Monday, February 16, 2009

A Harmonious Valentine's Dinner

Although the feeling in the air is definitely one of restraint, BrooklynLady and I managed to enjoy quite a feast together on Valentine's day. She knows that I have a thing for pudding - any kind, any shape, any flavor - I love pudding. So she made this fantastic mushroom bread pudding using Cremini, Chanterelle, and Oyster mushrooms, shallots, and other goodies. So savory and so delicious. But my wife, I am lucky to say, really loves me, and she didn't stop at one pudding. This was a night of two puddings. BrooklynLady made butterscotch pudding for dessert. And I must say, it was fantastic. I love butterscotch but I've never had home made butterscotch pudding before. I would wear an IV and have a constant butterscotch pudding drip, if it were legal in New York State.

BrooklynLady loves to go to the various Chinatowns but it's hard to do these days with a 6 week old and a 2 year old and competing nap schedules. So I made what I will call Chinese style braised oxtails, using a blend of dark soy, rice wine, and water as the liquid base. I added sliced ginger root, crushed garlic, about a quarter of a cinnamon stick, crushed star-anise, and several lengths of orange peel to the braising liquid. I like to cook the braising liquid down to a syrupy glaze after the oxtails are meltingly tender.

Strictly speaking, these delicacies might not go together, if you were trying to create a harmonious and balanced dinner. But like the reality of love and partnership, we each bring something to the table and do our best to appreciate the other, to create something harmonious out of sometimes dissonant parts. And it turned out to be a great meal.

Tell you what - I managed to knock it out of the park with the wine pairing. I was (selfishly) thinking about the oxtails, and what wine might work well with them. I remembered the distinct hoisin, Chinese spice aromas that I get on the wines of Chambolle-Musigny. Now I have only a few bottles of wine from that village, and they are in off-site storage. Things that are too young to open now. But I remembered reading somewhere that Lignier-Michelot's Bourgogne is made from grapes in Les Bon Bâtons, a plot in Chambolle. Why not give that wine a try?

The 2005 Lignier-Michelot Bourgogne, $23, Becky Wasserman Selections, is a wine I've enjoyed several times over the past couple years, and this was easily the finest bottle yet. It didn't show pronounced hoisin notes the way wines such as Mugnier's or Roumier's Amoureuses did, but it was delicious nonetheless. The nose is rich with dark plums, black tea, and earthy minerals. The palate is well balanced with intense fruit, good acidity, ample structure, and nuanced minerality. The finish is all finesse and class,with lingering gentle spicy fruit flavors. The last glass was the best, and had that core of poignancy that to me signals a wine at it's apex, and I imagine that this wine will be at its absolute best in another year or two. I wish I had more.

I hope your Valentine's meals were as eclectic and harmonious as mine.

6 comments:

Weston said...

"I hope your Valentine's meals were as eclectic and harmonious as mine."

Well I had to work (Sous-Chef) and it was a gong show of course hah. Managed to eat something "Dinner" I'll call it around 10PM at night and it was some bread with butter from the bread warmer hah

Do Bianchi said...

butterscotch? who knew?

we drank excellent Chablis and I made chicken breast sautéed in white wine (leftover 98 Gravonia white by LdH!) with cremini. But Tracie B called dibbs on blogging the Chablis so I must remain silent...

great post...

Brooklynguy said...

sorry Weston.

hey jeremy - yup. it's sooo good. so you're another one of those guys who cooks chicken in world class wine...who knew?

Tracie B. said...

speaking of things that are good leftover...that leftover chicken didn't stand a chance last night! 2B forgot to mention the DElicious brussels sprouts and yummy potatoes...glad you and BL had a good time!

Brooklynguy said...

thanks, that we did miss B.

Andy said...

Hope your valentine dinner is delicious. Keep blogging
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