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Posts Tagged ‘garlic’

2 1/4lbs of porterhouse lightly aged and seasoned with garlic, salt and pepper, browned on a hot, hot, hot cast iron skillet, then wrapped in foil with butter, olive oil, rosemary, thyme, garlic, Meyer lemon zest and shoved in a low-temp oven to slow cook for an hour.  And in the last act, the steak rested before I ate it or even cut it.  Because you always let it rest.

Oh, there was a side too: A hybrid caprese/panzanella salad composed of toasted bread in olive oil, salt and pepper, with tomatoes, mozzarella, and dressed with thyme, rosemary, Meyer lemon juice/zest, and olive oil.

Wine: R. Lopez Heredia’s Viña Bosconia 2004

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Notes:

While eating red meat all the time is certainly frowned upon in health and environmentally conscious circles, I find it entirely appropriate and perhaps the most luxurious thing one can do to have a perfectly cooked steak once in awhile.  Once in a blue moon may be too much time in between, but certainly no more than once every full moon.  Vegetarian and Vegan concerns aside, there’s nothing quite like the taste of highly saturated animal fat melting in your mouth.

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I had to include this shot showing the marbling on the steak because it’s my job to make you jealous in an educational way.

Over the years, I’ve experimented with various forms of cooking a thick steak, which of course I’ve always had with wine. I can say emphatically that if someone tells you you have to pair a certain wine with a steak they are most certainly trying to sell you something.  A wonderfully cooked steak, that has a bit of semi-crunchy texture on the exterior from the Maillard reaction (Which doesn’t “seal in the juices” or whatever people tell you) and a juicy interior regardless of any additional herbs and spices that have been added can go with a myriad of wines.  This steak could have gone wonderfully with a heavier bodied white that carried lemony aromas, or a sparkling wine, or a dry rosé, or one of a hundred different red wines.  Having said that, this steak was wonderfully accompanied by the Viña Bosconia because it is also a fabulous wine.  It’s mostly Tempranillo, as all riveting red Riojas are, and this one was displaying more bright red fruit flavors while the earthier flavors played back up.  Surprising myself, I actually let this wine sit in a decanter for a full hour before even looking at it.  That’s willpower.

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Man, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted!  I’ve been busy…drinking wine and stuff.  OK, I really can’t come up with a good excuse.  To make up for my prolonged absence, I am giving you a crazy-awesome wine and food experience.  I even have multiple pictures just to back up all the hyperbole of the last sentence.  Let’s get to the good stuff!

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Seafood medley of clams, mussels, lobsters, and shrimp accompanied by red potatoes, chorizo, and ears of corn.  Cooking juices loaded up with butter for dipping.

Wine: Charles & Charles Rosé 2012

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Yes, yes, yes, the food and the wine were absolutely fantastic.  All of it was cooked in single pot, and I don’t want any grief from East Coasters about that fact that I did my clambake in Minneapolis!  The dry rosé from Washington had a great sense of minerality that worked well with the seafood and quite a bit of bright fruit to add a nice layer of texture on top of the meal.  Overall, this was a great wine and food pairing, but when it comes to the experience of the meal, there’s always so much more involved.

It just so happened for me that my craving to have a clambake this year was given the perfect opportunity by my father being born a certain number of years ago (His secret is safe with me).  Fortunately, the rain held out and we were able to enjoy the great outdoors in the city while stuffing ourselves silly with delicious seafood and washing it down with solid wine.  As a little sensory bonus I clipped some rosemary, lemon thyme, and lavender from my garden and poured some hot water over them (essentially just making herbal tea) to add a little headiness to the air.   It was fun, it was messy, it was an adventure.  This is truly one of those events that I think everyone simply must have annually. I don’t even care what you’re celebrating.  Just find a great meal, get some great wine, and then put some effort into it!

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The best part about wine and food is that it gives an event something to focus around.  This shared social experience of enjoyment is, in my mind, one of the finest things in life.  One might credit the amount of wine consumed, but I’m guessing it’s the act of sharing something enjoyable that brings people closer together during these nights.  I would add that it’s of extra benefit to share something enjoyable that is also new.

I could probably go on a rant about how we as an American society are not spending enough time sitting and enjoying meals together, but I think we’re all acutely aware of that message.  Instead, I will say this: wine and food are an integral part of the human connection.  The experience is also an important opportunity for adults to show children how to drink alcohol responsibly with food.  So the next time you think about planning a meal go ahead and decide to cook something you think is fancy and share a bottle of wine over it.  Just the little bit of extra effort in thinking about it will pay off in dividends.

Happy Birthday, Dad.

Happy Birthday, Dad.

 

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Thick-cut pork chop with a rub (chipotle pepper, Hungarian paprika, salt/pepper, garlic, rosemary, thyme, cayenne, and clove) put on the grill low and slow basking in the glorious smoke of hickory chips.  On the side: grapeseed oil sauteéd golden beet and kale mixed into some orzo.

Wine: Aaron Berdofe Pinot Noir 2013

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F’ing Hipsters.

