Thursday, April 23, 2009
Last Minute Dinner And A Beautiful Pairing
We were busy yesterday, not complaining mind you…it was awesome, but at the end of the evening there were only two of us on the floor, customers outnumbered staff 3 to 1 and of course the phone is ringing with someone that has had a problem navigating the online store so, “can I just place the order on the phone?”….sure but I’m gonna have to call you back. Just as I dropped the phone into its cradle, to help someone on the floor, the phone rings again. “What might you want for dinner?” the hubby and the daily what-you-want-for-dinner call….crud. “Honey, I don’t know and I can’t talk right now” I answered, so NOT his favorite answer, see this disrupts his pattern, the go to the driving range, call the wife for a shopping list, and go to the store pattern. I could tell by the longish pause that I had thrown him off, but I had no time to worry about it, people needed help in the store.
“I’ll just get stuff for a big salad” he sputtered, sounding slightly wounded, and we got off the phone. I rushed around helping folks on the floor, Merritt returned the online order call and finally things settled right before closing….then I started thinking about dinner, the salad dinner, the SAME salad dinner we had 2 nights ago. See while my husband is wonderful, he is not so inventive when it comes to flavor combinations, so we would in fact, be having the same dinner we had, he would only have to remember the list from 2 nights ago…argh! I hopped on the phone and gave him a call back, “I so don’t want that salad for dinner tonight” I confessed and hearing that he was in the car I asked, “Do you have a pen” he did not, crap. The other thing with my sweetie pie is if there are more than 4 things on a list that he has to “remember” something will be missing. He is always so sweet to rush back out to pick up the forgotten item or items, but I just hate making him do that, so I knew I had to keep it simple.
“Okay, get some boneless, skinless chicken, lemons, garlic and a tub of marinated artichokes from the olive bar” I ordered, the whole time wondering just what I was going to do with the, hopefully 4 items. I walked to the food section of the store, grabbed a bag of Orecchiette pasta, off to the cheese case I grabbed a chunk of Parm and then I started thinking about wine. Now while an Italian white would have been perfect, there was a new wine in the store, (I had a special order for 6 bottles of the wine, so there were 6 left on the shelf) from a producer I adore, Henry Pelle from Menetou-Salon in the Loire Valley. I was pretty sure that a Sauvignon Blanc would pair nicely with something lemony, that is loaded with garlic, so I went for it.
The second I walked through the door I plunged the bottle into the fridge and got to planning dinner. Got some water on for the pasta, cranked up the heat on my favorite sauté pan, seasoned the chicken, (simple salt and pepper) and squeezed the juice of two lemons. Fearing that I would need more, “sauce” I pulled some stock from the fridge and got it warming on the stove top while I tossed the chicken in a screaming hot pan, grated about ½ a cup of Parm, and minced 4 cloves of garlic, turning the chicken after it turned crispy and deeply brown on one side.
Once the chicken was cooked through, I removed them to a plate and covered it with foil to keep it warm, tossed the minced garlic, lemon juice and 2 cups of stock into the sauté pan, the whole time scrapping up the yummy bits off the bottom, cranked up the heat and let the sauce reduce by a third while I drained the pasta. Tossed the warm pasta back in its cooking pot and sprinkled it with half of the cheese, then stirred, chopped the chicken in good sized pieces, poured the collected sauce from the plate where the chicken had rested into the reducing sauce, dumped the chicken in with the pasta along with the artichoke hearts. To thicken the sauce I spun in about 2 tablespoons of butter and the rest of the grated cheese, then poured the whole thing into the waiting pasta pot….um, can you say grown up mac and cheese?!
One of the best, “tossed together” meals we have had in some time and the 2007 Henry Pelle Menetou-Salon Les Blanchais, ($24.99)….remarkable! Deep intense tropical notes, weighty…I almost thought there might be some wood, although I could not detect any wood flavor, it was just so full and concentrated, almost creamy but it was all fruit and limestone on the palate. A seriously explosive wine that was simply beautiful with the intensely tangy dish…might just have to make this wine a regular player in our Loire wine section.