Thursday, May 5, 2011

#185 - Stuffed Pepper Extravaganza, Plantains & Ramps With Two Wines

And radishes and corn and pea tendrils and cilantro-lime vinaigrette and a "romesco sauce"and a little chorizo.

We've wanted less meat lately and "a little chorizo" was the sum of all the meat present.

Last night's meal turned into a garden party with the plate looking like a jumble of every possible vegetable in the house and out in the world.

And it was delicious.

Served with two nice enough wines.  Should have stuck with one because I'm feeling it today.

Food:  Stuffed poblano and red Italian frying peppers, plantain mash and ramps with a radish, corn and pea tendril salad

Poblano and red Italian frying peppers stuffed with black beans, potato, Spanish chorizo and leftover Dunbarton blue cheese cheddar from Monday.  Could have roasted longer in the oven as the shells still had some bite to them but good stuff nonetheless.  Tasted balanced with each bite offering a nice hit of spice with the beans serving as the guts and the cheese and chorizo bringing some depth.  Each topped with a version of 'romesco sauce' made from the leftover kumatoes Provençal (from Monday as well) thrown into a blender with almonds and olive oil.

Plantain mash cooked with rosemary and cinnamon.  Delicious.

Ramps ('tis the season) tossed with salt and extra virgin olive oil and roasted in the broiler, leaving a great brittle char on the leaves.  Leftover 'Is this romesco?' sauce for dipping.

Radish, raw corn off the cob and pea tendril salad with a cilantro-lime vinaigrette to finish but we stared at its goodness in the bowl as we ate the main meal, wanting all its radishy goodness maybe a bit more than what we were eating.  Radishes are good.  Period.

This was wanted food, good food with me maybe loving it more than Mrs. Ney due to the fact that I love peppers in any form.  Fusion food all over the place.  Tasted like a chef with a Spanish mother and French father moved to Guatemala.

Wine:  2008 Peter Lehmann Layers Barossa ($14 - Binny's) & 2007 Domaine Des Tours Vaucluse ($18 - WDC)

The Layers is 46% Shiraz, 20% Mourvèdre, 15% Grenache, 17% Tempranillo and 2% Carignane.  It was the Tempranillo that intrigued us as Mas De Maha excelled so well with Latin-tinged food in the past.  Only 17% in this blend but felt right and proper.  Thick, jammy and smoky to start but settled down quickly, especially with food and especially with the plantains.  Turned into something very medium-bodied with primary fruit of black cherry and blackberry.  Smoky herbs in the middle and a jammy perk-up on the finish with easy tannins.  Smooth-ish.  By itself, the finish wasn't anything remarkable but with food, it stretched out nicely.  A pleasant, cheap, interesting blend that's food-friendly, leaving us feeling like we'd buy it again at that price but not much more.  The Schild Estate GMS is of better quality in the same price range but we liked this one well enough.

The Domaine Des Tours Vaucluse is a personal favorite.  The 2006 has been a bit finicky with food.  Blew us away with a fig tart.  Less so with other offerings.  This was our second 2007, the first time with meatloaf and tomatoes Provençal.  Winner, winner meatloaf dinner!  Showed more bright acid the first time in January with the wine utterly defined by it.  This time, it was earth in the glass with an aroma of a steamer trunk.  Not showing age, more showing a development into something more.  Might be something great later on.  Mud and twig-covered Grenache fruit, not as rich as before but still focused.  Musty edge that blew off quick but lingered in the background, mingling with the mud.  Smoky minerals and rocks at its core.  Drying tannins on the finish but never distracted.  In the end, it tasted like the soil it was grown in.  Distinctive, original and maturing nicely, it seems.

Pairing:  87  The back and forth between the vegetable extravaganza on the plate and the two wines made for good...enough...ness

Much joy came from thinking about how the meal would have played with each wine by themselves instead of going back and forth between the two.  The Layers would have made for a more open and ingratiating experience as the wine offered more of a big basket to catch all the flavors.  Bigger wine to catch some of the bigger flavors.  The Domaine Des Tours was more idiosyncratic and distinct but left something to be desired with certain bites, especially when some heat was present, but shined with ramps and 'Is it romesco?'  The Layers was beautiful with plantain mash and some charred ramp leaves that accidentally fell into a bite.

There were flavors everywhere between the food, the wine and the food with wine, becoming more of a quantity versus quality in terms of pairing deliciousness but sometimes that's just fine.

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