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It hit me this afternoon.

I knew I'd be making my current favorite Midnight Pasta.  But why didn't I realize before what would be dynamite pairing for it?  (The open bottle in my fridge must have helped.)

Linguini con la Colatura di Alici.  (I get better at making this each time I try.)

On the side, one of my favorite things:  roasted sprouting cauliflower with Calabrian Rose Marina sauce.

Equipo Navazos La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada No. 30

I mean like duh, right?

An umami-laden dish will go with a saline savory Sherry.  Duh.

The Amalfi Coast needs to set up regular communications and intercourse with Andalucia is all.

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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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A sort of Caribbean dish of carabineros set on a bed of couscous with purslane wilted in (what did you expect?) as well as some aging cherries, with an admixture of Calypso sauce.  Topped with garlic scapes sautéed in the mucky red oil left after the carabineros were cooked.  With a big dollop of (jarred) Kuchela, the Trinidadian mango chutney, in the center.

This took off from a recipe of Susur Lee's (cuz we always look to Canadians for guidance on Caribbean cooking).  But it diverged from Lee's recipe enough that I feel I can take the credit or blame for it.

Credit.  This was fantastic.  If I were served this in a restaurant, I'd be very happy.

Until I found out how much it relied on store-bought ingredients.  So really, a lot of the credit goes to Matouk, the kings of Trinidadian condiments, who made both the Calypso sauce and the Kuchela (both deliciously, I must say).  Indeed, my favorite thing about this dish -- aside from the sheer fabulousness of the carabineros, surely among the most tasty of all crustaceans (which go very very well with Kuchela, it turns out) -- was the interplay between the sweet cherries (a last-minute addition, when I noticed them festering and reasoned that cherries and mangoes are a famously euphonious combination) and the sweet/sour/hot Calypso sauce in the couscous.  This warrants further exploration.

I was trying to decide between a Riesling, a Gewürtztraminer, and a Pinot Gris.  But then it occurred to me:  I didn't have to choose.

2017 Albert Boxler Edelzwicker Reserve

This vintage of this Alsatian field blend has the reputation of being more fruity and less minerally than usual:  just what I was looking for with tonight’s pungent spices.

And as pleasantly surprised as I was by how good the food turned out, I was if anything even more surprised by the success of the pairing.  It's hard to pair spicy food with wine -- both because there are so many chemical booby traps (too much alcohol or tannin in the wine and the food and wine will collectively taste like shit) and because the spice could totally overcome the wine, making it impossible to taste so you could just as well have drunk Sprite or water.

This, though, worked perfectly.  The slightest bit of sweetness to counteract the spice.  And the very exotic fruit wasn't delicate but upfront.  There was no problem of tasting it through the spices.  And it echoed the mangos (if not the cherries).

The only thing that would have made it better would have been more of the acid you expect from an Alsatian wine, which also would have cut against the spice.  2017 must have been a very hot summer and fall in Alsace.  But I'll tell you what:  the extra fruit in this wine was worth that.  Tonight.

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On 7/24/2022 at 10:36 PM, Sneakeater said:

Indeed, my favorite thing about this dish -- aside from the sheer fabulousness of the carabineros, surely among the most tasty of all crustaceans -- was the interplay between the sweet cherries (a last-minute addition, when I noticed them festering and reasoned that cherries and mangoes are a famously euphonious combination) and the sweet/sour/hot Calypso sauce in the couscous.

I was worried, actually, that I had accidentally poured in too much Calypso sauce, like Professor Weirdo with the Tincture of Tenderness when he was creating Milton the Monster.*  I've had that problem using Calypso sauce in the past.

But it must have been the hand of an Angel of Yahweh guiding me this time.  Because the amount of Calypso sauce -- more than I would have thought proper -- turned out to be just right.
_________________________________________________________________

*

 

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8 hours ago, Sneakeater said:

like Professor Weirdo with the Tincture of Tenderness when he was creating Milton the Monster.

