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Friday, August 10, 2012

Thinking Ahead

I know it’s hot out.  It’s been particularly hot out here in New York this summer, and very humid.  I don’t mind it - in fact, I love the intense heat in the summer and sipping dry rose from Provence or Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre or something fun and clean from Italy, like a Falanghina, out on the porch in the evenings.

But just knowing that the season will be changing in about a month, I’ve started thinking up new recipes and culinary concepts for the cooler months.  Last year I had several “kitchen ambitions,” as I like to call them.  And I could hardly believe that I completed every dish or idea I had on my list for the year.  I taught myself to make homemade ravioli and gnocchi, I created my own risotto recipe, I learned to cook duck to replicate some favorite restaurant dishes, I came up with a wintery dish that included bison and several other favorite ingredients, I made a fantastic goulash, I created some dishes that had sat in my imagination bank for months, I invented a mac-n-cheese dish that absolutely blew my own mind, and I tackled a recipe that had intimidated me for some time - and conquered it - a duck cassoulet.  And of course I took great care in choosing the appropriate wines for pairing to these dishes.  I shared them on the blog over the past year or so, and enjoy revisiting the photos of dishes I created and recipes I wrote.

In my opinion, based on their relatively high acidity, I believe red Burgundies and Chianti are ideal for pairing to lots of dishes.  They’re clean, generally fairly low in alcohol, and bright and versatile.

I hate to see the summer come to an end and always feel sad when it happens.  But the flavors, aromas, and textures of autumn inspire new dishes and satisfying pairings, and before long we return to the couch beside the fireplace, watching hockey instead of baseball.  We sip Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah, Nebbiolo, and Amarone.

But for now, I’ll enjoy my dry rose, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling...and summer.

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