Chef's Blog, Chef's Notes Plus

A Taste of Beaujolais

Beaujolais and its wines are easy to understand, easy to buy, and easy to love. With few exceptions, they are juicy, bubble-gum reds produced in a light style for easy drinking. A huge amount of red Beaujolais is produced, all of it made solely from the Gamay grape. A small […]

Chef's Blog

Adventures in Home Winemaking

Or, How Grapes From a World-Famous Vineyard Ended Up In My Garage When I tell people my husband and I are garage winemakers, the first thing they say is, “So you have a vineyard?” Well, no. We do live in Napa, but our backyard is tiny. There wasn’t even room […]

Chef's Blog, Chef's Notes Plus

Affordable Wines for your Holiday Table

Paying less doesn’t mean having to do without anymore. When planning a dinner party, we spend ample time designing the menu, only then to find ourselves having to make a critical decision – go over budget buying six bottles of wine just to impress everyone or settling for an unknown […]

Sauces, Dressings, and Condiments

Beurre Blanc

Makes 1 quart sauce Beurre blanc is a classic French sauce, made creamy thanks to the emulsion formed between the fat (butter!) and the liquid (wine). The key to not breaking an emulsion is patience and an even, moderate cooking temperature, so take your time adding the butter and take […]

Chef's Notes Plus

Beverages for Cheese

Many of us have an innate belief that wine and cheese were made for each other. Not to disavow you of that belief, but dry wines can often clash with rich cheeses, and red wine is more often the culprit than white! Here, though, are a few simple ground rules […]

Main Dishes

Cavatelli with Mussels and Potatoes

Serves 4 If you can’t find nice mussels at your local store, you can easily substitute clams. If neither are available, you can use shrimp. They cook very quickly, so keep an eye on them and remove them from the liquid as soon as they’re opaque all the way through. […]

Chef's Notes Plus

Cooking with Wine

For many of you, “cooking with wine” may mean holding a wooden spoon in one hand and a wine glass in the other. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a glass while you cook, I’d like to propose reserving a little for your recipes. You may ask, “Why use wine […]

Chef's Notes Plus

Get to Know Rosé

It may seem like rosé has become extra trendy in the last few years, but come summertime along the coast of France (and, well, all over Europe!), rosé is simply a fact of life. And why shouldn’t it be? Rosé (rosato in Italy and rosado in Spanish-speaking countries, alongside the […]

Beverages and Cocktails

Grappa with Berries

Makes 6 servings This recipe can be made with any fruit that is in season. The recipe makes six portions, but you can make as much or as little as you like. Keep replenishing the fruit as you use it so that you’ll have a supply on hand whenever you […]

Chef's Notes Plus

Group Staycation, Destination: Sicily

Our bodies might still be stuck at home, at least partially, but if you’re like us, your mind is wandering. Remembering past vacations is fun, but mentally planning future journeys (and imagining what we would eat first!) is the sort of optimistic thinking we need. Our travel buckets lists are […]

Chef's Notes Plus

How to Make a Pan Sauce with No Recipe

Just like you, we’re not making fully formed extravagant dinners every night of the week. Sometimes a basic pan-cooked protein + side is as good as it gets, like a sautéed chicken breast or seared pork chop. But just like the foundations of French cooking tell us, nothing makes a […]