Find us on Google+ cooking lounge * FOOD * LIFESTYLE * MUSIC *: 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Guide to the Mid-Atlantic's Top 5 Wineries Written by Rebecca Bredholt

In an effort to bring more Food, Lifestyle and Music posts to the Cooking Lounge community, CL is now posting articles and recipes from some of its favorite writers, cooks, musicians, artists and friends.

Rebecca Bredholt is the first guest writer on the Cooking Lounge Blog.  
I enjoyed her take on roundtrip. Rebecca touches on food, lodging, travel and of course wine. Doing it in style with roof down on the convertible. With the growing locavore movement, it makes sense that regional wineries would become part of a 'drink local' push. We already see the 'drink local' push with the mushrooming micro-brewery trend.
Cooking Lounge

A Guide to the Mid-Atlantic's Top 5 Wineries
Just beneath Wine Spectator's radar sit some of the most under-valued Savignon Blancs and Cabernet blends. Here's a guide on enjoying five wineries before they get famous. Fill up the tank and leave D.C. for some tannin-filled crushings worth the trip.
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Pickled Green Beans with Ginger and Lemongrass, New York City Int'l Pickle Day, and Winifred Atwell

Fall has settled in and the lingering bounty of Summer is being harvested and preserved.  A night in late summer that was unusually cool, I hung out with some friends to catch up on True Blood episodes.  My friends, L and M,  are awesome hosts and laid out the munchies for the vampire fest.  Along with the chips and hummus, there were spicy pickled green beans.  

The green beans were firey, crunchy, tangy and slightly salty.  No, did not get the name of the brand because I was caught-up in vampires, shape shifters, zealots and other creatures of the bayou.  But I savored the pickled veg and decided to try my hand at making a quick version for quick consumption.

I have never made a real (keep it on a dark shelf for months) pickle before so the recipe I came up with IS NOT for long-term canning/preserving.  It's a quick pickle, for quick consumption.  They should keep for several weeks in the fridge.  There are a load of websites if you want to get down and get serious with the process.  
Here's a link to one:  National Center for Food Preservation.
What would be very on point is to purchase a product from one of purveyors in this Cooking Lounge post.  And of course, use the recipe below as a guide to make your own.
Pickled Green Beans with Ginger and Lemongrass

3/4 lb Green Beans (trimmed, 5-6 inches long)
1/2 lb Long Beans (trimmed and cut into 6in pieces
1 stalk of Lemongrass (trimmed, peeled and cut into 2 in pieces)
1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger (peeled, sliced and cut into strips)
16oz of White vinegar
1 cup of water
4 Garlic cloves (chopped)
4 or so Cilantro sprigs
2 tablespoon Sea Salt
1 tablespoon Coarse Black Pepper
4 Dried Red Chile  Peppers (broken up)
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 qt Ball mason jar, wide-mouth

In a 5 qt pot ( I used an enameled pot), add vinegar all the ingredients except the long beans and green beans and cilantro.
Bring to simmer.   Add the long beans and green beans.  Cover for 3-5 minutes.  Want them blanched.  Remove from heat.  Drop in cilantro.   Be careful from here on.  Using tongs, pack the beans into the Ball mason jar lengthwise.  Leave some room for the liquid.  Pour all the spices and good stuff in the jar first then top with brine.  Screw on the lid; cool to room temperature.  Let them hang out for a day or two in the refrigerator to absorb the flavors.  Enjoy!  
Please note: Sterilize the Ball jar before using. photos: wbj
Winifred Atwell was a classically trained pianist who rose to 
fame in Britain and Australia playing Boogie Woogie and 
Ragtime hits. Winifred never broke through in the United States 
because of the social barriers of the era.

Here's a homestyle video, shot with a Flip video camera, of 
NY International Pickle Day 2009.  
The song is "Dill Pickles" with Winifred banging out a jaunty, 
almost vaudevillian ditty.

