have several thousand cookbooks.... We've
known Doug Nalle for a very long time. It has to be a long time now, we
remember explaining websites to him. They were new back then. It seems
that, for us, food and wine and the Nalles's were destined to come
together. We have
who own one of the oldest 'modern era' vineyards in San Luis
County who make wines meant to go with food. Their thinking has always
been to keep away from the high alcohols that the industry fell in love
with (and maybe as this is written is finally starting to return from).
We think we read about Doug making similar
sorts of wines we like. And never a bottle above 13.9 percent alcohol.
Certainly we aren't leading any temperance charges, it's just that, to
our mind, lower alcohol wines go better with the food we're eating. So
the next time we were in Sonoma we visited Nalle Winery
We used to think our friends were about the smallest winery around, but
you don't get smaller than one
In a Quonset hut sort of building with sod on top. There was Doug, all
alone. We met Lee Nalle later. And now his son Andrew makes
wine, as far as we can tell, exactly as Doug would (Doug's still
around, of course).
We cook. We think we cook pretty well. We are not
chef's. We'd never win on 'Chopped'. We do watch Top Chef. We get mad
when cooking shows spend all their time talking about petty battles, or
other nonsense and not showing COOKING. We watch to learn. (We don't
know how legitimate IRON CHEF was--we're talking about the one from
Japan (dubbed)--but you could watch and learn and have a fun time. The
American Iron Chef? Hasn't really been on in a while. Food Network
maybe should get back to its roots. There are people who want to cook
again.) We don't go out to eat much because mostly we think what we can
cook is at least as well. And certainly we then
know what is going into our mouths. (But good restaurants CAN get
ingredients that just are mot easily available to the general public,
and can get them cheaper. Buying a truffle is not something
home cooks do.) Did we mention we have several thousand
cookbooks? And we still keep buying them even though there is an
infinite amount of recipes on the internet. Many of our recipes are
from cookbooks which we might follow closely or deviate from in our own
way. We'll give credit to any recipe we're talking about to the
original author (if there is one) and encourage you to buy their books!
We even have (very heavy to read in bed) The Food Lab Cookbook (Amazon
) by J. Kenji López-Alt at Serious Eats
(well it is far more than a cookbook), even though you can see all the
recipes on line. Cookbooks are good. And
Mr. López-Alt and
the Serious Eats crew know far more than we do. Buy the book; use their
The approach we want to take here is not precise. It just
reflects a long time of learning and trying to prepare interesting and
good food. We once did a Chinese Banquet while visiting friends.
Ended up taking ALL day and the pots and pans of two
and we didn't eat till 10pm (that wasn't the plan). It still is
something to talk about.
We like science. We have the original (and the updated) On Food and
Cooking by Harold McGee
) . Cooking is both art and science and knowing a little
about both helps. We remember the very first Good Eats
that we saw (the one on rice, Season 1, episode 19). Alton Brown's show
was genius. And he introduced us to Shirley O. Corriher who wrote another
great science cookbook: CookWise: The Hows & Whys of
Successful Cooking, The Secrets of Cooking Revealed (Amazon link). There
are others of that ilk. There are also some really old cookbooks that
still 'work'. There are restaurant cookbooks. There are celebrity chef
cookbooks. There are some celebrity chefs who live by their celebrity
and not by their food. But there are a lot of celebrity chefs who are
really good. We'll just mention one right now because we really like
his recipes. Rick
who has a bunch of great (generally Mexican, though we're
partial to our variation on his chicken and dumplings in a book he did
with his daughter) cookbooks and some really good restaurants in
Chicago. We've met him several times over the years. He's a
guy. And the first time was pretty much before he was a 'celebrity' (if
we recall correctly, it was before the internet and certainly before
the food network. He came to be a guest chef at a local restaurant).
We've even met the great Julia Child. Get any (or all) of her books.
Though she was at an event autographing her then latest book (The Way to Cook),
she kindly autographed one of our favorite recipes, the French Onion
Soup in a book we brought to her event: Julia Child and More Company
(out of print, but you can still get it, or just use one of her other
books that is still in print).
while back we were at Nalle Winery and met April who was about to have
Andrew and her first child. A year later we were back and saw April and
the baby and she was about to have their second child). We talked a lot
about food. Here was this newlywed with a couple of kids who
to cook. And we'd previously sent Andrew some of our favorite recipes.
So we sent her some more recipes that included a lot of information and
tips we'd learned. And then she asked about knives. We sent
pictures of what we have and where we got them. She thought
should do a food blog. We didn't think so. There are too many already.
But then she asked if we could give her recipes and food pairings for
the winery's mailing list. Sure, why not? But then the way we
write (what you see here) is long winded, conversational and hopefully
more than just recipes. You can't do that without pictures and maybe
more space than she might want to use. So here we are. A website to
chronicle the recipes. For Nalle Winery. And maybe more. We'll see.
By the way, you can find more winery recipes (some are even ours) at
our Paso friends' website in the food section.
They also make great wine and love to cook.
We hope this is informative and most importantly gets you cooking the
way you want to cook.
Cheers and bon appettit!
We'd love to hear from you.
If there is a question we think we can
answer, we'll probably post it. Mistakes or problems? Please let us
know! Write us at: winetrail1 (AT SYMBOL) winetrail.net.
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