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I see that Instant Pot has just released a new model that doesn't have a pressure-cook function.

And the point of that is WHAT?

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Chicken with morel cream sauce.  Whoever's idea it was to substitute Madeira for dry white wine in the sauce is pretty smart.  Oh wait, it was me!  (NOTE TO WILF:  Verrmouth Blanc would have worked well, too.)

Steamed white asparagus on the side.

That chicken with morels was (figuratively) screaming for a Jura Chardonnay, so I decided to (figuratively) shut it up by complying.

2018 Michel Gahier Chardonnay "Les Follasses"

We all know the Gahier story:  vineyards next to Puffeney's; when Puffeney decided to retire, he would have given his vineyards to Gahier, whom he greatly esteemed, had Gahier only asked; but Gahier was too reticent so Puffeney instead sold them for a large sum to the Burgundy D'Angervilles.  Who knows if that's true?  (Seems hard to believe.)  But in any event, Gahier can really make wine (and D'Angerville's Pelikan is good too, so let a hundred flowers blossom).

This is one of Gahier's more sous voile efforts.  So those of us who love that bitter, nutty sous voile flavor can rejoice in it.  The morels sure liked it, I'll tell you that.

But, in keeping with Gahier's famous if possibly apocryphal reticence, Gahier's wines are always very balanced.  So while this definitely has the sous voile flavor accents, they don't dominate:  you would never mistake this for a sherry.  They just make the lemony slatey flinty (lotsa minerals here) Chardonnay more interesting.

The more Gahier I drink, the more I come to really respect him.  Like Jacques Puffeney did.

 

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Oh, and just cuz I think it's such a good product, let me give a shout-out to the Joyce Farms Semi-Boneless Poulet Rouge this main dish was made from.  QPR through the roof!

(Yeah yeah thanks to joethefoodie for turning me on to it.)

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The end of the faux Vietnamese roast porcelet collar (but not its gravy, which lives to see another day).  This time I had it over rice!  With a nasturtium leaf/ramp salad with a (Le Boite Isphahan) vinaigrette.

I just couldn't do another Chardonnay with this.  The prevalence of the Meyer lemons in the pork gravy made me wonder about a Sauvignon Blanc.

2016 Domaine du Carrou (Dominique Roger) Sancerre

This was good with the gravy:  the sharp fruit of the wine went well with the modified-sharp fruit of the gravy.  Not that great with the pork itself:  there's a reason that Loire Sauvignon Blanc doesn't spring to mind as a roast pork pairing.  Not round enough, I'd say.  Too angular.  Maybe for this experiment I should have gone with a Bordeaux Blanc.  Shit:  now I think of this.

This is a good enough Sancerre, though.

Oddly, it has me wondering about Sancerre as a hot dog pairing:  the sharp fruit might complement the sharp sausage spice.  I don't think I've tried that yet.

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Artisanal Jersey Pork Roll (by something called the New England Charcuterie Company -- Daniel is gagging already) in the typical breakfast sandwich (but for dinner) : egg, cheese, ketchup, on a kaiser roll.  Except the eggs were duck eggs, the cheese was Chaseholm Stella Vallis, and I spiced the ketchup (some artisanal effort --- but from Jersey, so it's OK) up with Piri Piri sauce (lots of Portuguese people in New Jersey) (I mean:  Dave Santos) (I mean:  Dave Santos's Mom) and dried Szegedi Paprika.  Oh, and the kaiser roll was organic -- but I don't think that offends too much.  I was actually worried I had spiced up the ketchup too much (I had a heavy hand with the Piri Piri sauce) -- but the other stuff in the sandwich could more than take it.

Since it was such a hit last night, I repeated the raw nasturtium leaf/ramp salad -- but with more ramps and different seasoning in the vinaigrette (La Boîte Coquelicot this time).

This was obviously getting a Gamay.  But since in bowling we call a strike where the ball hits the pins on the opposite side from the usual a "Jersey strike" (I'm seriously told that in Jersey they call that a "Brooklyn strike"), I pulled out a Gamay from the Loire rather than Beaujolais.

