Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ellwood Thompson's own wine and a summer au gratin

Michael Shaps is now making a white and a red wine exclusively for Ellwood Thompson's!  This amazing Charlottesville winemaker consults and makes wine for many area wineries and restaurants including the VMFA, and now our own ET's.  The white is a blend of viognier, petit manseng and chardonnay, and is fruit forward without being sweet.  It is fantastic, and at around $12, I can't wait to try the red blend as well.

Our white wine by Virginia Cellars

It was cooler and rainy this weekend (so lovely), so I was hankering for comfort food. I have a lot of potatoes and squash coming from Dominion Harvest these days, so I thought I'd go for an au gratin.  Basically, I wanted something avec fromage.

Chips!  You can see through them!
I sliced up some potatoes with my handy mandolin. I started getting hungry, so I tossed some of the thin potato slices with oil, salt and pepper put them on a baking sheet and threw them in the oven for about 10 minutes while it was preheating.  Potato chips go well with newfound white wine and cheese sauce that didn't quite make it into the pan, btw.

Oh squash, what do we do with you? 
Summer au gratin

2 medium potatoes, sliced into at most 1/8 inch
1 onion, sliced into thin half rings
3 small summer squash, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups cream
1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Butter a small casserole dish (mine is about 9x5).
Layer the potatoes into bottom of the prepared dish. Top with the onion slices, and add the squash. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
In a medium-size saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Mix in the flour and salt, and whisk for one minute. Stir in cream. Cook until mixture has thickened (about 2 minutes). Stir in cheese all at once, and continue stirring until melted, about another minute. Pour mixture over squash layer.
Bake 50 minutes in the preheated oven or until golden and bubbling.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sub Rosa Bread

Sometimes you meet someone whose work and sense of purpose is strikingly humbling.  Evrim Dogu has the kind and centered countenance that I have long admired and find inspirational.  But when I visited his bakery the other day, I was truly humbled.  Sub Rosa bread has been around for years, available by subscription, and is soon to be served at its own bakery in Church Hill on the corner of Jefferson and 25th.  The conscious decisions, direction and relationships come together to make Sub Rosa bread extraordinary.
This is Evrim and his oven
So much of Evrim's new bakery itself is crafted, which suits the quality of his bread.  This gorgeous oven is made from bricks which were originally the chimney of his Church Hill building.  The bricks were hand cleaned by Evrim, and the oven was built by a local craftsman.  It is a beauty!
Beautiful Austrian mill
Since the bakery is still under construction, Evrim's mill and mixer are in a side building down the street.  Evrim is experimenting with heirloom wheat grown locally- Turkey Red is in trials at Deer Run Farm in Hanover.  This hand crafted mill can sift it into finely ground flour for bread or semolina for other baked goods.
Instructions for wheat grinding

The mixer
Evrim lives above his shop- a perfect setup considering baker's hours.  He invited us up to taste his bread and some lovely rye shortbread, which are both absolutely incredible.  The bread is complex, with such great texture, and the rye was so nutty, it is no wonder he is so excited about the way the flour trials have come together.  I can't wait until the bakery opens, but in the mean time, I believe that Evrim is still managing a subscription service.
Evrim's kitchen
Check out Sub Rosa's Facebook page for updates on the adventures of opening a food biz in RVA!