Tuesday, March 15, 2011

salsa minima & winemaker's blend

As you might imagine, tonight I made Spaghetti con Salsa Fresca from The Urban Vegan.  As I mentioned when I presented the menu, I chose this recipe because I accidentally sent Mister to fetch too many tomatoes.  Ordinarily, I would reserve a dish like this for summertime, when the living is...well, when the tomatoes are ripe, how about that?  However, I've had reasonably good luck with plum tomatoes this year, and that just happened to be what I overstocked.

There's my little pile of garlic - things like that make my mouth happy in anticipation.  The recipe said to slice it, but slicing garlic into uniform pieces is not high on my list of ways to unwind from a Monday, so I pressed it instead.

I had some hesitation about boiling an entire pound of pasta, but I figured it would work out since spaghetti's thin anyway.  I think where I "went wrong" was that the recipe called for 6 medium tomatoes, and I had 5 kinda-big plum tomatoes.  I think I needed more tomato to make this work.

It was good, but the sauce definitely played a minimal role.  I found that it combined well with the bowl of olives I placed between Mister and I, so I used some of them to make up for lack of sauce.  Like I said, I'll probably pull this out and dust it off again sometime in July, when there are plenty of big, ripe, flavorful tomatoes to make a more voluminous sauce with a little more oomph.

And now for a message from our sponsors: The Power of Suggestion.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes you want something just because you've been around it so long?  Sometimes something looks far more attractive after seeing it on a regular basis for a little while than it did initially?  My first experience with this was when I worked at The Limited during winter break in college.  I worked there because I loved their clothes, but the winter I worked there they had an influx of kind of ugly fashion.  After a week or so of folding velour patterned blouses, I thought they maybe weren't quite as bad as I originally thought.  After weeks of passing a salmon-colored sweater-tee-shirt, I thought it was actually a flattering cut and color.  After wandering every inch of the store making sure everything was as it should be and refolding the sweaters people carelessly poked through, looking for their size, I realized that I had completely misjudged the ugly clothes when they arrived at the store.  I'm pretty sure I spent more than I made by the time I headed back to college...with a new wardrobe.

How does all that relate?  Well, when we were packing, I discovered an endless supply of good-sized boxes at the wine store.  One of those boxes was for Apothic Red Wine, which I'd never heard of before, but could not deny had beautiful branding.  After a couple of weeks of trying to remember to unpack that box, a couple of weeks of looking at that box during or after dinner, my curiosity got the better of me.

You cannot deny that is a beautiful label.  I've always been a sucker for curlicues and red on black.  Anyway, I went to their website because we just don't have enough discretionary income for me to hate my wine and I was absolutely intrigued by the blend of wines used to craft this bottle: Zinfandel, Syrah, and Merlot.  I've been fairly ignorant of Zinfandel, but I know I like Syrah and Merlot, and the description made my mouth water:
Apothic Red reveals intense fruit aromas and flavors of rhubarb and black cherry that are complemented by hints of mocha, chocolate, brown spice and vanilla. The plush, velvety mouthfeel and smooth finish round out this intriguing, full-bodied red blend.
 I picked up a bottle on my way home from work tonight and I was a little alarmed by the first taste (a little drier than I was expecting), but I found that it develops into quite a drinkable flavor.  Another selling point is its color: I nearly fainted as I watched it pour from the dark green bottle into my black-stemmed wine glass - it is a fabulous shade of cherry-plum red.  If I could figure out how to turn my hair or my lips the color that came out of the bottle, I would never look for another cosmetic all my life.  Besides the color, it rolls across the tongue with a kaleidoscope of flavors - berry and spice, almost a rosy scent, and the mocha and vanilla notes were unimaginably enhanced by the square of dark chocolate that joined my wine for dessert.

I'll leave you thirsty and with a great wine recommendation...
and also with a funny picture of my little grey mouse hiding between the TV and the bookshelf in the living room after Mister moved one too many things.

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