There is a Zen-like composure that comes over you when you are cooking the only meal of the week in which you are allowed to indulge your less healthy desires. You pay more attention to the little details. You prepare in advance more, not wanting something to be spoiled because of bad timing. The process of cooking takes on a life of its own, sucking you in and down into its delicious, swirling vortex, the anticipation of the meal to come, ripping out all impatience, and replacing it with a sense of oneness with your kitchen.
I have just completed my second week of body modification. There will be no cutting, piercing, or inking going on. None of my modifications will be permanent; all will require maintenance for the rest of my life. Yet I find myself embracing these changes in lifestyle for the ecstasy they bring, once a week, on Sunday nights.
Anything, when only permitted once a week, takes on a new level of importance. It becomes a quest. The week spent in the gym – the labyrinths and catacombs and dungeons and caves. The weights and treadmills and reps and sets – my dragons and Cyclopes and minotaurs – all to be defeated for my maiden fair Meal. “I see thee, fair maiden, and I shall deserve thee.”
The challenge, now, is not undoing all of the work I have put in at the gym all week by loading up on carbs and fat. (Challenge failed.)
On the Menu: Citrus Twist Coleslaw, Three Lettuce Salad, Tri-Colour Baked Beans, Seasoned Potato Wedges, Butter-Flashed Asparagus with Rosemary, Oven-Baked Steak Medallions, Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
On the surface, I know, it looks like a healthy enough dinner. The reality is, that anything that gets cooked in that much butter cannot be healthy. Well, not lean, anyway.
I have found that if you marinade beef in butter for thirty minutes prior to cooking, it tastes like awesome. (The marinade also included salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary.)
The steaks get seared on each side for about two minutes, with a little olive oil in the pan to keep them from sticking, then the whole skillet goes into a 230 degree oven for 8 minutes. This should give you a medium-rare to medium result.
Joseph handled the salads again, and his introduction of citrus to the coleslaw blew everyone’s minds.
Megan’s poppy seed cake was an exercise in elegance and exquisite balance of flavour and texture. At the end of a long day and night, it was just what everyone needed, whether they knew it or not.
And we had two additions to the table this week. Megan’s aunt Judith is visiting us from Toronto, and Cara and Rene’s cousin, Lada, is visiting from the Czech Republic. TSB goes global, y’all …
Judith was kind enough to bring a bottle of wine from Canada. Well, from France, but the bottle was in Canada for awhile.
Wine: Les Hauts de Castellas Vacqueyras, Red Blend (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre), Rhône Valley, France, 2009, $19.95 CAD
Rating: Two Bottles
Since we detected hints of rosemary in this wine, it went very well with this week’s meal, the harmonizing herb of this week’s dinner. In their tasting notes, the LCBO mentions, “Ideal for homemade gourmet hamburgers or rich meat-based pastas.” Funny, that.
Earthy, herby, and floral, this wine is on the light-ish side, but with tannins that more than make up for it – a little too up front for most of our liking. We were a divided bunch on this wine. The vintners recommend shelving this wine for five to seven years, so we were two years short. We agreed with their estimates. Given a little more time, this wine would probably round out a bit more and lose a lot of its bitey-ness.
Being that there were nine of us, wine didn’t stand on ceremony this week, so neither will we.
Wine: Pagos del Moncayo, Grenache/Syrah, Campo de Borja, Spain, 2010, $150 MXN
Rating: Two Bottles
I got this wine from Demian at Cava Veinte33. One of his new wines, his enthusiasm for it was contagious, so I bought it. (Never refuse an excited sommelier. It’s kind of like turning down a bower.)
With dark fruit and apple flavours, this woody wine is light but complex. Sandalwood plays off peppery notes, while chocolate and figs bring up the bottom.
Amazing value for the price.
Wine: Viña Pomal, Rioja Crianza, Spain, 2009, $145 MXN
Rating: Two Bottles
All of the wines this week went very well with red meat. This very typical Rioja – earthy, oaky, and leathery – was no exception. Although, if pressed, I would have to say that it didn’t have as much character as the other two. Also, we were tired. It just felt a little flat. It was fine, don’t get me wrong, just not much to write home about.
And with our plates clean and our bellies full, we bid each other a good night.
And I toddled off to bed, to sleep, eagerly awaiting my work-outs to come, knowing that each bench I press (?) brings me that much closer to the next Sunday Bottles.
- Tasting the Wines in the Spring 2012 VINsider Club Shipment (tablascreek.typepad.com)
- Shades of red (pbpulse.com)