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Oh, also, as for Joan Nathan's comment in The Times last week that tzimmes doesn't require any honey and brown sugar:  maybe hers doesn't.  In mine, they married with some sherry vinegar to form something very close to heaven.  OTOH, as the lead figure from some other religion once said, my father's house has many mansions.

(Joan's right about flanken's being the best meat for tzimmes, though.  Still, my freezer was very happy to lose this brisket, which has been reposing there since Passover.)

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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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When I boasted to some friends about my Pisto Manchego, they jeered that it was nothing more than an uglier, more rustic ratatouille.  To which I guess my response is, who wouldn't want an uglier, more rustic ratatouille -- especially with a fried duck egg on top?

Sometimes the obvious pairing is the best one.

2009 Lopez de Heredia Viña Cubillo

I mean, people like to drink lower-level Riojas even with ratatouille.  And even though there are good wines being made in the resurgent La Mancha, this wine just tasted like it was made for this dish.  One of those pairings whose rightness is evident from the first gulp, er,  sip.

I always get defensive about Viña Cubillo (which I drink tons of).  Because when L de H started making it 20-something years ago, this junior cuvée wasn't great.  But they were clearly paying attention to it, and it got better pretty fast.  By 2009 (a few years before, actually), it was pretty much the model of an entry-level Rioja, fruit forward but with other stuff going on, and a finish that lasts and lasts and lasts.

Sour cherries, raspberries, and cranberries at the start.  Then herbs/cedar/vanilla/leather/tobacco that wouldn't seem extraordinarily deep in a more profound Rioja, but that in a wine like this are surprising in their depth, mellowness, and clarity.  And then the fruit and the herbs/cedar/vanilla/leather/tobacco and some acid combine for finish that, as I said, lasts and lasts.

At this wine's price, you can get different.  But you can't get better.  Indeed, you'd have a hard time getting nearly as good.

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It was obvious that raw tomato sauce would get better over a few days in the fridge, as such things do.  But another big improvement was the introduction of some fresh mozzarella to the dish.

Over maccheroni.  Sautéed dragon mustard greens or some such on the side.

Why try to be clever?  This wanted a Sauvignon Blanc.  (Well maybe what it really wanted was a Picpoul.  But I don't have any.)  So I knee-jerked open a regular house bottle.

2017 Dominique Roger Sancerre "Chine Marchand"

Well this certainly was a successful pairing.

All there is to say about this wine is that it tastes like a Sancerre.  No more -- but certainly no less.

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I thought my tzimmes with brisket was good Friday night.  But fuck.  With a few more days, and another half hour of cooking . . . well, I don't want to sound hubristic, but this was the best tzimmes I've ever had.  (Don't tell my friend JC.)  I mean, I realize that's not the height of culinary achievement.  But still:  the best tzimmes I've ever had -- and I made it.

The Lokshen Kugel, OTOH, did not improve with refrigerator age and reheating.

The roma beans were a new batch made fresh.

I already knew what I was going to drink with this.

2019 Floral Terranes Merlot

This is sort of an East Coast Scholium.  Wine (first they made cider, then they expanded to the vine) made by an educator with no background or experience in winemaking.  Of course, Abe was a college philosophy professor, and the guy who makes this teaches special ed in a public school in Elmhurst.  But, this is the East Coast, not the glamorous coast on the other side of the continent.

You have to be suspicious of wines like this.  I mean, the fact that you know nothing about what you're doing is not usually a great credential for doing something.  But you can taste the love here. 

The grapes are sourced from (a) a famous North Fork vineyard and (b) somebody's backyard in Orient Point (I'm not joking).  It tastes like a natural wine, with some funk and fizz at finish, and focussed fruit at the ftart (had to preserve the alliteration).

Tzimmes is the kind of dish Merlot was made for.  So since this tasted like Merlot, the pairing worked.  Duh.

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15 hours ago, Sneakeater said:

I thought my tzimmes with brisket was good Friday night.  But fuck.  With a few more days, and another half hour of cooking . . . well, I don't want to sound hubristic, but this was the best tzimmes I've ever had.  (Don't tell my friend JC.)  I mean, I realize that's not the height of culinary achievement.  But still:  the best tzimmes I've ever had -- and I made it.

