Herb encrusted Gefilte Loaf, Sweet and Sour Brisket, Quinoa, Kugel, and lovely wines

This past weekend was still Passover and we invited friends and family to hang out and join us for a lovely meal. Passover is a time meant to represent rejuvenation, freedom, and the need for each of us to spark the embers of possibility that lie deep within us all. The combination of Passover and the Sabbath meant we needed to dig deep and make some really fun stuff, so that is exactly what we did. We made my favorite cut of meat, a brisket in the manner that we always do, with help from friends of ours that were hanging out with us for Passover. We also made other Passover favorites this year, including our Herb Encrusted Gefilte Fish Loaf, and a new vegetable kugel, that was killer. Most kugel has some kind of binding agent in it, and on Passover that is either Potato Starch or Matzah Meal. However, this recipe has neither! This is a slightly modified recipe from an insert we saw in a magazine created by the folks at the Pomegranate Supermarket in Brooklyn, NY.

Passover Vegetable Kugel Recipe

4 red potatoes (unpeeled)
4 yellow zucchinis (unpeeled)
6 carrots (unpeeled)
2 onions
6 eggs
3/4 cup of oil
Salt, pepper, and garlic to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grate all the vegetables in your food processor. Mix in the eggs, oil, salt, pepper, and garlic, and then pour into either a single 9″ x 13″ pan or two 9″ round pans. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another hour. The kugel should be slightly charred on the top and sides but cooked thoroughly within, which is easy to check with a toothpick or fork.

The recipes for the brisket and the Gefilte Loaf can be found here.  We changed the brisket recipe only slightly, by NOT using ketchup, and using tomato sauce instead.

To pair with this feast we had a few wines, some that people brought over, and some that we took out of the cellar. One of them is a rather unique wine, a blend of Moscato and Sauvignon Blanc. This is not a common blend and one that many dislike, but one that we really liked and one we spoke about previously, when we wrote an article about Elvi Wines. Jay Miller, a wine writer and critic for Robert Parker‘s highly influential Wine Advocate newsletter, echoed the words “Kudos to the Cohens (of Elvi Wines) for this remarkable array of Kosher wines…” when tasting the Elvi’s wines. We have now tasted the wine in question a few times, the 2008 Elvi Ness Blanco, and each time it has put a smile on my face. Some critics did not like it, but Mr. Miller and I seem to like it just fine. This time around the wine is showing more Alsatian in nature, with rich honeyed styling and good minerality to boot. The wine went perfectly with the herb encrusted fish, the honey pairing well against the herb and the mineral notes pairing nicely with the fish’s slight sweetness and weight.

We also enjoyed a bottle of Yarden’s lower level wine the 2007 Golan Sion Creek. The 2007 Golan Sion Creek Red continues Yarden’s tradition of creating a unique blend of red varieties that includes Sangiovese, Syrah, Gamay Noir, Pinot Noir and small amounts of Nebbiolo and Napa Gamay. The result is a basic and not overly complex wine that is easy drinking with enough bite to keep you interested.

For the main course we opened a bottle of the 2004 Yarden Merlot. We have tasted this one recently and this time we liked it equally as much as we did the last time, which is good news as we have no more and we were happy to thoroughly enjoy the wine as we drank them up.

The wine notes are listed below in the order they were enjoyed:

2007 Golan Heights Winery Sion Creek Red – Score: B to B+
The nose on this garnet colored wine with brown tinges opens with cherry, strawberry, raspberry, plum, red berries, smoky notes, dirt, a hint of coffee, and cloves. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is filled with strawberry, raspberry, plum, and red berries. The mid palate is balanced with strong acidity, dates, herbs, coffee, and light tannin. The finish is long and spicy with date, coffee, red fruit, strawberry, plum, cloves, and dirt.

2004 Golan Heights Winery Merlot Yarden Kosher – Score: B+ to A-
This version of the wine was far better than others we have tasted before. The wine was not over the top; it was controlled and balanced, with clear rich oak in a battle for your attention with the lovely black fruit. The nose on this dark garnet colored wine was screaming with ripe and sweet plum, blackberry, and cassis, along with cedar wood, crushed herbs, chocolate, and tobacco. The mouth on this intense and full bodied wine hits you up front with concentrated ripe fruit, spicy and still active tannin, cherry, currant, blackberry, and plum. The mid palate is balanced with nice acidity, sweet cedar, lovely tannin, and chocolate. The finish is super long and extracted with tobacco, oak, black fruit and herbs. A nice wine that is fine for a couple more years and one we finally truly enjoyed with ripe black fruit, herbs, tobacco, and mounds of cedar.

2008 Elvi Wines Ness Blanco (Spain, Castilla-La Mancha, Ribera del Júcar) – Score: B+ to A-
This wine is a 50/50 Moscato and Sauvignon Blanc blend, one that is not very common to me. The first time we tasted this wine, a few months ago, the wine was showing far more Sauvignon Blanc than the Moscato. Now, the wine is showing far more of the Moscato and the honeyed nose and mouth are screaming with pineapple and melon. The nose on this gold colored wine is screaming with rich honey, mango, fig, bright citrus, pear, melon, pineapple, floral notes, smoky toast, with a nice sweet and bright/tart nose to boot. The mouth on this full bodied wine is off dry to semi-sweet with more rich honey, bright citrus, pineapple, melon, mango, and pear. The mid palate is bright and acidic with toast, dirt, floral notes, honey, and fig. The finish is super long and spicy with rich mango, honey, pineapple, green tea, and toast. This is quite a unique wine and one we really enjoyed.

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Posted on April 29, 2011, in Food and drink, Kosher Red Wine, Kosher White Wine, Wine and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

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