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11 hours ago, Sneakeater said:

I can almost guaranty you that it wouldn't be free, though.

Hmm.  I went to my corner butcher and asked for a quarter pound of suet, which of course he didn't have, but asked if I would accept fat from a rib roast.    Sure.    So he carved off a slab.   Then I asked for 4 Berkshire chops.    We select them and he packages both and charges only for the chops.   (And, yes, I watched the scale.)

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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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2 hours ago, voyager said:

Hmm.  I went to my corner butcher and asked for a quarter pound of suet, which of course he didn't have, but asked if I would accept fat from a rib roast.    Sure.    So he carved off a slab.   Then I asked for 4 Berkshire chops.    We select them and he packages both and charges only for the chops.   (And, yes, I watched the scale.)

You don't live in NYC, and have probably been shopping at that butcher for millennia.

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14 hours ago, Sneakeater said:

But what was disappointing about this is that it didn't do what tempura is supposed to do for shad:  it didn't melt the multitudinous bones.  Yet, I can't have undercooked it:  the coating was practically burnt.

 

You need to cut it almost like you cut Hamo - deep incisions every couple of mm through the bones - and then the small bits that remain should become edible. 

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2 hours ago, joethefoodie said:

You don't live in NYC, and have probably been shopping at that butcher for millennia.

Of course.    But as I tell people, cities are just collections of small towns/villages.    From what he has written, I assume Sneak has been living in the same place for half a millennium, would have made some neighborhood associations in that time and might have some leverage as a client.

Or as he suggests, BUY some suet, then return and tell the guy it was the greatest suet he ever had, etc, etc, etc.

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This butcher — the first in the neighborhood in the more than 35 years I’ve lived here — has been open all of four months, and is run by a bunch of young hipster types who all have worked at butcher shops but never run one.

I don’t think they’d be able to understand why they can charge for caul fat (and boy do they) but not suet. 

(Of course I’ll give it a shot.)

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Smoked flounder roe on buttered einkorn toast.  (I thought I was getting a handle on smoking fish roe in the Gin Donabe, but this turned out dry and sandy -- even though I was afraid I was leaving it raw.) (I guess you gotta be brave.)  Boiled potatoes.  And white asparagus with ham.

Let me talk for a minute about white asparagus.  Asparagus is actually one of the few green vegetables I actively like.  I'd always avoided white asparagus, though.  My prejudice was that it looked like all the flavor had been leached out to make the asparagus look fancy.  And, as someone who mainly eats green vegetables out of the guilt-ridden belief that the fatty proteins I vastly prefer must be balanced, why would I want to eat a green vegetable that isn't even green?

A couple of years ago, however, I found myself in the Netherlands around Easter -- when eating white asparagus is something of a national obsession.  Obviously I wasn't going to resist.  Now, as you know, white asparagus is created by keeping the growing stalks under the soil, so they don't develop chlorophyll.  As I was beyond delighted to learn, what this process does isn't to create a deracinated asparagus, but rather to create an asparagus that is earthier -- nuttier, you might even say -- than the normal green kind.  More like the kind of things I like to eat, in other words.

Why doesn't anyone grow white asparagus in the Northeast (that I know, anyway)?  The ones I had tonight were imported from Provence.  I hate purchasing vegetables shipped over long distances for more reasons than I can state.  (These were fucking fab, though.)

The usual way to serve them, in Holland at least, would be coated with butter and wrapped in German/Dutch-style cold sliced ham.  All I had, though, was Bellota.  So shoot me.

I don't think anyone in the world would have chosen anything other than a dry German Riesling to drink with this.  I certainly didn't.

2017 Keller Riesling Tröcken

Keller makes stupid expensive Rieslings.  And they make Rieslings that aren't stupid expensive.  I'm not gonna claim that the cheaper ones are as good as the expensive ones.  I am going to claim that the cheaper ones are really really good.

2017 was a weird vintage in the Rheinhessen.  But the good producers, as they say, put out excellent wine -- and Keller is nothing if not a good producer.

To me, this wine is just fantastic.  It's -- I can think of no better word -- succulent.  There's plenty of acid here -- I mean, plenty -- but at this point in this wine's development, there's plenty of fruit setting it up (no use describing it:  it tastes like . . . Riesling).  So you get that same sweet-and-then-sour progression that you get in my beloved jellied fruit slices.  Except A LOT more pure, and A LOT more subtle.

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7 hours ago, Sneakeater said:

Why doesn't anyone grow white asparagus in the Northeast (that I know, anyway)?  The ones I had tonight were imported from Provence.  I hate purchasing vegetables shipped over long distances for more reasons than I can state.  (These were fucking fab, though.)

