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Lovely Sausage Stew, Quinoa, vegetable kugel, and current kosher Cabernet Franc wines

This past weekend I finally got around to something I have been planning for sometime, which was my Cabernet Franc Horizontal. To be fair, it was more like two horizontals, one for 2006 and one for 2007, along with a 2005 wine thrown in. So I guess I am using the term liberally, but hey, this is my blog! Anyway, the wines were quite lovely, with the only real loser being an a fore mentioned wine that was previously in a dumb period, and now I think it is just going down hill, that being the 2007 Hagafen Cabernet Franc. My deep love for all things Franc is clear and documented here.

That said, though the wines were great to exceptional, none of them exhibited anything Franc’ish. I say this because, there was almost no vegetal notes (even from Four gates), and little to no floral notes or even floral perfumes. Instead, what we had was deep and expressive wines that were nice, but more Cab’ish than Franc’ish. The common notes were, Oak/Cedar, Chocolate, Tobacco, and red fruit. There were a couple of wines with black fruit and rich flavors as well.

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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.

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