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Vinous in the Kitchen: Fire-Roasted Branzino with Swiss Chard Horta

Vinous in the Kitchen

Eric Guido, Jul 2020

Today we are going to talk about fire roasting a whole fish, dressed with a sauce of lemon, olive oil and herbs that will practically make itself. We are also going to prepare the same fish to be served as fillets with the same sauce, without tearing up any of the tender juicy meat. For this preparation, I'm going to look to a classic fish that can be found on menus around the world and at any self-respecting Mediterranean restaurant, and that’s Branzino, also known as sea bass. However, you can use this process and the tips below to pick out and prepare nearly any whole fish. Also, don’t be afraid of the term “fire-roasted” because we are going to make this from start to finish under the broiler in your oven. Lastly, to top it all off, we are going to prepare a Horta using Swiss chard, one of my absolute favorite sides when eating Mediterranean.

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Vinous in the Kitchen: In Pursuit of the Perfect Burger

Vinous in the Kitchen

Eric Guido, Jul 2020

What is the perfect burger? Is there really any such thing? Let’s be honest here - my idea of the perfect burger may be similar to yours, but it won’t be the same for everyone. In fact, in my house, I have four people who all love different levels of doneness, with or without cheese, bacon over or under the cheese, toasted buns or not, and then me – I go bunless, but with a bigger patty that includes ground lamb. I’m sure you can imagine the production burger night is at my home.

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Vinous in the Kitchen: Pantry Essentials 101

Vinous in the Kitchen

Eric Guido, Jun 2020

Frankly, anyone can stock a pantry, but there are a few things that separate my family from the average household, and these have given me some interesting insights. For one thing, since the day I graduated culinary school, it was decided that I would be doing all of the cooking in the house. And so, like many households where a chef or ex-chef does all the cooking, there is a certain set of necessities that we were taught to always have on hand. Therefore, our pantry is incredibly diverse, and it has been now for over a decade, which has given me a number of thoughts into what should be in a well-stocked and maintained kitchen. Plus, just to make sure I had all of the bases covered for the average family, I made sure to quiz as many highly-qualified moms from around my neighborhood as possible.

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Central Italy’s Best-Kept Secrets

featured, Italy: Center & South

Eric Guido, Jun 2020

Sangiovese is most often associated with Tuscany, where it is the variety that informs virtually all of the region’s top wines. What if I told you that by staying within the confines of Tuscany’s top DOCGs of Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile, you were missing out on some of the most interesting and value-oriented Sangioveses being produced today? It’s time to discover some of central Italy’s best-kept secrets.

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Vinous in the Kitchen: Stock Essentials

Vinous in the Kitchen

Eric Guido, Jun 2020

It took me far too long into my culinary career to finally invest in a stock pot and start down the path of creating my own chicken, beef and mushroom stocks. My experience with stock in professional kitchens started in school, where we learned the fundamentals; yet after that, it was always the late night or early morning crews who would tend to the massive stock pots. I began to respect the importance of a good stock when I left restaurants and began cooking in my own home. That was when it dawned on me that I could make my own stock.

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Cellar Favorite: 1997 Col d’Orcia Brunello di Montalcino

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, Italy: Tuscany

Eric Guido, Jun 2020

The 1997 wines of Tuscany have become something of a question mark in the eyes of many consumers. At release, the press went wild for the wines. Some still see 1997 as one of Italy’s greatest modern-day vintages, and to this day, salespeople base their pitch on its prestige.

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Vinous in the Kitchen: An Irish Grandma’s Italian Meatballs

Vinous in the Kitchen

Eric Guido, Jun 2020

I can still hear it now...the 1940s big band music that was always playing in my grandmother’s kitchen. Like something out of a movie, she was the patriarch of the family, having devoted every moment of every day to her family first. When you were in her home, you wanted for nothing. Each end table had a small bowl of spice drops and one of chocolates; there always seemed to be tea and coffee made, not to mention a piece of cake or biscotti to accompany it. What’s more, she never sat down when the family dinner was served. Instead she would continue to usher in plate after plate of food to the dining room table, until finally my grandfather or father would holler for her to sit down before everything got cold. Through it all, the music played.

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Vinous in the Kitchen: Bring Back Pancakes from Scratch

Vinous in the Kitchen

Eric Guido, Jun 2020

One of the first things I was taught when learning to cook professionally is the power of nostalgia. In fact, it was presented to me as more of an ingredient than a response from a client. It’s because of this that I will forever want tomato soup with my grilled cheese, or why a simple plate of Pasta Con Le Sarde will easily transport me back to happy childhood summers and the memories of running through sprinklers on hot asphalt. The same goes for pancakes. I could be in the fanciest restaurant for brunch, at the finest high tea, or just huddled up with a cup of coffee on a porch in Vermont, and what would bring me the most happiness is pancakes.

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Vinous in the Kitchen: Fall-Off-The-Fork Braised Pork Shoulder

Vinous in the Kitchen

Eric Guido, May 2020

Low and Slow is the name of the game. When I search to see how other cooks prepare braised pork shoulder, it amazes me how many home chefs rush the process and miss out on the fall-off-the-fork goodness that a perfectly braised pork shoulder should deliver. It took me a long time to bend my brain around the fact that the more connective tissue a piece of meat has, the longer it should cook. However, the temperatures need to be low, and the type of cooking should include moist heat. In fact, there are many chefs that will bring the oven temperatures down even further than I do and braise for hours on end. What we need to do to get at that flavor is to break down the tissue that holds the meat together, hence the fall-off-the-fork tenderness that you get when it’s cooked properly.

Cellar favorite robert ampeau santenots 2001 cover

Cellar Favorite: 2001 Robert Ampeau et Fils Volnay Santenots 1er Cru

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, France: Burgundy

Eric Guido, May 2020

As we look through the top Premier and Grand Crus of red Burgundy, the one appellation that I feel delivers a top-level experience at prices that remain reasonable is Volnay. When you couple this with the late-releasing house of Robert Ampeau, and their Premier Cru Santenots, we are really treated to something special.