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Nothing I make excites me more than HOT DOGS!  Excites me as in I can't wait all day for dinner.  I get as excited by hot dogs as Susie.  If I were a less responsible person, I'd eat them a lot more frequently.  But I want to LIVE.

Grilled.  The best way to make them.  (Jersey deep fried gets honorable mention.)

Fresh cranberry beans, with lots of garlic and thyme and a little Fresno chili, on the side.  And a gorgeous round zucchini, raw, sliced, kissed with oil and vinegar and buried in dill.

In my quest for a hot-dog wine pairing, I don't think I've yet tried the popular favorite Grüner Veltliner.

2017 Nikolaihof Wachau Grüner Veltliner "Zwickl"

This must be the most fun Grüner I've ever had.  Natural.  Fizz but no funk.  The fruit -- apples, weird stone fruit -- just flies (rereading that phrase, I see how unfortunate the conjunction of "fruit" and "flies" is); none of the slight heaviness you sometimes get in a Grüner.  The herbs jump in joyfully.

It just tastes like a typical good Grüner -- only funner.

The most fun is how you can drink this unfiltered wine.  The sediment falls to the bottom.  So you can drink the first half of the bottle as a "normal" clear wine.  Then, give it a shake, and the second half is a cloudy, textured "natural".

This is a good one.

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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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Baked halibut with a lobster mushroom cream sauce (with lotsa tarragon).

I think lobster mushrooms look a lot more special than they taste.  But they sure do look special.

Sautéed purslane on the side.

Another pairing that took no thought.  What else you gonna have with fish with a mushroom cream sauce than . . . .

2016 Domaine de Terres de Chatenay "La Cuvée de Béracius"

An OK+ Mâcon-Villages, nothing more.  Nothing wrong with it, but not as good as my various fave cheap Mâcon-Villages.

Pears, I guess, some melon, some slate, not as much acid as you'd expect. 

 Perfect with the lobster mushrooms inasmuch as the label is more interesting than the wine is.


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So the steak I thought I'd defrosted, with which I'd planned to make a Montreal Steak, turned out to be . . . a duck breast!  (Don't ask.)  Now that wasn't totally a bad thing, as I had some sour cherries that needed to be eaten, from which I made a nice sauce.  (Good thing I decided not to have them for lunch!)

The zucchini-and-tomatoes (and pepper!) that I planeed to have with the steak wouldn't go as well with the duck.  But those zucchinis and especially that tomato weren't going to last past today.  So there they were.

The wine I had chosen for the Montreal Steak wouldn't have been right, so I had to call an audible.  I swore not to knee-jerk into a Pinot Noir.   It seemed to me a Rioja might be nice.

2005 CVNE Viña Real Reserva "Oro"

And it was.

I'm not sure if I'd call this "traditionalish" or "modernish".  It's somewhere in between.  That turns out to not be a bad place.

There's oak -- but happily not a lot of it.  It would be nice if there were more fruit (my advice to anyone having any bottles of this -- very much including myself -- is to drink up).  But the fruit that's there is very pleasant, black cherry and currant as you'd expect.  There are more tannins left than you'd think, which is odd -- and which becomes a bit of a problem because the fruit has receded so.  This isn't horribly disharmonious -- but it's slightly so.

Secondary flavors of leather, tobacco:  you know.

I'm niggling a lot here.  This was in no way unpleasant to drink.  To the contrary.  It wasn't great, though.

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9 hours ago, Sneakeater said:

So the steak I thought I'd defrosted, with which I'd planned to make a Montreal Steak, turned out to be . . . a duck breast!  (Don't ask.) 

Seriously - you don't label shit?

Masking tape and a sharpie are your's and your freezer's friend.

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Lamburgers!  One with ramp kimchee, the other with PA Dutch pepper jam and goat Gouda (with a grilled garlic scape).

Zucchini-and-tomato on the side.

Didn't think at all about the pairing.

2018 Domaine Charvin Côtes-du-Rhône

If you like natural wine, and you like Côtes-du-Rhône, this is for you.

All the friendly fruit-and-garriguiness of a CDR, with the sharp focus and funk of a natural.

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It's easy to see why Portuguese crianças beg their mamães to make chouriçiso and pepper sandwiches:  they're great!

Raw radishes on a bed of their greens on the side.

I worked all day and didn't have the energy to think about the wine pairing.

2018 Casal do Ramilo "Jackpot"

This blend of Lisboa grapes that mean nothing to any of us is simply a good inexpensive quaff.

Dark berry fruit at the front, and then some herbs.  Nothing too deep:  just a lot of easy pleasure.  And at less than $10 a bottle -- why didn't I buy more of this? -- a great bargain!

Perfect with a meal like this.

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Don't say I make the same things over and over.  This time, I baked the flounder and tomatoes rather than poached them.  (Some raw Japanese lettuce equivalent on the side, dressed with an herbed vinaigrette.)

And don't say I drink the same things, either.  This time, instead of the knee-jerk Sauvignon Blanc pairing, I popped a Sauvignon Blanc/Sauvignon Gris blend.  So there.

2019 Les Vins de la Madone Suavignons Gris et Blanc sur Volcan Urfé

Grown in the western Rhône-Alps -- but very close to the Loire.  So we get these characteristic Loire grapes.

