Friday, July 27, 2012

Cooking Camp for K with Sprouts

Picking plums for jam

 Am I a bad parent if I admit here that I am jealous of K's next summer camp? In a summer of camps that has included animals at the SPCA, designing her own clothing, and movie making and karaoke here, next week she will be at Sprouts.

From their website:
Join us for our 6th annual summer camp! Our 1 week, 9-5 p.m. camps offer hands-on, affordable cooking classes with guest chefs with experience from ingredient-driven restaurants like Tartine Bakery, Delfina, Pizzaiolo, Chez Panisse, Cafe Fanny and more! Camps run weekly, from 9-5 p.m. from June 25th to August 3rd. The first half of summer camps is based at Whole Foods Berkeley while the second half is based at The Ferry Building. Throughout the day, kids will go on culinary excursions to local restaurants, gardens, and farms where they will cook, hands-on, with real chefs.

 She has her "kit" ready to go:
    • Chef’s knife (with knife guard)
    • Pairing knife (with knife guard)
    • Rags,
    • Peeler
    • Heat-resistant spatula
And what will she be doing? The schedule has finally arrived. Below, a preview:

·      Choppin, punchin our dough and rolling out some personal whole wheat pizzas--summer goodness, fresh pizza sauce, and loads of fun with Chef Hollie from Sprouts Cooking Club!
·      Confections, Concoctions and Culinary Creations with Luis from La Victoria Bakery and Citizen's Cake
·      Provincial French Baking with Laurie Ellen of Tartine Bakery. Oo la la!

·      Power Play! Kids Cook for Adults! Kids will cook with 'Chef Sam' to prepare a lunch for themselves and 150 adults right at the AirBNB offices!
·      Making Croque Monsieurs and Madames with Chef Mark Sullivan at his restaurant, Cafe Des Amis.  Parents, your young chef will even come home with a "croque" ticket to come in another time and enjoy a croque of your choice on the house!
·      A Mexican Fiesta And A Salsa Slam!

·      Improvisation Breakfast Day: Bring one delicious idea and one hearty ingredient from home! We will provide the basic pantry!'ll cook for the CUESA community!
·      Food and My Community--Makin' homemade tortillas, sofrito flavored rice, n kickin black beans with Chef Hollie from Sprouts!
·      A tortellini Twist at Flour & Water alongside Chef Thomas, a 2011/ 2012 James Beard nominee

·      Flame-less market cookin’!
·      Korean Craze with the head chef of Namu right at their restaurant!
·      Palette play at Gelateria NAIA!

·      Choppin', stuffin', and baking summer veggies with Sarah Henkin of Square Meals, formerly the Market Chef for the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market!
·      A Cook-Off with Bar Agricole! It's a culinary battle of palate play, rainbow produce, and kitchen skills. What team will chop their way to victory?! Guest Chef Mason from Bar Agricole will oversee the battle, and determine our culinary champ. He will also award everyone graduation certificates!
·      Tcho-a-holics! There is no better way to end our camp than with a chocolate kick! Kids will receive a private tour of the Tcho chocolate factory and a titillating taste of some of the best stuff on earth.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Wines of the Tour Stage 20: Cav & Wiggins

Always magnificent "A little road stage, the shortest of the Tour (120 km). But it will no doubt be an apotheosis, with the traditional finish on the Champs-Élysées. Always the same, always magnificent since 1975. We already know more or less what will happen: a festive start in Rambouillet, two short hours before things really get going, and then a sudden, spectacular acceleration to mark the peloton’s arrival in the Parisian circuit. All of this before 1.5 billion TV viewers, nothing to sneeze at! For the rest, I do not think any brave riders will be able to slip under the radar of the sprinters' teams. On paper, Mark Cavendish can dream of a fourth straight win."

"This was a hard Tour. They are always hard – they never seem to get any easier, in fact they get harder. It is impossible to describe how tough the Tour de France is."--George Hincapie in Velonation
Today George Hincapie finishes his 16th Tour de France. He is most widely known as a key domestique of Lance Armstrong, having been the only rider to assist Armstrong in all seven of his tour victories. He also rode for Alberto Contador in 2007 and for Cadel Evans in 2011, making him a member of 9 Tour winning teams. There is a lovely piece here, from longtime cycling writer Samuel Abt. I'm hoping, as I'm sure many others are, that he gets the ceremonial role of leading the peloton onto the Champs-Élysées.(Spoiler: he did.)
Team Sky has gone yellow on twitter:
TeamSky 5:28am via Web
It's all smiles in the peloton. Just reaching the finish in Paris is a beautiful moment regardless of your position #TDF12

There will, by the way, actually be a race today, but only at the very end of the stage. Almost all of the day will be ceremonial until the final sprint, probably the most prestigious in cycling. The favorite is Mark Cavendish and I am hoping that he'll win.
From twitter:
MarkCavendish 2:32am via Twitter for BlackBerry®
The most famous bike race finish in the world. The most beautiful boulevard in the world. Avenue des Champs-Elysees..

