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  • MEMORIAL DAY SPECIAL

    To many folks, Memorial Day means a parade and a Monday off. It means much more to guest author RichardB. Take it away, Rich-- "I am fourth generation military. My great grandfather fought in the army in the Spanish American war. My grandfather was in both the Calvary before it became tanks and in the Army Air Corps before it became the Air Force. My father was a radar man in the army. I broke tradition and got away from the army to go in and fix avionics in jets for the United States Navy and was in theater for the Iranian hostage crisis. My younger brother continued the army tradition and was a cook in Korea in the DMZ." "This is my dad's flag that was presented to my mom at his funeral. As well as his dog tags, patches, and medals that he earned, we also included a number of his memorabilia for his work as an outdoorsman for youth in our community." War A moment of violence has begot a moment of silence not soon forgot A man stands alone with sword at his side Another lies still with cold blade inside The victor cries out a call of love The other cries softly a cold tear of blood Brothers that fought side by side Each for their purpose Each for their pride The nature of man has taken its toll In the nature of war, a thousand fold Bodies lie scattered hither and yon The reason for fighting is now truly gone To think that mankind would now surely learn As the bodies are gathered and piled and burned That the blood that is shed is only a game Of Kings and of Queens and of lost faceless names But the pitiful ploy of one who has power will bring back a battle at some distant hour New vows are sworn and oaths rise anew Who will die next? Is it me, is it you? A child in this world will shoot a toy gun and dies in the flash of a nuclear sun To think mankind would now surely learn As their children are playing, that they too get burned

