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You haven’t met Cory Walker yet.
You probably won’t meet him until 2018, when he appears in a new novel. (Working title is BLOOD FROM A STONE)

So who IS Cory Walker? Well, it’s a little complicated.

Cory was a Special Forces Operational Detachment – Delta operator. (1st SFOD-D)                                                       Commonly referred to as Delta, these Special Forces warriors are some of America’s best war fighters. After being injured, Cory returned home to recuperate. It was during that time that he fell in love with Amanda, his physical therapist, and eventually bought a home on Harker’s Island, N.C. to “get away from it all” and unwind.  It was a good plan. Until a discovery in his basement turned their lives upside down.

You’ll have to wait until the book is sold before I can share more, but I can tell you THIS much. Cory is an oenophile–a wine aficionado, as well as a pretty decent chef and sarcastic wise ass.

(Holy Crud. Now that I think about it… he sounds a lot like the author… except I was never a Bad-Ass.)

In the coming weeks and months, Cory’s favorite wines and recipes will be popping up here on this blog, They will probably be almost EXACTLY the same as author David M. Salkin’s favorite wines and recipes. What a coinky-dink. If you like to eat and drink…which makes you like almost everyone else I know, you should check in from time to time, and join the mailing list!

Care to take a SNEAK PEEK at BLOOD FROM A STONE?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBrVkM066vo&feature=youtu.be&ytbChannel=null

The very first Cory Post is … here!

 

What Would Cory Do?  The Very First Post!

 This is the first of what will become a regular series of “What Would Cory Do?”
Cory Walker, future main character of a book whose title is not yet determined, (We’ll refer to it for now as BURIED SECRETS) is a wine aficionado. A true Oenophile.

He’s also not a bad chef. And a sarcastic wiseass like the author. (Who also likes to cook and drink wine with his friends.)

So… in this, the debut of Cory’s adventures here in Blog-Land, we unveil Cory’s favorite reasonably priced white wine… Robert Mondavi Private Selection Monterey County Chardonnay, aged two months in bourbon barrels. There are very few white wines that actually make me say wow, and those are usually the very expensive ones. (It’s not my fault that I have expensive taste. We like what we like!) But in this case, for about $13 or so, you can buy an amazing bottle of chardonnay.

There’s a funny phenomenon in the wine world where certain varietals go in and out of style and popularity. The movie sideways had everyone drinking Pinot Noir for a while. Years before that, Merlot was king of the Reds. Now it seems like Cabernet Sauvignon is the most popular red, with Grenache making a sneaking move from the back of the pack. In white wines, Chardonnay used to be what everyone ordered, now it seems like lighter, crisper Pinot Blanc is the go-to white.

I don’t follow trends. I could care less what the latest rage is. We like what we like, right?  And… ‘Murica.
We get to make our own choices.

For me?  Red. 90% of the time, I want red, and I want a huge Napa cab.

If nothing else, at least I’m predictable. And when it comes to white, I also want BIG. Pinot Blanc just isn’t going to do it for me, with rare exceptions, like pared with a raw oyster. So what’s a big white? Pinot Gris and bold Chardonnay! A fine Chardonnay, to my palate, has plenty of oak, and ripe fruit with vanilla, caramel, cream brulee and butterscotch flavors. To me, this is the “big end of the spectrum”. The lighter, crisper whites than boast tart apple or melons tend to be too light for me.

When I opened the first bottle of Mondavi Bourbon Barrel aged Chard, I was immediately smacked with the bourbon fragrance. (I like bourbon. ‘Cause, ‘Murica. That’s why.) The smell was unusual and strong (not bourbon strong, but you know what you’re smelling!) It’s smooth, round, full and has plenty of that vanilla and oak that I love, with the definite hints of the bourbon. I was so pleasantly surprised to find a great wine for thirteen bucks that I bought a whole case.

Because this wine is so big and full for a white, I think it pares well with a lot of different foods. So far, it’s been great with salmon, pork, veal and pasta. It was also pretty great by itself on the back deck watching the sun set.

