America has never really embraced the midday meal. While our European counterparts have no trouble shutting down whole cities for three hours in the middle of a Tuesday for a wine-soaked feast, lunch for us is usually a quickly-acquired sandwich gobbled down at our desk. But what about a lazy Saturday? A staycation day? An unexpected snow day? Why not take the chance to turn the noon repast into something special?
We’ll talk about a couple of different approaches to lunch, and some recipes you can easily put together–including some ideas for remixing leftovers. Jenny will talk about lunchtime wines and Jonathan will reach back to the Victorian era for a perfect low-octane midday cocktail.
We’ll also be announcing our next WCN! Live! event, coming up on April 22!
That’s Wednesday, 4/2, 6-7PM, on 88.7 WMMT-FM. Stream it here. Don’t miss it!
The audio is now available for our February episode, all about dumplings!
Thanks as always to our friends at WMMT for getting this posted for us.
As we were casting about for show ideas a while back, one of our dedicated Kitchen Angels said, “How about doing a series of shows where you….you know….don’t skip any steps?”
She was right, of course. Jenny and Jonathan have been at this whole cooking thing for a while, so our descriptions probably tend to take on the shorthand of the old hand. So this month on The World’s Only LIVE Radio Cooking Show (That We Know Of), they’re going to step back and let the actual cooking be done by a couple of intrepid volunteers who are ready to up their kitchen game. In this first WCN! 101 episode we’ll focus on our favorite cooking technique–roasting–and guide them through the preparation of a simple but elegant meal that will wow your next dinner guests.
That’s Wednesday, March 5, 6-7 PM EST, on 88.7 WMMT-FM in Whitesburg. You can stream it LIVE at http://wmmtfm.org, and we’ll have it posted here when it’s ready.
Don’t miss it!
The Bourbon Classic started in 2013 as an annual celebration of Kentucky’s native spirit, and it made its return to Louisville for a second year just a few weeks ago. The event featured a cocktail and small plate contest on Friday night, a series of Bourbon University classes on Saturday afternoon, and a grand tasting on Saturday night–an arduous weekend for even the most seasoned beverage enthusiast.
Such a bourbon-soaked weekend would be nearly impossible to recap in a linear fashion, because that’s not at all how I remember it. (An excellent Bourbon Classic drinking game: drink every time you hear someone say, “I’ve had a lot of bourbon.”) So instead, let’s give out some awards.
I’ll be doing this in three parts; later this week I’ll have posts about Friday’s press tour and Friday night’s cocktail/small plate competition. But we’ll start off with a few miscellaneous awards.
The Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams Award
This one goes to Michter’s 25-Year Rye. We were invited to an opening reception on Thursday night thrown by the good people at Michter’s, where their master distiller, Willie Pratt (a Hazard native!) was pouring from a bottle of this as well as their 20-year-old bourbon.
What does rye distilled during the Reagan administration taste like? Heaven. More specifically, the spicy flavor of the rye itself was intensified, coming through the tons of oak and leather it picked up during that long stay in the barrel. When I heard that it retails for around $750 a bottle, my only thoughts were 1.) kinda worth it, and 2.) top me off.
Oddly, I didn’t feel the same about the 20-year bourbon. It was good, but I don’t think it had the balance of their younger, considerably less spendy offerings. I haven’t had a lot of very old whiskeys, but I’m guessing that bourbon is like a figure skater in that it has a delicacy that peaks in the teenage years, while rye is more like a downhill skier in that it improves as it picks up strength and subtlety well into its adulthood. (Yes, I am writing this while watching the Winter Olympics. Why do you ask?)
If anyone would like to set up a vertical tasting of Pappy Van Winkle for me to test this theory, the email is to the right.
The Reece’s Cup Award for Two Great Tastes that Taste Great Together
This one goes to Kentucky’s bourbon-aged beers. Saturday’s Bourbon University featured a session on barrel-aged beers from Daniel Harrison, one of the madmen behind Lexington’s Country Boy Brewing (and tender of a truly spectacular beard), and Andrew Dimery, a gloriously nerdy brewer from Louisville’s Bluegrass Brewing Company.
