Friday, November 28, 2014


First, hoping everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving with mostly agreeable people (and the few we tolerate), mostly good food, and wine - which of course was good, it's why we're all here.

Okay, a word on pepper. is what my salt and pepper shakers look like.  I forgot to take a picture of mine, these are off the web, that's why they look so clean.  My grandparents had the same kind.  Now you might be thinking if I had any affinity for food whatsoever, WHY DON'T I HAVE A PROPER PEPPER GRINDER?

Not so fast, Louie.  It's true, I don't have a pepper grinder.  I DO have a spice grinder, AKA coffee grinder, a blade grinder, to be specific.  Burr grinders are superior, especially for coffee.  The blade grinder suits me fine.

 In this grinder I grind pepper in small batches and then put that into the shaker.  The pepper is actually a blend of, usually, black pepper, red pepper, mustard seed, and a small accent of star anise, which really makes it.  Sometimes I throw in a cardamom pod. 

You can tell how much I like pepper by my Thanksgiving dinner, which in the end looks like an old sweat sock.  Nope, just a lot of pepper on top there. 

KILLER meal:

Spaghetti squash roasted with garlic, thyme and black pepper...

topped by a generous slice of mozzarella cheese...

topped by a curried tomato sauce from heirloom tomatoes with onion, jalapeno, garlic, and green matter...

topped with an egg gently fried in butter with salt and a generous bit of pepper.  The salsa is a simple fuyu persimmons, pomegranate, jalapeno, and lemon. If I had cilantro around, I'd have used it.

Delicious despite the sweat sock presentation the pepper gives it.  I like pepper more this week than I did last week, if that's possible, because of this:

Back story: wine from Armenia is getting good, Max went to Armenia, Max gave me some Armenian wine when he got back, and I've been not entirely convinced about these wines.  The white was first and it lacked a certain elegance but it was nice and competent.  The ArmAs 2012 Dry Red blend and I did not get along at all.  Then Max proffered aNOTHER wine from somewhere else it was terrible.  So I had with Max a friendly troglodyto-a-mano about wine, his advanced palate versus my unfortunate palate, filled with deep and great apologies.  What was the quote he used? Something about all wine leading to Burgundy.  (Again with the Burgundy!)  My comments to him were that I understand the obvious and know there is a Burgundy, but I'm missing the middle wines that lead there.

After that conversation, then trying to decide what to open last weekend, I thought, Well, (sigh), let's get this over with. I opened the last of it, this ArmAs 2012 Areni. 

Now, the blend was deeply unusual, that's the point of these grapes, they are indigenous to Armenia and they will be something to experience.  This, the Areni, was seriously interesting.  This wine had a generous fruit front, but it was followed by a strong black pepper finish.  And not the heat of pepper, just the fruit if it. I was like, Wha?  I tried some more and some more and it was what it was: the most unusual thing I've ever tasted.  How do they DO that?  How does a grape do that?  Suddenly pepper is mysterious, but so is this wine. I definitely need to need to try that again.