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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

09/25 - Sans-Gluten? The French Laundry Comes to the Rescue!

Gluten intolerance is becoming more and more common, with gluten-free products abounding on shelves, and chefs experiencing a growing audience that want their meal "sans-gluten".  Not easy when you think of all the unexpected foods that contain gluten - soy sauce, barley, rye, beer, gravies and sauces, a vast majority of processed meats and meals, seasoned potato and corn chips, and so much more. 

Probably the most simple of foods, bread, is the one that people lament the most of having to give up. And it was, in fact, a brioche created by French Laundry Research and Development Chef, Lena Kwak, that brought a diner to tears at the joy of being able to eat bread, that led to the commercial availability of C4C.

Hear Lena's story of what it means to be an R & D Chef at the fabled restaurant, and of the development of C4C, so diners to the Laundry could enjoy all their food equally, gluten intolerant or not.

Milton Abel, Pastry Chef for The French Laundry
We then welcome The French Laundry's new Pastry Chef, Milton Abel, by way of the world's (other) number one restaurant in Denmark, Noma, to tell us about his path, and making pastries using C4C, as well as the wealth of other tantalizing tastes of "finesse" served to diners.
Bob Hurley, chef owner of Hurley's in Yountville, has not only a chef's perspective, but his daughter was diagnosed as intorlerant to gluten.  Here his personal tale and how he has created his own gluten free menu at the restaurant.

And as a bonus, scroll down, and you'll find Sally's own creation using C4C - the good old traditional scone!


About Cup4Cup

Chef Lena Kwak has taken pleasure in cooking for others since she was a child. So when she moved across the country from her native New York to work in the kitchen of The French Laundry, she knew she had found a new home. Driven by an interest in nutritional science, she developed a gluten-free flour that offered a successful alternative to the main ingredient of the various quick breads and dessert items The French Laundry served.

It was during a dinner service one evening that Kwak witnessed a guest in tears, having enjoyed her first taste of brioche. The woman had not consumed bread in over a decade. Kwak knew this experience had to be shared.

Prevailing upon the support of Thomas Keller, Chef/Owner of The French Laundry, she refined the proprietary blend of flour and set about making it available to a larger audience. They formed a company and named it C4C, an abbreviation of common cooking measurements, to reflect the new product’s ability to replace all-purpose flour in most recipes, “cup for cup.”

In collaboration with specialty retailer Williams-Sonoma, C4C will debut to home cooks nationwide in August 2011. It is through C4C, that Keller and Kwak commit themselves to advancing the standards of hospitality for which The French Laundry is regarded.

Lena Kwak
Lena Kwak and Milton Abel
at the V Wine Cellar 

As a Research & Development Chef at The French Laundry, Lena Kwak is responsible for testing a wide range of edible innovations, ranging from foie gras bon bons to seawater sorbet. It was her creation of a gluten-free brioche and the tearful response it inspired in a dinner guest that led to the establishment of C4C, or “Cup for Cup” with Chef Thomas Keller in the Spring of 2010.

After graduating Rhode Island’s Johnson & Wales Culinary Institute in 2007, Kwak served as a private chef and director of her own catering company, preparing coursed dinners and cooking lessons. She landed in California while pursuing an internship to satisfy her interest in nutritional science. A single assignment to devise a gluten-free version of Keller’s famed salmon cornet, led her to develop a proprietary flour blend that became the foundation for their new company.

Chef Bob Hurley, Hurley's Restaurant, Yountville

For the link to Bob's gluten free menu, go to:
I thought before the show I should get a feel for C4C and try out a recipe, so off the my quick classic "go to" scone recipe where I switched it straight up for flour.  I knew it would be good - it had to be coming from The French Laundry with Thomas Keller's name on it - but I was really bowled over by how similar it tasted and performed to the real thing.  For the first time in my life I thought, "I could go gluten-free if I knew I had this mix to use to make bread, pasta, pastries and all those other yummy gluten loaded foods."
C4C is available from Williams-Sonoma and select Bouchon Bakeries.

Sally's Gluten Free Scones
2 cups C4C
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small cubes
1 - 1 1/4 cups milk (or buttermilk)
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Sift the C4C, baking powder and salt into a bowl.  Add the butter, and using the finger tips, lightly rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Make a well in the centre and add the milk.  Mix quickly and lightly until mixture comes together, then transfer to a well floured board and knead to a smooth dough.  Pat down to about 1 1/2 inch round then cut into desired sized shapes.
Arrange scones next to each other on a lined baking pan and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and transfer to a colander lined with a clean towel, and enjoy while hot with jam and cream.
Bon Appetit!

