After our tasting of West Coast Sangiovese wines, Bob
prepared a nice Mediterranean Cuisine dinner.
We started with an assortment of nibbles to go with the Champagne.
Alexia was especially impressed by the pickled herring!
Marjorie was delighted to have successfully made the trek up three flights of
stairs to Bob's kitchen.
Meanwhile Bob was working on the first course:
FROM BOB'S KITCHEN MAGIC
Bob's notes on preparing "Oven Broiled Calamari alla Siciliana"
Medium sized, fresh whole Calamari are preferred.
Cut the tentacles at the point where they meet the two "eyes" and
press out the tough little round ball with the thumb and forefinger.
Press out the two "eyes" with their ink sacs into a fine sieve over a
bowl. Remove and discard the "innards" (the clear cellophane-like
filament and all the gelatinous stuff.) Some of the Calamari will have an
ink sack that you add to the contents of the sieve.
There should be enough for
one or two 1-inch wide rings to cut along with the tail part. Reserve these in a
bowl with the tentacles. Press out the inky contents of the sieve with the back
of a wooden spoon into the bowl and reserve this "ink."
Use a large cast iron skillet or ovenproof saut pan. Pre-heat the oven
Over high heat on the stove add several
glug-glugs of olive oil, and several chopped cloves of garlic (say of a bulb)
and a cup or so of very plump, very red freshly sun-dried tomatoes (the dark,
tough, wizened variety so common are a "no-no") and a generous handful
of roughly chopped Italian parsley.
Saut briefly (less than a minute), add a tablespoon (more or less) of capers
glugs of a dry white wine (if you don't enjoy drinking it, don't use it!)
Stir in the calamari pieces and the reserved
ink tossing briefly and set in the oven up close to the very hot broiler. In
less than a minute agitate the mlange and broil for one minute more.
Caution: Any longer the calamari will toughen up
like rubber bands.
On warm plates place previously
toasted rounds of French bread (Grace Baking Pugliese is a good one) that you've
rubbed with a clove of raw garlic.
Working quickly, pile up a generous helping of the calamari mixture and spoon
out a portion of the pan juices so that they moisten up the garlic toasts.
Hopefully you've been into Weimax to select from our excellent
Italian and Southern French White Wines to accompany.
We tried a Roussanne from California and a Grechetto from Umbria with this dish.
Bob then got busy with the main course...Lamb chops, eggplant and frites.
Bob's Famous French Fries.
The Sportoletti 2000 "Villa Fidelia" Rosso (from Umbria) was superb
with this dish. We were disappointed, frankly, in the 1998 Allegrini
"La Poja," a jammy, 'flat' red wine from the Veneto.
Post Burgundy Tasting
September 10, 2003
We started with some "nibbles" and two 1995 Pol
Roger Champagnes...the "Chardonnay" Champagne being nicely toasty and
crisp, the 1995 Vintage Brut (more Pinot Noir as its base) was a bit fuller but
We seated the guests and prepared the first course...a vegetable terrine with
some salad greens and a tomato-laced vinaigrette.
Happily, I had help in serving.
A couple of Albario wines were paired with this course.
These were quite solid, but not especially noteworthy, particularly when they
cost in the neighborhood of $20 a bottle.
The main course featured some Portuguese red wines of what turned out to be
exceptional quality and an interesting & traditional plate of Pork &
We also had a "stew" of various vegetables, notable broccoli,
artichoke hearts, peppers, zucchini and mushrooms. A saffron-infused rice
was also offered.
Alexia brought a fabulous Portuguese red wine called Chryseia, a collaborative
effort between the Symington family of the Douro Valley (Graham's Port, for
example) and Bordeaux's famous Bruno Prats (Cos d'Estournel). This wine is
outstanding, internationally-style, to be sure, but decidedly Portuguese.
The Zambujeiro wines I brought turned out, also, to be very fine.
An apple "crumble" for dessert was nicely aromatic, featuring a good
dose of cinnamon!
The Dr. Loosen 1998 Auslese (Erdener Prlat) was nicely aromatic, but quite
severe and taut in terms of its sugar/acid balance. Good, but not great.
But that's the breaks!
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