I need a rating system for my wines on this blog, and because I write fiction, I’m just going to make one up.

1-5 points for flavor (5 is the best) and a bonus point for value. If I think the wine is a steal at its market price, it gets an extra point. While a perfect score of 6 might lead you to believe that a wine has to be one of the finest in the world, in my little world, that isn’t the case. I may never get to try a Screaming Eagle or Scarecrow or 1970 blah-blah-blah… so my scores will reflect the wine world I get to drink in. Example… Silver Oak Alexander Valley Cab is perhaps one of my favorite wines on the planet. It gets a 5. Why? Perfect score for flavor, but it’s expensive. The value is there… it’s worth what they charge, but it isn’t a “steal” at 75 bucks or more. And while I’d rather drink that Silver Oak, I still have to give this Chard a perfect 6.

The flavor is killer and the value is there! For 13 bucks…?  My current favorite white!

As ALWAYS, feel free to reply to these posts with your own opinions on the selected foods or wines, or suggest some of your own favorites that I can try!  You can also write to DMSalkinAuthor@Gmail.com … especially if you’re sending wine! 🙂


WHAT WOULD CORY DO ?  # 2

 

Joseph Phelps “Backus”

This was a Special Occasion sort of wine.
I’m not sure about you, but I rarely whip out a bottle this expensive. Truth be told, it was a generous gift.
What hit me about this wine was the complexity. I LOVE wines that have a strong oak presence. The extra time in the oak barrel imparts flavor and fragrance that I really enjoy. THIS bottle had plenty of that oak, but also layer after layer of amazing flavors that were both subtle and changing as the wine opened up. The fruit was smooth and juicy, and the addition of the Malbec and Petit Verdot harmonized with the Cabernet to create a true symphony of flavors.

I hope that sounds snobby enough for you. I thought it sounded better than the “Holy Sh*t! This is Amazing!” comment which was the first thing that came out of my mouth when I drank it. I didn’t think I could use that as a real wine review, but I’m not sure. What would Cory say? He’d probably go with the “Holy Sh*t, this is amazing” and leave it there. Truth is, trying to describe this wine is a mess. To include all of the flavors and fragrances would mean a very long list indeed. I suppose the intense purplish-Red juice included some cherries and berries, dark fruits and even chocolate with hints of cinnamon. Another ten years in the cellar and who knows what this might be? I know one thing… I couldn’t wait the ten years…

I have to say, I’m a huge fan of the Joseph Phelps wines. All of them are really special, from their “basic” Phelps Cab in the $50 range to Insignia and this Backus, which both can get very pricey.

This is definitely a 5-star wine. Not sure I can give it that 6th “bonus” star for the “sleeper value” that we’re all always looking for, but for a real treat, this one knocked it out of the park.  I pared this with a leg of lamb, slow cooked with a spicy gravy for many hours, and roasted veggies. I actually felt great sadness when the last drops fell from the decanter. If you ever the chance to treat yourself, this bottle was amazing!


WHAT WOULD CORY DO?    #3

What would Cory do?  Well, first, he’d be better-looking. Cory is a Stud. I just write fiction. And cook.
This was the best Spaghetti Putenasca puttanesca I ever made.  Cory would be proud. You need this in your life:

Mince 5 or more cloves of garlic, a few anchovie filets (from the jar in oil) and red pepper flakes in Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Gently saute the garlic until it starts to get tan. Then add chopped black olives (I used the pitted Calamata olives, about a pint) and a small jar of capers (maybe a little more than 1/4 cup) and stir it in for a moment.  To this, add a can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes and cook until hot.  Your house will smell amazing.  Your friends will also smell amazing. Drink Italian wine. Because. That IS what Cory would do. It’s what I did, too.

