Why we started this idea????

A passion for food, wine, friends and entertaining is a big part of our life. This is a way for us to document our experiences, passion for food & life and also share it with others.
















Monday, January 31, 2011

Spanish Syrah, Indian-Thai Curry Chicken, Saturday Night = Yum

Indian & Thai are two of our favorite cuisines. We have long made many Thai recipes but have just recently ventured into making Indian dishes in the past year and a half. So finding this combination of Thai and Indian recipe for Indian-Thia Fusion Chicken on On and Off My Plate was right up our alley.
The fact that it was light and not laden with the typical coconut milk, cream or butter was perfect too since the past few days have not lent themselves to overly healthy eating for us.
G skied Saturday but came home early because conditions weren’t ideal. When he came home I had just put the spice seeds in the oven to roast and he wanted to help. He played helpful sous chef mincing garlic, lemon grass and ginger and then grinding the seeds once they were roasted.

We had half a rotisserie chicken left from the night before so I decided we’d use that instead of cooking chicken breasts. So I chopped the chicken into cubes.
Our fusion curry paste appeared not very pasty because the lemongrass wasn’t minced or mashed enough so we ended up going through a few extra steps to get to where we thought it would be more easily edible.
Fusion Curry Paste
We also made the Cardamom Sweet Potatoes and a spinach salad to along with it as those sounded like the perfect accompaniments to the curry.
Spinach Salad with dried cranberries, sliced red onion, almonds & dressed with honey mustard
Just before serving the chicken I also added some greek low-fat yogurt, I added a little more than 3 tablespoons hoping it would help it be a bit more creamy.

We opened a Spanish bottle of Syrah, Fedriani Laffitte, that I found at Metropolitan Market while picking up my spices. Syrah is a great match for spicy food, as well as my personal favorite varietal and I don’t believe I’ve ever had a 100% Spanish Syrah so it needed to be tried.
FEDRIANI LAFFITTE 100% Spanish Syrah
We loved our meal. It had all the flavors of our most loved Indian dishes but not the stomach turn that often occurs from the butter for me. It as a meal that felt light, comforting and complete.


The Spanish Syrah was also perfect for the meal. It was much lighter than Washington Syrah so it really did pair well while being a red with a light meal. We both agree this is a curry dish that we’ll return to. We ended up freezing the remaining half of the Fusion Curry Paste so it’s even something we could pull off on a work night.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Friday Night's Gutsy Cooks Club's "Chicken Croquettes"

It was the kind of Friday an elementary principal can’t really imagine, usually Fridays keep me running, literally; no students, no staff, no horrible phone calls to be made home informing a first grader’s grandmother that she had brought horrific pornographic magazine pictures to share with at least half of her 6 year old classmates. No mediation of 5th grade boys fighting over whether the 4-square ball was in or out. No figuring out  how to cover for the two teacher’s whose substitutes didn’t show up. No explaining to kindergarten boys why scratching your friend’s face and making it bleed just because he didn’t want to be on your “transformers team” at recess wasn’t appropriate. Yes, it was a perfect Friday that my teachers & other staff had off to compensate for their late night conferences and I was able to get caught up on two weeks of tasks piled high upon my desk.
It was such a low key Friday that I had thought Happy Hour at Matador was in order, was craving their cranberry margaritas and haberno prawns. But G reminded me we had been out 2 nights in row and had only eaten 1 meal at home all week because it was another week of late nights packed with professional development training, district budget crisis community forums and an enraged school board meeting full of emotional high school students begging the superintendent not to close their school.
We have just joined the Gutsy Cooks Club recipe blog this week and need to try out and document our first recipe; Chicken Croquettes and the recipe looks pretty easy and sounded like homemade chicken nuggets so we decided this might be a “cook at home kind of Friday night” which would allow us to try the recipe. This is rare. Fridays usually equal happy hour dinner, take out, or our favorite cheese, salumi, baguette kind of meal.
Gutsy Cook's Chicken Croquettes from the Illustrated Kitchen Bible
So we ran up to the store picked up a rotisserie chicken, the recipe calls for leftover chicken, obviously having not cooked since Monday we don’t happen to have chicken left over. Rotisserie chicken might be the best supermarket trend I know of for an at home cook.
The recipe made me a bit nervous from the start given I’m not a big deep fried home cook. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe worms would taste good deep fried. My issue is the mess and the smell of the entire house after deep frying. But that’s what I signed on for by doing Gutsy Cooks was to try things I might not try otherwise so we went with it.

