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Posts Tagged ‘rosemary’

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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I know you’re probably being inundated with what you should/absolutely/must have for the best/most exciting/most extravagant Thanksgiving this year for wine and food and I promise I will not do that to you.  Instead, I’m just going to tell you what I’m going to have. As a bonus, I’m even throwing in the recipes.  What?!?!? Aaron is giving us recipes? That’s right. I’m going all mainstream on you.  Not just listing the ingredients like I normally do and making you figure it out, but actual recipes that you could follow if you wanted to do that sort of thing.

This year I’ve decided on a South by Southwest theme.  No, not the festival in Austin, but southern and southwestern cooking mixed together.  My mother grew up in the south, my father in the southwest…so meta.  Anyway, as always, if you want advice, send me an e-mail with what you’re having and I’ll help you pick out some wines.  Happy early Thanksgiving!

The Wines

Aperitif: Pere Ventura Tresor Rosé

Meal time: Scott Paul La Pauleé 2008 (Pinot Noir)

Digestif: Averna Amaro Siciliano Fratelli Averna (Not wine, just in case you were wondering. Amaros are hot this year, oh yeah)

Turkey

The Brine (Do the day before):

2 gallons water
2 cups Kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 fennel bulb, split
1 white onion, split
2 limes, sliced
4 sprigs of thyme
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 sprigs of oregano
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 bay leaf

Toast all the spices in a skillet until they are aromatic, then put all of the ingredients in a stock pot and simmer until the salt is dissolved and the fennel has softened a bit (10-15 minutes).  Let the brine cool, put your turkey in and cover it for at least 12 hours.  Before you’re ready to pop it in the oven, remove from the brine and pat dry.  Preheat the oven to 400F Then add the rub.

The Rub:

1 tablespoon coriander seeds crushed
1 tablespoon fennel seeds crushed
1 teaspoon  thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons crushed dried chilies (ancho, guajillo, etc.)
Peel of 1 small lime (no pith please) grated
1 tablespoon minced onions
4 tablespoons softened butter

Mix all ingredients together and rub all of your turkey.  Get it mostly under the skin.  Yes, your hands will get dirty.  You can wash them later.
Pop that bird in the oven at 400F for 30minutes.  Hopefully, you have a meat thermometer.
Turn the heat down to 325F and continue to cook for 1 hour.
If you have the time, turn the heat down to 250F and cook until the white meat is 165F or the dark meat is 175F, otherwise just leave it at 325 and your bird will finish up within another hour.  If you want to get crazy, go ahead and baste the turkey with the drippings that fall every 1/2 hour or so.  Expect your total cooking time to go up a little when you do this though since heat is escaping the oven.  On to the sides!

Green Chilies Sauce (Replacement gravy)

2 cans green chilies
½ quart cream
Salt/pepper

Put the first two ingredients in a saucepot and raise to a simmer.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Make 10 minutes before you serve all the food.  For the advanced user, instead of the canned goods, go ahead and get 4 poblano peppers.  Stick them on the grill with the corn until all sides are blistered and blackened.  Then slide them into a sealed container or bag for a few minutes so they steam up a bit.  Peel off all the skin, then slice and dice.  Voilá. Your own chilies.

Trivia for the dinner table:  The spelling “Chili” refers to any member of the Capsicum family, many of which are used in cooking.  This can also be used to reference the dish which football fans love during the fall.  It can also be spelled as “Chile” or “Chilli”.  The “correct” spelling is debatable.  However, the country of Chile would like to insist everybody spell their name as is.  I have seen this embarrassment in grocery stores and wine shops in which they spell the country of Chile, “Chili”.  

Hot Sauced Brussel Sprouts

1 lb Brussel Sprouts
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
Salt/Pepper
1/2 cup your favorite hot sauce
1 tablespoon Oregano
1 tablespoon butter

Clean, slice of the stems, and halve the brussel sprouts then toss them with the olive oil.  Roast those bad boys at around 350 for 15-20 minutes until the edges get brown.  Meanwhile heat up the butter to melting point and mix it with the hot sauce and oregano.  Once the sprouts are done roasting, toss them in the hot sauce mixture.  Enjoy the ensuing mouth-gasm.

Grilled ears of corn

4 ears of corn
Soak. Pat dry. Grill.

Soak whole ears of corn for 20 minutes in water.  Pop on a flaming hot grill.  Rotate after you see grill marks on the bottom. Take them off when grill marks are on the other side.  10 minutes-ish to cook.

Wild Rice with cranberries

1 cup Wild rice
½ cup Cranberries
3 cups Chicken broth
1 Tablespoon sugar
½ cup chopped Pecans
2 tbsps Butter
Salt to taste

Put the rice, broth and butter in a pot and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce the heat to low and let cook for 20 minutes.  Add the cranberries, sugar, and pecans and some salt if needed.  Stir. Cover again and cook for another 30 minutes or until the rice is fluffy and you don’t see liquid bubbling around.

Pickled Okra and Jalapeños (Make at least a week in advance)

1/2 pound Okra or enough to fit into a big mason jar
1 Jalapeño, sliced
1 tablespoon Dill
2 teaspoons Juniper berries
1 teaspoon Fennel seeds
Dash of Cayenne if desired
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons Sugar
1/2 cup Vinegar
1 cup Water

Bring the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt to a boil. Meanwhile stuff your your okra and jalapeno slices into the mason jar. Add in the dill, juniper berries, fennel seeds, and cayenne. Once the liquids are boiling, take them off the heat and pour into the mason jar until the dry ingredients are covered. Seal the mason jar closed and refrigerate for at least a week.

Pecan Pie

It’s a secret southern mother recipe. Sorry.

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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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Superfluous Rating: 5/5

Salmon fillet seasoned with salt, pink peppercorns and rosemary; topped with butter and lemon and thrust into an aluminum packet and put on the grill.  Red potatoes, leeks, onions, mushrooms, and asparagus seasoned with salt, pepper, and rosemary; loved with a butter and olive oil mix, piled into an aluminum packet and put on the grill.

Wine: Rudera de Tradisie Chenin Blanc 2009

Those of you with a keen eye will note a different windowed back drop. Cheers to buying a house and turning it into your own wine palace.

Notes:

There’s nothing like a cold snap during the tail end of September to remind Minnesotans that winter will be coming soon.  Nevertheless, I will be using the grill until there is a foot of snow on it; and perhaps then I might even make that the first destination when creating snow paths.  The best part of putting all your food in to tin foil or aluminum (pronounced Al-lu-MINI-um if you’re British) is that there is barely any cleanup and you can still let the food simmer in tasty juices.  And this salmon, with potatoes and veggies on the side is delightful after that.  I believe the internet people say, “Nom.”

I don’t think I’ve seen salmon popularly paired with Chenin Blanc, which is all fine and good, but this was fantastic.  This particular C-Blanc (its rapper name) from Stellenbosch, South Africa was wonderfully floral and had a bit of creaminess to it because it was fermented in oak.  Not a common process for C-Blanc, but it worked out fine to give it quite a bit of body and really turned this into a cool autumn comfort meal.

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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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