Cooking Lounge.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


A quick rundown of some favorite holiday dishes:
Cornbread stuffing with granny smith apples and smoked sausage.
Apple Crisp
Pear Tarte Tartin
Smoked ham with brown sugar, cloves and thyme
Cooking Lounge

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lady Gaga "Bad Romance" Visual Storytelling Milestone

Posting more as you can see but a lot has been music.  Prepping a food post; and now, tweeting about food, music, whatever, as well.  So stay tuned.
More music today.  However this post is really about the music video.  
I think Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" is a milestone in visual storytelling for the music video form. "Bad Romance" is dance pop at its best with catchy lines, sexy samples and easy to move to rhythms...all one would expect from a pop phenom; even gives a nod to Gaga's international supremacy with some lyrics in French.  I have not listened to many tracks by Lady Gaga but this music video got me typing.

"Bad Romance" is a moment when many people will take pause at the powerful visuals and the impact of the music video form. However "Bad Romance" is not just arresting visuals.  There is a clear storyline.  Lady Gaga has created an alt-universe to go along with her evolving, manufactured mythology.

Very few music videos have elevated the form and upped the ante for the craft.  Michael Jackson's "Scream" comes to mind as well as Madonna's "Like a Prayer" and more recently Bjork.  Although, I have to say it's Bjork all around artistry rather than a single music video that stands out.  And yes, Lady Gaga has all around artistry whether you like her schtick or not.
Cooking Lounge

Saturday, November 7, 2009

"Empire State of Mind" Jay-Z | Alicia Keys

Hearing "Empire State of Mind" everywhere.  
People jumping around all over the place on Halloween to this beat.  Days after performed at the World Series' Opening Game at Yankee Stadium,  press is calling "Empire State of Mind", the new anthem of the city.  The song name-checks personal history and collective history of NYC.  Alicia Keys' voice is a beacon on the track along with her jangly pushing of the keys and Jay Z delivering his smooth staccato rap.  
Uplifting, liberating and hopeful in spirit...getting into an "Empire State of Mind."

Cooking Lounge

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

THE MINIMALIST - 101 Simple Salads for the Season - New York Times


photo: Francesco Tonelli for The New York Times 

FRESH AND FRESHER Clockwise, from top left: tuna, egg, green beans (No. 56); carrots, blueberries, sunflower seeds (7); croutons, tomatoes, mozzarella (42); walnuts, blue cheese, raspberries (49); couscous, oranges, honey (95); strawberries, tomatoes, Parmesan (13).

Post by Mark Bittman in The Minimalist takes a simple approach to food. Bittman gets to the essence of eating well and guides you through making the dish without being too fussy.With additions of meat, seafood, grain or even another salad, a filling summer meal can be made in well under an hour.  Here's a bit of the post and a link below. It's 101 Simple Salads so the post is lengthy. 

By MARK BITTMAN Published: July 21, 2009.  SUMMER may not be the best time to cook, but it’s certainly among the best times to eat. Toss watermelon and peaches with some ingredients you have lying around already, and you can produce a salad that’s delicious, unusual, fast and perfectly seasonal.  That’s the idea behind the 101 ideas found in this section. In theory, each salad takes 20 minutes or less. Honestly, some may take you a little longer. But most minimize work at the stove and capitalize on the season, when tomatoes, eggplant, herbs, fruit, greens and more are plentiful and excellent. This last point is important. Not everything needs to be farmers’ market quality, but it’s not too much to expect ripe fruit, fragrant herbs and juicy greens.  Salt, to taste, is a given in all of these recipes. Pepper, too (if I want you to use a lot of pepper, I say so).  Herein, then, are enough salad ideas to tide you over until the weather cools down. 
Read More. Get the recipes.