These guys could go on the road. I don’t say this often, because my raging ADHD means my tolerance for even the most scintillating of classes and lectures is pretty limited, but this one could have gone on all day as far as I was concerned.
The pair spoke at length about what beers age best in a bourbon barrel and the long list of pitfalls associated with such aging, the hardest of which might be getting the bourbon barrels themselves. DH says that just a few years ago he could call up Buffalo Trace and get a truckload of old Pappy Van Winkle barrels that same afternoon, but barrel-aged beers have become so popular that getting any barrels at all requires the connections and coordination of your average Mafia hit. In fact, there’s a lot of science being done to figure out exactly what compounds the barrel imparts to the beer, so that big companies like Anheuser-Busch can fake it.
And why are Kentucky’s barrel-aged beers better than everyone else’s? Because we make the bourbon. Anywhere else the barrels have to be shipped, meaning they’ll dry out. A Kentucky brewer (with the right hookup) can drive to the distillery, get barrels dumped that day, take them back and immediately fill them with beer.
We got to try Country Boy’s excellent Black Gold Porter both unaged and barrel-aged, and BBC’s Bourbon Barrel Stout. This is a trend I can get behind.
The Ecclesiastes 1:9 Award for Something New Under The Sun
Let’s face it–”new” is not exactly the point of bourbon. It’s all about tradition and heritage and names of men long dead. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but it can make for a whole lot of samples that blend together as the night goes on in a massive tasting like this one. It’s nice to see some of the established brands stretching out and trying different things, even when they don’t always stick the landing. A couple of experiments stood out to us, though.
Wild Turkey Forgiven has a great backstory–apparently some rye and bourbon barrels got inadvertently blended together at the distillery, and master distiller Eddie Russel thought the result was pretty tasty so he put it out there (the mistake thus “forgiven”). Like most bourbon-related stories, there’s a small chance it might even be true. Whether it is or not, it’s a tasty whiskey–the bourbon smooths out the spicy rye character, and in the end it’s like a higher-rye bourbon (say, Bulleit) only moreso.
Knob Creek Smoked Maple comes from a category that’s hard to love–flavored bourbons. If you want your bourbon to taste like bourbon (dammit), it’s tempting to file these with the cotton candy flavored vodkas. A small sample bottle of another such bourbon that I came across recently said it was “best enjoyed as a cold shot”–quickly, in other words, and with the flavor blunted as much as possible.
We’ll let this one stand as an exception, though. It starts with regular old Knob Creek, though it’s unclear whether it’s aged all the way. The maple and smoke flavors are not subtle on the nose or the palate, but KC is a big fightin’-back bourbon, so the bourbon flavor still comes through. If you served this to me as a cocktail I wouldn’t be disappointed.
Later this week: people who make bourbon-related stuff, and a recount of the cocktail/small plate competition.
First things first: you can now stream or download our January show, the live show all about Cooking for a Crowd! Click here to stream it, or right-click and save to download it.
Wikipedia says that a dumpling is a cooked ball of dough. But much like the crepe or grilled meat on a stick, it’s such a good idea that just about every culture on Earth has embraced it and put its own spin and name to it. Whether it’s spaetzle, pierogies, empanadas, gnocchi, pasteles, samosas, gyoza, or our very own Chicken And, whether they’re big or little, filled or not, fried or boiled or steamed, there aren’t many places you can go in the world where you’re far from a dumpling.
Coming up Wednesday, 2/5, on an all-new WCN!, we’ll scratch the surface of the world of balled-up dough. Jenny will give us two vastly different types of dumpling from the same corner of Europe, and Jonathan will give a new spin to a country classic. Also, Jonathan will regale us with tales from his weekend at the Bourbon Classic, and maybe even show off a cocktail inspired by it.
