Tag Archives: wegmans

Last Week in Wine

It was a hell of a week. In short, my mother is getting older and has many of the problems that go with that; these things cause me to spend inordinate amounts of time in hospitals and wine shops.

After the first 48 hours had gone by (including on night sleeping in a chair) and things were looking up, I headed home Wednesday to have a comfort meal with Jake. I’m not sure if I was exhausted or just feeling spendy, but instead of picking up a pizza like a normal person, I stopped at Wegmans for charcuterie and cheese, then the wine shop for what I decided was a night worth a “good” wine.

See that box of figs in the background. Insanity.

See that box of figs in the background? Insanity.

Enter Bacio Divino 2006 Red Blend for $50. We often have conversations about the price of wine, mostly wondering if we go upwards from $30 do we gain as much as we spend. Is a $50 red doubly as good as a $25 red? After this bottle, I’d say sometimes, maybe. How’s that for clarity?! We’d recently had the 337 Cab Sav were pretty happy considering the price tag. These two wines tasted side by side really demonstrated what time and cost might get you in terms of wine. The Divino was rich and delicate at once, with a sort of ‘nothing’ start, then the fruit comes but not too fruity (I lack wine words…) with a long finish. That my first thought, actually. A very long finish that I liked a lot (see, poor wine vocab on my part). Overall, it was subtle and I wasn’t entirely sure it was worth it as we were eating the platter of cheese, meat, fruit and bread.

But then. THEN. The dark chocolate covered figs. Mother of God. I’m weak in the knees just thinking about it. It was one of those pairings that makes you remember how wine makes food better and food makes wine better. Just ridiculous. Perfect pairing.

There was more dietary and alcoholic insanity as the week went on. Thursday was a beautiful 65 degree spring day, so again, on my way home from the hospital, I made the decision to get some Rose so I could sit on the porch and enjoy the weather. A wine friend at the shop recommended the Roger Et Didier Raimbault (note: I paid about 25% more than this link suggests) and the L’oliveto. I’d initially ignored the L’oliveto because it was $8 (note: it appears to be retailing at other shops for $14). Live and learn. She raved. I drank. It was solid, especially for wine you plan to drink a bunch of while sitting on your porch. I went back and bought a case. I also told her that we were having oxtail ragu over gnocchi for dinner (Jake is soooooooo good to me….) and she picked a Malbec that was a great match.

Saturday night was Jake’s first attempt at duck confit and it was RIDICULOUS. I picked a young pinot noir, Acrobat, I think (it’s all fuzzy by then) and promised a myself a solid detox this week.

This coming week will likely be devoid of wine (she says on Monday…we’ll see when Friday comes) and devoted to veggies and hopefully movement from the hospital into rehabilitation (fingers crossed). Because my richness and stress quotas have been met via charcuteris, oxtail, duck and old age.

French Cooking for the Lazy

That would be me. I’m a lazy cook in general, and french cooking in particular brings out my lazy bone. I like things I can make in one pan, or things that don’t require cooking ingredients only to assemble them with other cooked ingredients, and I really really hate anything that requires soaking…beans can be found in cans, already cooked and not that different from the ones you’d take from hard to soft yourself!!

Bringing me to dinner last night. I have this old recipe for Saucisses aux Lentilles du Puy that I ripped from Saveur who knows when. The real version expects me to simmer lentils and tie fresh thyme, parsley and bay leaves together, I suspect while making my own pork sausage if the French had their way. Well, fortunately for me, I’m more than willing to offend the French and adapt a recipe using, gasp, Progresso soup and organic chicken sausage!! Oh, and for my triathlete friends–this is totally within Ironmomma’s Core Diet.

So here’s how Sausage and Lentils gets made at my house:

Ingredients:
2-3 slices of bacon
1 tbsp or less (I use less, sometimes none) of butter
1 small onion, or large, use what you’ve got, finely chopped
1 carrot (again, if I don’t have one, I leave it out), finely chopped
1 stalk of celery (really, I never have this, and I’m not buying a bunch to use one stalk), finely chopped
1 tbsp (or more) of dried Herbes De Provence (that’s rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and savory–but much easier to buy just the one jar)
1 can of Progresso lentil soup
1 can of plain old lentils, drained
dijon mustard
balsamic vinegar
1 package of organic italian style chicken sausage (I buy Al Fresco brand at Wegmans)
1 cup of white wine (the sweeter and less drinkable the better, buy those little bottles at the wine shop if you aren’t a drinker, but its an important ingredient–trust me)
1 cup of water
2 sauce pans

1. I start by poking the sausages with a fork and plopping them in a pan with the cup of wine and cup of water. Boil this, until all the liquid is gone (you’ll be cooking the lentils in the other pan while this happens), and let the sausage brown/carmelize in the pan. The sugars in the wine brown nicely and really add to the flavor, and the alcohol has long since boiled away. You need to watch this as it gets less liquidy–you don’t want to ruin your pan or your sausage.

