Al Spoler | WYPR

Al Spoler

Host, Cellar Notes and Radio Kitchen

Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.

His most rewarding immersion in cooking came through his work as a television director at MPT.  Spoler served as off-line editor and assistant director on two series featuring the legendary French chef Pierre Franey.  He also worked with Mexican chef Patricia Quintana, and with Bed and Breakfast expert Gail Greco on her series "Country Inn Cooking". Al says traveling all over the US visiting country inns and taping recipes that they prepared in little makeshift television kitchens was an incredible education.

Spoler's tastes in cooking are influenced by regional tradition and contemporary casual French fare. Never slavish to recipes, he is never happier than improvising a Sunday dinner with whatever ingredients come to hand.

Brittany Lindsey

Soup - a liquid dish, typically made by boiling meat, fish, or vegetables, etc., in stock or water  

That cool snap in the air is so welcome after a particularly hot summer.  And it may be my imagination but I think that cool air carries the aroma of cooking food in a way that puts a smile on my face.  This is the time for soup making, ideally a day-long process that puts a keen edge on your appetite. Here are some of Jerry and Chef Amy von Lange's ideas for simple soups.

marylandwine.com

Al and Hugh discuss some of the winning wines in the Maryland Governor's Cup Competition. Click on the image for the list. 

Bryan Maleszyk/flickr

We're in the middle of our harvest season, when farmers all over Maryland are bringing in the food they've worked so hard to produce.  In Italy this season is celebrated with the Feast of San Martino, who quite logically is the patron saint of grape pickers, winemakers and sommeliers. So to fill us in on this festival, we've invited a friend whose knowledge and understanding of this Feast is first rate, Chef Sergio Vitale of Aldo's Restaurant in  Little Italy. Chef Sergio gave us a few ideas for celebrating San Martino. Here they are.

Odds and Ends

Sep 27, 2017
Cameron Kennedy/flickr

Click on the image for the list.

DIY Pizza

Sep 27, 2017
Brittany Lindsey

I wonder if anyone else out there has had the frustrating experience of bringing home pizza that just didn't hit the spot.  I hate to admit it, but buying pizza has become a hit or miss prospect. So Chef Jerry Pellegrino has a proposal for us: learn to make your own pizza according to your own specifications.

-Al Spoler

david mcspadden/flickr

Languedoc is in the southwestern region of France. Al and Hugh say the quality of wines from this area is increasing. Click on the image for the recommendations. 

Chuck Falzone/flickr

Most of us have been grilling for several months now, and although we've loved our burgers, steaks and ribs, we might be looking for something new, something a little exotic to toss on the grill.  So Chef Jerry Pellegrino and I look to Latin American and the Caribbean for a lot of inspiration, because the folks down there really know how to grill.

Viognier

Sep 13, 2017
Paul Aloe/flickr

Click on the image for the wine list. 

Colin Houston/flickr

The more time I spend in the kitchen the more I become enamored with trying different seasonings.  All that talk about spicing up one's life can be taken literally.  A deft command of the spice rack can give you unbelievable culinary powers.  But as Chef Jerry Pellegrino tells us, there are some handy shortcuts spice lovers can take advantage of.

Click on the image for the recommendations. 

tjabeljan/flickr

Click on the image for the recommendations. 

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