This has been a good week for food and wine. No spectacular events, just little treasures. I continue to try the various wines in my mixed case from Social Wines, and each one has been delightful.
Tuesday lunch featured farmers market wonders such as heirloom tomatoes and fresh goat cheese, topped with red pepper purée on open-faced sandwiches on my whole grain toast. A touch of pimenton, along with the oil and vinegar, salt and pepper livened up the tomatoes.
The next highlight was another find in Marcella Cucina, a Celery Root and Olive Tapenade purée. It was very simple:
- peel or trim a celery root, then cut in quarters
- boil celery root until very tender, at least 30 minutes
- drain and put back in hot pot for a minute to dry out
- place celery root pieces in food processor, along with 2-3 tablespoons of Kalamata olive paste and a few tablespoons of olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- process until smooth
- serve on chips, toast, celery sticks, inner tubes — almost anything
This paired very well with another wine from Mallorca, a 2010 Anima Negra ÀN/2. I love it that the grapes are totally new to me:
This is a blend of the most important varieties of the island of Mallorca; callet, mantonegre and fogoneu, which make up 80% of the wine’s composition.
Finally, today’s lunch was an amalgam of vegetables, some leftover, some freshly made…plus another new wine. It started with a small, oval French casserole — a copper pot I bought 21 years ago at Dehillerin in Paris. Sometimes I pick the pot I want to cook in and then decide what to cook. I had one good sized leek in the refrigerator that I wanted to use before we take off for Arizona soon. I cut the leek lengthwise in quarters and then crosswise in 3/4″ slices. Then I sliced up a special shallot from Maine, and sautéed both alliums slowly in olive oil in that pot with the cover on. After they were almost fully tender, I added 1/4 cup of white wine and cooked that quickly until the alcohol had dissipated, then continued stewing the leek for another 10 minutes.
The next step was to use one large, leftover cooked beet. This one was the size of a large russet potato when Lynn dug it out of her garden and bestowed it on us, along with a couple of smaller ones. It was so big that I needed to use a 4-quart pot to cook it and keep it under water. Anyway, I recently read a cookbook in which the author cut thick slices of beet, coated with bread crumbs and fried it like a cutlet. So I cut 3/4″ slices, coated with salt, pepper and olive oil, dipped in bread crumbs and sautéed the slices — sort of filets de Beet (as opposed to Boeuf). Then I added some of the leeks, several pieces of leftover carrots I had braised in olive oil and herbs the night before, one filleted salt-packed Sicilian anchovy dissolved in warm olive oil, and the last special ingredient.
Yesterday, at the last local farmers market of the season, I met Smoky Joe, who grew a wide variety of chile peppers in his garden. Joe was at the market with neat contraption: an open steel cage mounted on an axle, next to a gas burner, so that he could turn and fire-roast the peppers on the spot. I bought a bunch of red and green Anaheim chiles, moderately hot, and he roasted and bagged them for me right there. Yesterday, I rubbed off the roasted skins and seeded the peppers, and I sliced up part of one of the red peppers for lunch today with the beet, leek, carrot dish. Three small pieces of my Field #2 Blend bread were toasted and used to sop up all the tasty olive oil.
This richly-flavored dish deserved a robust red wine, and I found one up to the task: a 2008 Domaine du Traginer Collioure from the South of France (by way of Social Wines, of course). It was absolutely delicious.
I’m looking forward to dinner!