For tonight’s dinner the pork shoulder steak I bought at the farmers’ market yesterday gave me something to focus on, and I had it pretty well figured out by dinner time; a few last details inspired by fridge and garden rounded it out into an excellent season-spanning meal. I brined the meat in kimchi juice, then cooked it sous-vide at 65˚ C for two hours. Meanwhile, I took a jar of the most recent kimchi, (which is actually sauerkraut, since it’s only cabbage and carrot) and braised it in a pan in which I had rendered and crisped lardons of the penultimate slice of homemade bacon. In addition, I put a cup of whole triticale into the rice cooker and made a reduction sauce of cherry juice, balsamic vinegar, and brown rice syrup. While all of this was going on, I made mash with thinnings of the galia endive that we love best in this form, and which is growing in well for fall and winter.
All was ready pretty much at once, which is nice, and the various intense flavors made for a compelling variety of different bite combinations. I seared the meat up in a pan with a little of the rendered bacon fat in it, and used the crispy filaments of fat that remained as a garnish for the plates. The bacon added a nice supporting porkiness that helped the meat find extra favor with the cabbage, and the sweet/tangy sauce, nutty grains and bitter, garlicky mash provided a full spectrum of flavors and textures on the plate. As with so many other meals, a Pleiades XVI was absolutely perfect with this; I’m still in mourning that it will never be made again. If you see any in a store (for about $25) BUY IT. (This goes for any Pleiades, but earlier vintages are scarce as hen’s teeth these days) You will thank me later. I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it until I run out- it is, for the money, hands down the Best Wine in America.