My husband returned home from a two month deployment overseas last week. I worked consecutively every day to keep my mind occupied, put up an emotional wall, and build a business I have so eagerly wanted to succeed at. I fancy myself as being independent and strong most of the time; however, within five minutes of our car ride home from the Air Force base I became completely humbled by this man sitting next to me. A fresh dose of perspective, a hand that intertwines perfectly with mine, and a sense of completeness that I have been lacking. This is love. This is the one area of my life I often strip down the wall and submit to. Not in a sense of bowing down, but more so release my stubborn strength and allow myself to be emotionally vulnerable.
We watched Anthony Bourdain’s ‘Spain’ episode one of his first nights home. He gives San Sebastian recognition as being one of the greatest food meccas in the world. At one point, he sits at a restaurant and chooses the tasting menu designated with one word on an envelope. Submit. Similar to my belief on how we should all engage in our life partnerships, I fell in love with the world of food and wine by surrendering. Sacrifice all rules and engage.
Most recognize Bordeaux and Burgundy from France as being some of the greatest wines of the world. While I can appreciate their beauty, my bond lies with the Rhone Valley. Scott and I enjoyed a bottle from one of the greatest estates in Chateauneuf du Pape this past weekend. A blend of up to thirteen varietals but primarily Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsault, the balance created by all of these grapes gives a fantastic personality that I relate oh so well to. The bottle was from the 2000 vintage. Like any relationship, a great wine needs some time to fully develop. The silk pouring from our decanter was much older than our marriage and even more senior than our dating years. Each sip carried the friendly an approachable component that fruit forward and jammy Grenache creates. The Syrah adds the Johnny Depp depth… rustic, intriguing, tannic, leathery, and masculine. On the mid palate, the minor varietals create a sense of mystery in the glass that keeps us wanting to engage further. This wine is complex yet completely approachable, welcoming, and so charming that it makes you smile. I married a Chateauneuf du Pape.
Beaucastel is not something we can all afford every day… try Cotes du Rhone Villages for more of a value centered wine. http://www.boutinot.com/wine/FPB149
Rhone wines need food… my recommendations below.
Lamb: Coat the top with home-made or store bought pesto. Lay on grill pan and roast in oven or on grill at 350 degrees for roughly 20-30 minutes.
Kale: Cook 2 pieces of bacon over medium heat and keep the grease in large sauté pan. Chop bacon and reserve on the side. Fill the pan with chopped kale, stems removed. Add 1 cup of good chicken stock and slow simmer for about 30 minutes. Garnish with bacon bits.
Potatoes: Chop assortment of fingerling potatoes into 1 inch cubes. Season with salt, pepper, and fresh thyme and olive oil. Roast on grill pan at 400 degrees, tossing every 20 minutes. Typically takes 45 minutes until just right.
Bruschetta: Chop 3-4 tomatoes, mince 1-2 cloves garlic, and handful of basil. Mix with a few tablespoons of rich olive oil and let marinate for at least an hour.