French Malbec Vineyards in Cahors, France
It was called “Black Wine” for years – the French Malbec wines from Cahors in France’s Southwest region. The British were the main consumers of this rich, unctuous and tannic drink until the root louse phylloxera decimated the vineyards in the late 1800’s. 100 years later, after replanting with terroir in mind, the Cahors wine producers awakened to a different Malbec world far from their shores, in Argentina. They realized they were late to an already raging party. Undaunted by the competition, Cahors wine producers now feel it’s the Golden Age of Cahors and better late than never to reclaim Malbec’s French birthright.
I arrived in Toulouse, the historic land of foie gras and duck breast prepared a hundred ways, remembering fondly my European culinary school adventures in my early 20’s. France is rich with told and untold stories of food, wars and wine. Not necessarily in that order. The grapes of the Cahors region — planted originally by the Romans over 2000 years ago — enjoyed massive popularity until as recently as the mid-19th century but, post phylloxera and the depression surrounding that devastating insect invasion, the area has struggled with relevancy for years. Their glitzy neighbors to the northwest, Bordeaux, stole the spotlight eons ago and Cahors hasn’t quite recovered. Although Malbec makes up one of the six major Bordeaux varieties, used for blending in their infamous Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon bottling, Cahors feels they owns Malbec.
Or, at least, they used to. Read more »
During my food allergy curing, gut healing exercise, I hankered for baked goods. There’s nothing quite like sinking your chompers into soft, savory goodness and I missed that satisfying sensation. I also sought an alternative gluten-free, nutrient-dense breakfast option. Enter the coconut flour muffin. Combining insight from a few paleo recipe websites, I created a fluffy muffin that fit my tastes.
Read more: Recipe: Savory gluten-free garlic and herb muffins (paleo friendly)
Chile has been a happening place for several years now. With a Mediterranean climate much like northern California, the grapes bask in sunshine and enjoy rain during the winter mostly. Even the landscape, with mountain valleys and slopes, resembles California. And, like California, the resultant wines are consistently high quality. But there’s one big difference: Price. Wines from Chile astound with a price to quality ratio that most wine regions would love. I dare say few wine regions can top the number of excellent wines under $20 that Chile does.
Read more: Wine review: Montes Alpha 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
I wrote about corks versus screwcap for wine closures back in 2010, and the argument continues five years later. Strangely enough since screwcaps have proven their worth over and over again. But…ah… the romance of cork still wins over the hearts of wine lovers. This infographic, shared by Tim at WineTurtle.com, reveals the depth of the remaining confusion.
Read more: Wine cork versus screwcap: The debate rages on (infographic)
Stew meat is one of the most affordable cuts of meat out there. Cooked quickly, it can be a tough, chewy mess but combine it with veggies, broth/stock, herbs then slow cook it for hours, and you’ll have magical deliciousness. Add in the ease of a slow cooker or Crockpot, and you have super simple, quick deliciousness. Even better.
Read more: Slow cooker recipe: Lamb or beef stew (paleo and AIP diet friendly)
“There are good days and bad days…” Dear Food Diary, Day 64 today. Looking back, it’s been easier than I thought. You kind of get used to not eating out, cooking a lot, prepping for the week ahead, and introducing novel items into the daily diet. Kale sprouts? Nope, didn’t know about those before (great sautéed with bacon). Pre-packaged sausages hide all sorts of things you shouldn’t eat (and, after research, don’t really want to). Make your own sausage! Kombucha, a fermented tea, is freakin’ amazingly tasty. Sans caffeine, I’m not tired, cranky or bitchy. I weigh less now than I have in probably 20 years – my skinny jeans aren’t called “skinny” anymore. But, although there’s plenty of fun associated with these insights, none of these reasons are why I started on this journey
Read more: Cure food allergies by eating great food (part 4)
It strikes most wine drinkers at some point in their wine paths: Pinot passion. The multi-dimensional, seductiveaspects of this finicky, oft-loved grape are difficult to avoid. And, when it happens, all you can do is succumb to its wiles and enjoy the comfort it brings. Mendocino County, a wine region rich with redwoods, coastal climate and definitely Pinot Noir, has birthed three disparate yet dedicated wineries, proudly wearing their Pinot passion like a badge of honor. And created some gorgeous wine.
Read more: Celebrating three small, passionate Pinot Noir producers in Mendocino County
Weeks 3-5: Project Fix Leaky Gut “I can see clearly now…” Today is Day 36. I can proudly say I haven’t cheated at all on what has been called a “horrific” diet. Whenever I get weak (and that has happened on innumerable occasions), I visualize shrimp, crab and lobster. Dunked in delicious drawn butter. That gets me back on track.
Read more: Project Leaky Gut: Curing food allergies with AIP diet (part 3)
For as long as I can remember, I have followed a personal rule: If an ingredient list has more than three lines, I don’t put it in my body. More than that, you get into the dangerous territory of unpronounceable chemicals and other crap I don’t want floating around anywhere inside. So I am an ingredient reader. Have you ever read the package on pre-made sausage? If you haven’t, then don’t. It ain’t pretty. So, when I went on an AIP protocol diet to cure my food allergies, I researched how to make my own sausage patties. It was so super easy, I was embarrassed I’d ever bought it before.
Read more: Recipe: Spicy homemade breakfast sausage patties
On my journey to heal my leaky gut and cure my food allergies, I’ve been gorging on paleo cookbooks. There seem to be plenty on the market these days… it’s quite trendy to “go paleo.” I’m enjoying the process of exploring the paleo tenets, mostly consuming quality meats, eggs vegetables and fruit; avoiding gluten, dairy, legumes (beans, potatoes, soy, etc), sugar, and processed foods of any kind. It’s a challenging diet regime when you’re surrounded by temptations and laden with sugar addictions. Powerful Paleo Superfoods, written by Heather Connell, provides a fantastic intro into the paleo lifestyle. Her 6-page introduction represents one of the finer, more condensed overviews of this popular diet, and proceeds to outline why each item on her list of “superfoods” should be on your plate. In an easy to understand, not-so-science-y fashion. The recipes are simple to follow, use normal ingredients found at the grocery store and the photography is pretty fantastic. With permission, Heather allowed me to reprint this recipe for Spinach Basil Walnut Pesto. I use this on fish and chicken.
Read more: Book review: Powerful Paleo Superfoods + Spinach Walnut Pesto recipe