And, well, some 'fashion' humor:
Good to see the people who made Tommy V's polka dot shorts had a sense of humour

The Tour reaches Paris and the riders can see the Eiffel Tower. Last stage is a victory parade with a high speed race at the end, not easy.
UCI_Overlord 7:26am via Web
Legitimately emotional over the retirement of @georgehincapie. Nice gesture to see him lead the peloton onto the Champs-Elysees. Cheers!

Off they go around Paris. I've said this before, but my love of the sport comes from coincidentally being in Paris for the final stage years ago. It was magical and the final stage each year takes me back to that moment. After the Hincapie tribute (joined by Chris Horner for some unknown reason), the attack being. And Jens!

 Final lap:
Does the bell ringing guy train in the off season with the Shake Weight? #TdF12

And wow was that impressive:
Bradley Wiggins claims an incredible and historic overall victory at the Tour de France after leading out Mark Cavendish to victory!

Heckuva dig by Wiggins. Watching the YJ do that is one of the most unusual things I've seen on the Champs-Élysées.

Stage: Mark Cavendish
Final GC and the first ever British winner of the Tour:
1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 84:26:31
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:03:21
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:06:19
4 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 0:10:15
5 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:11:04
6 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan 0:15:43
7 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:15:51
8 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:16:31
9 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team 0:16:38
10 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:17:17

K is excited for the final Tour stage.
Wine: Ridgeview Bloomsbury 2009 (I do so wish I had their Cavendish)  From Franklywines

"The sparkling wines from Ridgeview Estate [...] are superb and will forever put to rest the notion that England is not capable of making good wine." - Eric Asimov, New York Times"
From the producer:
Ridgeview was founded in 1994 by Mike and Chris Roberts and is dedicated to creating world class sparkling wines in the South Downs of England. Our vineyards specialise in growing classic grape varieties to make the highest quality bottle fermented sparkling wines. The world class status of our wines is reflected by the number of national & international medals and trophies we have received since the release of our first wines from the 1996 vintage.
Bloomsbury: The Blend: A Chardonnay dominant blend which is supported by the fullness of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

Tasting Note: A light gold colour with a fine persistent mousse. Citrus fruit aromas and a hint of melon and honey. Chardonnay dominance brings finesse, along with crisp fruit freshness and toasty notes. The two Pinot’s add depth and character. A beautifully balanced finish. Will age gracefully over time as the Chardonnay matures.

Ageing: Drink now or age for two to three years.

Serving Suggestions: An excellent aperitif as well as a great accompaniment to shell fish. The crispness makes it ideal with oily fish such as salmon and smoked trout. It would be difficult to beat a glass of Bloomsbury alongside a refreshing sorbet.

I say: Yes, English sparkling wine. Check out this piece from Eric Asimov in the New York Times.  Light and golden. Soft with bread, nuts and yeast that become more pronounced as it warms up a bit. Is it as good as either the Peters or the Gimonnet from earlier in the Tour? No. But it is quite good? Yes. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

TdF Stage 19: Final Time Trial Bonneval to Chartres

Rather flattish terrain "The final round before the finish in Paris. What will come out of this 53.5 km time trial on rather flattish terrain, except the first part on the rolling hills of the Perche region? Personally, I expect gaps of two to three minutes between leaders. Three weeks into the race, 53.5 km are a long way to go in a time trial. This also holds true for the yellow jersey, who will probably come behind specialists such as Martin or Cancellara. Think of the Pauillac time trial in 2010, when Cancellara took the win on a similar course and Menchov, the freshest of all the leaders, propelled himself onto the final podium."

A Jens! joke to start the day. You are reading his blog, right?
BicyclingMag 5:34am via HootSuite
Jens Voigt is on course for his time trial on Stage 19 of the Tour de France. We hope the road will be OK. #TdF

Plus, Greg Henderson:
That was like expected. 53km into slight headwind. I would have more fun with a cheesegrater and a stick mag. Bring on the Champs-Èlysées.