  • DEMI-GLACE, CONTINUED-- The Art of the Saucier

    Demi-Glace rarely appears on restaurant plates in its pure form. However, numerous French sauces are derived from it. Here's how to use it at home. Behold, the French saucier at work. Of all the aspects of French cookery, the mysterious alchemy of sauce-making has always fascinated me most... maybe that's because the only sauce in my childhood home was Worcestershire Sauce. As a young twenty-something in the restaurant business I was suddenly in a new and unfamiliar world, and loving every minute of it. I used to bus tables and then go home, hit the cookbooks, and attempt to replicate every sauce on the menu, from Hollandaise to Velouté, from Mornay to Meunière, and from Beurre Blanc to Sauce au Raifort. What I DIDN'T try to make back in those days was the DEMI-GLACE we discussed a few essays ago... that would've been way beyond the capacity of both my cooking sensibilities at that time and the small kitchen I shared with four housemates. But, as I eventually came to learn, Demi-Glace is a vital component of many Classic French sauces (and, BTW, every chef I ever saw had his own unique way of making it.) Demi-Glace even survived the culinary modernization associated with Nouvelle Cuisine by simply eliminating the flour and thickening primarily by reduction. Here are a few of the best-known Demi-Glace-based Classical French Sauces that neither you nor I will likely EVER make at home-- Sauce Bordelaise No official recipe, and yet they are all one form or another of red wine brown sauce. PURPOSE: To enhance grilled or roasted beef or other meats AND use up leftover red wine. ORIGIN: France's Bordeaux wine region. ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS: Red wine, shallots, beef stock, demi-glace, beef marrow. BASICALLY: Sauté the shallots, add wine, reduce. Add beef stock and Demi-Glace, then reduce. Optionally thicken with roux or cornstarch. Finish with bone marrow. WHY WE'LL NEVER MAKE IT: Bone marrow... seriously? Sauce Périgueux "Official" recipes vary widely. Most call for Madeira (see Cooking with Wine & Booze) while others use white wine with the addition of French brandy such as Cognac and Armagnac. Some use beef or veal stock, while some require duck stock. ALL versions, however, call for black truffles. PURPOSE: An especially rich & luxurious sauce for beef tenderloin or veal. ORIGIN: Southwest France-- the land of Armagnac, foie gras, and black truffles. ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS: For the Madeira & Beef Stock version (the most common) you'll need those two items plus shallots, demi-glace, and black truffles. BASICALLY: Cook shallots; add Madeira and cook some more; add stock and demi-glace, then gently simmer. Meanwhile, simmer chopped truffles in Madeira, then add to the sauce. WHY WE'LL NEVER MAKE THIS: Black truffles. Sauce Périgourdine Essentially Sauce Périgueux with the addition of a dab of foie gras. WHY WE'LL NEVER MAKE THIS: Black truffles and foie gras. For further reading about such sauces, go ahead and google recipes for the classic versions of the sauces Chasseur, Robert, and Grand Veneur. They are fun to read about, even if you'll never make them. Meanwhile, here are some more realistic French-style sauces (pretty much derived from the list above) that you might well consider making... so long as you are willing to first make yourself a batch of genuine Demi-Glace. Basic