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13 hours ago, Sneakeater said:

Any moron can cook a duck breast.


1 hour ago, voyager said:

Don't sell yourself short.    I recall drumming my fingers on the table, nervously awaiting the duck breast being grilled by our host in France.   No surprise when it was served brown throughout.   Other than that, they were fine cooks.  

(I'll never forget our first time we were invited for dinner.   The wife asked us, as she prepped a leg of lamb, "Do you eat sheeps?" )

I recall drumming my fingers on the table, nervously awaiting duck breast being prepared by almost any restaurant cook in America; no surprise when it's served raw throughout.

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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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My equivalent of takeout for nights when it's inconvenient to cook is leftovers.  I knew I'd be working late tonight, so I planned a dinner whose main dish just had to be reheated and whose side dish just had to be put on the hob a couple of hours before dinnertime.

Leftover venison ragu over pappardelle.  This was obviously going to get better with time, and it did.

Marcella Hazan's smothered cabbage.  As I ended up working even later than I expected, I may have overcooked it a bit.  It can take it.

On 1/4/2021 at 10:37 PM, Sneakeater said:

(Hmmmm.   I wonder if I have any Lagrein hiding out anywhere . . . .)

What do you know?

2017 Red Hook Winery Lagrein

This is one of Abe's Red Hook wines.  You don't think of Lagrein as growing in the North Fork -- an area that bears scant resemblance to the Sudtirol -- but then, this grower (Southhold Vineyards) also grows Teroldego -- native to the Dolomites, which resemble the North Fork even less.

Not that this tastes just like a Lagrein from the Alto Adige.  Sure, the same dark berries and black cherries are there, and there are some of the same violets on the nose.  But this tastes a little thinner, and (big surprise) a little dirtier (that's not a pejorative).  In any event, the dark fruit and the flowers went nicely with the chocolate in the pasta sauce, as I had hoped.

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7 hours ago, Sneakeater said:

2017 Red Hook Winery Lagrein

This is one of Abe's Red Hook wines.  You don't think of Lagrein as growing in the North Fork -- an area that bears scant resemblance to the Sudtirol -- but then, this grower (Southhold Vineyards) also grows Teroldego -- native to the Dolomites, which resemble the North Fork even less.

Next hipster trend: Allochtonous wines. 

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I like Erotic Beef so much more than everything else I've been cooking lately that it genuinely saddens me that this will be my last batch until, well, someone has a big sale on A5.

On the side, a braised Asian green vegetable that wasn't Bok Choy.

I read somewhere that Southern Rhone blends -- especially those featuring Carignan -- are a good pairing for soy sauce.

2018 Ampelia Unlitro

Speaking of allochthonous wines, this Maremma (Tuscany) wine features entirely Southern Rhone grapes (including Carignan) -- except for some Sangiovese thrown in, I guess, for the autochthonous crowd.

But Ampelia is a project of, among others, Elizabetta Foradori, so you can count on its wines being fabulous.

This cheap -- not just inexpensive, but cheap -- chugger certainly is.  The fruit is so friendly.  And it really does lap up the soy sauce, just as people say.


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Not Labskaus (that's coming), but its (less interesting) Liverpudlian derivative.

I guess this dinner is dedicated to the memory of Gerry Marsden.

Even though nine out of 10 Scousers would make this dish with beef, I followed Felicity Cloake's reasoning that lamb figures into other regional hot-pot dishes and so seems culturally/historically correct -- and that beef would be pretty boring in this dish.  Cloake's recommendation of lamb neck was spot on, with the meat slow-cooking to melting (don't worry, Bonner:  I cooked this in the oven) and the bone enriching the gravy (although lamb neck is not as cheap as it once was).

While I don't want to be starting arguments with people who are no longer around to respond (no I don't mean Gerry Marsden), I don't see how a subject in the country from which this dish came was in a position to dismiss the entire culinary output of a whole (other) continent as "carb-laden stodge".

BUT:  some of us like carb-laden stodge!  I have to say that I, myself, personally, prefer Cholent to this.  But I'd have to, wouldn't I?  I still enjoyed this very much.  I mean, it's just the kind of thing I love.  And the leftovers are going to be off the hook!  (Now let's see if eating it inspires me to write the greatest pop music ever written.) (No I don't mean Gerry Marsden.)

My understanding is that Scousers would accompany this with pickled red cabbage.  So I hope it won't seem an unbearable deviation from "authenticity" for me to have reheated some Marcella Hazan's smothered cabbage on the side.

Scouse is the kind of dish that immediately makes you think of popping a Côtes du Rhone.  But I had a half-liter left of the Italian Job:

2018 Ampelia Unlitro

Neither better nor worse than last night.  Good enough with the Scouse.  But I know what I'm drinking with the first batch of leftovers!  (I can't wait.)

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Here we go.  Flannery California Reserve Porterhouse.  It's dry-aged for a month or so.  To cut to the chase, this was the best American-style steak I've ever had at home.  (I'm not even gonna try to figure out a comparison between this and A5 Hokkaido Wagyu cooked [or rather semi-cooked] Erotic-style.)  Go buy some.  Really.  I have some smaller steaks from Flannery in the freezer (I almost finished this one) that I now can't wait to eat.

Since I wanted to taste the meat, I served it very simply:  the only elaboration was that I grilled up some Chanterelles while the steak was resting, to put on top.  (Well, smoked salt and pepper, duh.)

Leftover black-eyed peas on the side, and more braised Asian Mystery Green.

A no-brainer of a pairing.

1999 Taken from Granite "Elégance"

A grand California wine for a grand California steak (or most of one) (almost all, really) (just a tiny bit left over for lunch).

What this is, is some wine from the Golden Period of Renaissance Vineyard -- either the birth of natural wine in California or its absolute peak, depending on who you talk to -- found on their disused property recently and bottled for sale.  (I don't know who set the prices, but they were irrationally low:  I doubt any of this is left by now.)

This is a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc Bordeaux blend.  As is fitting for a California wine, the Cabernet Sauvignon dominates.  And have no question, this drinks like a California wine, not a Bordeaux.

BUT:  the fruit is so clear and so direct and so focused.  While the fruit is paramount (still, after all these years), this is the opposite of jammy.  Where this wine could be said to fall down is the secondary and tertiary flavors, which even after all these years are not profound in any way; you sense they're there, but they don't really stake any claims.

No, what's profound here is the fruit.  It's really magical.

Let the douchebags pay thousands of dollars for bottles of Screaming Eagle that barely even taste like wine (does that wine culture even exist any more?).  As far as California Bordeaux derivatives go, THIS is the shit.  Too bad it's gone.


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