Thursday, February 18, 2016

365 Days Of Food And Wine: Week #32

HBO's Show Me A Hero, a David Simon project chronicling housing desegregation in Younkers in the late 80s, has sat on out DVR for months. Finally hit play last night and glad I did. Extremely well-done and highly recommended. Watch a Republican debate and then watch this. The similarities are eerie. The mob mentality, the veiled racism, the stomach-churning ugliness of politics.

It has everything.

Total food and wine cost for the week: $78 for food and $139 for wine = $217

Total food and wine cost for the month: $396 for food and $504 for wine = $900

Sunday: Not-Yo Nachos!

Food Details: Baking sheet: tortilla chips, pepper jack, ground beef taco-seasoned up, black olives - under the broiler to get all melty. Topped with avocado, salsa, cilantro yogurt. It's Not-Yo Nachos!

Did We Like It? It's a once-a-year thing. Filling and good. See you next year, nachos.

How Was The Wine? Mrs. Ney had a 7-up, I finished up some pink from the fridge.

And The Pairing? Nothing to report here.

Cost: $13

Saturday: Fish Sauce Roasted Chicken, Pickled Onions, Naan and Arugula with 2014 Ulrich Langguth Riesling Hessische Bergstrasse

Food Details: Fish sauce marinated chicken (Bittman's best recipe for squab, using $3 Harvesttime chicken), garlic naan, onions marinated in same fishy marinade + white balsamic vinegar, arugula, cilantro yogurt. Naan topped with all of it.

Did We Like It? Jesus, Yes! Best meal of the week! Salty, fishy; flavors dancing and jumping everywhere. An incredible bite of food repeated 30 times. THIS...will go right into the food rotation. Stupid Asian food. It gets under your skin and STAYS there.

How Was The Wine? Fine and good cheap riesling from Trader Joe's. Acid, tension, nice fruit.

And The Pairing? Happy acid and cut to cleanse and refresh. Nothing special in the least, but nice to have it at the table with freakin' amazing food.

Cost: $13 for food, $7 for wine = $20

Friday: Rigatoni with White Bean Sugo

Food Details: White beans sugo cooked with lamb bones and a bit of ham, mixed with rigatoni, parsley and pecorino.

Did We Like It? Very clean, very beany, very satisfying. And we have a TON OF IT! No wine. Brought a Pruno Ribera del Duero to the table. Didn't drink it.

Cost: $3 for food

Thursday: Basil-citrus Chicken, Avocado, Salad and Ciabattini with 2014 Terrasse du Moulinas Blanc Elégance Languedoc-Roussillon

Food Details: $3 chicken marinated in basil and citrus, roasted in a 500-degree oven. Avocado, herb salad, mayo and ciabattini. It's pick-n-choose! Bread+mayo+chicken+avocado+salad, then eat.

Did We Like It? Heck yeah! One of the better chicken pick-n-chooses in a good long while. Freshy-fresh. Perfect.

How Was The Wine? Grenache blanc, vermentino, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc. One liter, $10, Whole Foods. House juice. Always good. Better bargain. Looking forward to the 2015.

And The Pairing? Perfectly subtle, savory, fresh food. Wine that adjusts to whatever's in front of it. Happy.

Cost: $10 for food, $10 for wine = $20  

Wednesday: Sesame-Lemon-Ginger Salmon and Carolina Gold Rice with 2010 Ponzi Pinot Noir Reserve Willamette Valley

Food Details: 'Sesame-crusted salmon with lemon and ginger' from this weekend's America's Test Kitchen. Tahini slather made with lemon and ginger, coated on both sides of the brined salmon. Brined and toasted sesame seeds coated on one side. Seared, then baked. Carolina Gold Rice with charred scallions. Arugula Salad.

