Thursday, October 8, 2009
A Gourmet Meal With Ruth Reichl
The meal began with Onion and Fennel Bisque and Wolf Blass 2006 Eden Valley Riesling.
For the next course, we had Brussels Sprout Salad with Walnuts and Pecorino, and Stag's Leap Winery 2006 Napa Valley Chardonnay. The first main course featured Orecchiette with Rabbit Ragu and Penfolds 2005 'Bin 2' Shiraz/Mourvedre,and the second main was Braised Pork Osso Bucco with Sauerkraut and Penfolds 2004 'St. Henri' Shiraz.
By the time dessert arrived - Old Fashioned Apple and Raisin Dumplings and Penfolds 'Club' Tawny Port - I had become so engrossed in the meal and conversation that I forgot all about my camera.
Chef/Owner John McClure of Starker's Restaurant in Kansas City, Mo. had carefully selected each dish from the landmark new Gourmet TODAY cookbook in honor of special guest/past editor of Gourmet magazine, Ruth Reichl, who was gracious, warm and highly approachable. The evening's 'co-host' was renowned local independent bookstore, Rainy Day Books.
Reichl talked about the 1,000-recipe book into which she had put so much time and effort. Apparently, several conversations with her son, Nick, planted the seed. Reichl says he became an omnivore at age nine, and also enjoyed helping her in the kitchen. After Nick attended one semester of college, he moved to a dorm with a kitchen and began cooking in earnest. That's when Reichl learned that supermarkets - versus smaller New York specialty stores - had changed in recent years; Nick had no problem finding imported cheese or a wide variety of rice on grocery store shelves.
So Reichl and her team bought everything at the supermarket that 'surprised' them and began to create recipes. They also kept in mind how many people are now vegetarians. It's a far-different book from previous Gourmet cookbooks.
"This is an amazing time in American food," Reichl said. "These are all new recipes. Our mission, at Gourmet, has always been to get people back into the kitchen, which will make a huge difference in the future of [our country]."