Pars Market, Short Ribs, Ratatouille, Quinoa, Weinstock Zinfandel
On the week of September 16th we were hunkering down with the New Year, and guests, coming up. So, we bought some lovely flanken short ribs (ribs cut against the bone, not with it) at the new kosher market (Pars Market) here in San Jose. We have spoken a few times about what short ribs are versus flanken versus English cut ribs. No matter the name, the product and the way to cook it is the same, simple – SLOW AND LOW! I am almost done with my cache of bad whiskey (yes we covered this in the past), but no matter the product, as long as it has a hickory or oak taste the whiskey will be a good medium to slow cook your ribs. Why? Because hickory or oak meld well with brown sugar and spices to make a killer, yet simple, braise for the ribs. Also, though our old recipe calls browning off each and every riblet, that can be very tiring, and can take a ton of time. Instead, I saw a new episode of America’s Test Kitchen and in it they “roasted” the riblets in the oven and the riblets were nicely browned and their fat was rendered, thereby assuring that the slow cook braise will comprise more of sweet alcohol goodness and less of nasty grease.
As wonderful as chunks of soft and flavorful meat is, it still needs a good side dish, and we once again raided our garden for some tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant to make a killer ratatouille! This may well be one of the last for the year, as the summer has been a cool one, like last year, so many of the tomatoes are not ripe and we have to use what we have. The good news is that we had enough fresh tomatoes and zucchini, but the eggplant harvest this week was low, so we needed to buy some at the store to augment the low supply. The meat’s rich and flavorful sauce blended perfectly with the rich and vibrant ratatouille, all over a bed of earthy quinoa, what a combo!
To pair these wonderful dishes we went for some wine that normally delivers, one with power and finesse, but this time it was more of a one note loser than a harmonious orchestra. The wine starts off with way too much wild berry and not enough other goodness. Over time the wine popped out of its funk, but that took a fair amount of time. The real shock though was that this 2003 Weinstock Zin was alive and kicking. If the wine was not so unbalanced to start – I would have pronounced this the best Zin of the year, outside of the one I had at Dalton.
The wine note follows below:
2003 Weinstock Cellars Zinfandel Kosher Lodi – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi – Score: B++
The nose on this dark garnet to black colored wine starts first and foremost with wild berry smell that is overpowering, along with rich with oak, chocolate, black pepper, tobacco, blackberry, plum, and dirt. After the wild berries finally give way, the nose takes on a lovely complexion of espresso coffee, chocolate, roast meat, nice tannin, and dirt. The mouth on this medium bodied wine follows the nose at first totally over matched by the wild berry flavor, along with plum, blackberry, and red fruit. The mid palate is balanced with nice acid, oak, integrated tannin, and chocolate. The finish is spicy and long with chocolate, tobacco, black pepper, and wild berry. As the wild berry finally subsides the wine opens to more espresso coffee, tobacco, chocolate, black pepper, vanilla, and plum. The wild berry truly makes the wine feel unbalanced at times which is the shame. That said, I was truly shocked that this mevushal wine was even drinkable. The cork on the bottle was stuck, but this bottle was in no way corked or oxidized, which is impressive.