I am quite not sure, how there are two distinct cooking methods at my house, but I am always amazed. When I cook, there are multiple sets of dishes that are used just in the prepping of the food and it is an all-day affair. I work up a sweat to try to achieve a dinner, for the most part successfully, but like I say it is a day in the kitchen. My Bride on the other hand creates dishes that are wonderful and totally efficient.
The other day, she decided that she was going to make us some lamb stew. I am very partial to stews, especially in the fall and winter months, but I am just amazed at the speed that she accomplishes her goal. I think I would still be dicing and cubing the meats and vegetables while her meal is already half-way done. The other thing that always surprises me, is that she does it all with one pot and just a carving board, which would never work out for me. I guess that I just keep chopping and putting everything in separate bowls to make sure that I like the mix and balance before I start. Maybe time just slows down for me when I get in the kitchen. One great thing about stew, is that there is never any concern about plating the dish for presentation, it is pure and simply comfort food.
I went down into the cellar to look for something different to try with the stew. Lamb tends to be a showy meat when it is roasted or made into kebabs. I find that the taste becomes more delicate when it is in a stew, so I was looking for something a bit more mellow and not something that we would normally have at home. I went and looked at some of the splits or half-bottles that we have accumulated over the years and found a wine that I thought should be ready for drinking, and hopefully I didn’t keep it too long. I opened up a bottle of Alexander Valley Vineyards Wetzel Family Estate Merlot 1997 from the Alexander Valley in Sonoma County. I like a good Merlot and I enjoy how it works so well with red meats. Now I sometimes forget about the splits that we have and I sometimes worry that they age quicker, but the cork gave me a battle and it came out totally intact with no crumbling at all. Immediately I could smell the Merlot perfume and I looked at the bottle and notice that there was a decent patch of sediment near the neck of the bottle, because the bottle has been resting in the same location probably since we purchased it, as there was a time when we were buying a lot more splits, but they do not seem as easy to find anymore. I didn’t bother decanting the wine, but just poured it directly into the glasses and watched to see if I saw any sediment and towards the end of the third glass I saw a little bit, so I stopped. I was a little concerned, because the wine had a bit of brown in the color, but the taste was excellent, the tannins and the fruit both had softened and it was a pleasure to drink this wine and it was so mellow with the stew.