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The Ultimate Guide to the Dogs of the Wine World

The Ultimate Guide to the Dogs of the Wine World

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They say that a dog is a man’s best friend, and with a winemaker, it’s no different. The Australian duo Susan Elliott and Craig McGill have spent more than a decade traveling the globe for their Wine Dogs series, a set of books photographing the dogs of the wine world. From New Zealand to Napa, the photo books share the stories, both hilarious and heartfelt, of these canine companions and their contributions to their wineries. The Daily Sip had the joy of chatting with Craig and Susan to learn all about their travels. To purchase their Wine Dogs books and merchandise, click here.

TDS: So, what inspired you to start the Wine Dogs series?

CM: We published the first book about 10 years ago, but it was an idea we came up with 15 years ago. We’d travel to wineries and be greeted by dogs. We’d play with the dogs and then go in for a drink. We’d take a picture with the dog, and we’d look back and every second photo was a dog photo. We said there was probably a book in this.

TDS: You’ve traveled the globe documenting winemakers and their dogs. Where have you found the craziest, most dedicated dog lovers?

SE: I think America without a doubt. What I really like about the American wine industry, is they’ve really embraced the rescue dogs program. They have a dog-friendly policy in a lot of wineries there.

CM: We thought there would be a bunch of fluffy pooches, but the majority were rescue dogs. That was great for us to see, and as a result we’ve been in contact with a lot of rescue organizations.

SE: There is also a really active inclusion of people and their pets. Frenchie is a French bulldog at Raymond Vineyards who has her own winery. At Raymond, there is also a secondary building where the dogs can hang out, all decked out in faux-French aristocratic paintings and beds. And in the tasting room, the owners can watch their dogs on a TV.

TDS: How do you think a wine dog contributes to a winery culture and the wine itself?

CM: I just think it makes for a friendlier atmosphere when customers arrive. They automatically feel they are in a more relaxed environment. Going to a winery can be quite intimidating for first-time visitors, and it’s a big mystery for young people. But the dog’s all have their jobs, even if it’s just keeping the winemaker company.

SE: Making wine is a lot of work for the winemakers, and a lot happens late at night. Dogs provide great companionship, and there is such a great bond between the owners and their dogs. That really comes through in the books, that the dogs are part of their family really.

TDS: Are there any particular story you’d like to share that really stuck with you?

CM: There is a dog in Paso Robles named Tootsie who saved a young boy’s life. She jumped in the Sacramento River and rescued this boy and became an overnight sensation. She was a great dog.

SE: She was a massive dog, a big wolfhound. She was really famous in all the local papers. She was really good-natured.

CM: The dogs will make us laugh. There was one dog that was sleeping in the wet cement. We have so many different stories.

TDS: What’s next for Wine Dogs? Do you have any more books coming out?

CM: We’re working on Wine Dogs California edition, and we’re in the early stages of Wine Dogs South Africa. We’re also updating Wine Dogs Australia. We’re also coming out with the world’s first Wine Cats.

SE: We have been working with cats, which is a very different thing. You need a bit more patience with a cat. They’re just as quirky, though. But, they’re a little bit more in control of themselves. Dogs are a bit more social, but you can get really beautiful photos of cats because they are really still, unless they run away, of course.

Click here for more from The Daily Sip.

The Ultimate Guide to Sauerkraut

With my Polish and German heritage, of course I am passionate for kraut. Although you may prefer to call it sauerkraut, I like it just the same. Small wonder, the terms are actually synonymous and derive from the German word for Cabbage or herb.

photo credit: my food and family –

Kraut in recent years has made a comeback. If you think of sauerkraut only when you are slapping it on your spicy Polish sausage at the game, you are missing out! Of course if you love a Reuben sandwich, then the better you understand kraut, the better your Reuben will be!

Kraut can be used in a variety of recipes, from soups to salads, entrees to appetizers. I have a ton of kraut recipes to check out. If you haven’t guessed, I am a big fan.

Sure, it might be in my DNA from a cultural heritage perspective, but kraut actually exists in other cultures as well. Like Korean kimchee for example. This is simply kraut by another name in another culture.

What Is Fermenting?

Fermentation began as a way for people to preserve vegetables throughout the winter months. The process requires fresh vegetables, water and either salt, whey, or a starter culture. The vegetables are tightly packed in a sealable container along with the salt or starter, submerged in filtered water, then sealed and left to ferment. During this period, the beneficial bacteria from the starter or those that are living on the vegetables themselves interact and multiply. The sugars in the food are also transformed into an organic compound called lactic acid, which is part of what gives fermented foods their tangy taste.

