Tag Archives: malbec

Rainy Day Recipes: French Fry Tortilla

4 Oct

It has been a very long time since I’ve last posted.  My apologies!  Much has happened since I posted my last entry at the end of March.  I just celebrated eight months with a special person, I graduated from law school, and I took the California bar exam.  I am also back in DC, despite my previous plans of going back home to Los Angeles.

It’s a tough market for would-be lawyers.  I am working part-time at the Office of Student Affairs at the law school, and supplementing that income with wages from moving boxes and delivering wine for Ansonia Wines on Saturdays.  Needless to say, with law school loans coming due and the expenses of living on my own mounting, I have very little money leftover for purchasing wine.  (I have been drinking pretty well, regardless… a lot more beer and liquors.)  Mary Kate and I have been enjoying a box of Maipe Malbec recently.  In fact, we’re on our second box.  We saw the boxes at Total Wine, and as I’m a fan of Maipe we decided to pick some up for everyday consumption.  Though not the most refined wine, it is delicious, easy to drink, and a wonderful value at around $25-$30 for three liters (FOUR BOTTLES!) of wine that stays fresh for weeks.

I am also fortunate to be eating well despite my budgetary constraints.  Mary Kate and I cook at home often, and we also eat take-out from delicious, high quality-to-price ratio restaurants like El Pollo Rico, El Charrito Caminante, Fast Gourmet, Iota, and Shake Shack.  We usually find ourselves with leftovers, which are generally eaten as-is.

However, some leftovers need a bit more… finessing.  For instance, it’s one thing to gnaw on a cold rack of pork ribs (Rhodeside Grill) or slurp down reheated Szechuan lo mein (Great Wall Szechuan House).  What do you do with cold french fries?

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Celebrating Christmas with a Cab and a Chihuahua

25 Dec

I have quite a few entries to post, including some from a very nice wine tasting trip up to Santa Barbara, but I will post this one first.  I had purchased a bottle of 2002 Chateau St. Jean “Cinq Cepages”, a wine composed of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot from Sonoma.  While one could think of this as a meritage the people at CSJ classify it as a Cabernet because of the high percentage (at least 75% in any given vintage) of that grape in the blend.

I was very excited about this wine, having had it shipped from invino to my home back in California.

We opened it up yesterday for dinner, which was New York strip steaks topped with caramelized onion, creamy mashed potatoes, and a nice green bean, tomato, and feta cheese salad.  True to form, I opened it up about an hour before dinner to drink while cooking.  Very dark, saturated color.  On the nose there was prune and blueberry, and herbs.  When my mom tried it she said it tasted salty–I agree: there was sort of a cured olive aspect to the wine.  I got the prune and berries, along with tar, tobacco, licorice, and stone–nicely integrated, soft tannins.  It had a long finish, resolving to lighter red fruit notes.

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A Night of Eating and Drinking Well

22 Nov

What happens when you are part of a Wine Buyers Collective and a Wine Appreciation Society?  A lot of wine to drink with a lot of people.

Kate and Rahul, who are esteemed members of both organizations, thus found themselves with about two cases of wine.  They invited us over for dinner where they would provide the wine; Meredith, a trained chef, agreed to coordinate a dinner to go with the wine.

The menu, as put together by Meredith, was as follows:

  • Mushroom paté
  • Bitter greens salad with shallot-dijon vinaigrette
  • Coq au vin over potato puree
  • Quince tarte tatin

I was responsible for the mushroom paté, which recipe you can find here.  It’s one of the few dishes I’ve made that requires more than two kinds of mushrooms (three kinds of mushrooms?!?  A double boiler setup?!?  Chilling afterwards for six hours?!?  It was only the day of that I realized this dish was significantly more labor intensive than I had anticipated.)

But the mushroom paté turned out surprisingly well; actually, all the food turned out extremely well.  The coq au vin, made with love and care by Meredith, was supremely flavorful and tender, with some caramelized onion and carrot that hit me like sweet/umami bombs.  The greens were a fine balance between bitter and buttery, and the quince tarte tatin was like something out of heaven.



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Swine Make Good BBQ (but Bad Wine): Travels with James and Nick in Search of America’s Finest BBQ

27 Oct

There is something therapeutic about seeing trees and towns and wide blue sky passing by you at 80 miles per hour as you sit in a car, listening to good music, on your way to somewhere.  It is an added bonus when those trees are at that moment when they are still lush but where the leaves are no longer green but various hues of yellow, red, brown, and orange.

