Mellow Merlot


From the famous Margaux appellation, this Chateau Lascombes Bordeaux does not disappoint. With coffee and chocolate and cherries, and still holding on to ripe fruitiness, it sounds like a black forest cake for dessert. Yet it is meaty and savory and stands up tall next to a steak. Primarily Merlot, the blend is well-balanced and nuanced.

Jean-Georges’ Chocolate Cake

A classic, molten chocolate cake works for any occasion…


  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, preferably Valrhona
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Cooking Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Butter and lightly flour four 6-ounce ramekins. Tap out the excess flour. Set the ramekins on a baking sheet.

In a double boiler, over simmering water, melt the butter with the chocolate. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the egg yolks, sugar and salt at high speed until thickened and pale.

Whisk the chocolate until smooth. Quickly fold it into the egg mixture along with the flour. Spoon the batter into the prepared ramekins and bake for 12 minutes, or until the sides of the cakes are firm but the centers are soft. Let the cakes cool in the ramekins for 1 minute, then cover each with an inverted dessert plate. Carefully turn each one over, let stand for 10 seconds and then unmold. Serve immediately.

Spanish Tortilla

Add a little sunshine to your day, and make this Spanish tortilla. I am not referring to the corn one, but rather the potato omelet.

Layer thinly sliced onions and Yukon gold potatoes in a deep skillet, add salt and pepper, and cover with olive oil. Turn on the heat to low and simmer until all is soft. Beat and season five or six eggs, pour over vegetables, and continue to cook until set on bottom (when you shake the pan, the tortilla should move as a unit). Place under the broiler until just set on top. You can pour off the excess oil, or sop it up with bread on your plate.

In the Clouds

At the Peninsula in Paris, there is a restaurant called L’Oiseau Blanc up in the clouds with a clear view of the Eiffel Tower. The name refers to an airplane in which Charles Nungesser and Francois Coli attempted to cross the Atlantic in 1927. A dessert on the menu is named Le Nuage and is shaped like a cumulus; the white chocolate puff sits in a pool of raspberry coulis and is topped by a cloche full of liquid nitrogen.

Red Truck Bakery

The author of Red Truck Bakery has experience in design, which is evident on the pages with such sweets as Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Pie and Double-Chocolate Moonshine Cake. Brian Noyes brings good taste to Southern baking in this spectacular cookbook. His original rural bakery near Washington, D.C., is in an unassuming former Esso gas station. Read the story of his claim to fame, which includes the purchase of an old red truck from fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger. The rest is history…