Tuesday, March 27, 2012

#265 - Fenugreek Shrimp, Blackeye Curry & Raita With Two Wines

Odd Monday mélange consisting of...

A fenugreek shrimp preparation from the Arabian Peninsula, a black-eyed bean curry from West India and.... KFC and Champagne!

Yep.  We did that.  And it was kinda awesome.

KFC and Champagne lunch along with this dinner:

Food:  Fenugreek shrimp, black-eyed bean curry, raita and naan

Mrs. Ney whipped up a fenugreek spread.  Fenugreek seeds soaked overnight and blender-ed with garlic, handful of coriander leaves, salt, green chili and a dash of lemon juice until a paste emerged.

Cooked up the shrimp with the paste in the mini cast-iron and done!

Done and delicious!  Great shrimp prep.  Easy shrimp prep.  Into the rotation shrimp prep.  Perfect touch of heat mixing with an intense and vibrant herby core.  Indian in that sense from a recipe that wasn't Indian.  It was Yemenite.  But as a composed dinner, it mixed and mingled with the rest of the Indian fare quite nicely, thank you very much.

Black-eyed bean (pea by another name - I like bean cuz the band's annoying) curry taken from this recipe.    Bit more work here.  More soaking and more inactive downtime waiting for things to do their thing.  This recipe altered with a serious amount of lamb bone presence to match up with the pinot noir.  Heaping handful of cilantro dumped over the top.  Great stuff and will be made again.

Raita and naan to round things out.  One of the better raitas that unfortunately got overshadowed by the fenugreek skillet juice.  Mopping up that goodness with the naan was heaven.

Funky meal that hit the food spot with its sheer buffet-style wondrousness.  Heat, herbs, beans, yogurt, shrimp, lamb hints and spices all over the place.  Choose your at-that-second jones. Who needs more?

Wine:  2007 Anne Amie Pinot Noir Willamette Valley (Gift) & 2011 Crios Torrontés

Crios Torrontés and Indian.  It's damn near imperative.  It's the benchmark.  Everything else is merely a diversion in our world.  2009 is still the goods but the 2011 offers large chunks of the 2009 goodness.  White flowers everywhere, just a wee less broad but beats the 2010 rather handily.

The Anne Amie, culled from nine different vineyards throughout the Willamette Valley, offers a nice elegance wrapped in a light-bodied package.  In fact, it tastes like that was the only goal - get to a sense of elegance.  Very delicate but streamlined and together, it brings everything pinot noir is.  If a wine novice never had New World pinot noir and wanted to know what the fuss is all about, here's a candidate.  Not because it's anything distinctive - though it has moments - nor anything game-changing in its price range - we like a few much better for the price in the Oregon pinot world - it's because it brings a textbook pinot elegance with beautifully integrated alcohol, perky acid and proper development of flavors wrapped in a light package.  Drink this and one would get how Oregon pinot can taste fancy.

We liked it but didn't love it.  A pretty nose, suggesting roses.  Cinnamon and strawberry were the main flavor drivers with a low-key, smooth and sleek body, deliciously proper acid GPS steering things nicely and a happy finish that faded away gracefully.  Tasty in a 'drink by itself' sort of way.  Happy wine.  Friendly wine.  Just maybe a little too friendly to evoke something deeper than said happiness.

$20 and it would blow away its price category.  $35 and some problems with comparisons inevitably come up.

Pairing:  86  Never really got out of the realm of elementary match-ups but nice nonetheless

The Crios and anything even suggesting Indian I'll take any day and be happy.  The amped-up heat and herbs interplay in the shrimp jumped and jived with the torrontés in typically tasty ways.  And the huge lamb presence in the curry took the cinnamon in the wine to fancy-pants cinnamon levels while turning the pinot noir to something VERY pinot noir, ever-so-slightly suggesting more dirty-earthy flavors.

Nice wines with the food.  Pretty great food.  That was some of the problem.  We liked this pairing.  It just never thrilled us with something new or something more complex.  We got surface expectations.

But tons of happy here.

Quick note:  Lunch of extra crispy six-pack of KFC chicken with biscuits.  Yep.  Uh-huh.  Did that.  And loved it. Fried chicken and Champagne.  It's what's good.  And I have to say, this might be the best the NV Ayala Brut Majeur Champagne (two half-bottles - $25 - Binny's) has drunk for us.

Bright, juicy, poppy green apple that tasted so alive with delicious secondary chalk and slate and a foamy seawater undertone.  Kept changing subtly, bringing some citrus peel touches on occasion but never abandoning its green apple, chalk and biscuity nuts and bolts.  Sharp, chiseling acid that blended with the bubble lift in the best way.

We love this wine and KFC brought it to such great heights.  It's wrong but when you want fried chicken and don't want to go through the arduous process of Thomas Keller buttermilk fried chicken or travel to North Avenue to get the supposedly good take-out fried chicken, this worked just fine.  It's been ten years since KFC extra crispy went down our gullets.  It's a childhood taste memory and guess what?  We'd do it again.  With good Champagne.  Cuz it's good.  Those 11 herbs and spices along with the biscuits made this bubbly stand up and give its best expression so far.  Pairing Score:  92      

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