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At last:  I intended to defrost a steak -- and I DID!

Montreal steak (perhaps the best one ever made south of the 45th Parallel, if I may say).  On the side, (a fresh batch of) fresh cranberry beans, and Khaetnip Namul (I've just decided they go with delicatessen-like food) (and they do, they do!).

I long ago decided what I was going to drink with this long-planned meal, deferred time and again by my inability to correctly identify frozen steak in my freezer.

2019 Domaine Pierre-Olivier Bonhomme Le Telquel

Is there any doubt that this wine -- Gamay with a bit of Grolleau -- would be great with a Montreal steak?  (Cellar temp.)

I hate it when people faux-casually refer to wine as "juice".  But this wonderful wine really is juice.  It's grapey as hell.  Grapegrapegrape with a touch of pepper (the Schwartz's spice blend says "thank you") and then that appealing whiff of cowshit at the end, so you know you're not just drinking grape juice (really:  I'm serious) (OK, we can call it "funk" if you like that better).

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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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On 9/2/2020 at 9:16 AM, Anthony Bonner said:

I really actively disliked a lot of his wines that where coming out around that time - even in context of "high profile natural wine makers who might not know how to make wine yet" which was a surprisingly large cohort ten years ago.

there were a few of the early ones I liked a lot, there was a white on the ssam bar bottle list that was good and an early pairing at ko had a huge white I really liked at the time.

the early labels were basic enough that I was able to correctly identify where he went to undergrad the first time I saw one.

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Casareccia with short rib ragu.  Did I make this?  Man, this is just what I like.

On the side, another shot at that sautéed puntarelle with anchovies and garlic scapes.  I now know that, in sharp contrast to garlic, there is such a thing as too much anchovy.

2016 Gianni Doglia Barbera d'Asti

I've had other bottles of this wine, but this one just towers above them.  Bottle variation?  My mood?  Perfect point in aging?  Whatever:  I'm not going to look a gift glass in the rim.

As far as I can tell, this is Doglia's junior cuvée.  It's a good one:  the fruit comes on strong, red and black cherries and berries, at what seems to me to be at a hugely delicious peak.  A bouquet of herbs follows (more complex than you'd expect -- and very appealing), and then a shot of acid to bond with the tomatoes in the ragu.

For tonight, perfect.

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13 hours ago, Sneakeater said:

Casareccia with short rib ragu.  Did I make this?  Man, this is just what I like.

On the side, another shot at that sautéed puntarelle with anchovies and garlic scapes.  I now know that, in sharp contrast to garlic, there is such a thing as too much anchovy.

Impressive is an understatement.

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Halibut cheeks veracruzana.  I was very proud of myself when I went to my fishmonger to find a replacement for the salt cod this recipe calls for and fastened on the entirely inauthentic, but entirely delicious, halibut cheeks -- until I got home and remembered I had some salt cod in the refrigerator (how can you forget something like that?) (good thing that the whole point of salt cod is that it lasts forever).  Halibut cheeks are still delicious, though.

At least as I made it, this isn't a dish that seems like the leftovers will be better with a few days'  refrigerator time.  This seems like it requires a few days' refrigerator time.  Tonight, at least as I made it, the many flavors in this rather complex dish seemed like they were still at war with each other.  In a few days, they should reach an etente cordiale.  I can't wait.

On the side -- in the surprise absence from my larder of rice -- some pencil cob grits.  Maybe even better.

This is a Mediterranean-inflected dish -- how often do you see olives and capers in Mexican cooking? -- so maybe it called for a Mediterranean wine.  But it got an Atlantic one (on the thinking that this dish seems as Portuguese as anything else).

2017 António Marques da Cruz Serradinha Vinho Branca Arinto e Fernāo Pires

This wine mainly tastes of two things:  grapefruit, and the sea.

You could come up with worse flavor complements for this dinner.

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The Pisto Manchego I had planned for tonight was scutted by my unwillingness to wait on line a long time at the Greenmarket for squash last Saturday (and the inability of Union Market to supply a credible replacement).  Wait till next week!

Luckily, there was leftover short rib ragu to have with casareccia.  Fagiolini on the side.

2015 Lambardi Rosso di Montalcino

Surprisingly, the short rib ragu wasn't big enough for this wine.  The wine wanted a slab of meat, not pulled meat in a tomato sauce.

