Fishing Stories & Dinner

WE’LL HAVE DO IT AGAIN SOMETIME – sigh!

Dinner was glorious, it’s late, my fingers are numb, I’d sleep – but I can’t. I made the green beans first, they will hold the longest.

Right after I got back from the range, (mud is hard to get off of the pad,) I threw 2 lbs. of cleaned and halved beans in a pot of salted cold water. I let them soak for about 10 minutes while I took a shower.

a-beans.jpegWhen I got out of the shower I took the beans out of the water and set the pan to boil. I chopped a pound of thick sliced bacon into 1/3 lengths and set it to frying. I patted the steaks dry – they were out all day getting to room temperature. I crushed a pile of garlic and put it in a dish. Rub steaks with olive oil, garlic, black pepper. Cut lemon in half. Turn on the player – a little Annie Lenox and some Linda Rhonstedt – ‘Cry Like A Rainstorm’ should be the right tone, temper it with ‘No More I Love You’s.’ Why are there no fly fishing songs?

Can you tell I was running late? I put the beans and some garlic in the boiling salted water and blanched for about 4 minutes. Drain the beans on a towel. Continue frying the bacon until it’s mostly crisp, remove from pan, reserve the fat. Pat the bacon dry with paper towels and let it crumble. Where’s the dammned slivered almonds? Open package of almonds. Put three giant potatoes in the microwave – wrapped in paper towels. Cook for 10 minutes, turn and cook for 5-10 more. Remove and cut in half and let cool a bit.

a-2bak-tater.jpgTake butter out of refrigerator and put on table, set table, use clean napkins, wine glasses, water glasses, what else? Use two forks and a steak knife. Set out wines. Return to kitchen. Scoop out the potato and leave skin shells intact. Mix a little milk, butter, salt, garlic with potatoes and mash – pretty smooth. Put mashed spuds back in shells and top with giant pile of Cheddar and Gruyere cheese.

v-sattui.JPGTurn oven on to 500 degrees. Put giant cast iron skillet in oven. Open bag of donuts and place on paper towel in refrigerator. Fix face, fix hair, get dressed, spray some Fabreeze on the couch and in the living room, open window, put on shoes!

Answer door. “Hi & howdy, thanks – it’ll be ready soon. Which wine? OK, the 1986 V. Sattui, Preston Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon. Open two bottles and let them breathe. I’ll get some water and glasses – save the corks for my collection.”

Put giant skillet from oven onto high flame. Toss in the rib eye steaks, scatter some salt and watch the smoke. Put potatoes on baking dish. Turn steaks over – let sere for two minutes – “how’s the wine smell? Good. What’s fishing? Where – oh! that big? Really, why not? OK.” Turn steaks and place whole thing into the 500 degree oven, reduce heat to 375 and put potatoes in oven.

Reheat bacon grease, pour off most of grease, throw beans and bacon back into the pan with some garlic. Stir and add just a pinch of salt – cook and stir until hot but not too wilted, squeeze lemon and add almonds, stir – dump on serving dish, check steaks – turn and remove from oven – cover skillet with foil. Remove potatoes and place on serving dish. “Would you please pour the wine – no sipping.”

Take the beans and potatoes to table, you sit there, “here’s to fine wine and good fishing” – just a bit of oak too much. Bring steaks to table, place on plates. Run to bathroom and fix face. Sit down.

“Have some beans – it’s my aunt’s recipe – takes a lot of preperation and seasoning – oops forgot the salt and pepper – be right back.” Take ice cream out of freezer, get salt and pepper.

aba-rib-eye-steak.jpgThe steaks were medium rare, tender and juicy, the beans were perfect, the little black edges of the potatoes added character, and the wine was just the way a California Cab should be – very tasty and a bit too complex for my palate, and it didn’t reek.

This particular bottle was #0001 from the 1986 vintage and is signed by both Sattui and Preston. It’s about as old as a California Cab can be and still be good. It’s a gold medal wine and I have liked it very much over the last 15 years.

It’s not at all bitter and both the plum and old raspberry tastes are aparent – this is one of those wines with flavors so subtle that it’s hard for me to describe. The other bottle was # 0101 and was not signed but tasted just as good. As a matter of fact it tasted better since it had just about an hour to breathe. The corks were fine and there was just a hint of musty prunes. The wine was so good that it was hard to keep in the mouth – yummie. The finish was lingering and mellow. Did I mention the nose – I could leave mine in the glass for hours! We sent both bottles on their way to Cabernet heaven – to the last drop.

We talked and ate and I learned about fishing over in Ennis, and up on the Missouri, and some other places I have to visit next year. Maybe I should buy an Idaho license next year and fish the Henry’s Fork, even if it’s more famous than good. “Let me heat the pan for the donuts, I got some ice cream from the store, too.”

butter fried donutHeat too much butter in pan, (medium high or so,) take donuts out of refrigerator, put in hot pan and mash flat with a spatula, (they should sizzle.) Hold down for 15 – 20 seconds, turn over and mash again. Cook until light golden color – don’t burn. Pat with paper towel and grind some nutmeg and cinnamon on the donuts – sprinkle with powdered sugar. Top with French Vanilla ice cream, (and pineapple sauce for real decadence.)

The donuts were perfect, (one was a little dark – preoccupation with other matters,) and we let them cool just a little before we added the French Vanilla ice cream. “Oh, you’re right it is late. See ya later. We’ll have to do it again.” The dripping rain just added to the charm of the evening. Like a shot needs to shoot? Thanks Linda.

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