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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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OK, I have to tell you this story of something that happened to me at the Persian restaurant near my apartment once.  Cuz it's probably the best thing that's ever happened to me at any restaurant, ever.

The chef/owner is a woman of a certain age.  Younger than me, to be sure (most people are) -- but not DECADES younger.

So she's working the room visiting tables, and she comes to ours.

"I have to show you to my husband," she says to me.  "He should dress the way you dress."

So she sends her husband over to chat.  Now, under these circumstances, he should absolutely hate me.  But actually we kind of hit it off.

Subsequent visits have shown that he hasn't changed his wardrobe to mimic mine, though.

As I said, it just doesn't get any better than that.

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7 hours ago, Sneakeater said:

OK, I have to tell you this story of something that happened to me at the Persian restaurant near my apartment once.  Cuz it's probably the best thing that's ever happened to me at any restaurant, ever.

The chef/owner is a woman of a certain age.  Younger than me, to be sure (most people are) -- but not DECADES younger.

So she's working the room visiting tables, and she comes to ours.

"I have to show you to my husband," she says to me.  "

I thought this was going into Persian-Jewish threesome territory. 

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Bacalao al Pil-Pil.

For my purposes as a solo diner, the best thing about salt cod is that it lasts, uncooked, forever.  That's the whole point of it.  I can see now that what I need to do is buy things that Magellan would have had on his shopping list, or Jack Aubrey (supplemented, I guess, by whatever rare, soon-to-be-extinct poultry I find at remote islands along the way).

The question raised here is, did the gravy emulsify this time?  It did!  (I can sort of see what I did wrong last time.)  At first, swirling the slowly-becoming-gunky olive oil around, I thought that maybe Pil-Pil is like fava beans or voul a vents:  the kind of thing I'm happy to pay other people to bother with.  But as the gravy solidified, I really began getting into it.  I even ended up giving it the full Basque semi-solid emulsification, instead of the soupy state I usually stop at.

More of those get-better-every-day (until they'll start getting worse -- but we're not there yet) black beans.  And sautéed mustard spinach.

And of course a baguette to sop up that gravy.

Wine pairing:  DUH

2019 Ameztoi Gotariako Txakolina

It's very rare that I'll go out and buy something that I don't have sitting around to accompany a particular meal.  To me, the whole point of having a "cellar" is to have things on hand to drink at all times.

But come on, everybody knows what the best wine to drink with Pil-Pil is.  (It's even better with spider crabs.  But I digress.)

Going totally native, I even did a high pour.

Txakoli is what it is.  It isn't one of the world's profound wines.  But it is one of the fun ones.  Basically, lime and salt (maybe it would be good with Tequila).  And fizz.

Cut right through that gunky (delicious) gravy.

 

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I don't know about you guys, but my time management during Quarantine has gotten epically bad.  So tonight, again, I had to work past 11.  I've resigned myself to never getting a MacArthur for cultural criticism -- but if they ever want to give one for bad time management, I expect to be first in line.

Luckily, I had a one-dish leftover meal that required very little preparation.

I wouldn't really have expected that radish pasta from several days ago to have gotten better with refrigerator age.  But the least I would say is that it didn't get worse.  I made a fresh batch of ventriche to top it with (too much, since I was feeling kind of self-indulgent having worked past 11).

I don't know if they eat radishes a lot in the Marche.  But now I'm thinking they probably do.

2016 Brunori Verdicchio dei Castello di Jesi "San Nicolo"

This bottle tastes like it's all citrus.  Grapefruit.  Very powerful approach.  And really, very powerful up to the finish.

It picked up the lemon juice in this pasta.  Went very nicely, really.

 

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Dry-aged Cowboy steak!  With housemade Perpetual Chimmichurri!  So I guess it was Gaucho steak!

I chose to employ an all-grill version of the famous reverse sear method to cook the steak.  I join with practically everybody in saying this is a good way to make steak.

(I'm finding I don't love my stovetop grill quite as much as I expected to.  I just don't find that things cooked on it come out that much better than in a cast iron skillet [and of course if I want to make a pan gravy I have to use a skillet].  But I do love the way my steaks and chops now have those grill lines on them.)

Leftover black beans (which I am afraid are plateauing) on the side.  Also sautéed mustard spinach.

No imagination whatsoever went into the wine pairing.

2015 Humberto Canale Malbec "Estate"

A Patagonian Malbec.  So it's lighter, more tense, than its Mendoza cousins.

Which is not to say it's light.  This is still a Malbec.  It's just to say that it's, um, palatable.

In fact, I'd go so far to say this is a very good wine.  Simple, sure.  But black cherry fruit that lasts forever, and then herby leathery follow-ups that last almost forever.

Very very good with grilled steak.  What a shock!

