Wine Wisdom: Natural Wine Picks

To producers and wine geeks, natural wine defies precise definition: it can indicate an absence of additives and pesticides; a gentle handling of grapes and soil; or even the ancient methods of the biodynamic approach. But consumers only need to know this: many natural wines exhibit rich and unique character, as well as a strong sense of terroir. If you’re on the hunt for a memorable bottle, there’s a good chance that a naturally produced wine will fit the bill.

To get some recommendations for affordable natural pours, we turned to Jenny Lefcourt of Jenny & François Selections, which specializes in naturally made European wines.


Domaine Binner Saveurs 2009 (biodynamic/$18)
"This floral and fruity white is light and versatile. Enjoy it with seafood, grilled chicken, and even mildly spicy Asian dishes."

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Recipe: Drunken Risotto with Wild Mushrooms

Drunken Risotto with Wild Mushrooms

Nothing complements a crisp, woodsy fall day better than a bowl of rich and toothsome risotto. This earthy version from chef Joel Huff features a grab bag of wild mushrooms, which will only be available for another week or so. (We've recently spotted chanterelles, king oysters, and maitakes at our local farmers' market.) For the wine, feel free to use any uncorked red you have on hand, though we prefer to pour in a Burgundy or Oregon Pinot Noir; the typical "forest floor" character found in these wines is a natural match for the other flavors in the dish. Get the recipe here.

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Voting with Your Forks: How We Can All Have a Positive Impact on our Food System

Insufficient access to fresh food. Childhood obesity. Eroded soil. Many of us know that our food system is rife with problems, but aren’t sure how we, as food shoppers, cooks, and eaters, can bring about change.

The key, according to Karen Karp, president of NYC food business consultancy Karp Resources and a partner in planning the recent JBF Food Conference, is to focus on making progress—and remember that we won’t solve these big problems all at once. “Sustainability is a journey, not a destination,” says Karp. “That kind of thinking can really instigate some change.”

Our 2011 Leadership Award recipients and members of our advisory board agree that there is a lot we can all do. Here are their suggestions.


“Cook. If you don’t cook your food it invariably gets cooked for you. It gets processed and it gets manipulated. And when that happens you eat less nutritiously. And the environment suffers. And f

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Market Haul: After Apple-Picking Edition


For I have had too much 
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
 Of the great harvest I myself desired. –Robert Frost, “After Apple Picking”

Apple picking is an eagerly anticipated autumn ritual. Crisp fall air, cider donuts, hayrides, a bright wagon overflowing with apples that we are sure we will put to delicious use—sometimes it’s easy to get a little carried away. Once home with our invariably enormous haul, we begin to cook with the best of intentions. But after baking a pie or two and making a couple batches of applesauce without seeing a noticeable dent in the apple stores, panic can begin to set in. What’s an overly ambitious apple picker to do? Here are a few ideas.

The Haul: Apples. Many, many apples.

The Tools: A

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Giveaway: Win a Lenox Cheese and Cracker Set!

Did you know that October is National Cheese Month? We're celebrating by giving away a Scoop Cheese and Cracker Set from Lenox, one of our generous house purveyors. This 11 1/2-inch cheese service set (pictured below), which features a contemporary design and includes cheese-and-cracker tray and cheese knife, will help you get your fill of fromage any time of the year. For a chance to win it, tell us about your ideal cheese plate in the comments section of this blog, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter (use hashtag #JBFcheese) by the end of the day on Tuesday, October 25. We’ll pick a winner at random on Wednesday, October 26.* UPDATE: this giveaway is now over. Congrats to L. Jeske of New York City for winning the Lenox cheese-and-cracke

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Eat this Word: Piloncillo


Sugar cone. Mexicans have long used piloncillo to sweeten their café de olla, an earthy espresso invigorated by cinnamon and citrus. Also known in South America as panela or panocha, piloncillo is cane sugar juice that has been melted into a dense syrup and then poured into cone-shaped molds. Once solid, these small caramel-colored cylinders are pliable enough to be grated, usually with the side of a serrated knife, or crushed in a molcajete (a traditional mortar and pestle). Piloncillo imparts a unique flavor with hints of smoky molasses and deep mineral notes that distinguish it from traditional refined white sugar. Renowned modern Mexican chef Richard Sandoval uses the versatile ingredient in savory dishes like seared sesame-crusted tuna or on crunchy buñelos layered with fresh whipped cream. WHERE? Abraham Sa

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On the Menu: October 22 through October 29

Whether it's a black pudding tart, smoked Nantucket Bay scallop, or Ligurian-style braised beef, there's something for every palate this week at the Beard House. Saturday, October 22, 7:00 P.M. Iconic British Brasserie A longtime favorite among royals and celebrities, iconic London restaurant Le Caprice has recently opened an NYC outpost where Ed Carew, Michael White’s former chef de cuisine at Fiamma, turns out cutting-edge brasserie fare. For this dinner, Carew will join forces with his British counterpart, Tim Hughes, to prepare a meal fit for a king. Sunday, October 23, 5:00 P.M. Atlanta: Friends of James Beard Benefit Our perennially popular Sunday Supper series is returning to Atlanta for a second year of fantastic food and festivities. Hosted by JBF Award winners Anne

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JBF Kitchen Cam