available—beef, salt pork, wine, herbs, onions and mushrooms. When these ingredients are added depends on the recipe you follow. Some make a bouquet garni sachet of the onions, carrots and herbs and some omit the carrot, sauté the onions with the mushrooms and add it when it’s nearly done. I found that mincing the onions and carrots and adding it in the beginning works just as well and is the least complicated. In the end, it still basically tastes the same. read more…

Truchard Vineyards

2013 October 7
Truchard 2012 Roussanne

Mention Napa Valley and it conjures up quintessential images of vineyards, wineries and small towns that many wine drinkers may be familiar with, such as St. Helena and Yountville. However, the Napa Valley is a large area divided into several sub appellations that stretches from Calistoga in the north to Los Carneros in the south. Of these appellations, the Carneros AVA is unique because it spans both Sonoma and Napa; it’s closer to the Bay Area making it cooler and more moderated than the rest of the Napa Valley, yet it has those coveted southwesterly exposed hillsides. It’s in that southern-most district, Carneros, nestled up in the foothills of the Mayacama range and Mt. Veeder, that you’ll find Truchard Vineyards. Truchard Vineyards has been growing grapes for 40 years and making their own wine from grapes grown on their 400 acre estate since 1989. In the interest of full disclosure, I was sent these samples. I received three different wines of which I tried two so far. The third, a Pinot Noir, I’ll try at a later date.

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Ouch! That knife in my back still stings

2012 October 21

You may have noticed (or maybe not) that I haven’t written about wine on my blog for quite a while now. Truth is, moving back to Seattle sort of took the wind out of my sails. My recent visit to the North Bay area a few weeks ago reminded me that many people who know me don’t know the real story behind how I “lost” my job at VWE (Vintage Wine Estates) in Santa Rosa. Even now, two years afterward, the acrimony from what happened still infuriates me. Not so much for the job itself, but rather for the betrayals and deceit of people I thought were my allies and my friends. People who continue to work in the industry and act as if no injustice ever happened. Well, I’m tired of others getting ahead at my expense. I think it’s about time this story was told and others know what kind of people they’re dealing with.

Let’s rewind to the summer of 2009. A certain someone garnered a coveted position with Murphy-Goode winery and subsequently, with his help, the winery faded into obscurity. Several other people from that contest received employment offers, some temporary, some permanent. Many have since moved on to bigger and better ventures. I went back to Seattle after the contest, satisfied that I did my best, and confident that I could have done so much more with that position had I won. But things happen for a reason, and I told myself that I didn’t get the gig because something better would come along. At least, that’s what I thought.

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