Roasted eggplant, apples, onions and sausage

May 16, 2021

I bought some pork-cranberries-and-walnuts sausage at the framers’ market, and was looking for an interesting way to cook them. I came across this recipe: Sheet Pan sausage eggplant and peppers . I didn’t have any peppers, but I did have apples, and I thought that pork sausage would go well with apples. I also didn’t have a pre-made herbs de Provence mix, but I went into my garden and gathered the following fresh herbs: rosemary, oregano, thyme, basil, mint, and lavender. (I know that lavender is not included in the French herbs de Provence, and that if it is included in some commercial mixes, it’s a special culinary lavender, whereas I had French lavender — but i took one flower bud and chopped it up anyway.)

Overall, the recipe was easy to make, and came out great! I will definitely make it again (with peppers, and / or carrots, and / or other veggies).

Timothy Malone 2012 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir

May 1, 2021

Timothy Malone Wines

I love Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, and 2012 was a great year for it. As I was making my way through my wine cellar, I opened this bottle, which I bought on a recommendation from a wine shop employee; I had never tried anything from this winemaker before.

I really enjoyed this wine: hemoglobin and bloody red meat on the nose (trust me, it’s actually way better than it sounds!); full-bodied; not overly tannic; it drank very well. I would say it was an its peak! I had paid $29 for it years ago, with a case discount — and it’s a great bargain at that price, as good as wines that cost twice as much. I will definitely seek out and buy Timothy Malone wines (and J. Christopher wines, where he is apparently the winemaker) in the future.

(Adapted) Kashke Bademjan (Persian Eggplant)

May 1, 2021

Food and Wine's Kashke Bademjan

I love eggplant, so I was excited to cook this recipe that I saw in Food and Wine. I decide that I wanted a vegetable side-dish, rather than a dip, and only cooked it through Step 2. Also, adapting it to what I had around, I used yogurt instead of kashk. I loved the result — the tangy flavor of the eggplant with the earthiness of turmeric (and I love garlic and onion, so those are always welcome!) I will definitely make this again — maybe even as a full dip version!

Ken Wright 2012 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

March 28, 2021

Not one of Ken Wright’s vineyard-specific Pinot Noir offerings, this wine is also about half the price of those.

2012 had been a great vintage for Oregon Pinot Noirs, and this was the last bottle of Ken Wright I had remaining. I was concerned that I had kept it a bit too long, and that the wine might be slightly “over the hill”, but my fears proved unfounded: still interesting, with fruit and a bit of smokiness on the nose, that evolved as the wine opened up; a little spicy; not thin at all; a good food wine — went well with salmon and the next night with some cheese. Not a “milestone birthday” wine, but will definitely elevate your regular dinner and lend it an air of a special occasion.

Saint Ambroeus Double Chocolate Cookies

March 28, 2021

The recipe comes from the Saint Ambroeus cookbook (Saint Ambroeus: the Coffee Bar Cookbook), via Vogue (scroll to the last recipe).

I modified it to us what I had on hand: brown cane sugar instead of confectioner’s sugar; and chopped almonds instead of walnuts. I also reduced it by roughly 2/3 — I used 3 yegg whites, 2 cups each of sugar and nuts, etc. This made 6 cookies. Additionally, my oven is too old to have a convection setting, and so I just used its normal setting, increasing the temperature to 375, and baking for 18 minutes.

Overall, these were easy to make, and came out rich and chocolatey, with the slivers of almonds adding a nice textural interest to them. I will definitely make these again!

Domaine Notre Dame des Pallieres Gigondas 2018 “Les Mourres”, France

March 28, 2021

Domaine Notre Dame des Pallieres Gigondas

Got this as a holiday gift, and opened it recently. This is a red blend (80% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah) , quite different from what I usually drink. Dark burgundy color, nose with notes of warm spices and cinnamon. Lots of plums, cherries and blackberry jam on the palate. Not much on tannins. It was easy to drink for such a high-alcohol wine (15% ABV). I definitely enjoyed it!

Soy and scallion tofu bowl

March 20, 2021

https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/soy-and-scallion-tofu-bowl

I tried this Bon Appetit recipe, because I wanted to switch up what I make for lunch. It was quick and easy to make. I added more garlic (because I like garlic), and also topped it with some cilantro I had in the fridge. For my taste, the soy sauce taste was a bit strong — OK if you’re eating this with rice, but too much on its own (I like salty food, but apparently not soy sauce in big quantities?). I will definitely make this again, and next time will go easier on soy sauce, and will perhaps add ginger.

Pan-seared marinated halibut

March 14, 2021

https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1013187-pan-seared-marinated-halibut-fillets

I had slightly less than 2 lbs of halibut tail pieces, and decided to try this recipe. It was super-easy, and came out great! The only changes I made was: more garlic (4 cloves instead of 3 — I like garlic!); and using butter in the pan instead of vegetable oil (I like butter!). Because I had tail pieces, which are not as thick as fillets, I only cooked them about 3.5 minutes per side, and they were done perfectly, not over-done. The marinade imparted its taste to the fish without being over-powering: you could taste the garlic and the lemon. Overall, a great recipe, and I will make this again!

Ransom 2019 Frizzante Bianco

March 13, 2021

Ransom Wines

Opened this one for a celebratory mood, and it delivered: the first impression is of a “cloud” of effervescence in the glass. The wine is slightly orange in color (it is made of Pinot Noir grapes), light but well-structured, with impressions of light fruit (strawberry, watermelon) and lots of tiny bubbles. Good one to try for fans pf pet-nat wines.

Ransom 2019 Sunnyside Riesling

March 13, 2021

Ransom Wines

It was warm enough to feel like spring is coming, and so I decided to open a bottle of this for lunch where the main dish was halibut. Pale-straw in color, green apple on the nose, absolutely bone-dry, minerally and acidic on the palate (almost getting into New Zealand Malborough Bay Sauvignon Blanc territory, acidity-wise, but not as green or grassy). It was intense and “bracing”, and went well with the medium-meaty fish. This was probably the driest riesling I’ve had in years. I liked it, but it probably won’t be to everyone’s taste. But if you enjoy dry white wines and New Zealand-style Sauvignon Blancs , give this a try!