Jeff Siegel blogs as The Wine Curmudgeon--great name, great info. What
I especially love is Jeff's ability to find inexpensive wines he loves...and I
get to hunt those wines down and enjoy them, too--as an ongoing part of
Babette Feasts,I introduce: The Wine Curmudgeon.
1. What pushed you to food or wine blogging?
I lost my regular newspaper wine gig, which was four times a month, when the paper
eliminated the food section. I had to find a way to keep writing about wine,
and the blog was the perfect solution. It has worked out much better than I
had hoped, and my only regret is that I didn't do it sooner a year or two
sooner. 2. What do you hope to share with readers through your blog?
That wine is not rocket science, that it should be fun, and that the wine
business makes wine more difficult than it needs to be. There is plenty of
enjoyable, quality wine for $10, and people who don't think so are the worst
kind of wine snobs. 3. Is there one post that stands out from others as one that generated a lot of commentary or maybe made you wish you hadn't posted it?
One of my great successes was a review of a $10 red wine from Italy,
Tormaresca Neprica. It's close to the perfect cheap red wine -- food
friendly, great balance, low alcohol. But, given the vagaries of the wine
business, it was not widely distributed. I reviewed it, noted that it was not
widely distributed, and suggested that readers nage their retailers if the
retailer didn't carry it. Much to my surprise, when the next vintage came
out, the PR person told me that so many people had nagged their retailers,
the wine was much more available. In fact, my annual Tormaresca review
is always one of the top-read posts each year. 4. Do you cook yourself? Well? What is your go-to dish?
Oven Arroz con pollo. Brown four skinned chicken pieces (I use thighs, but
any piece will do) in olive oil. Remove the chicken, then saute chopped
onions, bell peppers, carrots, jalapenos, corn kernels, and garlic in olive oil
in the same pan. Then mix 2 to 3 cups of cooked rice (leftover Chinese
takeout is perfect) with 1 tablespoon best quality chili powder, 1 1/2
teaspoons paprika, 1/2 teaspoon cumin and coriander and salt and pepper
to taste. Mix the rice with the vegetables in the pan, put the chicken on top,
cover and bake in a 350 oven until the chicken is cooked, 20-30 minutes.
I have absolutely no idea why this works, because I'm told it shouldn't. But
the rice remains moist, and it tastes great. 5. Forget your favorite go-to dish; what is your idea of a perfect meal?
Not so much the food as the company. But we do talk about "perfect"
meals a lot in the wine business, and mine is simple and very bourgeois
French -- roast chicken from a bird that was just killed, either crusty
potatoes or green noodles, a salad with just picked lettuce mixed with
minced herbs and a vinagrette made with the chicken cooking fat, an apple
tart for dessert, and gougeres, the French cheese puffs for a first course.
Serve it with a light, young red wine or a white wine with lots of fruit. Bonus question if you feel like it: Do you have a dirty little secret in your kitchen? Hot dogs, baked beans, and grocery store onion rings.
In the old days,when Big John's beans were available, I used to use those.
I love that.