Migraines blow. I narrowly avoided one Sunday thanks to the quick work of Cara dashing off to the store and buying me all of the Advil in the land. The red kind. That has rocket fuel in it for faster absorption. Then I laid resting in the darkest room with the coldest air conditioning, willing myself to remain calm so that I wouldn’t feel the vise that was crushing my head like a grape, while Megan busied herself in the kitchen and Rene watched videos on YouTube with Caia.
With this in mind, our topic of conversation (once I returned to the table) was, not surprisingly, more earthly in nature. Namely, the frailty of life … how short our time on the Earth is … and so on. (After dinner, Rene and I would watch videos of impossibly powerful guns to hammer the aforementioned point home.)
Megan and I saw a fun little recipe from Sophie Dahl this week for twice baked potatoes and roasted tomato soup. Megan also found a fantastic wine that we can’t wait to tell you about. But first, the food.
On the Menu: Twice Baked Potatoes, Roasted Tomato Soup with Rosemary
Megan altered Sophie’s recipe a little, skipping the Goat Cheese as not everyone likes Goat Cheese. The magic of twice baked potatoes is the deliciousness of them, however, so if you are not a fan of Goat Cheese, you could swap it for parmesan or sharp cheddar. Skipping it entirely, as we did, you miss the tanginess that Goat Cheese brings. Delicious, however, all the same.
This soup is warming and fantastic. Megan also substituted rosemary for thyme, as fresh thyme isn’t always available down here. The trick: you need to let the vegetables break down and caramelize in the oven. Don’t be afraid of overdoing them, as you can always scrape off the burnt parts. I mean, don’t incinerate them or anything, but don’t worry too much about them being in there too long. After all, you’re going to puree and emulsify the crap out of them after anyway, so you really can’t go wrong.
If you are finding the soup a little thick, or chunky, try adding olive oil and a little cream to thicken and dissipate the bits while pureeing. Also, this is where a sieve really comes in handy. If you do not have a quality food processor (but only a blender, say), forcing the juice from the veggies through a sieve will ensure that you have a truly creamy soup.
But, really, we can’t stress leaving the veggies in the oven long enough. Really.
Wine: Celeste, Torres, Crianza, Ribera del Duero, Spain, 2007, $239 MXN
Rating: Three Bottles
This is a really, truly, unequivocally, fantastic wine. The longer you take to drink this bottle, the more enjoyment you are going to get out of it. Not to be rushed, this wine, would be the point. Very smooth, with lots of dark chocolate, makes for a very strong bouquet that opens nicely, given time. This time allows you to enjoy the deep garnet colours as you roll the wine slowly around in your glass.
The first glass gives off a lot of bitterness. If you wait a half-an-hour, however, you’ll notice that the second glass is a lot softer. Much more noticeably than in other wines we’ve tried. If you can bring yourself to enjoy this wine at a leisurely pace, you’ll find yourself picking up on the softer berry flavours that hide underneath the bitterness of the dark chocolate ones.
Soon, you’ll find yourself watching videos of machine guns on YouTube, and remarking how the flavour lingers in a way that affords you the patience to wait between sips. Video clips of rail guns will captivate you between quaffs, leading nicely to short films of homemade rockets.
If you have cigars, this would be the wine to smoke them along with.
Next week is Caia’s birthday party, so I’m not sure what we’ll do for TSB.
She’s turning two.
Question: Is it in poor taste to sample wine while watching your daughter play in a bouncy castle? Is it uncouth to watch a piñata being smashed open while being openly smashed at a child’s party?
We look forward to your thoughts.