Sunday, January 13, 2008

Fancy Schmancy

John and Debi brought Tim (up for the weekend from FL) for a decadent dinner. I made the food; John brought the wine. That was the deal. Normally with multi-course meals I can see the dishes in my head beforehand, but in this case they were a little blurry until just a few hours before dinner. Most of it came out pretty well, though I had to scrap one course and I forgot to add a couple of things to a couple of dishes. I also forgot the salad, which I had picked right before they came. In any case, here's the rundown:
First, black truffle and foie gras stuffed scallops with coarse cornmeal crust, spicy microgreens, and yuzu kosho-sesame-wasabi tobiko mayonnaise. A nice intro, kind of New Orleans meets Japan.

1999 Dom Perignon

Then celery root, parsnip and leek soup, almost entirely pulled out of our mostly thawed garden mere hours before, and garnished with chives and white truffle oil.

2002 Michel Niellon Chassagne-Montachet 1er cru "Les Champgains"

Next, hijiki-saffron tortelloni (adapted from Alex) stuffed with a purée of sweetbreads and kabocha cooked with onion and thyme and deglazed with Armagnac.

2000 Bonneau du Martray Corton-Charlemagne
This is one of my favorite food wines; it always seems to open up to a new level with something rich, delicate, and funky like this pasta.

Moving on to red wines, we had a wasabi pea-crusted roulade of mahi-mahi with fenugreek-yogurt collard purée, mango-avocado salsa, slightly under-fermented kimchi (the cold weather slows it down) and a pan sauce.

2002 Orion
This is the one Parker gave 100 points to, and it was insane. It was the first time tasting the 02; ours are still lying down. I've gotten turmeric flavors from Orion before, but this time it was more like fenugreek, so the match with the collards was unbelievable. This wine doesn't taste like anything else made on planet Earth.

Going deeper, pork braised in cider and smoked duck broth with caraway-cider vinegar braised cabbage (smelled like sourdough rye) and "risotto" made from a mix of 10 locally grown organic grains. I made pescatarian Debi a curried root vegetable pot pie for this course.

2003 Sine Qua Non "Inaugural" Syrah
Another hundred-pointer, I think it's the best SQN I've had. Much less in-your-face than the others, it was both nimble and huge. The face that they're finally growing their own grapes seems to have taken their winemaking to even more exalted heights.

Then, elk tenderloin cooked sous vide for 30 minutes at 50˚ C and seared, with smoked duck fat fingerling home fries and a fermented soybean-cocoa sauce. Debi got a black truffle chawan-mushi instead.

1989 Montelena

Last (we skipped the cheese) were little banana tartes tatin that I forgot to photograph on account of being just a tiny bit plowed.

2002 Kracher Scheurebe Trockenbeeren Auslese No. 5
A wonderful match with the bananas and caramel, and not at all cloying.

A couple of observations:

1. One of the dangers of improvising food like this is that things will fail, either to be as good as they could have been, or just altogether fail.

2. One of the dangers of pouring so much unspeakably great wine into oneself while attempting #1 is that the likelihood of mishap or omission goes up exponentially in proportion to the volume of wine.

As a result, it fell short of what I had hoped for, but still made for an incredible Friday night. Then on Saturday we went to their CD release party at Levon Helm's place. Not too shabby.


Brooklynguy said...

damn - nicely done. i hear you on forgetting salad - i've done that during multi-course dinners too when i'm trying to stay in the conversation, drinking wine, and running back and forth from the kitchen. nice wine lineup too.

peter said...

It's impossible to be both cook and host at the same time. Such is life.

John is incredibly generous with his wine. He also jumped the wait list for SQN because they're fans, so he makes sure to help out those of us who aren't so lucky.