Eating Well in Newyork City

Eating well can be cheap. It’s a cinch. Pan-fried fish, garnished with fresh herbs, takes no more than 10 minutes. We all have ten minutes to prepare a home cooked meal. No excuses.The below recipe was, as usual, inspired by Alice Waters and her marvelous book titled The Art of Simple Food. 

First, pour yourself a cool, herby glass of the 2006 Gerard Villet Arbois Chardonnay(Savio SoaresSelections $22). The round texture of the wine is a nicejuxtaposition to the cut and precision of this dish. Serve this wine cool, but not cold. The warmth of the room will reveal its subtle secrets.

Heat a heavy bottomed pot with olive oil over medium high heat. When the oil is sizzling, toss in a fillet of stripedbass, skin side down, for 6 minutes. Then flip and cook for another minute or until done. On the side, whisk in a bowl 1 tablespoon lemon zest, 1/4 cup olive oil, and two teaspoons of fresh lime juice. Salt and pepper to taste. Once the fish is done, drizzle the lemon vinaigrette over a plate and position fish directly on top, skin side up. Chop up 1/4 cup of mixed fresh herbs like chervil,cilantro, or basil. Sprinkle over fish.

Simple. Rustic. Translucent. Flavorful. Fulfilling. Affordable.

A sun-kissed Cassis blanc

 

When I start writing about Cassis Blanc, you can be pretty certain the temperatures in the city have climbed well above 32 degrees; and in a few weeks, a pot of Mediterranean fish stew will be doing its shimmy on my stove top.Friends, isn’t there something magical about a kitchen flooded with aromas of fennel, garlic, and the sea?! Kermit Lynch would probably say that such things inspire thirst–and I could not agree more.Nevertheless, this week I had an inspiring sip of the 2006 Clos Ste. Magdeleine Cassis Blanc( $30-$32,Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant). The vineyards of Clos Ste.

Magdeleine abut the salty Mediterranean and provide a wonderful amphitheater for ripening the Marsanne, Ugni Blanc, and Clairette varieties found in the final blend. My tasting notes are replete with flowery adjectives and high praise. Savory and briny are two which come to mind. I suggest you pop a bottle in your ice bucket, close your eyes, and get ready to be transported to the bright vineyards of southern France. I wish I were there now. This wine will sing next to a cool plate of something raw and from the sea.

(photo via Mediterranean food recipes dot com)

Alternative Expression

 

Hey all, you have probably noticed my lack of creative inspiration on Jaime Brockway. Certainly, I am still imbibing, cooking, and reflecting–but I have been in no mood to express through words these events and share with others on the net. Sometimes I guess, in a selfish way, I want to keep these special moments just for me and those I directly share them with. So, for an indefinite period of time I will step away from Jaime Brockway. Alternatively, you can view my other blog which highlights my life in new york city through pictures,poetry, and other bizarre ramblings. It has nothing to do with wine. Click on this to be linked to my other blog, In my head.

Cooking for Salice

 

The wine of the day is 2007 Francis Blanchet Pouilly-Fumé Cuvée Salice. I tried it last week at a family dinner and to say that I was impressed would be an understatement.  I literally fell in love with it. Although, I have a feeling that it’s more suitable for taking with lunch but I wouldn’t mind having it with dinner too.

In order to get the most of this drink, it is necessary to take it with the right food and that would be roasted pork loin.  Trust me; I tried it just a few days back. I was at home with no plans for that night so I came up with an idea to treat myself to a very special dinner and that’s exactly what I did.

The sweet and mineral taste of this wonder drink together with the juicy flavor of the roasted pork loin would make you want to moan in delight. They suit too well together that the taste is heavenly.

Ingredients:

  • Garlic (Ground): 3 Cloves
  • Roasted Pork Loin (Boneless): 2 Pounds
  • Dried Rosemary: 1 Tablespoon
  • Olive Oil: ¼ Cup
  • White Wine: ½ Cup
  • Salt: According to taste.
  • Pepper: According to taste.

