The Rest of Us
Posted 11 May 2019 - 02:06 PM
Am sick as I remember that a year or so ago I paid $40 for ramp seeds which I put away until the proper planting season. They're still in the sack, and YOU're eating ramps. And YOU worry about failing memory.
It's not my circus,
not my monkeys.
Posted 13 May 2019 - 08:16 PM
Hey I just have to remember to wake up early on Saturday and cross the circle to the Market.
Posted 14 May 2019 - 05:27 AM
Cod and chorizo (and RAMPS) on a bed of white beans (RG Ayocote Blanco -- great, duh -- if you must know) with green garlic and more chorizo and RAMPS. What is thankfully the last of my flowering Russian kale, sautéed, on the side.
2017 Domaine du Colibri Petit Tour
This is a Ventoux rosé, a little bit more than two-thirds Grenache and a little bit less than one-third Cinsault. It's pretty good. I wish it were better.
The pale salmon color should have been a give-away. This has the reputation of being pretty meaty, but it's really pretty light (not on the alcohol, though, I'm sorry to say). You get a lot of strawberries at the start (which is more than I can say about the GAP Greenmarket so far, BTW), then herbs (thyme, mostly -- not really garrigue), then minerals (and how) (good for that!) and a shot of acid.
It wasn't bad. It was good. I just wish it were better.
Posted 14 May 2019 - 05:53 AM
I think I may be succeeding.
But I have to tell you, it was still a real thrill to smell the odor wafting through my apartment when I removed the cover from the beans-with-(lots and lots of)-RAMPS for the last hour or so of cooking tonight.
(Considering how much I spent on RAMPS at the Greenmarket last Saturday, it's a good thing I'm still enjoying them.)
Posted 15 May 2019 - 05:22 AM
This is another one of those meals that fall into The Rest of Us only because my cooking is so questionable (and, for a dish like this, my carving is even worse).
An odd combination of Spring and Fall: roast pheasant with tarragon and RAMP leaves inserted under the skin (first time I've done that), stuffed with tarragon and RAMPS. A brown sauce with tarragon and RAMP leaves (and brandy!). On the side, sautéed (after boiling) fiddleheads with RAMP bulbs.
This was very much a "tonight Lucullus dines with Lucullus" dinner. So, a very grand wine.
NV Abbatucci Cuvée Collection "Ministre Impérial"
This is from before Abbatucci or its importer started giving an indication of the vintage year on the back label of this wine, which puts it before (I think) 2011. In fact, I'm pretty sure I bought it sometime in the late oughts. Current vintages retail at $100 per bottle; this was rather less.
It is magnificent.
This Corsican wine is a blend of old native Corsican grapes. Aside from the usual biodynamic things, the winemaker plays contrapuntal Corsican vocal folk music (great stuff!) to the grapes in the vineyard as they're growing and to the wine in the cellar as it's fermenting: a sort of aural terroir. You absolutely can't argue with the results. Maybe the Viennese should start playing Strauss waltzes to their Gemischter Satz (maybe they already do).
The two principal grapes are local versions of ones we know from Tuscany: Sciaccarellu, which in Tuscany is called Mammolo, a secondary (if that) grape in the Chianti and Vino Nobile de Montepulciano blends; and Niellucciu, which in Tuscany is called Sangiovese, very much the primary grape in the Chianti and Vino Nobile de Montepulciano blends. Even those two grapes together, however, make up less than half the grape bill of this wine; the rest are obscure Corsican grapes (although for all I know, more of them are well known elsewhere under other names).
The main thing is, though, that this tastes nothing whatsoever like a Chianti or a Vino Nobile. It's smoky, which those are not (rather they're dusty). The dark fruit is blackberry rather than black cherry. But (at least in this stage of the wine's development) the fruit isn't close to being the point, as it's overborne by a veritable bouquet of herbs (lots of fennel: I guess those grapes do remember Tuscany!) and a bedrock of minerals. It is fascinating, highly complex -- and delicious.
This is not at all a heavy wine. It could not have paired better with the only sightly gamey (but very highly herbed) pheasant.
This fabulous bottle made Tuesday the best night of this week.
Posted 15 May 2019 - 06:07 AM
I should note that, given pheasant's reputation for toughness, I purposely undercooked this bird (a little).
