Baja Wines, French Country Recipes, and Halloween Desserts
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On October 11, he'll be cooking a multi-course Spanish dinner with Evan at Angeli Caffe, 7274 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles. Stacie Hunt will also be serving a number of different wines and will talk about their significance. Space is still available for this fixed price dinner. Call 323-936-9086.
Stacie Hunt is wine buyer at Du Vin Wine and Spirits (540 N San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles ; 310-855-1161)
Some of the wineries boast big, international names such as the famous Spanish bodega, Domecq. Others are small, making a few hundred cases each year. All have a personal style. The winemakers are passionate and fiercely proud of their wines. Some refuse to liken their wines to any other region in the world, declaring the soil, air and art to be strictly Baja. Every month more awards are handed to the winemakers and recently a '99 Merlot won a Silver medal at the San Francisco International Wine Competition. This is remindful of 1974, when Stag's Leap won the Silver in a blind tasting in France, changing everyone's opinion about Napa Valley.
Break out these wines with simple good food, good times and good friends, or try one of the reservas with a more complex meal, deep conversation and the same good friend(s). Start something.
There are three wineries that you can visit without reservations:
L.A. Cetto in Tijuana ( a huge business concern, likened to the Gallo family in northern California), Casa Pedro Domecq and Bodega Santo Tom-s. Others worth making reservations to visit are: Chateau Camou, Monte Xanic and Casa de Piedra. These three wineries are all international award winners.
Bodega Santo Tom-s is the oldest operating winery, founded in 1882. The winery produces Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo, and in a partnership with Wente vineyards, produces an acclaimed wine called Dueto, a 50-50 blend of Wente and Santo Tomas grapes.
- Barbera: Light ruby in color with subtle berry aromas and strong spice, and little vanilla on the tongue from the oak aging, is a very easy drinking wine with anything made from tomatoes and garlic.
- Tempranillo: The grape native to the Rioja region is light and tasty, not as rustic as its Spanish forebearer. It's great with Mexican food.
- Fume Blanc: This SB is as rich as a Viognier. Perfumey and floral, this doesn't taste like any gringo SB on the market. Perfect with spicy food.
- Vinas de Camou El Gran Vino Tinto: It's easy to see why this was the Silver Medal winner at France's Vinexpo! A Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc and Merlot. Berries, vanilla, cassis, coffee. Fruity and smooth.
- Chardonnay: Golden straw color with apple, pear, vanilla and honey on the nose. Rich, refreshing not overburdened with oak. Finishes like a green apple. Not big, not flabby.
- Cab/Merlot: Okay, all you big wine fans from Rutherford in Napa. Here's the challenger. Dark red vino with pepper, bold fruity flavors, long after the swallow. Have this with something rustic.
Soupe de Poisson Avec Sa Rouille (Fish soup with its sweet red pepper sauce)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 lbs small crabs, in the shell, or 2 pounds cooked crab, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 1/4 cup fennel, chopped fine
- 4 cloves garlic
- 6 large tomatoes
- 2 Tablespoons tomato concentrate
- 1 small sprig fresh thyme
- 1/4 inch piece bay leaf
- 1/2 cup parsley, chopped fine
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered saffron or a large pinch of saffron threads
- 1 1/2 lbs small red snapper, whole if possible, cut into pieces
- 1 lb cod, cut into pieces
- 1/2 lb whitebait or any small fish available
- 2 quarts vegetable, fish, or chicken broth
- A few drops of lemon
- 1 egg yolk (or whole egg)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 large red pepper, grilled, peeled, and chopped
- 1 very small dried red pepper
- 1/2 cup stale bread crumbs
Bougnettes (also called Bunyetes)
These are flat, fried cakes which swell in the oil, become crisp, and are served dusted with granulated sugar, much like beignets or doughnuts.
- 1 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
- 4 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
- 4 eggs
- A few drops orange flower water
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest, grated fine
- 1 lb all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 liter of good vegetable oil, such as sunflower or corn
- Fine white sugar
Divide the dough into golf ball-size pieces. Let rest, covered with a towel, for 10 minutes. Roll out each piece of dough with a rolling pin, making the disc as thin as possible, even transparent in some places.
Heat the oil to boiling in a skillet or deep fryer wide enough to hold 2 bougnettes, or cook them one at a time in a smaller skillet. Slip the discs into the hot oil, being careful not to get burned by the splatter. When one side is golden brown and crisp, turn the bougnette and cook the other side until golden. This will take very little time, so watch carefully that they do not burn. Remove to absorbent paper, and sprinkle liberally with sugar immediately.
- 2 large heads butter lettuce
- 24 salted anchovies
- 4 hard cooked eggs, quartered
- 4 small tomatoes, quartered
- 2 cups French green beans, cooked until very tender
- 1 sweet red onion, sliced very thin
- 4 Tablespoons wine vinegar
- Juice of one quarter of a lemon
- Large pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
If you can find fresh anchovies, simply skin 1 pound, and remove the inner bone. Place them in a shallow dish, and use olive oil and vinegar in the quantities above as the marinade, adding a bit more salt to the mix. Sprinkle with fresh, chopped parsley. You may need a bit more oil and vinegar, depending on how many anchovies you come up with.
Brooke Williamson is the chef/owner of Amuse Cafe, 796 Main Street in Venice; 310-450-1956.
Brooke will be teaching some cooking classes:
Pumpkin Butter Cakes
- 4 oz butter
- 5 1/2 oz sugar
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 1/2 oz all purpose flour
- 4 oz pumpkin pur-e
- 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
Caramel for Caramel Apples
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 6 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 whole eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 8 oz chocolate melted with 2 tbsp butter
- 6 oz chocolate chips
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