Sunday, January 22, 2012

Food (and wine) Porn

My days off lately seem to largely consist of sleeping in without an alarm, a trip to the co-op, an afternoon at the coffee shop down the street, and a mouthwatering feast of feasts to wrap up the night. Life is good, I must say.

Today was no different. Inspired by the crock-pot that I discovered in my belongings during my latest move (a gem of an appliance that had sadly never gotten attention from me), I embarked on an online search for a worthy recipe. Winner: Jambalaya. The recipe I chose was nothing out of the ordinary, and the only change I made was in adding an habanero and red chili pepper (which did wonders in stepping up the spice factor).

Given the fact that I owed myself a sleep-in after a stunning night out, the crock pot didn't actually get rolling until about three in the afternoon; the fast track was my only option. Next time I'll have to plan better so the grub stews in it's juices for an entire day, not just half of one.

I set off for the cafe around four and tossed a bottle of 2008 Villa Maria Marlborough Riesling in the fridge before leaving my chilly bachelor pad, my mind and mouth drooling at the prospects of the aromas that would fill them upon my return. Three hours of coffee, conversation, and cigarettes with old friends (one who's an old, Ethiopian Mathematical Genius of a Janitor at the U of M who knew me at the green age of 18 when I was slinging espresso to pay my tuition) warmed my soul and a long dive into a book on Biodynamic Wine by Nicolas Joly filled my carefree time.

Seriously, when I opened the main door to my apartment complex, I could smell the cayenne, thyme, onion and pork stewing in harmony two floors above. Unlocking the door to my apartment, I was hit with a humid wave of sensory bliss. Two more hours passed before I put on a pot of wild Minnesota rice, dropped some frozen shrimp into the jambalaya, and waited, very patiently.

The Riesling tasted pretty watery and un-appealing before dinner, part of which I attribute to the fact it was very very cold. As it warmed a bit, notes of kiwi-fruit and grapefruit tickled my tongue with pleasant acidity, though I wished there would have been a touch more of residual sugar. (If you've never had Riesling from New Zealand, I compel you to do so. You are definitely missing out). Nonetheless, when I finally filled my bowl and dived into the meal I'd spent the better part of the day preparing and followed a mouthful of severely spicy mush with a sip of the waxy juice, I actually yelled out loud in joy. Even though I had nobody to share in the wealth, I like to think I make my neighbors jealous with the aromas that frequently waft from under my door and through my walls. Now I can't stop thinking about how the left-overs will taste tomorrow for lunch, and the day after, and the day after. Too bad I can't drink wine with lunch at my current job in the States.
Oh the joy in being a food loving wine-geek.