Besides vegetables, you can ferment milk using kefir grains to make kefir, tea and sugar using a scoby to make kombucha, or milk using yogurt or a yogurt culture to make yogurt. But with all these methods, the process is the same: The bacteria multiply and transform the food from its basic state into a tangy fermented one.

The Ultimate Guide to Chinese Cooking Wines

Cooking wine plays a major role in Chinese cuisine, possibly coming second to soy sauce in importance. Theoritically, any wine, including wiskey, beer, distilled wine and rice wine, can be used as cooking wine, but Chinese rice wine, especially Shaoxing rice wine, is the best in the cooking world. Chinese cooking wine is used in two typical applications

  • Flavor correction: Cooking wine can not only mask the strong fishy smell and the gamey taste of meat and seafood, but also enhance the final flavors.
  • Cooking ingredient: Cooking wine is a key ingredient in recipes of drunken shrimp, pickled egg in rice wine, drunken chicken, chicken wing with beer, and more.

By default, cooking wine in the US market is treated with salt (1.5%) which acts as a preservative to inhibit the growth of microorganisms that produce acetic acid. By US law, cooking wine should be "Not for Sale or Consumption as Beverage Wine."

Chinese cooking wine in US groceries are all rice wine, made from fermeneted regular rice or glutinous rice, even though they may be labeled differently, such as Cooking Wine, Rice Cooking Wine, Rice Wine, Sweet/Glutinous Rice Cooking Wine, Shao HSing or Shao Shing or Shaoxing (Huadiao) (Rice) Cooking Wine, Miron, Cooking Spirit or without English name at all.

"Shao HSing", "Shao Shing" and "Shaoxing" means the same place Shaoxing in China. Correct name spelling in Chinese pinyin should be "Shaoxing" or "Shao Xing"

In general, mijiu is the generic Chinese name 米酒 for fermented rice wine. Its acual meaning is dependent on the context. It means either drinking rice wine that has alcohol range 12-50% ABV (alcohol by volume) or jiuniang (酒酿, 1.5-2.0% ABV) or laozao (醪糟) by Sichuanese which is a sweet, cotton-like fermented glutinous rice usually sold in refrigeration. Drinking mijiu made with red yeast is reddish in color and thus called huangjiu (yellow rice wine, 黄酒) interchangeably. Huangjiu, the redish mijiu, including Shaoxing wine, is perferred in East of China, while similar to Japanese sake, the clear white drinking mijiu is perferred in the other places, including Sichuan and Taiwan. In Sichuan, homemade drinking mijiu is locally called changjiu (常酒) which is drunken in warm or hot and tastes the same as Japanese sake. Changjiu used to be the main drink on home yard banquet (坝坝宴) in some places of Sichuan.

White Rice Wines

The clear white mijiu or white rice wine available in the US market majorly come from Southern China and Taiwan. It is used to mask the odor smell of meat and fish, but adds little or no extra flavor to the food.

Taiwanese Michiu

In Taiwan, white rice wine is labeled as Michiu or rice wine, but pronounced the same as mijiu in Chinese. Michiu has two types - regular Michiu which has about 20% ABV and Michiu Tou (米酒頭), a drier version of Michiu with about 34% ABV. The brands (first row in picture) distirbuted by SSC Internatioanl earns a great reputation in oversea Chinese communities, and particularly, the products (second and third bottles) with red labels (红标) are made by the governmental Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corp and are absolutely well known in Taiwan.

If you are interested in US-made Michiu only, The above Linchen cooking Michiu is made in California and available in most Asian stores in variety of sizes.

Cantonese Mijiu

White mijiu made in China and available in the United States is majorly Cantonese style mijiu as shown above. Pearl River Bridge is the most popular brand, especially for its double and triple distilled rice cooking wines (the second and third bottles on left).

Cantonese cooking traditionally uses Chinese rose wine (Mei Kueilu Chiew, 玫瑰露酒) for Cantonese-style roasting ducks and pork and making sausages which are sold at almost every large Asian supermarket in America. Chinese rose wine is a spirit distilled from fermented sorghum and infused with rose flowers, tasting like slightly sweetened vodka. It lends a very nice fragrant flavor to Hong Kong-style BBQ pork (叉烧) or char siu (char siew) in Cantonese . The most well-known rose cooking wine available in US Asian stores is the above Golden Star brand which has 54% ABV and 1.5% salt.

Sichuan-style high-heat, quick stir-frying cooking prefers to use very dry white called baijiu in Chinese (Chinese distilled spirit) instead of regular mijiu. Unfortunately, Chinese baijiu is not popularly available out of Asia. You may get one at local liquor stores in Chinatowns, such as Red Star Brand Erguodou (57% ABV) as shown above.

