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.

November 29  #1508   International Dumplings

 I've read that there is one thing that all societies have in common when it comes to food:  if you have any kind of flour available in your kitchen, you make some sort of a dumpling.  And Chef JP of Schola Cooking School, has been pondering these tempting little bundles of goodness.

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60

Quality key:  * = decent wine   ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine   **** = elite  

Helfrich Gewurtztraminer, Alsace '13  ** $

(At $15, this is a real VALUE, classic T'giving wine)

Chat. de la Chaize Brouilly (Beaujolais) Vielle Vignes '12  **1/2  $$

(A cru Beaujolais, mature and ready to enjoy)

Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages '15 ** $

(A classic producer smooth and easy drinking Beaujolais)

Baked Apples

Nov 22, 2016

November 22, 2016 - Radio Kitchen - Baked Apples

With Thanksgiving just a couple of days off, we thought we'd give you some ideas for last minute desserts.  You might want to serve something that is right at hand, easy to prepare and sure to please.  And as Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Schola Cooking School suggests, one dish that fills all those criteria is baked apples.

Cotes du Rhone

Nov 16, 2016

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60

Quality key:  * = decent wine   ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine   **** = elite

Alan Jaune Cotes du Rhone Villages "Les Travées" '13 **1/2 $

(From Cairanne, this is a silky refined CDRV with spicy fruit, great flavor)

Dom. Paul Autard Cotes du Rhone '14 ** $

(Polished, elegant, with berry and field herb flavors)

Famille Perrin Cotes du Rhone Villages '13 ** $

(Great price for a refined CDRV, lovely café wine. VALUE)

Dom. del la Jannasse Réserve Cotes du Rhone '13  **1/2 $

(A touch rustic, a little wild and rugged, great VALUE)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Reds Wine and Spirits  

November 15, 2016 - Radio Kitchen - Taco Tool Kit

A lot of us spent a portion of summer's closing weeks putting up and preserving that great Maryland produce.  Now it's time to use it. A good tangy salsa is a great destination for, say preserved tomatoes, peppers and garlic, and what better way to enjoy a salsa than with a taco.  Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Schola Cooking School, give us some tips on fixing homemade tacos.

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60

Quality key:  * = decent wine   ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine   **** = elite

Giuseppe Lonardi Valpolicella Classico Superioire Ripasso '15 **1/2 $$

(Terrific, bright, tart, dried fruit flavors)

La Quercia Montepulciano d'Abruzzo ** $

(Well-rounded Italian red, with direct fruit flavors)

Edi Simcic Duet (red blend) Slovenia '13 *** $$   

(Fabulous Bordeaux blend from an unusual source)

Edi Simcic Chardonnay Riserva, Slovenia '13 ** $$

(A fleshy, fully mature chardonnay from Slovenia)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Reds Wine and Spirits.

November 8, 2016 - Radio Kitchen - Liz Nuttle and Seasonings for Stews

This is the season of the big stew pot, of big hearty dishes that inevitably call for a big hot loaf of crusty bread on the side.  It's a pleasure to stroll up and down the aisles of the farmers markets in the Fall, mentally putting together recipes with the ingredients that are right there at hand. 

Italian Whites

Nov 2, 2016

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60

Quality key:  * = decent wine   ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine   **** = elite

Broglio Gavi "La Meircena" '15  **1/2  $$

(This wine could have been poured at an Italian feast, like in a painting)

Terradora DiPaolo Falanghina, Irpinia '13 **1/2 $ 

(Totally refreshing,, food-friendly, calls out for seafood, delicious, VALUE)

Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina del Sannio '14 *1/2  $

(From a  weaker vintage, but still a lean, flavorful wine)

Enoteria Arneis, Mendocino '13  **1/2 $

(California copy of Italian grape Arneis, very impressive and a VALUE)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Reds Wine and Spirits

Fall Squash

Nov 2, 2016

November 1, 2016 - Radio Kitchen - Fall Squash

  

If you're checking out our farmers markets these days, you may be more than a little impressed with the abundance our display.  Among the champion vegetables of autumn are the wonderful squashes that come out.  And if you think that only means butternut, think again.  According to Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Schola Cooking School, there's quite an amazing assortment out there.

Price key:  $=less than $20  $$= $20-40   $$$=$40-60  $$$$=above $60

Quality key:  * = decent wine   ** = very good wine   *** = superb wine   **** = elite  

Michael David of Lodi

(Look for the wacky lables)

Michael David  Chardonnay, Lodi '15 *1/2 $

(Decent value in California chardonnay)

Michael David Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon, Lodi '13 ** $$

(Big fruity cab, bold and well-mannered)

Michael David Petite Petit (Petite Syrah) Lodi '14

(Big, smooth, well rounded, lots of fun)

Michael David Earthquake Cabernet Sauvignon, Lodi '13 ** 1/2  $$

(Concentrated, explosive, complex)

Michael David Earthquake Zinfandel, Lodi '13 **1/2  $$

(Powerful flavor-packed zin, loaded with fruit, powerful)

Michael David Lust Zinfandel, Lodi, '12 *** $$$

(Expensive, but worth it, rich and deep and very complex)

Michael David Inkblot Cabernet Franc, Lodi *** $$

(A whopping wine that will deeply empress)

Many of these fine wines can be purchased at Reds Wine and Spirits

Pages