Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Wine Lover's Cookbook, by Sid Goldstein: Chilled Summer Peach Soup

Time for another family favorite off the cookbook shelves: The Wine Lover's Cookbook: Great Recipes for the Perfect Glass of Wine by Sid Goldstein (Chronicle Books, 1999). What I love about this cookbook is its unabashed love of the grape. Every recipe has a recommended wine pairing, and an alternative (sometimes much more daring) pairing. If I haven't mentioned it enough lately, I love wine. Chefly Husband loves wine. Heck, our dog Puck loves wine (corks; we don't let him drink alcohol--that would be irresponsible). I think this book came into our hands from his parents; in fact, I'm pretty darned sure of it. You can still get it at Amazon, new, or from lots of sellers, used, for really reasonable prices. If you like cooking (I don't assume people coming to a cookbook site do, by the way), and you love wine (which I hope you do), this is a book you need.

It's hotter than all get out in DC today--nothing compared to what it will be like in July and August, but it's just the first of June, and I'm wilting. So, for today's recipe...something cool and refreshing.
Chilled Summer Peach Soup
Recommended Wine: Riesling
Alternative Wine: Gewürztraminer

What more could you ask from a summer soup than for it to be refreshing and require virtually not time on the stove? Despite the fact that soups in general are difficult to match with wine, this luscious peach soup is a tantalizing, appetite-stimulating summer beauty that marries perfectly with the peachy quality in many Rieslings. The flavor match is almost equally good with off-dry (slightly sweet) Gewüztraminer.

6 large, ripe peaches
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup peach nectar
1/8 cup Riesling
1 tablespoon minced crystallized ginger
1 tablespoon fresh mint
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon minced orange zest
1 teaspoon five-spice powder or curry powder (see Note)
Garnish: mint sprigs, plain yogurt, 24 raspberries

Place peaches in boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove and place in an ice-water bath. Gently pull off skin. Halve and pit peaches.

In a food processor or blender, purée peaches, honey, yogurt, nectar, wine, crystallized ginger, mint, chives, orange zest, and five-spice powder.

Refrigerate, covered, for at least 2 hours. Adjust sweetness level, adding a little more yogurt to make sure that the soup is not so sweet that it will overpower the wine. Ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with mint sprigs, a small dollop of yogurt, and 4 raspberries per bowl placed carefully on top of yogurt.

Note: Five-spice powder is a combination of cinnamon, star anise, fennel, cloves, and Szechwan pepper and is found in the Asian grocery sections of most markets.

Serves 6 as an appetizer.
Okay, how psyched am I that I remembered the code for a ü without having to look it up? My HTML coding days may be in the past, but they linger on. My cockiness was short-lived though, as I first typed 1/2 cup Riesling. I swear, I wasn't trying to get you all soused on the soup.

The way Sid writes recipes, well...it's not how I write recipes. He's very, very precise. Downright meticulous. He could have said "purée the ingredients," but instead lists them all out. He doesn't even shorten things--I'd probably shorten "crystallized ginger" to "ginger" in the instructions, as there's no other ginger to be had in the recipe, but we'll stick with Sid. Yes, even with the "4 raspberries per bowl placed carefully on top of yogurt."

Yes, it's fussy.

Yes, it's not necessary.

But, oh, if you put yourself in Sid's hands, and trust in his recipes and instructions, you're going to be in for an amazing time.

Chefly Husband just came out of the den, where yet another closet has been converted to wine storage. I asked him about the provenance of the book, and he says that he stole the book from his parents. A little more prodding got the whole story: he boldly borrowed the book, and then they bought another for themselves, which pretty much meant he didn't have to give it back.

I'm very, very glad of it; this is a helluva book. We'll have fun this week.

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