#26 | Molly Baz’s Recipe Club

How To Cook in 2021

HELLO and Happy New Year!

How it started:

After the election, things will get back to normal.

After Biden wins, things will get back to normal.

After the Georgia Senate election, things will get back to normal.

After the Electoral College certifies the election, things will get back to normal.

How it’s going:

After the coup, things will get back to normal.

Can we just fast forward to 2022?

BREAKING:

Mark your calendars: per the SF Chronicle, local crab fleets will begin setting traps by Jan. 11 and Dungeness crab should be available to Bay Area residents by Jan. 15.

Btw, I'm Bruce Cole, Publisher of Edible San Francisco. You're getting this email because you subscribed. If you'd like to hop off at anytime, simply unsubscribe. I appreciate you reading this newsletter. Let’s eat.


EAT

Molly Baz’s Recipe Club

If you’re a former fan of the Bon Appetit YouTube channel (isn’t everyone?), then you’ll remember Molly Baz. Her cooking videos for BA are opinionated, yet instructive (“if you don’t properly season your pasta water, your sauce will be delicious and your pasta will taste like nothing.”), and loaded with her signature Molly-isms: “Cae Sal” is Caesar Salad, “nood” is noodle, “parm” is parmesan, etc. She sticks to simple and approachable dishes that you can easily replicate at home and they always work (ca-ching!). Here’s one of our favorites, which really requires just the most basic of cooking skills: boiling pasta. Molly Makes BA's Best Bucatini Carbonara.

(But good luck trying to make it now as apparently there is a nationwide bucatini shortage since the FDA has put imports for that shape on hold due to iron deficiencies in the pasta. I kid you not.)

Pictured above is Benny's Tender Tenders! which is her husband Ben Willett’s recipe. It’s really a jacked-up version of a chicken Cae Sal: crispy little gem lettuce tossed with a savory tahini blue cheese dressing, topped with a handful of quick-pickled vegetables and crowned with spicy fried chicken breast strips. We made it last night and it was even better than it looks.

The recipe is only available if you are member of Molly Baz’s Recipe Club. Like other staffers who resigned from Bon Appetit last year, she’s capitalized on her fame and huge following by starting her own subscription based model ($5/month or $57/year) on Patreon, similar to what many food writers and journalists are doing on Substack. We ponied up 5 bucks a month for a subscription because we like the idea of getting perfectly delicious recipes that land in our inbox once a week or so, helping us get out of the rut of making pasta carbonara all the time. Next we’re making this recipe club dish: Grandma Pie with Morty-D & Pistachio-Pickled Pepper Pesto. It’s a pan pizza recipe made with grocery store pizza dough, mortadella and a pistachio-pickled-pepper pesto which we’re thinking would be good on just about everything, sandwiches, pasta, eggs, you name it.


DRINK

Maître de Chai 2019 Sparkling Chenin Blanc, Clarksburg

We first started drinking California Chenin Blanc back in 2014 when winemaker Tegan Passalacqua first released his Sandlands label. Now there’s a slew of California winemakers producing chenin blanc including Broc Cellars, Jamiee Motley, Forlorn Hope, Dasche Cellars and Maître de Chai. And if you haven’t had chenin blanc before, maybe you remember your parents pouring a glass of Inglenook Chablis, made back then from chenin blanc grapes with residual sugar often added to balance out the acidity, which is chenin blanc’s calling card. Side note: in France, Chablis is traditionally made with chardonnay grapes from the Burgundy region.

Maître de Chai (aka MDC wines) was founded in 2012 by Marty Winters and Alex Pitts who both started out in restaurant kitchens and eventually met at Cyrus in Healdsburg before transitioning to wines. Alex was the assistant winemaker at the Scholium Project while Marty was the founding Estate Director of Ashes & Diamonds. We found their wines at a CUESA tasting event a couple of years ago and have been drinking them ever since. We especially like their chenin blanc (MDC also produces chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, zinfandel and cabernet) with Dungeness crab, the gripping mouthfeel (the way a wine feels in your mouth—acidity in white wines, tannins in red wines—pairs nicely with the salty and buttery crab meat.

Per the MDC website, this sparkling chenin blanc was produced with the classic Méthode Champenoise, aged for six months in a combination of stainless steel and neutral oak barrels, with the secondary fermentation (tirage) in February 2020. They riddled and disgorged the wine in July 2020 with a dosage of two grams per liter. Esther Mobley, the SF Chronicle wine critic, recently noted in her list of recommended California sparkling wines: “the shorter aging regimen results in a more forward and direct wine, full of bright green apple and quince.” We’d also say there’s a hefty backbone of minerality to go with the flowery bouquet that makes this sparkling chenin blanc nicely balanced.

As part of our ongoing effort to glean more info on the provenance of the wines we drink, we pinged Marty and Alex for some insight into how the grapes for this sparkling chenin blanc are grown and harvested. This vintage comes from the Woods Ranch Vineyard, which was planted with chenin blanc grapes 22 years ago, just south of Clarksburg, in the Sacramento River Delta. The Clarksburg AVA is well known for producing chenin blanc and the hallmark of this particular site (block 20) is electric acidity (grippy 😉). Woods Ranch viticulturist David Ogilvie has overseen the transition of the 28-acre chenin blanc vineyard from conventional farming to organic farming, and although not certified, there’s no usage of synthetic herbicides, including Roundup. All inputs that are used in the vineyard are 100% Organic. The Wilson family has full-time employees that make up the harvest crew and they are paid a living wage.