Sauvignon Gris is a Sauvignon Blanc mutation.  On its own, I find it rather lackluster compared to its sensational parent.  But this mother-and-child reunion really hits the spot.

VERY acidic.  The acid almost leads.  Sharp grapefruit.   And, in a way, that's all there is.  But it's so focused, so tinglingly there, that it's enough.

Not a "major" wine.   No way.  But a very enjoyable one.

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So tonight the steak I thought I had defrosted for a Montreal Steak turned out to be boneless Wagyu short ribs.  Ooops.

So I made a braise.  What's funny -- you might even say ironic -- is that as unseasonable as braised beef might seem, this dish served to use up a lot of things sitting around my larder that needed to be consumed.  Tomatoes, obvs:  faced with this gorgeous bounty, I couldn't stop myself from overbuying at the two markets I frequent.  And celery (that was REALLY on its last legs!).  And carrot.  And mushrooms.  (The onion and garlic didn't have to go -- but they did.)

Served over some potatoes, mashed, I also had to use up.  (Adirondack purples, I discovered when I cut them up -- which certainly added an element of visual interest to this rather plain dish.)

Steamed green beans (with plenty of butter) on the side.

Is there anything I like more than braised fatty beef?  No, there is not.

And it was not hard to think of something to drink with it.  (Don't tell anyone, but I put some in the braising liquid, too:  Lucullus and all that.)

1990 Prunotti Canubi

Pretty good vintage up there in Barolo, right?

My feelings about aged Barolo parallel my feelings about braised beef:  there is nothing I like more.  You get the tar-and-roses stuff:  does it for me every time.  And, then, in a good old Barolo like this, there's the smell and taste of mushrooms (just like in my braise). 

These days, Prunotti (now owned by Antinori) are thought of as Modernists.  But this 30-year-old wine doesn't taste that way.  I don't know if it's because they changed their approach sometime after this vintage, or if (as I suspect) the differences between "Modern" and "Traditional" diminish as the wine ages.

It really doesn't get much better.

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Say what you want about Summer, it's the only season where you could consistently have as insanely as good a dinner as I just had requiring virtually no preparation.

Spaghetti with cherry tomato "sauce" (not raw -- but not much more cooking than just throwing the cherry tomatoes into some olive oil with some [lots of] garlic scapes and seasoning).  Some Japanese lettuce equivalent dressed with an herbed vinaigrette on the side.

Scott Conant says he likes Roero Arneises with spaghetti with tomato sauce.  If anyone should know, it's him.

2017 Bricco della Ciliegie

See, I'd have thought Arneis -- a wine I don't particularly like that much -- is too round and unctuous, not sharp enough, to complement a simple tomato sauce.  I like it with Carbonara:  a whole different thing.

But damned if Conant doesn't have a point.  The big flavor (and texture) of the wine (usually I think they're a little too big) stood up to the flavor virtually bursting out of the tomatoes.  Instead of Sauvignon Blanc's going head-to-head with tomatoes' acid with even more acid, the Arneis kind of dances around it.  Well, not dances:  lumbers around it.  But still.

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What with tomatoes and peppers looking so sensational these days, OF COURSE I'm going to repeat Pipérade.  I changed up the recipe this time to something I think is even more Basqauthentic (although I'm pretty sure actual Basques wouldn't have put it all on milk bread).  On the side -- wait for it -- raw Japanese lettuce-equivalent dressed with an herbed vinaigreete (this time using Sherry vinegar, though).

This would really probably be best with a white.  But they make pretty good reds in the region next door to the Basque Country, so I went there for one of them.

2009 López de Heredia Viña Cubilla

I'm going to go to my grave insisting that L de H's junior cuvée has gotten better and better as they've gone on making it.  This wine from a good Rioja vintage that is turning out to age pretty well is a good example.

Don't look for depth.  But if you want up-front pleasure, it's here in spades.  Not the light fruity kind:  this is very recognizably a Rioja.  It's just a very uncontemplative easy Rioja.  Maybe because of the rather large dose of Garnacha.  In any event, berries, then dust.  Hints of leather -- but really just hints.

But, I mean, you wouldn't want a deep complex wine with a light dinner like this.

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So I had some leftover flounder baked in tomato and some leftover zucchini sautéed with tomato.  Why not combine them to make a pasta topping?  To be sure, this is reheating, not cooking -- but after a late live streamed concert, what's so bad about that?

On the side, you'll be shocked to learn, the end of that Japanese lettuce equivalent, dressed as always with an herbed vinaigrette.  I had to make way for the rather spectacular greens I got at the Market this morning.

2018 Vini Balestri Valda Soave Classico

When I was becoming sentient, most of the Soave available in the U.S. was shit.  At first, I kind of liked it:  I mean, I was a teenager, what do you expect?  But when I became more discerning/pretentious in my late '20s, I couldn't help but notice that these were watery mass-produced wines.

So it's been gratifying over the last 20 or 25 years to see Soaves come into their own.  I don't know if standards in the region were raised, or if better bottlings became more readily available here.  But now you get these characterful white wines that are still a pleasure to drink.

This bottle was incredibly fragrant, and then had a sharp fruity flavor profile ending in nuts (and acid).  It could not have been a better pairing for this pasta I almost cooked.

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