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6 hours ago, Sneakeater said:

(I'm finding I don't love my stovetop grill quite as much as I expected to.  I just don't find that things cooked on it come out that much better than in a cast iron skillet [and of course if I want to make a pan gravy I have to use a skillet].  But I do love the way my steaks and chops now have those grill lines on them.)

My stovetop grill collects a lot of dust (actually, I may have given away one of my two stovetop grills).

Because other than grill marks, I find no reason to use one.

Oh, and you can't make a pan sauce in one.

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2 hours ago, joethefoodie said:

My stovetop grill collects a lot of dust (actually, I may have given away one of my two stovetop grills).

Because other than grill marks, I find no reason to use one.

Oh, and you can't make a pan sauce in one.

It's good for grilled vegies, but, yes, a skillet gives a better overall sear.

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Hot dogs!  (Not as exciting as a Mississippi Roast, but we all can't be voyager.)  More of those black beans on the side, and braised collard greens with some braised celery inadvertently mixed in.

2019 Floral Terranes Abracadabra

This is an example of a current mini-trend:  white-red blends.  (Chilled slightly below cellar temp.)  This one is mostly (70% I think) Chardonnay, with the rest of the blend being Merlot.  Nevertheless, as these wines tend to do, it drinks like a light red.

And it's good!  Despite the natural funk, very fresh tasting.  Interestingly, although it reads as a red, the fruit is definitely Chardonnay fruit.

Wine pairings for hot dogs are hard.  This was a good one.

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I had some sorrel to get rid of, and I couldn't think of a better way than more steelhead trout with sorrel sauce.  There's a reason the dish this takes off from is a genuine Classic Of World Cuisine.

Some steamed Brussels sprouts (with lots of butter) on the side.  As I've said, I'm still excited with all these brassicas -- even though in a month I'll be pleading God to make it April.

I always knee-jerk to a Sauvignon Blanc with this (I just thought of something else I could have tried, actually -- but too late).  Tonight, I thought I'd go for a particularly big round one, though, to complement the fairly rich (for Nouvelle Cuisine) sauce.

2016 Domaine Ricard Tasciaca

You have to be careful how you pair this Chenonceaux Sauvignon Blanc.  Have it with a lot of the dishes you usually have SB with, it seems flabby.  Have it with something like this, and it seems almost perfect:  the grass and the grapefruit and the herbs and the acid of a Sauvignon Blanc, but with a rounder texture that helps it better to stand up to the food.

So sometimes I complain about this wine.  But not tonight.

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That vat of black beans in my refrigerator is beginning to vibrate.  I thought I'd use a mess of them to make some faux Skyline Five-Way Chili.

Now these were Cuban-style black beans, not chili.  But they did have a lot of hot peppers in them.  The "chili" in Cincinnati Five-Way isn't actually chili, though, but more a Greek-American meat/bean sauce.  I tweaked the black beans to more closely approximate the flavor profile of what you'd get in Cincinnati (chocolate!  more cinnamon!  more cumin!).  (One difference that remained is that the meat in those beans was a couple of kinds of cured pork, not ground beef.  But as discussed ad nauseam elsewhere, I'm not aiming for authenticity here:  I'm aiming for dinner.  A dinner that helps use up those beans.)  I was afraid I'd put in too much raw onion (I had half a large onion I also needed to use up), but that turns out to be one of those things that are impossible to do.

While pulling things out of the fridge, I came upon some old cauliflower I forgot I still had.  So roast cauliflower on the side.

I'm sure that in Cincinnati they always have a Côtes du Rhône with their Five-Way.

2016 Domaine Jaume Côtes du Rhône "Génération"

It seems to me to be getting hard to find a good mainstream (non-Natural) Côtes du Rhône.  This should be the easiest wine in the world both to make and to drink.  But I find that most mainstream entrants these days are either self-important (kind of defeating the purpose of this kind of wine) or boring (also defeating the purpose of this kind of wine).

I was ready for this to be self-important.  In fact, I'm sure I've found previous bottles of this exact wine from this exact vintage to be such.  But this was good.  It wasn't what I'd call "fun".  But it delivered the berry fruit (you totally taste the currants here) and the Provençal herbs with only a little tiny bit of heaviness.

If I'm remembering right about what I thought about past bottles, the last couple of years have been good to this wine.  Which is more than I can say about myself.

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Baked/roasted striped bass with EZ garlic aioli. Caramelized brussells sprouts with ventriche on the side.  (We use what we have.)

I was going to knee-jerk to a Burgundy blanc with this.  But the recipe I was talking off from suggested a Burgundy rouge.  (Actually, it suggested a New World Pinot Noir.  But we drink what we have.) (Actually, I have some California Pinot Noir that's very ready to drink.  But it's super-high ABV -- and I need to be functional tomorrow morning.)

2011 Domaine Michel Lafarge Vólnay

A completely unremarkable Village wine.

I'll take it.

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