Such were the trees on the road on the way to Lexington, North Carolina, whose Barbecue Festival my friend James (of The Eaten Path fame), our friend Nick (of the US Patent and Trademark Office) and I attended this past weekend.

bbq26_hmpg

(Thank you to the Lexington BBQ Festival for this poster!)

For those of you who do not know of James by this point, he is one of my good friends from Berkeley who has for the last year called Brooklyn, New York home.  While his more regular contributions to the blogosphere can be seen on The Eaten Path, he also is a huge aficionado of all things barbecued, once spending a few weeks traveling through the Smoky Crescent and eating and observing the best the South had to offer.  It is one of his goals to publish a comprehensive and awesome book on barbecue–a noble goal, indeed.

Thus, when he said there was a barbecue festival in North Carolina I asked if I could go.  I figured I wouldn’t have very many more chances to have a purpose to go to North Carolina, and besides, any reason to get out of DC is reason enough.

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Beautiful Berkeley

19 May

What a beautiful place, Berkeley.  I didn’t really enjoy the place until late in my college career–perhaps starting my fourth year, definitely my fifth year.  I have been back up numerous times, but through a number of reasons was unable to do so for nearly the past year and a half–far too long in my book.  Thus, I planned to visit the Bay Area for a spell of a few days after my exciting and rainy adventure in New York the previous week.

The concrete reason for my trip was to visit two of my former residents (and current friends), Semra and Kana, and their awesome apartment up in the hills on North Side.  There was a sentimental reason, too–namely, that all of my residents and thus the vast majority of the people I knew in Berkeley would be graduating and leaving for the big vast world after college.  

There was a oenological reason, too: I wanted to drink a lot of great wine!

Again, as in my New York post, I’m going to just write down phrases that will hopefully serve to jog my memory when I’m looking back after a few decades.  =)

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All Grown Up: My First Hosted Wine Tastings

21 Nov

It’s strange being 25.  I remember being a kid in grade school and looking up to the new young teachers, those who were obviously younger than people like Mrs. Donaldson or Mr. Kinter–people who had been at the game for years and years.  They didn’t really know what they were doing yet, but they were bright and fun and energetic.

And now I might very well be older than they were at the time.

(My torts professor summed it up quite nicely when he quipped, “It’s a strange feeling when both the president-elect AND the chief justice are younger than you are.”)

Now that I’m a quarter century old, I feel as if I should be an adult.  I certainly feel adult-like at certain moments–for instance, when I cook dinner, or when I go to the Ritz-Carlton for drinks (that one time!)–but sometimes feel as if I’m a child playing grownup. I think many of my peers feel the same way.

All that aside, it IS nice to get together and do grownup stuff–like hold wine tastings.  My roommate and I decided to throw a wine tasting; I decided also to throw a wine tasting before that wine tasting to get the feel of things.

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Rabbit Cacciatore and Clos La Coutale

3 Nov

This is my attempt at “live blogging.”

5:50 pm
I am exhausted from nine hours at law school. With the exception of an hour-and-a-half gap in between for lunch and socialization, I was at it all day. With finals coming up, there is a distinct change in the atmosphere at school… people are definitely getting more stressed.

Nonetheless, I finished my civ pro assignment for tomorrow, put my books in my locker, and set for home.

on-burner6:15 pm
I am cutting vegetables I bought at Eastern Market yesterday. The rabbit recipe calls for two red bell peppers–I bought one red bell pepper that was streaked with green (yum!) and, for variety, two big sweet red peppers. (I cut those into pieces and, because they looked so good, ate a piece… SO delicious! I could almost eat those like fruit.) I bought a small onion. Some mushrooms. 16 kalamata olives. I had garlic at home, a big can of chopped tomatoes from Trader Joe’s… flour, check. Bay leaves, rosemary, thyme… check.

The rabbit is extremely meaty. It doesn’t look so tough, either–probably didn’t spend its days foraging on some lonesome meadow a la Watership Down. The butcher cut it into six pieces–two hindquarters, two midsections/ribs, and two forequarters.

Rabbit has been compared in taste to chicken… it seems that way, actually, although it has a certain characteristic of its own. I wouldn’t call it gamy, because it’s not. It’s just… well, I dunno… all I can say is that it’s the type of meat that would go well with dried herbs and rustic wines.

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Autumn in DC

2 Nov

Hello, again.