As you can see in our photo, we’re not a fan of flutes when it comes to sparkling wines. A regular wine glass is essential because you can give the glass a couple quick swirls (which you definitely should do), exposing the surface area of the wine to more oxygen and thereby releasing essential aroma compounds. Your brain picks up those aromas and instantly associates them with flavors (apples, strawberries, earth, tobacco, etc.) priming you to enjoy the wine even more when you take a sip. This isn't possible with a flute, but if you like to taste a lot of foam and fizz, go with the skinny glasses. As the CEO of Krug Champagne noted: drinking champagne from flutes is like going to a concert with ear plugs.

We purchased this wine from Fig & Thistle Market.


THINK

If You Have Health Problems I Feel Bad for You Son, I Got 99 Problems But Eating Taco Bell Nacho Fries Ain’t One

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey says the key to keeping people healthy in the United States is for people to eat better and live healthier lives. —Catherine Clifford for CNBC

How To Cook in 2021

My New Year’s kitchen resolution is to follow recipes exactly as written, to get to know their creators without altering the dishes to match my own experiences or tastes. … To truly embrace another person’s background and culture, I need to suspend my own assumptions, culinary and otherwise. It requires a conscious effort that feels unnatural, because learning to cook is a lot like learning to ride a bicycle. —Genevieve Ko in A Kitchen Resolution Worth Making: Follow the Recipe Exactly for The NY Times

How to Cook in 2021, part Two

“Hey guys, I just want to let you know I'm a chef now: I've made 10 recipes and haven't messed them up. So I've now deemed myself an expert in the kitchen.” —Noor Elkhaldi in Noor Elkhaldi Discovered a New Self in the Kitchen for Great Jones

The YouTube Restaurant Chain

We read about MrBeast (a.k.a. Jimmy Donaldson, who has 48.5 million YouTube subscribers) and his plan to open a 300 location virtual burger chain called MrBeast Burger last month, but couldn’t figure out whether it was legit or not. 33M YouTube views later:

Although the video depicts a standalone restaurant, it’s the only physical location for MrBeast Burger, the other 299 locations are partnerships with chain restaurants Brio Italian Grille and Buca di Beppo (versus a ghost kitchen concept). MrBeast teamed up with Virtual Dining Concepts to launch the delivery-only restaurant brand, noting that the menu was designed to suit “any restaurant kitchen.”

This is the purest representation yet of a restaurant business tailor made for this moment: a virtual brand built on top of a virtual star built on top of digital ordering and delivery infrastructure. It’s clearly popular enough to make a handful of people a whole lot of money; investors are interested in the idea; it’s attracted stars from Mariah Carey to Tyga and Mario Lopez. —Kristen Hawley in The Space Between: The weird middle ground between a 300-virtual restaurant chain that broke the internet and post-pandemic life for Expedite

Should you feel compelled to jump on the MrBeast Burger bandwagon, the nearest location is a Buca di Beppo at 1875 S. Bascom Ave., in Campbell.

Got Privilege?

“We will never eat at your restaurant again, and we will tell all our friends and neighbors that you support a Marxist organization,” read the email. My head almost exploded. —Jason Goodenough in You Don't Like My Politics? I Don't Need Your Business for Food & Wine

Related: I can’t sit outside! I am wearing Gucci!

Magic Markers?

In October 2019, the Trump administration imposed a 25 percent tariff on European food imports. It affects wine from France, Spain and Germany, whiskey from Ireland and Scotland, and Spanish olives and olive oil, along with cheeses from all over the continent, pork, and much more. … Biden could rectify that mistake with the stroke of a pen. —Kwame Onwuachi and Alice Waters and in Joe Biden can save restaurants with the stroke of a pen. Here’s how for The Washington Post

The Changing Demographic in American Wine

A commitment to diversity has moral value in itself. Yet, there are myriad nuts-and-bolts benefits, too. The transformation is in its nascency, but for an industry that has long attracted investors and collectors from white male-dominated sectors like finance, asserting the tangible advantages of diversity can help it become a matter of course. That’s important because diversity is essential to the health and future of the wine industry. —Betsy Andrews in Diversity and Inclusion Efforts Are Key to The American Wine Industry’s Future for Vinepair


LISTEN 🎧

Zoe Adjonyoh of Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen talks about the latest cookbooks with Celia Sack of Omnivore Books on Food on the FoodFm Bookclub.


SPOTTED 👀


CHATTER 😈


ONE MORE THING 📻

If you’re on Spotify, we’re sharing the EAT.DRINK.THINK. playlist we listen to while cooking dinner every night. It’s a mix of hip hop (A Tribe Called Quest), electronic pop (Sylvan Esso), R&B (Jorja Smith), indie pop (Dodie), 80’s hits (Style Council), a few classics (Mel Torme) and more. We’ll be posting a new mix every month.

That’s all for this week.

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We’re outta here. Be well and take care,
–Bruce


p.s.
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"Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end" –John Lennon