Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Feeling down? Lacking energy?

Might I suggest cranking up the volume and of the all time classics. Every time I hear Lou screaming and rocking his guitar toward the end I get so stoked. Plus love this video someone did with it!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Cellar report: 2002 Evesham Wood "Cuvée J" Pinot Noir

Timing is everything. Sometime you're a little late. Other times you are dead on perfect. Then there are times you wish you hadn't been in such a rush, because the realization smacks you between the eyes...or in this case the palate.. that if you had waited just a little longer, say four years or so, the rewards would have been so much sweeter. Such was the case of the bottle of 2002 Evesham Wood "Cuvée J" Pinot Noir I opened a few weeks ago. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't bad by any stretch, in fact it was incredible, but I knew, as soon as I took that first sip, that true sublime satisfaction lay somewhere in the future.

Here's some quick facts: #1)- 2002 was a great vintage for Oregon pinot noir. Classic. Stellar. The best wines will easily last ten+ years; #2- Evesham Wood is one of the premier producers of Oregon pinot, and former Owner Russ Raney's pinots always need time to show their best, especially in a vintage like 2002; #3)- what the fuck was I thinking taking this to dinner when I knew it was still on the upswing?? I think it was ego that got the better of me this time (again).

What occasioned this was w and I were invited by my sister and bro-in-law to have dinner at Beaker & Flask with her and her friend and super forager-locavore Hank Shaw, who was in town on his book tour, and Hank's huntress girlfriend Holly Heyser (Hank is this dude who is really a great guy, and also someone who will never, ever, go hungry. He just did a tweet about wandering around his hotel block in whatever town he was staying in talking about all the edible plants he saw. Plus Holly was pretty bad ass, too, as she whipped out her freaking hunting knife at the restaurant table we were sharing to show how she could trim a piece of meat off the bone. Two...well, three...things immediately popped into my mind: I wish I was sitting across the table from her instead of six inches away, and please god don't let me say the wrong thing and piss this woman off, because I was pretty sure she could kill me in any number of ways with any number of implements that she probably had on here right now). Anyway, back at home before leaving for dinner I thought "I'll show him some locavoracious drinking" and went foraging in my basement for some Oregon grape based pleasure. I'd been holding this bottle of EW "J" for years, and even as I was carrying it up the stairs and out to the car I was thinking to myself, "are you sure you want to do this?" I had plenty of other choices, but as usual ignored my better judgement. The bottom line on this wonderful wine was that it was super pretty, with Raney's tell-tale cherries, plums and spice. There are "Cuvée J"'s earthy notes, and delicate floral scents in abundance on the nose and the palate. Russ was so, so freakishly good at his craft. Instead of oak and over-ripeness, he just let his pinot do what it lives to do, which is express it's pretty, feminine side. Really fabulous pinot noir here, as good as it gets in Oregon. But the tannins were still a little tight, and the acidity vibrantly fresh meaning it had years to go. Still, it was an awesome bottle. Fruit, texture, and especially this lingering finish that was! Still (and here I insert a pathetic "poor me" moment after having this actually quite wonderful wine experience), I can't help but think what might have been........

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cilantro harvest, pt. 1

Along with basil, there is nothing so pungently satisfying as cilantro. Holding a handful of either up to your schnoz and taking a big whiff is the definition of a heady experience. Having made the decision to plant cilantro (once again) in my garden and being determined to actually use it instead of leaving it to bolt (my usual m.o.), as it seems to do overnight, the Asian/Indian theme is running rampant in the 1309 kitchen. I found the recipe below on epicurious. Seeing it needed some obvious tweaking, as usual with online recipes in the form of a bit more flavoring agents (is every recipe site afraid of alienating our weakened domestic palates? Memo to recipe writers: you should be challenging, not acquiescing to, your readers tastebuds!), I added my own touches. The result? Deliciousness attained with minimal effort. And still lots of cilantro left in the garden...stay tuned!!

You could serve this with some rice, I suppose. But it was really perfect tucked into some tender, snappy lettuce leaves fresh out of the garden. Plus that tumbler of chilly rosé you see in the pic? Most def!
*** *** *** *** ***
Shredded Chicken with Ginger and Cilantro
Adapted from: Gourmet Magazine/Baita Daiwei Ting, Kunming

From Gourmet: "Many of the minority peoples of Yunnan traditionally boil a chicken to show respect to their dead. Once the ceremony is finished, they shred the meat and mix it with ginger, garlic, and cilantro to make "ghost chicken." The lime in this recipe, unusual for Chinese cooking, suggests the influence of Southeast Asia, which the province borders."

Yield: Makes 2 to 4 to 6 (main course) servings

2 chicken breast halves with skin and bone (1 1/2 to 2 pounds total)
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1-1/2 teaspoons Asian chili paste with garlic (preferably Lan Chi)
1-1/2 teaspoons red-chile oil, or to taste*
1-1/2 teaspoons Sichuan-pepper oil, or to taste**
2 teaspoons finely grated (with a rasp) peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon finely grated (with a rasp) garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh mild long red chile such as Holland
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 to 2 cups fresh cilantro leaves

*To make the red chili oil: add 1 tablespoon dried crushed chilies to 1/4 cup peanut oil. Let sit for 1 hour or more before use.

**To make Sichuan-pepper oil: add teaspoons ground Sichuan peppercorns to 1/4 peanut oil. Let sit for 1 hour or more before use.

Set a steamer rack inside a wide 6- to 8-quart pot and fill bottom with water (not above rack), then bring to a boil. Arrange chicken in 1 layer in a shallow heatproof bowl small enough to fit just inside pot. Steam chicken in bowl on rack, covered with lid, until just cooked through, about 25-35 minutes. Remove bowl from pot using tongs. When chicken is cool enough to handle, coarsely shred, discarding skin and bones. Reserve liquid in bowl. Meanwhile, stir together lime juice, bean paste, red-chile oil, Sichuan-pepper oil, ginger, garlic, chile, salt, and 4 tablespoons reserved chicken liquid in a large bowl. Stir in chicken, cilantro, and salt to taste.

Cooks' note: Dish, without cilantro, can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature and stir in cilantro before serving.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Funny. 'Nuf said!

This post from The Bloggess is hilarious and the perfect weekend sendoff. Hope you can explain to your coowrkers why you're laughing your ass off at your desk. Pick your battles, indeed!

Thanks for the tip from GoodStuffNW!