No sooner did I get off the airplane the other day from England than a friend shows up on my door looking for a place to stay… and eat… and drink some wine.
To be fair, I knew he was coming and he brought the groceries we needed. He had left the wine at my place on other visits.
This is what I managed to whip together.
I started with the prep of some potatoes, which I like to do in an Italian style, roasted with olive oil and rosemary. Peal, cut into chunks, having a good flat side, and soak in salty water for about 15 minutes. Dry them off and coat them in olive oil with chopped rosemary and a little salt. Into the oven at 450F for 10 minutes or so and then turn the temp down to 350. I use one of those silicon sheets on a metal cookie sheet and at some point I turn them over. These will take about 45 minutes.
Open your wines, if necessary, to let them breathe.
Some tools for the meal. The little tomatoes, sweet as candy, are from the garden, as is the rosemary.
The salad greens are from the garden.
One of the wines was an olllllld Zin. They usually are not going to last from 1985. But my friend called the vintner, who expressed surprise that we had a bottle and said it would probably be good, though it was precipitate. It did. And it was very good!
This is what very old wine will sometimes look like in the glass. It can have a brownish cast and will be visibly cloudy. Don’t assume it has gone bad. This old Zin had lots of suspended particles as it fell apart. It wasn’t really a wine to linger over for a long time, though we didn’t rush either. It was very very soft.
It accompanied some linguine with a sauce I made very rapidly from tomatoes, garlic, onion and then at the end these kalamata olives and a generous dose of chopped rugola from the garden. I made it a little heavy on the olive oil and it picked up the flavor of the olives with real intensity.
After some years, this is the sort of thing you will see in an old bottle of wine, sediment.
For the main course, along with the potatoes and great sweet corn from a road stand, came these ribeye steaks.
This time I left them rather bare and only seasoned as they were grilling with lemon, salt and olive oil.
Some pepper too.
For salad, I macerated some little tomatoes in salt, oil, and a splash of raspberry vinegar.
For the steaks, while my friend watched them on the grill, I decided to make bearnaise. I have tons of tarragon in the garden these days and eggs, well, are easy. Amazing what you can do with some butter, eggs and a fast whisk.
The main course.
For afters we had cheese, including a 9 year cheddar, chevre, and a soft cow-milk cheese… one of those simple grocery selections called Saga Blue. It wasn’t particularly special. But the cheddar was really good.
Since my friend is also very active on the internet, and since he participates in Z-Chat when it is open, we decided to get online for a while. To enjoy the cheese and the finish the second wine selection.
"But Father! But Father!", you are no doubt saying. "Second wine? We just saw the first!"
Yes, here is number two, left from the last time this fellow visited last winter.
The meal over and sleep having been attained… not hard given my jet lag, we used the left overs for breakfast the next day. The unconsumed bread was toasted and given a smear of Bearnaise. The left-over corn was simmered in some milk with a couple tablespoons of bourbon and a little salt. The eggs were scrambled with herbs from the garden – rosemary, thyme, lavender. The left-over steak was sliced and allowed just to graze the hot frying pan. Breakfast, from left-overs.
The coffee was very hot, very abundant, and very strong.