That’s Wednesday, February 5, 6-7PM EST, live on 88.7 WMMT-FM, and streaming live at wmmtfm.org. As always, the Whitesburg-adjacent are welcome to come and join the Tasting/Dishwashing Panel.
Don’t miss it!
Thanks to everyone who came out to our Cooking With Honey session at the East Kentucky Winter Bee School on Saturday! And thanks to the fabulous Tammy Horn for inviting us. As promised, here are the recipes for the dishes we made.
2 ounces gin
3/4 ounce honey syrup
1/2 ounce FRESH lemon juice
Combine in a shaker with more ice than you think you should have. Shake it like you mean it and strain into a glass. Garnish with a little piece of honey comb, if you want to get fancy.
Brown Derby (or DerBEE, if you must)
1.5 ounces bourbon
1 ounce FRESH grapefruit juice
0.5 oz honey syrup
Rim a cocktail glass with honey along the inside edge. Set aside and let tendrils of honey run down the glass.
Combine all ingredients and shake, as above. You’ll probably want to taste it to see if it’s sweet enough, because grapefruit juice varies in its sweetness. Strain into the rimmed glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
The basic method: take about half a cup of honey and throw it in a medium-hot skillet. Stir until it begins to darken a little bit–DO NOT let it burn, or you’ll have to start over.
Add a half cup of vinegar–any will work, but white wine vinegar will let the flavor of the honey come through. Stir until combined.
Add whatever flavoring you want to add–a little bit of thyme, or maybe some red pepper flake. You could also add some fruit if you wanted.
Let this reduce by about half, then strain and serve on pretty much anything.
This is barely even a recipe. Remember that for most vinegarettes, a 3:1 ratio of oil to acid is what you want. Since we’re also using a pretty good amount of honey here, you might vary that. Taste as you go and remember that it’s always easier to add more of something than to take something out.
1 TBS honey
1 TBS Basalmic Vinegar
1 TBS white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Whisk all ingredients until emulsified. Toss with greens–this is particularly good on chiffonaded winter greens like kale or collards. You can top the salad with dried cranberries, red onions, and honey-glazed nuts.
1 cup pecans (or any nuts, really)
1/3 cup honey
1 TBS butter
1 tsp salt
½ tsp cayenne pepper (or maybe a ¼ tsp. I like it pretty spicy but a ½ tsp might be too much for you. Or sub in 1 tsp rosemary for a different taste.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine honey, butter, salt and cayenne in a small saucepan and heat for a few minutes, stirring, until the honey and butter are blended. Toss nuts with honey mixture, stirring until well-blended. Spread nuts on a parchment lined cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes. Let nuts cool completely. Serve as a cocktail snack or on salads.
There’s something about January that just makes you want to get the hell out of the house. It seems like it was only a couple of weeks ago that all the Christmas running around made a few days of couch time seem like a dream–because it was only a couple of weeks ago–and still, somehow, it takes no time at all to start to feel cooped up.
We were tired of the gray and the cold, or at the very least we wanted to look at the gray and cold through different windows. We never got to really celebrate our anniversary (as it sits in the middle of the holiday rush), Tamara’s birthday is coming up, and I had a Monday off, so it was prime time for a “date weekend”. (It’s like “date night” for people without kids.) But where?
Scanning the options, we noticed that The Book of Mormon is running this month at the Aronoff Center in Cincinnati. We haven’t been to a proper Broadway show in forever, and while we’ve been to Cincy a few times, I’m not sure we had ever really done it. So a couple of Sunday matinee tickets were secured and plans were made.
My first contacts were a couple of my favorite Cincinnati food and beverage enthusiasts, Sharon from Eggplant to Go and Ginny from all things Tonic. Armed with their suggestions, a terrific romantic Queen City weekend was set into motion. Here are a few of the places we hit up during our whirlwind tour.
