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In memory of Pierre Troisgrois, I made a variation on the dish he famously stole from me.

That good farmed steelhead trout we can get now, with sorrel sauce.  (I ask you, did Pierre put Buddha's Hand in his sorrel sauce, as I did tonight to delicious effect)?  No, he did not.)

On the side, something I hadn't done before:  sautéed Roma beans, served room temp.  It was the Balsamic vinegar that made this dish, I think.

This was obviously getting a Sauvignon Blanc.  But I thought it should be a rather prepossessing one.

2013 Vincent Ricard "?"

There's a story behind why this Touraine SB by a house favorite producer is called "?".  But I can't remember it.

For a Touraine wine, this tastes surprisingly New World.  New Zealand, to be precise.  You get the BIG gooseberry start, and everything that follows is pretty BIG as well.  But the sorrel sauce, and indeed the trout, kind of wanted that.

I think this bottle probably would have been better two years ago.  But I'm not kicking it off the dinner table.

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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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Taking up Sam Sifton's suggestion, I tried replicating a classic Cuban-Chinese pork chop, rice and beans, and maduros dinner.

But the pork chop was in a very faux black bean sauce (i.e., there were no fermented beans) (thank you, fish sauce, for standing in) (with a lot of assists).  The beans on the rice were spicier than a Cuban-Chinese place would ever make (which was fine with me).  And the yellow rice . . . HOW THE FUCK DID I NOT REMEMBER I WAS OUT OF RICE???????  So, ladies and gentlemen, for what I am very confident is the first time anywhere in the world, I introduce to you:  yellow couscous (this was a lot better than you might think).

I don’t think I’ve ever had a green vegetable with this in any Cuban-Chinese spot.  But this is home, and I want to live (sort of), so I cooked up some collard greens.

I fried the maduros in duck fat rather than oil.  And you know what?  They weren't greasy enough.  That's the problem with "elevating" vernacular food.

The other problem with "elevating" vernacular food is that this was an awful lot of work for a dish that, however much I like it, I don't think I've ever paid more than $12 for out.

As for the wine, I thought, pork, rice, and beans?  What else would you have?  (I didn't realize yet that there was  no rice.)

2009 R. Lopez y Heredia Viña Cubillo

I mean, I'm not going to open a really old Rioja with something this heavily flavored.

I drink, and write up, enough of this to not have to say much again.  Did it stand up to the food?  Yes, it did.

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(In case you're wondering, I did NOT use a Berkshire porterhouse chop:  it would be criminal to overcook one to the extent necessary for Cuban-Chinese "authenticity" -- much less to put it under such a highly flavored sauce.  I used a Duroc chop.)

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I ended up having to work very late tonight.  So it was a good thing that my dinner required practically no cooking.

Salpicāo is a Portuguese pork sausage served uncooked.  The Portuguese wouldn't really eat it as a main dish; it's eaten as a pre-dinner snack or first course.  Good thing I haven't moved there yet.  Don't tell them.

On the side I had some of the dish that, as you know, has become an international taste sensation since I invented it yesterday:  black beans with yellow couscous.  I knew this would get better with some refrigerator age, but shit.  This is now what I hoped and intended to be cooking yesterday.  The increased hot peppers have made friends with the increased brown sugar, now providing a deep, layered flavor.  The various spices I put in lurk interestingly in the background.

More garlicky sautéed collard greens on the side.  In Portugal, of course, this would have been kale.  I hope to show them, when I move over there, that collard greens really are the supreme accompaniment to pork.

2018 Casa de Saima Baga "Tonel 10"

Barraida Baga wines are some of my favorite things in the world.  They're deep and brooding like a Cahors, but the weight of the flavors is more light/heavy like a Barolo.  Now this is a Modern Barraida, vinified to be approachable earlier (and more approachable in general).  I'm opposed to that in principle -- but with a dinner like tonight's, it's just what I want.  (While "modern" in terms of approachability, it's "natural" in terms of using traditional winemaking methods.  Things get so complicated.)

It leads with this really deep, saturated Baga fruit.  Dark dark berries, going deep in texture.  But then things lighten up.  The herbs trip lightly on your tongue, and the finish, while it doesn't exactly tickle, sort of wafts.

This is by no means great.  But at around $20 a bottle, it's interesting.  And that leading fruit is DEEP.


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I had to work even later tonight than last night.  (A good sign that, until lockdown recurs, we're reapproaching something like normalcy.)  So it was a good thing that the dinner I'd planned for tonight involved no cooking more than reheating.