If it looks like this, you did it right:

With a bottle of Roagna’s Dolcetto d’Alba … amazing…

WHAT WOULD CORY DO ?   #4

Cory Walker will be appearing one day next year in a book whose title is still unknown, but whose location isn’t!
Harker’s Island is a rustic, beautiful spot just south of the Outer Banks. Plenty of fishing and duck hunting, and maybe not much else. A perfect spot to get away from it all and unwind after a life in the Special Forces. (Unless you accidentally find a little girl’s diary, which forces you into a murder mystery, which is a whole other matter…and our novel.)
One thing for sure though, Cory and his girlfriend Amanda both love spicy hard-shell blue-claw crabs, and Harker’s island has them. (At least in my novel, anyway.)
How do you make YOUR crabs?  This is how Cory does it:

Into a giant pot, Cory pours in 3 beers and about 1/4 cup of white vinegar. Then about 6 crabs get to play in the beer. They think that’s great, until copious amounts of Old Bay, Red Pepper, Garlic and Cajun seasonings land on their shells. Then another layer of crabs, repeated until the pot is filled. They steam for maybe 20-25 minutes, and then the party begins. If your lips are burning, your head is sweating, and you’re throwing back cold beers, then you’ve done it correctly…
Cory’s a “Wine Guy”… but with spicy crabs on a hot day… Cold Beer, baby.


WHAT WOULD CORY DO?   #5

July 4th! What American doesn’t love July 4th?  Happy Birthday, America!

Cory makes Amanda an amazing dinner at their house on Harker’s Island. You’ll read all about it one day. It’s at their new home that Cory decides to build a wine cellar and finds the diary of a young girl who’d been murdered many years ago. There’s quite a tale to be told about all of this, I assure you…

Until then, know this…

The 2011 Franci, a Brunello di Montalcino, was maybe the best example of this wine I ever had the pleasure to enjoy. With those grilled bone-in rib-eye steaks, it was quite a little party. This was a special occasion bottle, purchased while in Montalcino. Because it was my only bottle, I am now FORCED to return to Tuscany to find another one. Cheers!

And a shout out to Holiday meats in Little Silver, NJ… my favorite spot for Great Meat!


WHAT WOULD CORY DO?     #6

Cory isn’t a vegetable gardener, even though the house he and Amanda purchase on Harker’s Island has an amazing flower garden. If he DID have a vegetable garden, he’d grow zucchini. And NOT because he likes the squash-like green veggie. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine… it’s edible. Heck, you can even make bread out of it that’s good with a cup of tea. But that is NOT why I grow zucchini… it’s all about taking that healthy vegetable and making a deep-fried, bad-for-you treat out of it.

Pick the flowers, let the bees fly out of it. (yeah that happened.) and then gently rinse in cold water. Allow to dry a little, then very carefully stuff with ricotta and Parmesan that has crushed garlic, black pepper and parsley mixed in. Seal up the flower as best you can with the cheese, then dip in egg wash, then heavily seasoned flour. Deep fry and drain on brown paper. Eat while still hot, with whatever makes you happy… like a Pinot Grigio, Santa Margherita, for instance.

These are amazing, and unfortunately, unless you live near a specialized grocer, you have to grow them yourself. The flowers don’t have any real shelf life. I pick them the day I use them… like… five minutes before I use them. But, if you have a little dirt you can farm, you can easily grow them yourself. And it’s SO worth it… It’s also why I’ll never be skinny.


WHAT WOULD CORY DO?   #7

Short ribs with a mushroom-Pancetta gravy.  (Probably should have added a Lipitor or baby aspirin to this as well.)
While not exactly health food, it was so damn good.

I think the key to short ribs is PATIENCE. They do best cooked low and slowww… 180 degrees for the afternoon while you are out living your life. Get home 5 hours later and dinner is waiting for you. Would probably work in a crock pot too, if that’s your thing.

For the ribs, sear them in olive oil on high heat to get them caramelized a bit. You’ll want them black when you eat them later on, not looking like boiled meat. Once they’re seared, I cook in some tomato paste, add garlic and red wine, S&P, and finely chopped onions. (Very fine, so they’ll disappear over the course of cooking) This gets sealed up with a lid or foil, and off they go to the oven.  About 30 minutes before you’re ready to eat, open two bottles of wine. One of them should be cheap white wine, and used for cooking only. The other should be FANTASTIC and red, and you should sip this while cooking, because… well. Because. Wine.

