Thursday, May 19, 2016

365 Days Of Food And Wine: Week #45

Three-day consumption of fiber:

Monday: Beet greens and barley...

Tuesday: Yellow beets and curly endive...

Wednesday: Cauliflower and arugula...!

Total food and wine cost for the week: $79 for food and $136 for wine = $215

Sunday: Ottolenghi Meatballs and Fregola with 2015 Viñas Chilenas Reserva Rosé Valle Central

Food Details: (Ottolenghi Guardian recipe - second one down) Meatballs and fregola with alterations: lamb instead of veal, feta instead of ricotta, basil instead of oregano, and nutmeg instead of all-spice. It's use-stuff-up, what's-in-the-house, done up Ottolenghi style.  

Did We Like It? Oh, my, yes. Big bowl of adult Spaghetti-O's. And not necessarily a one-off. This was quite good, and highly adjustable to what's we have siting around in the house and needs to be used up.

How Was The Wine? This is $4, fresh, fruity, round, bouncy and delicious for $4. Cabernet-syrah blend done up rosé style. One glass for each of us. We're trying to cut down.

And The Pairing? Fine.

Cost: $12 for food, $4 for wine = $16

Saturday: Cuban Black Beans over Rice with 2014 Charles Smith Velvet Devil Columbia Valley

Food Details: NYT Cooking Cuban black bean recipe. Alterations: swapped out the ham hock for a big beef marrow bone; poblanos for green peppers; fresh oregano; cider vinegar; honey for brown sugar; half the beans, hence half the garlic (it's only two of us). Over white rice.

Did We Like It? This. Is. Delicious! Absurd complexity here. Highly recommended and most certainly with enter into the food rotation. It has all the Cuban happiness anyone could possibly need. A Cuban mother would be proud.

How Was The Wine? Quickly abandoned the Alloy grenache rosé (no bueno) for leftover Velvet Devil Merlot, which at least (VERY least) offered a textural match-up that offered a minimum level of moderate enjoyment. No wine for me.

And The Pairing? See above.

Cost: $8 for food, $0 for wine = $8  

Friday: Vegetable Tart with 2015 Trader Joe's Grower's Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Napa

Food Details: Buckwheat flour tart shell. Filling of carrots, onions, smoked sun-dried tomatoes and basil, mixed with mustardy-garlicky cream cheese, finished with parmesan. Herb salad on the side. It's bistro food!

Did We Like It? Missed a bit. Sandy buckwheat flour and a filling that didn't pop. Tasted vaguely Italian, actually.

How Was The Wine? Formerly a house $6 fav, this is the third or fourth vintage in a row that tastes like a watery, melony, white Napa mess. No order, no presence. This had a good run a few years ago, bringing the cheap-and-solid goods. No longer.

And The Pairing? Meh.

Cost: $8 for food, $6 for wine = $14

Thursday: Chimichurri Chicken over Brown Rice

Food Details: Freezer chimichurri as a marinade for chicken breasts, with fennel, onion, tomatoes, olives and parsley, with more chimichurri to finish. Over brown rice (one potato added). It's Use Stuff Up dinner!

Did We Like It? Herby, zingy, vegetabley. A fine meal for a Use Stuff Up dinner. No bread here, either. Sorta taking a break from bread, at least in the volume with which we've consumed it over the last few months, cutting it out where it's not needed. Not going gluten-free, just that "nobody needs this much bread!"

How Was The Wine? No wine. Nothing was in the house could have shined with this meal, so why jam it in?

Cost: $6

Wednesday: Goat Kofta and Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Two Vintages of Alloy Wine Works Grenache Rosé

Food Details: Ottolenghi goat kofta with roasted cauliflower-hazelnut-pomegranate seed salad with arugula. Pita. Tahini. Rip, top, eat.

Did We Like It? We've been over this. It has everything everybody could ever want in a bite of food. There's little else I can say. Multiple versions here.