After returning I turned the ipod to our newly downloaded Country Strong soundtrack (saw movie last weekend, loved it. I used to hate country music but our friends J&J have slowly converted me somehow), put out some veggies and hummus for us to snack on as the chicken sauce
Chicken with sauce cooling


has to cool completely before you make the croquettes and poured a glass of Walla Walla Scholarship red wine made by College Cellars.

It’s a great concept, Walla Walla College has a wine program and the wine made by student, using some of Washington’s best grapes, is then bottled and sold which helps finance the program in return. Pretty good for a $10 red table wine.
Chicken rolled in bread crumbs ready to fry
I happened to have some breadcrumbs left that I had pre-made for a meal last week. So I started out using thoses but ran out after the first four croquettes and switched to using panko crumbs to finish. My guess is my croquettes were much bigger than they were supposed to be. You are supposed to use to spoons to shape them and I'm not nearly coordinated enough to pull that off so I ended up just plopping a spoonful into the crumbs and shaping them that way. Quite messy and also left mine not uniform and large.
Since the chicken croquettes seemed so much like chicken nuggets iniatially we  decided to make some of our favorite homemade truffle fries to accompany them: roughly sliced russet potatoes, peel left on, coat and shake with olive oil and truffle salt, bake in 500 degree oven for 25ish minutes ‘til golden brown. And we also made a green salad with romaine hearts with avocado, red onion, grape tomatoes dressed with Whole Foods Chipotle Ranch. I feel like we rarely eat anything green lately.
We sat down and ate our meal and watched the Social Network movie I’ve  wanted to see since it was still in the theaters. The chicken croquettes were different. Actually with each bite they were a bit better. I definitely am not experienced with the deep frying aspect so they were possibly too dark but definitely crispy on the outside. The middle texture took a bit of getting used to as it was still moist, almost like the inside of a chicken pot pie without the veggies maybe, but much richer. Since we anticipated them being more like chicken nuggets we served them with a haberno dip, but it  wasn’t needed the inside was very flavored and not at all dry.

Our fries were good as they usually are G thought I went too light on the truffle salt but last time I used it I went overboard so I was being conservative. If you’ve ever used truffle salt you know it can be pretty pungent.
'09 Barnard Griffin Roussanne
We enjoyed a bottle of ’09 Barnard Griffin Roussanne. We’ve been Barnard Griffin wine club members for six years now. They really make some wonderful wines that we always enjoy. It’s one of the wineries we always hit during our annual Tri-Cities wine trip with friends. Roussanne is a new varietal for us. Actually lately we’re really started to like it more and more. For the Tacoma Christmas boat parade watched at a friend’s condo we ended up having an impromptu magnum night. We brought a magnum of Trust Syrah and our dear friends L&J brought a magnum of Alexandria Nicole Roussanne. And since then Roussanne has been a white we’re trying to sample more of. Tonight’s bottle was very good, balanced a good pairing for the rich chicken croquettes.

We are excited to continue on our Gutsy Cooks venture because this is exactly what we needed, a specific purpose to keep us trying new recipes and foods. We still have a Tarte Tatin recipe to make this weekend too. But doing that on Friday night as well wasn't going to happen. I actually told G I really can't remember a work week Friday that we've made dinner in maybe years. Possibly even a decade.
 It’s also helpful because G has been wanted to do something similar but cooking with Rick Bayless recipes. So we’ll learn from this experience how we might want to get started with that.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Good Day for Granola

G is Mr. Coffee, he loves it, loves to make just the perfect cup for our guests, drink with his morning paper. I hate coffee, never have liked even when I tried to. But I LOVE chai tea latte’s, if we don’t walk up to get our weekend fix G will usually make me one at home using my favorite Oregon chai concentrate. Just the spicy, sweet smell of chai is comforting for me.
So when I was looking through some of the other Gutsy Cook Club blogs and found Chai Tea Granola from Michelle’s On and Off my plate it was just enough inspiration to motivate me to make some on this rainy gray Saturday.
Ready for the honey chai mixture
I didn’t have, nor could I find flaxseed at Metropolitan Market (I’m sure I was looking in the wrong spot) so I skipped that part. Used almonds, pepitas and sunflower seeds as my nuts. Dried Cranberries, blueberries, & golden raisins for the fruit. I left out the optional coconut too. Brewed Celestial Seasonings Indian Spiced Chai for the brewed part and used Tazo Organic Chai for the loose leaves.
Ready for the oven
Easy to make. Light &  tasty, the perfect topping for greek yogurt or just a good mid day munching snack.
It made a large portion
Thanks Michelle for sharing this yummy, healthy treat. Made some to send home with some of our friends coming to share dessert this evening too.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

This time Italian Beef Sandwiches in Honor of the Chicago Bear's Playoff Game

We usually only get around to making our own Italian Beef Sandwiches maybe once a year or less, so G has either been truly inspired by his new meat slicer or the momentum of the Chicago Bears going to the play offs is making him crave Chicago’s finest eats more.