Cube the Pancetta and saute with olive oil, a tiny pad of butter, and sliced mushrooms. (Morels or Shiitake or YOUR favorite, because we’re still mostly a free country.) When the pork is crisp, add white cooking wine, a little beef or chicken stock, and Portobello mushroom stock. (The one I use comes in a box.) Reduce by half.

Plate your delicious ribs, a little dollop of gravy and morsels on each one, and Manja!


WHAT WOULD CORY DO?   #8

Maybe he was in a hurry that day, but wanted something delicious… this is an easy dish you’ll love~

“Chicken Cory”

Roast de-boned, skinned, chicken thighs. (You can use breast meat, but I like dark!) When they are mostly cooked, about 40 minutes, drain (and save) the chicken stock from the pan). Add a slice of prosciutto and a slice of mozzarella and a dollop od sauce, and reheat covered (foil) for 10 minutes. Throw in some basil and rosemary from your garden and serve!

For the tomato sauce, make a quickie.  Saute garlic in Extra Virgin Olive Olive. (Because every recipe starts that way…) Add hot pepper flakes, a little more generous than usual… give it some kick! as garlic sautes, add your can of diced tomatoes and a little red wine and cook.  It’s basically a spicy marinara sauce.

This was served with sauteed broccolinni (with garlic, red peppers and EVOO, shocker!) and a salad. There were zero left-overs, which I think was a good sign… And of course, a nice red wine. Nothing fancy… just a nice Chianti will do it!


WHAT WOULD CORY DO?  #9

What is Ropa Vieja?  “Old clothes” is one of the national dishes of Cuba, and not to be missed.   My version is a bit modified, because I, like Cory, don’t follow directions very well.  #Stubborn

The idea of “old clothes” is to slow-cook meat (I use brisket) in a ton of spices with some veggies and sauce, then pull it apart like “pulled pork”. Once shredded, it gets re-cooked with extra love. I like to serve it over saffron rice, but it can be served with potatoes, noodles/pasta, or just in a bowl if you’re going low-carb.

This is the start. A generously rubbed hunk of Moo. Brisket is great because it shreds well. Chuck roast will work, too. Once warmed up from the fridge, massage tomato paste all over your roast, then dry rub into the meat all over. If you aren’t completely covered to your wrists with a giant mess, you are not trying hard enough.
My seasoning mix never gets measured, like, ever… so sharing recipes is always a challenge. but it goes like this. Into a bowl, mix the following dry ingredients:  (my scientific measuring system is a lot, a little, a dash… you’ll catch on.)
heap of garlic and onion powder, a ton of paprika, pinch cumin, little hot pepper flake or cayenne, dash basil & oregano, S & P.
Once rubbed in, place in your pan, which has been given a little EVOO under the meat.
Then, add carrots, mushrooms, onions, cloves of garlic. Seal with foil. Roast slowwwwww at 200′ for the entire day. Go out and live your life, know what I’m sayin’?
When you come home from reading my books on the beach, walk into your house and take a deep whiff… ahhh… that smells like love. Pull out the pan and and lift the meat into a large bowl to cool.
Get your biggest heavy frying pan.. like..huge… start heating gently.
Using forks, or tongs, or your hands (you animal) shred the brisket. It should literally be falling apart after 6 hours. If not, your butcher sold you the wrong animal.
In the frying pan, heat EVOO and red pepper flakes. Throw in some more onions if you like.  Once sauteed, add the beef and start frying it up a bit, then add allllllll the beautiful brown stuff from the pan.  Everything. Pour in a little red wine. Use a little bit from the bottle you’ve been drinking the entire time you’ve been cooking – I know how you operate.
Cook this down. I like to add some baby green peas so I can say it’s healthy. Whatever.
When it’s finished, serve it with whatever you like. It will look like this brown goodness:

