So, tonight was the Midtown Village Beaujolais Nouveau festival, honoring the third Thursday of November, when the Beaujolais Nouveau is introduced to the waiting (and aware) world. It involved 12 restaurants serving Beaujolais-soaked entrees or appetizers (or maybe just constructing a specialty cocktail involving Beaujolais, like the Sangria at the Stephen Starr Mexican joint) and 9 area retailers (including my store) offering sales and complimentary tastes of the new vintage. Some highlights?
- Beaujolais risotto
- Beaujolais-braised short rib pizza
- Beaujolais-inspired chocolates
- Beaujolais soap and lip balm
- and my favorite... Beaujolais jello shots
There were several other things, but those struck me as most outstanding and interesting. I was working for the first two hours of the festival, but when my shift ended, I headed out to see what was still going on. I entered Duross & Langel and was treated to a dixie cup of 2011 Beaujolais Nouveau and a complimentary tin of Beaujolais lip balm (it kind of smells like cherries, but whatever - it was free and makes my lips feel shiny). They have some amazing handmade soaps in there and I will almost definitely return for the holiday shopping season - this stuff is great for that person who has everything because they are both novel and expendable.
After sniffing to my heart's content (and wishing things had price tags), I gave my empty cup to the jovial young man who had given it to me when it contained a swallow of wine and headed out the door. I wandered next door to Paper on Pine, owned by a neighbor of mine and a lovely woman (who also patronizes our shop). As soon as I came in, the owner recognized me and gave me a more generously-poured plastic cup of 2009 Beaujolais-Villages (which wasn't exactly the point, but it is considered Georges deBoeuf's Vintage of a Lifetime and it's one of my favorites) to sip on as I chatted with her and wandered around her delightful little store. I ended up with a lovely card and some stationery. I will undoubtedly revisit her establishment not only for Christmas shopping but for many other things (she does custom-printed invitations and announcements, too). As I was paying, she asked if I wanted more wine - what a lovely woman! Alas, it was time to go home and make dinner, so I just stopped into my "local" wine store and picked up my own bottle of 2011 Beaujolais Nouveau to enjoy over the weekend.
It was only by reminding myself that payday is tomorrow that I was able to prevent myself from calling the newly-opened Vedge for reservations. I've waited this long...
Nevertheless, by the time I got home, it felt too late to start making a dinner with an hour and a half of cooking time, so I decided to wing it!
Mister and I had a field day trying to come up with a cookbook-worthy name for this creation, but unless anyone would like to volunteer something a little snootier, we're going with
Pasta with Green Veggie Marinara
6 generous servings
2 Tbsp olive oil
5 medium cloves of garlic, pressed
generous pinch of red pepper flakes
1 bunch of asparagus (roughly 1lb), bias-cut into 2" pieces
10oz frozen spinach, thawed
24oz prepared marinara
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a sauteuse on medium-high heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, then reduce heat to low and saute, stirring frequently, 3-5 minutes, until golden. Add asparagus and stir well to combine with garlic.
Cover pan and raise heat just slightly to make the asparagus sizzle a little. Saute 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cook the pasta of your choice (my choice was penne) according to package directions. When the asparagus is tender, stir in thawed spinach.
and then add the marinara and stir well to thoroughly combine.
Simmer, uncovered, 5-7 minutes. Drain the pasta and season the sauce with salt and/or pepper to taste, then toss the sauce with the pasta and serve!
Enjoy! (with some Beaujolais Nouveau...)