Here’s a nice easy recipe for our busy days staying at home. It takes a little bit of preparation in sautéing the onions, carrots and celery, but really the prep work takes less than 30 minutes. Then into the crock pot, and don’t think about it for 7-8 hours. When ready, open a bottle of wine (no shortage of wine in our house), and enjoy your dinner! The recipe is here.
For the stew, I opened the wine fridge and grabbed a bottle of 2014 Luminous Hills Estate Grown Pinot Noir, Oregon, Yamhill-Carlton. We visited Luminous Hills sister winery, Seven of Hearts, about 3 ½ years ago, and wrote about that fun visit. That trip was my first time spending a long weekend tasting Oregon Pinot Noir, and I loved it. The Luminous Hills Pinot was one of our favorites, with a really nice balance to it when we first tasted, and again when we opened the other night with the stew. Not overly fruity, but a good balance between the fruit and the acid, slightly lighter body, with a bit of earthiness to it. It showed well with the stew, or the stew showed well with the wine, or they both paired quite well, depending on your point of view.
I occasionally get a bit of writing help from our kitten, Pepé (black and white and named in honor of Pepé Le Pew, my father’s favorite cartoon character). Here you can see him looking over my shoulder checking my work.
Sometimes a movie will have the exact message for the time we’re in. The Princess Bride gives us the Pit of Despair, but it also gives us hope in a few ways. (“He’s only mostly dead,” comes to mind.) And the good guys do win in the end, exacting their revenge, the romantic leads coming together and riding off into the sunset. So I hope everyone is doing well; stay safe!
This shelter-in-place thing has been complicated by the fact that Lori broke her arm (two places, elbow and wrist) just before shelter-in-place went into effect in our area. Also, Lori has allergies and asthma, both of which place her in a higher risk category with COVID-19. Combined together it means I’ve been doing the shopping and cooking. Not crazy about doing the shopping, but I’m having fun cooking. It’s been interesting also because we’re finding new ways to use leftovers. Have to use the leftovers; don’t want to waste food at this time, or really any time. One of our favorites is to use the leftover vegetables in a frittata. There’s a nice recipe on our website here, just keep the eggs and cheese and change the ingredients to whatever is in the refrigerator.
Wine has been going well too. We may not have 3 months of food in the house, but we’ve got more than 3 years worth of wine. There’s also been a special event, as I had a birthday recently. Here are some of our recent meal highlights:
Lamb Tagine Smothered in Onions, with Star Lane Vineyard 2011 Happy Canyon (Santa Barbara) Cabernet Sauvignon “Roots”. The lamb shanks slow cook in one pan, the onions slow cook in another pan, then they come together for an hour in the oven. Melts in your mouth. Add a really nice Cab, and it’s a great dinner. Also had artichokes with this meal, as it’s Spring and artichokes are fresh and selling for 2 for $3 at the local Oliver’s Market.
By the way, the lamb shank bones made a great stock for a soup, adding lentils, beans, rice and some vegetables. Very hearty soup, and very good with the rest of the Star Lane Roots.
Falafel, hummus, tabbouleh, tzatziki and cucumber, with Soquel Vineyards 2013 Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains, Partners’ Reserve. Homemade everything except the pita bread, and it was wonderful. Soquel Vineyards has been a favorite Pinot Noir of ours for 20 years now, and this bottle reminded us of how good their wines are, and how good a Pinot Noir can be.
Neighborhood wine party: Maybe shouldn’t have done it, but needed to see and talk to and share stories with other people. So we organized a small get together with two other couples (the next two houses), used one of their patios, brought our own wine and stayed 6 feet apart. Religiously. Went in the side gate, not through their house. Drank a lot of wine, which felt pretty darn good that evening. In this case, we were drinking a Martorana Family Winery 2016 Mozzafiato, a Dry Creek Valley blend. Pretty sure Zinfandel was the main component, but likely it had a few other grapes hanging out; couldn’t find the exact blend. Really nice.
Not everything we’re cooking is gourmet. The Tres Sabores 2013 Zinfandel, from their Rutherford Estate in Napa Valley, was opened for a dinner of sloppy joes. OK, we made up our own spice mix, and we used a combination of bulk sausage and ground chicken instead of ground beef, but it was still sloppy joes. Darn good comfort food, with a darn good wine.
While we hope this is over soon, we’re hoping even more for the health and safety of our family, friends, community, country and world. This isn’t an abstract 6-degrees-of-separation thing for us, as we know at least one person that’s been hospitalized and put on a ventilator. Please take care of yourselves and your loved ones.