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I have to confess that I have a weakness for a little piece of pastry every now and then, and the lighter the better. Mine must not be a rare preference, because pastry chefs everywhere have a special concoction that plays right into this craving, and that would be something called the Genoise Cake. Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Waterfront Kitchen loves making this light spongy bit of pastry.
A few weeks ago the topic of French food came up on Dan Rodricks' "Midday" show, and Chef Cindy Wolf described a dish of eggs poached in red wine. Hold on, I thought, that's one of my favorite French dishes, "Oeufs en Meuette", something I always order when I'm over there. And as Jerry notes, it's amazing how often poached eggs work their way into recipes these days.
The neat thing about poached eggs is that they make their own sauce. Once pierced, the yolk runs into whatever else is on the plate, adding flavor and texture.
Traditionally, a good chef not only had to be adept with the preparation of food, he also had to be a dab hand at assembling a creative mixed drink. Not only do ardent spirits come into play, but also liqueurs, cordials and that piquant elixir, bitters. And as Jerry will point out, there is an enormous variety of bitters out there, all of them quite useful.
With March coming in a few days, we can't help but think about the return of Spring. And for many of us, that means we start thinking about our gardens. Growing our own food has become popular recently, even in the middle of the city where space is at a premium.
Because Al is such a huge fan of Spanish wines, he has started going through his cookbooks looking for ideas for Spanish dinners. One of the classics is "cocido," the famous stew of Madrid. This is a complicated dinner in terms of process, and simple in terms of actual technique. Cocido is one of Spain's signature dishes, practiced at the family level across the country. It's one of those dishes like chili con carne or bouillabaisse that has as many variations as practitioners. But here are the essentials: it's a meat and vegetable
First off, Happy Valentine's Day to everyone out there. With all the sweet sentiments floating about today, we though it would be a good idea to talk about that most essential sweetener of all, sugar. And there is a lot more to this subject than meets the eye.
Winter is a good time to enjoy cured meats, particularly if you have a source for good local product. Don't happen to know anyone practicing charcuterie? No problem; do it yourself. Pates, terrines and mousses of various kinds are actually very easy to make, and even easier to enjoy. And, it's a good way to use up left over scraps of this, that and the other.
Continuing a theme we started last week, we'd like to discuss some of the local produce that is still available in the Maryland marketplace. Fresh salad greens are still being grown in high tunnels and greenhouses, but those wonderful root vegetables are still in good supply, coming in from the frosty fields.
Wintertime is that portion of the year when our dedication to eating locally can clash with our need for fresh, nutritious produce. I for one have no qualms about buying fresh, out-of-state vegetables during the winter, but I don't intend to abandon our local growers entirely. Although much of our farmland is non-productive during the winter, there is still a surprising flow of salad greens.
Recently, Radio Kitchen co-host Jerry Pellegrino has been involved in helping a new restaurant get off the ground - Waterfront Kitchen in Fells Point, located at 1417 Thames Street in the Living Classrooms building. Chef Levi Briggs will be holding forth in the kitchen, cranking out what Jerry calls wonderfully welcome comfort food.