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The Rest of Us (cont.)


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Pan-seared Hokkaido scallops (FUUUUUUUUCCCCKKKKK) in a thin sauce of dried tomatoes reconstituted in seafood broth with a lot of saffron and some other herbs and spices.  In deference to the amazing quality of the scallops, I tried not to overcook them.  I almost succeeded.  No reservations whatsoever about the sauce, which I slurped down off the plate after the scallops were finished.

More mizuna dressed with sesame oil and rice vinegar, this time mixed with scallion and with enoki on top along with the roasted sesame seeds.

I sort of can't believe I came up with this food.

2022 Land of the Saints Chardonnay

A fresh-faced Natural Santa Barbara Chardonnay.

It's like they're trying to be non-Californian:  there's no butter here.  It tastes like Chardonnay, but with a thin bracing mouthfeel (yet it's not at all like a Chablis). 

This isn't anything like fabulous or anything, but it's a good little midweek wine (that, as I recall, doesn't carry so much of a California Natural Premium as would make it unrealistic as a good little midweek wine).  I'd recommend this to just about anybody.

As a pairing, it went better with that sauce than I would have expected (I guess the seafood broth gave the sauce some richness) (and so, actually, did the saffron).  That the wine would go with the scallops was a foregone conclusion.

Edited by Sneakeater
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Mystery meat in my refrigerator. As I poked around at it before reheating it, it became apparent it was goat.  I had a taste before cooking it, so I could guess at how to serve it, and I tasted it was spicy.  I assumed it was an attempt at Mexican.  Now that I've eaten it, I see it was an attempt at Indian.  I really do have no recollection of it.

It was not a very successful attempt at Indian.  Instead of the successive layers of flavor you get from good Indian food -- some very spicy, some not -- here you just a rather one-dimensional onslaught of spice.  It was enjoyable enough for what it was.  But it wasn't "good", if you know what I mean.

When I still thought this dish was Mexican, I thought of serving it on rice (not having any tortillas and not being in a position where I really want to buy a new batch).  But then I got one of those ideas that are the bane of my existence:  why not have it on rice noodles (let's get on the steamer to Fusion Town!)?  In a way, it's a good thing I pivoted, since mistaking this for a Mexican dish I'd have made the wrong kind of rice.  It was fine on rice noodles.  What wouldn't be?

Thinking it was Mexican, I dusted it with Cotija and put some Black Spanish radish and red onion I had pickling on top.  The pickled radish and onion were fine with the Indian dish -- and Cotija never hurts, does it?

I had some Italian-style sautéed kale with garlic on the side, on the theory that this goat thing on rice noodles would resemble a ragu on pappardelle.  That wasn't totally wrong.

In any event, I had just the wine for this spicy goat dish (whatever it was going to turn out to be).

2021 Corte Gardoni Nichesole

This is a Chiaretto, the kind of rosé they make in Bardolino.  It's the standard Bardolino blend -- but this one also has some Sangiovese and Barbera blended in, which is great because those are grapes whose wines you'd consider drinking with a dish like this, if you were going full red.

Corte Gardoni is a good producer, and this is a good wine.  There isn't a touch of sweetness to it.  It's very sharp:  cranberries not strawberries.

Chiaretto has a following among people who summer on Lake Garda.  But I think it could take off generally if more people got to try it.

Edited by Sneakeater
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Reheated leftover haggis on Scandinavian-style rye toast with fried eggs on top. 

The crowning touch would have been the whisky sauce I'd made for the initial haggis serving, which turned out much better than I expected.  But being unfamiliar with the operations of microwaves, and not being very smart to begin with, I was more surprised than I should have been when the portion I put into the microwave to reheat caught fire!  WHISKY sauce, DUH.

Well, it kept the prep session from being dull.

On the side, sime minted peas.  I think of that as being more English or Irish than Scottish -- but at least it's from the same archipelago (do Britain and Ireland form an archipelago?).

Once I fastened on the idea this morning of pairing this with a Grenache-Syrah-Carignan blend, nothing could shake me.

2013 Le Roc des Anges Segna de Cor

As you might remember if you have as little of a life as I do, I'm kind of skeptical of this wine.  It's biodynamic, but it's still made in a Smooth International Style.

This was by far my favorite bottle of any I've had of this label.  And it might not be a coincidence that it is also by far the oldest bottle.  Indeed, many would say this is past its window.

But to me what's happened is that this has now moved beyond the hint of blandness that turned me off to previous bottles, into something that, if it isn't profound, at least isn't shallow.

It didn't hurt that the flavor combination of these three grapes -- about 50% Grenache and about 25% each of Syrah and Carignan -- promised to be, and was, a perfect complement to the high-flavored haggis.  Grenache for its friendly flabby fruit, as a counterpoint to the funky taste of the sausage; assertive meaty Syrah as an echo of the meat; and -- the genius part -- Carignan, redolent of baking spice, just bonded with all the seasonings in the sausage.

It's too bad Scotch Boutique went out of business.  If they had decided to open up a café as a sideline to their adhesive tape shop, I could've been the Somm.

Edited by Sneakeater
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Posted (edited)

My first dinner in my new apartment.  (Yeah it only took me a month to get my kitchen set up.)

And a real Ridgewood dinner (Old Ridgewood, that is).

So, smoked pork two ways.  (All pork sourced from the Ridgewood Pork Store.)  And since this is 2024, cabbage two ways.

Peppered smoked pork neck on a bed of sauerkraut.  And cabbage and onions with bacon, sautéed in bacon fat and butter.  (If cabbage is the new bacon, was this bacon with bacon?)

2021 Lesom Matryoshka

It doesn't call itself that, but this is essentially a Mosel Kabinett.  A Natural one.

