The Internet is a tool for having fun with anything you like. Well, we like food and wine so when REL invited us to her blog dinner we said we’ll bring the wine. We arrive at REL’s apartment building. She and Sean Rice have begun shooting this evening’s dinner that will be featured on Sean’s food blog Meat Me. REL has her own food blog Things I Make in my Kitchen. Obviously, the two have been trading bits, bytes and quite a few megapixels. We are the first of four guests. Sofie and Paul will arrive shortly. I open the first wine.
2010 Kaplan Family Tree House Chardonnay: Another Malibu vineyard we know noting about [ed. like you know all of them?]. The KFTH website has the usual frilly words but no pricing or advice on how to acquire the wine if you like it. This is pretty good, too. Grown on the coastal side. Good acid, no obvious oak although the label notes say it is aged in oak…neutral barrels? Saves money. Flavors are lemony. Not at all plump. Like it but what does it cost and where would one acquire a bottle or three?SCENE #1: Tuna Tartare. Agent PT8Y (wo)mans the vid cam. Sean describes the intricacies of mashing up the fresh yellow tail caught 100 miles south of San Diego. NOT FROZEN. This fish is FRESH. Corn oil subs for oilo olivo which mixes just fine with ginger and cilantro. Now whip it! Whip it good. The serving appears before us. We scarf it down like fish bigger than tuna.
tBoW is wine steward and has paired the tartare with a very dry stony Muscadet that was rejected until paired with the gingery, cilantro rubbed raw fish.SCENE #2: Championship Grilled Tuna. Sean uses homemade meat rub on the tuna slabs. REL prepares the…George Foreman Grilling Machine!?!?! She apologizes her pad has no grill. She only has this humble appliance that made George Foreman richer than boxing! This is how genius happens. One impulse meets another, add some seemingly ordinary commercialism and VOILA! Perfect freaking grilled tuna! It is astounding how well this approach worked. The slabs are cooked to a half inch depth with a perfectly burgundy center. REL tells her future audience “you can do this in your dorm room!” She IS a grad student.
tBoW pairs with a Spanish Grenache Blanc. The wine’s weight, fruit and acidity balances the oily, thick tuna.
SCENE #3: Panne Cota with Bacon/Habanero Brittle. The Blog Dinner tasters have agreed REL’s proposal for dessert is so odd it can never work. Teach us mistress of the whisk! Sean has the camera in hand as REL whisks the sugary soup until it is time to pour a slab speckled with cooked bacon and habanero bits. She is dead serious. He is on her with the camera like Lautrec in a brothel. She hardens it in the oven and out comes a sheet of candied bacon habanero brittle. Say it twice. The consonants crackle like the brittle slab itself. She breaks the chunky sweet monolith into pieces, dropping them into glasses of soft vanilla bean panne cota. Our spoons creep up on the mix. Mouths open and the spoons start working with a ferocity reserved for zombies in a crowded subway. REL is a genius! Maybe others could make this but Who could think of it?
The blog dinner is finished. All I can think about is putting habaneros and bacon in turkey stuffing! A job for Aunt Betsy. Time to return to our cars. This has been great and a ton of fun. Hope we get invited to the next one. I’ll bring the wine.
POSTSCRIPT: The presence of the camera made a big difference. It kept the socializing to a minimum, focusing the evening on the task at hand – sincere amateurs preparing food with enthusiasm and skill. Sean and REL prepared the items. The eager audience sampled and talked about the meal. Harmonious. Can this be adapted to wine tastings where the social component battles the wine for focus?