Monday, September 10, 2012

09/11 - Encore Broadcast: Italianizing America

Stephen slows down for Italy

Italy is a culture known for embracing life to the fullest.  They work so they can live... and live they do!  Meals are long and slow, with lively conversation, food prepared with soul and love.  Coffee is enjoyed in ceramic, standing, sitting, with lively conversation, and wine is ....... beautiful!

Whether it's Italians coming to the US and bringing their passion, or Americans who have travelled to Italy, fallen in love with its vitality, and sought to replicate it here, we can only hope as much of it rubs off as possible.
Steve discovers "real" pizza - no chili flakes, just the shells
and a finger bowl!

Slow Living's Steve and Sally are part of this mission.  While in Florence, we stumbled across a wine bar and restaurant that we found so appealing for its wine, food, ambiance, Italian hospitality and charm, we couldn't stay away!  

Taking time to live life to its .......Slowest

The dei Frescobaldi Ristorante & Wine Bar in Florence is located in the city’s historic heart, right on one of the corners of the Piazza Signoria. It offers a complete panorama of wines produced by the Frescobaldi family, all accompanied by the most classic Tuscan dishes as well as by mouth-watering special food items (with a note to other Italian regions as well).

Imagine our delight, when we were asked if we could interview Paolo Bategazzore, Partner in the family's venture with the Mondavi's Folio Wine Partners and the man instrumental in bringing the US a taste of some of Italy's finest drops - two of which we pay "summer" tribute to, a lively orange Pinot Grigio and a 100% Grecheto.

We also invite our local Italian convert Executive Chef Nick Ritchie of Alex Restaurant in Rutherford to bring an American perspective on living, eating and cooking in Italy.

Paolo Battegazzore
Director of Marketing and Partner,
Folio Wine Partners

Folio Fine Wine Partners is a new adventure among a group of seasoned professionals. I joined Folio after more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience, including seven years as General Manager of Luce della Vite, originally a joint venture between two well-known wine companies:  Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi of Florence and Robert Mondavi of Napa Valley, California.

As the Director of Marketing at Folio Fine Wine Partners, I am proud to be able to lead a group of talented marketing professionals in the development of wines from around the globe. For Luce, I developed the sales and marketing strategies needed to establish the company as an international presence. I have also worked at Procter & Gamble, Guala SpA, and Francesco Cinzano & Cia. To every role I have tried to offer an extensive knowledge of wine and food, a knowledge enhanced with advanced degrees in Agricultural Sciences as well as Food  Science and Nutrition.

My father is also in the wine business, so wine and food have always been important to me. It’s rewarding to do business with people who share my priorities.

I was born and raised in Tortona, Italy, and my wonderful family recently moved with me to beautiful Napa Valley.


Within the Chianti region the Marchesi de' Frescobaldi land stretches from Pomino Doc across Brunello di Montalcino, Morellino di Scansano, continuing on through Mugello until the province of Livorno. Since the 1700's proven ability, experience, passion and love has produced a superior quality of wine derived from this region.
Our vineyards, where the perfect relationship between atmosphere and the skilled use of raw materials, permits Frescobaldi the ability to guarantee the quality and unique personality of each wine.

Attems in the History and the Future of the Friuli Wines.

For generations, Attems has been considered synonymous with viticulture in Friuli Venezia Giulia and an example of a philosophy that sees the true expression of its territory in the wine’s quality and personality. A notion that translates into a collection of renowned wines, indisputably Friuli with a unique style, reflecting its tradition in the times of today.

The wines

In Collio, Attems creates wines of character; fresh, full of flavour and elegant, which reflect the peculiarity of the terroir. Its most prestigious wine is Cibinis, produced from one single vineyard of Sauvignon Blanc, which is situated on the homonymous hill. A complex wine of great elegance and perfect balance.

Furthermore, Attems is distinguished by its two extraordinary interpretations of Pinot Grigio: the traditional Pinot Grigio Ramato, whose freshness and fruitfulness account for its aromatic intensity, and the contemporary Pinot Grigio, fresh and fruity, with strength and sapidity.

Attems Cupra Ramato Pinot Grigio

Cupra Ramato: gentle and citric

Cupra Ramato continues a tradition of the Republic of Venice, since “ramato,” or coppery, was the term that referred to Pinot Grigio in contracts. A special vinification practice led to the use of this term: the must remains in contact with the skins for 36 hours and this practice gives the wine a very distinctive coppery hue. Attems Cupra Ramato boasts a rich, fruity bouquet, and opens full and weighty on the palate, with multi-faceted flavours.

The Arnaldo Caprai winery, founded in 1971 by Arnaldo Caprai, is the acknowledged leader in the production of top quality Sagrantino wines from Italy. Arnaldo Caprai purchased the renowned estate — which encompassed 12.5 acres of vineyards four decades ago — in order to produce unique, high quality, Umbrian wines.