I never understood this...considering some/much  of what you eat comes from thousands of miles away.

What's your maximum distance for vegetables?

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Last of the leftover beef cheek goulash (yeah it was getting kind of long in the tooth) (or cheek).  For tonight's dinner, the part of a The Dumpling was played by . . . a leftover matzoh ball.  Thank you.

Sautéed chard on the side.

Back in the Rioja Rut.

2005 CVNE Viña Real Oro Riserva

CVNE will never be as cool as L de H.  But I think, at least in their good periods (which 2005 very much fell into), they make exceptionally fine wines that they sell at very fair prices.

A problem is that they have so many cuvées that it's hard to know where any wine falls in their line-up.  Viña Real is the more full-flavored, fruity wine in their "classic" line.  What "Oro" means as opposed to a plain old "Riserva" I have no idea.

Tell you what, though:  this wine was EXACTLY what I wanted for the goulash.  Because it's fruity, not overly complex or refined.  But still, it's a 15-year-old Riserva: it isn't dumb or simplistic or slobbery.  Just about perfect.

The cherries have become decidedly black.  There's a medium-deep herbal follow-up (licorice must be mentioned).  I don't taste any chocolate or leather or anything like that:  this is a relatively straightforward Rioja of a very high quality.

Just what I wanted.

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I think I'll hold my remaining bottles for a while.  And I have a shit-ton of them.

2004 and 2005 were outstanding vintages in many many regions, including most of my very favorites.  And I bought very deeply in them.  I think I had a sense that those were the last vintages where it would make sense, actuarilly, for me to be buying deep to hold.

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Leftover Michael Solomonov's Mom's Brisket.  I had thought initially (at my Seder) that this was a total failure.  Now, with another week's rest, I can see it's only a partial failure.  It's just too rich.  Now part of that might be attributable to my acting on my pronounced preference for second cut brisket over first cut.  What's good about the second cut is, it's fatty.  But the problem is, it's fatty.

I do think, though, that there's just too much going in this recipe, flavor-wise.  My preparation of the remaining raw piece of this brisket, now in my freezer, will be chaster.

Sautéed broccoli rabe on the side.

2015 Domaine du Château Larroque

I just adore this Côtes de Gascogne.   And three of the four grapes in it -- Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah -- seemed like they would be perfect with this fruited braised brisket.  The fourth grape -- Tannat -- might be too grippy for a slobbery dish like this.  But maybe the coffee in the braise -- and there's lots of it -- would work with that grip.

In practice, a good pairing but not a perfect one.  Because, yes, the Tannat was a little too grippy for this:  such a structured wine wants something other than such unstructured food.

But still, what a wonderful wine!  Deep dark fruit; herbs 'n spices, mushrooms, and other usual-suspect secondaries galore; near-perfect balance; a firm structure -- and all for less than $20 a bottle.  You can get excellent wine for not a whole lot of money  People should be drinking this all the time.  (At least from September through April.)

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I drowned my shadlessness in monkfish liver.

Ankimo!  I would not have thought that my version would come out looking (or tasting) anything like the real thing -- but this was actually it!  Instead of the usual daikon relish, I made a sambal/soy/mirin dipping sauce.  I was afraid it might overwhelm the steamed liver, but it was great:  a real mouth party.  I don't think I'd have been able to finish the overly large portion of monkfish liver I ended up buying without it.

Shungiku on the side, with the trad sesame dressing.

And rice.

Sake would have been best.  But I had none.  Champagne would have been good.  But that wasn't happening tonight.

I convinced myself that Gringet was the way to go.

2014 Dominique Belluard Le Feu

I've made no bones about my utter adoration of this Savoyard white.

I was right about the pairing.  This is kind of Chablis-like (Chablis was another obvious pairing candidate).  But it's more exotic:   before it goes into the endless mineral finish, the fruit is rounder and more particolored.  There's some melon, even some kiwi, and some peach along with the apple and citrus.  Not what you'd expect from a mountain wine, necessarily -- but what you get, in spades.

So it had both the sharpness and the fruitiness to withstand that spicy dipping sauce.  The cut to counter the richness of the liver.  And the round fruitiness to go with that fishy/livery flavor that Ankimo has that goes just that tiny bit past delicate.

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There was also too much of an early Spring leek strewn on top of the Ankimo.  I say this only because it struck me as outrageously good -- although that probably says more about my immediate susceptibility to Spring alliums than the the quality of this particular one.

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