June 2013

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 69 of 83

play with your food Simple Sips Prep your summer stock By Karen Eigenberger Pack a perfect picnic basket By Michael and Jean Muckian Warm weather brings out our inner love for outdoor gourmet, and we look for opportunities to dine al fresco. To make gathering our picnic fare a breeze, we've been turning to Madison's finer deli counters and fresh food providers. We follow three distinct rules when assembling our picnic selections: the food must be fresh and flavorful; the choices healthy and colorful; and, whenever possible, our basket's edible contents should be locally sourced. Here's what we're packing in our moveable feasts this year: Bread: As the staple of life, the right bread is a serious consideration. Madison Sourdough's sesame fennel baguette is a rare treat, as are the breads from Clasen's European Bakery. Add a daub of butter or a splash of olive oil—pick some up at Vom Fass—and the loaves become meals in themselves. Appetizers: Our tastes have long run toward olives, and we love browsing the olive bars at both Whole Foods, which offers a creative selection, and Metcalfe's Market, which charges a dollar less per pound. We like the dry-cured black olives with Herbes de Provence and the mixed Greek olives with crushed chilies. 68 BRAVA Magazine June 2013 Sides and mains: We define our picnic not by categories, but by flavors and textures of the selections themselves. That means elevating many creative salads from sidedish status to the main event. This season we're banking on quinoa, which includes all 21 amino acids required to make perfect protein. These seeds from the South American plant—technically a grass, not a grain—appear in several of Metcalfe's better salads, including the black bean quinoa salad (above). Add Metcalfe's Thai noodles with tofu, Wisconsin kale and apple salad or the three-grain citrus mix and you have all the flavorful nutrition you'll need. Wine: We love Wollersheim Winery's Dry Riesling, named the 2013 Wine of the Year at the recent San Diego International Wine Competition. Light, subtle and superbly nuanced, Wollershiem proves why Riesling provides an added breath of summer, making it the perfect picnic wine. Michael and Jean Muckian have covered the local food and arts scenes for more than 25 and 15 years, respectively. Find them online at the Culturosity blog on White: Try the crisp, fresh Picpoul. From the Picpoul de Pinet region within France's Mediterranean Languedoc region, the Picpoul grape works splendidly with fish, seafood, salads, cheeses and even chocolate. Super refreshing, you can compare this wine to Pinot Grigio–with an added ray of sunshine. ($10-$16 per bottle) My favorite: Guillemarine Picpoul de Pinet ($10)—a real bargain. Red: Take advantage of the slew of terrific red blend wines on the market, particularly those from Washington state. These ripe, juicy, delicious wines are a great value and over-deliver on quality. Interesting enough to sip on their own, they'll also stand up to any meal you grill last minute. Two favorites: Helix Pomatia ($15) and Dunham Cellars Three Legged Red ($15). Bonus tip! Put a little chill on your red wines. Warmth in wine brings out harsh notes, whereas a chill allows you to enjoy the smooth, pleasant notes in any wine. Serve white wines chilled. Reds are most enjoyable served cool—not cold, not warm. Cheers to summer and sipping! Karen Eigenberger is partner at STEVE'S Wine-Beer-Spirits on Mineral Point Road. Visit Photo by Sarah Maughan A Moveable Feast I've looked forward to sitting on my deck and enjoying a glass of wine in the summer sunshine since, well, last September. Living in Wisconsin, we all pay winter's price. We deserve some serious relaxing and summer sipping. My key rule: Keep plenty of allpurpose, easy-drinking "deck" wines on hand. Find what you like and load up on it. Avoid too much oak in your whites or reds, don't go for too much fruit in your wines, and you'll be ready with wines any group of neighbors or friends popping by can enjoy. My current "go to" wines I love:

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Brava - June 2013