And, Mark Cavendish:
53km TimeTrial today.. 53km! Alone! I didn't think I'd signed up to this when I turned professional!

And some reading on a few riders we will miss next year.

The course today is 53.5 km, which means just a bit more than an hour for the top riders. The rules of the day are simple: cover the course, on your own, as fast as you possibly can. The first 44 men start one minute apart. Then it's two minute gaps until the final 14, who are separated by three minutes. The folks at Podium Cafe headlined their live thread  "Coronation ride. Minor placings to be decided." Clearly, most expected either Wiggins, currently in yellow or Froome, his teammate in second, to take the stage. But would they? 
Meanwhile, on the Garmin bus, Dave Zabriskie and David Millar had a bet:
Challenged roomie @dzabriskie to a race-off in the TT tomorrow. Loser has to publicly proclaim inferiority to other in said discipline.
He turned off the light and put his headphones on. I'm taking that as a, 'IT'S ON!'
@millarmind and @dzabriskie are taking this battle rather seriously.

I am an inferior time triallist to @dzabriskie. Much inferior.

And at the end of the day it was Wiggins with a dominating win.  Fastest at all of the intermediate check points, Wiggins completed the course  1:16 ahead of his teammate Chris Froome, who consolidated his position in second place overall. Third place on the day went to Rabobank's Luis León Sánchez, who held the lead for a substantial part of the afternoon, and ended up 1:50 down on Wiggins. Of note as well, the good ride by the young American Tejay van Garderen. From twitter:

Tejay van Garderen passes Cadel Evans, and a new generation takes the lead.

Stage: Bradley Wiggins
  1. Wiggins
  2. Froome, at 3.21
  3. Vincenzo Nibali, Liquigas, at 6.19
  4. Jurgen Van Den Broeck, Lotto, at 10.15
  5. Van Garderen, at 11.04
  6. Haimar Zubeldia, RNT, at 15.43
  7. Cadel Evans, BMC, at 15.51
  8. Pierre Rolland, Europcar, at 16.31
  9. Janez Brajkovic, Astana, at 16.38
  10. Thibaut Pinot, FDJ, at 17.17

What is this wine doing on MY chair?
Wine: Francois Cazin Cour-Cheverny Cuvee Renaissance 2008

From Franklywines

 From the importer: Cheverny is one of the most recent new appellations in the Loire Valley (1991). The area, south of the Loire and abutting the marshy region of Sologne (the best hunting grounds in France), has produced wines since at least the 6th century. The soils consist of various combinations of clay, limestone and silica. Many varietals are planted: Pinot Noir, Gamay, Cabernet and Côt for red wines, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Chenin and Menu Pineau for the whites. By legislation, a Cheverny wine has to be a blend of varietals, and François Cazin’s white is 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Chardonnay. 

A.O.C Cour-Cheverny "Cuvée Renaissance"
Soil : siliceous clay on limestone
Grape : Romorantin
Vines : 80 years old
Yields : 40 hl/ha
Vinification : Fermented in stainless steel. Aged 12 months in barrel.  

I say: Another hit from Christy. Floral, honey, nuts, some quince and lemon but with plenty of mineral. I'd like to have a lot more of this one.


Friday, July 20, 2012

TdF Stage 18: Blagnac to Brive-la-Gaillarde & Flotis Elles

Spinning the legs:

"Blagnac-Brive-la-Gaillarde: a 222.5 km hop to bring us a little closer to Paris and give leaders the chance to spin their legs before the Bonneval-Chartres time trial. This is obviously a golden opportunity for sprinters to shine again. I have already said that this Tour is not especially sprinter-friendly, since we have always chucked in one or two climbs to scatter the bunch. In fact, everything points to intermediate sprints being more important for the green jersey than the stage finishes. All in all, a race within the race, very strategic and exciting. There are 65 points up for grabs today!"

There have been a lot of crazy fans along the race route this year. There are every year, of course, the crazy running men, the costumed and the flag wavers, but they seem to have taken things up a notch this race. Yesterday Mark Cavendish crashed after being caught up in a spectators flag. Today, from twitter, what looked like a Newfoundland got involved:
TeamSky 5:14am via Web
Not the kind of thing you want to see. A dog has wandered into the peloton and brought down around 10 riders. Gilbert and Menchov among them

LeTour says "The BMC team manager recently offered some news on Philippe Gilbert who was involved in an accident with a dog at the 120km mark of today’s stage. “His hand has been injured a little as well as his elbow and knee,” said John Lelangue. “The dog was stronger than him – and it won that bout – but the important thing is that he could return to his place in the peloton."