The gravy is amazing. A great loaf of bread is a solid idea.  Wine paring you ask? Will, it should be big, red and bold. Cab or Zin, or a great Spanish Rioja, or even an Italian red will work. I tend to reach for Cab for 75% of my food…

Heitz? Damn, that’s Top Shelf… but “Life is too short to drink crappy wine.” Thomas Jefferson said that. They cleaned it up for a different version these days, but that’s the ORIGINAL quote. I only know that because I know a guy who knows a guy whose great-great-grandpa used to throw down with Tommy.

Make this. You will be happy.  Cheers~


WHAT WOULD CORY DO? #10

Cory would roast a duck, sear some duck breast, and bust out the best wine.

WHY would Cory do that?  Because life is So damn short. You and your friends should dine like Kings & Queens. And because cooking can be fun, and eating is DEFINITELY fun. And wine is delicious.
Why is it that roasting a chicken is no big deal, but roasting a duck for dinner is like… “ooohhhhhhh!!”
(I have no idea, maybe you can clue me in.)

It’s a bit more work, but here’s how Cory would do it if if was trying to impress Amanda and some friends. For six people, as happened in my house, one duck isn’t enough. No worries, buy two duck breasts and make two separate duck dishes. This way, you get to try making two different styles, someone is bound to like one of them.

Now, in the case, one of my buddies brought over a bottle of Quintessa. (He must love me a lot.) I can not confirm or deny whether we sampled before dinner as I cooked.

DUCK TWO WAYS:

ROAST DUCK

First, clean the duck. Rinse, trim fat, remove gizzards etc. Place in your clean sink and pour a kettle full of boiling water over it slowly. You’ll see the skin tighten and get shiny. Prick the skin by the breast in a few places to allow it to self-baste while it roasts. I use a large roasting pan with a rack. Pat the duck dry with paper towels, then season.  In the cavity, I shoved in a bunch of herbs right from my garden. Sage, parsley, Basil, and whole garlic. Tie legs closed. Then I use a dry rub of garlic & onion powder, S&P, paprika all over the outside.
Oven at 375′.  Roast breast up 30 minutes. Flip over, roast breast down 45. Now add your chopped onions and cut up veggies (baby squash, baby zucchini, onions, thin sliced potatoes, carrots, whatever makes you happy.) Flip over, roast another 30-45, checking temp. You can crank hear up to 450 for last 5-10 minutes after basting to make skin crispy.  This will be perfect… and while THIS is cooking, you are making the duck breasts.

For duck breasts, make your perfect grid on the fat side with a sharp knife. I like to cut diagonally in 2 directions, about 1/2″ apart. Then I cheat. I use a ready-made Asian dry rub.  It contains garlic, ginger, red pepper, orange peel, and other secret spices. Generously rub both sides. Place fat side down and slow cook for 15 minutes as the fat renders. You can pour some off, but save this liquid gold for other stuff. When the fat is starting to brown and get thin, crank up heat and turn over. The breast will now cook fast in duck fat. It doesn’t take long – maybe 8-12 minutes. Remove from pan and rest. Add red wine to the pan and de-glaze. As the wine cooks down, I add rosemary and a heaping tablespoon of blackberry jam. Cook it down into a gravy.
Thin slice the duck breast. I like it med-rare. If it needs another minute, just add the slices into the pan and finish there. When it’ s perfect, pour the gravy over the duck and serve with great Cabernet. This duck DESERVES great Cabernet. So do you.

WHAT WOULD CORY DO?  #11 and #12 and who knows how many…  enjoy !

A Cookbook for Cooks Who Like to Cook But Hate Following Recipes

You love to cook.  Cooking is creative!  It’s FUN… it’s DELICIOUS… but recipes?  Seriously?  Who wants to follow a recipe?  Following a recipe is like taking orders from some invisible boss in YOUR kitchen.  That’s right… it’s YOUR kitchen, and no one is gonna’ tell you how to cook in it!

