Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thursday Sips & Nibbles

I am back again with a new edition of Thursday Sips & Nibbles, my regular column where I briefly highlight some interesting wine and food items that I have encountered recently.
1)  Chef Anthony Caturano of Prezza, one of my favorite restaurants in the North End, has a new menu for autumn. Chef Caturano says, “Fall is my favorite time of the year. It gives you a chance to experience rich, robust flavors in their prime. During the fall season, I try and incorporate different types of game meats and ingredients that create a truly unique culinary experience.”

The new menu combines classic hearty Italian home cooking with the bountiful flavors of fall. Newcomers to Prezza’s menu include: Roasted Portobello with tomato, creamy polenta and Parmigiano ($15); Seared Scallops in lobster squash bisque with hazelnuts and nutmeg mascarpone ($16); Wild Mushroom Risotto with mushroom duxelle and fontina cheese ($16); Tagliatelle with aged Parmigiano and white truffles ($60); Pumpkin Ravioli with lobster, mascarpone, brown butter and sage ($15/$28); Pear Ravioli with braised rabbit, pecorino cheese, thyme and butter ($15/$28); Roasted Duck Breast with confit leg, cider braised kale and Sardinian couscous ($30); Venison Loin with sweet potato mash, mushroom and pancetta red wine sauce ($38); and, Swordfish with roasted tomato, cranberry beans, mussels and lobster broth ($28). To end one’s culinary journey on a sweet note, new desserts options include: Pumpkin Trifle with gingerbread and salted pecans ($10); and, Apple Streusel Cake with maple walnut ice cream ($10).

2)  In December, Chef Raymond Ost of Sandrine's Bistro (co-owned by Ost’s longtime business partner Gwen Trost) will celebrate his 15 year anniversary in Harvard Square.

New fall dishes at Sandrine’s Bistro:
--Smoked Trout, horseradish cream, over fingerlings with salmon roe
--Chef’s Whim Terrine of Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Brioche
--P.E.I. Moules Marniere steamed in Reisling with shallots
--Lobster, Shiitake and Lima Bean Risotto with brandied lobster sauce
--Braised Organic Leg of Rabbit with egg noodles and lardon
--Grilled Veal T-Bone with spaetzle and fall vegetable gratin
--Assiette de Canard with hen-of-the-woods risotto and apricot-gerwurtztraminer reduction

In addition, the 2012 King's Cakes will go on sake on November 15.  "The French tradition of serving King’s Cake ten days after Christmas began in the 12th century. In the late 1800s, it was adopted as a Mardi Gras treat, but those gaudy frosted brioche rings bear no resemblance to the French original. The only similarity: the person who finds the tiny porcelain favor baked within his/her slice of cake is crowned King/Queen of the dinner party, has good luck all year, and may choose a queen/king from among those present at the table."

Sandrine’s pastry chef Courtney Civitaralle asks that her 12” square King’s Cake, layered with puff pastry, frangipane and pastry cream and topped with confectioner’s sugar, be ordered a minimum of 7 days in advance. Orders for King’s Cakes will be accepted beginning November 15. Cakes may claimed between January 5 and 15, 2012. Each cake serves up to 12 people and costs $45.

3)  KitchenWares, located at 215 Newbury Street in Boston, will host Joanne Chang (chef / baker / cookbook author) and Amy Traverso (Senior Editor, Lifestyle for Yankee Magazine / cookbook author) on Wednesday, November 9, from 7pm-9pm.  Joanne will be on hand from 7pm-8pm followed by Amy from 8pm–9pm. Both will field your holiday questions and offer tasty treats from their cookbooks. Joanne’s cookbook, Flour, features recipes from Flour Bakery and Café. Amy’s cookbook, The Apple Lover’s Cookbook, celebrates the beauty of apples in all their variety, taking you from the orchard to the kitchen with recipes both sweet and savory. Light refreshments will include holiday pastries from both cookbooks.

This event is free and open to the public. For each cookbook purchased, KitchenWares will donate $2 to Community Servings, a not-for-profit food and nutrition program providing services throughout Massachusetts to individuals and families living with critical and chronic illnesses.
RSVPs are appreciated to help us plan. Please email

4)  On Tuesday, November 8, at 7 PM, Tavolo chefs Chris Douglass and Nuno Alves will present a three course prix fixe menu of foods from Boston’s urban farm markets to herald the arrival of the new book: Markets of New England. This is the first book from writer Christine Chitnis of Providence, RI and in its pages are details on what to look for at 50 farmers’ and artisans’ markets from the Green Mountains to Narragansett Bay, and from the Berkshires to Nantucket.

The book has been mentioned in dozens of national publications, including the New York Times, whose book critic called it “a charming, useful, pocket size guidebook … Chitnis herself has written for such publications as The Boston Globe, Country Living, Time Out New York and Edible Rhody. She also blogs about crafting for Yankee Magazine.

The Markets of New England dinner costs $40, which includes an autographed copy of the book, from which Chitnis will read. Reserve a seat by calling 617-822-1918.

The menu:
* Salad of Roasted Squash & Carrots, Carlisle goat cheese, beets, greens, carta musica and pomegranate seeds
* Frutti di Mare of Scituate Lobster & Woodbury Clams over squid ink pasta
* Indian Pudding with apple sorbet

5)  On November 2nd, at 6:30pm, Legal Sea Foods in Park Square will host a Mauriston wine dinner to celebrate vineyards in California’s Dry Creek and Alexander Valley areas. Hosted by Clay Mauritson, Owner and Winemaker of Mauritson Wines, this special three-plus-course dinner will pair signature cuisine with fruit-forward, floral and spice-driven wines from his collection.

The menu will be presented as follows:
Hors d' Oeuvres
Mini Tuna Tartare, Avocado, White Soy Sauce
Sun Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
King Crab Tartlette, Yuzu Aioli
Paired with Mauritson Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Creek Valley, 2010
First Course
Aromatic Poached Cod, mashed parsnip and tamarind onion jam
Paired with Mauritson Chardonnay, Alexander Valley, 2010
Second Course
Seared Coho Wild Salmon, saffron lobster mushroom risotto, vanilla butter sauce
Paired with Rockpile “Buck Pasture Vineyard” Malbec, Rockpile, 2007
Third Course
“Barbacoa” Braised Beef Short Ribs, black garlic mashed potato, roasted root vegetables
Paired with Mauritson Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, 2009 & Mauritson “Clough” Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma, 2007
Dessert Course
Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding, raspberry caramel sauce, marcona almond brittle
Paired with Rockpile “Independence,” Rockpile, 2008

COST: $75 per person (excludes tax and gratuity)
Reservation required by calling: 617-530-9397

No comments: