Delaware Public Media

Al Spoler

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.

Next week is our annual celebration of love and affection and along with a bouquet of flowers, a box of candy seems quite appropriate.

Ordinarily we would dash off to Glauber's or Wockenfuss, but truth to tell, there is an alternative. According to Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Schola Cooking School, homemade candy is a distinct possibility.    

Here are some simple recipes that will result in amazingly tempting candies. You don't need to achieve high artistic perfection with these recipes. It's the thought that counts.

Enjoy these recipes by Chefs Amy von Lange and Jerry Pellegrino. 

Hugh and Al share their picks for some great wines to quench your thirst this winter.

Northern Italian Wines

Jan 25, 2017

This week Hugh and Al give a nod to some wines from northern Italy.

When Al was a kid there were few things his parents fixed to eat that impressed him. He said his dad's Thanksgiving turkey was a knock-out, and his mom's homemade fudge got his attention. But when his dad suddenly, out of nowhere, whipped up a couple dozen donuts from scratch, he was impressed. And Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Schola Cooking School, shows us that you don't have to go out to Dunkin Donuts to satisfy that particular craving.

Winter Beers

Jan 11, 2017

Recommendations 

Bellhaven "Wee 90" Scottish Ale ***

(Dark, rich, lively, complex, very malty, excellent)

McEwan's Scottish Ale **1/2

(Warm and comfortable, a cozy brew for chilly weather)

Harviestoun "Old Engine Oil" Black Ale **

(Dark, thick and tasty, but not terribly heavy)

Heavy Seas "21" Anniversary ale, Imperial Rye ESB (pint bottle)

(Unique, robust, rye influence, high in ABV but supple)

Fuller's ESB   **1/2

(All about sweet malt flavors in a full bodied format)

Hugh and Al on their new favorites from Sardinia and Sicily.

Veggie Stews

Jan 4, 2017

In keeping with last week's show about New Year's Resolutions, I have personally resolved to eat more all-vegetable meals this coming year.  So I have surfed through the internet and found a treasure trove of recipes that would appeal to me personally.  And as Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Schola Cooking School observes, winter is actually a great time to whip up some veggie stews and soups.

Although some people may think that Beef Wellington is hopelessly passé in today's sleek, modern culinary environment, I seriously doubt they would turn up their snarky noses at a plate of this great holiday tradition.  And as fancy as Beef Wellington is, it isn't terribly difficult to make.

A Rundown of Riojas

Dec 14, 2016

Cellar Notes brings you a range of rioja wines.  

The Humble Pot Pie

Dec 13, 2016

Back in the 40's when the old Howard Johnson's chain added pot pie to their standard menu, you know that it had become an American icon.  This classic example of comfort food is both simple and satisfying.  And as Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Schola Cooking School can testify, as simple as pot may be, there are lots of little twists and turns you can explore as you make it.

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