Brown Sauce In lieu of traditional gravy, for beef dishes I combine a little of my Demi-Glace and my Faux Jus along with pan juices, stock, and/or red wine. Yes, can thicken with roux, but cornstarch is the right choice if one is avoiding gluten. You can easily develop your own go-to home version with beef stock (the less salty the better), browned veggies (carrots, onion, celery), and, optionally, Demi-Glace if you care to make a batch. Basic Red Wine Sauce Basic Brown Sauce easily becomes Basic Red Wine Sauce by replacing some or all of the stock with a LOT of reduced (red) wine-- at least half a bottle simmered with cooked shallots down to a quarter of its original volume. Think of this as Bordelaise sauce without the freaking bone marrow, which is easily replaced with a finishing swirl of unsalted European-style butter that beautifully counteracts the concentrated acidity of the wine. No excuses... Even WALMART sells this. Mushroom Sauce You can elevate the aforementioned Basic Red Wine Sauce (OR the sauces below) with the addition of mushrooms. Pro-Tips: Use FRESH mushrooms, never canned; mix in at least a portion of GOOD mushrooms-- good mushrooms have names, like shiitake, crimini, portobello, etc. and cost more than plain white mushrooms; and most importantly, sautée your mushrooms in butter before adding to the sauce... do NOT add them raw. Madeira Sauce, Marsala Sauce Madeira and Marsala are two brown-colored fortified wines that add delicious depth and complexity to brown sauces. (Again, see "Cooking with Wine & Booze.") What's more, they also share an inherently nutty flavor that plays beautifully with shiitake, crimini, and/or portobello mushrooms. Madeira Sauce has broader appear than Marsala Sauce, which is more or less Italian-specific. And finally, the main event... the apex... the superstar of unapologetically rich sauces that one can make at home without turning the civilian kitchen into Chernobyl-- Brandy Mushroom Cream Sauce Although you'll almost certainly never make a full-blown Sauce Périgourdine at home, you can achieve a respectable facsimile of such decadent richness with far more affordable ingredients. You'll need brandy-- not the sweet crap sold in pocket-friendly shapes and sizes, but rather the good stuff-- Cognac, Armagnac, or a quality imitation thereof. In a saucepan, sauté well some finely diced shallots and sliced mushrooms in butter, then add a good splash of brandy and ignite it to help cook off the alcohol. Add a similar amounts of stock and heavy cream and perhaps a pinch of thyme. Add a spoonful of Demi-Glace and stir until reduced to the proper, spoon-coating thickness. Add salt & pepper to taste, and optionally finish with a swirl of butter to balance any tartness. This sauce is not only fabulously rich and delicious, it is also versatile, pairing nicely with chicken breasts, veal cutlets, pork tenderloin, filet mignon, or even pasta. (Back when people still ate Veal Sweetbreads, this was an especially perfect sauce.) The common denominator is tender and subtly-flavored meat that allows this sauce the top billing it deserves. Dear Reader, always remember that good sauce can never rescue poorly-cooked food. But master just a few delicious sauces like those above made with the Demi-Glace you've taken the time and effort to make, pair it with food that wears it beautifully, and yours will be the most prized dinner invitation in town.

