• One of our cousins has a really, really serious allergy to nuts. He would probably go into anaphylactic shock and basically die just by reading the centerpiece article of today’s Good Eating section: Emily Nunn cracks open (forgive us) a nutty (sorry) collection of Christmas recipes, all of which center around a particular ingredient we bet you’ll never guess. And it’s not just restricted to desserts — vidalia onions with sausage and pecans, duck with pistachios, our cousin can get out his epi pen for every single freaking course.
• So hey! That latke cookoff at Spertus happened this weekend, and Heather Lalley was on the scene. Under the judging eyes of Ina Pinkney and Aaron Freemen, four competitors went up against Spertus exec chef Laura Frankel, with a variety of recipes ranging from soft and fluffy to vitamin-C-aided white. We’re intrigued by the fact that all competitors were women, since in our family (is it just us?) the latke-maker is and always has been our dad.
• Speaking of people named Ina! We originally read Emily Nunn’s profile of Ina Garten as a profile of Ina Pinkney, and we were pretty darn thrown by the description of the chef as having “glossy dark hair.” But we got ourselves up to speed. Weirdly, Garten claims never to have heard of Grant Achatz or Alinea. Can it be true that there are people in this world who don’t live and die by the actions of Chicago’s highest-profile chef? Our entire weltanschauung is threatened!
• Bill Daley takes us on a tour of the scandal-ridden Brunello wine — the oeno-world was abuzz last year with assertions that winemakers were adulterating their brunello stocks with other grapes. Dramz! The highly-regulated wine is a great choice for celebratory dinners — it’s $50+ price tag rules it out for everyday consumption for most folks — and Daley suggests pairing it with robust, salty, umami-laden meals.
• As long as you’re popping open that Brunello, might as well do it with a decent corkscrew. Bill Daley reviews a few models, giving the ol’ twist to four basic models: waiter-style, rabbit-style, electric, and wing-style. We’ve been huge fans of being the designated bottle-opener ever since we learned that you could just pull off the foil vertically (no need for cutting!) and that impresses the heck out of everyone within sight range. Unfortunately, that grandness fades as soon as we start flailing around with a wing-style contraption that we’re pretty sure we inherited from a garage sale our mom visited. So we’re quite welcoming of these new recommendations.
[Photo via macinate’s Flickr]