But when G found out the Bears would be playing the Packers in the playoffs he immediately spent many hours ruminating over whether he’d be having sandwiches FedEx’d from Portillo's or if he’d be making his own again. He opted to make his own.
Last time we made beef he was challenged by getting the “gravy” spices just right and finding the perfect bun to hold the very juicy beef and gravy. G spent some time researching different beef recipes online and found one he felt looked a bit more flavorful in the spice department, it included onion powder which T was confident to be the key missing ingredient last time. It's actually a blog about ribs but has a great post regarding Italian Beef (linked.) and includes the recipe we used this time.
G invited his football buddies over and started his preparations. This time he thought he’d found a better bun because it appeared to have the right texture of crust on the outside.
Unfortunately it was pretty clear the Bears weren’t going to dominate the game very early in. By half time T was able to get G to focus on his sandwich making and slice his carefully spiced roast. Sandwiches were served in the third quarter, the Bears finally scored and everyone was optimistic with very full stomachs.
G’s gravy was very good, well-seasoned and savory. He was concerned it was maybe a bit too spicy for some of our guests due to the extraordinary amount of black pepper he used on the roast but nobody confessed to thinking it was too spicy. We both love spicy so we don’t always trust our internal spice meters.

The only needed tweak continued to be that the buns were still just not right. The ones used on this day were far too large and bready after actually getting to taste them while holding the sandwich filling. We continue to be on the search for the perfect bun with a slight chew on the outside to hold the juices and not melt away. I suppose that’s our Italian Beef quest.
The Bears lost which was disappointing and also means G and his buddy won’t be ordering pizza shipped from Chicago’s Giordanos for the Super Bowl after all. But as I tried to reassure G there is always next year.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Unexpected Perks of Childless Freedom

Being married without children really wasn’t in our grand life plan initially. Even when we came to sadly accept that children weren’t going to happen naturally for us we really didn’t make any definite decisions as to what other alternatives we’d explore beyond our failed infertility expert assisted methods. But as the years have passed we’ve more than accepted our situation and have now really grown to appreciate the life that we do have as “just the 2 of us.” It doesn’t mean we still don’t get those pangs of missing the parenting experience at times, but we’ve also come to definitely see the “perks” of our childless freedom.
Monday was an example of that freedom. Due to the MLK holiday we didn’t have school, which meant we slept in…Oh JOY! Yes, we do rub this into our early rising "with children friends" when we can. Sleeping is one of our favorite perks. Sometimes that means between 8:30 & 9:00, but sometimes that means even as late as 10:30, 11:00. We love our flannel sheets and comfortable warm bed. (It’s been in the mid 50’s here and raining nonstop =  not a great weekend for skiing; our original plan for the 3 day weekend.) When we got up it actually surprised us and wasn’t raining for the first time in what felt like at least a week so we decided to take one of our usual long North end walks which takes us to a farther away Starbucks for coffee and the only way back home is up a few choices of steep hills. Our usual choice is the grueling 29th street hill…very good workout for the glutes!
On our walk we discussed options of how to spend our non-planned day off and decided we’d go up to Seattle, have lunch somewhere we’d been wanting to try, maybe hit Pete’s wine market and/or a movie. The night we decided to try this blog thing while enjoying our dinner @ Poppy we made a 2011 goal to make a conscious effort to get up to Seattle more regularly to try the many restaurants that we read about in our numerous food magazines consistently cluttering our living space.
I went online, actually to yelp, and did a bit of research about some of our desired spots and specifically looked for a good choice for lunch. Many of the spots we’d like to still try don’t actually serve lunch so that narrowed some of our choices.

View from Matt's Window

We decided on Matt’s in the Market. We were happy with our choice. Matt’s is a small little spot on the second floor building across from the main market. It’s cozy and quaint. We made perfect timing as lunch service stops at 2:30, we arrived @ 2:00 and the crowd was finished so we didn’t have to wait to be seated.

G had a pulled stumptown coffee bbq’d pork sandwich on brioche with potato salad.
G's pulled pork sandwich

I had the beef brisket with caramelized onion and horseradish aioli sandwich on brioche with house made chips.