If I don't post tomorrow, you know what happened.
Posted 18 May 2019 - 08:19 PM
My Private Chef friend, in response to my boasting about the spaghetti with RAMPS I was going to make with the preserved Meyer lemon she gave me (just in time to replace the ancient one I finished), mused, "Wouldn't that be good with some bottarga?" Bingo! That's why she's a Private Chef and I'm a schlub with a lot of wine to drink down.
SO: spaghetti with RAMPS, chili, preserved Meyer lemon (my friend's was MUCH more intense than the ones I'd bought from Franny's-by-way-of-Brooklyn-Larder) -- AND BOTTARGA!
On the side, steamed asparagus (the first time I've steamed asparagus in the Instant Pot, FWIW). If I were cooking for anyone else, I wouldn't have done this, so as to avoid a monochromatic flavor palette; but since it was just me, I put some bottarga on the asparagus as well. I mean, I HAD the bottarga, and it's GREAT on asparagus, right?
Fortunately, I didn't have to think even a little about the wine pairing.
2013 Occhipinti SP68 Bianca
This is still a really good wine.
A lot of complexity going on. Grapefruity citrus, bitter nuts, herbs: the flavors just course over your tongue in waves.
Posted 21 May 2019 - 03:58 AM
Roast pheasant with brown sauce (including some RAMP greens) (and the pheasant's liver, which I just found) (I never claimed to have a clue what I'm doing). White beans with chorizo, green garlic, and RAMPS. Sautéed garlic mustard with some green garlic (every time I eat one of these invasive species, I feel like someone ought to be paying me to do it, rather than the other way around) (but I like garlic mustard so much) (although you have to like bitter greens: Orik should stay away).
This time I went with the absolute obvious pairing.
2010 Domaine Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin "Vielle Vigne"
It's nice to drink a wine that's right in its spot. This village wine isn't going to win any prizes for Burgundy greatness, but it's right there.
You know what it tastes like? A good Burgundy village wine. The cherry fruit is nice, but not at all obvious. And then all the other stuff we like Burgundy for -- the 'shrooms, the herbs, the forest-floor muck -- comes in on schedule, not deep but there. This isn't complex -- but it isn't some simplistic candied Old Skool New World Pinot, either. It's what we like about Burgundy, minor league division. Monday night in a bottle.
Drink this NOW. It's there.
Posted 21 May 2019 - 04:55 AM
Throughout dinner, the wind coming in through the window kept blowing out my table candles. Until I just stopped trying.
If I were in a ghost movie, this would have been very scary.
Posted 25 May 2019 - 05:16 AM
"You should make savory French toast," my Private Chef friend mused when I told her how much I liked Lost Bread Co.'s milk bread. (She kept a straight face, but I'm sure that down inside she was convulsed with laughter at the comic genius of suggesting the use of Lost Bread to make pain perdu.) Knowing just what it would take to catch my interest, she added, "you could make it with RAMPS."
Ever since, she's been like, "where's the savory French toast?" Here. Thanks, Kristy.
Asparagus on the side. It might as well be Spring.
2014 Domaine Cornu-Camus Bourgogne Aligoté
I've been a somewhat reluctant passenger on the Aligoté train, probably because it's still easy to find some that aren't that good. (You think, all this needs is a little Crème de Cassis . . . . ) But you can't deny the great improvement in quality over the last decade or so in the better Aligotés. And with their minerals outweighing their fruit, they're just what we Wine Sheep are drinking these days.
This is a pretty good one. Not as good as the best -- but substantially better than the mediocrities.
What you get is a truly impressive shot of acid at the beginning. (Last night, a friend, tasting her first Chablis, remarked that it was "like a nice slap in the face". This is more like a sharp hostile one.) But after that, you get a very interesting panoply of different mineral flavors: slate (both wet and dry), limestone shale. (Not that I've ever tasted any of those things.) There's some grapefruit hanging around underneath (I've tasted grapefruit) -- but you never really experience it as more than an accent. Some sharp herbs.
I still don't consider this one of my very favorites. But it's good with dinners like this one.
Posted 25 May 2019 - 05:50 AM
I'm not sure I could distinguish between slate and limestone shale.