Thursday, April 28, 2016

365 Days Of Food And Wine: Week #42

Chicken, lamb and country ham.

Fennel, Castelvetrano olives, faux pomme frites, rye crepes, gruyere, onion, fava, radicchio, asparagus and watercress.

Fennel pollen, lemon, preserved lemon, garlic, herbes de Provence, basil, mint, tarragon, walnut oil, pink peppercorns, parsley, honey, soy, chiles and white/regular balsamic.

That was much of the first three days of food this week.

Good week.

Total food and wine cost for the week: $103 for food and $153 for wine = $256

Sunday: Picadillo with 2014 La Paca Garnacha Calatayud

Food Details: Sam Sifton picadillo, subbing red "ancient chile" pepper and smoked paprika instead of chorizo, currants instead of raisins, plus fresh oregano, over rice.

Did We Like It? It's beefy, tomatoey, spicy-sweet bouncy, olivey. It's Cuban stew over rice and it's quite good.

How Was The Wine? $7 Trader Joe's Spanish grenache. Bright cherries and plums. Ripe. A bit of smoked meat and tobacco. Low tannins. Medium-to-light. Easy-breezy Spanish drinker. Friendly for $7.

And The Pairing? Cuban stews focus on balance and bump. They're one-pan stews with everything thrown in there, giving a little of everything but rarely too much of any one thing. That allows an easy red to weave into the food and pick up what it wants to without being overwhelmed or surprised by something it doesn't want to be. This grenache works. It's not spectacular or memorable, it's just what Spanish grapes do with Cuban food: Like it.

Cost: $6 for food, $7 for wine = $13  

Saturday: Indian Carrot Salad with 2014 Amancay Torrontés La Rioja 

Food Details: House staple. (Recipe) Crisped-up ground lamb with garam masala. Carrots and shallots dressed with lemon, ginger, cumin, peppers and olive oil. Sesame seeds. Kale as a base green. Naan and black mustard seed raita on the side.

Did We Like It? Oh, my, yes. Been awhile since we had this. A weekday and weekend meal, because it's that good. And was here.

How Was The Wine? Trader Joe's $7 torrontés, which has just enough flowers, just enough acid, and just enough cheapness at $7 to have a place in this house with the type of food we eat.

And The Pairing? Floral notes help counter the spice and heat, and that's what it did on this night. Nothing amazing, but a basic elemental interplay usually leads to a happy meal.

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

Friday: Orecchiette with Sausage and Rapini with 2014 Rosa dell'Olmo Gavi Piedmont

Food Details: Orecchiette with (ground pork turned into) sausage, rapini, onion, red pepper flakes, parsley, bread crumbs and evoo.

Did We Like It? A nice batch. A once-a-month thing. A big bowl of meaty, bitter, spicy, herbal, carby goodness.

How Was The Wine? Trader Joe's Gavi done well. Dry, crisp, lightly floral, peaches, medium-bodied. This drinking showed its age. A lil jumbled in flavor and order.

And The Pairing? No complaints. Missed on having its typical perky cut and pause that says "this wine is $8?" with this food, but no real complaints.

 Cost: $7 for food, $8 for wine = $15

Thursday: Big Greek Salad with 2013 Jackys Preys Cuvée de Fié Gris Touraine

Food Details: Big. Greek. Salad. Consisting of leftover chicken, cucumber, yellow tomato, red pepper, scallions, jalapeno, feta, olives, dill, oregano on arugula with evoo and white balsamic.

Did We Like It? Enormous and delicious! Delicious and enormous! Eat your veggies. Here's a great way. Just dump a bunch of "veggie stuff" in a bowl with other things you like, mix and eat.

How Was The Wine? This 2013 is still super-duper juice. Natural, floral, Asian-fruity. Almost frothy-beery but never gets there. We've loved this wine over the last few months and this drinking was no different.

And The Pairing? That frothy-beery business helped with the saltiness of the feta. A fine-and-good pairing that reminded us why this wine is so funky-wonderful.

Cost: $9 for food, $19 for wine = $28

Wednesday: Country Ham and Asparagus Rye Crêpes with 2014 Day Wines Malvasia 'Mamacita' Applegate Valley

Food Details: David Tanis ham and asparagus crêpes, using country ham from Paulina Meat Market and rye flour in addition to buckwheat flour. 12-month Gruyère cheese with the country ham and grilled asparagus as filling. Watercress salad drizzled with walnut oil. Big honking plate of crêpes with salad. California brunch bistro food.