  • SPARKLING RIESLING? SHINE ON, YOU CRAZY DIAMOND!

    Riesling-based bubbly was never any American winery's idea of a showcase product. We recently tasted an exceptional version that could be. Heart & Hands 2021 Sparkling Riesling... One of America's best sparkling wines, period. Make no mistake-- the Riesling grape is one of the noblest of the noble white wine varieties, with a pair of co-equals and yet no superiors among the top tier of royal white wine grapes. (See THE ROYAL SISTERHOOD.) It is no wonder, then, that Riesling is so optimistically planted in regions of borderline climatic viability, where even Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc refuse to properly ripen... regions where cold-loving Riesling alone can patiently endure autumn's flirtations with potentially ruinous frost and then yield, when Bacchus smiles, incomparable liquid gold. Such is the possible œnological jackpot that, like mythical Greek sirens luring seamen to their doom, has drawn Finger Lakes viticulturists into the pursuit of the quintessential New York Riesling. The first efforts of note-- by the Ukrainian-born viticulturist Dr. Konstantin Frank-- were not universally successful and yet confirmed that excellence was possible. One of my very favorite wine labels of all time; I've personally hoisted trout from that lake in the background. "Natur Spätlese" indicates a naturally-attained degree of ripeness rarely achieved by Finger Lakes Riesling back in the pre-climate-change 1960's. New York State's FARM WINERY ACT of 1976 enabled and financially incentivized the establishment of small, top-quality ("boutique") wineries in the Empire State region where cheap, high-volume jug wines had long been the norm. The creeping effects of climate change-- i.e., warmer global temperatures and accordingly riper grapes in all of the world's major wine regions-- began to be felt in earnest in the late 1990's. In the roughly two-decade interim, the upstart, quality-oriented Finger Lakes wineries needed some way to re-purpose the all-to-frequent underripe harvests from their newly-planted Riesling vineyards. And thus was fostered the development of SPARKLING RIESLING as a vehicle for turning underripe grapes into money... a clever trick they surely learned from the French. (Champagne can be at least partially explained as the French making a virtue of necessity, i.e., developing a fantastic and widely-loved style of wine in a chilly region where Pinot Noir and even Chardonnay traditionally had trouble reaching full ripeness. The high acid levels of slightly underripe grapes is a blessing in bubbly production, and the lack of natural sweetness is easily fixed by the addition of cane sugar for the second fermentation and then again for the dosage.) But these days, with significantly greater heat accumulation and thus reliably ripe Riesling in the Finger Lakes vineyards, many of the region's vignerons have dropped Sparkling Riesling from their slates of offerings... ...but fortunately, one fantastic exception in particular is still making it. During my numerous visits to Heart and Hands Wine Company ("THE IMPOSSIBLY PERFECT WINERY") I resisted the temptation (if any) to purchase or even try their Sparkling Riesling. That's because the few examples I've previously tried from other producers were more akin to cider than wine, and during my decades of wine business experience I never heard anyone mention German Sekt and French Champagne in the same paragraph. But Heart & Hands co-proprietress Susan Higgins-- the brilliant, energetic, omnipresent force of nature at this operation (I'm still wondering whether her husband Tom is actually some sort of AI hologram that Susan manages from her iPhone)-- can be very convincing. And when she told me that "The 2021 is REALLY good!" I believed her enough to try it. She was correct, as usual, and I immediately added two bottles to my order. I arrived home an hour later with one of them already chilled, thanks to my trucking cooler. After one sip my bride Andrea demanded, "Order a case! It'll be our anniversary present." Not for nothin,' but how'd that work out? Dear Reader, I've been following the growth and development of the modern American Sparkling Wine renaissance since 1972, when President Nixon and the Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai shared a "toast to peace" with the 1968 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs. A year later the venerable Champagne firm Moët et Chandon went live with Domaine Chandon in Napa Valley, blazing a path to California soon followed by fellow Champagne houses Piper-Heidsieck, Mumm, Taittinger, Roederer, and others. I've tasted many examples of these as well as a great number of Champagne-method (a.k.a, methode champenoise) American bubblies from American producers, including Lieb Cellars's rare and fantastic 100% Pinot Blanc version from Long Island and even the surprisingly wonderful 100% Chardonnay Blanc de Blanc from (gasp!) the Trump Winery in Virginia. And so I speak from a considerable base of knowledge and experience in declaring the 2021 methode champenoise Sparkling Riesling from the Heart and Hands Wine Company not just the best Finger Lakes wine of any kind I have ever tasted... not just the great domestic blanc de blancs for which I've long been searching... it is among the very finest American sparkling wines ever made, from any grape at any price. As such, it is a fantastic bargain (if not an everyday sipper) at $37 per bottle. It is brut-dry, yet varietally recognizable as Riesling. Indeed, it deftly straddles two rarefied worlds-- those of great Rieslings and great bubbly-- without fully committing to one at the expense of the other. The razor-sharp winemaking streamlines the flowery frills that so readily accompany Riesling while avoiding any "beeriness" that might ensue from extended yeast contact or cheaper production methods. I can imagine no more perfect flute-ful to enjoy with top-quality smoked salmon... or a plate of fresh raw oysters... or Thai food... or any other dish or occasion that calls for delicious and well-made bubbly. The only problem I see here is deciding whether this wine is a great Riesling with bubbles, or rather a fantastic bubbly that happens to be vinified from Riesling. Without any other examples in the same league as this gem from Heart and Hands, I'm still having trouble reconciling the two ideas in a single glass... ...but I'm really looking forward to working on that. "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" is an especially cool masterpiece by Pink Floyd on their 1975 LP "Wish You Were Here." The song has nothing to do with bubbly, but the title struck me as apt for this wine.

