Selfeed

So in today’s ‘That Should Be a Word’ section of the New York Times Magazine, the word was:

09opm_ThatShouldBeAWord

(SELL-fede), v

To post photos of one’s meal.  “After Heloise selfeed the caviar for two minutes trying to get the best angle, Lucius grabbed the plate and stuffed it all in his mouth.”

I’m glad there’s a should-be word for my shameless posting (Thank you, Lizzie Skurnick).  Last evenings’ selfeed was Kerrygold Irish Mac and Cheese (recipe at the end).  I’d been craving this for awhile.  Macaroni and cheese is perhaps the best comfort food going and this version is my favourite.

mac and cheese1

I’m never sure whether it’s red or white with Mac and Cheese, but I went with a red this time.  (On a related note, I recommend the four rules on how NOT to be a wine wanker.) The Fleurie La Cadole (2011) is a great Beaujolais – dark stone-fruit taste that went well with the creaminess of the Mac and Cheese.

Fleurie1

And speaking of wine, a couple of weeks ago I had a wine from Uruguay.  That sounds so unusual, but considering its proximity to Argentina, I don’t know why.  I can definitely recommend the Pueblo del Sol Tannat 2010.  It’s pretty sturdy stuff and paired very well with the chili and tamales we had.

El Pueblo1

Now for the Mac and Cheese recipe.  Mac and Cheese is sort of like chili; there’s countless ways you can tweak the basics.  Enjoy!

Kerrygold Irish Mac and Cheese

The ultimate comfort food. Mac & Cheese is synonymous with fond memories, full bellies and family. Our version incorporates multiple members of our family of grass-fed cow’s milk cheeses into a gooey, bubbling crock of Irish flavor. Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter adds a creaminess that pushes comfort food into the realm of culinary magic.

Ingredients: 1 pound macaroni, penne or ziti, cooked tender and cooled 4 tablespoons Unsalted Kerrygold Butter 3/4 cup onion, small dice Pinch of sugar 4 tablespoons all purpose flour 3 cups milk 1 cup heavy cream 1 bay leaf 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 cup Kerrygold Aged or Reserve Cheddar, grated 1 cup Kerrygold Swiss, grated 1 1/2 cups Kerrygold Dubliner, grated 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 cup breadcrumbs

Directions: Cook pasta according to package instructions and set aside to cool. In saucepan, melt Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter over medium heat, add onion and lightly season with salt. Add a pinch of sugar and cook onion until translucent.

Add flour and cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Do not cook long enough to color. Whisk in milk and cream and incorporate totally. Bring mixture to a simmer; add bay leaf and cloves.

Reduce burner to low heat. Cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat and remove bay leaf. Whisk in 1 cup each of the Kerrygold Cheddar and Swiss Cheeses, until incorporated. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. In large bowl, combine pasta and cheese sauce. Spoon into 2 1/2-quart casserole dish. Combine remaining cheese. Top with grated Dubliner, thyme or other chopped herb, and a small handful of breadcrumbs. Bake at 375° F for 8 to 10 minutes.

Options: For an added touch of hearty goodness, add 1/4 cup of cooked and chopped bacon or French ham or 1 1/2 cups of wild mushrooms sautéed in olive oil with chopped shallots and garlic. Adding chopped parsley or another favorite herb is also an easy and tasty option.

Greetings from Rapid City, South Dakota – Land of Snow

So I’m at a conference in Rapid City, South Dakota, the day after the worst October blizzard on record.  These poor, poor people – 30 inches of snow, drifting to eight feet in places and power out for days.

20131007_143823

Despite this, Rapid City seems to be a nice little town.  The downtown area has some quirky shops and some decent little bistro-type restaurants.  If you’re here, I highly recommend Wine Cellar Restaurant.  As the name implies, a really impressive wine list.  I enjoyed several – ok four…my hotel was one block away and I was walking – glasses of various reds.  Standouts included the Three Saints 2009 Syrah from the Santa Ynez Valley and the 2008 Hendry HRW Zinfandel from Napa.

The Syrah was great with the bread and garlic-golden raisin puree.  The Zinfandel was perfectly paired with what was one of the best beef fillets I’ve ever had.  It was topped with thick-cut, smoky, perfectly prepared bacon and an outstanding béarnaise sauce.  Dessert was a cold fudge pie with caramel and sea salt.

I generally don’t like going out by myself when I travel, but they seated me at the bar and I met some locals who really made the evening enjoyable.  I’d definitely come back.

Oenology

So I recently had some really great wines that I wanted to share.  I’ve always been a firm believer that some of the best wines out there are under $15 dollars.  (Now don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t turn down a Chateau Margaux 1937, but at $920 a bottle, it seems unlikely I’ll ever get that opportunity.)

Anyroad, the shear number to wines to choose from today can be overwhelming, but I’ve realized that I’m really drawn to unusual labels.  Give these a try –

 

freak show

Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon, Lodi California

Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Lodi California, Michael David Winery

This cab is wonderful – very dark colour, rich stone fruit taste.  I had this with a grilled cheeseburger (new find – chipotle cheddar – outstanding) and okra fritters, but I can see this being a great pairing with short ribs.

plungerhead

Plungerhead Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi, California

Plungerhead Old Vine Zinfandel, 2011, Lodi California, The Other Guys Winery

Zinfandels are my favourite and this is one of the better ones out there.  Dark, luscious, and substantial, I had this with barbequed sausage and sweet potato latkes.  That sounds heavy, but it worked perfectly.  (If you can get your hands on it, I definitely recommend V & V sausage, from Cistern, Texas.  It’s exactly what sausage is supposed to be!)

toasted head

Toasted Head Cabernet Sauvignon, Yolo County, California

Toasted Head Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Yolo County, California, Toasted Head Winery

I’ve had this before and it never disappoints.  Not has dark as other cabs, but it certainly holds its own.  I had this with Cashew Pork and Edamame over Udon noodles – a great pairing.