Nothing makes me feel better than cooking a good meal. Especially when combined with good friends and great wine. When I need to fill up my home, and make it feel less lonely, the scent of sauteing garlic or the texture of raw beef in my hands does just that. This past Sunday Sabrina and I got together for a little culinary therapy. We decided not to have any preconceived ideas of what to prepare and allowed what was fresh and beautiful at the market to inspire us. That inspiration came in the form of fresh rapini, fresh morels and a beautiful NY Strip. I wish I had pictures. We salted and peppered the steaks and drizzled with olive oil. Next we grilled them rare and let them rest while we prepared the morel sauce. Sabrina reduced some veal stock and cream sherry until it was rich and concentrated. To that she added the diced morels and let them braise for a bit until their earthy flavor was permeating the liquid. As if that wasn't enough, we poured in some cream to enrich the sauce.
A dish as rich, earthy and hearty needs a wine that can stand right up to it. We opened my last 2002 Morgan Gary's Vineyard Pinot Noir and a 2003 Justin Justification. The pinot was drinking beautifully, it was silky in texture with balanced acids and absolutely no hint of alcohol. The Justin still needed time, it was still brimming with stewed fruit and fuller tannins. No secondary or tertiary aromas and flavors had developed yet. The Justin winery stated that this particular bottle should be drunk now. I should have known that they were referring to the American palate, which likes young, fruity and tannic wines. Lesson learned.
Nights like these are what are helping me get through this incredibly difficult time. Wine and food are emotions. Each sip and each bite are a celebration of Otis' life.
City Kitchen: A Trip to Vietnam Inspires Tender Pork Ribs - The meat is first bathed in a fragrant marinade with traditional Vietnamese seasonings, then braised slowly, and browned at the end.
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