On this segment of Foreman and Wolf on Food and Wine, Tony and Chef Cindy take a trip back to the 80's.
They discuss some typical dishes during this time in the United States, the changes and innovations in the restaurant industry and dining styles, the introduction of wine and food pairing together, and have an in-studio visit from Burt Basignani of Basignani Wine, Ltd. located in Sparks, MD.
Segment 1: In the 80's, Chef first started to work with fresh herbs and varieties of fresh lettuce, which is something that hadn’t really been done before this time. Chef discusses some of the influential chefs in the United States during this time, including Alice Waters, Larry Forgione, and Jean-Louis Palladin, whose demands and efforts for fresh market product helped changed cooking in America in the 1980's.
Regional American cuisine and style of cooking really came to fruition during this time.
Segment 2: A list of some of the most ridiculous dishes that Tony and Chef Cindy remember from the 1980s includes: Tri-color peppers used in everything, Red Pepper Coulis, melted brie topped with almonds & strawberry jam, Navajo fried bread and dip in a bread bowl, and for wine, there was a major innovation in White Zinfandel from California during this time.
In the 1980's, food and wine pairing was seemingly nonexistent in the United States.
Tony and Chef Cindy discuss some of the influential meals they enjoyed in the 1980's, as well as the changes that needed to be made in American food at that time. One important growth was the combination of both flavor and presentation coming together at the same time in a dish, which Tony explains was the crucible of American cooking during that decade that changed our ability to produce beautiful food that is interesting, high quality and worthwhile.
An influential cookbook during this time was The Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Russo and Sheila Lukins.
Chef Cindy shares her recipe for Chicken Liver Mousse: Rinse, pull apart, and discard green pieces and extra fat from chicken livers, drain them, season the livers with salt and pepper, a small dice of onion, 10 black peppercorns, 4 bay leaves, and pinch of dried thyme. Place the livers in a large sauté pan with corn oil at the bottom and brown them on both sides, cook until medium - just barely pink in middle and deglaze pan w/ cognac. Pull the livers out, let them cool down to room temperature, add cayenne pepper, more cognac, more salt and pepper, and a little bit of clove or allspice. Puree the livers in a food processor, slowly drizzling in cold cream and adding in softened butter, and then pass it through a tamis. Put the finished product into a small jar, chill for 8-12 hours to let flavors settle, and serve with grilled toast points or baguette.
Chef also shares a recipe for Sheet Crab Soup: the soup should be thickened lightly with roux, cream, and laced w/ sherry. Add ground and sautéed mixture of onion, carrot and celery into the soup. The highlights of the soup should be the crab and the cream, not the vegetables.
Segment 3: Tony and Chef Cindy have an in-studio interview with Burt Basignani, Maryland wine grower and owner of Basignani Wine Ltd.
The 1980's were a formative time for food and wine in the United States. Burt started making wine in the mid-1970's, and in the 1980's he experienced some of the great wines of the world and decided to expand and try to make good wines.
Burt’s epiphany/benchmark wines from this time include a first growth Bordeaux and a 1945 vintage Clos des Lambrays. A few of Burt’s favorite Maryland vintages from the 1980s are Montbray and Catoctin.
For Burt, 2007 was the most memorable, ideal climatic year for wine growing in Maryland due to the amount of moisture in the winter and early spring, the right amount of rain during the growing season, and the right amount of heat during the end of the season. With the rough, cold winter Maryland experienced this year, a good indication of the size of the crop his vineyards will produce will come at about mid-May.
The microclimate at his home vineyard in Sparks, MD is cooler with its biggest advantage being its unique soil made up of metamorphosed volcanic rock, which influences the flavors of his wine.