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Food, Cooking and Wine 101
Wine expert Howard Milstein and his wife Ruth -
Howard's Tips for Wine and Food Pairing
While matching fine wine to food is always a fun thing, ultimately, it is always
up to the individuals own enjoyment, taste and the combinations that work best for
you. You don't want the food to completely overpower the wine, so you cannot taste
it at all. Conversely, you don't want the wine to be so strong that you can't taste
the meal. Some sort of balance is the best compromise.
Generally speaking, red wines go with most cheeses, meat dishes and rich poultry
whereas you would be more likely to drink white wine with salads, all kinds of fish
and lighter, chicken dishes. One exception is Pinot Noir or Burgundy. (The area in
France called Burgundy produces ONLY Pinot Noir). The medium body, structure and
balance of the Pinot Noir grape seems to bridge the best of both of these worlds;
it can be as delicious with a steak or a fine seafood meal. Sweet wines are of course
great after a meal whereas a semi-
My wife Ruth enjoys using wine in her dishes. It gives food lots of flavor and can
be a great substitute for salt. Her wonderfully delicious chunk of beef with red
wine recipe listed below is a typical example of a beautifully juicy piece of steak
that is not only cooked in wine but would go extremely well with a rich, full bodied
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, or Bordeaux (the latter usually consisting of
the aforementioned grape varietals as well as Petite Verdot). This dish would also
complement any of the Northern or Southern Rhone Blends from the Rhone Valley or
Chateaunueff du Pape.
You'll find that some people have created "hard and fast rules" about what always goes well with what. Learn for yourself what combinations of tastes YOU enjoy the most. Feel free to experiment, and write down which wines go especially well with certain foods. You'll find that the person who knows the most about what you should have together is yourself!
Ruth's Recipe: Beef Chunk Roasted in Red Wine
Here is a meal that uses many interesting ingredients. Although it may take a little time to prepare, ultimately, the results will be supremely rewarding. You may prepare it one or two days in advance and cook it before serving. Use any root vegetables that please your taste. For 3 pounds of beef, roast it for 40 minutes. Makes 12 servings.
5 pound beef tied with butcher's twine in the shape of a roll
3 fresh thyme stems
3 fresh rosemary stems
3 bay leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
10 garlic cloves; peeled
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
4 red potatoes peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
4 medium size carrots, sliced to 1/2 inch horizontally
1 cup red wine
Weave into the twine that wraps the beef the thyme stems, rosamary stems and bay leaf. Sprinkle pepper on the beef. Warm up the oil in a large pot that will comfortably hold the beef.
When the oil is hot, put the beef in the pot carefully and sear it all over for 10 minutes until it becomes brown.
Take beef out of the pot and put it in a large baking pan.
With a sharp knife make 10 punctures in beef and stick in the garlic cloves.
Smear the soy sauce over and around beef and let sit aside.
Put the cut-
Transfer the vegetables to the baking pan and surrounding the beef. Then pour the wine on the top of the beef and rub it all around.
Put the pan into the oven and roast for 1 hour for a medium cooked beef.
During this time, baste the beef and the vegetables at least 3 times in the sauce that has been accumulated in the pan.
Take beef out of the oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Cut and remove the twine and discard the thyme stems, rosemary stems and the bay leaves.
Transfer beef to a large serving platter surrounding it with vegetables and serve.
Ruth Milstein is the author of the award-