It’s been a while, I know.  I just finished a 12-page memo for my legal writing class; I have a very small window of freedom before the wheels of finals start turning.

Just because I haven’t written for over a month doesn’t mean I’ve stopped drinking.  Well–I’ve cut down my alcohol consumption generally, which is a good thing.  (For instance, I can actually remember what I’m doing while I’m doing what I’m doing!)  Nonetheless, I have had many, many bottles of wine.

My original intent for this wine blog was to keep track of the wines I consumed.  I’ve let dozens slip through the cracks, unfortunately.  My solution for this is to post shorter comments more frequently.  Occasionally–when I have time–I will post longer musings on wine and its connection to life, etc.

Photo Credit: Elise @ Simply Recipes

Autumn in DC has been pretty cool–literally.  Currently, it’s about 55 degrees outside.  There were days of high 30s – low 40s.  I’m used to short bursts of cold weather in California (especially up north), but sustained cold is something new to me.  I like it, however.  I don’t get all sweaty walking around; I can layer; my roommate Alex can make thick, hearty stews; and I feel more alert.  Oh yeah, and there are no more darn mosquitoes to eat me alive.

Concomitantly, I’ve turned away from white wines and have started to look more to reds to sustain my alcoholic tendencies.  Côtes du Rhône come to mind, as do malbec from Cahors and tannat-based wines from Irouleguy.

I will be making rabbit stew for dinner tomorrow (you can buy rabbit at Eastern Market for like… $3.99 a pound!) and am thinking of serving it with a Clos La Coutale from the Cahors region of France.  This wine–70% malbec, 15% merlot, and 15% tannat–was one of my favorites from Kermit Lynch in Berkeley, and I was so excited to see one lone bottle at the Wine Specialist the other day… for $13.99 it was a bit more expensive than in California, but then again, we ARE on the opposite side of the US from Berkeley.  I will be sure to post my thoughts on that meal afterwards–if I have the time!

Three Days of Wine

20 Sep

I’m listening to Cannonball Adderley’s rendition of “Autumn Leaves” (with Miles helping out on trumpet) with the window open–the air is fresh, the sky is blue and flecked with fast-moving clouds, and the temperature is a lovely 64 degrees.

Needless to say, I am pretty content right now.  Washington, DC is a great town, and I find myself enjoying law school much more than college.  One of the reasons for that is there are some good people here, and fun things to do.  Like drink.  And cook.  And drink and cook I did for three consecutive days.

Wednesday

My friend Adrian invited a few people over (all guys, regrettably) on Sunday for beef stew and poetry.  I brought over my “house red”–a bottle of Nero d’Avila from Trader Joe’s (retail: $4.99)–and we discussed Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” over steaming bowls of stew and sips of wine.  To repay the favor, I invited Adrian and two of our friends to my place on Wednesday for a meal of roast lamb, honey-rosemary potatoes, and roasted garlic asparagus.

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2006 Bodegas Enosur “Tierra Prometida” Malbec

7 Jul

My brother and I were going to cook a tenderloin roast yesterday for dinner. This called for a red.

Not just any red–something that could stand up to thyme and rosemary. Something that would accentuate the lovely rareness and juiciness of the meat.

I was thinking of something from the Cotes-du-Rhone, but bleh. I haven’t been impressed with any of my selections from that region lately. I was at a loss as to what to get.

Luckily, Chris at Mission Wines had the perfect wine: the 2006 Tierra Prometida malbec from Bodegas Enosur, which is located in Mendoza, Argentina.

This wine is a solid malbec, dense but silky, tasting of plum and chocolate and a whiff of tobacco. With the roast the wine revealed notes of herb and pepper… very good match with the thyme and rosemary combination. The medium tannins of the Tierra Prometida worked well to cut through the “fat” of the tenderloin. There’s not a lot of fat on a tenderloin, anyway, so any more tannic wine might have been too much.

I tried some of the leftover wine tonight with Korean food: rice, kimchi, kalbi, and even some raw crab pickled in soy sauce. Surprisingly, the malbec went well with the spices and strange textures of the Korean food. There was just enough umami for the crab, enough body to counteract the acidity of the kimchi, and enough fruit for the kalbi. My usual aversion towards mixing sticky rice and wine (in my stomach, NOT in a bowl, mind you!) was overcome, and I had a very enjoyable meal.

I would highly recommend the Tierra Prometida. It might even be better than the Maipe malbec I love so much!