 The break of the day: Yaroslav Popovych, David Millar, Julien Fouchard,Edvald Boasson Hagen, Adam Hansen, Jelle Vanendert, Kris Boeckmans , Luca Paolini, Jeremy Roy, Rui Costa, Karsten Kroon, Nick Nuyens, Alexandre Vinokourov, Michael Albasini and Patrick Gretsch.With about 64 kilometers remaining they were 2'40" ahead of the peloton. But, it looked like the peloton wanted a sprint finish today as numerous teams came to the front to chase. By 50 km to go, The 16 had a lead of just 1'40".
TeamSky 6:43am via Web
The gap has dipped below one minute now with 28km to go. It has been a huge battle throughout the stage but it looks tough now #TDF12

And this, also from twitter:
UCI_Overlord UCI_Overlord: Things longer than Froome's wait for Wiggins at the TdF: pregnancy test results, Godot, meat curing, whiskey aging.... 

Meanwhile, one of my cats has attacked some eggplant.
And that was fun. Inside the final kilometre, Wiggins was ahead of Boasson Hagen who was starting the lead-out for Cavendish. From twitter:
Vaughters: Hats off to Wiggo. Leading out Cav in yellow. Respect.  
 Sagan was on the wheel of the world champion as they caught the six stage leaders. And Cavendish showed that he has just another level of speed.
From twitter:
_Gavia_ 7:17am via Echofon
Like, I don’t know who was in second because he wasn’t even in the camera frame?

Stage: Mark Cavendish
GC: Unchanged

1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 78:28:02  
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:02:05  
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:02:41  
4 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 0:05:53  
5 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:08:30  
6 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:09:57  
7 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan 0:10:11  
8 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:10:17  
9 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team 0:11:00  
10 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:11:46  

Violet is not impressed.
Wine:    Chateau Flotis 07 Elles
From the winery website:
An old Estate in Fronton which was taken over in 2004 by Cathy, Katya and Myriam, 3 associate winegrowers. This 28 hectare estate - which houses a half-buried wine warehouse and a traditional vat warehouse - is cultivated according to organic culture since 2009 in order to preserve the exceptional terroir and vines.
No montage or filtration occurs before bottling.
80% Négrette
10% Syrah
10% Cabernet Sauvignon

A wine to surprise you : lovely pronounced fresh fruits, cherries and spices on the rose. Well balanced wine : a feminine wine.

I say: Kind of funky and rustic.  Tanniny, earthy and kind of smokey. Not getting feminine at all. I want to like this one more than I did. 
I have on hand as well, another treat from Christy at Franklywines:
Plageols Mauzac Nature 2010  which would have been my wine except I had the Muscadelle from them earlier this week. Expect to hear more about it very soon.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Stage 17: Bagnères-de-Luchon to Peyragudes & Domaine Jorel

Loads of points up for grabs

"Short (143.5 km) but tough! We designed a Pyrenean counterpart to the Alpine stage between Albertville and La Toussuire. But now that we are a mere three days from the finish, if the general classification has not been decided yet this will be the last chance for climbers to build a buffer. There will also be loads of points up for grabs for the mountains classification... The course offers no respite. The first climb is the Col de Menté, famous since 1971, which will be followed by the Col des Ares and the Port de Balès. This will be the first time that the finish is decided on the Plateau de Peyragudes, a ski resort in the Hautes-Pyrénées."

First a little about yesterday's stage from twitter:

MarkCavendish Jul 18, 11:05am via Twitter for iPad
Today's stage can be put into perspective by the fact that by the end I didn't care that I was just puking over myself. Hills+Heat=Suffering
And then a reply:
@MarkCavendish We could've been puking on each other and we wouldn't have cared. DZ puked all the way home in the bus. It's just wrong.

Now think about them getting up and doing this again today.

