• A few weeks ago, in their series on the vineyard-friendly 45th parallel, the Tribune told the story of Russian wine: steely-faced nation imports French vineyard experts to turn around their grape and wine output, French experts seem skeptical at first but are impressed by hardworking people, happy ending seems likely. Given that, and with no offense to the no-doubt fine citizens of The People’s Republic, today’s piece on Chinese wine reads like a little bit of a retread, though we admit that Chinese wine piques our curiosity. Unsurprisingly, it’s very hard to find Chinese wine in Chicago, but one brand is available, and Bill Daley breaks it down.
• While we might have been less-than-dazzled by his Chinese wine story, we’re completely riding the Bill Daley train when it comes to soup: DIY tortellini and spinach, with some easy tweaks like adding an egg for creaminess. Full disclosure: We are a bit biased in our support of soup, as we’ve made it for the past two nights (bean and bacon; corn chowder), though neither evening involved Bill Daley in any direct capacity.
• Knock knock. Who’s there? Bill Daley. Bill Daley who? Bill Daley wrote yet another article in today’s food section, and also we have developed motor memory for typing his name! There’s a wine group that’s sprung up to taste, promote, and appreciate local wines — DrinkLocalWine.Com.
• Some exciting developments on the grocery store front, brought to us by Susan Taylor: the all-green Jewel on North Desplaines, the Downtown Farmstand, and the Green City Market’s winter adjournment to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Center.
• Tagines! They are delicious! Don’t be scared of them! (Additional disclosure: We have a jar of lemons preserving in our fridge at this very moment. They need another week or two, we think.) (The recipe accompanying this article doesn’t actually call for preserved lemons, but they are such an iconic tagine-related ingredient that we felt compelled to mention them.)
[Photo: A Chinese vineyard, via]