We changed cable television providers this weekend after purchasing a new television. The television we had in the kitchen great room, a 27 year old 27 inch Sony, decided to give up. In order to get a high definition signal into the kitchen, we were going to have to shell out more money to the provider. Why would anyone stick with a standard definition feed when one can’t even purchase a standard definition set in any of the typical retail outlets these days? After looking at the available options, weighing the pros and cons, and performing a cost-benefit analysis, it seemed like we are going to save almost $1000 over the course of two years by switching. I am a fellow who prides himself on loyalty but after eight years we had had enough of the big corporation paying little attention to “B&V Consumer” and decided to explore options, even if driven by what seemed at the time, an unfortuitous turn of events. Exploring the options created even more savings as we were able to bundle our internet service and create another $600 in the budget. That saves over $1600 for two years. Too bad all deals don’t provide such reward for a little research time.
V is off with her sister and niece “Getting toes done.” They are going to a spa type of enterprise to enjoy that pampering. I on the other hand would have to schedule an appointment at an autobody shop for grinding, Bondo filler, and electrostatic powder coat paint application. Someone has to stay home though for the satellite television equipment swap-out and I defer my podiatry maintenance trip for the day on the calendar marked “NEVER.” Staying home means I will sit in the office to perform research; the literary type not the wine-in-a-glass type, catch up on emails, and various other virtual errands left for this weekend. A sudden streak of lightning escorts a clap of thunder and it startles me. As if sparked by the sudden burst of electricity in the air a thought quickly followed, “Probably a good idea to get up out of the chair to go check on the service technician.” Apparently he has received and paid attention to the safety training provided by his employer as he is riding out in his van the sudden colliding of warm and cold air masses just to the left of us and the corresponding rain. “Good enough” I think, pouring another cup of Starbucks Komodo and reflecting on how different last evening was.
Last evening we floated out on the Columbia in D&V’s Sea-Ray with appetizers, wine, and music to observe the end of one of The Tri’s flawless early-summer evenings. These evening include the strong and sharp smell of Russian olive trees lining the shore filling the air combined with the funky and mossy smell of the river, the glorious sunset and Cable Bridge lit up after the Sun has said, “Adios” for the day.
Accompanying the four of us was a couple new to our neighborhood. They participated in last week’s “Dinner in the Field” and are fitting in quite nicely. It is a source of endless amusement that most of the time we can meet someone for the first time here in The Tri and find other folks who connect us in the first-degree and not the full “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” The first time meeting R&T a couple of months ago, the scene played out as it normally does and we have relationships in common, of course we do.
I watch as V has mustered up the courage to walk the ledge of the boat while we are underway, to sit with the other two ladies on the bow. As shocked as I am by what might seem an insignificant event, I am more proud of her. She is absolutely courageous these days; riding a zip-line, facing life altering surgery head-on and coming out the other side, and now this. I am eagerly anticipating, and most likely will be surprised by, her next strides out of the comfort zone to be sure.
The appetizers we enjoyed during our little pleasure cruise were; turkey finger sandwiches, ham wrapped pickled asparagus spears with cream cheese, crostini with manchego cheese tomato tapenade and green onion, and watermelon cubes. The wine shared was:
2011 Maryhill Winemaker’s Red – A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc
2010 Desert Wind Merlot
2010 Waterbrook Chardonnay
2011 Gamache Viognier
2011 Kestrel Chardonnay
Back to research interrupted and I discover a good friend of ours, Charlie Hoppes, was elected to serve on the Red Mountain AVA Alliance Board and another, Tom O’Brien, is returning for another term. I know they will do a great job while functioning in whatever capacity they were elected to and Red Mountain AVA Alliance will benefit greatly from the input of these two.
Thinking about all this food and wine makes me realize it is close to noon and while I am remembering the festivities of the previous evening that little bowl of cereal seems like a long-lost period of ancient Greek history. I am also reminded that not only do I have to scrounge lunch out of the fridge; there is the evening’s dinner to organize. I promised that to “Pretty Toes” and I aim to keep my promise.