Nevertheless, you can drink just about any Tuscan 2015 and expect a good time (assuming it's of age, of course).  This is a big syrupy wine -- but it's good.   Deep black cherry fruit.  Deep Tuscan herbs.  Some smoke.

What this wine wants is a barely cooked T-bone with olive oil.  Maybe someday.

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Camarão na Cataplana!  Except I don't have a cataplana!  So really it was Camarão-na-Saucepan-cuz-I-Was-Too-Lazy-to-Drag-Out-My-Wok!  At least it was a Copper-Core saucepan, so it kept the copper element!

I don't know why the Portuguese don't include the chouriço component of this dish in its name.  It certainly made the dish, to my mind.

Once-fresh cranberry beans on the side.  This dinner had a pulse.

I'm almost certain an actual Portuguese person would drink a light red with this.  But the recipe calls for white wine in the gravy -- and I'm sure as hell not opening a bottle to use for cooking and not drinking the rest of it with dinner.

2017 João Pato (Duckman) Vinho Branco

As far as I can tell, João "Duckman" Pato is an imaginary family member conjured up by Luis Pato's non-Filipa daughter Maria and her dad to market wine they make together.

This is their basic white, made entirely from Bical (for all that means to any of us).  It has what I'm coming to see as the typical Portuguese natural white profile:  sharp grapefruity fruit, some salinity (even though Bairrada, where the wine is from, isn't on the coast), lotsa acid.  I like this profile.

I'm thinking Muscadet with the leftovers?  Or Aligote?

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On 9/6/2020 at 11:56 PM, Sneakeater said:

At least as I made it, this isn't a dish that seems like the leftovers will be better with a few days'  refrigerator time.  This seems like it requires a few days' refrigerator time.  Tonight, at least as I made it, the many flavors in this rather complex dish seemed like they were still at war with each other.  In a few days, they should reach an etente cordiale.  I can't wait.

Right-o!  Tonight the halibut cheeks veracruzana seemed full- and complexly flavored but harmonious.

A traditional way to eat leftover pescado veracruzana is in a torta.  I put this batch on (or rather between) this excellent pepper bread I got from Olmsted.  It was goooooood.

Less traditional is to accompany the pescado veracruzana with puntarelle alla romana.  But now that I got down to the shoots/heart of the batch of puntarelle I had,* it seemed only right.  It actually went with the sandwiches beautifully.  I tried to convince myself that "romana" refers to the neighborhood in Mexico City.

With all the flavors in play here, I wimped out and chose the universal solvent, a Chardonnay.  (A Chablis would have been best among Chardonnays, but I couldn't find one.)

2014 André Bonhomme Mâcon Village "Vielles Vignes"

This might not have gone with the sandwiches as beautifully as the salad did (I really think I'm on to something there).  But at least it didn't do battle with them.

I've said a lot about this wine (and its precursors and successors) over the years.  All I'll say now that is that its lovely fruit/minerals/acid balance could go with just about anything.  (And is very nice in itself.)


* Some pedant or other will be wanting to point out that "puntarelle" actually means the shoots/heart of this plant; the surrounding greens have some more quotidian designation.  Well, I beat them to it.

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Pisto Manchego (a Manchegan vegetable stew).  The recipe comes from no less than Pedro Almadovar, who's from La Mancha.*  Pedro would have us put in what seems evident is a overabundance of salt; I can only speculate that he was doing a lot of coke in the '80s, when he set the recipe down.

Served with a fried (duck, duh) egg on top (the alternative version has lots of Manchego cheese on top instead).  And some crusty baguette.  Served (although not made) in a cazuela (using a cazuela, I could only have made one portion -- and everyone agrees this dish is even better left over):  I don't know if that's traditional, but it looked cool as hell.

Sardinia isn't generally considered to be, strictly speaking, in La Mancha.  But I had this idea that a Monica would be good with the Pisto.

2016 Cardedu Monica "Praja"

I adore Monica di Sardegna wine, but this is the first natural one I've had.  (Cellar temp.)

If Connonau, Sardinia's main red grape, produces full-fledged Rhône-like wines (in France they call the same grape Grenache), then Monica produces what you might call Little League Rhône.  I do not mean that in any way as a slam:  Monica is lighter, fleeter, more fun than Connonau.  It's also a lot more fragrant.  So when it leads with cherries, they're bright red ones (but also:  plums?).  The nose -- no garrigue in Sardinia -- is of a field of wildflowers (I do smell some Luberon lavender, though).  After the fruit, the natural-wine funk takes over -- but in the nicest way possible.

