Celebrating an Enduring Couple–Food & Wine

By Erin R. Griswold –

The locavore movement (buying locally produced goods and services) is not lost on John Sarich in his new book Chef in the Vineyard: Fresh & Simple Recipes from Great Wine Estates.

In this beautifully photographed and logically organized guide, wine and food pairings are extolled and explained in simple yet elegant terms. Chef Sarich takes readers on a journey through 10 wine estates each of which is nestled in its own niche in America’s Pacific Northwest where the sunlight, mountain air, salty ocean breezes and rich soil ensure that the grapes grown and the food produced are at their peak of flavor and freshness throughout the year. And each wine is unique because of its locale.

Sarich’s basics make sense: Bold food wants a bold wine. Eat local, drink local. And the bottom line is to keep recipes simple. A few ingredients properly melded will yield a dish that highlights the wine correctly paired with it. And isn’t that what great couples do, complement one another?

Each section of Chef in the Vineyard is dedicated to one winery and showcases vintners who have invested heart and soul into creating wines produced on that piece of land. Readers learn early on that the estates and the wines that each produces are reflections of the experts who care for them.

The book is a guide and Chef Sarich is the tour leader providing history, location, websites and an excellent tasting and wine pairing menu from each winery. Enthusiastic travelers need only a suitcase and this book in hand to be guaranteed an extraordinary journey through the best of what the Pacific Northwest culinary lifestyle has to offer.

At the end of each section of the book Chef Sarich includes useful tips, chef notes, ingredients special to each culinary region and his food and wine pairing advice. His decades of experience in educating, cooking and pairing are evident. And Sarich’s ability to translate the technique of food and wine pairing into easy-to-understand terms for any level culinary adventurer prepares the reader to prepare his recipes without apprehension.

More than 140 fresh and innovative recipes await those eager to get to work in the kitchen. The recipe section is divided by course, ingredient choice, side dishes and desserts and clearly shows that Chef Sarich had the home cook in mind when organizing his book. An intuitive index is user-friendly and a useful reference. Cool fall evenings would be the right time to experience the following recipe. But there are plenty of tempting others in this lovely vineyard book.

Asian Crab Noodle Soup (paired with Riesling)

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon grated or thinly sliced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon peanut oil
½ teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon Vietnamese fish sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon soy sauce, or to taste
6 cups chicken, vegetable or seafood stock
1 pound vermicelli or thin Asian rice noodles
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin on diagonal
I pound cooked fresh Dungeness or king crab
Chili oil or chili paste, to taste (optional)

Sauté the garlic and ginger in the peanut and sesame oils in a 6-quart saucepan, over medium heat, just until lightly softened. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce and stock. Bring to a low boil. Add the noodles. Cook until the
noodles are just tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the cilantro, basil, mint and green onions. Ladle into serving bowls and top with the fresh crab. Add the chili oil or paste if desired.

(Chef in the Vineyard: Fresh & Simple Recipes from Great Wine Estates by John Sarich. Hard cover, $23.95)

2 thoughts on “Celebrating an Enduring Couple–Food & Wine”

  1. Great review! Book looks like a wonderful gift for my food & wine friends. Early Christmas shopping. Fun recipe for our Florida winters.

  2. Great review, and having spent some time this past summer in the Pacific NW and wine country,I agree nothing is better than local foods paired with local wines.

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