Did We Like It? Tasted like many ATK recipes: a little safe. Salmon wandered into a well-doneness. Nice pop of sesame, lemon and ginger. We could taste all the ingredients in this meal, very clean and that was nice. Just tasted a little like "American restaurant" food. Once we took the arugula and put it on the plate, mixing it with the salmon and rice, it got closer to a salmon and bagels flavor, which is Home Food, so that was more welcome. But this was a lot of work with a lot of things going on at once, particularly with the fussiness of the proper cooking of the Carolina Gold rice (boil 15 minutes, spread out on a sheet pan, oven it for fifteen minutes, stirring every five, butter added towards the end...). Not a ton of work overall, just a lot going on all at once.

How Was The Wine? Thought process: a couple of Ponzi Reserves were floating around in the house, pinot noir likes sesame, and we should check back in on salmon and red wine every now and then. We went back and forth over whether the reserve is worth the extra $15-20 compared to their flagship wine. The reserve is about 15% more brooding, serious and darker than their standard $30 pinot noir, but lacks the looseness, playfulness, rosiness, and energy of the latter. The reserve is quite nice, and was here. We liked it. And had that signature, clean Ponzi acid reminiscent of biting into a slightly chilled raspberry. Tart, bright, happy. A fine fit with this meal, just maybe not a joyful fit.

And The Pairing? Indeed liked the sesame in seed and tahini form, at times really liking much of what was on the plate. Even liked the arugula. As I said, we liked this. Just wouldn't do it again. The food and the pairing tasted like "American restaurant" circa 1998.

Cost: $20 for food, $45 for wine = $65      

Tuesday: Ottolenghi Clementine-Ouzo Wild Boar Shanks with 2014 Jolie-Laide Trousseau Gris Fanucchi-Wood Road Vineyard Russian River Valley 

Food Details: Ottolenghi (recipe, at the bottom) using boar shanks instead of chicken, ouzo instead of arak, and omitting the brown sugar. Clementines, fennel/seeds, thyme, mustard, lemon juice, parsley, etc. Ancient Grains bread to dip and dunk.

Did We Like It? Basically a deliciously savory boar shank stew. It had "all the flavors we like' and it didn't even have any garlic or onion in it! A dunk-a-thon with the juice, bits and bread. Fantastic.

How Was The Wine? I'm going to plagiarize myself from here: "Shimmered and sang a beautiful song. Dirt, flowers and stars." A tough to find wine, but we found it. I'm not telling where until I get over there and buy more. I could use 12,000 superlatives that describe the loveliness of this wine, but why spend the time? It's simply The Best. Utterly complete, beautifully floral, perfect acid...tastes like your favorite author's prose." This drinking only confirmed that and more. It's wandering into a less youthful strut now, and somehow it was more interesting.

And The Pairing? This wasn't even a great pairing; at times coming off clipped with the food, other times loving the bitterness of the clementines, even other times not loving it. BUT. Somehow...It was More Interesting than if it would have been a great pairing. Showed its obstinance and detailed the reasons why. This wine is one smart beast.

Cost: $16 for food, $37 for wine = $53    

Monday: Flap Meat and Baked Potato with 2003 Pirramimma Shiraz McVaren Vale

Food Details:  Long-buried garlic-rosemary marinated flap meat (looks like it's been in the freezer since 27 january 2015, though there was no indication of that in the eating) with A1; baked potato with cheddar, bacon, sour cream.

Did She Like It? I had a work anniversary so Mrs. Ney capitalized on that to have a favorite: Loaded baked potato with a side of meat. She liked it, but this was about the wine.

How Was The Wine? In 2005, this was the wine that showed us that spending a little more on wine will make you fall in love with wine. Shining, sparkly, vibrant fruit and a roundness unlike any wine we'd had up until that point. So we bought a lot and watched it evolve over a decade. This drinking brought a pause; evocative, smooth, quiet but with a clear, measured, wise opinion. Tasted like an old leather chair that never falls out of fashion.

And The Pairing? Mrs. Ney paired this meal with texting friends and family and watching the first 3 episodes of season 6 Downton Abbey...and loved it. Priceless.

Cost: $3 for food, $40 for wine = $43  

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