A singular passion and deep understanding of the local varietals, and continuous expansion of the estate fueled the growth of the winemaking company. In 1988, Arnaldo’s son, Marco Caprai, began managing the family business. During this time, production of Arnaldo Caprai premium wines increased greatly, along with global recognition of the family brand. Marco’s unbridled determination led directly to new acquisitions, scientific research and technological innovation.

Colli Martani Grechetto DOC Grecante

Grecante is a fresh, crisp wine enjoyed chilled at a temperature of 50°F as an aperitif wine or consumed with seafood, veal, or poultry dishes.

"What makes this grape special is that during the Renaissance, the head of Montefalco’s municipality used to send Grechetto as a precious gift to princes and important clergymen. Arnaldo Caprai winery keeps this long tradition alive by producing Grecante Grechetto dei Colli Martani DOC. The 2009 really showcases what this grape can produce, showing flavors of bosc pear, almond and lime, peach and pineapple, as well as a pleasing hint of crispness and bitterness, typical in this grape.

Now on to making your mouth water—if you are an oyster fan, pair this up with Kumamotos. The succulent pillows of sweetness are amazing alongside a crisp Grechetto from Umbria. The chef in the house also recommends paring this with freshly fried calamari or a crab salad. The bottom line is that this is a very versatile, food friendly wine worth exploring. Simply delicious!"
Pamela Heiligenthal, Enobytes.

About Umbria

Umbria is located in central Italy, bordered by Tuscany to the west, Le Marche to the east and Lazio to the south. A fertile region noted for its long history of wine production, Umbria is renowned for its eleven DOC zones and two DOCG zones, including  Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG. The area is characterized by a continental climate,with warm and dry summers and cold winters with some snowfall. The clay terroir yields wines rich in  extracts, bright in color and potential for improvement with long aging, while the calcium content enhances high alcohol and intensifies aromas.

Do it Sustainable: Sustainability as meeting point between present and the future
With the aim to assessing the success of the present only according to its consequences on the future, Arnaldo Caprai produces wines whose quality is not measured solely in terms of "final taste" but that includes the application at any stage of the ecofriendly and sustainable philosophy.

Starting from the first half of the 90s, we worked with the intent to minimize the environmental impact, and since 1995, we apply long-term practices focused to maintain the environmental integrity and to ethically meet the needs of the society.

As every agro-system overlaps, an existing "natural ecosystem" with some environmental impact is inevitable: our challenge is to minimize that impact working in defense of the biodiversity to preserve the soil and to avoid any waste of water. We take care about energy savings; recycling practices are carried out scrupulously and we are progressively reduce the use of chemicals spreading an ecofriendly message.

Nick Ritchie
Executive Chef
Alex Italian Restaurant, Rutherford

A native of the Napa Valley, Chef Nick Ritchie began his culinary career in the Tra Vigne kitchen in 1994 under Chef Michael Chiarello and Chef de Cuisine Carmen Quagliata.  Nick completed his Associates Degree in Culinary Arts at the CIA Hyde Park, NY as well as an internship at Sazerac in Seattle, WA with Chef Jan Birnbaum. 

In 2001 after completing his degree, Nick traveled to Lombardia, Italy working for one year at La Campagnola di Salo on Lago di Garda.  Upon his return to the United States, Nick worked under Chef Quagliata once again at The Vault, in Boston, MA.  In 2003, Nick began working as a sous chef for Chef Kevin Davis at The Oceanaire Seafood Room, Seattle, WA.

To round out his time in the Seattle area he worked for Chef Daisley Gordon at Campagne and Café Campagne.  Nick returned to the Napa Valley in 2006 to take the Chef de Cuisine position for Michael Chiarello's NapaStyle and in 2008 moved on to open Bottega where he received many accolades as Chef de Cuisine, including a Rising Star Chef in 2009.

 In May of 2011 Chef Ritchie departed from Bottega and is very excited to be the Executive Chef of Alex Italian Restaurant here in beautiful Rutherford, CA.

Alex Italian Restaurant

 Alex Italian Restaurant offers dishes focused on the fundamentals of classic Italian cooking: fresh handmade pasta, smart wine pairings, locally sourced food and attention to detail. Owners Alessandro Sbrendola and his wife Alessia offer a dining experience influenced directly from their home regions in Italy: Liguria and Romagna in a gracious and welcoming atmosphere.