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  • Danny's Table | Home of the Grumpy Old Mansplainer

    Advice & Companionship for Living in Style Along the Path to an Increasingly Uncertain Future Food & Wine Survival in Style Rants Your grumpy old mansplainer, DannyM, is here answering vexing questions and offering more advice than you ever thought you would need. Is he highly knowledgeable or just plain opinionated? (Yes.) And he’s a walking set of contradictions— a sommelier-turned-truck driver with a knack for solving puzzles and a love of language; an ardent anti-elitist who equally appreciates roadside barbecue and classic French cuisine. He is (somehow) a skeptical positive thinker who doesn’t automatically accept the official explanation of anything. Instead, he strives to examine every important issue from multiple perspectives and then arrive at his own conclusions. A TABLE serves many different functions. Along with dining, we use a table for such activities as writing letters, playing ping-pong and billiards, negotiating international treaties, conducting business meetings, and contesting the world chess championship. DANNY’S TABLE is a home for essays about a broad range of topics united in the purpose of making life in these increasingly challenging times more livable, more enjoyable, and more interesting. Read More at The Table Can a restaurant exist only in cyberspace? Why not? (If you’ve ever managed one, you’ll surely appreciate the advantages.) The CAYUGA LOUNGE was born in DannyM.’s short fiction, THE CA-LO SIGN . While the restaurant is imaginary, the recipes are real— click HERE for an ever-expanding compendium of Continental-American Comfort Food from half a century ago… the era of muscle cars, bell bottoms, and avocado-colored appliances. Stop by The Lounge There’s a smarter way to shop for groceries . What’s the best exercise machine in the world ? Good Merlot is still good wine , and potatoes can be heavenly . Hunting for vintage sweaters is fun and rewarding . And yes, you CAN eat oysters year ‘round . Join us at The Table and you shall be regaled with all this and more by grumpy old mansplainer DannyM and his contributing cohorts. Recent Essays at The Table DannyM 4 hours ago 3 min ANGEL DUST Another DavidF. Remembrance We humans all live and die... beginning and ending approximately the same way... ashes to ashes. But along... DannyM 1 day ago 2 min DEATH OF MY CHILDHOOD HERO NFL Quarterback Roman Gabriel (1940-2024) HERE is Roman Gabriel's NYT obituary. I entered 6th grade at the age of eleven, weighing 65... DannyM 5 days ago 3 min PRIME RIB, CONT'D-- A BIZARRE HACK THAT WORKS WONDERFULLY Roasting a FROZEN Prime Rib? At 170ºF?? Amazing, yet True. Perfect Prime Rib, by a highly unusual method. NOTE: After ranting about the... DannyM 6 days ago 5 min A DELICIOUS CHARDONNAY Not long after Californian winemakers mastered Chardonnay, they seemed to have lost their way. MEIOMI has rediscovered it. MEIOMI... DannyM Apr 16 4 min THE IMMINENT BEEF REBELLION I love a great steak... And like many steak lovers, I'm now looking for less-expensive alternatives. As beef prices rise, don't blame the... DannyM Apr 13 11 min LAND HO! CHANNELING ONE'S INNER PIRATE IN PURSUIT OF AN UNLIKELY REAL ESTATE DEAL. The pirate captain spots an opportunity, throws the rule book... Get your seat at the table! Subscribe today for exclusive updates and notifications. Email Join Thank you for subscribing! Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify. Subscribe "A single conversation across the table with a wise man is worth more than ten years’ mere study of books." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow "If I am more Fortunate than others I need to build a longer table, not a taller fence." - Tamlyn Tomita "If you're not at the table, you might be on the menu." - Way Too Many People

