Welcome to our life, love, and wine….
Sitting here in the quiet of a Sunday morning, Thanksgiving Day has come and gone – V&I know we are a blessed couple…
It has been a different Thanksgiving for us. In the past we have had a ton of people over with the usual great memories (raucous and boisterous hubbub) and bad (the year potato skins down the garbage disposal clogged up the drain for a couple of days), or we have gone over to various friends’ houses and shared the same good and bad. This year, V&I postponed “our” Thanksgiving dinner until last evening. Earlier in the week, last Sunday to be exact; we made plans for a turkey cordon bleu after watching an episode of Guy’s Big Bite. You can find the recipe by clicking on the hyperlink created above.
So, V took the thawed, uncooked turkey breast, carved away the meat and pounded out the flesh to about 1/4 inch flat using a tenderizer hammer she got from her parents when they recently moved to a new home. I am glad she doesn’t hit me with that thing. Meanwhile, I am roasting three pasilla peppers. One could use poblano peppers – they are basically the same. While I am roasting the peppers our neighbors are out walking the dog and they stop to check on what we are up to. Our dog and theirs get reacquainted as only dogs can do. Once the peppers are roasted to the peak of perfection I put them in a glass bowl and cover so they “sweat” which makes the skins easier to remove.
I grate Monterey Jack cheese and V is cutting up paper-thin slices of brie. We love cooking together. V skins the peppers, dices them, and mixes them into the Jack cheese. We salt and pepper the inside of the breast, spread the cheese and pepper mixture on the flattened turkey breast then layer thin slices of deli ham and the slices of brie on top of the ham. The recipe actually has the order of those layers in a different sequence, but we messed up. V&I call that “making the recipe our own.” Once the layers are complete the turkey is rolled up and trussed with butcher twine.
The turkey is now browned on all sides in V’s favorite cast iron pan and then turkey, skillet and all, is put in the oven at 375 degrees for about 35 or 40 minutes.
That gives us a few more minutes to talk about the just-passed holiday and the upcoming one and our plans for going to see the grandbabies, oh yeah and their parents, and V’s son and new bride too, for Christmas.
We also talk over what wine to have with dinner. Normally we do the wine selection much more in advance but that part of tonight’s festivities seems to be spontaneous. We decide on the Fidelitas 2009 Optu White. First out of the fridge the wine is a little cool, so it’ll sit on the counter to warm up a bit. This white is one which I call the “reddest white I have ever experienced.” I am thankful for the winemaker, Charlie Hoppes. Truly a good man. You can find out more about the winery and Charlie by clicking on the respective hyperlinks.
The straw-colored wine, A Bordeaux style white, is 56% Sauvignon Blanc and 44% Semillon from the Columbia Valley vineyards of Gamache and Stillwater Creek. The wine is very aromatic upon warming and I personally seem to get more pear than anything out of the glass. V said, “I taste “love” in this wine, because I know that is what Charlie puts into each and every bottle he makes.” For both of us the mouthfeel, is very “round” and merlot-like (is that a word?).
By itself the wine is a pleasure to drink and even though the temptation is there for another taste from the bottle, we are eagerly anticipating that turkey coming out of the oven. So a decision is made to forego the pleasure of another splash in the glass, because V has a plan.
The rest of the recipe has a honey mustard sauce to accompany that protein. However, once again this is where we “make the recipe our own.” Once the turkey comes out of the oven a decision is made to create a pan sauce instead of the one which the recipe calls for because of all the yummy goodness left in that cast iron skillet. While the turkey cordon bleu is resting under a tent of foil, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, I am thankful for that skillet – but not quite as much as I am for Charlie Hoppes. We pour a frugal amount of that wine into the skillet to de-glaze it. The frugal pour is because that wine is already sold out and no longer available. “We should have bought more” was my first impression of the evening’s first taste, by the way.
V works her magic on that sauce and I am sworn to secrecy to not let out what goes in it. I swear, that wine added a different dimension to that sauce this evening. The sauce and the sides are now ready and the turkey is rested. Plating is filled with anticipation – I am as giddy as a kid full of anticipation.
After sitting at the table, we “clink” as we ALWAYS do, then it is time to eat! First forkful of the turkey and that blessed sauce is full of rich flavor. The brie and jack cheese bring a salty creaminess, the ham – while adding to the saltiness - brings that certain something that only pork can do, and then it hits you. That pasilla. Not overwhelming, but a fun presence at the back of all of the richness. Now that is the pure definition of “layers of flavor.” I take a moment to be thankful for Guy Fieri too.
Now for a swallow of the wine to see if our paring concept for the night, and this week’s contribution, was correct. It was “spot on!” The creaminess of the white balanced the food, enhanced the chili (I was in heaven at that point) and the crisp, clean finish paved the way for the next bite.
What a great way to spend Saturday evening. Great wine, a great dish prepared together with the love of my life, and great conversation filled with planning for our adventure next month.
Cheers and much love.
B&V (‘cause without the V there’d be no B)