As a pairing, it would have liked this dish a little more if the dish were a little spicier (all the peppers in the Pisto were Jimmy Nardellos).  But Pisto Manchego is not meant to be a spicy dish.  So a very nice wine, but not a perfect pairing.


* TRIVIA QUESTION:  Who wrote the original, unused libretto for Man of la Mancha?

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On 9/8/2020 at 10:27 PM, Sneakeater said:

Camarão na Cataplana!  . . .

I'm thinking Muscadet with the leftovers?  Or Aligote?

The leftovers were GREAT.

Steamed dragon's tongue beans drizzled with olive oil (we're getting ambitious over here) on the side.

Went with a Muscadet.  Why didn't I have a light red, though?

2014 Château les Fromenteau Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie "Clos du Peyel"

I'm glad Muscadet had its revival.  This is just such a good wine.

Almost no fruit:  all acid and minerals.  Goes really well with a dish like this.

And now that we've decided it can age, I almost view a 6-year-old like this as young.  It's certainly in a gorgeous place right now.

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The last of the halibut cheeks veracruzana.  Again, in sandwiches on chili pepper bread.  Steamed haricots verte on the side, drizzled with olive oil.

I decided on a Grüner Veltliner.  But, at least in my home units, I'm out.  What instead?  This might be crazy enough to work.

2015 Corte Gardoni "Mael"

This white, from Custoza near Verona, is made 40% of Garganega, the base grape of Soave, and then equal parts Trebbiano (that boring grape), its kid cousin Trebbianello, and . . . Riesling?

The thought behind this pairing is that when you have a dish with flavors as ridiculously variegated (in a good way) as the veracruzana, you might want a wine with various aspects as well.  So you the roundness of the Garganega to stand up the high flavor level of the fish dish, the acid of the Trebbianos to stand up to the citrus, and the sweetness of the Riesling to stand up to the chilis.

I'm not gonna say this was an ideal pairing.  But it sort of worked.

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Maccheroni with raw tomatoes.  I don't think I've ever eaten this before, much less "cooked" it.  It's not bad.  (It was certainly nice to have something light after a day spent making tzimmes.)

Puntarelle alla Romana on the side.

2017 Proprietà Sperino Rosa del Rosa

Partly because I upped its hot pepper Q, this pasta might have preferred a white to a rosé.  But this virtually unique Alto Piemonte rosato, made from the usual Alto Piemonte red-wine blend, is just so nice.  Definitely on the substantial side for a rosato -- and I'll admit, if it had to be accompanied by a pink wine, this pasta might have preferred something racier, more along the lines of a Provençal rosé -- but full of charm (just like Alto Piemonte reds are).  I'll admit I love the wines of this region. It's amazing how warm and fuzzy they manage to make Nebbiolo-based wines seem up there.

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Tzimmes with brisket.  Lokshen kugel (I like my kugel the way I like my women:  rich, and redolent of garlic).  Steamed roma beans (since, as I now understand it, ANY kind of beans counts as a Jewish symbol of good fortune for the new year).  All preceded, of course, by apple slices with honey.  For tonight's performance, the role of challah was played by a brioche loaf.

It is something of a disappointment to me that what I appear to be best at in the kitchen is Ashkenazic festival cookery.  Why couldn't it be Cantonese?  Or Lyonaise bouchon?

As someone who, while in absolutely no way kosher, nevertheless rails against the cultural inauthenticity of Reuben sandwiches, I have to own up to the fact that no traditional Ashkenazic meal would have included both that meat dish and that creamy kugel.  What can I say?  Each dish in itself was true to tradition.  As for eating them together:  I don't think we're in Bad Galicia any more.

It was pretty clear in my mind that this meal was going to get an old Barolo.

5743 [that's 1982 to you] Giocomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Riserva

Wow is this wine in good shape.  It's obviously well aged, but it isn't faded in the least.  To be sure, the secondary and tertiary flavors dominate -- but those are what we like best in Barolo in any event (which is why it's such a good candidate for aging).  Textbook tar and roses here, and leather/tobacco -- but the tobacco is more Virginia Slims than Marlboro.  It's vibrant, though.  You would take this for a 1996, not a 1982.

Fuck yeah it went with the tzimmes.

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