  • Partners & Favorites | Danny's Table

    Check out our Our Favorite Things When we find products or services we like, we're happy to share them. These are NOT paid advertisements, just good advice. A.M. Leonard’s Gardener’s Edge I went in search of a REAL shovel (not some flimsy piece of crap made overseas) and I found it at A.M. Leonard’s Gardener’s Edge— a heavy-duty 12-gauge forged head securely riveted to a sturdy ash handle. In addition to shovels, hey offer a broad range of high-quality hand tools. ​ ​ Visit Holy Grail Steak Co A sibling company to De Négoce. They sell fantastic steaks as well as other meats and even some seafood. My go-to steak is their grass-fed prime ribeye. ​ Visit Excalibur Crossbows In contrast to the complex and intricate actions of the super-expensive compound crossbows, Excalibur RECURVE Crossbows are simple to use and maintain as well as incomparably sturdy and reliable. Multitudes of successful hunters can also attest that they are deadly accurate. ​ ​ Visit Red Newt Cellars A hip winery & bistro a short drive north of Watkins Glen in the hills above Seneca’s eastern shore, Red Newt bottles a broad range of outstanding, single-vineyard Gewurztraminers and Rieslings. Don’t leave without buying a set of their cool glasses. ​ Visit TAG Safari Great safari jackets and other sporting wear for those of us who love outdoor adventures. TAG’s motto— “Helping Africa Through Trade, Not Aid”— reflects their commitment to improving lives and conditions in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in Africa. ​ ​ Visit Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard and Winery “Hermann the German” established his eponymous winery in 1979 and was the first in the region to plant Riesling. Though the winery is famous for consistently excellent versions thereof, the Burgundian-style Chardonnay and hand-crafted methode champenois sparkling wine are likewise superb. ​ Visit Ekone Seafood/ Taylor Shellfish Farms Your source for delicious, top-quality smoked (Pacific) oysters (available in convenient 3 oz. cans) and other tasty morsels from the sea, including the rare and highly prized geoduck clam. ​ ​ ​ Visit Porter Road Talk about role reversal— how about BEEF Bacon and PORK Brisket? We are proud to include PORTER ROAD in the small handful of online meat purveyors that we are happy to recommend. Whether beef, pork, or chicken, PORTER ROAD has plenty of pasture-raised, hormone- and antibiotic-free options. ​ ​ Visit De Négoce This is where you can get $80 wines for $20. They do this by purchasing surplus wine from super-premium wineries and then selling it under their own label. Visit Andrea’s Foot Care & Nails A powerful combination of extensive training and a gentle touch affords safe, effective care for your precious feet. Andrea provides advanced foot care in the comfort of your home with techniques based on German Podology. All implements are sterilized in a medical-grade autoclave. ​ ​ Visit Meat N’ Bone A Miami butcher shop that offers an affordable Wagyu-Angus ribeye as part of a broad array of products ranging from elk roasts to alligator tenderloin. ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ Visit M Grills These are military-tough, commercial-grade smoker-grills built to order in Texas from the heaviest gauge steel in the industry. M Grills can burn firewood… so in the event of complete societal collapse, you can feed your whole cul-de-sac with one of these and an axe. ​ Visit Henry Repeating Arms Henry is the leading lever action manufacturer in the USA. Their goal is to manufacture classic, well-crafted firearms that every enthusiast can afford. The passion, expertise, and dedication of their employees embody the company’s motto— “Made in America Or Not Made At All.” ​ ​ Visit Restaurant Depot “Where Restaurants Go To Shop.” Want to up your grocery game and shop with the pros? Stop by a Restaurant Depot Depot near you— they’ll issue you a Day Pass and turn you loose in Wholesale Foodie Heaven. (Maybe their motto should be “Go Big Or Go Retail!”) ​ Visit Shadow Hill Maple Syrup There’s “Table Syrup,” and then there’s REAL Maple Syrup… absolutely no comparison. Likewise, there’s ordinary Maple Syrup, and there’s SHADOW HILL Dark Amber (My personal favorite!) This fantastic artisanal production facility is also an owner-built architectural masterpiece that serves as one-of-a-kind wedding venue. Visit Snake River Farms Another great premium meat supplier, and an especially good place to look for holiday roasts. Double R Ranch is a sibling company accessible from this site. Visit Domaine Chandon Many French Champagne firms now produce bubbly in the US, but it was Möet et Chandon that blazed the trail. Established in 1973, Domaine Chandon successfully combined Old-World expertise with Californian sunshine to produce of line of affordable and fabulous sparkling wines. ​ ​ Visit Win Herne Photography & Design A full-service grapic designer and web developer. It has been a great experience working with WHP&D and Danny's Table is pleased to have her as our webmistress. ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ Visit Red Tail Ridge Winery A top quality, cutting-edge Finger Lakes winery, Red Tail Ridge offers estate-bottled favorites such as Chardonnay and Riesling, as well as lesser-known Northern Italian varieties such as Teroldego and Lagrein. The pure and precisely-made bubblies are the best in the region. ​ Visit Concept2 Concept2 makes top-quality exercise equipment that gives you a great workout in your home or gym. Check out the RowErg rowing machine, the SkiErg ski machine, or the BikeErg indoor exercise bike. Buying directly from the manufacturer saves you money. ​ ​ Visit Hope Dealers BTC Inc A great all-volunteer organization helping people, including their friends and family, who suffer from substance use disorder, mental health issues, and homelessness. They are always accepting donations and volunteers. ​ ​ Visit

  • Contact | Danny's Table

    Need more? Contact The Table Join us at Table Talk ! A forum for discussion, new essay ideas, good advice, and collaboration. Log In DannyM Feb 07, 2022 Welcome to the Forum Like Reactions 0 0 comments 0 Views If you feel sufficiently energized to contact us directly, feel free. (This better be important.) dannym@dannystable.com Send a message First Name Last Name Email Message > Thanks for submitting!

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