Thursday, June 2, 2016

365 Days Of Food And Wine: Week #47

Over on the right, just below the Twitter feed, one could click on the '365' image and see every meal we've had over the last 46 weeks as we lead up to the end of this experiment. I don't know why someone would want to read what two strangers ate over the course of almost a year, but you could do that. It's the Internet. Tons of useless information out there! But it works for us.

The Night Manager, AMC's six-part miniseries adaptation of the John le Carré novel, offers very pretty aesthetics and that's about it. Even with solid acting and a sufficiently complex story arc, it's plodding and bumpy, leading up to a finish that left me very much wanting so much more.

Total food and wine cost for the week: $88 for food and $80 for wine = $168

Sunday: Scaccia with 2014 Lambrusco Secco Fattoria Moretto

Food Details: Our new favorite thing - pizza babka/lasagna bread, first had here. Saveur recipe. Semolina dough, San Marzano tomatoes, sharp provolone and smoked mozzarella standing in for caciocavallo, basil and garlic. Arugula salad to finish.

Did We Like It? Yep, Yep, Yep! Tastes like someone fancified Italian-American food I grew up on. The bridge between fancy and 80's fancy Italian restaurant in Iowa is definitely present, but the freshness of the basil and the brightness of the San Marzanos bring it to a better place, while the semolina dough is a perfect vehicle to maximize the flavor and interaction of those things while never getting in the way. Delicious.

How Was The Wine? Bitter in a good way; juicy black fruits; Old World loveliness; frothy but isn't over-frothed. A nice $20 alternative to our favorite Lambrusco, the Chiarli del Fontadore, and we can get this wine in our neighborhood in a pinch.

And The Pairing? No love here, but a fair amount of like.

Cost: $15 for food, $20 for wine = $35

Saturday: Rick Bayless Mexican Red Rice with 2014 La Granja Blanco Rioja

Food Details: Rick Bayless recipe here, using jalapeño chicken sausages. Sour cream and cilantro on top.

Did We Like It? It's a staple. An easy staple. A happy staple. Coming home to this always makes me think, "That'll most definitely do!" There's chicken sausages, peas, onions, spice, sour cream, tomatoes... All of it comes together into something that tastes like weekday Mexican comfort food.

How Was The Wine? It's been awhile since we last had this former house favorite. It's a $5 Trader Joe's verdejo-viura blend. Fine-and-good snap and Riojaness with this drinking.

And The Pairing? No complaints. Not one. The low-level spice brought out more tropical notes in the wine, oddly, something that this bargain wine usually keeps under wraps.

Cost: $8 for food, $5 for wine = $13

Friday: Zucchini Goop with 2015 Charles & Charles Rosé Columbia Valley

Food Details: Based on a recipe from Mexican, by Jane Milton (page 186), using leftover pork from Cubano sandwiches instead of the usual green chorizo. Pugliese as bread vehicle.

Did We Like It? It's become a once-every-six-weeks type thing, because it's a veggie explosion with a hit of meat, heat and cream. Has garlic, onions, tomatoes, zucchini, all the goods. This batch was one of the best.

How Was The Wine? 63% syrah, 12% mourvedre, 10% grenache, 7% cab, 7% cinsault, 3% counoise from Columbia Valley. $8 at Target. Eight. Dollars. Perky and playful, if not as good as a couple of vintages ago.

And The Pairing? A tiny bit clipped, but worked for us in terms of offering something a bit more than just "wine" with the food.

Cost: $8 for food, $8 for wine = $16  

Thursday: Minty Brown Rice and Wilted Greens with 2014 Amancay Torrontés La Rioja

Food Details: More Ottolenghi doing what Ottolenghi does so well - make simple food freakin' delicious. (Recipe - halfway down), using only mustard greens. Feta, mint, garlic, olive oil and mustard greens over brown rice.

Did We Like It? A perfect example of a few simple ingredients mixing together to create something more than the sum of its parts. More ingredients or more complexity would have diminished the beauty of the mint, feta and mustard greens bouncing off each other. We'll be having this again.

How Was The Wine? Lightly fruity, lightly floral. It's $7 Trader Joe's torrontés.

And The Pairing? The mustard greens loved the floral notes in the torrontés. Nothing mind-blowing, but this meal brought out more in this weekday wine than it's given recently.

Cost: $4 for food, $7 for wine = $11

Wednesday: Cubano Sandwiches with No Wine

Food Details: Cubano sandwiches of roasted pork, ham, swiss, pickles, mayo and mustard on brioche. Made six sandwiches, plus leftover pork for days! Olive oil chips.

Did We Like It? Everything everybody would ever want from a Cuban sandwich. Great balance and proportion.

How Was The Wine? Mrs. Ney tried the Dark Horse Rosé with it and immediately said, "BAH! NO!" I followed said recommendation. We had water. And we were fine with that.

Cost: $19 for food

Tuesday: Malaysian Barramundi Curry with NV Evolution Sparkling White

Food Details: (recipe) Ottolenghi Malaysian fish and pineapple curry, using barramundi. Pineapple, green beans, rice, coconut milk. Recipe followed, except using 1/2 of the amount of sugar.

Did We Like It? We didn't. Didn't love the barramundi texture nor did we love the sweetness overall, even with taking the sugar level down.

How Was The Wine? Nine grapes done up Champagne-style. Muscat, gewürztraminer, pinot gris, white riesling, chardonnay, pinot blanc, sylvaner, muller-thurgau and semillon. You read that list, particularly since it leads with muscat and gewürztraminer, and you'd think this would be sweet-ish. At least highly fruity. It's not. It's quite dry, with some very pleasing bitterness and herb stem notes. More pinot blanc and muller-thurgau than anything else. Quite nice, and we'll be buying it again.

And The Pairing? Nothing to report. The wine was nice, the food wasn't loved.

Cost: $12 for food, $14 for wine = $26

Monday: Churrasco-Marinated Skirt Steak and Onion Rings with 2010 Abacela Tannat Umpqua Valley

Food Details: Freezer-churrasco-marinated skirt steak; Belgian endive charred on meat flat-top, chopped, tossed with freezer chimichurri and parsley. Endive on bottom, then meat, topped with avocado. NYT (recipe) southern-style onion rings. Chimichurri mayo for dipping.

Did We Like It? We loved it. Huge plate of onion rings with a side of meat, and an appropriate meal after the veggie explosion on Sunday. Meat went a little over but didn't detract at all, particularly with the chimichurri slather and a bite of avocado. Had a carne asada quality. Delicious onion rings with mayo dip. An all-around happy meal.

How Was The Wine? Good use of this tannat. Oregon tannat, pronounced "tun-Uh" that had the rawness, very dark dirt and grizzle of a Portuguese red from Alentejo. Very nice concentrated dark cherry swirl and roundness, dark, sun-baked dirt in the middle, and an appropriately grippy finish that didn't hold on too tight. We liked it muchly.

And The Pairing? A good use for this wine. We were too lazy to go fetch a La Posta Malbec or something else Argentinean-y. It liked the meat char and avocado and did well enough with the onion rings. Satisfied.

Cost: $22 for food, $26 for wine = $48

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