This is a lovely wine.  It was, perhaps, a bit too delicate for the rather rough-and-ready food:  an A.J. Adams, say, would have been better.

But it is a lovely wine.

Edited by Sneakeater
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Posted (edited)

I wanted something kind of light tonight.

What passes for kind of light in Ridgewood is:

Boiled pork pierogi with the trad boiled pierogi "topping" of onions and bacon sautéed in bacon fat and butter.

The pierogi came from a local Polish deli that advertises "the world's best pierogi".  I'm not equipped to make THAT judgment -- but these were extraordinarily good, flavored like perfectly.  Wonder if the deli makes Bigos?

On the side -- cuz nobody ever said that Middle Eastern European cuisine isn't monotonous -- cabbage and onions with bacon sautéed in bacon fat and butter.

I went off the reservation for the wine pairing.

2022 Ruth Lewandowski Tatto

Well winemaker Evan Lewandowski sounds like he could be Polish.

This is an orange wine made from a blend of seven or eight highly aromatic mostly Italian white grapes, grown in Mendocino.

The name of this cuvée is Italian for "tactful".  Which I assume must be a joke, as this is one the most blatant orange wines I've had.  Very in-your-face fruit and flower aromas, and VERY in-your-face stone fruit and citrus flavors.

It went very well with the pronouncedly if rather mildly flavorful pork fillings in the dumplings.  And its mixture of extant tannins and high acidity were just what the meat and fat wanted.

Edited by Sneakeater
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Posted (edited)

See, I don't only make imitation German and Polish food.  I make imitation Irish food, too!

Corned beef and cabbage.  (The corned beef brined by the Ridgewood Pork Store, which isn't very doctrinaire about being German/Polish/Serbian either.)

To counteract the saltiness of the corned beef, the dish was going to be cooked in an off-dry Riesling.

You'd think that in a traditionally German neighborhood (OK, German by way of a millennium in Slovenia -- but still), which is STILL significantly German, it would be easy to find an off-dry Riesling.  (My own wines still haven't been sorted out yet from my move.)  But no.  The wine trade here is run by whatever you now call hipsters.  And, I'm informed, their constituency DOESN'T DRINK NON-DRY WINES.

I'm not going to rant about how I view that as a sign of ignorant lack of sophistication, of coming from a wine culture where off-dry wine means Manischewitz or Italian Swiss Colony and never getting over it.  I'm just going to say that I ran with the Feinhberb that was the most off-dry Riesling I could find around here -- but threw some sugar into the cooking pot to increase the sweetness.  (It seems to have worked:  the corned beef was delish!)

Obvs I drank the rest of the bottle not used in cooking with dinner.

2019 Reichsgraf von KesselstattJoeephshöfer Riesling Mosel Graach Rielsing Kabinett Feinherb

And cooking needs apart, this is a nice little wine.

It tastes like a Feinherb (the step below Kabinett and above Trocken, or "dry", in the Riesling sweetness scale).  Meaning it's tart, with just a twist of slight sweetness at the end.

This is a very piquant -- and food-friendly -- style.  And I can't argue that it didn't pair beautifully with the corned beef and cabbage.

But still:  I WANT my Kabinett.

Edited by Sneakeater
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On 3/15/2024 at 10:46 PM, Sneakeater said:


The pierogi came from a local Polish deli that advertises "the world's best pierogi".  I'm not equipped to make THAT judgment -- but these were extraordinarily good, flavored like perfectly.  Wonder if the deli makes Bigos?


Which Deli? And have you tried Stanley's Pierogi yet? 

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38 minutes ago, Sneakeater said:

Seneca Garden, and no, I have to make it over to Stanleys.

Nice. This place is also good, too. https://www.theinfatuation.com/new-york/reviews/hetman-polish-deli-and-foods

Also, Andy's Deli on Forest Ave makes some really good poststicker type dumplings that you can order ahead and pick up cooked or buy frozen. Worth checking out for sure. I keep the dumplings in the freezer for a quick fix. 

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Posted (edited)

Speaking of Stanley's and environs, I was kind of gobsmacked by La Parrillada Colombiana.

I expected an adequate cheap mom-and-pop hole in the wall.  But it's EXCELLENT.  I had some of the best beans I've had in my life there (Frijoles con Garra).

Edited by Sneakeater
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Posted (edited)

My first cooked meal here that wasn't an imitation of something, but just something I'd cook.

Wild Coho salmon, butter roasted with Bernaise seasonings.

On the side, some broccoli rabe that escaped from a Jersey farm a century or so ago and now blankets the countryside wild.  (You'd think it would be cheaper.)  Sautéed with (lots of) garlic.

I formed an opinion long ago that Viognier goes with tarragon (having some tarragon accents itself).

2022 Echeverría Viognier "¡No es Pituko!"

It's from Chile.  But it's one of those post-Luyt Natural Wines from there, so that's alright.

When I sipped some of this by itself while waiting for the salmon to finish roasting, I wondered if it would pair.  It certainly doesn't taste like any Rhône Viognier.  By itself, it's disjunct:  you get some weird cutting fruit at the front, with none of the roundness you expect from this grape, and then, without a transition, punishing acidity.

But you have it with food (maybe especially food that was roasted in butter) and BAM:  it all comes together.  The fat in the food (and aside from the butter let's not forget all that healthful fishfat built into the salmon) binds the elements of the wine that seemed disjunct when the wine was drunk by itself.

And the wine, meanwhile, has what it takes (a lot of acid, mainly) to cut through all that fat in the food.

Even better, I'm now tasting some of that tarragon in the Viognier.

Edited by Sneakeater
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