How Was The Wine? We haven't been shy about telling the world that the Alloy Wine Works grenache rosé in the can from Field Recordings is rather silly-great. We went through probably a 36 cans of the 2014. The 2015 just came out, so there was much rejoicing. So, vintage throwdown. The 2014, while its fruit is muddled and overall zip waning, it still has most of the pop, grit and grizzle it's had in the past. It (still) has a personality, a strut. The 2015 is less so. It's rather quiet, missing what the 2014 brought: an in-your-face guava and strawberry burst, following by such friendly bright dirt and pop. This year tastes like more of an attempt to Old World it, with more graceful layers and breeze, but so far - and we will have more - the thing that made 2014 so cheap-happy gets lost in the translation for the 2015. We started to do a cost-benefit analysis comparing this and other cheap weekday rosés. The one-liter Innovacíon at $10 brings similar enjoyment for half the price.

And The Pairing? Fine and good. No complaints. Nothing special. Who cares. The food was stupid-great.

Cost: $12 for food, $18 for wine = $30    

Tuesday: Rabbit Croquetas and Yellow Beet Salad with 2014 Jolie-Laide Trousseau Gris Fanucchi-Wood Road Vineyard Russian River Valley and 2013 Palmina Malvasia Santa Barbara

Food Details: Chicken stock week, so it's clean out the freezer time. Leftover-freezer, Jose Andres' rabbit croquettes, and Palmina yellow beet salad with walnut-anchovy-zest gremolata over curly endive. Pan con tomate using ciabatta.

Did We Like It? Sort of a mishmash of two favorites that don't really go together but still bring all of the happy goods. Croquetas still freshy-fresh. Yellow beet salad that's always good.

How Was The Wine? I overbought the Jolie-Laide, last year's wine of the year, and we may have put it in the "save" category a few too many times when thinking about food pairings, as this wine isn't one that's going to last forever. But the result was surprising. A beautiful leafy-tea note has emerged. While the fruit is fading, and the acid slowing down as a driver, this now has some gray-hair grace to it that's delicious. The Palmina has been a perfect pairing in the past with this beet salad, and we had one more in the house that also HAD to be drunk. It's slower now, creaky, like it's had two knee replacements, and the acid is also slowing, but what we thought would probably be rather dead brought a modicum of beet salad-Palmina malvasia goodness to enjoy it for what it was.

And The Pairing? Plenty of delicious elements on the table to pick and choose our food-wine adventure, which led to a compiling together of a dinner that felt like a buffet of enjoyment. Nothing spectacular here, but certainly was a Happy Bounty.

Cost: $8 for food, $63 for wine = $71

Monday: Calabrian Quail and Orzotto with 2012 A Tribute To Grace Grenache Santa Barbara Highlands

Food Details: The Guardian quail, marinated in currants, passito, thyme, red wine vinegar, olive oil, s/p. Substituted chorizo for nduja. Cast-ironed quail, chorizo crisped up, pan sauce over all of it. Barley orzotto with beet greens (no mascarpone or wild garlic).

Did We Like It? This isn't "our food," but it was quite tasty. There was a sweetness from the currants here that we don't gravitate towards, but it didn't get in the way in the least. Nice balance, and delicious orzotto - creamy, woodsy, hardy and a nice counter to the sweetness. We liked this.

How Was The Wine? This wine  has been sitting around the house for a bit. The food demanded a lighter red with guts, and we didn't want pinot noir on this night. Beaujolais? Maybe. Lighter dolcetto? Possibly. Baga was what we wanted but we didn't have one that was ready in the house. This bottle was opened wearily, as it came off a bit light last time. Not this time. Lightly smoky, lightly meaty, lightly spicy, and darker in tone than last time. All of that together brought a more robust presence than it showed with lamb rosettes 18 months ago. Very happy with the overall result.

And The Pairing? Not perfect, not great, but very nice. A fine length remained with some of the more robust flavors on the plate. Best with the orzotto, but held its own with the quail and chorizo. We're probably not going to remember this meal or pairing next week. That's okay. Enough deliciousness here to chalk it up to a nice Monday dinner that made for a leisurely, happy meal.

Cost: $25 for food, $45 for wine = $70          

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