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The spending savvy secrets to cooking with wine

by Marian Shepard
March 25, 2010
Cooking with wine as opposed to water sounds to be the ultimate in decadence. Aside from the extra flavor it imparts that suggests sensuality and a dish prepared with an expert's touch, wine also speaks of opulence, of sparing no expense to make the dish perfect.

It was the iconic Julia Child who started the belief that one must always cook with fine wine, saying that it was better to omit the wine from the recipe it was to be used in if you didn't have a good wine to use. She proclaimed that an inferior wine could "spoil a simple dish and utterly debase a noble one."

Chefs from all over the world heard her, and soon it became an axiom in any kitchen that you did not cook with wine that you would not drink. Unfortunately, that was as expensive a practice as one can imagine, and more than a few considered the marinating of a duck leg a waste of a good bottle of sauvignon blanc.

Today, modern cooks are more forgiving of a less than stellar bottle of wine - they have found that a dish prepared with cheaper wine is practically indistinguishable from a dish made with a more expensive counterpart, so long as the dish was prepared with good ingredients.

Those who cook regularly with wine recommend a few guidelines in order to avoid going overboard when spending for the wines that you will cook with. One of the first tricks is to finds a that carries as wide a variety as possible of wines. The range as well as the depth of the selection is important - this way, you can choose from $80 bottles and the $12 bottles to flavor your broth, and know that there will be distinct advantages of each over the other.

To make the most use of a bottle of wine, make sure that none of it is wasted. To avoid this, do not keep it in its original bottle and on a shelf where it will be exposed to heat and sunlight.

You can freeze leftover wine, something that most experts do not recommend because the said wine will then become undrinkable. However, wine freezes well, and if it is only meant for cooking, this preserves it better than sitting in the cupboard. To freeze wine in order to preserve leftovers for your next recipe of made with your favorite bottle, pour the extra liquid into a reseablable, leak-proof plastic bag made specifically for freezer storage and freeze until it's needed again.

If you're not counting on keeping the leftovers very long, you can also opt to pour the wine into smaller bottles, readily available at kitchen supply stores. Just make sure that the bottles are airtight, and keep them in a cool, dry place until you need the wine again.


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The spending savvy secrets to cooking with wine
 

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