Thursday, April 21, 2016

365 Days Of Food And Wine: Week #41

Ever watched a movie you should have seen decades ago? I watched Gandhi for the first time last night. Yep. First time. Never seen Chariots of Fire either. Probably should take care of that.

The first season of 'The Americans' only made me think that the rest of the series is them almost getting caught every other episode, with them almost breaking up in the other episodes. Keep it. I have hundreds of hours of terrible Angels baseball to watch.

And I can't wait to see in what unique way the Browns screw this one up.

Total food and wine cost for the week: $126 for food and $91 for wine = $217

Sunday: Salmon and Bagels with 2015 Charles & Charles Rosé Columbia Valley

Food Details: Trader Joe's cured salmon, avocado, clover sprouts, cream cheese (with dill, cilantro, serrano, onion and lemon zest), bagels, and tomatoes for me.

Did We Like It? Leaves us clean, full and feeling healthy every time, even with bagels and cream cheese. We have it probably 8-10 times a year.

How Was The Wine? More Charles Smith rosé (this one a collaboration with Charles Bieler). 63% syrah, 12% mourvedre, 10% grenache, 7% cab, 7% cinsault, 3% counoise from Columbia Valley, with Mr. Smith's VINO being 100% sangiovese. Both are a house favorite. When the new vintages come out, at least six of each are immediately bought. This year's has a watermelon-earth back and forth with bright acid. Not as evocative or deep as a couple vintages ago, but has a playful, perky side that's welcome. And it was a stupid-ridiculous $8 at Target (!) when we bought it.

And The Pairing? Not great. Felt like two co-workers who go through the necessary pleasantries because they have to be in the same space while on the clock, but no friendship will be forming anytime soon.

Cost: $22 for food, $8 for wine = $30

Saturday: Big Fried Chicken Salad with Leftover Wine

Food Details: 'Southern style" Aldi frozen fried chicken cutlets, cheddar, green pepper, onion, peas, kumatoes, pretzel-bread croutons, romaine and homemade honey mustard dressing. All ingredients in a big bowl, mix, eat. Don't even use a table. Sit on the couch, put the bowl on your stomach and go to town.

Did We Like It? Nostalgia food! Tasted like 1998 Bennigan's, and that was a pretty darn good thing. Tasted like my 20s. Does Bennigan's still exist?  

How Was the Wine? Mrs. Ney had better luck with leftover Joel Gott sauvignon blanc than I did with leftover Schwarzböck Grüner Veltliner, which was terrible. Tasted like Pledge.

And The Pairing? See above.

Cost: $11 for food, $0 for wine = $11

Friday: Fava-Ramp-Carrot Top Strozzapreti with 2014 Schwarzböck Gruner Veltliner Austria

Food Details: Favas, ramps, carrot-top pesto, ricotta salata, marjoram, parsley on strozapretti

Did We Like It? First uber-spring meal of the year. Green and green with a side of green, and it was rampy and carrot top-y in the bestest sense. Happy. Very happy.

How Was The Wine? Fine. Lemony with green hints and fine acid. Cheap grüner in liter form that has served us fairly well over the years.

And The Pairing? Less "fairly well" this time. Not much intermingling or interplay.

Cost: $20 for food, $13 for wine = $33

Thursday: Zucchini Goop with 2015 Charles Smith VINO Rosé Columbia Valley

Food Details: Based on a recipe from Mexican, by Jane Milton (page 186), with the addition of green chorizo, from Melissa Clark in NYT Cooking. Cook your chorizo. Remove from pan, and then brown onions and scallions. Add garlic and four [previously salted and rinsed] sliced-into-sticks zucchini, sautée some more. Add a can of tomatoes and sliced pickled serranos; sauté briefly. Dump in chorizo, warm through. Turn off burner, add half a block of cubed cream cheese to melt in residual heat. Fresh oregano, tons of dill and parmesan. Ancient Grains bread to top with zucchini goop.

Did We Like It? Bready, porky, touch spicy, vegetabley, happy as all-get out. This version brought a very good dill-heat balance.

How Was The Wine? Sangiovese rosé from Mr. Charles Smith. Bright cherry fruit, pretty earth, medium-bodied, super-duper rosé happiness. We'll probably go through a case by the end of the year. Because it's delicious and because it's $10.

And The Pairing? The wine LOVED the dill. Very good version of zucchini goop with a very fresh rosé that liked the food. Do need much else.

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

Wednesday: Hummus, Laffa and Fattoush with 2015 Broc Cellars Sparkling Chenin Blanc Central Coast

Food Details: Hummus here, laffa here, fattoush here. Third making of this meal. Hummus somehow less bright and clear than in the past. Greens too wet, but fine enough flavors bouncing around to enjoy it. Homemade za'atar again helped immensely. Laffa instead of pita this time, which is the same recipe as pita but rolled thinner and bigger. Better than pita.

Did We Like It? Good enough was my overall thought. But this wine... Curse the heavens that it's sold out!

How Was The Wine? Pet-nat chenin blanc from Broc. 11.5% alcohol from Central Coast (that in itself seems like a miracle). We got three in our club shipment this year. Crazy-fresh peach, peach fizz and pit in a glass. Crystal-clear fruit that tastes like San Francisco morning sunshine - cool, bright, head-clearing. Five stars, Mr. Brockaway. You're ridiculous.

And The Pairing? Wine ruled the night and slid into the food well enough. Nice dinner.

Cost: $20 for food, $27 for wine = $47    

Tuesday: Argentinean Skirt Steak and Empanadas with 2009 Quinta do Vallado Tinto Douro

Food Details: Most beautiful medium-rare on some of the beautiful beef we've had in a long time. Paulina Meat Market skirt steak in churrasco marinade. Chimichurri to top and dip. Empanadas filled with kale, potato, onion, Petit Basque cheese, currant and garlic. A bit of arugula under the beef.

Did We Like It? Best meal of the week and probably the best since Fish sauce-sauce game hens! Gorgeous beef, delicious empanadas, what else does anybody need?

How Was The Wine? Dry, savory blackberry fruit, perfect earth, lovely hint of spice, great balance. Vallado's tinto is the best $20 and under red wine in my book. This thing is over six years old. Find me another $20-and-under, six-year-old wine that drinks like this and I'll give about a hug? Tastes like the air of a mid-August Iowa summer (which is the air of the Douro all the time) in the bestest sense.

And The Pairing? The chimichurri beat it up the smallest wee bit, but overall this was so stupid-good.

Cost: $27 for food, $17 for wine = $44    

Monday: Fish Tacos with Argus Cidery Tepache Pineapple Wine

Food Details: (recipe - don't mess with it) Mahi mahi marinade = shallot, garlic, jalapeño, olive oil, lime juice, chili powder, cilantro and cumin, then fish cooked up in cast-iron. Cabbage slaw. Homemade guacamole. Jalapeño crema. Hot sauce. Charred tortillas.

Did We Like It? Why has it been so long, fish tacos! This batch had a complete balance of flavor. Perfect hit of everything needed to find fish-taco joy. And a perfect kickoff to a great food weekend.

How Was The Wine? Pineapple wine made in Texas. We're fans, ever since having it at Minero in Charleston. Spicy grilled pineapple in a bottle. Frothy, almost beer-like but never all the way there. It demands you to pay attention to it in the best way.

And The Pairing? Strangely better than we expected, and we expected to love this. Purple Corn Sangria is great with fish tacos, but purple corn sangria can be a bit of work, particularly when you don't want to do said work and pineapple wine exists. Argus killed purple corn sangria and we're just fine with that.

Cost: $16 for food, $16 for wine = $32

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