Thursday, January 9, 2014

2014 Snowpocalypse Food Week

A roundup of first-of-year food heavily influenced by the fact that leaving the house for more than five minutes might have resulted in death.

Well, not quite death but...geesh!

Monday Dinner

Sausage, grapes & tomatoes with kale salad and baguette, served with 2012 Trader Joe's Reserve Barbera Mendocino County Lot #88 ($10 - TJ's) 

Recipe from Orangette, though we add grape tomatoes and rosemary in the roast.

Previous Pairings: Great with wild boar sausages and a bottle of 2003 Pirramimma Shiraz McLaren Vale. To lesser but nice effect with weisswurst and 2009 Ponzi Dolcetto Willamette and Trader Joe's sweet sausages and 2010 Centonze Frappato Sicilia IGT.

This meal, using Trader Joe's sausages, was unfortunate in that the TJ's link casings had a chlorine note to them. Soooo...those were pushed aside halfway through eating. Always a easy-peasy delicious meal, though. Go to the recipe link. The food looks like the pictures, with silly-great juice.

This is a meal, with the juicy grapes involved and meaty sausages as well, that needs a wine that's simultaneously red, juicy and with a bit of a backbone to stand up to the sausages. A bit of an Italian style helps as well.

With the wine served with this one, the Trader Joe's Barbera from Mendocino in California, we've found this year's cheap, weeknight, juicy red for a ton of meals. It's $10, rosy floral, darkly juicy, fertile dark dirt, and full of happy, open, but nonetheless solid structure to fit with a flurry of meals. Sausage and rapini? Check. Malnati's pizza? Check. We have 15 more bottles. I'll be writing more on this one.

Tuesday Dinner

Lobster panzanella salad, served with NV Ayala Brut Majeur Champagne ($33 - Vin Chicago) & 2010 Raventos i Blanc Silencis Penedès ($20 - Saratoga)

TJ's frozen lobster tails ($12 for a package of two), kumatoes and tarragon, fennel, broiled scallions  and lemon thyme, toasted torn baguette, arugula, house vinaigrette

Great Trader Joe's frozen product here. Perfect for two people who couldn't care less about lobster. This meal is just a big pile of "stuff" we like with just enough lobster on top to take the meal to a new place. Loved this one for exactly what it was.

The Ayala, previously a house favorite in the mid-$30 range, hasn't shown well of late. Did here, with big hugs happening with the fennel and bread in the salad. Lengthened structure, pretty perks of fruit and skin, all with a graceful, spritely and herby walk to the finish. This is the best it's tasted since probably the second time we had it, with probably ten bottles in between those tastings. Good to see you again, buddy.

The Silencis, a personal favorite, suffered from its 2010-ness. A bit of separation between the wine as a finished product and a well-water note that...wasn't...unwelcome, really. It was a DRINK ME NOW! So we did.

Good meal, we're doing lobster panzanella again and Ayala will be in the running for the pairing.

Wednesday Dinner

Post-grill marinated hanger steak, plantain-onion empanadas and arugula salad with 2010 Charles Smith K Vintners Motor City Kitty Syrah ($30 - Binny's)

Hanger rubbed with cocoa powder, smoked paprika, cumin; seared in bacon fat; post-marinade of rosemary, garlic, black currant mustard, soy sauce, worcestershire, evoo. Plantains, sauteed onions, cheddar wrapped haphazardly in pieces of pie crust that must get out of the freezer NOW. Arugula with mint, pomegranate seeds, evoo, fustini's balsamic.

Solid meal, welcome meal, if served this in a weird hybrid restaurant, we'd be happy campers. Empanadas were surprising, whipped up on the fly stuff.

The star was the Motor City Kitty, though. Tight number right out of the bottle. About ten back-and-forths between bottle and decanter opened this up rather quickly, Thank God.

Savory overall, starting with a note of homemade, under-sweetened dark raspberry jam that quickly transitioned to herb seed, bright earth and burning sticks, each showing up at different times and in a different order. A four-act play here. Great length, smooth segues, and a pretty fantastic value at $30.

And was frankly stupid-awesome with the plantains.

Note to wife: Andrea Calek Blonde Ardèche is on the way, along with sparkling Portuguese red!

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