Sometimes the stars align at the exact moment you need them to.  We in Minnesota have been desperately seeking spring like nobody’s business and yesterday we finally saw an inkling indication that warm weather is on the way.  Naturally, for me this meant it was a chance to use the grill.  Additionally, my latest batch of kit wine, a California Pinot Noir, decided it was ready*.  I don’t really have a label worked up for my small batches of wine, mainly because it’s completely unnecessary, so I did not include a gratuitous label shot.  However, a couple months ago I did happen to capture the moment that I realized I was racking wine in my SW Minneapolis home WHILE wearing flannel on camera…unintentional hipster moment.  So you get a picture of that.  Happy?  Anyway, the food was fantastic and the clove just picked up so nicely in the wine that I may have been somewhat overindulgent in my sounds of pleasure while consuming this concoction.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how long the finish has been in the two wines that I’ve made.  The succulence of the pork, certainly called for a wine to stick around for awhile.  Speaking of which, do you know what wine makers and marketers call wines without a lengthy finish?  “Easy Drinking”

 

*For those of you who already have a bottle of my Pinot Noir, now would be a good time to start drinking it.  Serve just below room temperature.

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Rating: 5/5

Cornish Hen marinated in olive oil, garlic and onion then put on the grill with a risotto full of tenderly cooked onions using a dash of the red wine instead of the traditional white.

Bonus gratuitous food shot

Wine: Domaine Diochon Cuvée Vielles Vignes 2009

Notes:

This was superb.  The gamay had a surprising amount of punch and had to be left out for an hour before I started in on it.  Lots of dark berries and fig components that went nicely with the creamy risotto and the grilled hen.  The tannins, although softly apparent on their own, seemed to melt away with the extra bit of finishing salt I dashed on at the end.  For those with concern about gamay, this is a serious one.  As a bonus, the dish turned out to be pretty good looking so I’ve included the gratuitous food shot above.  As a bonus to the bonus, I’ve even included a nice infographic of this label for those of you who want to figure out what exactly the items on a typical French label mean.

Bon appétit!

Interpreting a French Wine Label

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Rating: 4/5

Lasagna layered with homemade pasta noodles, sauce composed of browned ground turkey in tomatoes, onion, garlic, yellow pepper, basil, rosemary, caraway seeds, and salt/pepper, fresh spinach leaves and a cheese blend of ricotta, asiago and parmesan.

Wine: Tenuta Sant’Antonio “Mont Garbi” Ripasso

Notes:

Valpolicella is generally known for two types of wine.  One is their standard blend of Corvina Veronese, Rondinella and Molinara which is a lighter, aromatic wine and generally flies under the radar of enthusiasts.  The other is Amarone, which is made from the same grapes, but the grapes are dried ahead of time and then fermented into a rich and dry wine.  Amarone is the popular kid out of Valpolicella and its price tag generally reflects this.  However, at some point, a very enterprising wine maker decided to take the leftovers from Amarone and blend them with some of the standard blend to create a middle of the road wine which turned out to be pretty good.  They called it Ripasso and it officially got recognized in December 2009 with a DOCG status (which means they could put the word “Ripasso” on a bottle and it would mean something).

Anyway, this paired nicely with the lighter lasagna.  The wine delivers all sorts of red fruits upfront, but has enough structure and spice in the end to make it play wonderfully with the ricotta cheese and the caraway.  Simply Italian.  Enough said.

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Rating: 5/5

Chickpeas and chopped dried dates put into a masala (a mixture of spices) created from tomato paste, garlic, cardamom, star anise, yellow onion, cumin and cayenne pepper.

Wine: Yalumba Shiraz/Viognier 2008

Notes:

Yowzah!! This was fun.  If you ever have a night where all you feel like doing is wrapping yourself up in a blanket and listening to the cold winds whipping around outside, this is your meal. As a bonus (for some; not me), it’s vegetarian and vegan friendly if you’re in to that sort of thing.  The cayenne actually plays an interesting role in this dish in the fact that if you just put a dash, it acts as a supporter to the warmth in the spice blend.  If you put in more than a dash, the rest of the spice blend acts as a warm supporter to the heat “pricks” of the cayenne.  I went with the former which paired beautifully with the wine from Eden Valley, Australia.  Now, to avoid some confusion, there was only 3% Viognier in this bottle so it’s hard to really call this a blend (but this is how they do it in Côte-Rôtie, France!).  Yalumba could have legally said the whole thing was Shiraz and that would have been fine.  Most of the world states that if you have at least 85% of a varietal in a bottle you can just call it by that varietal.  However, I always appreciate a vintner’s honesty when they go the extra mile and tell me what the exact blend is.  The best part about this pairing was how even though the fruit tones were muted because there was nothing in the food to enhance them, the wine still was incredibly balanced and took on a darker life that was very interesting and enjoyable.  It also helped greatly that the finish on this wine lasted as long as the warmth from the spice blend did.

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Rating: 4/5

Paella made with sun-dried tomato chicken sausage, scallops, shrimp, mixed peppers, chili beans, white rice, garlic, mushrooms and fresh sage.

Wine: Pétalos Bierzo 2006

Notes:

Paella happens to be one of my favorite dishes of all time.  The peppers I use generally change from time to time and if I add beans, they’re usually just red and not chili.  However, it’s hard to mess Paella up and the pepper mix of cayenne and serrano pulled in a good deal of heat.  The fresh sage was a first time addition and definitely a keeper since it provided a wonderful refreshment in the middle of the dish.  Generally, I’ll pair this with a Tempranillo or Monastrell, but the Bierzo (grape: Mencía) was something new so I opted for it.  Bierzo is complex as it sifts between something like a Tempranillo in the leather and tannin and then towards something fruitier with it’s red fruits with hints of minerality and herbs.  It packs a punch though.  The mouthfeel on this was like a semi flowing through your mouth.  Oddly, this made a great pairing with a spicy dish that probably would have prompted sweat without its aid.

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