(Note: I didn’t really take any pictures myself. I wasn’t really planning for a blog post, and I try not to think about things in such terms when it’s a date weekend. I have no problem being That Guy a lot of the time, but sometimes I don’t want to be.)
Jim Dandy’s BBQ: This place scores big on our Barbecue Joint Scoring System (aka the Woodrow scale): visible pile of wood (+2), smell of hickory smoke (+3), name is a possessive of someone’s name (+2), pig on the sign (+2) who is happier than he should be (+1).
They lose one Woodrow for taking credit cards but get it back for having bounced checks displayed.
If you’re going way up 75 to go to IKEA or Rivertown Brewing, this is definitely the place to eat. Both the pulled pork and the brisket were fabulous. Portions were big, though–you might want to do some splitting.
Salazar: Before he came to Cincinnati to run the kitchen at the Cincinnatian Hotel and then open his own restaurant in Over-The-Rhine, Jose Salazar worked for both Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Thomas Keller. How much more do you need to know?
Well, you need to know that they don’t take reservations, and for a new hot restaurant like this one on a Saturday night, that meant a 2 1/2 hour wait. Fortunately we had had a late lunch at Jim Dandy’s and were eager to check out some of the local bars (see below), so we were content to get on the list and let them call us.
Are we ever glad we did. The thing that stood out among the dishes I had was the way they brought the unique and intrinsic flavors of various meats to the foreground. Have you ever been to a shitty restaurant where the pork and the chicken pretty much tasted the same? Imagine the exact opposite of that. We started with some beautiful bread and marrow butter that we wanted to bathe in, and an incredible duck rillette; even with jalapeno jam and pickled onion, the flavor that really hit you in each bite was the duck.
The same was true of my entree of chicken thighs. Have you stopped lately to think about how delicious chicken thighs are? If not, you haven’t had them cooked right, which is a la plancha and pressed so the skin is nice and crispy. The mustard spaetzle and riesling-soaked prunes just punched it up. Tamara’s rabbit cavatelli was similarly simple, with the rabbit flavor lifted up by some simple aromatics and a little cardamom-mascarpone cream.
Go there. Go on a weeknight, maybe, but just go.
I don’t have pictures and can’t find any shareable ones, so go check out these awesome ones at iSPYCINCY.
Terry’s Turf Club: When I ask Cincy locals where they’d take an out-of-towner for dinner, this place always comes up. I can see why; it’s a Cincinnati institution, visible for miles thanks to its impressive neon collection.
There are a bunch of sandwiches on the menu, but you can safely ignore everything but the burger. It’s a tasty piece of beef on its own, but the real fun comes in decking it out from the full page of separately priced toppings, featuring everything from bearnaise sauce to real wasabi to a whole crab cake. (You could probably build a $50 burger without much trouble.)
I have to recommend my combo of grilled onions, blue cheese, and Foghorn Leghorn sauce, which is a sofrito-like blend of garlic, shallots, sun-dried tomatoes, apricots, and a bunch of other tasty things. But what you’ll really want to do is just follow your heart.
I have to say that I wish they offered a smaller burger. Although the giant jaw-unhinging burger doesn’t bother me so much in a place like this as it does in a place trying to be fancier; Terry’s is the kind of place where getting half the burger on your shirt isn’t such a big deal.
The Symphony Hotel: Located right across from the Cincinnati Music Hall, this B&B is an old building on a quiet street in Over-The-Rhine, just catty-cornered from Washington Park. The rooms are gorgeous and well-appointed; ours shared a bathroom with the room next door, but how much do you need the bathroom? The first floor has a nice little restaurant where you can get a great-looking dinner on the weekend (we didn’t, but it smelled great) and an included brunch on the weekends (which we did, and it was great). There’s also a cozy little bar that has live music sometimes. Manager Colleen is a ball of energy who as near as I could tell had a hand in everything that went on; she was a wonderful and friendly host. It’s right on top of all the cool stuff in OTR and just a short walk to anything you might be doing downtown. They’ll be my first call next time I want to do a romantic Queen City weekend.