Then again… we all need a little help with ideas sometimes.  So here ya go.  Some ideas for recipes that I love making for my family and friends.  I never write anything down, and I never follow recipes verbatim.  I expect you to look at the ingredients, nod and say to yourself, “Yeah, that sounds good”, and then do it your own way.

The way I cook, most things are done FAST.  Certain things take a little extra prep time, like scrubbing clam shells or trimming meat.  I’m going to assume you’re not a moron and KNOW that you’re supposed to follow some basic common sense kitchen rules, such as:

  • Be immaculately clean. Always.  Wash your hands a hundred times while you’re cooking if you have to, but for gosh sakes, don’t handle the raw chicken and then pick up the veggies for the salad!
  • Use fresh ingredients whenever possible. Frozen in a pinch.  Canned?    If you want your food to suck.  Okay, there are SOME exceptions to this, like water chestnuts or somesuchthing.  But remember, good food is all about throwing together good basic ingredients.
  • Organic? Sure, if you can afford it.  But when the store sells three cucumbers for two bucks, or two organic cukes for four bucks, you may have to pick your spots.  My rule of thumb is, if I can peel it, I’m less worried about it.  Leafy veggies are usually thoroughly covered in pesticides, so I try and buy organic when it comes to that.  Do a little research online if you like.  Personally, I’d love to be 100% organic, but it’s just not practical.  If nothing else, at least wash your fruit and veggies very well.  Don’t laugh, but I use Dawn dishwashing liquid and rinse real well.  I figure if it can save the oil-filled baby seagull, it can wash my oranges.
  • Tons of herbs.  Salt is not an herb.  I do use salt, but I use pink salt because it’s healthier than table salt.  I also like course sea salt for certain things, or truffle salt.  (see popcorn later on.)  Fresh herbs are the best, of course, but if you use dried herbs, don’t keep them around very long.  They won’t go “bad”, they just won’t have much flavor.
  • If you don’t like garlic in your food, I can’t help you.  Breakfast cereal doesn’t get much garlic in my house.  I think that’s about it.  It’s GOOD for you.  I should live to a hundred, easy.
  • Wine is not a food.  It should be.  It’s made out of grapes and love and is actually good for you.  (Red wine, actually, because the skin is what is most healthy I think.)  If you’re going to throw down serious food, pare it with good wine.  I’ll add wine suggestions here and there.  Feel free to ignore me and drink water.  Diet soda goes in the trashcan, not your body.  When having a dinner party, there’s nothing more fun than serving courses with wine parings.  Makes for fun discussion, and sometimes wild dancing after desert.
  • Desert: I’m a great cook, but I’m a horrible baker.  Remember that part about following directions?    I don’t do that.  I can’t bake for crap.  I let my son bake.  THAT boy can bake, but it’s because he’s precise.  I’ve never made the same thing exactly the same way twice in my life, hence there will be zero baking advice from me ever.  Talk to betty Crocker or somebody for that.

 

Okay… so here we go.  A bunch of random foods I love to cook, which I will attempt to break down into SOME type of organized list.

Coconut Curry Soup

Do NOT rush past this recipe.  It sounds scary.  Maybe you don’t love Indian food or Thai food or curry or WHATEVER… but THIS is amazing. And SIMPLE.  Layers of flavors.

1 can of unsweetened coconut milk
1 can worth of chicken or veggy bullion type soup (Not salty or with MSG because that’s just nasty.)
1 Can drained bean sprouts or fresh if available, 1 can sliced water chestnuts, 2 tablespoons of Shiracha hot sauce, 1 teaspoon of soy sauce or Tamarin (Asian section of your grocery store)
tablespoon each of fresh or dried ginger, crushed garlic, lime, sliced scallion or leeks, 2 teaspoons of Turmeric
1 teaspoon of virgin coconut oil

Fry up the garlic, spices, Shiracha, coconut oil and scallions for a minute or so until your house smells amazing. Then add in water chestnuts / sprouts (bamboo shoots sometimes as well). Stir fry a minute, then pour in coconut milk and broth. Squeeze 1/2 a lime. Bring to a boil and BAM… best lunch or pre-dinner soup ever… Super healthy. You WILL be sweating by the time you’re done, but it isn’t “hot on your tongue” because you added the hot stuff at the beginning of the recipe and it’s cooked in.
Serve with a razor thin slice or 2 of lime as a garnish. Japanese Soba noodles are another option.

A HINT about “Spicy hot”… I learned this from a Cajun Chef.  If you stir in your hot pepper (cayenne, chili’s, red pepper flakes, whatever) at the very BEGINNING of your recipe, it becomes more of a background flavor.  You eat for a while and start to realize your mouth is on fire.  That’s way different than adding jalapenos at the end and getting an instant three-alarm blaze on your tongue.  With instant hot, you don’t taste much—it’s just hot.  Yeuuch.  Make your food flavorful… like it hot?  Fine… go nuts… but add those hot spices into your hot oil at the beginning of your recipes.

 

Clams & Chorizo

This USED to be Shrimp & Chorizo, and then at age 48, my body decided I was allergic to shrimp.  (Life can be so cruel.)  Make it either way… it’s a favorite.  Can be a great appy, or a main course.  Make sure you have great bread handy for dipping.  The sauce is KILLER.

Middle neck clams – (30 to 50)  scrubbed and clean!
4 chorizo sausages  (These Portuguese sausage are fresh or smoked.  Either one is fine, but the skin needs to come off the dried ones.)
3 onions, sliced very thin
6 – 8 cloves garlic
Red pepper flakes or crushed dried red chili.
Butter
Bottle of cheap white wine – dry, not sweet.  Chard or Sav Blanc. Is fine.

Saute onions, garlic, hot pepper and thinly sliced chorizo in a big pot of maybe 2 tablespoons each of olive oil and butter.  Let the onions soften a bit without getting too dark.  The Chorizo “discs” will cook fast if sliced thin.  If your kitchen smells amazing, you are doing this correctly.  When they are close to being finished, add the live clams  (sorry guys.) and ½ the bottle of white wine…maybe more if you need extra sauce.  Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer until your clams open, maybe 6-10 minutes tops.  Don’t overcook the clams.  As soon as they open, they’re done.  No one wants rubber bands.  Once done, stir this around well to mix the clam juice and sauce.  Serve with bread, or over your favorite pasta.  This is a winner.

Wine paring?  A nice white like French Burgundy, or a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand or Australia. 

Roasted Oysters

This is a labor of love.  You have to really love the dinner guests, because it’s a little work…but damn if it isn’t one of the best things on the planet.  I ate these in N’Awleens and fell in love.

Preheat your oven to 500’.

Prepare the following:

Melt a stick of butter and crush 8 cloves of garlic into it with a teaspoon of Sriracha & Worchester Sauce, squeeze a lemon wedge, ¼ teaspoon of liquid smoke. Dash of ground pepper.   When starting to cook up, add ½ cup white wine and remove from heat.
Clean… really SCRUB your oysters.  Yes, they have to be live, fresh oysters.  Pry them open without killing yourself.  Google it if you have to, but I pry them open from the back, and then slide your oyster knife under the meat so you don’t slice that sucker open and destroy that little package of deliciousness.

You will arrange the oysters “on the half shell” in an oyster pan or 13 x 9 or whatever roaster you have.  You can scrunch up aluminum foil as a base to keep them steadier if you need to.  Using a ladle, pour the mixture from above over each oyster.  Sprinkle the top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Carefully slide into the oven and after a minute, turn the heat down to 350.  Watch carefully after 4 minutes or so.  As soon as the edges start to cook up, they’re done.  It’s thermonuclear hot, so be careful.  This is a pain to make, but OH-so-worth it.

Paring?  A cold beer, or your favorite white wine.

