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Cooking with the Wines of Washington Paperback – January 1, 2010
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About the Author
Troy and Cheryl-Lynn Townsin are a husband-and-wife travel-writing team who share a passion for food, wine and travel. Their previous book, Cooking with BC Wine, won the Gourmand World Cookbook Award for best book on cooking.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Washington State is recognized throughout the world as a leading producer of award-winning, high-quality wine. From the San Juan Islands of Puget Sound through the bustling metropolis of Seattle, across the desert plateaus east of the majestic Cascade Mountains, past dormant volcanoes to the sunny slopes of the Yakima Valley, over fertile hills to the Walla Walla Valley and down to the scenic shores of Lake Chelan, vineyards are bursting with grapes that will be made into glorious wines.
This book pays tribute to the wineries of Washington with a collection of 100 recipes for cooking with wine. Many of the recipes come directly from the numerous wineries located throughout Washington. Some of the recipes are family secrets being published here for the first time. Others are adaptations of old classics, and some have been created by world-renowned chefs especially for this book. All the recipes have been tried and tested, and we're sure you'll enjoy them.
Cooking with wine can make the difference between a good meal and a great meal. But don't forget the golden rule: you must never cook with a wine that you wouldn't drink. This means you shouldn't use anything labeled "cooking wine," as these awful concoctions are full of vinegar or salt and can ruin a perfectly good meal.
You may be surprised to learn that cooking with wine also has certain health benefits. Studies show not only that wine is beneficial for the heart, but also that cooking with wine helps reduce salt intake by increasing the flavor of food. Do your health a favor and include a little wine in your cooking!
Don't worry too much about the alcohol content of wine when you're cooking. When wine is heated, the alcohol in the wine is significantly reduced. However, it would require a lot of cooking time to completely remove the alcohol, so if someone cannot consume any alcohol, then it's safer not to serve him or her food cooked with wine. As you work your way through the recipes in this book you'll discover that cooking with wine is not only easy, it's also a fun, rewarding and social experience.
We're often asked about pairing the right wine with the right food. Cooking with wine can be the answer to all your "pairing" problems. When we match wines with foods, we're trying to find flavors in the food that complement the flavors in the wine. Cooking with wine infuses the food with the flavors of the wine. If you serve the same wine with your meal, you'll have a perfect match nearly every time.
Washington is abundant in magnificent fresh produce. We wholeheartedly believe in using local ingredients when preparing your meals, and a trip to Pike Place Market in Seattle lays out all the raw delectable treasures the state has to offer right before your eyes. It's mouth-watering to see fat globe artichokes from the Skagit Valley next to bright red, juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes; huge bushels of sweet corn; earthy wild mushrooms; tender shoots of asparagus; baskets of baby red potatoes and those huge, sweet Walla Walla onions. There are orchard fruits aplenty and polished apples, juicy apricots, nectarines, peaches and pears sit beside cherries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries.
While shopping at the market, a fat silver Puget Sound salmon may fly past your face as the fishmongers show off their skill and dexterity while entertaining shoppers. But the real stars are the live Dungeness crab, Salish Sea scallops, rock cod, halibut, Olympia oysters, locally smoked albacore tuna, bay shrimp and massive geoduck clams. The butchers are stocked with San Juan Island's lamb, organic beef, free-range chicken, and farm-raised rabbit and quail. Washington is one big larder stocked full of ingredients that chefs around the world can only fantasize about.
With so much high-quality produce, it will come as no surprise to learn that Washington wineries have also risen to the challenge of crafting some of the world's finest beverages. The better-known wines are the dark dense Merlots, rich complex Cabernet Sauvignons, powerful buttery Chardonnays and fruity full-bodied Rieslings-but it doesn't stop there. Winemakers are also making waves with their fleshy Syrahs and are working wonders with lesser-known varieties such as Gewürztraminer, Viognier and Semillon.
In this book we've tried to include recipes that cater to as wide a range of tastes as possible, although it's only fair to warn you that we do love garlic. If there's too much garlic in a recipe for your liking, feel free to tone it down. The same goes for any other ingredients you either don't have or don't want to use. The recipes are guides for your own culinary adventures, and it's often fun to experiment and substitute.
The most important thing to remember when you're cooking for others is that your guests are there to spend time with you. Do as much preparation as you possibly can before they arrive so you can enjoy their company. This is every bit as important as good food and good wine. Pour some wine and invite your guests into the kitchen to talk while you finish making the meal. Make cooking a time to socialize and have fun.
You have the ingredients and you have the wine. This book was created to help you put the two together. It's full of inspired dishes that often combine unusual yet wonderful flavors and textures. There are simple-to-prepare dishes that you can whip up after work using what you have in the pantry, and there are exquisite, more time-consuming recipes for special occasions.
If there is wine terminology you're unfamiliar with, don't be afraid to ask about it at the wineries or your local wine store. Wine lovers are usually thrilled when they get a chance to discuss their passion with someone who is interested.
In addition to being a cookbook, this is a guide to all of Washington's magnificent wineries, making touring a little easier and more enjoyable. You'll find a listing, by area, of all Washington's wineries, complete with maps, beginning on page 196. So get out there and enjoy Washington's spectacular scenery, visit the wineries, grab a corkscrew and a bottle of your favorite wine, and use this book to cook yourself up an unforgettable feast.