Saturday, October 11, 2008

Summer in a Bowl

The Greenmarket is at that summer/autumn transition stage where tomatoes are piled beside apples, cauliflowers beside corn. Tonight I made our favorite easy easy soup for dinner, to sort of kiss summer's produce goodbye, even if there's still both main ingredients aplenty next week.

Tomato Corn Soup
Per person: 1/2 onion, 1 large ripe beefsteak tomato, 1 ear of corn.
Chop onion, saute in olive oil til translucent. Add chopped tomatoes. Add generous sprigs of fresh thyme, basil and rosemary. After tomatoes are heated and simmering, add corn that has been cut from the cob. Add salt and pepper, and about 1/2 cup water per tomato. Stir. Cover. Cook over low heat for about 10-15 minutes. Do not overcook.

Serve with:
Diced sharp white cheddar cheese; it melts into the soup and becomes pure yum.
Fresh baked sourdough or other crusty bread.
Lemonade or Vinho Verde.

I like to include 1 yellow beefsteak tomato in each batch, as the soup turns a most beautiful golden color. I prefer white or bicolor corn, they're sweeter. I don't include garlic, it overwhelms the delicate flavors. The only possible other veggie to include would be yellow zucchini, finely diced, but that's only if you have tons of zucchini to use and have become desperate.

Needless to say, this recipe should NEVER be attempted with canned tomatoes, frozen corn and dried herbs. This would result only in a cruel parody of the fresh version. But it does reheat pretty well, so make lots and eat it day after day til summer is over.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Megapanos Savatiano 2006

Regional wine of Spata. "Renowned grape variety of Mesoghea." "All dishes of Mediterranean cuisine."
Greek wines rock. This one is new to me, a cut above the usual fairly bland Demestica and Botari offerings. The color in the glass is a rich honey-gold. The bouquet, and the taste, reminds me strongly of the strong syrupy dessert wine served in thimble glasses by my fave Med UWS restaurant. This is far drier, but just as luscious and yummy. The scent is leather, honey, a hint of strong bitter apple cider, nearly like a really good aged mead. The taste builds on that impression. The finish is floral and spicy.
This would be my choice to replace the ubiquitous chardonnay in aperitif glasses. Love.

Three White Wines

Gaujal de Saint Bon Picpoul Cuvee Dames 2006, Coteaux du Languedoc
The bottle is pretty, first of all, deep green of shape reminiscent of reisling, with elegant ring at the base and ocean waves around the neck, a celtic cross embossed above the label. I'll admit the bottle was one reason I picked up this wine in the first place, that and the price ($11 at Best Cellars), and the store's enticing description.
The wine is delicious, fresh, summery, crisp. I really don't test the temperature when I serve chilled wine, either it's cold or not, but this wine does want to be cold. Per the recommendation in the links I found, next time we'll try it after it's breathed a bit.
We've had it with fish, chicken, vegetables, and it's always appropriate.
I have to confess I like the wine's story too. Wine making ladies!

Espiral Vinho Verde
Is vinho verde worth contemplating? Heck yes. Some of it is just grape-juicy water, and insipid. This stuff is not. It is dirt cheap, a Trader Joe special, and so we were excited to try it just for the price. It is in fact very tasty, bubbly, fresh, light, and exactly what one wants of this type of wine. The only other VV we like as much is the blue-lace label one who's name escapes me, but for some reason this summer it was not stocked in my local UES wine shops. Boo.

Santa Julia Chardonnay Organica 2008 Familia Zuccardi
I dislike oaky chardonnay. It's more an endurance feat than an enjoyable glass of wine. So I'm always hunting fresher chardonnays to pair with roast chicken and sometimes salmon, as the richness of those foods just cries for a rich wine complement.
This Argentine offering emphasizes the tropical fruitiness of good chardonnay, instead of burying it in an oak coffin. And it's organic! Woot! The label suggests seafood, grilled mushrooms, chicken or salads as partners. I'd agree with that.

More Book List

The unread book pile has grown, dagnabbit. I realized I left off a few from an earlier list, and now somehow more books have sneaked into the house when I was trying not to look.

The newer list:
  • The Welsh Girl > Peter Ho Davies
  • The Yiddish Policemen's Union > Michael Chabon
  • Empires of the Word, a Language History of the World > Nicholas Ostler
  • The Crow Road > Iain Banks
  • Something Rotten > Jasper Fforde
There are also of course all those terrible terrible accusing SF and fantasy books looming on the shelves unread, unread. Too many books. Sarah Canary, Passage, Jack Faust, Iron Council, things from years ago still unread...

Heads or tails

I'm sitting here seriously arguing with myself over whether to go to a huge YARN SALE today, and I'm still not sure who's winning. This is less fun than it sounds like. As addictions go, yarn is less dangerous than food or alcohol, it's prettier than most tattoos (unless you buy Red Heart acrylic or you're one of these tasty people), it's not fragile like vintage teacups, but it takes up a helluva lot more space than stamps. At least it weighs less than books.

I've been awfully proud of myself for hitting the olde stash wools that I have no personal use for, and making charity sweaters at the clip of 1 every 4-5 days for the past couple weeks; I was quite determined that I would NOT immediately fill up the vacated space with new yarn. I really was quite determined. Quite quite determined. But there's this yarn sale. And another one in November. And I'm going to the Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool Festival in a couple of weeks, where, I am told, quite a lot of nice yarn is available for retail purchase by enthusiastic attendees.

BTW Some of those stash wools are 30 or more years old and came with me to 4 different apartments. At no time did I consider getting rid of them, apparently believing that I would find a Good Use for them someday. Well I did, but really it took too long. Why so much gray wool? Why? Yes it's a safe color and can be paired with nearly any other color (except maybe beige), but why so much of it? I will likely ten years from now look back and say Why so much purple cotton? but that is ten years from now, not today.

Aw fuck it. I'll go to the yarn sale.