We had left over tzimmes with beef for dinner last night as well. And I'm in complete agreement. It was significantly better last night than when we ate it fresh on Friday night. Some things do better with a little age on them.

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The concept of tonight's dinner was, "can bluefish really take anything you throw at it?"  So:  marinated in a sriracha-based mixture, served with a tomato-hot pepper sauce.  We didn't really get the answer to that question, though.  The peppers that I used in the sauce turned out to be more in the nature of Jamaican seasoning peppers (although they didn't look anything like them).  Don't get me wrong:  I love Jamaican seasoning peppers.  All the flavor of a hot chili pepper, with little of the pain.  But tonight I was looking for a little pain.  (Boy can that sentence come back to haunt me.)

Roasted romanesco -- I love romanesco -- on the side.

The Quarantine is doing wonders for my kitchen technique.  I really cooked the fish pretty much perfectly.  Part of it is just thinking about what I'm doing rather than rushing through everything.  But another part is the loss of timidity that comes from doing this a lot.  (Like, yeah, you can really turn up the heat to crisp a fish skin.)

I figured on a Riesling with this.  I thought a Kabinett would be good because it would have a little sugar to counteract all the heat I was putting into the dish.  All I could find was a Trocken, though.  It turned out not to be a problem because I was putting in less heat than I anticipated.

2012 Peter Jakob Kühn Riesling Troken "Jacobus"

I don't recall ever having drunk anything by this Rheingau producer before.  But this was (and is continuing to be as I write this) a delightful wine.

When the Germans say "Trocken", they don't necessarily mean bone dry.  There's some sweetness to this wine.

The first thing you taste are apples.  Lots of them.  Then maybe some peaches.  And then you pretty much go down the classic Riesling path of minerals/petroleum and acid.  But what's so surprisingly nice about this wine -- what I wasn't expecting at all -- is how voluptuous it is.  This has Riesling exoticism full on.  And I'm happy for it.

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9 hours ago, Sneakeater said:

  But tonight I was looking for a little pain.  (Boy can that sentence come back to haunt me.)

is how voluptuous it is.  This has Riesling exoticism full on.  And I'm happy for it.

Pain. Voluptuousness. Exoticism. What could be bad?

Weirdly, I opened (kinda by mistake) a Wolfer Goldgrube Mosel Kabinett Riesling last night, and the meal wasn't hot/spicy enough to offset the sugar.

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Spaghetti alla Norma.  Except for the leftovers, the last summer dish I'll have this year.

Speaking of which, I used the hot pepper in this that I should have used with last night's bluefish.  Indeed, both dinners would have benefited if I switched the peppers between them.  I'm pretty sure, though, that with a few days of integration in the fridge, this Norma sauce will be a knockout.

Sautéed dragon mustard greens (or whatever) on the side.

Another day when I had neither the time nor the energy to think about a pairing.  I promise I will with the leftovers.

2012 Occhipinti SP68

What's there left to say about this wine?  It's just a perfect entry-level Sicilian red (even if the price of entry has become prohibitive).  The fruit dances on your tongue.  As I've said before, if it wasn't made to accompany Sphaghetti alla Norma, it could've been.

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I took the tzimmes left over after I finished the brisket it was with, and made a kugel out of it.  Barely dressed (RIP Juliette Greco) pink-flecked chicory on the side.

Cider!

2019 Floral Terranes Ronkonkoma Moraine

Before they didn't know how to make wine, the Floral Terranes guys didn't know how to make cider.

Similarly to their wines, this cider contains apples from a well-known farm and from people's backyards.  They also apparently blended some old crabapple cider they made a few years ago into this cuvée.

Surprisingly, this is more like a French cider than a Basque one (I wasn't expecting anything like an English!).  You could either call it refined, or you could call it underpowered.  Out of fellowship for my fellow Long Islanders, I'm gonna call it refined.  It certainly goes down easy.  Maybe a little too easy.

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