Dinner inspiration, wine haul, underrated varietal

I was attempting to nap but couldn’t because ‘what to do for dinner’ was just whizzing around in my head. Also, the deck guys are digging the post holes outside my window, and it is intensely loud right now. Hey, at least the sun is out. Gorgeous day, but people, where is the heat?

Anyway, I have all these great veggies that are begging to be cooked so I have decreed that tonight will be crostini Thursday. While I find buffets to be appalling 95% of the time (weddings, cocktail parties excluded) and family-style meals kinda stress me out (what if I really like one thing and don’t want to share? Eeks!), the mezze sampler idea is right up my alley. I don’t know why I distinguish the latter two ideas but I do. So tonight I’m thinking of getting a great loaf of bread (some sort of not overly-aggressive multigrain) and making a few toppings: kale and white bean stewed together with garlic, Greek-style gigantes beans with tomatoes, maybe grilled fennel with olives and lemon zest, or quick preserved lemon? Ooh, I think that for sure. You could add some nice chevre to the fennel one, some creamy feta to the gigantes one (have y’all discovered barrel-aged feta? It might sound ridiculous but it’s pretty darn good), parm or pec to the kale/white bean concoction. Even though it’s chilly out, white wine sounds good to me with this but it’s pretty flexible, especially if you grill the bread and aren’t shy with your EVOO. I’m going to make each variation, put each in its own serving bowl and slap it all on the table with spoons, the aforementioned grilled bread and some vino.

Yesterday, I received 8 bottles of wine in the mail. Insane- my wine club delivered early, and my MIL/FIL sent me two incredible bottles: the Venus (Roussane) from Donelan. RMW, if you are reading this, Venus is the white we enjoyed so enthusiastically at the recent NEA dinner. You can only get this direct from the vineyard, so this was a special, much-appreciated treat for my bday. Thanks y’all! One of the bottles from my wine club (Hall) is called Jack’s Masterpiece which is neat. It needs to be cellared for a while so maybe at some point in the distant future, we can taste it.

Also, I want to bring your attention to Cabernet Franc. This is usually a blending grape, but I have been seeing more and more of it as a stand-alone or primary varietal. It is delicious- earthy, velvety, smooth. Oh man, I like it. I most recently had the Alexander Valley Vineyards Cab Franc ‘07; that was in New Orleans. Back in DC, I’ve only been able to place an order for the ‘08 and I hope it’s as good.

Off to make lunch. Send sleep vibes to Oliver who is, amazingly, still asleep despite the drilling through stone that is going on immediately outside our back door.