It was Count Kook's fault! (I think he did it on purpose).

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Nigela Lawson's Asian Braised Beef Shin topped with Hot and Sour Shredded Salad seemed more climate/season appropriate than the Boeuf Bourguignon I'd normally knee-jerk to with a beef shin.  Steamed Dragon Tongue beans on the side.

But um Nigela:  "Asian"????????  You mean like it has Lebanese, Kashmiri, Afghan, Uzbeki, Persian, Pakastani, Chinese, and Laotian elements?  Looking at the ingredient list, I guess she means "Southeast Asian" -- but it's still pretty cross-cultural generic.  Don't tell the Authenticity Police.

Tasted good (if not what I wanted to be eating at 3:30 AM -- but that's my problem) (really it's Substack's problem -- but they made it my problem).

I had thought to have an Alto Piemonte Rosato with this.  It would have been good, too.  But can it be I'm out of one of my house favorites?  I couldn't find any, anyway.

So I defaulted to a light Piemontese red.  Light but extremely tannic (things are funny up there) -- which actually is a plus with the fatty meat here.

2015 Fabio Gea Black Grin

Fabio Gea certainly isn't the only Natural winemaker in the Piemonte.  And he wasn't the first.  But surely he's the craziest.

Gea has, at least in the past, been coy about what grape is in this.  But everyone knows it's Grignolino (duh).  That "Baby Nebbiolo" grape produces wines that are, as I said, light but very tannic -- but still light.  Good summertime drinking.

This is clearly a Grignolino (no matter what Gea doesn't say).  But it's a pretty intense one.  This is one of those cases where Natural winemaking ramps the grape's characteristics up.  Floral nose?  A whole fucking garden.  Full mouth without weight?  Yo my tongue is coated but the wine just floats by.  Red berry fruit?  A couple of cartons.  And then a nice sour finish, just so you know it's Natural.

The rosato would have been better.  But I'm not kicking this off the table.

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Salt and pepper sausage on a bed of Sea Island Red Peas.  A ramekin of Bavarian sweet mustard (as that seemed like the kind of thing American Southerners like).

Now if I'm having an American country sausage on Sea Island field peas, then OBVIOUSLY the vegetable is going to be the fried okra from Emily Meggett's book, right?

I thought I wouldn't like Meggett's version much, as it's not battered and only thinly coated with cornmeal (held on with water of all things).  Well let's not be doubting the fried okra recipe of The Queen Of Sea Island Cooking:  just as she says, in her version you taste the okra and not just the coating.

It's telling that I was afraid I was frying up too much okra, but it pretty much got inhaled off the plate.  (It's also ridiculously easy to make.)  I wouldn't be surprised if we saw more of this dish this Summer.

The wine selection will surprise no one.

2016 Marcel Lapierre Morgon "S"

I'm glad the Beaujolais Aging Wars are over, as this isn't even near the end of its window.

Just wonderful dark cherry and bright red strawberry fruit, and then the kind of multivalent herb/dirt secondaries you didn't used to expect from Beaujolais before the late Lapierre père decided to revolutionize winemaking in the region -- and the finish is REALLY long.  (To be clear, I liked it the old way, too.) (But I was a teenager then.)

This is one of the most celebrated wines in the world.  And you can taste why.

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ALSO:  I'm not gonna assert that this wine is at its absolute peak:  how could I know?

But (a) it's clearly (even) better now than it was previously and (b) it's hard to imagine its improving much.  But who knows?

I have enough to find out.

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This is one of those bottles where I was genuinely sad when I reached the bottom.  (I was listening to Winterreise, though, so I was feeling pretty morose to begin with.)

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As someone who was raised in the South, I recall seeing Bavarian mustard very occasionally. But more usually creole, honey, apricot or spicy brown mustard. And, of course, French's yellow mustard. Or, in the non-mustard accompaniments, things like peach/vidalia jam or onion jam served with relatively plain sausages.

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