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I read all these threads about these fabulous dinners people have at home, with photogenic, obviously labor-intensive food, and legendary bottles.   I can't speak for anybody else on this board, bu

If I'm not enjoying wine when I'm seventy, then my nieces and nephews are going to be stuck with a shitload of wine they won't know what to do with.   Or my next wife, who by then should be almost

Whaddya mean? That's more than half the meals I serve. Tossed with great care, I might add.

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The only thing keeping me from going Full Portuguese is that language they purport to speak.

So I put on some Freitas Branco and ladled some of the chouriço and peppers and onions I'd been cooking all day onto a Portuguese roll.  (It looked like one of Daniel's delicous-looking saitan sandwiches -- except, you know, with pork sausage.)  An ear of corn on the side (I know that corn's not indigenous to the Iberian peninsula -- but then neither are tomatoes, and there were certainly enough of them in the sausage mixture).  And of course sautéed kale.

I decided to forego a knee-jerk Portuguese wine pairing and thought hard about what I thought would be good with that sandwich.  I decided on a Syrah -- but only one with some insousiance.

2017 Hervé Souhaut Syrah.

Make no mistake, this has all the earmarks of the more extreme sort of natural wine.  But it takes you back to the early days of the movement, cuz it's pretty much pure fun.

Underneath all the funk (and there is LOTS), the fruit is recognizably Syrah:  the porkiness, the pepperiness, the dark berries.  But how many Syrahs can claim to be racy?  This goes down like soda pop -- and the slight fizz at the end was perfect with a sandwich dinner.

A wonderful, bracing wine.  And (if I say so myself) an ace pairing.

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I had a so-called "Piemontese" strip steak in my freezer.   So of course I made a tagliata.  I would like to personally thank raw mustard greens (which I far prefer) for filling in for the traditional raw arugula (still dressed with olive oil and lemon juice, and topped with shaved parmigiana and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar) as the contorno.

I've been, and remain, pretty unconvinced by so-called "Piemontese" beef -- at least the stuff that's grown here.  Its supposed natural tenderness too often translates, to me, into natural mushiness (without the insane marbling of the similarly mushy Kobe beef to compensate).  Now if someone would market "Piemontese" veal here -- to my mind, the real Piemontese thing is one of the glories of the food world -- that would be worth attending to.

Still, grilled charred rare-side-of-medium-rare steak drizzled with balsamic vinegar:  what's not to like?

The wine pairing was kind of a cheat.

2013 Poggio al Sole "Sarselva"

Super-Tuscans have fallen completely out of fashion.  And, at least in theory, they should have.  The thought of pulling up local grapes to grow Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot is sickening.

But but but.  Those grapes taste different in Tuscany than they do in France.  They have the same basic flavor, of course -- but a somewhat rounder, more welcoming affect.  Without, however, any New World overkill.  The better Super-Tuscans (which does not only mean the very expensive ones:  this was somewhere around $40) are very good wines (if Old Skool "Modern" in style).

So really, if you want a pairing for an Italian steak, this is no worse than a Brunello or a Barolo.  It manages to be both elegant and lively.  It tastes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot -- there's no getting around it -- but rather than retiring to the drawing room for a cigar after dinner, it's ready to sit around the piazza all night arguing heatedly with friends, whom it then kisses sloppily when it's time to go home.

I think you can tell I'm enjoying this.

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Reheated leftover Bacalhau à Brás.  Sautéed kale on the side.

In Portugal, they drink red wine with this.  Full-bodied reds.  I've always been skeptical of that -- but you've got to figure they have some idea what they're doing (even if they refuse to articulate any consonants in explaining why).  I couldn't bring myself to go with a really full-out full-bodied red.  I went with an upper-medium weight wine with some flavor accents (olives, believe it or not) that picked up on the fish dish.

2015 Domaine Saint Amant Côtes du Rhône "La Rouyère"

This is a Southern Rhone -- but it's nevertheless fully half Syrah (the other half being Grenache).  And, because the grapes are grown at a very high altitude, the wine almost tastes and feels more Northern.