T's Beef Brisket
They were both delicious. But of course we both think that you could likely serve dirt on brioche bread and it’d have to be tasty. We were happy with our food, service and the overall ambiance for lunch.

We walked briefly around the market. G recently found an Italian deli in the market that actually sells a type of Giardiniera for his Italian beef sandwiches that’s as close to our favorite Chicago brand as we’ve found out here. So we had to go pick some up. The market is a must for bringing any of our out of town guests but beyond that we kind of feel like “been there done that” a million times over; it’s not worth the crowds.





So we headed up to Eastlake to Pete’s wine market to see if we could find any good everyday wine deals. Our cellar is pretty empty of our everyday variety currently. Mmmmm….wonder how that happens to us so often? We found a few bottles to add to our everyday wine dwindled collection. We came across a bottle of Trio that I recently read about on one of the blogs I follow,Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman. (follow link get a better description of wine than I can provide.)  I’d wanted to try it so now we’ll have the opportunity.
It was a good Seattle kind of day, nothing overly exciting; just an opportunity to try something new, accomplish a few errands and enjoy the day off, each other and pleasure of spontaneity.
We came home finished laundry, both worked to prep for our next day of professional development activities and enjoyed another one of our favorite casual meals being we weren't overly hungry given our late lunch: cheese, crackers, salumi mole', honey crisp apples along with a bottle of Rulo Syrah. (Salumi is another lunch spot we've been trying to go to for a long time. But literally they are NEVER open when we can go. So we've haven't made it yet.)

 It’s these type of “childless luxuries” that often make us feel like we’re possibly too comfortable & somewhat too selfish to give up this type of freedom at this point in our journey down life’s path.
But G reminds me on occasion if we change our mind; it’s not too late yet to explore adoption. Until we change our mind we make the most of this life and time we have together.

What Could Be Better than a Chicago Bears Celebration with A Scrumptious Breakfast

One of our all-time favorite breakfasts we’ve had was at the Abeja Inn during our 10th Anniversary get away. The inn keeper made this scrumptious Smoked Salmon Hash with Poached egg and Horseradish cream. Just thinking of it makes me hungry.
As the Bears-Seahawks game Sunday was at 10:00 a.m. (our normal Sunday breakfast time) we decided to do breakfast instead of the more typical football fare. And since T’s dad was coming we decided to again replicate this dish that we were fairly certain he’d enjoy as well. Since we didn’t really have a recipe we just winged it a bit, which means we didn’t really do accurate measurements but this is what we did:
The Larsen Version of Abeja’s Smoked Salmon Hash with Poached egg and Horseradish cream
·       In cast iron skillet fry quartered baby Yukon & red potatoes
·       Add diced white onion (approx. 1 cup)
·       Add diced garlic (3-4 cloves, we like garlic)
·       Season with salt & pepper and cook until crispy on outside & soft on inside.
·       While potatoes cook simmer approx. 1 cup heavy cream with approx. ¼ prepared horseradish cream. Simmer until thickened. Chop a bunch of chives.
·       Poach 1 egg per serving.
·       Add chunks of smoked salmon to potatoes; cook just long enough to heat salmon.
Plate potatoes with salmon. Top with 1 poached egg per plate. Add cream sauce over egg and sprinkle with chopped chives.

As usual my amateur photography doesn't do the dish much justice
The dish was especially good this weekend. We were both pretty happy with our replicated version, not sure how close our recipe is to Abeja’s for sure but the result was satisfying enough for us. It could have also been especially good given the Bears won and there was lots of Chicago pride happening while eating that meal. We recommend giving it a try if you like these flavors. T has never been a poached egg fan but this is the dish has changed her mind.

T's Dad was delighted with the dish even though he was actually routing for the Seahawks.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

TGIF...I mean REALLY...TGIF

What a day! Being an elementary principal brings me great joy I'd say 85% of the time. But at other times it can rip my heart apart. Whether it's sitting in on a inconceivable CPS interview with one of "my" kids, or listening to my kids talk non-chalantly about both of their parents being in jail, or being too sleepy to learn because they can't  move out of their mom's friend's house who has people partying all night because they don't have enough money,etc.....the list could on and on. But the most heart breaking is when I have to deal with an issue of an educated adult who has become an educator supposably to support and care for children while helping them learn and then treats a child in way that makes your stomach turn. Sadly yesterday my heart was breaking and I had to take some serious but needed action against a very experienced adult. It may have been the most difficult day I've had yet to date in this career.

