Thursday, August 20, 2009

On Drinking Wine and Good Beer

A lot about wine and good beer is tradition and vintage and process and knowledge and expensive.

Much, much more about it is flavor and alcohol and, actually, pretty cheap.

All I really have to say about wine and good beer, other than what I like or don't like on an evening-to-evening basis, is that if you drink it from a glass, sip it in quantities big enough to paint your entire palate with its flavor. Don't go just gulping it down and wasting the gentle notes. Don't just imbibe so gently that you don't get to know the thick end of it either.

Wine and good beer are delicious and nuanced things. Try drinking it in varying sizes of sip and see what new flavors pop out. There are layers and layers of different flavors in every bottle.

Buy one bottle cheap. If you like it, go back for more because sometimes there's a limited supply of the great cheap stuff.

Also, if you're going to drink wine or good beer straight from the bottle, chug it. And, don't share.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dinner Tonight - 8.18.09

I got home from work this evening and found the king oyster, cremini and bunapi mushrooms in the fridge along with baby eggplant and baby broccoli. We're eating lots of babies here at The Lang House. In the freezer were 6 frozen shrimp (15-21s). The pantry had quinoa - the sole grain component of the evening and a whole one at that.

With this we made four dishes:

Quinoa Pilaf with Caramelized Onions, Garlic and Bunapi Mushrooms.

From Dinner 8-18-09

Starting in a 12 inch non-stick pan with olive oil over moderate-to-high heat and after sauteing minced garlic we added the bunapi mushrooms; cooking them until golden and soft-but-chewy. Then the left over caramelized onions from Spanish tortillas that we had over the weekend went in with some of the oil they cooked in. Last the quinoa is tossed in and the heat is turned way up. We salted and tossed the pan then fluffed the quinoa on top and let the bottom fry to a golden crisp. It was then tossed again and served.

Just Cremini Mushrooms

From Dinner 8-18-09

Simply, these were made very hot on all sides, saute-style, in a tablespoon of olive oil over moderate-to-high heat. You don't need to, but if you like you can salt them to taste after cooking them to a golden brown. Served cold tonight, they would be great hot too. Maybe with sage butter for fat nights.

Slow Stir Fry of Baby Eggplant with Sliced King Oyster Mushrooms and Shrimp

From Dinner 8-18-09

Eggplants were trimmed and sliced in half. Then, opposite of the cut side, a thick strip was peeled. They were salted and let to drip for 20 minutes, rinsed and then firmly dried. We laid them in a medium-hot, non-stick pan with a bit of olive oil and let them saute for 6 minutes. After that they were flipped and let to cook for 3 more minutes. The cut side, now facing up, was painted with a light paste made of light miso, soy sauce, a little bit of albariƱo wine and a dash of water to loosen it up. Once the eggplant cooked they were set aside.

Next the sliced king oyster mushrooms were sauteed in a dash of soy sauce and a teaspoon of raw sugar until soft and chewy and then set on top of the eggplant in a bowl. The shrimp were sliced into three pieces and marinated in the same paste as the eggplant. The eggplant and mushrooms were tossed together into a 12 inch non-stick pan to heat through and the shrimp were tossed in to the pan to cook for 60 seconds. It was served hot.

The baby broccoli was par steamed and then finished in salt, pepper, olive oil and minced garlic and finished with Shaoxing cooking wine. It was the last hot dish and got eaten too quickly for a picture.

Bottom line? Too many mushrooms! Those dishes were solid on their own - even worth repeating - but not all at once. The quinoa pilaf with a grilled steak. The miso eggplant with white rice. And, the broccoli with anything. Also, three out of four dishes were brown in color - not too much tonal variety there.

All of it went nicely with a 2007 AlbariƱo by Martin Codax ($13.99).

From Dinner 8-18-09