It's a pretty nice wine (although it's beyond any point where it would keep getting better with age).  To me it tastes more of Syrah than Grenache, although the dark spicy high structure of the Syrah is tempered by a bit of that Grenache fruity approachability.

I'm still unconvinced by a pairing of this with a salt cod dish lacking tomatoes, though.

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Fusilli Casarecci alla Norma.  Summertime's not my favorite -- but when I eat stuff like this I think it is

For the first time in my life, I correctly made only one serving.  While satisfying as a showing of maturity and control, however, that's really a Phyrric victory:  everyone knows the leftovers taste better (and you don't have to make them from scratch).

Sautéed porcellana (that's purslane to you) on the side.

The wine choice didn't detain me long.

2013 Occhipinti SP68

Once you get past the obligatory mention of how this now costs way too much, you get to the unassailable truth that it's pretty great.

Dark dark cherry 'n plum fruit (like, really dark).  Medium light body (which contrasts interestingly with the full flavor).   I guess that the contrasting lightness and heaviness come from blending Nero d'Avola with Frappato.

Either this dish was made for this wine, or this wine was made for this dish.  Doesn’t matter which. 

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If there's one dish that was obviously gonna be better left over, it was those chouriço and peppers.  And boy were they.  (Good thing:  I have two more servings left.)  On a Portuguese roll, with fried potatoes on the side.

I spent a solid span of time thinking what would be good with them.  I came up with the idea of a juicy Malbec.  Well, not too juicy.

2019 Les Vins Contés (Olivier Lamasson) Cheville de Fer

Natural Côt from the Loire.  This is supposed to be Lamasson's most "serious" wine.  But don't let that make you think that it tastes less "natural" the rest of his line.  This has all the hallmarks:  the funk, the slight fizz, the laser-focused fruit sitting underneath it all.

Love it myself.

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I truly believe that many of us are going to come out of This better people.

For example, in Former Times, it never would have occurred to me to use leftover roast squash and tomatoes in a frittata.  I just didn't think like that.  Now, when just about every meal I have is home-cooked -- and my larder is much fuller than usual -- I have to think like that.  What's more, frittatas are virtually fuck-up proof.

(I'd like to say, though, that other than my audio amplification upgrade, the best, most effectual, most life-enhancing upgrades I've made during Quarantine are to my ovenware.  What a difference!)

Other stuff went into the frittata, obvs.  On the side, raw mustard greens dressed with an herbed vinaigrette.

I served it on the table in the cast iron baking dish, taking slices out as I went along.  It was nice.

I know it seems like I drink the same wines over and over, but this was obviously going to get a Sancerre, right?

2017 Domaine du Carrou (Dominque Roger) Sancerre "Chêne Marchand"

I mean, there's a reason Sauvignon Blanc is the obvious go-to for this frittata.  Cuz it's perfect with it is why.  The gooseberries and grass and acid are perfect with tomatoes and perfect with eggs.  They kind of like the basil that was in this as well.  The other stuff in the frittata, well, it all was fine together.

This is one of Dominique Roger's grander Sancerres.  I guess I think it's better than its little brothers -- but it's still just a good down-the-middle expression of the type (which, to be clear, is very far from a worthless thing).  If you like Sancerre, you'll think this is a very nice example.  If you don't like Sancerre . . . what's wrong with you?

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Couldn't agree more about frittatas. We always had a done a pretty good job using frittatas as a good use of leftovers  but now it is in overdrive.  Breakfast this weekend was a spicy shrimp and poblano pepper frittata from a leftover dinner. Some avocado and cilantro and who needs Cosme. 

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1 hour ago, voyager said:

It took a pandemic to teach NY hipsters to learn about international peasant larder cooking?   Welcome to the club.

Most of my cooking is peasant larder cooking.

Just, previously, not this light.

(And, I guess, different peasants.)

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