Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Every Day is Special

I bought some of the first baby arugula of the winter at the farmers market on Saturday and started to build a Sunday dinner around those beautiful salad greens. But Sunday afternoon after we had a huge and unanticipated steak lunch, we decided to forgo dinner in favor of local goat cheese and Ann's delicious roasted garlic bread. Her bread is so good—and this loaf in particular was so good—that we always gorge on it, leaving no room for anything else. I just want to say here that I have no need to bake bread any longer; my girl does an outstanding job! And so we left the arugula for Monday night.

I got home early on Monday: I worked on year-end closing paperwork until I was fed up and I fled the restaurant to spend some quality time with Ann. Early evening after we wrestled with insurance policies and other family stuff that we just couldn't put off to another day, Ann went down to basement to get a bottle of wine. She wanted to surprise me with her choice, but the cork broke as she was opening the bottle and I hopped up to help her get it out and filter the wine. Broken and crumbling corks are a fact of life with older wines.

1997 Linden Red Reserve
And so I saw the wine label before she poured me a glass of this beautiful 1997 Linden Red Reserve (which we tasted last weekend at the Linden Library Tasting). Jim Law gave us this bottle as a wedding present and we had been saving it for a special occasion. I was a little surprised that Ann chose this bottle, but I always tell her that any time you open a special bottle, it is a special occasion. And she was so happy that I got home early yesterday that she wanted to celebrate.

I spent 90 minutes over two glasses of wine, enjoying each tiny sip like it might be my last. And it probably will be my last of this delicious wine. This bottle tasted even better than the bottle that Jim opened at the library tasting and that was my favorite wine of the day. Really delicious.

Arugula, Tomatoes, Goat Cheese, Almonds and Tomato Vinaigrette
On to dinner, we tossed the baby arugula with halved grape tomatoes, toasted almonds, local fresh goat cheese, and tomato vinaigrette. The salad was so fabulous (it's been months since we last had amazing salad greens) that I am still thinking about how much I enjoyed it today. I love a good salad and good salads seem to be few and far between.

Strozzapreti with Porcini, Pancetta, and Broccoli
And for our main course, Ann and I made a porcini sauce by cooking up some of the pancetta that I cure with minced garlic and rosemary from the garden. To this, we added rehydrated porcini mushrooms and a splash of heavy cream. The tiny broccoli florets (side shoots that grow after the main crown has been cut) from a local farm went into the water with the strozzapreti for the final minute and then everything was tossed with some grated pecorino. The local winter broccoli is so sweet and delicious this year!

Sitting down to a rare meal at the table with Ann and Carter and enjoying delicious local food with a very wonderful and rare bottle of wine made me remember that days like this are more special and worthy of celebration than almost any other!

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