Friday, November 18, 2011

Wine and Dinner of the Month Club – November 2011

This month’s meal was a simple affair, but no less tasty.  The wine was a Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon which said on the label it was good with grilled rib eye or braised lamb shanks.  We had braised lamb recently and I wasn’t really in the mood for a big rib eye, but some strip steak fit the bill.  I don’t really have any recipes this month except for the dessert, but I think it’s mostly self explanatory.

  • Mushroom Bruschetta with Parmesan Cheese
  • Grilled Strip Steak with Sautéed Mushrooms, Turnip Puree and Purple Broccoflower
  • Green Salad with Walnuts and Steamed Beets
  • Apple Fritter Rings

  • 2006 Kunde Family Estate Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

I started out early in the day by marinating the steaks in olive oil, garlic and a little salt and pepper.  When I was ready to start dinner, I baked a small baguette and sautéed some chopped mushrooms.  I sliced the baked bread and brushed olive oil on both sides of each slice.  I rubbed some garlic on each side as well and then topped the bread with the mushrooms and a little parmesan cheese.  I put these in the oven and let them bake at 350 degrees until the cheese melted thoroughly.  I had already decanted the wine and Christine and I sat down for the appetizers.

After the appetizer, I started the main course.  First I started boiling the potatoes and turnips for the puree.  After these were cooked, I put them in a food processer with a little butter, buttermilk, salt and pepper.  You really just have to experiment to get the right consistency.  Mine was a little loose, but it worked out okay.  I threw the steaks on the grill since they did not need a lot of time to cook and started steaming the broccoflower.  Once I brought the steaks in and the broccoflower was ready, I sautéed some more mushrooms and plated it all up.  Now, you may ask yourself, what is broccoflower?  Well, it’s a cross between broccoli and cauliflower.  I was planning on having broccoli as the side, but when I was in the grocery store I saw the broccoflower in purple and orange and green and decided to have a little fun.  I think it added a nice and unusual splash of color to the entrée.

After the main course, we had a green salad with lettuce that Christine grew in our community garden, steamed beets from the local farmers market and walnuts from our local…grocery store.  Okay, so the walnuts probably weren’t that local.  In America the salad is usually before the main course, but Christine likes to have it the Italian way after the entrée as a little bit of a palate cleanser, particularly with a nice vinaigrette dressing.  I agree that it does make for a nice transition.  Give a try sometime to mix things up.

Finally, I prepared the dessert.  This recipe actually came from the December issue of Martha Stewart Everyday Food magazine.  We had some Northern Spy apples from Hidden Valley Fruit Farms near Lebanon, OH that are delicious cooking apples.  I first cored, peeled and sliced two apples to make little apple rings.  I dredged these in a batter and dropped into 350 degree vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet.  They cook really quickly with one turn half way through.  After they had a chance to dry a little on some paper towels, I tossed them in a little cinnamon/sugar mixture and served them warm.  The batter gives them a nice crispy texture and the cooked apples inside are like apple candy.  And the best part is that they actually came out looking like the picture in the magazine (well, enough of them did for this picture).

As far as the wine, it was an excellent pairing with the bruschetta, the steaks and salad.  The richness of the wine nicely balanced the earthiness of the meat, mushrooms and the root vegetables.  However, as you might expect, it did not go so well with the apple rings.  They were far too sweet to go with the dryness of the wine.

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