Did We Like It? I was skeptical. Mrs. Ney wanted country ham and this was the first search result and recipe of the day on NYT Cooking the day she looked. Magic! One note on the recipe: use more batter for each pour into the pan. Too tiny/delicate otherwise. One might think that, after a few bites, this would grow monotonous. Nope. Not even close. Delicious right to the last bite. Fresh, clean, filling and lovely. We went from thinking this might be a once-every-two-years thing to "I'd eat this again every spring. At least."

How Was The Wine? One of the good things about NYT Cooking (and there are many) is when Mr. Asimov chimes in with wine pairing recommendations. Go to the bottom of the recipe link and you'll see him say, "If you prefer wine...The United States is also producing more good, dry sparkling wines. Look for those labeled pétillant naturel, an ancient method that is a sparkling equivalent of cider." WE HAVE THAT! Sparkling, pet-nat malvasia from Oregon! And it's probably the wine of the year for us so far. Big mouthfeel of orchard fruit skin to start, transitioning to a sunny, white flowered, yeasty core, and finishing with a refreshing, lemony acid and perk.

And The Pairing? Tasted so gosh-darn intentional in terms of pairing, like they were made specifically for each other. Interweave your fingers. That's what it tasted like. Lovely stuff together.

Cost: $20 for food, $28 for wine = $48  

Tuesday: Ottolenghi Lamb Rosettes and Radicchio-Fava Salad with 2014 Alloy Wine Works Grenache Rosé Central Coast

Food Details: Mr. Ottolenghi lamb recipe, subbing Paulina Meat Market lamb "rosettes" (skewered lamb flank) and swapping out coriander for basil. Lamb marinated in a blitz of parsley, mint, basil, garlic, chile, honey, olive oil, soy, lemon juice, balsamic and water; seared medium-rare. Grilled radicchio, farro and fava bean salad (very roughly based on this recipe) with preserved lemon, feta, basil, mint, pink peppercorns, etc. Lamb and salad.

Did We Like It? Beautiful-Beautiful-Beautiful lamb with a salad that said, "I'm full of Great Stuff. Eat me. You'll like me." Bitter, herbs galore, real big punch. Loved it.

How Was The Wine? We've probably drunk 25-30 of these cans of pink from Field Recordings over the nine months. The second the 2015s show up, we'll be buying 25-30 more. This drinking helped us feel better about the few left in the house. Started to fade into a nondescript rosé the last couple of drinkings, this time a perky bitterness emerged to complement its watermelon brightness.

And The Pairing? The saltiness of the feta, bitterness of the radicchio, and hodgepodge of herbs kept us away from a red. Needed a catch-all we didn't care too much about and the Alloy rosé performed admirably once again. A guzzler that brings the happy for $7 a can.

Cost: $30 for food, $14 for wine = $44  

Monday: Roasted Chicken, Fennel and Olives with 2012 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe La Crau Blanc

Food Details: Jeremiah Tower roast chicken (Whole Foods - air-chilled), rubbed with fennel pollen, white pepper and salt, roasted with fennel, onions, Castelvetrano olives, garlic, lemon, tarragon, and herbes de provence (deglazed with white wine). A mixture of Tower chicken and Thomas Keller chicken with fennel and olives. Sam Sifton faux pommes frites. Watercress salad drizzled with walnut oil.

Did We Like It? My golly, yes. Juicy chicken, gorgeous watercress from Edgewater, all the fennel-olive goodness that comes from Mr. Keller's recipe... A delicious dinner.

How Was The Wine? Two 375-mls of Télégraphe blanc that sort of slipped through the cracks due to not having this meal for a good long time. It's a nearly perfect pairing and we reserve this wine specifically for this meal. Sherry and honey notes are starting to show up and they're magically delicious. Smoked orange peel, pineapple... Lower acid now, with its body taking over and giving all we needed. Like La Crau and López de Heredia had a baby. Smoky minerals. We loved it. A huge surprise. We always drink this blanc pretty quick. Now we know it's still wonderful with a bit of age.

And The Pairing? Still one of the best pairings in the world in our book, this time in a different form. Wonderful stuff.

Cost: $18 for food, $70 for wine = $88

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