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.

Personal Creations/flickr www.personalcreations.com

There's an enormous variety of veggies out there in our Maryland markets and grocery stores.  And as students at La Schola cooking school can tell you, one of life's treats is to go shopping with Chef Jerry Pellegrino and fill your basket with whatever captures your fancy at the farmers market.

One thing you can do is whip up a vegetable-heavy summer casserole. 

Click on the image for recipes. 

Long Meadow Ranch

Aug 30, 2017

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L.C. Nøttaasen/flickr

As the grilling season reaches its climax with Labor Day next week, we thought it might be fun to take an in-depth look atone of our favorite cook-out foods. We think the humble hamburger is just about a perfect... and perfectly satisfying food.  Jerry has thought a lot about the perfect hamburger.  Here are his thoughts.

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Megan Cole/flickr

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Mark Bonica/flickr

For Maryland white corn lovers, this is high season, a treasured slice of time when life is as good as a buttery, salty ear of fresh corn on the cob.  Although corn on the cob is arguably the best way to enjoy it, there are a lot of other iterations of corn that are pretty wonderful too. And as Chef Jerry Pellegrino points out, one thing that always makes our eyes brighten is the mention of corn pudding on the menu.

Click on the image for instructions. 


Click on the image for the wine list. 

grassrootsgroundswell/flickr

There's a very laudable organization here in town called the Baltimore Orchard Project whose goal is to remind us that we are surrounded by an urban forest. And like any good forest, a lot of those trees are bearing fruit, which is there for the taking. And there are some very interesting things out there including the mythical pawpaw.

Click on the image for some apple recipes. 

Ralf Smallkaa/flickr

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Didriks/flickr

Every time you bring in something off the grill this summer, you end up asking yourself, "what am I going to put on that?"  The answer is some sort of condiment, of course.  And as Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Schola Cooking School will tell you, it's all to easy to reach for you store-bought mayo or catsup, but it can be very rewarding to whip up your own versions of your favorite condiments.

-Al

Click on the image for the recipes. 

Odds and Ends

Aug 3, 2017
Cameron Kennedy/flickr

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