Saturday, May 21, 2011

Behind Every Veil is a Secret to Tell

Life is full of excitement, drama and secrets.  There's a hidden story behind the many items we encounter in our daily lives that we are simply unaware of.
Food and wine share wonderful stories and I'm not speaking of recipes.   What is fascinating is learning how, when or why an item came to be.  Dining can be made into an exciting learning experience to take our minds off the daily routines of life.
For over a year now I have been enjoying wonderful foods from Rastelli Direct.  I've shared their story with you and now in addition to enjoying the foods I'm enjoying wines from around the world both as an addition to our meals and incorporated into our meal preparation.
A wine that tempted my palate was an interesting Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from A. Faustini.  I had previously tried a wonderful white, Beach House No. 34 and enjoyed it so I researched it and found a story behind it.  Knowing the prior wine had a history I began looking into this one which was called "Secret Veil".  That already sounds like it would have a unique story.  This is what I found out about "Secret Veil"......
In the summer of 2006 they were planning their wedding.  During a routine visit to Napa Anthony had tasted a wine with fruit sourced from Howell Mountain and fell in love with it. He found out some of the fruit had become available and locked down on a fruit contract for the 2006 vintage year, keeping it secret to all. 
Some months later, Anthony and Michelle were at a Peter Lik art gallery. One particular piece caught their eye and it happened to be named "Secret Veil".  Anthony then told Michelle about the additional wine he was making and they felt naming the wine "Secret Veil" was a perfect fit. 
The vintage I enjoyed was a 2007 and when I researched the bio of the wine I found it to have a wonderful blend 85% Cabernet Sauvignon 2% Syrah 2% Petit Verdot 2.5% Merlot 2.5% Malbec.  It was so flavorful, I could taste what I swore was the flavor of blackberry or cherry pie.  I had to find out the tasting notes and found the notes best to describe the flavoring..... "A complex nose of dried fruits, and subtle toasty notes, soft in the entry, this wine builds and becomes more layered, offering complex anise, sweet blackberry jam, cherry pie filling, caramel and vanilla flavors that dissolve on the finish into smoky-buttery opulence."  To my surprise I was experiencing the taste exactly as described.
Rastelli Direct
As I said, I've added wines to the delicious foods we've been experiencing and to recreate a prior anniversary meal we had a few years back at a wonderful steakhouse I chose a USDA Prime Elite Black Angus NY Strip Steak from Rastelli Direct.  We usually save our sinful dining out experiences for that one special occasion...... Sometimes once a year just isn't enough and now we sinfully dine daily..... The challenge then came to how was I going to recreate the recipe of our favorite Au Poirve, which I'm surprised I could spell because I can never pronounce it when we are out.....  So off to the internet I went in search of a recipe and found the perfect one....
  • 1/2 cup green peppercorns in brine, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons coarse black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, for frying
  • 1/4 cup fine diced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups brandy
  • 2 cups strong beef stock
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsely leaves

Smash green peppercorns on a cutting board with the side of a knife. Add to small bowl and mix with the coarse black pepper. Smear peppercorns on both sides your steaks. In a large saute pan over high heat, add oil. Sear steaks for 4 minutes on each side, until well caramelized and peppercorns begin to crust. Remove from pan.
Add shallots to pan to caramelize while scraping the bottom. Add the flour and cook for 3 minutes while stirring until pasty, making a roux (a mixture of flour and fat). Remove pan from flame. Add the brandy. Add the beef stock and heavy cream. Stir. Allow to simmer and cook until sauce thickens.
Drizzle the steaks with the sauce and garnish with fresh parsley. 
Thanks to Faustini and Rastelli Direct we have "unveiled" our "secret" to sinful dining any day of the week from the comfort and privacy of our home.

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