Cooking Lounge.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Michael Jackson 1958 - 2009


The Michael Jackson Mix video mash-up by
Eclectic Method is a cutting edge homage to an 
undeniably great performer, the King of Pop.
Cooking Lounge

Monday, June 29, 2009

Road Trip: Hudson Valley - Fresh, Local, Organic, Strawberries, Citizen Cope



Full-on Summer is here.   With the warm weather, vacation time, barbecues, family reunions, yoga retreats, me time and the list goes on, lots of people are taking a Road Trip across the country.

Cruising down the highway getting from point A to B, often fits us with blinders.  We forget to take time to soak in the local scenery, take a peek at local the community.   So this summer as you jump off for your Road Trip, slow down, have a look, stop even at a roadside stand or little town.   Whether it's the Hamptons, The Eastern Shore of Virginia or a stretch of blacktop out West, there are abundant farmers, ranchers, watermen, fresh produce and local products.  Some places will have signs shouting organic; but, the real point is you are getting the food close to the source. It's always fresher, better, less handled.

Just outside of the town of Hudson, NY, stopped at a roadside stand adjacent to a farm.  Man, the minute you stepped out of the car, the air was was filled with the sweet smell of strawberries and the earthy scent of swiss chard, damp soil still clutching its roots.  We picked up fresh from the field strawberries and sugarsnap peas.  The French call sugarsnap peas, mangetout, which means eat all because with these peas the pod is edible. 

Here's an easy dessert/condiment/treat for summer.

Strawberries with Lemon and Cinnamon
2 pints of strawberries washed and trimmed.
1 Lemon
1 cup of sugar (brown, white or's your choice)

Slice the strawberries (halves, quarters, however it's your choice).  Place sliced berries in a bowl. 

Wash the lemon well to remove the wax or drop the lemon in some boiling water for a second or two before wiping away the wax.  Use a zester or paring knife to remove the bright yellow rind (get as little of the bitter white pith as possible). Mince the zest so you have about a tablespoon. Slice and juice the lemon.

Add a 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to the lemon juice.  Stir well.

Mix the lemon zest with the strawberries.   Pour the lemon juice and cinnamon over the strawberries.  Mix.  Add the sugar.  Mix well.  Now refrigerate in a covered bowl for at least 2 hours.  That's it.

Use as a filling for dessert cups with some fresh whipped cream, top off pancakes or waffles with the berries instead of syrup (let strawberries stand and reach room temperature in advance or gently warm) or just enjoy as a snack. 

Found this online from USA Today "Winemaking roots go deep into the Hudson Valley soil", after seeing a sign for Duchess Wine Trail pointing to vineyards.   Another indication that there is so much to discover on the quiet two lane roads ribboning quaint towns and the countryside. Detour! (we did not.wish we had.); have an adventure; taste something new.

Citizen Cope is Clarence Greenwood.   I started hearing about him in the late 90's back in Washington, DC and saw him perform at Joe's Pub in New York City a few years ago.  

While on the Hudson Valley Road Trip, a mixed CD of Citizen Cope tracks was popped in and suddenly we were joy riding, bobbing our heads, gleaning glimpses of orchards zipping by and taking in deep breaths of country air.  

Ironically days later, a friend turned me on to a Citizen Cope disc, "The Clarence Greenwood Recordings" ;and I found myself rediscovering this artist.

Citizen Cope has a new single, "Keep Askin" released for download on June 14, 2009 from the upcoming "The Rainwater LP" out Feb 2010.

Citizen Cope's music is rock, jam, blues, soul and the beyond category.  But one thing is for sure these days, many of us are citizens coping.  Music soothes.  Sharing Citizen Cope on a long drive will ease you on down the road.

Enjoy summer.  Feast on the bounty of the season.  Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

And remember, whenever possible buy from local, regional farmers and purveyors.  Support small businesses.

photo: K. Beall iPhone
all other photos: wbj

Cooking Lounge

Friday, June 5, 2009

Summer Staple Black Bean and Corn Salad, Chilean and Argentinean Wine, Adventura, Latin Flavor

Black Bean and Corn Salad with lime vinaigrette

photo: wbj

Black Bean and Corn Salad with lime vinaigrette adds colorful, Latin zest to meals. This is an easy dish to have on hand all summer. Versatile enough to work as a side dish, ingredient for tossed salads, filler for quesadillas, or a spicy relish to top fish, chicken or beef.