My only suggestion: park on the street. They have a small lot in the back, but anything wider than a SmartCar will have a hard time getting through the alley.
Oh, and the aforementioned Ginny Tonic will be doing a Bourbon 101 class there in February, which shouldn’t be missed.
A few quick hits:
Japp’s Since 1879: A classy joint with live jazz when we were there. They have some tasty cocktails on the blackboard, but they have the kind of bartenders that I like to ask to surprise me. When you ask for something with gin and you get a Last Word, you know you’re in the right place.
The Lackman: Nice place with a great tap selection.
The Eagle OTR: We stopped in here for a beer on Sunday night (they also have a great lineup of taps) and found ourselves wishing we were hungry. We did end up getting an order of their candied bacon, which made for a perfect drinking snack.
Rivertown Brewing: One of my favorite Cincy breweries, their tap room way the hell up in Lockland is a cozy little affair in their brewery in the middle of an industrial park. (You think you can’t possibly have the right address, but you do.) Their Saturday 3PM tour was very informative, and their passion for what they did came through big time, but they’ve grown WAY faster than they could have expected and the fact that there were probably 100 people on the tour diminished the experience somewhat. I’d skip the tour and go on a weekday.
The Book of Mormon: I don’t even know what I can say about this except that my face hurt afterwards from laughing. You’ll probably be offended by something if you’re the least bit capable of being offended–the fact that I wasn’t especially offended made me wonder if I might be a horrible human being–but you’ll probably be laughing too hard to notice. It’s at the Aronoff Center through the 26th; good luck getting tickets.
It’s Christmas time again! Actually it’s been Christmas time for at least a month, based on when people on my Facebook feed seem to have put up their trees. But now that it’s December we’ve definitely crossed the Yuletide line. How does the crew of the World’s Only Live Radio Cooking Show (That We Know Of) celebrate? With food, of course. (It’s how we celebrate everything. It’s also how we celebrate nothing.)
Join us for an all-new episode on Wednesday, December 4, when we’ll be talking about some Christmas classics–some well-known, some forgotten–and how we might give them a new twist.
That’s Wednesday, December 4, 6-7PM, broadcasting live from the opulent kitchens of the Appalshop on 88.7 WMMT-FM, and streaming worldwide on wmmtfm.org. Tune us in, and if you’re in Whitesburg come on and join our Tasting/Dishwashing Panel. (We’d especially love to see you Whitesburgers this time as our usual coterie of Kitchen Angels will be otherwise disposed.)
Don’t miss it!
Are you Hazard-adjacent? Do you want to see the WCN! crew in action without peering through the door into the opulent Appalshop kitchen?
Then mark your calendar for December 17 at 6PM, when we’ll be doing the first in a series of WCN! Live! episodes, “recorded live before a studio audience”. This edition will take place at the First Presbyterian Church in Hazard, in their (legitimately) opulent kitchen, and we’ll be talking about “Cooking for a Crowd” for a show which will air on January 1.
Don’t miss it!
How often do we get to celebrate a holiday that won’ t happen again for 79,043 years? Thanks to some quirks of the Hebrew and Gregorian calendars, Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah are happening on the same day this year, giving birth to the once-in-a-lifetime mashup of Thanksgivukkah.
Wednesday (11/6) on The World’s Only Live Radio Cooking Show (That We Know Of), we’ll take any excuse to make latkes, so on our November show we’ll be raising the Manischewitz and giving a Turkey Day twist to some Jewish favorites (and vice versa). We’ll help your already awesome Thanksgiving dinner miraculously become eight times as awesome.
That’s Wednesday, 11/6, from 6-7PM, on 88.7 WMMT-FM in Whitesburg, KY. As always, you can stream it here. And if you’re in town come on over and join the Tasting/Dishwashing Panel.
Don’t miss it!
* No actual Manischewitz will be consumed. That stuff is nasty.
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