Bargains vs. Big Boys

Bargains vs. Big Boys
Farpointe Cellar
Tasted Saturday, March 26, 2011

FLIGHT 1

2006 Long Shadows Wineries Syrah Sequel – USA, Washington, Columbia Valley Loads of game, bacon, and smoke on the nose, with small amounts of flowers and blackberry. A wonderful mix of flavors on the palate. It moves from grilled meat to blackberry to cedar and then to tar. The tannins are soft and the finish is slightly spicy. (92 Points)

2006 Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno Toscana IGT – Italy, Tuscany, Toscana IGT A big nose of blackberry, oak, and licorice. A little more integrated on the palate than it was one the nose. Still big, but nothing seemed to overpower anything else. (92 Points)

2008 Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir CrossBarn – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley Big and juicy on the nose, with loads of bright raspberry and smoke. There’s some asian spice in the middle plus hints of wet leaves, and some floral notes toward the end. The tannins are very sweet and soft on the palate, with lots of ripe, red fruit and pepper. The mid-palate adds some floral notes and earth, and it finishes with more fruit. (91 Points)

2006 Château Quinault L’Enclos – France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru Sweet oak and black cherry on the nose, plus earth and raspberry. The tannins are bit sharp and the oak a bit too prominent on the palate, but the fruit and earth flavors manage to save it. (88 Points)

2006 Veraison Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vineyard – USA, California, Napa Valley A very earth-driven nose of wet dirt, crushed rock, and roasted herbs. The red fruit come on towards the end, and are very sweet. The palate flavors are the same as the nose, but the tannins are a bit harsh. (88 Points)

Steak Au Poivre

Here’s a steak dish that is not all about the sauce. The sauce is important, but it’s a minor player. This steak is all about the peppercorns. If you don’t like pepper, you won’t like this. And if you don’t like pepper, you’re an idiot. Seriously though, just look at this picture to see how much pepper this steak has.

Raw Steaks

Even after cooking all you see is pepper.

Cooking

The best thing to pair with this is sautéed potatoes. No recipe is needed. Just slice some potatoes, and sauté them in fat. I used duck fat. I don’t use any other kind. Try it and you’ll understand why.

Finished Meal

Steak Au Poivre

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 8-ounce steaks
  • 2 ounces olive oil
  • 2 ounces peppercorns, freshly cracked (meaning crushed but not ground to powder!)
  • 4 ounces butter
  • 1 ounce Cognac
  • 4 ounces strong, dark veal stock, (right now, you really could use a tiny bit of the demi-glace I told you to keep in your freezer)
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  1. COOK THE STEAKS: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Moisten the meat very slightly with oil, then dredge each of the steaks in the crushed peppercorns to thoroughly coat. Don’t be shy with the pepper. Heat the remaining oil in a skillet over high heat. Once the oil is hot, add 2 ounces of the butter. Place the steaks in the pan and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook to desired doneness, about 5 to 7 minutes for rare, 10 minutes for medium rare, and so on. Remove the pan from the oven and remove the steaks from the pan to rest. Have I told you to always rest your meat after cooking? I’ve told you now.

  2. THE SAUCE: Return the skillet to the stovetop and carefully stir in the Cognac. As much fun as it is to create a column of flame as you add flammable material to an incredibly hot pan, it’s not really desirable or necessary – especially in a home kitchen. Unless you’re a pyromaniac, I recommend carefully adding the Cognac to the still-hot pan off the flame, stirring and scrapping with the wooden spoon to get every scrape, every peppercorn, every rumor of flavor clinging to the bottom of the pan. Now place the pan on the flame again and cook it down a bit, by about half. Stir in the veal stock (and demi-glace) and reduce over medium heat until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Whisk in the remaining butter and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with French fries or sauteed potatoes.

Julia Child’s Napoleon’s Chicken

Here’s a dish, that at first glance, seems like an unworkable combination. And honestly, it’s one of those dishes where the chef threw what he had together. But it works. The best part is that you can leave parts of it out and it’s still delicious. If you cooking this with the thought of having leftovers, you can cook everything but the bread and eggs and do those as needed. You can also do a simple fried egg and it’s just as good.

Julia Child’s Napoleon’s Chicken

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 chicken cut into pieces for frying
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon of Napoleon’s cognac (or Brandy)
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 lbs. peeled, cored, seeded and diced tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 8 large white mushroom caps with stems
  • 8 rounds of 1/4″ thick sliced Italian bread
  • 12 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon chopped, fresh parsley
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • black olives

METHOD:

  1. Rinse and pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large seasoned skillet (a chicken fryer with 3″ to 4″ high sides) over medium high heat until hot. Add chicken and brown well on all sides.

  2. Add 1/4 cup of the white wine, cover and simmer 10 minutes. Add cognac and flame. Add onions, cover and simmer another 10 minutes. Remove chicken to platter.

  3. Remove stems from mushroom caps and dice. Reserve caps. Spoon some grease from pan. Saute garlic and mushroom stems. Add tomatoes, 1/4 cup of the white wine, and Italian seasoning stirring up all the chicken bits. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a high simmer. Return the chicken pieces to the skillet, folding into the tomato sauce. Reduce heat, cover and simmer gently for 15 – 20 minutes until chicken is no longer pink.

  4. While the chicken is cooking, heat a saucepan over high heat with 1 tablespoon of oil and the rest of white wine. Add the mushrooms. Toss lightly a few times until they are tender, but not soggy or overcooked. The caps should be white and retain their shape. Set aside and keep warm.