Chicken Marbella (still one of my biggest recent failures).  Squash.  Sautéed Roma beans salad.

At least the wine was good.

2018 Domaine Charvin Côtes-du-Rhône "Le Poutet"

This natural Côtes du Rhône is just so good.

All the fruit 'n herbs of a good Côtes du Rhône.  All the focus and funk of a natural wine.


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Hot dogs!  More of those get-better-every-day black beans.  And Savoy cabbage with dill and butter.  (It's funny how excited I was to get some Savoy cabbage.  In a month, I'll be whining that I never want to see another cabbage again.  But April's a long way off.)

Not a wine, exactly.

2019 Floral Terranes Suburban Morraines

OK, here we are.  This cider seems to me to be a decent bit better than Floral Terranes's "Ronkonkoma Terraines" cider.  It's more tense and more intense.

This is the one made from apples literally picked from people's yards and from roadsides on Long Island (as well as sourced from well-known orchards).  It's still -- not even a little bit fizzy.  But the apple flavor is miles deep.

Good work, guys.

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I realized at the last minute that, because of an error concerning method, I couldn't make what I had planned to make tonight.  So I pivoted to an empty-the-fridge pasta dish.  Of course, empty-the-fridge pasta dishes are frequently the best things we all make.

So, without exhaustively listing the ingredients, whole wheat orecchiette with radishes, radish greens, leeks, and ventriche (panchetta would obviously have been more appropriate -- but my ventriche was already opened and my panchetta wasn't) (that's the kind of mature decisionmaking that's very rare when I cook).  I would particularly be curious to know what the herb was I used as a garnish.  It certainly was no longer recognizable as anything I could identify.

Soon after I conceived of this last-minute dinner, I formed a firm conviction about what would be a good pairing.  I wonder what my basis was?

2018 Belestri Valda Soave Classico

Do they eat a lot of radishes in the hills around Verona?  Damned if I know.

Anyway, this is a straight-down-the-middle Soave, return-to-Old Skool division.  Meaning that it isn't crisp like the Soaves of our (by which I mean my) adolescence and young adulthood.  Rather, it's round with a bitter walnut finish.

It really DID go very well with this dish.

I hope people in the Veneto keep going with the revival of this type of Soave.  It's really good (and it really loves food).

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I made a Persian-style (or maybe it would be more accurate to say, "Persian-flavored") roast duck breast.  This is the kind of thing I try that usually ends up fairly vomitously.  But this was good!  It was very good, even!  I guess living up the street from an excellent Persian restaurant (even if I rarely go there cuz you can't get in) is sort of like living in Isfahan as far as informing your instinctive grasp of Persian cookery goes.  (I hope it's obvious that was sarcastic.)

As you might have heard, I'm out of rice.  So I made some fried noodles (that's a Persian thing) that were quite delicious.  I mean noodles.  Fried.  What's not to like?  (Obvs there also was Stuff in them.)

And some roast Marina di Chioggia squash.  Roast squash is also something they eat in Persia(/Iran).  With plenty of brown sugar, I hear.  That's how I made it, anyway.

Also, steamed broccoli.  I have no reason to believe that broccoli plays any part whatsoever in Persian cuisine.

To me, this cried out for a Barbaresco.

1982 Roagna Barbaresco "I Paglieri"

And what a Barbaresco!

Out of all the things I have to thank Daniel and Miss A for, introducing me to Roagna wines is near the top.  This must be from before the current Roagna, Luca, took over:  he'd have to be as old as me to have been making wine in 1982!  So this shows that, as sterling as Luca's tenure has been, his family was making excellent wine before him.

This wine doesn't taste old.  At all.  It's not faded; it doesn't have that poignant old-wine fragility.  This wine, to me, tastes like it's at its very peak.  It does everything that Barbarescos do, at a very high level, with great strength but great reserve.

It's classic.  Roses on the nose, tar on the back of the tongue after the dark berry/cherry fruit has gone down.  More agile than a Barolo:  it's not a Power Wine, but rather a Stealth Wine.

In terms of complementing the pomegranate (OK, I used Grenadine:  this isn't "authentic" cooking; this is "what do I have on hand?" cooking) (don't worry, there was lots of other stuff -- all equally discreditable -- as well)-based flavor of the glaze on the duck breast, it was unbeatable.  Just as I thought/hoped.

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