Sichuan paocai (pickled vegetables) normally uses baijiu to prevent mold growing on the surface of salty water brine, for which the ideal cooking wines should have no salt and no additional flavoring ingredients as well. Baijiu is the best to fit, otherwise, the following Pearl River Bridge double and triple distilled bottles are an alternative option which is available in most Asian grocery stores, but please pay attention that their caps have a golden color.

Japanese Sake

Tasting similar to Chinese white drinking mijiu, Japanese sake is a fermented rice wine. The following picture shows some popular, inexpensive sakes available in many US liquor stores. You may grab one into your kitchen cupboard for substitution of white rice cooking wine occasionally. For some recipes, however, sake (15% ABV) is not strong enough to substitute Michiu (20%, or 35% ABV).

Japanese Mirin

In simple, Japanese mirin is a sweet kind of Japanese sake, with a lower alcohol (0-15% ABV) and higher sugar content. As a sweet rice wine from fermented glutinous rice similar to Chinese jiuniang, mirin is a bit tart, with a hint of acid, and is also quite sweet. It is one of the holy trio of cupboard staples in Japanese cuisine, giving a rich flavor to fish and meat dishes, making sweet sauces such as teriyaki and yakitori, or softening strong flavored ingredients.

If you're going to make a mirin substitution with Japanese sake or Chinese white mijiu, you are recommend to add a little sugar to compensate the sweetness, keeping in mind that the added suga is a bit different from the sugar in actual mirin, which is produced during the fermentation process. The closest substitute is Chinese jiuniang.

Jiuniang, Fermented Sweet Rice

Jiuniang (酒酿) is also called laozao (醪糟) and may be translated as Rice Sauce or even Rice Wine (due to its alcohol content) . It consists of a mixture of partially digested rice grains floating in a sweet saccharified liquid, with small amounts of alcohol (1.5-2%) and lactic acid (0.5%). It is made by fermenting glutinous rice with a yeast starter called jiuqu (酒曲). If the fermentation goes longer, jiuniang will eventually produce rice wine or rice vinegar.

Jiuniang is widely used for soup desserts and for flavoring in Sichuan cooking as a sweetener. The following picture shows the availability in fridge section of US grocery stores. It is the best candidate to substitute Japanese mirin equivalently.

Michiu Shui

Michiu shui is marjorly originated in Taiwan, and becoming popular in China. It is also called yuezi water or rice wine-evaporated water, a substitute for water made from boiling off rice wine. Michiu shui has about 0.35% ABV and is used to replace water for cooking everything during the postpartum time. It warms the body and improves circulation which further strengthens healing, restoration and milk production. It is also believed to prolong women's aging due to baby delivery.

To make it at home, boil two bottles of rice wine down to one bottle as michiu shui. The best substitution is Chinese jiuniang, a fermented sweet rice.

Shaoxing Wines

Shaoxing wine is a type of huangjiu made from fermented glutinous rice and red yeast that originates from the region of Shaoxing in Zhejiang province of China. Shaoxing wine is amber-colored and has a unique flavor, balanced by the six tastes of sweet (glucose sugar),sour (organic lactic and succinic acids), bitter (peptides and tyrosol), pungent (alcohol and aldehydes), savory (amino acids) and astringent (lactate and tyrosine)

Shaoxing wine is directly used as an alcoholic drink, as cooking wine and as Chinese herbal wine. Shaoxing wine is the most widely used cooking wine in the world. Compared to white rice wine, Shaoxing wine imparts one more layer of unique pleasant flavors to the cook. Two varieties of Shaoxing wine available in US market are Shaoxing huadiao wine and Shaoxing cooking wine.

Shaoxing Huadiao Wine

Shaoxing Huadiao (花雕酒), also known as Nuerhong (女儿红), is an aged Shaoxing Jiafan wine (one type of Shaoxing wine by adding about 10% extra rice during fermentation process). It is evolved from the Shaoxing tradition of burying Shaoxing Jiafan wine underground when a daughter was born, and digging it up for the wedding banquet when the daughter was to be married. The containers were engraved with flowers (花雕). The Shaoxing Huadiao cooking wine is a huadiao rice wine with 1.5% salt added for US market, which may not be aged as long as regular huadiao rice wine.

Shaoxing Cooking Wine

Shaoxing cooking wine is made with 30-50% Shaoxing wine and various brand-dependent seasoning ingredients, such as cloves, star anise, cassia, black cardamom, Sichuan pepper, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Shaoxing cooking wine is at the same price level as Shaoxing huadia cooking wine except some aged versions.