Process:

Preheat the oven to 350°F or 175°C before getting started with the pork.

Take the garlic, dried rosemary, salt, and pepper and crush them all till a paste is formed. Now, take a sharp knife and make piercings in the meet with its tip. That being done take some of the garlic and rosemary paste in the palm of your hand and press it into the piercings of the meat. Now, gently rub the remaining garlic paste and olive oil onto the surface of the meat.

Place it in a pan containing white wine and put it in the oven, keep turning the pork loin in the pan and bashing it with the liquid in the pan. Heat it till its center is no longer pink or heat it for an hour just to make sure.

After that, insert an instant-read thermometer into the center to check the temperature which should be about 145°F or 63°C. Take the roast out of the oven and place it on a platter.  Now, heat the white wine in the pan and stir it so that the brown bits of food settle at the bottom. Pour it over the roasted pork loin and enjoy the juicy flavor of the roasted pork loin.

The oven I used for roasting pork loin is an LG LRE3083SW range I bought from an online store. My experience with this range was beyond amazing. The touch pads for setting temperature made it really easy to do so. This oven comes with several other features that make you adore it beyond limits. The touchpad menu makes it easy to use and the heating efficiency is just awesome. It heats up faster than other ranges. And the steam clean helps in the cleaning issue. I used it for roasting the pork loin and it took less time than I expected.

An evening of Liquid Minerals

 

These wines never get old. By these, I mean natural, living, mineral driven whites from the Loire Valley. Where else in the world can you taste the true expression of nature for well under $22.00 from top notch, benchmark estates? Take Muscadet for example. The tip top wines from vignerons like Claude Branger, Marc Ollivier, SergeBatard, Guy Brossard, and Jo Landron retail for well under $20.00. That is an absolute steal in a world full of wines which are expensive and under deliver(not a good combo I might add…) and offer nothing but one dimensional vanilla fruit bombs. Any fool can soften a wine and add oak to be a crowd pleaser. But as you know, I believe wines which are made to be what they are, offer a more profound and meaningful wine drinking experience than wines made just to please–and nothing else. Listen, I am not complaining that I can build an illustrious cellar of Loire whites for the same price as a bottle of obnoxiously overpriced classified Bordeaux. I smell greed when I lower my nose to 9 out of 10 red Bordeaux. Most of those guys are about snuffing out terroir anyway. Please don’t ask me to explain that opinion, I can’t. I just feel it in my gut. My point is though, that you don’t need to spend over twenty five dollars to have a compelling, truthful, terroir driven wine experience.

Speaking of minerals and rock scents, I had a moment while sifting through a book last week. I am sure you have had similar experiences when you read a wonderful passage from an articulate, thoughtful author and say to yourself, ” Holy shit, I have been wanting to say just what he said, but couldn’t figure out a way to express the idea so clearly.” Well it happened to me again. So now it’s my turn to use the foundation he set and explain to you, in my own words, why my best wine drinking adventures have always been when I can smell minerals and taste rocks. Unfortunately, this will use up way–way too much space, emotion and time on this post. Look forward to that explanation later. Now, on to the Flinty Wine Adventure of last night…….All wines were paired with slices of saucisson I bought from Murry’s and six briny oysters. Delicious, real and simple. It’s the way I like things.

2007 Francis Blanchet Pouilly-Fume Cuvee Salice: Coming from a parcel of 20 year old vines planted on 100% silex or flint. Blanchet’s wines are so transparent and full of Mother Earth. Their link to Chablis through the soils is undeniable. Often, the beauty and truth of his wines gives me the chills. I like getting the chills when I drink wine. The nose on the ’07 is all minerals and high toned, bright green fruits. If you like, they were soaring like cathedral arches. So intense and focused the aromas were, that my eyes rolled to the back of my head!!! Not joking. The palate is marrowy yet trenchant and incredibly long. I love the texture of this wine. Oh, and don’t overlook the color in the glass, which we often do……It’s a delightful yellowish green which reminds me of springtime.

