One of the big events this summer was the reorganization of my wine cellar. The prime mover on this was my friend David, who was aghast back in May when he looked at the over-crowding and lack of any semblance of date control in the temperature-controlled room I’ve used for years to stock wines, extra provisions, and pots that Barbara won’t let me put in the kitchen. I actually knew where some wines were located, but he correctly assessed that there were wines buried in the racks that should be drunk soon, or they would be no longer palatable, let alone at their prime.
David volunteered to donate a weekend to this effort, so he came over one Saturday afternoon. We had dinner and did some wine sampling (since no one was driving anywhere afterward), and we slept soundly overnight. Since I had done a couple of hours of pre-work earlier that week to remove non-wine items so we could get access, we were able to work together Sunday to complete the reorganization, assess the contents, discard the stuff that needed to go, and celebrate the victory. There were some very fine surprises in there, principally some older Bordeaux vintages that called out for attention. Best of all, we found space so I could buy some new wines to drink, as well.
Earlier that Saturday, I was graced by a visit for lunch from my good friend, Stacy. The menu was simple: my go-to salad Kachumber, and a non-vegan but vegetarian frittata, made with sautéed zucchini and fresh pecorino cheese. As always, we had lots of fun.
The rest of late July, as I was wrapping up my summer course, featured more vegetables and grains, plus some delicious organic ravioli made by a couple in NH, Valicenti Organico. The one I tried first was Pea and Olive Oil ravioli, with a simple sauce of toasted walnuts, fresh basil from the garden, and lots of Italian olive oil.
Another day I went to an old favorite, Lulu’s Provencal Table, by Richard Olney to make a richly-flavored tapenade to go with a new loaf of my whole grain levain. This was augmented with heirloom tomatoes, thinly-sliced red onions marinated with sumac and lime juice, colorful roasted sweet peppers, one very good dill pickle, roasted beets and cauliflower, black olives, pan-roasted shitakes, plus cucumbers, guacamole, and lots more basil. Favored wine bottles included a Spanish Samsó (Clos de Noi) and a white Rioja (Lopez de Heredia Tondonia). I still didn’t gain any weight, but I had fun trying.