Shaoxing Nuerhong Cooking Wine

Shaoxing nuerhong is fully aged Shaoxing huadiao wine and thus Shaoxing nuerhong based cooking wine is the high end Shaoxing cooking wine in the US market. In the above picture, the cooking wines are tuned for meat and seafood separately to get best results. Gold Plum premium matured nuerhong cooking rice wines are the main cooking wines of many Chinese restaurants in the United States. They have all natually brewed from a very clean ingredient list of water, glutinous rice, salt, and caramel.

Advanced Shaoxing Cooking Wine

If the above cheap Shaoxing huadiao cooking wine and Shaoxing cooking wine can not adapt to the recipes, the aged shaoxing cooking wine would be the advanced options. Because those cooking wines have no salt, you are able to taste the flavors before add to your dishes, and there is no need of calculating the extra salt added by cooking wine. The left first is a general Shaoxing huangjiu and the rest are all Shaoxing huadiao rice wine from well known brands.

Shaoxing Brands to Buy

Given the competition of Shaoxing cooking wines in the US market, the bottles which still stand on the grocery shelves as shown here are all fairly good. Pagoda (塔牌) and Guyue LongShan(古岳龙山) are well known in China. Taiwan-based SSC International (良) and HK-based Lam Sheng Kee (林生记) have good reputation in Asian-American communities. Gold Plum brand which also is the best in vinegar is the only one who offers Shaoxing Nuerhong based cooking wine for meat and fish separately. As a first-time user, you are recommended to start with Advanced Shaoxing cooking wine above such that you are able to taste it wihtout bothering by salt.

Fujian Cooking Wine

Fujian cooking wine is also called Fujian Laojiu or Fukien Old Wine where Fukien is an older spelling of Fujian. With few hundred years of history, Fujian cooking wine is one type of huagjiu made by fermenting glutinous rice with red rice yeast and a white yeast of over 60 Chinese medicinal herbs. It is dark brown in color, rich in flavor, and a little bit sweeter than Shaoxing huadiao wine. Many Chinese restuarants in the United States use it as their main cooking wine.

The three-years aged Qinghong (青红) below is well known in Fujian and is made as Fujian cooking wine. It has no salt and thus you can directly taste what it is.

Huangjiu-Based Cooking Wine

These chinese cooking wines are made with 30-50% huangjiu and various brand-dependent seasoning ingredients, such as cloves, star anise, cassia, black cardamom, Sichuan pepper, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Compared with Shaoxing cooking wine, these cooking wines provides different flavors and are alternative to Shaoxing cooking wines.

Special Cooking Wine

These cooking wines are made with huangjiu, soy sauce, vinegar, chili peppers and so on. They are more like seasioning sauces instead of cooking wines. The right four bottles in the image are best for braising meats.

Black Glutinous Rice Wine

The rice wine made of black glutinous rice or jasmine glutinous rice

Western Cooking Wine

The cooking wines are made from grape wines Burgundy, Sauterne, Chablis and Sherry. These cooking wines seem able to substitute Chinese cooking wines. In reality for a cook, none of them can substitute Chinese cooking wine in Chinese cooking.

Why Use Cooking Wine

Why do you cook with wine? What does it do to the food? What does it add to the taste?

Evaporation of Unpleasant Flavors

One main purpose of using Chinese cooking wine is to mask the strong fishy or gamey smell and taste of meat and seafood through alcohol evaporation during cooking. Alcohol has a much lower boiling point temperature (173° F / 78.5° C) than water (212° F / 100° C). Once the temperature is above 78.5° C, then the alcohol evaporates quickly, which reduces the vapor partial pressures of fishy/gamey components (mainly due trimethyl amine, hexahydro pyridine and valeraldehyde) in fish and meat and thus makes these volatile components easily evaporate from food. It is particularly true in Sichuan cooking that many quick stir-frying usually spray dry rice cooking wine at the highest heat point during cooking progress, such as stir-frying gizzard with green Thai peppers.

Add Flavors

As the name says, Chinese cooking wine is Chinese rice wine for cooking. In one side, Chinese rice wine is a product of fermented regular and glutinous rice that contains high levels of protein and amino acids. The unique fermentation process (especially of Shaoxing wine) let these nutrients add additional savory flavors to the food. In the other side, Shaoxing cooking wine has already blended expected cooking spices which can nicely impart the food flavors during cook

Bring out Flavors

In many recipes, the alcohol is an important component to achieve a desired chemical reaction in a dish. Alcohol causes many foods to release flavors that cannot be experienced without the interaction of alcohol. That is, the alcohol releases alcohol soluble flavors from foods (tomatoes, vanilla beans, and herbs are good examples) that you will never taste without it.

