"The Food and Wine Cookbook," a guide to pairing California wines with food, is the latest effort from Dean & DeLuca, the New York-based chain of gourmet shops that has an outlet in Napa Valley's St. Helena. Author Jeff Morgan, wine director for the chain and a frequent contributor to "Wine Country Living," packs a lot of information into the early chapters, providing a thumbnail sketch of the history and geography of California wine country and a primer on serving, cellaring and drinking wine. None of the information is new, but it is presented here in a well-organized, accessible format.
The 80 recipes, developed by Dean & DeLuca's chefs with Morgan, are an eclectic and well-chosen selection. The accent is on Mediterranean flavors, but Asian and Middle Eastern ingredients appear as well. Each dish gets several wine recommendations based on Morgan's sensible and flexible guidelines.
The book is also a useful reference work. It contains guides to salad greens, mushrooms, olives and cheeses, and there is a section on standard techniques how to cook dried beans, shuck oysters and trim artichokes and recipes for basics like mayonnaise and veal demiglace.
Recipes cover everything from appetizers to sweets. Imaginative main courses include a slow-cooked beef brisket rubbed with Indian spices and skate wings dredged in porcini dust. Side dishes, such as zucchini-blossom tempura with goat cheese and roasted figs, are equally creative. Morgan's broad knowledge and passion come across in his engaging prose, and Steven Rothfeld's photographs are mouthwatering.
Throughout the book, Morgan promotes enjoying wine as part of a leisurely meal created with fresh, healthful ingredients. But not too healthful he also recommends putting a dollop of St. Andre butter, a blend of butter and super-rich French cheese, on your steak. -Wine Country Living
For anyone who lives in New York, many who have visited New York and perhaps a few who've barely heard of New York, two word
About the Author
Jeff Morgan is the wine director for Dean & DeLuca. Formerly West Coast editor for Wine Spectator magazine, he lives in California's Napa Valley.
Steve Rothfeld's photographs have appeared in numerous books and the magazines Food & Wine, Gourmet, Bon Appetit, and Travel & Leisure. He makes his home in the Napa Valley.
Leslie Rudd is the chairman of Dean & Deluca and owner of Rudd Vineyards and Winery in Napa Valley.