Good morning! I intended to post last night about our delicious evening at Rudy and Ana’s. I even sat down at my computer, spread out my notes (I have to take notes to keep track of all the fabulousness!), put my hands on the keyboard and thought, am I nuts? I am so full, and so tired, get your ass to bed, girl! So I did. Thus here I am this morning, refreshed instead of exhausted, with a nice cup of (decaf) coffee, ready to decipher the pretty hilarious notes I take when we all get together. Last time, I scribbled all over three of Rudy’s business cards. This time, actual paper, but just imagine, I am eating, drinking, talking, laughing, and trying to write, all at the same time. For those of you who know me, enough said. For those who don’t, I eat (too) fast, drink (too) fast, talk (too) fast, laugh (too) loudly – add in something as sedate as note-taking, and one of these things is not like the other… You get the picture.
So, to begin, we arrived at Rudy and Ana’s way cool St. Paul loft, absolutely gorgeous. Had a lovely glass of Champagne (forgot to write that down, off to a good start), lots of pate and salmond spread, and kicked things off in fine style. Sat down to a first course of silky squash soup (yum), which Ana made (recipe in comments, below), and with which she graciously served the challah I baked for them (below). With it Rudy served a 1997 Chambolle-Musigny Les Amoureuses Burgundy.
Our next course was a big, meaty, crispy crab cake – a perfect crab cake – from gandmcrabcakes.com in Baltimore, MD. With tomatoes, avocado, and a slaw that Rudy forgot about because it was all so nice just the way it was. Anticipating the crab cakes, Stu brought a lovely and crisp 1997 Twisted & Bent, Bent & Twisted Sine Qua Non white. For dessert, a seriously decadent (whew!) slice of chocolate cake with a 1996 Vine Cliff Napa Valley Merlot, along with sips of and chat about various tasty liqueurs, the first of which was a pine-needles-in-a-bottle Zirbenz Stone Pine Liqueur of the Alps, by Josef Jofier, Steiremark. And another by the same maker, Lauria Alpensahne Alpine Cream Liqueur, described on the bottle as a “timeless union of alpine cream, Pear Williams Brandy, and regional mountain pears.” It was, as Ana described, like a pear smoothie. Lastly, which we all breathed in more than actually drank, a Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia Tequila, with the color and fragrance of a brandy. Ahhh, sated, cozy, and buzzy, Stu, Debbie, John, and I made our way out the door into the frigid air (damn it’s cold today!) and home to our warm beds. Not to post on our blogs. So thank you Rudy and Ana for a beautiful evening, we loved being in your gorgeous home and so appreciated the delicious food and wine and great company.
Oh, and a couple more things I jotted down, first of all Rudy’s blog, check it out. And, I believe related to the Champagne we were drinking, we started discussing the pronunciation of Reims, in France, which all of us had assumed was said ‘reem’ but Rudy learned is actually said ‘rance,’ as in rhymes with pants. Or in this case, France. So there, next time you’re chatting about Champagne, and Reims, you’ll know the correct pronunciation. Which can be tricky, I’ve learned. For instance, after studying French (briefly, in high school) I know how to correctly pronouce chaise lounge and armoir, but you can sound like a serious asshole in some settings using correct French pronunciation. So use your better judgment. When in France…of course. When in rural Minnesota…perhaps tone it down a bit.
Oh, and yet one more thing – I sampled a Molton Brown handwash I hadn’t tried before, Naran Ji, loved it, I kept smelling my hands as we wrapped up our dinner. I’m ordering some today!
Here’s how to have dinner on your own: cook yourself something you love but your family doesn’t and enjoy every..single..bite. Tonight I enjoyed spaetzle with browned sage butter topped with a pile of freshly grated pecorino romano, with a glass of Riesling. Early, which is when I like to eat. It was tough, but somehow I managed.
Roasted Squash, Onion and Garlic Soup
2 large, unpeeled cloves of garlic
2 lbs. butternut squash (quartered, seeds removed)
1 small onion (peeled and quartered)
2 tbsp. olive oil
8 fresh thyme sprigs
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
½ c. whipping cream
1 ¾ c. chicken stock
Arrange garlic, squash and onion in baking pan; drizzle with oil, sprinkle with thyme. Cover with foil and bake 1 ½ hours. Uncover and cool 15 minutes.
Remove thyme sprigs. Put in food processor or blender: squash (scraped from peel), onion, garlic cloves (squeezed out of outer peels), and juices from pan. Add cream and brown sugar and puree until smooth.
Transfer to saucepan. Whisk in stock and stir over medium heat until heated through. Season generously with salt and pepper.
I'm glad you were able to sample the liqueurs of the alps (Lauria Alpensahne and Zirbenz Stone Pine Liqueurs), and very much appreciate you posting the links to the website! We plan to start selling in in Minnesota later this spring.
Since starting the venture, we've recieved some fascinating recipes from alpine resorts your family may enjoy, a few of which are on the website (www.alpenz.com), and more recently a Cape Town/Karoo rack of lamb and an irresistable crème brûlée outmeal. Drop me a line if you'd like more info.
If you havn't already, do try the artisan sheep cheeses of Love Tree Farmstead.
All the best,