Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Hidden Gem!

 On our last trip to France back in October, 2012, to the Nice area, we ventured just into Italy to explore some incredible medieval villages north of Ventimiglia.  Dolceacqua was the first village that hangs over the valley.  It was made famous by a Monet painting of its lovely bridge that connects both sides of the village

The famous bridge
The town hangs over the valley

Leading into its dank and dark interior
In the sleepy town square, a young lady was selling wine made by her father along with olive oil.  We were not greatly impressed by our tasting, but I bought a bottle to be courteous for 12 Euro, I think,  for later drinking back home.

"Maixei" may be a wine coop also

This is a "Superior" bottling meeting higher standards

The wine was the 2010 vintage of Rossese di Dolceacqua, the only area in the world that grows this grape that was imported from Provence.  This DOC wine must contain 95% Rossese juice.

We cellared this wine until yesterday's repast of a lovely corned beef and veggies.  After decanting for an hour, we were surprised to see a wine of a lovely, light ruby color.  It opened up to become a lovely, fragrant wine with cooked cherries,  blackcurrant and rose essences.  It was slightly dry and tannic but very fruity and flavorful.  Delightful!!

Too bad it is so hard to find in the US.  So I am planning for next year's return trip to the French and Italian Rivieras with a few days inland back to the beautiful villages of the Nervia valley and its great Rossese wines and wonderful cuisine.

You never know what a bottle of wine can become!

If any of you are interested in further wine tasting studies, I suggest you go to the Dining  and Wine section of the NY Times and a feature written by Eric Asimov entitled "WINE SCHOOL."  He will suggest 3 bottles of wine from a particular wine and vintage to taste and critique following his suggested guidelines.  This has been fun so far as one bottle suggested was liked by about 2-1 for those of us not liking it!!  ENJOY!


Saturday, March 22, 2014

I actually made a roast!!

I feel as if I have crawled out of a deep hole.  As is usually the case, (SIGH), as I get older, the weight comes on faster and tends to stay a while.  Having always been quite slender, this is nonetheless very disturbing.  But, on the other hand, I am considered very healthy by the doctors, so it is what it is and I am finally willing to accept this fact of life.

Still, very little of any interest has been eaten in the last 8 weeks.  No bread, no desserts, and so forth.  You get the picture.  Both the Trout and I have lost some weight and we really do feel much better.  But tonight, it was time to start cooking again and we had a good time putting dinner on the table.

The Trout is always trolling for interesting recipes.  I spend time on Pinterest and find recipes that look interesting to me.  He won this round and I think it was a good choice.

Al Capone Roast
  found on Allrecipes

3 pounds flank steak, pounded thin for easy rolling
1/4 cup olive oil
Finely chopped black olives
1 cup minced fresh mushrooms
8 slices proscuitto
6 slices mortadella
Several thin slices of mozzarella
10 slices pepperoni sausage
1 tablespoon fresh oregano or dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Rub the flank steak with olive oil on both sides.  Sprinkle the mushrooms and olives over the steak.  Place a layer or prosciutto, mortadella, mozzarella and then pepperoni.  Season with oregano and garlic salt.

Roll up the steak against the grain (long side toward you) and once again, coat the outside with olive oil.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat.  Sear the roast over the entire outside.  Leave the roast in the skillet and place it in the oven.

Roast for 1 hour or until the internal temperature in the center of the roast reaches 160 degrees.  Let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.  In total honesty, I took the roast out after 45 minutes and let it rest for 10 minutes.  It has a medium rare cast towards the center which was perfect for us.  Yes, it could have roasted another 15 minutes in the oven.  But, I felt it was still quite perfect this way.  Actually, quite delicious.

From what I have read, the Al Capone Roast is pretty normal table fare in the Boston area.  As I understand, you can go into a butcher and buy it all prepared for the oven.  I have not quite figured out why Boston is the city that celebrates this "well known man," but that is what I have read.  

So many of you kind, dear friends have been asking about our granddaughter, Rachel.  She was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in January. Today she received her 8th injection of the drug Actemra, and I am pleased to report, she is doing quite well.  The last few weeks have not been without incidence.   The rash and pain and sleeplessness have been there, but overall, Rachel is doing quite well.  Even though I am not near her, my contact with Rachel over phone calls tells me she has matured quite a bit.  She always thanks me for my support.  Bless you little girl.   We have to be grateful for all the doctors and scientists out there producing these medicines for all of us.  We are living in a generation where anything is possible.

Thank you to all of you for your concern and caring and prayers.