2. While that boiling is going on, cook the 2-3 slices of bacon in the other sauce pan.
3. Add butter, onion, carrot, and celery and cook til soft.
4. Add the Herbes, the can of soup, and the drained lentils and bring to a boil, then simmer until thickened.

If you’ve done all that correctly, the sausage and lentils are done at about the same time

5. When lentils are thickened, remove from heat and add dijon mustard and balsamic to taste (I like a lot of dijon and find that adding at the end is really the most important part, otherwise the flavor disappears, if you eat this as left overs, you’ll have to add it again, because the flavor just disappears the next day).

Serve one sausage on top of lentils–this makes 4 servings for normal people. It makes 2 at our house–Jake eats 3/4 at one time and I get the remaining 1/4.

Its not pretty, but its good winter food!! On the side I like Wegman’s Rosemary Loaf with Olive Oil and Sea Salt. Sometimes we eat a salad beforehand, you know, for the veggies…

Sausage and Lentils, almost like going to France...

Does My Breathe Stink? AKA The Glorious Garlic Festival

It should. White Garlic, Red Garlic, Elephant Garlic, Dried Garlic Chips, Pickled Garlic, 40 Clove Pulled Pork, Eggplant and Garlic, Tomatoes with Mozzarella and Garlic…it’s a good thing we were surrounded by 2000 other garlic eaters, but I suspect I still stink.

Glorious Garlic

 

We arrived at Fox Run Vineyards just after 1, with empty livers and hungry bellies (and fresh breath). That didn’t last long. Four 40 Clove Pulled Pork sandwiches, Hummus and Chips, and Tomatoes and Moz plus two bottles of Fox Run Dry Riesling and we were ready to start tasting garlic.

Who Doesn't Want More Garlic and Wine?

Cat, Max, and Jake Doing What They Do Best (and look at that sky!)

Wait Until You Can Drink Them!

 In truth, I’d never realized how many varieties of garlic there are and how distinctive their raw flavors can be, both by type of garlic and where it came from. I also didn’t realize how many garlic farmers we have in the Finger Lakes Region. As much as I loved the garlic, the find of the day was Butternut Squash Seed Oil from Whole Hearted Foods from right there in Geneva, NY. We bought a bottle without a second thought and started to figure out how to work it into our dinner plans.

Butternut Squash Seed Oil-MMMM!

After  a couple of garlic filled hours and a pretty large wine purchase from Fox Run, we continued down the road to some other wineries: Anthony Road, Prejean, and Heron Hill. All the wineries have pretty much the same thing going on; you pay $5 and you get to taste 5 wines. In the end you have slightly more than a glass for your efforts and usually you find something you like. It’s often not very personal, and there are tons of tour buses and bachelorette parties and the like that make it hard if you really want to know more about the wines themselves. There are also a bunch of wineries that make crap and exist simply because people will stop at each and every tasting room!

Heron Hill was a little different. The winery itself is on Kueka Lake, and they have a stunning tasting room over there, but they also have a location for tasting on Seneca Lake, where we were. They charge $2 for 5 tastings but also give you a very personal and in depth description of each wine you choose. After talking about what kinds of wine the four of us like, he selected some he thought we might appreciate. Clearly their personal attention pays off; we bought three bottles of 2006 Pinot Noir (really, I know the riesling is the way to go in NY, but this was great Pinot). 

After Heron Hill we stopped at Wegmans (good lord, I miss Wegmans when I’m in Michigan, please, Danny Wegman, come to Michigan so I can have all of my groceries inside one building…) for some red peppers, mangos, rosemary/seasalt bread, cheesecake, and raspberries. We already have summer squash and four enormous strip steaks waiting for us at home, plus our new oil and somewhere in the neighborhood of 27,000 bottles of wine.

We used the new oil on the veggies before grilling them, but the big winner with the oil was mango. I know. Its sounds awful, butternut squash seed oil and mango. But the advice from Whole Hearted Foods was to toss mango, the oil and sea salt. So I did. And Oh My God Its Un-freaking-believable.  Sweet mango and salty bite with what really tastes like a bit of butter. Again, I know, its sounds nuts. Buy some. Try this. I swear you will see God.

The rest of the night was spent cooking steaks, drinking wine, eating cheesecake and sitting by the fire out back.

What's Good For Me Is Good For The Wine Industry Too!

I wish all the days could be this good.