2019 Les Vins Contes (Olivier Lemasson) Gama-Sutra

I guess the first thing to say about this wine is that it's stupidly delicious.  I was worried I was drinking it too early -- even Beaujolais wants a little age these days -- but there is nothing to this wine but fresh laser-sharp fruit.  Don't get me wrong:  it's wine, not Beaujolais Nouveau grape juice.  But it's all fruit.  Happy fruit.  Exuberant fruit.  Joyous fruit.  (And that touch of manurey muck at the finish that lets you know you're drinking a natural wine.)

There are just about no tannins here.  Maybe all the fat in that sandwich (and boy was there a lot!) wanted some.  But then the wine would have been heavier, and what this delicious but inconsequential food wanted was a delicious but inconsequential wine.

Righto!

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The only pork roll sandwiches I'd had before were at the FiDi branch of the Jersey Mike's chain.  I'd be perfectly willing to believe anyone who told me they were inferior specimens.

But I can say pretty definitively that this one tonight was a lot better.

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Ivan Orkin has given me the idea of what to do with my next batch of pork roll (I had to buy a BIG chunk).

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Very slow-roasted Wild Alaskan King salmon, with a bunch of ingredients that don't normally socialize cuz they don't live near other, but seemed like they'd like each other if introduced:  Meyer lemon, cape gooseberries, and ramps, over a bed of ficoïde glaciale (my last, you'll be happy to know) with spruce tips.

Don't hate me, but this was a wild elaboration of an Alison Roman recipe.  And it was, if I may say, wildly successful.  (Luckily, cuz I accidentally made twice as much of the topping as I needed -- I should have seen that coming -- so when I have the other half of this salmon fillet in a couple of days, I'm just going to have to repeat this dish (albeit with a different green in the bed).)

I didn't want to have another Chardonnay (an obvious choice).  At first, I planned on a Bordeaux Blanc:  I thought Sauvignon Blanc would complement the stuff I was putting on top of the salmon, but that a pure SB would be too sharp for the salmon itself.  But when I thought about how the spruce tips would taste with the lemons, I pivoted to a Sancerre:  sharp, I realized, is exactly what I wanted.

So I ended up opening another bottle of something I had just a few days ago.

2016 Domaíne du Carrou (Dominique Roger) Sancerre

Yeah, this is what this dinner wanted.

The grapefruity start, then the slate coming after:  it tied the disparate flavor elements in the food together.

 

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The leftovers of that chicken with morels.  With the end of my white asparagus (steamed to death because -- let's be honest -- it's best that way) (with some melted butter because -- let's be honest -- it's best that way).

This time I decided on a Pinot Noir.

2007 Becker Estate Pinot Noir

This is the entry-level cuvée from one of Germany's preeminent producers of Pinot Noir (this was one of the first vintages where he didn't label it "Spätburgunder").  I bought several bottles, I recall.  I must have wanted to see how how it would age, and so must have stashed one of them in the back of beyond section of my home wine storage "system".  There's no other explanation for my still having a bottle, much less its being where I found it.

It turns out it couldn't age quite this much.  It had that syrupy character that wine develops when it passes its prime.  Still, especially after the wine had taken its time to open up, there was a lot of nice fruit here -- and a bit (not a lot) of nice forest-floor muck, too.

This wine may have been a steal at around $15.  But it was more of a steal when drunk a few years ago.

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The other half of that wild King salmon fillet, very slow roasted with the other half inadvertently left over of the Meyer lemon/cape gooseberry/ramp topping I had made earlier this week (I had been SO planning to use the second half of the fillet to finish off my morels) (but you'll see what I do instead tomorrow).  On a bed of wild arugula and our old friend citrus ferns, with spruce tips strewn about.

Sometimes -- often -- usually -- you see that the obvious pairing is obvious for a reason.  So this got the White Burgundy it was clearly calling for (if not quite the White Burgundy it wanted).

2016 André Bonhomme Mâcon Villages "Vielles Vignes"

This modest village wine punches above its weight for sure.  But nobody's going to confuse it with a Great Wine.  It's a very good quaff, is all.

