A BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION FOR
The party began with a call from Germany...Gaby and Norbert were phoning to say
"Happy Geburtstag, my man!"
Mrs. Jesper, Amy FitzJensen, put down her glass of Bruno Paillard Champagne long
enough to say "Hallo!" to our Rodgauer pals.
Jonathan baked some breads to accompany the stinky cheeses.
Bread Baker & Brewer Extraordinaire,
Jonathan, Lucy and Jane Tolmach.
Jane regards herself as a:
We grilled some shrimps wrapped with Prosciutto to accompany the Champagne...
These are easy to prepare...
After you've peeled and deveined the prawns, marinate them in some olive oil
with garlic and a few drops of Pernod. Then wrap them with a basil leave
and some prosciutto, skewering them to make the grilling easier.
Meanwhile, we fired up the pot on the stove to steam some mussels.
The steaming liquid was very flavorful, enhanced with onions, red peppers,
saffron and a tiny bit of mustard.
A couple of Spanish whites accompanied this dish.
My preference was for the "Nosis," a Verdejo from the Rueda
region. The Priorat wine from Scala Dei was nice, big, ripe and a bit
tropical. The Nosis, made by Buil & Gine, was crisper, leaner and just
Meanwhile, Jonathan is still recovering from his nasty "mandolin"
accident where he sliced off a bit of his finger in addition to the salame he
Lucy dove into the bowl of mussels!
We then opened two 1978 Rioja wines.
Muga's 1978 Prado Enea
Lopez de Heredia's 1978 Via Tondonia
The main course was a "California Cassoulet."
We had white beans with a bit of tomato...grilled lamb chops, smoked duck and
two kinds of grilled sausages.
Whisper is knee-deep in beans!
Jane isn't far behind in our little food and wine marathon!
Lucy prepared a big pot of home-grown (Tolmach Gardens) artichokes.
Amy had her own special plate...a piece of salmon which we started cooking
several days ahead of time (she doesn't care for salmon cooked 'rare').
Meanwhile, the red wines were terrific!
The Lopez de Heredia was lighter in color, but more "fine" on the nose
and palate. It still had a bit of life to it, though it certainly was
The Muga had an earthy quality to it and was darker in color and deeper in
fruit. There was an underbrush, woodsy note to this wine. It was
quite fine, too, however.
Wines of this style and age show Tempranillo can be along the lines of a fine,
The phone rang and Jesper answered it:
"Round Table Pizza."
This more than confused Anne Rideout, who was calling from Pittsburgh, PA to say
"Happy Birthday, Jesper!"
Amy, meanwhile, knows what's important.
At least he still has 98% of his fingers.
Then it was time for birthday cake.
We opened a Krohn's 1961 Colheita Porto, a wine that's a few months older than
Whisper is Jesper's name in Japanese.
It was bestowed on him years ago by Famous Yoshimi Satoh.
Italian Rum Cake from Burlingame's "The Cakery" bakery.
Jesper then opened some birthday gifts.
Some sort of digital thermometer for gauging the temperature of foods cooking,
Meanwhile, the Porto was much in demand.
Jesper receives a card showing some babe surrounded by shoes.
(He lives with that woman, by the way.)
Jesper's annual jar of Nutella.
He also received an Italian wine box...Pojer & Sandri, Vietti and Isole e
The birthday boy was thrilled!
Meanwhile, Jonathan found the coon-skin cap.
"Daniel Boone" Tolmach.
And there was a package of deluxe butters for Jesper.
His favorite, of course, is the Danish variety.
And so...until next year....
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