Out of the freezer come the lamb chops that somehow were on sale at the market. I’ve not ever cooked lamb chops so the evening’s meal will be an epicurean experiment. For the balance of the meal a couple of recipes for side dishes from Guy Fieri should tie everything together. Cooking like this is fun because we cook together and the outcome is always better that way. Maybe it is the ingredient we keep in the pantry in a container labeled “LOVE” that makes that happen. Checking the recipes against the contents of the refrigerator and pantry I discover that even though the container marked “LOVE” seems to be full, a couple of other ingredients are missing, so a run to the market is in order, after going through the training provided by the service technician on the new satellite television equipment and programming, obviously.
The training is completed, the run to the store is accomplished, the dinner ingredients are staged, and “Pretty Toes” is back at home.So on with the preparation and cooking. The grill is on and the red pepper is roasting while waiting for the other burners to get hot. From my research I discovered the chops need a hot grill. Very hot. V chops the vegetables, mushrooms, herbs, and preps the marinade/rub of olive oil, minced garlic, and oregano for the lamb. The wine pairing for the meal actually is two because the vegetable side recipe calls for Sauvignon Blanc and to drink with the meal we chose the 2009 Ethos Syrah we purchased at Canoe Ridge. The Sauvignon Blanc is the 2010 Hedges Estate CMS “Unoaked” Sauvignon Blanc which is actually a blend of 85% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Chardonnay, and 5% Marsanne. When we tasted the Sauvignon Blanc prior to adding to the veggies it exhibited a distinct pear nose and taste. As we let it linger in the mouth there was a pronounced minerality that came from the unoaked treatment and convinced us it would be ideal to pour liberally so the mushroom sponges could soak it up. Lucky us in all regards!
While I am grilling the lamb chops and cooking the veggies in a cast iron skillet on the other side of the grill outdoors; indoors V is making a basmati and orzo pilaf with prosciutto, garbanzos, and herbs. The veggies got started first because they will take the longest. Timing is everything in this regard. Four turns of the chops on the olive-oiled grill grates to get the requisite grill marks, but not overcook them. No time for distractions now. I’ve heard the term egregious before but not in the context of anything I’ve cooked and I am not about to mess these up.
We planned the basmati and orzo pilaf and the vegetables to get done approximately at the same time then the lamb to follow just after. The plating followed and allowed the chops to rest the appropriate amount of time. As the picture demonstrates, the dish is a work of art not only on the plate but in the mouth. The lamb was moist and succulent, the marinade and the grill brought that smoky component which married well with the Ethos Syrah. The basmati and orzo provided a light texture, structure, and foundation to the dish. The vegetables cooked in that iron skillet were stellar.We are going to use that thing more, no matter how heavy it is.
The meal and our pre-meal “Clink” brought together all the elements used to describe aspects of life; Ethos, Logos, and Pathos by those ancient Greeks which were alluded to earlier. Ethos is the character or fundamental values of a person, culture, people or movement. Logos is the appealing to reason or a rational argument. Pathos is the quality or property of anything which touches the feelings, excites the emotions and passions. Oh Baby did it ever! We experienced the fundamental values of the winemaker, Bob Bertheau in the Syrah and Sarah Goedhart and Pete Hedges in the Hedges CMS. There was no rational argument which could be made that this wasn’t one of the best meals we made together in quite a while. We will leave the Pathos to your imagination, it has something to do with that other ingredient in the pantry marked LOVE.
The wine and protein pairing was recommended by Malorie, the wine room attendant at Canoe Ridge Winery, when we stopped on our way there to attend the Joe Bonamassa concert in Portland. We certainly are glad we were paying attention!
Just in case anyone is wondering, the research performed on Saturday morning also uncovered the fact that insurance on the Corvette-in-waiting is approximately $78.00 per month, for a 2009 model anyways. Good thing we are saving money on television and internet. Hey! Maybe we should look at changing insurance for the house and cars and perhaps save money there too? Who knows, maybe there will be enough savings to actually make the insurance premium payment for the Corvette-in-waiting come out to be a wash.