How wonderful it is though to come home to a  vase of tulips on the dining table and the menu for Indian take-out waiting for my input to be ordered. G is often the perfect husband. Indian food has become another one of our comfort foods. We have a superb little Indian restuaurant just up the street, Gateway to India. It's a great neighborhood place. The wonderful aroma of spices when you walk in the door greet you with warmth along with the owner who always recognizes us and asks us where we've been. It's great to have these type of places to rely on and make you feel like you have a home.

We tend to be rather routine oriented in our food ordering at Gateway but tonight G suggested that instead of our usual naan, murgh tikka masala and saag aloo order that instead we try the saag gosht instead of the aloo ( lamb instead potatoes.) I know huge break in routine. We called and ordered. G went and picked it up for us while I opened a bottle of Milbrandt Chardonnay. We don't usually drink a lot of Chardonnay but with spicy dishes we like a crisp, clean white and Washington is making a lot of stainless steele chardonnays lately that we are liking more and more.


Our Indian comfort dinner was just what I needed. The accompanying lentil soup is always better than I remembered last time. The chicken is perfectly tender and spicy. The lamb was a bit over cooked. But we were still proud we broke out of routine.

Food can cure the worries of a hard day! But really it's sharing that food and experience with the one you love that is the real cure. I am a lucky gal!

Hump Day Dinner

It’s been one of those weeks that have become far too common for us. G has had professional development training each night until 6:00. I had a parent night until 8:00 one night and a get caught up night until 7:00 another and then two mornings of starting with 7 a.m. meetings. These are the weeks it often feels like we’re just roommates in a bunkhouse at times.
But Wednesday night G did make it home before me and he picked up a new Better Homes & Garden Mexican Cooking magazine and found a recipe for Poblanos Stuffed with Black Beans that he immediately knew he wanted to make. It was great to come home and know he was making us a nice meal, while I sat on the couch with my laptop, working sadly, but at least it was in front of a DVR’d episode of the Bachelor to get caught up on.
G actually loves to cook with peppers of almost any kind, but especially Poblanos.
  Poblanos Stuffed with Black Beans
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (G used fire roasted, yum)
1 c chopped onion
A fresh jalepeno cut up
3 cloves garlic
½ tsp salt
2 cans black beans
6 oz. Monterrey jack cheese
1 c water
¾ c corn meal
11/2 tsp cumin
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground blk pepper
3 medium poblano chile peppers (stemmed, halved, seeded)
Cilantro

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor combine tomatoes ½ cup of onion, jalapeno, garlic and ½ tsp. salt. Cover and process until smooth. Pour into a 3 qt. baking dish. In large bowl combine beans, 1 cup cheese, water, corn meal, rest of onion, cumin, salt and pepper. Stuff each pepper with 1/3 cup of the bean mixture. Place filled poblanos on top of sauce. Spoon remaining bean mixture over poblanos. Cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil; sprinkle remaining cheese over all. Bake uncovered for until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

It was a tasty dish. G initially said it’s a bit weird the recipe doesn’t call to first blanch the peppers before stuffing & cooking them. But he followed the recipe. In retrospect he said that he wished he would of followed his gut, without blanching the poblanos tasted a bit bitter and also were tough to chew. We were out of cornmeal so G substituted ground polenta instead (which is essentially corn meal) but I’m not sure if it was because of the switch or not but I wasn’t a big fan of the texture of the dish. It was definitely mealy. G also makes some stuffed pepper with quinoa, and substituting quinoa would have been better I think.
We loving cooking new things as much as we can and doing this brings hits and misses. This one was somewhere in between. But for a Wednesday night in the middle of a crazy week it was a “good play.”

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Dim Sum Sunday

So we were inspired by this week's Top Chef episode, with hopes of fairing better than many of the chefs this week. We had one of G's famous recipes,from Tom Douglas's cookbook that we love; Lobster & Shitake potstickers with Ponzu Sauce over break. The recipe makes a ton of potstickers so we always end up freezing over half of them before cooking them as suggested in the recipe. G had first made these for a staff potluck like 8 years ago and now they've become a Larsen staple.



We both love hot & sour soup. G found a Tyler Florence recipe to make tonight, (seriously until starting this blog we had no idea how much we are using Food Network recipes...just an interesting observation for us personally.)

We had also picked up some pork buns at Trader Joe's this week and decided to steam them to complete our dim sum menu this evening.

