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A nice light Summer supper.

Braised boar shanks. I had planned a nice Germanic mustard-honey-and-sage preparation to show off the gorgeous flowering sage I got at the Greenmarket Saturday.  But I accidentally put in some Trinidadian dried green mango chutney (they call it kuchela); I just reached for a jar without looking and, well, I should have looked.  I still used the mustard glaze, and upped the brown-sugar-and-molasses Q in the gravy, and I changed my rice preparation to a distant but palatable mock-up of a Trinidadian pelau; and over the course of the night as it was cooking I convinced myself it wouldn't be too bad.  (I mean, kuchela includes mustard oil:  that might tie it all together.)  (I mean, they like currywurst in Berlin.)

It wasn't too bad.  It also wasn't as good as the dish I had intended to make would have been.

Some beans on the side, cuz I have them and cuz I heard somewhere beans are supposed to be good with pork products.

I'll be curious to see what the remaining shank will be like in a few days.  It really could improve with a few days of setting.  We'll see.

I was intending to have an off-dry Riesling in any event.  But the accidental chutney addition nailed it.

2015 Ratzenberger Bacharacher Riesling Kabinett Feinherb

I also didn't look at the wine label as I pulled the bottle:  I definitely wanted a full-on Kabinett. 

I was going to complain that this Kabinett is so dry it should have been sublabeled a Feinherb.  Then I looked at the label.

I really have to start paying attention.

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I'm a sucker.  I'll buy just about any herb or green at the Greenmarket that's flowering.

So this week I got some flowering sage.  No problem there:  I know sage, I like sage, I know how to use it.

I also got some borage.  The sage blossoms are nice enough, but the blue borage flowers:  they're gorgeous.

But what the fuck is borage?

I did some looking, and saw that people like it with salmon.  (They also like it in a soup, so later this week [if I can stick to my meal plan] we'll see something one of my sweeties has already named Borage Porridge.)  So it seemed pretty clear that the play would be to make Pierre Troisgrois's Salmon with Sorrell, except with borage.

So I did.

Copper River King (just to name drop).

Fuck this was good.

Wow.

What everyone says is that borage tastes sort of like cucumber.  And it really sort of does.  With more of a citrus jolt.

Pierre T. would have loved this.  (Actually I'd be shocked if Pierre T. hadn't made it himself at some point.)

The blue borage flowers made a beautiful garnish.

No one in the world would have anything but asparagus on the side with this.  Who am I to differ?

OTOH, no one in the world would drink anything other than a Sancerre with this.  But I was feeling an oaked Chardonnay, which is usually what you'd have with salmon in cream sauce (Sancerre wins out in this particular case cuz of the tart citrus kick in the herb).

1995 Kalin Cellars Livermore Valley Chardonnay "Cuvee W"

When I poured this dark amber wine, I was afraid it had oxidized.

Normally, I'd welcome that.  But not with a bright sauce like this one tonight.

To my surprise, it hadn't.  It's a dark color, but it's not a dark wine.  Darkish, maybe -- but that's because of the oak that screams out "California".

This is a very very good example of a kind of wine I don't usually like.  But that's a little misleading:  it's not quite typical.  For a big oaky California Chardonnay, it's very nuanced, and almost restrained.  Maybe that’s cuz Kalin doesn't release their wines until decades after the vintage, so all the strong elements have settled down and come together (kind of what I'm hoping will happen with my accidentally chutneyed boar shank).

In a way, this is more like a scotch I'd like to drink than a wine I'd like to drink.  But sitting here now, going through the dregs of the bottle after dinner, I'm quite liking it.  As a food pairng, I'm not so sure.

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Drinking this Kalin wine down, I'm seeing that its achievement is to have the dark stuff -- the oak, the age -- meld with the exotic fruit and strong acid characteristic of Chardonnays.

This might seem to be not a big deal.  But the reason so many people think they don't like Chardonnay, when it's really up there with Riesling among the great wine grapes, is that Chardonnays are so often flabby and unintegrated.

So to get one like this, that's Big and Oaky but still has the exotic fruit and acid, and it all works together . . . well, its something.

****************************

Another thing to note is that this works very much as a New World Chardonnay.

Chardonnays from the Côte de Beaune, yeah they use oak.   But it's all subtle.  I mean those are among the best white wines in the world.  They don't need advocacy or apology.

But Big California Chardonnays:  they're sort of famous Bad Wines. The reason this is such a Big Deal is that it plays by The New World Playbook, but still manages to make something of itself.

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So I have this borage.  What am I going to do with it?

One of the most famous culinary uses for borage is in that intense local favorite of Frankurt, Grüne Soße.  Now I'm not gonna try to make that:  it's MUCH too complicated.  But it does suggest that a borage soup would not be amiss before the pair of frankfurter sausages I was thinking of having tonight.  (You can SEE how tortured my meal-planning is.)

Seeing what I had in my fridge and freezer, I made a borage/mint/pea soup, with a poached egg floated in the middle.  Well, not floated exactly:  this soup turned out THICK.  But that only made it more like a Grüne Soße, so:  OK!

This was the first non-consommé soup I've ever made.  It was pretty good -- if stupid thick.

Borage Porridge:  exactly as my sweetheart named it in advance.

Franks, potato salad, cold pre-cooked fiddleheads, leftover blooming onions from Patti Ann's (you cannot finish those massive portions of stupid rich food).

I had the pairing all figured out.  Staying on the Frankfurt train several stations more than is sane, I reasoned that aside from Grüne Soße, they really like their Apfelwein there.  And, extensive trial and error (and I do mean error) has convinced me that the only wine that remotely goes with a hot dog is Gewürtztraminer.  So an Aaron Burr Cidery Appinette -- a cider with wine blended in from the Traminette grape, a North American hybrid having Gewürtztraminer as a parent -- seemed like a good (if contrived) choice.

As is my recent wont, however, I grabbed the wrong cider bottle out of my fridge.  What I ended up opening was a much fancier Aaron Burr Cidery cider, made from foraged apples.

2020 Aaron Burr Cidery Homestead Locational Cider "Calliccoon Creeks"

There is no question that this is a markedly superior beverage to the Appinette, which seems simplistic (albeit delicious) in comparison.  This has depth, it has complexity, it has a bitter finish that haunts.

Whether it's something you'd want to gulp down with hot dogs is another story.

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Grüne Soße is really easy to make, the tricky part is getting the herbs. Your instincts were good though, it’s typically eaten with boiled eggs and potatoes (no hot dogs.) 

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