Animal fats (triglycerides) are partially hydrolyzed into glycerin and fatty acid after heating. The ethanol of alcohol then esterifies with fatty acid and form aromatic esters.

Protein Denaturation

Alcohol can denature proteins in food partially or entirely to make the food edible (drunken shrimp) or to improve the flavor of food (such as egg preserved in rice wine, pickled egg). Alcohol can also denature proteins of microbes to prevent the growth of bacteria, fungi or other new bad microbes.

Tips of Use Cooking Wine

  1. To mask the strong fishy or gamey smell and taste of meat and seafood, preliminary treatment of ingredient should include marinating with cooking wine, salt and ginger to build the basic flavor.
  2. As ethanol of alcohol is very volatile, cooking wine should be added at the highest temperature point during cooking, such as spaying cooking wine into quick stir fry during cooking.
  3. When the flavor of cooking wine itself has to reserve in the final cook, cooking wine should be added after the main ingredients are well cooked to avoid alcohol evaporation
  4. For soups, cooking wine should be added when the soup is boiling to evaporate odors with the alcohol.

Cooking high protein content, such as fish paste or ground shrimp, cooking wine should be avoided because alcohol is fat soluble and thus may denature the proteins and make ingredients loose stickiness.

Any misuse or abuse of cooking wine can ruin the flavors of the final cook. Soups and light flavor dishes should not use cooking wine in general. When marinating, too much cooking wine may mask the main flavors.

When using dry cooking wine to marinate strong smell fish and lamb, marinating time cannot be too long and should wash the ingredient with clean waster in timely manner to avoid alcoholic aflavor remaining in final dish.

How much cooking wine to use is dependent on the cook. The key crieria is that the cooking wine has enough time to burn off its alcohol such that the alcoholic taste does not remain in the final dish if it is not expected. See the alcohol burn off chart to determine the amount of cooking wine.

Chinese cooking wine can be used interchangably, but should not be substituted with grape wine. Otherwise, the taste may be completely different.

Alcohol Burn Off Chart

Alcohol can be found as an ingredient in many recipes. It can be added as an ingredient to add specific flavors or it can be part of an ingredient, such as extracts. Many cookbooks and cooks tell the consumer that the &ldquoalcohol will have burned of," however the process is more complicated than this simple statement implies. Alcohol does boil at a lower temperature than water - 86 degrees centigrade vs. 100 degrees C. for water, though one may have to boil a beer for 30 minutes to get it down to the NA or nonalcoholic category, which by law means it contains less than .5 percent alcohol.

Even if the alcohol in food is likely to be cooked off, for some people having just a tiny bit of alcohol or the taste of alcohol may be enough to act as a powerful cue. Similar to blowing smoke at a former smoker, using alcohol in cooking should be carefully thought out and guests should be informed as it could do a great disservice to arecovering alcoholic.

The following table of alcohol remaining after food preparation is from USDA Table of Nutrient Retention Factors, Dec 2007.

Important:The fact that some of the alcohol remains could be of significant concern to recovering alcoholics, parents, and others who have ethical or religious reasons for avoiding alcohol.

Hi, welcome to our recipe blog site. Below you can get an overview on how to make really tasty Skinny [&hellip]

I have been a health insurance broker for over a decade and every day I read more and more “horror” stories that are posted on the Internet regarding health insurance companies not paying claims, refusing to cover specific illnesses and physicians not getting reimbursed for medical services. Unfortunately, insurance companies are driven by profits, not people (albeit they need people to make profits). If the insurance company can find a legal reason not to pay a claim, chances are they will find it, and you the consumer will suffer. However, what most people fail to realize is that there are very few “loopholes” in an insurance policy that give the insurance company an unfair advantage over the consumer. In fact, insurance companies go to great lengths to detail the limitations of their coverage by giving the policy holders 10-days (a 10-day free look period) to review their policy. Unfortunately, most people put their insurance cards in their wallet and place their policy in a drawer or filing cabinet during their 10-day free look and it usually isn’t until they receive a “denial” letter from the insurance company that they take their policy out to really read through it. The majority of people, who buy their own health insurance, rely heavily on the insurance agent selling the policy to explain the plan’s coverage and benefits. Don’t you think it would be better to put that extra $200 ($2,400 per year) in your bank account, just in case you may have to pay your $2,500 deductible or buy a $12 Amoxicillin prescription? Isn’t it wiser to keep your hard-earned money rather than pay higher premiums to an insurance company?


