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But/and I do have to ask, did RAMPS make an unheralded appearance this week?   We outlanders expect more notice than this.

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No no the ramps had been ground into the pasta. You know, like spinach or nettle pasta.

 

Until 2030 or so, there’s no way you’re getting fresh ramps here in February.

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No no the ramps had been ground into the pasta. You know, like spinach or nettle pasta.

 

Until 2030 or so, there’s no way you’re getting fresh ramps here in February.

Won't be here then.   Do enjoy.

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It's funny.  When voyager empties her pantry, she comes up with these fresh salubrious meals that make you feel healthier just reading about them.

 

When I clean out my larder, I come up with these heavy heavy meals that would send most of you running away screaming -- although they're just what I like.

 

What did I have here tonight?  I had a leftover portion of restaurant cassoulet that, if I didn't eat it now, would have walked itself back to the restaurant and jumped into the kitchen garbage pail.  I had some leftover (housemade) game crumbs and bread sauce.  I had some bacon that I'd bet most of you would think was already past it -- but my standards are very low.  And I had (and still have) some celery that's not getting any more sightly.

 

So, the cassoulet reheated in a hot oven with the game crumbs on top.  (I myself thought the game crumbs made the cassoulet even better here than it was in the restaurant -- and, of course, this is the type of dish that benefits from some refrigerator time [if not as much as I gave it].)  I fried the bread sauce in some bacon grease, and put the bacon on top.  Don't knock this till you've tried it.  The celery I braised; I'm getting very good at that.

 

So I liked this meal (if I wake up alive tomorrow).

 

Now this would all call for a Big Hearty Wine.  But I'd just come home from an exhilarating, mind-blowing electronic music concert, and I just wasn't in the mood.

 

So I had the light version of a Big Hearty Wine.

 

2016 L'Effet Papillon

 

This Côtes Catalanes is made by the folks who make Le Roc des Anges.  Le Roc des Anges is, while wholly organic so far as I know, a Big Wine beloved by the people who love Big Wines.  I find it overbearing.

 

So for people like me, they make this Little Version.  I'd bet they'd say it's for summer quaffing.  But it's what I wanted on this cold February night.

 

Now don't get me wrong.  This isn't anything like a thin natural wine (my general preference).  It's just that it doesn't enter your mouth as a semi-solid, as its big brothers do.  This wine leaves you some breathing room.

 

Still, it's not a light wine.  The copious fruit is dark:  the cherries are black cherries; the currants are blackcurrants; the berries are blackberries.  The very slight undertow is dark.

 

So heavy enough for this dinner, light enough for my mood.  I wouldn't want to drink even this lightened version of Le Roc every day, though.

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More of that ramp fussili with creme fraiche, black trumpet mushrooms, bacon, and tasso.  More raw celery on the side.

 

I wanted a white with this this time.  My initial thought was a Jura.  I couldn't find any.  But I found this orange entry -- testing my belief that orange wines age.

 

2004 Vodopivic Vitovska

 

Tastes like you'd expect, 15 years on.  The spice comes to the fore; the acid is stitched into the fruit, which is reticent but present (no explosions of stone fruit and melon).  There's a smoothness that you don't get in this type of wine when younger.

 

Entirely satisfactory:  it indeed does age.

 

Whether it was the best choice for this food is another matter.

 

But really, what would you drink this with?

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Leftovers of the meats from a Salvadorean restaurant mixed grill:  pork, chicken, sausage.  There was some leftover rice, too -- but since I reheated it with homemade poultry stock, I can almost claim it as my own.  I made my own beans (none were left over from the restaurant), and I had just the beans for the job:  RG Domingo Rojos (not particularly distinctive, but so good as red-beans-and-rice) (and boy do they throw off a broth).  Since it's Mardi Gras week -- I can't remember what day it falls on this year -- I put some tasso in the beans. 

!   I'm not proud of this, but leftover Salvadorean restaurant wedge lettuce and way-out-of-season tomato salad on the side.

 

This seemed to me to call out for a Beaujolais.  Not that it takes much to get me to pop a Beaujolais.

 

2015 Domaine de Robert Fleurie "Cuvée Tradition"

 

My house favorite producer of my house favorite type of wine.  I drink almost as much Domaine de Robert Beaujolais (they produce this Fleurie and a Morgon) as water.  If I were ever to meet winemaker Patrick Brunet, I'd have to force myself to refrain from kissing him on the lips.

 

Brunet certainly didn't blow it in the great (but not as great as the preceding year) 2015 vintage.  Like most 2015 Beaujolais, this is a little big for this genre.  But it's Beaujolais:  it's just so alive in the glass.  The tart fruit practically leaps out and says "hi" at the start.  Then mint and herbs, and finally some sparkiling acid for a nice sendoff.

 

I could drink pools of this.  Oops:  I do.

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In view of the Instant Pot thread, I guess I should note that the (supernal) (really!) beans were slow-cooked.

 

The RG way:  an hour of high, then seven+ hours of low, then an hour of high uncovered.

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Roast partridge with wine/shallot sauce.  (Guess what I made the sauce in!)  Smashed celariac/parsnip on the side -- and, to make it seem like it might resemble a green vegetable, I put in some celery stalks as well!

 

I'd read that partridge dries out.  So I brined it.

 

The partridge was gamier than I expected.  (This is NOT a complaint!)  It's also meatier than, say, wood pigeon.  (ALSO not a complaint!)

 

This seemed to call for a New World Pinot Noir, in the sauce and in the glass.  Easy enough.

 

2016 Benoni "Classique"

 

I seem to have more of this than I can ever remember buying.  But fine.

 

I like Central Coast Pinots, and I don't care who knows it.  This isn't a great one -- but it's certainly better than its $20 price tag would lead you to expect.  Or, maybe not:  maybe this is a good example of why $20 is the sweet spot for inexpensive wine.

 

Big burst of cherries up top -- black rather than red.  What comes next, as is so often the case with lower-level Pinots, is rather undifferentiated -- but at least it's there.  Maybe a little more acid on the finish than you'd ideally want (this isn't a Beaujolais; the fruit isn't that racy). 

 

Quite enjoyable for a weeknight wine.

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