You can tailor Black Bean and Corn Salad to what's on hand or in season, your taste preference and time available. Cooking Lounge wants you to develop your instincts for what goes well together and what works; so, you can improvise and not feel hampered by a recipe. Most recipes are simply guides for preparation.

What you need:
Black Beans (canned, or prepared dry beans)
1 can (15.5 oz), drained and rinsed in cold water. 2 cups of prepared dry beans, drained and rinsed. I like to rinse the beans because I like them to stand out in the mix and not have that bean liquid coating everything.

I tend to purchase Goya brand products the most because they are readily available. Buy a few things and experiment. Liven up simple meals.

Corn (canned, frozen or fresh)
1 can, 1/2 bag frozen, 3 ears fresh
Fresh corn in season is the ultimate choice but better quality canned or frozen corn is pretty good. With fresh corn to add an smoky flavor twist, you can grill it with the husk, roast it in the oven with the husk or remove the leaves and silk and broil it. Let the fresh corn cool to handle. Cut off the tip and base. Stand upright on base. Starting at the tip with a sharp knife against the cob, shave off the corn kernels.

Jalapeno or your favorite chile pepper
1 chile pepper. More or less as you prefer.

Onion or Scallion
1/4 cup minced.
1 teaspoon minced.
Parsley, Cilantro or Basil, fresh
1/4 cup chopped. If using dry herbs, 1 tablespoon or to taste.
1 Ripe medium or the equivalent in cherry or grape tomatoes.
1 lime juiced
Olive Oil
1/4 cup
2 tablespoons
to taste
to taste

In large bowl, add black beans, corn, tomato, chile pepper, and onion. Toss until well mixed. Toss in the fresh herbs. In a small bowl, mix lime juice, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper; pour over salad. Toss until well coated; refrigerate and let it chill so all that goodness soaks in.

This is a vibrant, healthy addition to any meal that's high in fiber as an added bonus.

Aventura can ease you into a warm and sultry summer mood with its modern take on Latin music.

What is the definitive 21st-century New York musical act? A pop critic would probably point to one of the city’s arty indie-rock standard bearers, like TV On the Radio or Animal Collective, or to a rapper like Jay-Z. But pose the question to Latin music fans — or to hit radio listeners in Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe — and the answer will likely be Aventura, whose blend of bachata with R&B, hip-hop and big-city attitude has created a swaggering, distinctly New York style.

excerpt from article By JODY ROSEN "Crossover Dreams of a Bronx Bachatero" Published: June 3, 2009 New York Times

There is an audio link to a song 'Su Veneno' when you go to the article.

Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
Clockwise from back row left, Anthony Santos, Henry Santos Jeter, 

Lenny Santos and Max Santos of the bachata band Aventura


With a couple of additions, you can sat the mood for a fiesta for a date, family or a few friends.

Have some guacamole and chips as a starter. Buy some interesting hot sauces. Here's a site to check out to give you an idea of all the variety out there.

Grill some fish, chicken or beef. Buy some hard or soft taco shells. Have a couple choices for fillings for a buffet style, causal meal. Lots of grocery stores have well stocked shelves of International/Ethnic products like Goya.

Buy Latin beers like Corona, Sol, or Presidente.

For wine do something different, try some of the great selections from the Chilean vineyard Casa LaPostolle.  Argentinean wines have become very popular especially those from the Mendoza Region; and lately, I've seen Rose making an appearance among the selections from Argentina.

Some suggestions to point you in the right direction. Thanks for reading the latest post on Cooking Lounge.  Enjoy.                photo:wbj