Mid November marks what we like to refer to as “The Feeding Season.” Magazines show pretty dishes of festive foods and everyone talks about what to drink at the holiday table. We’re Giving Thanks to an abundant season for Italian white truffles, fresh cold water oysters on the half shell, crisp Hudson Valley apples in the orchards near our home and an abundance of wine in our growing global cellar.
When it comes to Thanksgiving, is your favorite part of the meal the turkey or the sides? Holiday side dishes take front and center on our show November 19, 2p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT, when we interview award winning cookbook author, journalist and culinary educator, Rick Rodgers, who recently released The Big Book of Sides (Ballantine Books/$30.00). Indeed, it’s a big book content-wise filled with more than 450 recipes from traditional to inspired to Americana and ethnic. We’ve spent the last few weeks trying some of the recipes, often enjoying them as our main courses. Rick also suggests how to pair the sides with main courses and with special occasion menus.
Rick often works on the sidelines or, rather behind-the-scenes, as a recipe tester, consultant or co –author for other books. He’s written corporate cookbooks for Williams-Sonoma, Kingsford Charcoal and Sur La Table. He received an IACP Cookbook Award for The Chelsea Market Cookbook. His articles have appeared many magazines including Men’s Health, Food & Wine, Fine Cooking and Bon Appétit which gave him a Food & Entertaining Award as Outstanding Cooking Teacher.
But when it comes to The Big Book of Sides he takes center stage in our book.
We’ve always been big fans of Beaujolais wines, especially the 10 appellation Crus, called the “jewels” of the region. But it’s the Crus’ younger sibling, Beaujolais Nouveau, that captures the most attention over the holidays. Its arrival on the third Thursday of November is celebrated with as much fanfare as the first New Year’s baby. And no one celebrates bigger and better than Les Vins Georges Duboeuf when it comes to “Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé
We’ll be speaking with Franck Duboeuf, co-proprietor with his father Georges, about this year’s Beaujolais harvest which we hear has been “blessed with ideal weather.”
Beaujolais is made from the region’s local Gamay varietal. By law the grapes must be hand harvested and the berries undergo carbonic maceration to extract the bitter tannins and retain the fresh fruit flavor. The wine is bottled and released six to eight weeks days after harvest and then rushed to market in time for its official debut. Beaujolais Nouveau uncorking ceremonies take place one minute past midnight on the third Thursday in November around the world. YouTube videos feature some of the most creative ways to uncork Nouveau, and we’ve experienced several. A personal favorite: Frank Duboeuf delivered the first bottles of wine on a Harley Davidson motorcycle with brigade of Beaujolais Bikers comprised of NYC chefs and HD Biker Club members. Classic!
We’re curious to see what magic Duboeuf has up his sleeve this year to ring in the 2014 Nouveau and taste it ourselves at 12:01 a.m. on November 20.
Join Melanie Young and David Ransom on The Connected Table LIVE Wednesdays, 2p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT on W4CY and i Heart Radio. Each week we bring you the dynamic people who work front and center and behing the scenes in food, wine, spirits and hospitality. Melanie and David are your Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple. Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook.