Pinto Pinto

This morning’s snow flurries inspired some random memories from the past.  Most involved food.  Snowed in last December and yielding to the luxury of time, I slow cooked a cassoulet using Iberian meats and a sample bag of snowcap beans.  Snowcap beans are brown with a white “cap” on one side, colored just like the pinto pony I owned as an my adolescent.  The pony was a full-on ornery devil and my sister and I quickly learned to sprint away from his snapping teeth, which later served us well on the track team.  It may sound strange but I have great memories of those times!  But back to my cassoulet.  To my delight, the beans were much easier to handle than my pony.  Firm textured with an earthy nuttiness, they perfectly complimented the jamon serrano, linguica and herbs in the cassoulet.   And best of all, they retain their color after cooking which makes them beautiful in a salad.  $4.99/16 oz bag.
My cassoulet was a modified version of Paula Wolfert’s recipe from Food and Wine magazine:
Modifications: I omitted the pork skin, salt pork and duck fat.  Used Barcelos mild linguica rather than French sausage, Jamon Serrano in place of the pancetta and prosciutto, chicken thighs in place of duck confit, olive oil rather than duck fat, and the snowcap beans.  Otherwise, I followed Wolfert’s recipe for the ultimate comfort food on a winter’s day.

FAST AND EASY COOKING: Here are some recent simple dishes that came from our cupboard and freezer.
Aegean Toasts topped with aioli and marinated artichokes.  Great snack!
Matiz Garbanzo Beans baked with Miguel & Valentino Purple Garlic and Pimentón De La Vera.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Drain and rinse one 7.5 oz jar of beans.  In a medium cazuela (20cm or so), heat one tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil, one teaspoon garlic, one teaspoon pimentón.  Stir in the beans and bake in the oven for 20 minutes while you prepare the main course.
Merguez Sausages:   We’re so hooked on these sausages that we keep a package in the freezer at all times.   Made of lamb, a small amount of beef, harissa (hot pepper sauce), garlic and herbs, they have just the right amount of heat.  Best grilled, they have no MSG, no preservatives and no artificial flavors.  $9.99/12 oz
Dijon-style mustards From KL Keller were featured in this week‘s New York Times.  We have all three flavors in stock: Plain ($4.50), Banyuls ($7.50) and Truffle ($15.00).  For more details, click on this link:
Agave Nectar: A natural sugar alternative made from the same plant that gives us tequila, agave nectar is sweeter than cane sugar.  Containing a lower glycemic index, it does not quickly raise blood sugar levels.  Great in cocktails!
Virgin of Guadalupe Temporary Tattoos:  Easy on, easy off.  $2.99 for package of two.
2007 Ludovicus  (Terra Alta) $9.99
Celler Piñol is a family-run bodega dedicated to quality, located in a region dominated by large cooperatives.  A blend of garnacha, tempranillo, syrah, and cabernet, its depth of ripe bramble fruit is immediately satisfying.  With notes of smooth chocolate, tobacco and earth, Ludovicus has a spicy accent of black pepper on the finish.
2005 Espelt – Saulo (Emporda) $9.99 New vintage!  I tasted this vintage last May and have  been anxiously awaiting its arrival ever since.  Grown in vineyards located near the Mediterranean just north of Barcelona, it’s made from 60% Garnacha and 40% Carinena.  With bright black cherry and berry flavors, great lift and an edge of licorice, it is round and soft on the palate.  “..Open knit raspberry and blackberry fruit and an absence of obvious tannins make this lush blend delicious right now.”  89 points Stephen Tanzer
2006 Borsao Crianza Seleccion, (Campo de Borja)  $14.99 “Saturated ruby-red. Blackberry and blueberry aromas are complicated by incense and dried flowers. Juicy dark berry flavors are liqueur-like in richness, with nervy minerality adding energy. Becomes fleshier and sweeter on the finish, which echoes the floral note. Pretty sexy stuff.”  90 points Stephen Tanzer

Calem Old Friends Tawny Port ($6.99/200 ml) Tuck one of these small bottles in your back pack the next time you head out on the cross country ski trail.  Almond, hazelnut and caramel flavors will bring warmth and pleasure on a cold day.

2006 Clos Erasmus, Priorat $190.00 Annual allocation arrived today, 3 bottles available.  Winemaker Daphne Glorian is one of the famed young pioneers of the Priorat region, who realized the enormous potential of the ancient vines, schist soils and vertiginous hillsides in the early 1980‘s.   One of the ultimate terroir-driven wines and made in extremely limited quantities, the 2005 Clos Erasmus was rated 100 by Wine Advocate.
1998 Vega Sicilia Unico, Ribera del Duero $400.00 “Ruby-red. Exotic aromas of red and dark fruits, iron, dried flowers, cured meat and tobacco are strongly reminiscent of a top vintage of Chateau Haut-Brion. Luscious cherry and cassis flavors display a superb balance of depth and structure, offering noteworthy power but a weightless quality that is simply uncanny. Candied flowers, smoky minerals and vanilla bean add complexity and extend through an endless finish. I’d love to sneak this into a tasting of 1998 Saint-Emilion and Graves wines in ten years or so.”  96 points Stephen Tanzer, 98 points Robert Parker
INEDIT (Spain)  $9.99/750 ml: A partnership between Ferran Adria, El Bulli’s sommelier’s team and Estrella Damm, this is the first beer specifically created to accompany food.  A unique blend of barley malt with wheat, hops, coriander, orange peel, licorice, yeast and water.  A secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle, adding to the complexity.
Cusquena (Peru) $9.99/6 pack:  100% malt lager, nicknamed “Gold of the Inkas”.  Smooth and golden, perfect with any spicy foods.
Naked Goat (Murcia) New!  This fabulous 6 month aged goat cheese from Spain is produced with raw milk.  Naked Goat is mild and creamy with a tangy, sweet finish, perfect for melting.  Pair with almonds in honey or a crisp white wine.
Torta La Serena (Extremadura) is a soft, 60-day aged, raw sheep’s milk cheese made with thistle flower.  One of our favorite cheeses from Extremadura, La Serena starts out deliciously runny and then firms up with age.  Rich and creamy, it combines a fruity sharpness with an earthy, pungent flavor.  As it ages, the rind becomes leathery and the interior ripens to a spreadable paste.


1 Comment

Filed under Food, Recepies, Red Wine, Sherry

One response to “Pinto Pinto

  1. Just passing by.Btw, your website have great content!

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