New England Braised Dinner

Milo and decided to go to Vermont on a whim; he rightly pointed out that we hadn’t been there yet this year, and since Mommy was away I had all the dizzying power of an unchecked Unitary Executive. So naturally I abused it. There is still a ton of snow up there, which was fun, but I’m so smitten with Spring fever that it did feel like a great leap backward to have to deal with his snow pants again. He loved it though, and used the same yellow backhoe to dig snow that I used when I was his age. Watching him line up all my ancient matchbox cars caused time to telescope far more alarmingly than the snow pants.

I had thrown a bunch of essentials into a cooler for the trip, since I hate to shop up there, so I made do with what was in the kitchen to embellish the meal. Prior to snow-excavation, I browned some lamb stew meat and onion with most of the non-fossilized spices- which happened to be very lamb-appropriate: cumin, cinnamon, garlic, plus a few dried herbs that smelled less like sawdust than some others. This luxe maillard met its doom in the form of some semi-horrible cheap merlot (if that’s not redundant) from the cabinet and we left it to simmer while we completed our spacetime compression by digging a ditch from the driveway all the way to dinner time.

Bootless, breathless, and famished, I threw some cubed turnips into the stew and steamed half a kabocha, then mashed it with a knob of butter. Last a quick sautée of some baby pak choi and we were in business. I’ve been pulling most of my Australian wine out of the basement there so I can sell it, but I’ve pretty much decided to keep all my Dead Arm. In an effort to make up my mind, I popped a 2000 and decanted it when I started the stew. Come time to eat, it was an opaque wall of petulant tannins with a tiny hole through which one could catch whiffs and glimpses of gorgeous fruit and naked ladies dancing. Somewhere around the 7 hour mark it finally got interesting, but by then it was midnight so I went to bed. If I were going to drink more of this in less than five or ten years, I would decant it the day before or double-decant it in the morning.

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  1. cook eat FRET
    April 6

    i for one, thoroughly enjoyed that post…

  2. Zoomie
    April 6

    Love the time warp as well as the sound of that dinner! Too bad about trying the wine “before its time.” 🙂

  3. peter
    April 7

    C: I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend.

    Z: Watching him be a kid is allowing me to relive big chunks of my own childhood.

  4. Heather
    April 8

    We’ve been getting arsed with a wintry backlash too. All my flowers covered themselves back up with bud scales and hit snooze.

  5. peter
    April 8

    Here it’s full blown Spring (though we might have a relapse too) but it was amazing what a difference a little latitude/altitude made.

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