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I have been a health insurance broker for over a decade and every day I read more and more “horror” stories that are posted on the Internet regarding health insurance companies not paying claims, refusing to cover specific illnesses and physicians not getting reimbursed for medical services. Unfortunately, insurance companies are driven by profits, not people (albeit they need people to make profits). If the insurance company can find a legal reason not to pay a claim, chances are they will find it, and you the consumer will suffer. However, what most people fail to realize is that there are very few “loopholes” in an insurance policy that give the insurance company an unfair advantage over the consumer. In fact, insurance companies go to great lengths to detail the limitations of their coverage by giving the policy holders 10-days (a 10-day free look period) to review their policy. Unfortunately, most people put their insurance cards in their wallet and place their policy in a drawer or filing cabinet during their 10-day free look and it usually isn’t until they receive a “denial” letter from the insurance company that they take their policy out to really read through it. The majority of people, who buy their own health insurance, rely heavily on the insurance agent selling the policy to explain the plan’s coverage and benefits. Don’t you think it would be better to put that extra $200 ($2,400 per year) in your bank account, just in case you may have to pay your $2,500 deductible or buy a $12 Amoxicillin prescription? Isn’t it wiser to keep your hard-earned money rather than pay higher premiums to an insurance company?

Pet Holidays for June 2021

• Adopt a Cat Month (AH) / Adopt a Shelter Cat Month (ASPCA)
• National Pet Preparedness Month
• National Microchipping Month
• June 1–7: Pet Appreciation Week
• June 4: Hug Your Cat day
• June 8: National Best Friends Day
• June 9: World Pet Memorial Day
• June 22–28: Take Your Pet to Work Week®
• June 17: Take Your Cat to Work Day™
• June 19: National Garfield the Cat Day
• June 26: Take Your Dog to Work Day®
• June 21: Dog Party Day
• June 24: Cat World Domination Day

The Steak Sauce Recipe That Puts Steakhouse Versions On Notice

In the US steak sauce is a moderately thick brown sauce sold in grocery stores. It is very salty, slightly sweet, and savory. The contents vary from producer to producer. A-1, the most popular brand in the US is made with tomato puree, vinegar, corn syrup, salt, raisin paste, crushed orange puree, spices and herbs, dried onion and garlic, caramel color, potassium sorbate (preservative) and xanthan gum (emulsifier).

The problem is, I just can’t bring myself to use the stuff on good steaks. But I do use it as an ingredient in barbecue sauces. For readers in Great Britain where apparently there is no “steak sauce” in bottles, HP sauce is a good substitute. According to Wikipedia it is made with malt vinegar, tomato, dates, tamarind extract, sweetener, and spices. Better still, make your own.

Brigit Binns was kind enough to share her recipe for homemade steak sauce that actually makes something good enough to put on a properly-cooked steak. It is far deeper, richer, more complex, and bright than A-1. Try it on burgers, meatloaf, and calves liver, too. Read more about Brigit below.

This steak sauce recipe comes from her wonderful book, The Cook & the Butcher, Juicy recipes butcher’s wisdom, and expert tips. Published by Williams-Sonoma, it is a compendium of her years of expertise with meats and the wisdom of the great butchers she has known. The photos are droolworthy. I highly recommend it.


This version of the recipe is missing the last step, which is to add 1-1/2 cups of the pasta water to the sauce. You're also supposed to pan fry the cooked noodles in butter and then ladle sauce in. Check out various other recipes, including the one on Bon Apetit, for details. If you make it right, it does look like the picture.

Really? There is no way I would make this and any Italian worth his heritage would be revolted. Peppadew? Kick whatever? Vinegar? Please.

Sorry, Mama Lil's what? I've been to Bologna. This aint it.

I am a foodie, a pretty good cook, and have been to Italy several times. I know a good bolognese. The photo is not at all what the recipe looks like. This sauce is labor intensive and frankly not worth the time. I re read the recipe many times. I know this is not technically a tomato sauce/gravy, but almost 2 3/4 lbs of meat to 14 ounces of tomato? While the flavors were favorable, after using the immersion blender, the sauce looked like dog food. I will reconfigure the meat with another homemade tomato sauce in order to not to waste the ingredients.

I was intrigued and thought I would try this recipe on for size. I had a large crew coming over for dinner so, I doubled the recipe. The original article claimed that you didn't really taste the liver (which I love) but that it added that bit if unami (sp?). Truth be told it tasted like a chicken liver red sauce. I will do this again but I will cut the amount of chicken liver in half about 1 1/2-2 oz of chicken liver.

