Showing posts from 2009

Great books on wine & cooking

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting and Running a Winery
Author: Thomas Pellechia
Rating: Excellent
Format: Paperback,368 pages
Price: $18.95
ISBN 9781592578184

Experience and knowledge is power. Thomas Pellechia has been on all sides of the wine business. His new idiot's guide is a perfect instruction manual for anyone who has dreamt about owning their own wine business. This book covers almost all of the possible legal and financial issues that will be faced by any vintner.

Valuable chapters include vineyard design and layout, grape yields (gallons per ton) and how to make a profitable business. They say it isn't so! Custom crush versus owning your own winery. Pellechia shows you how to crunch those numbers too! My favorite pet peeve, wine label design is also logically explained. You will learn the do's and don'ts for designing a wine label that's draws attention, entering your best wines into a professional wine competition, pl…

Taste of Elegance Denver Chefs Get Serious!

2009 Taste of Elegance Denver:
Chefs Get Serious!
Story and photos by Christopher J Davies

Top Chef Hosea Rosenberg , Claire Walter Food Critic/Author,
Amanda Faison, 5280 magazine, Teresa Farney, The Gazette, Colorado Springs

The 2009 Denver International Wine Festival Taste of Elegance Chef's Competition took place on Thursday November 12, 2009 at The Mile High Station, Denver.

This year's event was our biggest and best ever, with 15 Colorado Master Chef's participating. Top Chef Season 5 Winner Hosea Rosenberg, our previous three time champion joined on as our celebrity Judge and Master of Ceremonies. Hosea has had a whirlwind year due to his TV stardom. We are so proud of him and his accomplishments.

This year's TOE drew an impressive bevy of serious chefs from as far away as Telluride. Our only female contestant was Eliza H. S. Gavin, Chef/Owner, 221 South Oak Bistro, Telluride. Eliza is a cook book author and seriously talented chef. Visit her restaurant the next time…

Recipe & Pairing From The Denver International Wine Festival

Recipe from The Best Chef of The 2008 Denver International Wine Festival

My absolutely most enjoyable event of the year is The Denver International Wine Festival's Taste of Elegance Chef's Competition.

We provide only Gold Medal winning wines from the Denver International Wine Competition to 14 of Colorado's Master Chef's. Each Chef is assigned two different Gold Medal wines just one week before the event. Their assignment is to create a custom paired dish to go with each wine. At the Taste of Elegance, they create 400 appetizer portions to serve some of Colorado's most devoted food and wine lovers.

Our 2008 "Best Chef" was Jean-Luc Voegele, the Executive Chef of The Westin Tabor Center Hotel in Downtown Denver. Jean-Luc is a French native and may have been fed wine with his Cheerios as a youngster. His pairing at the event was one of the most unusual combinations, yet it worked quite deliciously!

Roasted Beets Salad with whipped Goat Cheese served with a

Harvest America 2009- Part One

Harvest America 2009
By Christopher J Davies

Harvest is a vintner's celebration of the culmination of a year's hard
work. It marks the transition period in the winemaking cycle from
vineyard to cellar. In physical terms, it is the process of picking
ripe grapes from the vine.

This past week, Darcy and I had the pleasure of visiting the Napa Valley where Harvest is already in full swing. We were honored to attend the 43rd Blessing of The Grapes at The Robert Mondavi Winery. Margrit Mondavi and Director of Wine Making, Genevieve Janssens hosted the event for friends, employees and a handful of press. Monsignor John Brenkle of The St. Helena Catholic Church presided. Afterward we all enjoyed a delicious lunch overlooking the vines!

Margrit Mondavi with grapes

We stayed at the lovely Wine Country Inn, located in St.Helena. This place is awesome! We stayed in a private cottage overlooking a lush vineyard. Every afternoon they host a delicious wine tasting with tons of snacks. The staff was…

Pastel De Choclo Chiliean Corn & Meat Pie

Pastel De Choclo

Chilean Corn & Meat Pie

Here's a healthy traditional Chilean dish that is favorite of many locals. It is light and ideal for the summer. Vegans can leave out the chicken. Meat lovers may add more ground beef instead of chicken. Fish lovers may substitute salmon.

Serves 12.

6 large ears of corn, grate the kernels
8 leaves of fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. butter
1/2-1 cup milk
4 large onions, chopped
3 tbsps. oil
1 lb. (1/2 kg) finely ground lean beef
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. ground cumin
4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1 cup black olives
1 cup raisins
12 pieces of chicken, browned in hot oil, seasoned with salt,
pepper and cumin
2 tbsps. confectioners' sugar

All photos (C) 2009 by Christopher J Davies. All rights reserved.

Heat the grated corn, chopped basil, salt and butter in a large pot. Add
the milk little by little, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens.
Cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Leave to one side while you prepare the
meat filling…

Food102: Real Photos

Caveat Emptor: "Let The Frequent Flyer Beware"

Caveat Emptor: "Let The Frequent Flyer Beware"
Story and photo by Christopher J Davies

We all know that caveat emptor is Latin for, "Let the buyer beware". This phrase should definitely be used when comparing frequent flyer programs and airline policies for redeeming a "free" ticket.

As a member of several frequent flyer programs, I am outraged over the hassle and cost that some airlines put me through. I feel like a number of my most-frequented, so-called "classic" carriers have totally turned their backs on me, the customer.

