March 3, 2017

Cooking for mom

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I'm back home in Taipei for a short trip, spending time with the Parental Units and celebrating mom's birthday.  Normally I would just book a table at STAY, and having just had lunch with Chef Pierrick Maire in Bangkok last week, that would have been the easy solution.

But Hello Kitty suggested that we cook for mom instead, and deep down I knew that would make her much happier... and so we did.  Well, when I say "we", I meant Hello Kitty.  My culinary repertoire is pretty limited, but fortunately I brought along my pinch hitter...

After dropping off our luggage at my place, we made a mad dash for CitySuper so Hello Kitty could quickly take stock of the available ingredients and decide what she was gonna cook.  We didn't have a whole lot of time, and it's always tough to find the ingredients we want in Taipei, but oh well...

We saw a package of beef shank from Rangers Valley, and we were reminded of the Black Market beef we had earlier this year.  We figured that this would work well in a stew, and picked up some veggies and other ingredients to go along.

Hello Kitty wanted to pick up a bottle of supermarket wine to dump into the beef stew, but I had other ideas.  I have a few bottles of 1997 Beringer Merlot Private Reserve Howell Mountain lying around, and I didn't think it was going to get much better with age, so I popped open a bottle and asked Hello Kitty to use it for her beef.  She was pretty shocked at first, but as the beef was cooking she quickly realized that it does matter what wine you use - and she could smell it.  Hey, we're cooking for my mom, and nothing's too good when it comes to the Parental Units.

We started with a simple salad, which mom seemed to like a lot.

Bœuf bourguignon - we were a little short on time, so the carrots weren't as tender as I'm used to, but the beef shank was definitely tender enough.  And yes, the flavors from the wine made things much better.  The spaghetti was cooked al dente, with some pan-fried garlic.

The classic chocolate cake from Black As Chocolate is something I know that mom likes, as it's not deathly sweet.  It was perfect.

Birthday celebrations aren't complete without wine, and of course I opened a bottle from mom's vintage...

1943 Cheval Blanc, Eschenauer bottling - smoky nose with grilled meats, nice and fragrant cedar notes, leather, and a little stewed fruits.  A nice surprise.

Mom was very happy.  Hello Kitty had cooked dishes which aren't in mom's repertoire, and that is always interesting to mom.  Mom even packed the leftovers home, knowing that we wouldn't have the opportunity to finish it.  I'm grateful to have had Hello Kitty's help, and glad that everything turned out well despite the mad rush.

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