2007 Domaine Claude Branger Muscadet Sevre etMaine ‘Le fils des Gras Moutons’:

Claude Branger and his son Sebastien are doing some wonderful things in their little corner of the earth. Like many great artisan vignerons in Muscadet they are restricting yields, harvesting by hand, and using only native yeasts. Harvesting by hand is a bitch, I know, I did it for three weeks in a row last year in Minervois. My body is still aching almost a year later; I am truly humbled by the sacrifices the Branger family(and many others) make in the name of history,tradition, and terroir.

The U.S. importer of Domaine Claude Branger described their wines as refined; I couldn’t agree more.“Le fils des Gras Moutons is the base cuvee of the estate coming from various parcels throughout the appellation with vines averaging 35 years of age. The 2007 vintage landed recently, so I wasn’t surprised to find that on the first day this wine was terribly tight and muted. Day two it was better and then , then on day three it exploded like fireworks!!!! Gobs of minerals and earth on the nose hit the senses like a Mack Truck!!! You can feel the ocean speaking through the salty melon, sea waterish-like flavors on the palate. A wine like this can only be made by a vignreon who subordinated their own ego and allowed nature to sing its beautiful song. Thank you Claude and Sebastien for allowing us to touch the beauty of nature through your wine. Bravo Domaine ClaudeBranger. By the way, their luxury Muscadets are even more inspiring. More on that later.

Jaime Brockway Warning: Drinking Less Than One Bottle Of Loire Wine Per Week Is Detrimental To Your Health. Approved By The Surgeon General.

Beaten Down

 

Maybe it’s the weather, or the overall bad vibe in the nyc air………. but recently I have been unmotivated to babble on about wine or its esoteric qualities. In fact, the other night, I poured a spicy Cotes du Rhone into a tumbler just so to avoid the sniff and swirl associated with thinking. Anyway, tonight, in my cozy studio on the west side, I am going to take writer and philosopher Jim Harrison’s advice. See below.

“Whenever life begins to crush me I know I can rely on Bandol, garlic, and Mozart”

I will let you know if it works……….to be continued.

Beaujolais Blanc and Eating Well

For those of you who have read Jaime Brockway before, you know well that I shop weekly at the Greenmarket in Union Square. And better yet, I do it on the cheap. Remaining loyal to the farmers during the heart of the winter months is painful, in many ways. First, a sub 10 degree day makes the beautiful walk to Union Square less so. And second, seasonal choices are slim during December, January, February and March. Nevertheless, I still thrive on the human interaction with local farmers and thirst for the knowledge they offer.

Yesterday, I gathered up the ingredients for a Moroccan sweet potato salad(sweet potato, thyme, parsley, ginger, papirika, cumin, saffron, olive oil, fresh lemon juice). The dish was inspired by Alice Waters and a cinch to prepare. First, cube two large sweet potatoes and roast at 375 until done. While the potatoes are doing their shimmy in the oven, mix in a bowl the olive oil, ginger, cumin, paprika etc. Pour the marinade over the cooked potatoes and let sit for thirty minutes. The deep, savory character of the dish is intense and filling enough to be a main course. Serve over couscous.

To pair with the meal I had a limy, Alsace like bottle of the 2007 Domaine des Terres Dorées Beaujolais Blanc($15. Louis/Dressner). While I would never dismiss J. Paul Brun’s brilliance with the Gamay variety, I think his work with Chardonnay in this region is fascinating and inspiring. We should expect greatness to come from one of the Cru; not from Beaujolais Blanc. This bottle should change our expectations. And that is what great artists and thinkers do.

Jaime Brockway Warning: Drinking commercial, grape based beverages can be detrimental to your overall health and personality.