  5. Heat a frying pan with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil (may need more) until hot, but not smoking. Lightly fry the rounds of bread until slightly browned. Set them aside on paper towels. Keep warm in oven.

  6. Add the shrimp to the hot oil and fry until they just curl up, about 1-2 minutes. Set them aside on paper towels. Keep warm in oven.

  7. Heat another saucepan over high heat with oil at least an inch deep. Poach the eggs one at a time in the hot oil for a minute or so, lightly stirring with large spoon to keep egg together. Remove with a slotted spoon and set on paper towel to drain.

  8. Putting it all together: Set chicken pieces on serving platter. Spoon the tomato sauce over the chicken pieces and garnish with black olives.

  9. Place the eight croutons around the chicken. Place an egg on every other crouton and garnish with parsley. Place 3 shrimp on each of the other 4 croutons.

Pinot X

Pinot X
Farpointe Cellar
Tasted Saturday, March 05, 2011

FLIGHT 1

2008 Talley Vineyards Pinot Noir – USA, California, Central Coast, Arroyo Grande Valley Very floral and spicy on the nose, with lots of ripe cherry and raspberry, and a little citrus at the end. Soft on the palate with nice sour cherry and spice. The mid-palate has some orange juice, and the finish has loads of raspberry. (91 Points)

2007 Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss Pinot Blanc Kritt Les Charmes – France, Alsace, Andlau, Alsace AOC Apples topped with roasted nuts greet the nose, followed by hints of citrus and floral notes. There’s some deep richness on the palate and slight sweetness to the fruit. Lots of apple and orange, with floral tones on the mid-palate, and a nice nutty finish. (89 Points)

2009 Edi Simcic Pinot Grigio Giocato – Slovenia, Primorska Floral and fruity on the nose, it is mainly apple and pear, with lavender edges. It’s slightly tropical and viscous at the end. Much more complex on the palate, the fruit and floral flavors have a nice petrol tinge that lasts all the way through the finish. 89 Points()

2008 L’Angevin Pinot Noir – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley Sweet cherries on the nose, with blueberry behind, and smoke surrounding it all. A little tannic on the palate, but the flavors from the nose are all there. (89 Points)

2008 Alexana Pinot Noir Dundee Hills – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, Dundee Hills Spicy and perfumed on the nose, with undertones of blackberry and black currant. There was an earthy/smokiness in the middle and some floral notes at the end. Quite tannic on the palate, it still has good dark fruit and earthiness. It’s slight bitter on the finish, though.

2009 WillaKenzie Estate Pinot Blanc Estate Bottled – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley A fairly simplistic nose of apple and pear. Not much else going on. A little better on the palate, the fruit is there in the background. The main flavor is raw almonds. It also has a nice thickness. (87 Points)

Marinated Grilled Hanger Steak

One of the finest cuts of meat cooked to a perfect medium rare. I used a buffalo hanger, and it tasted great. Goes good with Turnip Gratin and Glazed Baby Carrots.

Marinated Grilled Hanger Steak

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • Pinch crushed red pepper
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, picked and finely chopped
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 (1 1/2-pound each) hanger steaks, trimmed, membrane removed and cut in half lengthwise
  • Kosher salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

METHOD:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the Dijon, garlic, rosemary, lemon juice and zest, and crushed red pepper. Schmear the steaks with this deliciousness and let them hang out in the fridge overnight or up to 2 hours in the fridge.

  2. Preheat the grill. Season the steaks with salt.

  3. When the grill is hot, brush and oil the grill. When the flames have dissipated place the steaks on a hot spot on the grill. Brush with the excess marinade and move the steaks out of the flame if there is a flare up. Grill the steak for 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium rare. Remove the steaks from the grill and let them rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. Serve immediately after slicing.

Turnip Gratin

If you like Potatoes Au Gratin, you’ll like this version with turnips. In fact, I think I like this one better.

Turnip Gratin

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 bundle thyme
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 stick butter, plus extra for baking dish
  • 2 lbs. turnips, peeled and sliced very thin (mandoline works best)
  • 1 1/2 cups grated parmigiano

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

  2. Put the cream, garlic, thyme and cayenne in a saucepan and season it with salt. Taste to make sure it is adequately seasoned. Bring the cream to a boil and then turn off the heat. Let the mixture steep for 15 to 20 minutes.

  3. Butter the baking dish and layer in 1/3 of the sliced turnips. Sprinkle 1/3 of the grated cheese over the turnips and dot with 1/3 of the butter. Remove the thyme and garlic from the cream and pour 1/3 of the cream over the turnips. Repeat this process 2 more times until all of the ingredients are used up.

  4. Cover the dish with foil, place on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes, until golden. When done a fork should slide in and out of the center of the dish easily.

  5. For easier serving, let the dish rest 10 to 12 minutes before serving.

Glazed Baby Carrots

Simple and tasty way to cook carrots.

Glazed Baby Carrots

INGREDIENTS:

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. baby carrots, tops removed but with a little green left attached (it’s cute)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 3 sprigs thyme, picked
  • Pinch cayenne pepper

METHOD:

  1. Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil. Set up a bowl of well-salted ice water. Blanch the carrots in the boiling water. When they are cooked but still have some crunch, plunge them immediately into the ice water. When cool, use a clean tea towel to rub the skin off the carrots. Reserve.

  2. To a large skillet add the butter, sugar, lemon juice, garlic, thyme, cayenne and about 1/2 cup of water. Bring the pan to medium heat swirling occasionally. When most of the water has reduced and the mixture seems homogenous, removed the garlic and add the carrots and stir until they are coated. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes or until the carrots are completely coated and hot.