First posts are always the toughest. Do we jump right in with a legitimate entry? Do we make promises about the blog that may or may not come to fruition? Do we make light and include a picture of perfectly grilled steak coupled with a hearty Cab Sauv? I've decided on none of the above.
About me I'm not a chef, gourmand, foodie, or etc. So you might be asking, "Why should I listen to you?" Well, I'm a guy who enjoys wine, likes to cook, and does a pretty good job pairing one with the other. I tend to stray from recipes and instead use a fundamental understanding of the way food behaves and the way it interacts. I believe that simple, fresh ingredients prepared with minimal fuss will always produce great results.
Any advice to impart right away? Don't be afraid. So many people get so hung up on recipes and following guidelines to the letter that they can't have fun with their food. Don't worry about. If you overcook the chicken or the vegetables end up mushy, there's a pizza place at your fingertips, and if you're willing to go pick it up, they can have it ready in about 15 minutes. And what's wrong with pizza once or twice a week?
Is that it? I suppose I shouldn't leave you with nothing, so how about this: What's a roux and what can it do for me? You make a roux by heating and mixing equal parts butter and flour. I usually go with a 2*2 tablespoon mix. Melt the butter over medium heat. Once it's melted, begin whisking in the flour a couple pinches at a time. Eventually, the mix will reduce a little and brown. That's it. You can use it to thicken cream sauces, tomato sauces, gumbos and more. I like to slowly whisk it into a couple cups of milk and a small handful of shredded Gruyere and a couple dollops of Dijon mustard over medium-low heat for an outstanding sauce that's a perfect topper to pan-seared pork chops. A solid Washington-state Gewurztraminer--like that bottled by Columbia Winery-- makes a fine accompaniment.