So we brought out the Reininger white Helix that had opened up last night to start us on our cooking adventure. Tonight we noticed it was bit sweeter but also still crisp. G commented he liked it more tonight than last night.


We took out many of our Asian pantry staples to get our soup started. G ran up to the store to pick up some firm tofu and BBQ pork while I reconstituted the dried mushrooms and grated fresh ginger. We followed the recipe (linked above) pretty closely with exception of adding a squeezed lime at the end because we both like a HOT & SOUR soup and when G tasted it he thought it could be more sour.


We first steamed & then pan fried our potstickers while I steamed the pork buns in the bamboo steamer.
 
Lobster & Shitake Potstickers









Our dim sum dinner was a hit with us both. The soup was both sour & spicy and yummy. We always love the lobster potstickers (the original batch was much prettier. Our stovetop seems somewhat unlevel after the Sears man's work.. which left the potstickers on the topside of the pant stick & tear.) We were pleasantly happy with the Trader Joe's pork buns, soft & slightly sweet. Very tasty but also a bit fiiling.

Tyler Florence Hot & Sour Soup
We ended up opening a bottle of Milbrandt Chardonnay to finish dinner up. It was quite good. Milbrandt was one of our unexpected winery finds on our Fall Prosser trip but we didn't purchase any of their whites in our case so we hadn't had any since the tasting room. We continue to be happy with their wines.


G wants me to add that we ended our meal with a taste 72% dark chocolate along with a glass of '08 Mercer Syrah from Horse Heaven Hills. It's a 15.1% alcohol wine so it's heavy on the nose at first sniff. Not much pepper or spice more blueberry notes. But mostly alcohol at this point. May need some time but 15.1% is going to be a big wine regardless. G is on the fence but T still loves Mercer wines.
 

Saturday Night

G skied today. I stayed home to wait for the Sears guy to come finally fix the burner that went caput on Thanksgiving. After a wee bit of a couple blowout over G inviting his skiing buddy to  into our house in the middle of my workout to watch the Seahawks game finale with no warning, nothing...needless to say after being a bit embarrassed, interrupted and hot we moved on and made a great dinner together.

I found a good-looking Frenched lamb rib roast at Costco today during my errands. We have actually only made lamb a few times ourselves. I've ordered it restaurants several times but just never really felt like I'd be able to cook it probably. It was actually one of our Supper Club meals at our friends in Covington that prompted us to try making lamb on our own a few years ago. Supper Club is always a motivator to give things a try.

While starting to prepare our meal after talking through the dispute and moving on we drank a glass of Reininger White Helix "Aspersa" Columbia Valley 2009 purchased during our anniversary in Walla Walla. It was a bit too cold when we drank it so descriptors are difficult. It was crisp, a bit effervescent and okay. When we finish the bottle hopefully we'll appreciate it more. Really I opened it as our recipe called for a bit of white wine and we tried a glass.

Helix by Reininger Aspersa Columbia Valley 2009

We made, a food network recipeLamb chops with thyme, honey & whitebeans. We both loved the lamb. G made his homemade Caesar Salad Dressing & croutons to put together a salad for us. And we opened a Matthews Red Mountain Syrah, 2005.
G making his Ceasar
G's salad was his usual very pungent, lightly dressed Caesar. His toasted croutons gave the romaine just a bit of crunch to pull the salad all together. When we first started dating this was G's go to dish for gatherings. It had been many years since he made his salad. He forgot how pungent his recipe is.

The lamb chops turned out beautiful, although when I did slice them into individual chops after being in the oven they were still very rare so I put them back on the grill pan for just a few minutes. Which gave them a little more sear and flavor but they were still  rare which I think made their flavor excellent. The honey drizzled on top really made this dish we both agree. But a bit of lamb with the white bean and bacon side was a delicious mouthfull.

The Matthews Syrah was big almost port like. The temperature needed to come up a bit probably before we drank it. We cellar our reds in our basement and in the winter it gets just bit cold that we usually bring bottles up and let them sit upstairs for the day before serving for a more true taste of the vino. It complimented the lamb dish well though. We had bought this bottle during our 9th Anniversary celebration in August 2009. We had went to see David Gray up at Marymoor Park in Redmond, stayed all night and then spent Sunday tasting up in Woodenville. We had a great day. Matthews tasting room is in a large industrial park with many other wineries. It was a hot day and a few too many tastes were consumed by T that day. G ended up eating the rest of his dinner alone at Purple that night because T over indulged and had to nap in the car after appetizers. (Funny but embarassing story.)

Another great meal with wine for us on this January Saturday night.