Last month, I needed to fly from Denver to New York on two back-to-back weekends. Rather than be penalized with hiked up rates for purchasing tickets at the last minute, I decide to cash in some "free" tickets. The two experiences I had illustrate the drastic difference between a larger carrier and one of the “low-cost” carriers.

Flight on May 1, 2009 via United Airlines #558
For my first trip, I decided to use 25,000…

Crab Cakes for Appetizers or Brunch!

Crab Cakes for Appetizers or Brunch!
Story and photos (C) 2009 by Christopher J Davies

I noticed that Costco is now selling Chicken of The Sea, Super Lump Crab in their deli section. The cost for a 1 LB container is only $14.99, which is enough to make 12 decent size crab cakes. Having lived on the East Coast for most of my life, I have encountered too many crab cakes that contain excessive filers such as onions, celery and peppers. It is my opinion that these fillers overpower the the wonderful natural taste of the crab.

In the store, I discovered the manufacturers recipe was not full of filer type ingredients. So I decided to test out their suggested recipe. Both Darcy and I have added this to our list of favorites!

Delicious Crab Cakes

1- 16 oz (1 LB) cup of Crab Meat
1 beaten Egg
2 tbs. Mayonnaise
1 tbs. mustard prepared( we used Grey Poupon)
1 tbs. Worcestershire Sauce
1 tbs. dry mustard (we used Oriental Hot Mustard)
1 tbs., seafood season (we substitute with Louisiana Cajun Seasoning)

Capital Grille's Exceptional Tuscan Wine and Food Feast

The Capital Grille's Exceptional Tuscan Wine and Food Feast
By Christopher J. Davies
Photos (C) The Capital Grille

Darcy and I just had the pleasure of visiting the Capital Grille Restaurant in Denver's historic and trendy LoDo neighborhood. The restaurant is located in the heart of Larimer Square.

While the Capital Grille has been on my short list for amazing steaks, seafood and service, this meal was a very special occasion as we were set to try the Capital Grille's five course, Italian-fare dinner, a promotion that goes on at all of the 35 Capital Grille's restaurants across the US, until April 5, 2009. The five-course dinner is offered at the recession buster price of $49 per person, which is definitely well-worth the cost!

George Miliotes
Best of all, the dinner offers an exclusive opportunity for diners at The Capital Grille to preview the premier vintage of Banfi Vintners 2005 BelnerO Sangiovese di Montalcino, a delicious Sangiovese made from unfiltered cuvée of speci…

Recipe's from Boulder's Top Chef

Top Chef Season 5 concludes tonight. Who will it be?
Carla, Stefan or Hosea?

I am rooting for Hosea because I know from past experience that he has what it takes to win tonight.

Before he made it to Top Chef Season 5 fame, Chef Hosea Rosenberg of Jax Fishouse in Boulder, was a two time "Best Chef" at the Denver International Wine Festival. In 2007, Chef Rosenberg won the Taste of Elegance Chef's Food and Wine Competition.

Here are the recipe's for his winning dishes:

Thai Marinated Scallops with Trout Roe and Pineapple Syrup
(serves 4)
4, large, fresh scallops (about 2oz each)
2 oz lime juice
2 oz orange juice
1 large knob ginger
1 stalk lemongrass
4 oz coconut milk
2 oz rice wine
2 C fresh pineapple juice
½ jalapeno, seeded
1 T corn starch
1 oz trout roe
1 large English cucumber, sliced into think disks

Slice scallops into thin disks. Chop ginger into very small pieces and then squeeze with kitchen towel to extract juices. Combine ginger juice, lime juice, orange juice, lemongra…

The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs- A Foodies Enchanted Delight

The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs
Every Foodies Enchanted Dream!

Story and Photos by Christopher J Davies, except where noted.

Last weekend we had the pleasure of taking our annual foodie pilgrimage to the fabulous Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. The resort is set on 3000 beautiful acres, with four award-wining championship golf courses (that will play host to the 2011 U.S Women's Open) , 593 guest rooms, 107 suites, gargantuan 185,000 square feet of meeting space, 6 tennis courts, a full service spa, 18 restaurants, café's and lounges.

Photo (C) The Broadmoor

Guest rooms are lavishly appointed and opulent. Ours was located in the original main building with a birds eye view of Cheyenne Mountain and the resort’s own Cheyenne Lake. Our bathroom was totally renovated with marble tile, modern glass enclosed shower and a large five-fixture bath.

Three of the Broadmoor restaurants are Mobil Star rated, In 2007, Penrose Room became the first Colorado restaurant to receive the AAA Five-Diamo…

Hungary’s Epochal Food & Wine Culture

Statues at Heroes Square, Budapest

Dio Restaurant

Mysterious fountain of wine!

Budapest (pronounced/ Buda-Pesht), capital of Hungary, is in my opinion one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. During the cold war it had a reputation for being “the Paris” of Eastern Europe. The city is actually a combination of two cities Buda and Pest that are separated by the Duna (Hungarian) or Danube River.

When I first visited Budapest in 1992, the inhabitants were still trying to grasp with their newly obtained freedom. The Soviet Union was officially dissolved. While this was mainly positive, some locals resented the jump in expenses that they incurred with freedom.

When I dined in traditional popular restaurants, I experienced old world cuisine that was comprised of a great amount of heavily fried foods such as chicken and goose, doused in paprika & cream. The wine list’s consisted of 90 percent sweet local white varietals and classic Tokay and Aszu, sweet wines made in a similar style as Saut…