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A Perfect Meal

December 9, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Our friends Gerry and Margie are in town from Boston, visiting Gerry’s brother, and they came over to the house last night, giving us the excuse to have a fabulous dinner. Not that I had much to do with it. Gail did all the cooking. But before I forget, I want to record what we had. Too bad I didn’t photograph everything. (I took the photos shown here just now, a day later, with the plating done by me from cold leftovers, so I’m not showing how it looked freshly cooked or with Gail as the plater.)

The first course was a bean soup, made from cannellini beans that Gail made into a puree of sorts. For a garnish, Gail made a red pepper and garlic liquid that she squirted on top and spread out with a knife edge. This made for an attractive presentation, but even better was eating it.

The centerpiece of the meal was baked, prosciutto-wrapped halibut plated atop a root vegetable array. Gail chopped fingerling potato, sweet potato, carrot, and parsnip into roughly half-inch cubes and roasted them, creating a great mix of color, flavor, and texture. On the side was green salad with chopped walnuts, cranberries, and bacon, tossed with a citrus dressing.

For dessert, poached pear in a red wine reduction. This turns out to be tricky to eat, as the pear wants to revolve around its central axis when you try to cut into it. Maybe eating by hand would be better, but bibs would be needed. In any case, the effort was rewarded by a delightfully sweet and tasty concoction.

We still have a few bottles of the various wines that we shipped up when we were in Healdsburg two Octobers ago. We selected one we’ve been saving for a special occasion, our bottle of 2003 Stryker Cabernet Sauvignon ‘3’ from Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley. It was good, but what do I know about wine? Here’s what Stryker says: “True to our style, this wine is muscular yet elegant. Richly textured, plush and loaded with rich, ripe fruit. Aromas of blackberries and cherries, with a core of currants and a hint of minty spice and vanillin. Velvety and thick on the finish, it is framed by a sturdy influence of toasted oak.” I can’t say I tasted all that. Still, I was happy. Given the food, how could I not be?

Sometimes the best food can be found at home. Especially when you have the good fortune to live with a gifted cook.

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