On the road again, there are 153 riders in the race with no one retiring overnight. Jan Ghyselinck was allowed to start even though he finished outside the time limit yesterday.
 Is this our break of the day: Voeckler, Martinez, Peraud, Casar, Valverde, Costa and Kessiakoff? For a moment it looked like Nibali would join them after surging ahead on the downhill, but after a handshake with Valverde, he sat up and waited for the peloton. Why? Well, if Nibali had  stayed in the break, the front group has little chance of staying ahead as Sky would chase.
With 92km to go, the Voeckler group was '50" ahead of the yellow jersey. There was still a second group - with 10 - in between the break and the peloton that includes all the GC specialists.In that gc group, Edvald Boasson Hagen was for once at this stage of the race, not on the front.

Up front, the two groups came together,  1'55" ahead of the peloton, with 68km completed. The lead group: Voeckler, Azanza, Izaguirre, Martinez, Stortoni, Peraud, Kadri, Hoogerland, Casar, Ten Dam, Valverde, Costa, Kessiakoff, Vinokourov, Plaza, Leipheimer and Weening. The break stayed at about that much of a lead for a while, and with 62km to go, the peloton was 2'15" behind the lead group down from the maximum advantage of 3'05." Flashback time: Valverde attacked and quickly had a lead. In between the stage leader and the yellow jersey was Voeckler, Izaguirre and Kessiakoff at 1'25". Valverde reaches the top of the Port de Balès, almost 2½ mins in front of the favorites. Behind, all that was left of the peloton: Nerz, Basso, Nibali, Rogers, EBH, Porte, Froome, Wiggins, Van den Broeck, Menchov, Evans, Trofimov, Cobo, Martin, Vorganov, Taraamae, Kern, Rolland, Pinot, Zubeldia, Horner, Monfort, Scarponi, Brajkovic, Roche, and Vanendert.
Meanwhile, twitter is getting restless:
nyvelocity 7:26am via TweetDeck
Maybe Nibz will attack on the stage to Paris?
mrconde 7:31am via Web
2:34 for Valverde to the favorites. But remember Liquigas keeps on saving Basso...They must have something planned...Let's see.. #TDF12
Well, there were a few efforts, but in the end Sky's Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome dropped their rivals on the mountain finish to Peyragudes to finish together just 19 seconds behind Valverde.So barring a time trial catastrophe or something unexpected, the final podium looks like Wiggins, Froome and Nibali.
From twitter:
inrng 8:27am via Web
Chapeau to Froome for his loyalty & teamwork, it's too rare. Just look at Radioshack, Zubeldia fell from 5th to 7th today, little support.

Stage: Alejandro Valverde
1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 78:28:02  
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:02:05  
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:02:41  
4 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 0:05:53  
5 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:08:30  

Wine: Domaine Jorel Bande de Gypse White 2008 
From Christy at FranklyWines 

From the importer:

Domaine Jorel

Pyrenees-Orientales; Maury
Certified Agriculture Biologique by Qualite France, Manuel Jorel runs this 6 hectare domaine in the Roussillon, producing wines of fascinating local character that reveal new dimensions of flavor, texture, terroir and varietal. Brutally honest and direct, these are flavorful wines with an assertive personality and something important to communicate - namely that this region is capable of producing world-class wines with a unique personality that appeals to open-minded newcomers as well as hyper-critical experts.
Available Wines:
2008 IGP Blanc "Bande de Gypse - from a diverse blend of antique varietals, approximate %'s are: 40% Maccabéo, 30% Grenache Gris, 10% Grenache Blanc, 5% Tourbat, 5% Malvoisie, 5% Carignan Blanc, 5% Muscat d’Alexandria. This white wine is highly aromatic, with notes of lanolin, beeswax, fennel, kaffir lime & jasmine. On the palate there's a plump and juicy presence, with enough acidity to keep things in balance through the long, spice-tinged finish. This wine has real presence, with it's mix of initially rustic yet ultimately elegant flavors, and a texture that is quite refined. Skin contact for 12 hours, vinified and aged for 9 months in old barrels.

From Franklywines:
macabeo/grenache gris/tourbat
This complex white is a blend of macabeu, Grenache gris, Grenache blanc, tourbat, malvoisie, carignan blanc and muscat d’alexandria from the Pyranees-Orientales- an area located in the deepest part of southern France, bordered on the east by the Mediterranean. While rustic, this wine has definite elegance. The name “Bande de Gypse” may call to mind a band of roving gypsies, but it’s not quite so romantic – it makes reference to the band of gypsum rock that runs under the vineyard.

I say: Color somehow had me expecting something slightly off-dry or concentrated, despite Christy's words above. Herbal.  Some more fruit and body as it warmed up but still almost savory.