It did have what this dish wanted -- if not in the depth the dish would have preferred.  Meaning:  lemon.  Meaning:  slate/minerals.  Meaning (circling back to the opening):  a touch of more exotic fruit to go along with the lemon.

So nothing very exciting.  But it got the job done.

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Chicken fried rabbit loin, with a buttermilk-morels-ramp gravy.  Sautéed wild arugula with smoked jalapeños on the side.

When I was first contemplating this dinner, I thought I'd make a rabbit schnitzel.  But I eventually concluded that chicken-fried rabbit would be more fun.  (You have to understand that, as someone of partial Austrian descent whose family has never lived anywhere in the U.S. other than New York, chicken-fried is more exotic to me than schnitzel is.)  And as soon as I decided t make that, the wine pairing became obvious.

2019 Les Vins Contés (O. Lemasson) Poivre et Sel

Mostly Grolleau, with a sizeable chunk of Gamay and a smaller dash of Pineau d'Aunis.  From the Loire, obvs.

A light red -- but a spicy one.  And lively as hell.

Slight fizz.  Which with the fried food was perfect.

Yeah, it's sour, like the natural wine it is.  But I think you'd have to be a sourpuss yourself to reject it.

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Faux Vietnamese omelette, using the detritus of my faux Vietnamese porcelet collar, together with other stuff lurking in my fridge.  It was fauxlicious!

On the side, raw wild arugula with soy sauce and benne seeds.

2014 Domaine Cornu-Camus Bourgogne Aligoté

I chose this cuz it's lemony, but thinner than Chardonnay and less assertive than Sauvignon Blanc.

There are better Aligotés than this (and I have some).  But given that this dinner was as likely as not to be actively disgusting, I didn't want to chance wasting one.

This is fine for what it is.  Maybe, at the advanced age of 6, missing some of the tingling vitality of its youth.  But it still has some nice lemony fruit, and then a fairly (but not amazingly) long set of minerals.

I'm still not convinced that Aligoté is as great as its current acolytes would have it.  There is a much better kind of white wine made in Burgundy.  But I'm beginning to see that it shouldn't be dismissed out of hand.

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The same kind of produce-bin-emptying Spring allium pasta that everybody else has been making.

Steamed agretti on the side (this time I figured out how much to steam it).  This is really good stuff.  And, before you trim it, it looks like Willie Nelson!

I had no deeply felt belief that a Bordeaux Blanc would be good with this.  But I deeply felt belief that the bottle chilling in my fridge had to leave.

2015 Chateau Turcaud Blanc

This perennial overperformer didn't fail to overperform last night.

This is sub-$20 wine that does everything good wines do.  It's layered.  It's complex.  Does it have the finesse of a Pavillon Rouge?  No, of course not.  But it really gets the job done.

And, actually, it was probably one of the better possible pairings here.  The Sauvignon Blanc was good with all the alliums, and the Semillon gave it a little roundness to go with the cheese and (I feel stupid saying this, but I really do mean it) the wheat in the pasta.

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Lamb osso bucco.  (Bonner will be happy to know that I cooked it in my combi oven.  Since going to a play tonight consisted of sitting in front of my desktop in the next room from my kitchen.)  Made with another of D'Artagnan's gifts to the solo diner, the volcano lamb shank.

Over Pencil Cob Grits, to try to maintain the illusion this was interesting cooking.

2013 Poggio al Sole "Seraselva"

I don't usually see the point of Bordeaux-blend Super Tuscans.  But if any meal ever called for one, it was tonight's lamb osso busco.

This is an honorable wine.  It doesn't taste just like a Bordeaux:  it's a little fruitier and livelier.  But it certainly comes across as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot -- just in a guise that's somewhere between Bordeaux and Old Skool New World.

With a dish like this, it really worked.  A Bordeaux would've been too subtle.  An Old Skool New World would have been too shouty.  But this was just right.  And there's a reason that people have always drunk the Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend with lamb.

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