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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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One of the best things about dating someone from Pennsylvania Dutch country is that when she visits her family, she comes back with a variety of Pennsylvania Dutch pickled meats for me, which I just love.  Before her last visit, I mentioned how much I particularly like pickled pig snouts -- and she returned with a jar of them that could only be described as immense (and that's only the beginning of the bounty she brought back!).

For my first go at this vast jar of snouts, I hit on the idea of smoking them.  I didn't know if it would work -- but the cured/smoked cognates are obvious.  I hoped it would be good -- but I couldn't even hope it would be as good as it turned out to be.  What a flavor bomb!:  vinegar and aromatics, light Ibushi Gin smoke, gooky fatty porky goodness, BAM.  I served the smoked pickled snouts on soy-sauced rice, dressed with scallions.

On the side, I was in the mood for Vietnamese garlic-and-fish-sauce eggplant.  I don't have any Vietnamese cookbooks, so I searched the 'net for a plausible-seeming recipe.  I found one, and as I was deciding whether or not it was trustworthy I noticed it was from Kathy YL Chan.  I mean, I (like everybody else here) know Kathy.  I made the version Kathy's Grandma favors, rather than the one Kathy and her Mom prefer -- how could the addition of chili pepper and egg not improve this dish?  And like Kathy's Grandma, I prefer dishes like this on the dry side.  This was not only easy to make, but absolutely delicious.

I chose the wine more for the eggplant, which I thought would be a tougher pairing, than the snouts.  (I mean, the smoked pickled pig snouts just wanted a Rielsing, right?)  And I have to say that, again, the pairing of this wine with the eggplant with fish sauce was even better than I anticipated:  one of those pairings that just seem right.

2017 Domaine Ilarria Irouleguy Blanc

This white wine is from the French Pays Basque.  Unlike the wines from nearby Jurancon, this wine is minority Petit Manseng (no Gros).  The primary grape is the little-known (at least to me) Petit Courbu (a minority partner in Jurancon).

VERY fragrant, flowery even.  On the tongue, tropical fruit comes on strong at the start.  And then apples -- LOTS of apples.  Some lemon in there.  VERY high acidity.  Riesling without the petrol maybe?  (Which means:  not as good as Riesling.) (But then nothing is.)

I believe this wine sees some skin contact -- but it's deep gold rather than orange.

I'm trying to reconstruct the thought process by which I decided this would complement the fish-sauced eggplant, but I really can't.  Whatever I was thinking, I was right.  Just sensational together.  (In Irouleguy, they like their local whites with pork, so that, too -- although I'm not sure smoked pickled pig snouts loom very large in Basque cuisine.)

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Suprême de Pintade au Miel et au Thym

With steamed and buttered haricots verts on the side.

Another dinner that much more closely approximated real food than what I usually make.  (And a shout-out to Feisty Acres for a really nice bone-in guinea fowl breast!) (They sell them in twos:  wait'll you see what I'ma do with the other one!)

Pairing this with a Southern Rhône was such an easy call that it's barely worth even mentioning.  But as I was going for one, I came upon my multitude of bottles of . . .

2020 Nathan K. Cabernet Franc

Cab Franc is redolent of thyme, see.  And this Finger Lakes entry is one of the fruitiest Cab Francs I've ever drunk -- nice crunchy fruit -- perfect for a dish like this at this time of year.  At least in theory.

In practice:  yes!  But I love this wine so much it almost wouldn't have mattered.  What I noticed more with this dish than with whatever I've drunk this with in the past is how much of a savory finish there is to this wine.  It's actually less one-dimensional than I had thought (much as I absolutely adored that one dimension).

Don't even THINK of drinking this above cellar temp.

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A coursed meal!  That old Sicilo-Dutch interchange.

First course, New Catch Herring.  (Thanks @small h!)

Bols Genever

As if you'd have anything else with New Catch Herring.  I put some in a little bottle in the freezer all day.

There are fancier Genevers around -- Bols even makes some -- but this still captures that nutty it's-Gin-but-it's-a-little-like-Whisky thing.


Second course, Spaghetti alla Norma.  My first of the season!  (I even listened to Norma earlier in the day.)  With sauteed spigarello on the side.

One interesting twist here is that I forgot I bought some spearmint as well as some basil at the Greenmarket this week, so, reaching for a leafy green herb, I accidentally garnished the spaghetti with mint.  (I remember thinking, as I was cleaning and destemming the herb, "this basil sure smells minty!")

It tasted pretty good.  (Especially since I went a little overboard on the hot pepper.)

I didn't have any reasonably inexpensive Sicilian reds around.

2019 Bichi No Sapiens

This Baja wine is called what it is because they're not sure what grape is in it.  The guy who tends the vineyard thinks it's Dolcetto; the guy who makes the wine thinks it's Carignan.  Either would be a reasonable pairing for the Spaghetti alla Norma, so, OK!

I'ma go with Dolcetto, FWIW.  Cuz what it mainly tastes like to me is Coca-Cola.

Like all Bichi's wines this is nice and funky -- not for the kind of winedrinker who's on the fence about Natural Wine.  As with many of these funky Old Skool Natural Wines, it almost doesn't matter what the grape is, cuz while you DEFINITELY taste fruit, it's under a layer of funk.  I love that effect, myself.

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27 minutes ago, Sneakeater said:

(Thanks small h!)

de nada. The only genevers I have is in a souvenir ceramic thing that I don't want to break open 'til it's really important (but ask me about my experience on a night crossing from Dover to the Netherlands). Also, I pronounce genevers wrong, according to actual Dutch guy, who doesn't think much of me anyway.

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  • 2 weeks later...

You wouldn't think that PA Dutch and Trinidadian cuisine would have a lot in common.  But they share a love of pickled pig snouts.

Pickled pig snouts with green beans over rice.  (The PA Dutch eat hot peppers -- truth! -- but I don't think they'd put as many in a dish as the Trinidadians put into this one.)  (OK:  I slightly upped the hot pepper Q.)  This dish has a reputation for getting better over time -- except there's never any left over.  I have some leftovers!  I'll find out some future lunch.  But shit it was great tonight.

I would like to pat myself on the back for somehow NOT slicing my finger when cutting the green beans lengthwise into quarters, as this recipe requires.  (You then cut each long quarter into pieces -- but THAT'S not dangerous.)

Sautéed purslane on the side.  I love eating this time of year.

There wasn't much question about what wine would go with this.

2013 Bloomer Creek Gewürtztraminer Second Harvest "Tanzen Dame"

Bring on the dancing girl!

This is a rich, very much off-dry Gerwürtztraminer from the Finger Lakes.  Just what you'd want with a dish chock full of hot peppers and pig fat.

I'm beginning to think Bloomer Creek can do no wrong.  They certainly didn't do anything wrong here.  That odd lychee flavor of Gewürtz -- and plenty of it.  But not cloying in the least bit.  For a strongly flavored wine, this is perfectly balanced.

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