Ratatouille, Brown Rice, Fresh Green Salad, and Dalton Zinfandel
This past weekend saw us enjoying some really sick Ratatouille. We spoke about what we wanted to eat for shabbos, and given the fact that the garden is producing tomatoes and some eggplant, my wife came up with ratatouille. Ratatouille is one of those dishes that when done correctly is killer. We are blessed with fresh ripe tomatoes and some small eggplants. We have no fresh zucchini, so we had to buy some of those. I wanted a protein to go with the ratatouille, but the wife did not want meat, so we went with Yves Hot Dogs and Tofurkey Sweet Italian Sausage. We started the whole process by browning the hot dogs and Italian sausages in a hot pan. I then started on the ratatouille. I had a few questions about the ratatouille with Daniel Rogov on his forum. Daniel advised me to make some sausages, and the best I could do were the meatless variety described above. At the same time, I asked Daniel if he had made the ratatouille recipe that was highlighted in the move Ratatouille. The movie’s recipe is not officially defined anywhere, but many have attempted to reproduce it. However, we wanted to make a real stew, so we used the tried and true recipe that we have been using for a couple of years now.
2 lb of sliced onions
6 Garlic cloves
Salt and pepper
3 lb of fresh and ripe tomatoes
Tomato paste (if tomatoes are not fresh and ripe enough)
Basil, Thyme, Parsley
- Coat a large dutch oven with olive oil
- Heat the pot until the oil shimmers
- Add sliced onions and garlic
- Cover the onions with salt and pepper (to help the onions release their water and brown)
- Sauté the onions until nicely browned
- Wash and slice bell peppers into long strips and add to the pot until a bit tender
- Wash and cut the tomatoes into big chunks (no peeling) and add to the pot
- Add the spices and tomato sauce if tomatoes lack flavor
- Wash and cube eggplants and zucchini and add
- Stir frequently until all vegetables are cooked
- Keep a close eye on the stew at this point as the sugars are being released from the tomatoes and vegetables and can cause the food to stick to the bottom of the pot and burn. So continuous vigilance and stirring will stave off disaster.
In the discussion with Daniel, he recommended a few wines, and I was interested in drinking a Zinfandel, as the previous week’s meal had a failed Zinfandel, and I wanted to clean the slate on that matter. I had a bottle of 2005 Dalton Zinfandel lying around that was in the drink up category (according to Rogov’s Guide to Israeli Wines 2009 edition). It does not take too much prodding to convince me to enjoy a Dalton wine, so I opened the wine early on, and tasted it before going to synagogue. When I left it was a bit tight, when I came back for the meal, the wine was just ready and maybe a bit too far. The ripe fruit had started to oxidize as if it was over the hill. The wine itself is still young with tight and not integrated tannins. However, the fruit is dying off and is ready to drink. Please do NOT keep this wine a second more. Further, there is NO need to decant this wine. Just open the bottle let it sit for a few minutes to acclimate, and then drink up. In a funny way, I would almost recommend buying a bottle if you did not have one to see how an Israeli Zinfandel tastes. The fruit is super ripe and rich. The tannins are still tight and the oak has made this wine super extracted, while still keeping to the classic Zinfandel style. Definitely an interesting wine, and worth trying right away, or getting next year’s vintage, which is described as a nice wine as well.
The Ratatouille, sausages, rice, and salad were an awesome pairing. The wine was a bit over the top for the ratatouille by itself, but was great with the ratatouille and sausages. The wine notes follow below:
2005 Dalton Estate Zinfandel – Score: B+ – A-
The nose on this dark garnet to black colored wine is hot initially, with a deep brooding nose – almost perfumed, with ripe blackberry, raspberry, dark plum, date, oak, and cloves. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine is rich with spicy oak, black plum, blackberry, raspberry, and heavy extracted flavors. The wine is oaky and extracted, while heavy, fruity, and mouth coating. The mid palate is packed with acidity and chocolate. The finish is long and extra spicy, with chocolate, pepper, spicy oak, and a touch of vanilla and ripe fruit. Drink up and do not look back.