1 down, 99 to go!

This week I started work on the second book in my food and wine pairing cookbook series, “100 Perfect Pairings.” The first of the series, featuring small plates recipes, will be released from Wiley & Sons in April 2010. The second, featuring entrees, will be released about a year later. But that’s all a long way away. For now, what there is to do is write the second book – the manuscript is due in January. And while I do, I thought it might be interesting to share my ongoing adventures with food and wine pairing…

The recipes for both books are divided by varietal, or type of wine. This time around, I started with the Riesling chapter – not because it’s the first chapter in the book, but because I happened to have a fairly expensive bottle of Riesling opened in the refrigerator. Wanting to take advantage of it, I bought a couple of more bottles and plunged in.

(“Plunged in” is a little misleading because it infers I’m just getting started and ignores all that that it took to get to this point – writing a cookbook proposal, shopping it around via Jennifer Griffin my fabulous agent, negotiating a deal, also via Jennifer, making all the agreed adjustments to the proposal, submitting a table of contents and recipe list, and getting that all approved by my editor at the publisher. Not one step an easy feat. But it got me here, where, essentially, all the planning is complete and, pretty much, all that’s left is to write the recipes, test them, taste them with the wines, revise as needed, sometimes ad nauseum, then do that ninety-nine more times. Piece of cake.)

Okay, so – Riesling. A really great wine for a warm summer’s day, which is a nice coincidence because it’s been into the 80s in Napa the past few days. Riesling is refreshing and fruity and crisp and, often, just a tiny bit sweet. Not sweet enough to be a dessert wine, but just enough that it can work with foods that also have a tiny bit of sweetness. Like Mahi Mahi with Mango Salsa, which is the first recipe I worked on. A few adjustments – a little more lime juice in the salsa to balance the sweetness of the mango, for example, and adding diced red bell pepper, also to the salsa, for color – and the recipe was good to go. One down, ninety-nine to go.

Stay tuned.

Here’s to you,

Jill

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