WHEN will people realize that zero forks is not a thing?! I'm sick of seeing 4 stars for a recipe and then when I read the comments realizing the majority of the reviewers say it's horrible and gave it "0 stars". ZERO STARS IS NOT RATING IT. IT IS ON A SCALE FROM 1-4. Pick one. End rant.

This Bolognese with widely disparate reviews just goes to show 'there's no accounting for taste' and for good reason. Each of us has differing preferences. What a boring world this would be were this not so. I really liked the complex flavors of this sauce. Yes, it is a time consuming recipe that, in my view, is worth the effort. As I'm often cooking 2 or three things at a time, it can simmer while I do other prep. This is a truly powerful, substantive version of triple meat Ragu with but a hint of tomato. I have used this sauce both over a course noodle and as a flavor enhancing additive to other saucy dishes. It's a bit strong for a straight pasta dish but I get rave reviews for this latter use.

I LOVE epicurious, and my favorite thing about it is that a recipe with a 4-star review is generally amazing. This is an exception. I have never left a review, but I cannot allow someone to make this recipe based on it receiving 4 stars. This was such a disappointing waste of time and ingredients. The flavoring was okay, but everything else was off. It was not good. And it looks like excrement or dog food in a really unappealing way. I will not make it again, and I put the entire pot of it down the garbage disposal. Now I have to figure out what to do with the extra chicken livers!

I totally agree with the cook from New York. This is horrible! The taste , texture and appearance was nasty. I followed the recipe as written even going as far as tossing the pasta with butter and the sauce before serving. Thank God for wine and bread! The remaining sauce went in the drain!

I haven't made this travesty, nor will I. This is nothing like a true bolognese, this is over spiced (who puts clove in a bolognese?) and pureed at the end. Oh the humanity!!

This recipe took a bit of time to make, and I ended up cooking it for 4 hours one day and two the next. If you're looking for a tomato-y sauce, this isn't for you but I believe Bolognese sauce is just a meat ragu and that it was never meant to be a meaty tomato sauce. In any case, I really like the complex flavor of this sauce, and the vinegar at the end helps to lighten it. It's a rich, flavorful meat sauce with an authentic Italian taste. I followed the recipe exactly except that I didn't puree it completely. I pureed about half of it but stopped because I thought the texture was changing in a way that I didn't like. Next time I might not puree it at all although a few rounds with a potato masher wouldn't hurt. I also scraped off the fat after refrigerating it overnight.

We made this last month as the picture looked so good. The end result was horrible though and we had to throw out the entire pot as no one would eat the sauce. I am not sure what went wrong as I followed the recipe but there is not enough tomato flavor and the consistency was grainy despite attempts to purée. This recipe was a total waste of time and effort.

Equipment Needed for Making Hot Sauce

You don&rsquot need a lot of fancy cooking tool to make hot sauce at home, just a few basic things.

  • A good nonreactive pot for cooking the sauce
  • Food processor or blender
  • Glass jars or bottles
  • Strainer
  • Kitchen scale, for measuring peppers and other ingredients
  • PH strips or PH meter (affiliate link, my friends)&ndash this is useful for checking the final acidity of your hot sauce
  • Latex gloves for handling hot peppers

The Ultimate Vegetarian Wine Guide

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What’s the first thing most people learn about wine pairing? “Red with meat, white with chicken or fish.” But what about when the main dish is roasted veggies or a spicy vegetarian stir-fry? We’ve asked wine pourers and importers, grape growers, and restaurateurs for their wine-pairing recommendations for various types of vegetarian cuisine. Their easy-to-follow advice makes choosing a bottle or two a snap, whether you’re serving an Eastern Mediterranean falafel or a spicy Thai curry.

White or Red?

There’s no wrong answer. “So many people think you can only drink white wine with tofu or roasted vegetables and red wine with pasta, which is really crazy,” says Gary Vaynerchuk, host of Wine Library TV. Sweetness, acidity, and robustness are better indicators than old-school wine-pairing rules when choosing a wine to go with food. Sparkling wine with tofu and bean dishes, a dry or full-bodied white wine with pasta—these are just two pairings Vaynerchuk suggests to show how innovative wine pairing can be. “Don’t fear the rosè,” adds Jody Brownell, a longtime vegetarian and co-owner of the Wandering Dog Wine Bar in Solvang, Calif. “Great vegetarian food lets the flavor of vegetables come through.” Dry rosès made from traditional red wine grapes, such as Pinot Noir and Syrah, are an easy choice because they go well with a variety of vegetarian dishes and don’t overpower the fresh flavors.

Think Locally

(even when you buy globally). “In Europe all the wines and foods grew up together, so look for wines from the same or similar regions as the food you are eating,” recommends Berkeley, Calif., wine importer Kermit Lynch. In other words, an herb-laced Mediterranean ragoût will naturally go well with a hearty wine from Spain, Italy, or southern France, just as a cream- or cheese-based dish (typical of northern European cuisines) is best served with a more delicate wine from a cooler growing region such as Burgundy or Bordeaux. But don’t rule out Californian, South African, Australian, or Argentinean options just because your meal is French or Italian. Wines that come from similar climates can match the food just as well.

Pairing Like with Like

“Pair great with great, humble with humble,” advises Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible. A weeknight pasta dish probably doesn’t warrant uncorking a pricey Chardonnay. But if the meal is a celebration, bump up your budget to try a finer vintage. A young table wine won’t stand up to a gourmet entree as well as a more complex wine, even if the table wine is from the right region. And it’s harder to appreciate the nuances in an expensive Bordeaux when sipped with a quick supper.

“Delicate to delicate, and robust to robust,” MacNeil adds. “A subtle wine will end up tasting like water if you serve it with a dramatically spiced dish, like curry.” MacNeil points out that bold-tasting foods pair perfectly with big-flavored wines. “That’s why various Zinfandels are terrific with many Mexican dishes,” she adds.

Sweet Tempers Heat

Indian and Thai cuisines have no wine-accompaniment heritage, but that doesn’t mean you have to forgo serving wine with your favorite curry or pad thai. The ripe fruit and residual sugars in sweet white wines help tame the heat and bring out the other flavors in spicy dishes. A California Viognier or a German Riesling couldn’t be produced much farther away from Bombay or the River Kwai, but these wine choices will bring out the sweetness of the vegetables in Indian and Asian dishes.

Trust Your Taste Buds

“People tend to overthink wine and food combinations and don’t realize how versatile wine can be,” says Vaynerchuk. “You need to understand your own wine palate—the built-in preferences you have—because everyone’s tastes are different.” Vaynerchuk also recommends choosing a different type every time you buy wine over the course of a full year. “Take notes, text, or e-mail yourself the ones you liked or didn’t like, and the following year you’ll know your palate so well, you won’t have to wonder what wine to buy.”

Wine Pairing Cheat Sheet

Entire books are devoted to wine pairing and selection, so there’s no way we can fit all the info they cover here. The following lists will help you match wines with favorite veg cuisines—and go beyond popular favorites like Merlot and Chardonnay.

  • WHITE: Grüener Veltliner, Riesling
  • RED: Shiraz, Viognier
  • SPARKLING: Cava, Champagne, Prosecco
  • WHITE: Arneis, Côtes du Rhone, Greco di Tufo, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Verdicchio, Viognier
  • RED: Barbera, Barolo, Beaujolais, Chianti, Gamay, Nebbiolo

Thai and Indian

Eastern Mediterranean (Greek, Israeli, North African, and Lebanese)

  • WHITE: Chenin Blanc, Roussanne, Verdicchio, Viognier
  • RED: Pinot Noir, Syrah
  • SPARKLING: Crémant d’Alsace, Crémant de Bourgogne

The Buzz On Organic & Biodynamic

Nowadays, the words “organic,” “biodynamic,” and even “vegan” are making their way onto more and more wine bottles. But are the environmentally friendly vintages worth the (sometimes higher) price? Can they stand the test of time? And will your taste buds be satisfied? (Note: All organic wines are vegetarian, but vegan wines are filtered with clay rather than the traditional egg whites.) “There was the stereotype from the old days that organic wines were less-than-desirable,” says Véronique Raskin, founder of San Francisco-based Organic Wine Company. “But now, loads of organic wines are comparable with conventional vintages.”

For a safer bet taste-wise, Raskin recommends choosing organically grown wines or wines made from organic grapes over certified-organic wines. Organic wines are made without sulfites—preservatives that have been used for centuries to protect flavor and extend cellar life. Because certified organic wines don’t contain sulfites, they may not be as shelf-stable.

Biodynamic winemakers take the organic ideal one step further by adhering to practices to create a growing environment that “puts energy into the soil in order to put energy into the wine,” says Paul Dolan, a partner at Mendocino Wine Company. Biodynamic growers cultivate vineyards where plants, animals, insects, and vines live symbiotically so that little pest control is needed. “With wine, one of the most important aspects is terroir, or the soil structure and microclimate of the vineyard,” says Dolan. “Biodynamics tries to enhance that sense of terroir. All of the elements show up in the grapes and ultimately the wine for a more complete, delicious expression of the terroir.”

Watch the video: The Ultimate Guide To Wine (May 2022).


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