Aren't we all??
When I went to get the mail yesterday, I had no idea that it would spark the kind of evening it did. You know the kind - eating lavish foods and enjoying velvety wine. Watching a great movie that encases it all...
And above all - making it affordable!
I enjoy the romantic things in life: A great book (no Kindle!), writing, wine, cooking, art, movies, rich and well made things - handmade.
Heaven forbid this should dent my wallet!
Well... I'm here to tell you - to show you - that is doesn't have to. Let me outline my evening for you, so that you can re-create it!
How It All Started
As I said earlier, it all started when I went to the mailbox. We (Husband and I) get Entrepreneur Magazine. My husband REALLY enjoys collecting wine, and he recognized the man on the cover right away. James Stewart, son of top winemaker, Michael Stewart, at Stewart Cellars in Napa Valley. James decided to break the mold of expensive Napa Valley wine. His father has long been the vintner of premium Napa wines, bottles priced near $100. His son, wanting to tackle a market that was suddenly suffering after the stock-market woes, decided to change things.
This was how my evening started, with a story...
The Big Guns
So, My husband finished the article, and looked at me. He then bounded down to the wine cellar (A bomb shelter under our garage, lol) and began to rummage. What you need to understand about my husband is that when he was in college, he spent more time researching wine than studying economics, though he's still good at both.
I watched him go through boxes and boxes of wine (he has too many)
Out comes these two.
It's one thing to read a story about a wine and wishfully dream, it's another when your husband just happens to have it. This here (orange label) is James Stewart's Father's wine.
We opened it... SO GOOD!
It was salty, velvety, REALLY easy to drink. But as we know, this is definitely not affordable unless you think the way I did - he bought it before we got married, lol.
A good substitute is naturally the Slingshot I spoke of, or a good $12 Cab. Sauv. bottle like Melange.
With it, I made the below recipe. I RECOMMEND!!!!!
the other wine (Benson Cab. Franc) I'll get to in a minute...
- Package of Smoked Salmon (not the hard smoked, the kind that looks raw) 4 oz. I got farm raised Atlantic, saves a lot of money and tastes good. If you can afford wild, though, do it. this package cost me $4.50
- Italian Bread, 4 slices about 1/2 inch. (Get the real waxy kind, NO SOURDOUGH)
- Capers (Those little buggers are pricey, but they last a long time)
- Herb Cream Cheese (I got onion and chive)
- Red Onion (a few slices. Slice as THIN and possible)
- 1 Tbls. Olive Oil
Toast the bread in broiler, or toaster. DON'T BURN! Spread with cream cheese while warm. Top with a few onions (5-6 little sliced pieces.) Divide salmon into four, one ounce piles and place on top of toast. Drizzle with Olive Oil so that the capers stick. Spoon capers (some juice is good!) over the top. ENJOY!!!!!
Now, if you don't have the Stewart, like I said, try the Slingshot! if not, eat with a general Cab. Sauv. The robust flavor of the salmon can hold it's own, and it does not overpower the wine. Quick and salty/delicious!
Affordable Main Course
Now is where I get to involving the other wine. 2007 Cabernet Franc. VERY peppery, rosemary, and cilantro. This wine has a serious punch of those flavors.
Below is a recipe my husband found through his wine club with Cakebread - another expensive wine, but the Benson Vineyard one above was the affordable option. Naturally Cakebread paired it with a Merlot, which would also be good. You can try this recipe with either.
What I'm showing you is two versions - the pricey and the cheap.
I substituted the Filet Mignon for Sirloin, and it worked GREAT!
Recipe Courtesy of Cakebread Cellars...
Their Version serves 4-6
2.5 pounds Beef Filet
1 head garlic
1/4 c. Olive Oil
2 sprigs Rosemary
2 c. Dried Morels, soaked in warm water
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. Tomatillos
2 T. Cilantro, chopped
2 oz. Queso Fresco
Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut the pointed end of the garlic off to expose all the cloves. Place in the middle of a sheet of foil. Drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil. Wrap in foil to seal and place in the middle of the oven to roast for about an hour until the garlic is soft. Remove and when cool enough to handle, squeeze out the pulp and mix with the remaining olive oil and chopped rosemary.
Clean the beef filet of any fat and connective tissue. Cut into two 3" sections across the grain of the meat. Holding a large knife parallel to the cutting board, cut the filet lengthwise to form thin steaks, about a ¼" thick. Place in a shallow dish and rub with the roasted garlic mixture. Refrigerate and allow to marinate for at least two hours.
To make the salsa, soak the morels in warm water for twenty minutes until soft. Drain and rinse to rid them of any dirt. Cut into small pieces and sauté in a small skillet with two tablespoons of olive oil. Once mushrooms start to brown, add the garlic and cook for another minute, reserve. Place a small saucepan of water over high heat. Once water comes to a boil, add the tomatillos and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and run under cold water. Roughly chop the tomatillos and avocado. Combine with the morel mushrooms and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Season with a squeeze of lime juice and salt and pepper.
To serve, remove the meat from the refrigerator and season with salt and pepper. On a very hot grill sear the steaks for thirty seconds to a minute per side. Serve with pinto beans, top with a spoonful of the salsa and garnish with the crumbled queso fresco.