Monday, September 3, 2012

09/04 - Sweet Duets: Gelato and Dessert Wines with the Masters


This week we celebrate the second anniversary of Slow Living Radio with two masters of their craft, talking gelato and sweet wine.  Dr. Anthony LuPriore, a Mater of Gelato and co-owner of Frati Gelato, will enlighten us on "Mastering the Art and Science of Gelato"... not to mention becoming a physician in Italy, followed by a restaurateur and chef, and then a Gelataria owner in downtown Napa!

We then explore the world of dessert wine or "stickies" (as those Down Under would say), with Master Sommelier Gillian Ballance, from the beautiful and renowned Cavallo Point Lodge in Sausalito.

Dr. Anthony LuPriore
Co-owner and Master of Gelato
Frati Gelato

Dr. Anthony LuPriore & Ron DeLay

Anthony’s path to “Master of Gelato” and the newly opened downtown Napa gelateria, is a tale of many stories. Born and schooled in Rhode Island, Anthony was surrounded by food, and worked in his Uncle’s inn and butchery where he honed his butchering skills and learned to cook from his mother. With a passion for science, he obtained his degree in Zoology then uprooted himself to the small Italian city of Perugia to study medicine.  With Italy in his veins, he fell in love with the country and stayed for 30 years, first as a medical practitioner, specializing in angina. 

His love for food soon lured him back to the restaurant world where opened a restaurant in Perugia as Executive Chef, learning the elements of true local Italian cuisine and winning awards of excellence each year.  His acclaim soon brought him the coveted position of food critic for La Nazione, Italy’s national newspaper.
With all these skills under his belt, fluency in Italian, and his years as a physician, Anthony was accepted into the famous Acadamia Gelateria, one of just a few applicants accepted in Italy’s only accredited institute for the renowned Italian delicacy.
There he learned that Gelato wasn’t just “ice cream” but an art and science that took great dedication, attention and care to maintain its wonderful dense, smooth texture and delicately balanced flavors, and the importance of the finest quality ingredients. 
The desire to be back near family lured Anthony from the hills of Umbria to the USA, where he first opened Frati Gelato in Fullerton with his brother-in-law, Ron DeLay.  Much to the dismay of Fullerton fans, the family uprooted to relocate to the Napa Valley, which reminded him of Italy and the quality of life he loved there.

 Enjoy Dr. Gelato’s tribute to true gelato and Italian life with us!

Gillian Ballance
Master Sommelier
Wine Director
Cavallo Point Lodge

Gillian Ballance has spent 15 years in the fine dining and hospitality industry with previous positions in well-known Bay Area, Santa Barbara and New York City restaurants.

Ms. Ballance comes to the lodge after serving as a wine consultant for the Pacific Union Club in San Francisco and Bottega Restaurant in Napa Valley. Formerly the PlumpJack Group's wine director between 2004 and 2009, she received Food & Wine Magazine's "Best New Restaurant Wine List 2005" for the newly opened Jack Falstaff restaurant.

Prior to her move to the Bay Area, Ms. Ballance was the opening wine and beverage director at Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara. There she created and oversaw the beverage program, including maintaining the 20,000-bottle wine cellar for Miro Restaurant.

Ms. Ballance came to Santa Barbara from New York City, where she worked at Picholine, Cello Restaurant and Windows on the World. She also has acted as a guest judge for several wine competitions and conducted wine seminars and lectures. She has completed the Advanced Sommelier level of the Court of Master Sommeliers examination program and has recently been awarded with Master Sommelier certification. She received her Higher Certificate of Distinction as well as her Diploma in Wines & Spirits from the British Wine and Spirits Education Trust. Ms. Ballance has a BFA from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Moscato Granita with Crème Fraiche
I rarely have those moments when I actually want to use the “OMG” expression, but this was one of those.  I was testing a granite recipe using the Innocent Bystander sparkling Moscato and had frozen the wine in ice cube trays with sugar syrup on the side ready to test.  I plopped an iced wine cube in my mouth and there it was. “OMG”!  I knew there was going to be no need for the sugar, the wines delicious watermelon, rose and refreshing bite just burst forth in the frozen fine bubbles.  I simply added a finishing drizzle of Blackcurrant syrup to bring out the fruit in the wine, a dollop of crème fraiche for a lush smooth finish and some shaved chocolate to add the wine’s delicious musk notes.
To serve 8
1 750 ml bottle Innocent Bystander Moscato
Elderberry or Blackcurrant syrup
Crème Fraiche
Optional for decoration, shaved chocolate and strawberries
Pour the wine into ice cube trays or a large shallow dish.  Freeze overnight.  An hour or so before serving, transfer desired amount to a food processor or blender and blend until just crushed.   Spoon into a dish and return to the freezer until ready to serve. 
To serve, break up crystals and spoon into glasses or bowls.  Top with Crème Fraiche and drizzle over the syrup.
If desired, top with shaved chocolate and/or strawberries.