If I had a food show on T.V., I would call it Real. Simple. Food. And that’s the way I like to cook. My food is not fancy. It doesn’t have strange ingredients that you’ve never heard of. It’s designed to be affordable, tasty and good. Really good.
No, I’m not a professionally trained chef – and I would never claim to be. In fact, when it comes to my cooking I tend to be fairly humble. The last (and only) cooking course I ever took was in 7th grade. I learned to cook because my mom went back to college and most of her courses were at night. Someone had to pick up the slack. My dad can “cook” toast. And even at that, he burns it almost every time. He says that he likes it that way. My sister never really had the desire and cooks enough to get by with two little kids. She has recently taken up baking and is doing a great job.
But enough about all that – it’s just an intro after all.
Tonight we had real, simple, food. I made Mac n Cheese (the hard way).
With a blackberry / raspberry port wine reduction.
Grilled corn and fresh French Bread.
Seriously, this is easy food. The hardest part for me (typical) was choosing the wine for tonight.
We started with a 2007 Chardonnay from Michel-Schlumberger in Dry Creek Valley.
This valley sits up in the northern part of Sonoma County and is considered a warmer valley. The grapes for this wine actually come from Dry Creek. Let me tell you, Dry Creek is not where we normally turn to for Chardonnay. It’s actually a rare grape in that region which is better known for its Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc.
I was expecting a big, bold and buttery Chardonnay. What I got instead was a beautifully balanced wine with aromas of apples, baked bread and quince. In the mouth this wine got even better. Full, rich and not buttery, but with a lighter finish. During the glass plus that I had, the wine kept getting better and better. Let’s just say I was truly impressed.
With dinner, I chose a Malbec out of the Rock Pile region by Keating Wines.
Keating Wines is a small producer, who is about ready to open a tasting room south of the town of Sonoma, with some really killer wines. I was first introduced to Keating Wines about two years ago and just fell in love with this Malbec. He also produces small amounts of Petite Sirah and Merlot, with some Cabernet and Zinfandel coming in the near future.
Most of the Rock Pile Viticulture Area is planted to Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, but there’s also a few Bordeaux varietals up there too, including this Malbec vineyard.
I’ve found this to be one of the best Malbec’s in Sonoma County. The fruit is ripe, but not too much so. There’s an excellent mouthfeel that leads to a long, dry finish, but it’s not overly tannic.
I think it was a great choice for the meal and it paired perfectly with our pork chops and port reduction.
No meal is complete without dessert….
Yes, that’s a Tinker Bell plate. It’s leftover from my daughter’s birthday. My wife made these amazing Nutella butter cookies and we had some vanilla ice cream too. The sauce is the same port reduction that we used on the pork chops. Again, it’s simple. One sauce, two purposes. Everything really doesn’t have to be complicated, just make sure it’s real.