 

ESCARGOT

People eat snails on purpose?  You betcha.  The hard part is finding the right cooking/serving dishes.  (hello internet)  You want the white ceramic “pot” with 6 little cups built into it to hold each snail separately.

Rinse the snails (I buy canned from the grocery store) and pop those nasty little suckers into each hole in your way-cool cooking pot.

Prep the following and throw into a bowl together:

Finely chopped parsley, maybe ½ of the bunch (Italian flat if available), crush a dozen cloves of garlic.  Yeah… THAT many.  Chop up a leek or two very fine.

In a saucepan, melt a stick of butter and a little olive oil.  When melted, add your chopped ingredients and start sautéing. When it JUST starts to cook, add a cup of white wine. And remove from heat.  Wisk together.  Ladle this out on top of your snails and put into the oven.  12 minutes sounds about right.  You have to watch them.  When it’s browning and your house smells so good that you’re drooling on yourself, they’re done.  Have a LOT of fresh bread and some great French white wine (Sauterne) handy… make sure your date eats them too… you’ll both stink… but who cares?

    

SHORT RIBS 

Vegetarian is from the Latin word meaning “lousy hunter.”  Short ribs used to be cheap meat until good chefs figured out how to make them delicious and butchers stopped giving them away.  Oh well… it’s a fatty, once-in-a-while dinner.  For me, it’s autumn/winter because it’s so hearty and filling.   You make this in the late afternoon so the house smells awesome alllll day.

If you have a great French style “Dutch oven”, that’s what I’d use.  Preheat oven to 225.

Heat the heavy pot on the stove top and add olive oil enough to coat the bottom.

In a big bowl, place some flour and add a little salt and fresh pepper.  I also add onion and garlic powder.  If you like heat, cayenne as well.  Dredge the short ribs and knock off extra flour, then brown all sides in the hot oil.  If you have to, you can do a few at a time and just hold the browned ones on the side in a plate until they’re all done.  Once they’re browned, removed them and add a little red wine to deglaze the pot.  Just a little.  It will cook down, and then I add a small tomato paste, a couple of smashed anchovy (you won’t taste fish), crushed garlic (3-5 cloves) and 1 sliced onion, Bay leaf, and a little onion powder.  Cook this up a little on the stove top, then pour in ½ a bottle of red wine.  I like Chianti for this.  Put the short ribs back in nice and neat.  Cover and put into the oven.  These will cook alllll dayyyyy on a very low heat.  The slow heat keeps them super tender.  You can take them out anytime you want, hey it’s a free country… but I like them to slow cook for maybe 4-5 hours.  If, when you remove the cover, there’s too much think sauce, remove cover and turn up the heat to 325 for maybe 20 minutes so it cooks down and thickens up a little.  Remember, I never make it exactly the same way twice, so the sauce can vary.  One thing for sure, the tomato/anchovy sauce with meat drippings and wine is awesome.

These are great over egg noodles.  The thick red sauce is hearty and just a little acidic, which goes great with a huge California Cabernet.  (Faust is a favorite)


Whatever you do…  do  N O T  make this…

Is THIS Cory?

A SNEAK PEEK at Blood From A Stone… the opening, read by Yours Truly…

HAPPY NEW YEAR !

New year’s Eve dinner with friends and family requires “taking things up a notch” …

Stuffed lobster (with a little cavier on crème fraîche for good measure.)

Steamed first, then stuffed with sauteed scallops and crab meat.

It was worthy of bringing in the new year.  Wishing you all an amazing 2018!

 

And now…  a Little Teaser…

 

Okay readers… it’s YOUR turn!  Email me your favorite recipe, picture or hilarious commentary… heck, you can even review one of my books!  Some random person will get a present in the mail.  Drop me a line at:  DMSalkinAuthor@gmail.com

Thai Halibut !

Remember that coconut-curry soup you made?  (Above)  It makes a great base for a fish dinner. This was fresh Halibut, roasted in an herb concoction, then added to the curry soup.