April 29, 2011

The guest who brings everything

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A while ago I received a call from one of my dear friends, who informed me that she had picked up a little something for me while tasting the 2010 vintage in Bordeaux.  It turns out that in addition to the box of canelés - which she had delivered to me a mere week before - she had brought back some andouillette.  That she would remember my love for this pungent sausage (on top of those sweet little bites from Bordeaux) was extremely heart-warming.  It's not exactly easy to find this outside of France...

I was trying to decide who I should share this wonderful treasure with, since - as much as I love it and would go looking for it all over France - the idea of devouring this big, white schlong by myself was a little too much...  It didn't take long for my good buddy Mr. Ho - who is actually French - to agree to split it with me.

There were already items for me to snack on upon arrival at the Ho residence, as Mrs. Ho had just bought herself a new toy in the form of an electric slicer.  I can't remember what kind of ham this was, but it sure looked and tasted good at this level of thickness.

There was also some homemade mozzarella and tomato pizza.  The thin crust was homemade and I was amazed at the fragrance and flavor coming from the cheese... until I was informed that the secret ingredient was truffle oil!  Yum!

As it traditional, there was a healthy arugula and cherry tomato salad.  The tomatoes were so sweet... and the arugula was nice, too.

The main event for me, of course, was the andouillette.  Mr. Ho had found instructions to prepare this by slowly browning it in a pan, on a bed of shallots.  It was all going well until he covered the pan with the lid - as instructed - after which one end of the sausage burst under the heat and pressure.  But otherwise the sausage looked perfect.

Surprisingly the smell wasn't as pungent as we all expected.  There was certainly some of the distinct smell of intestines, but Mr. Ho and I both have had experiences where the "perfume" permeated an entire section of a restaurant... In the end, this was a thoroughly enjoyable dish - albeit a little rich and heavy.

There was also some homemade lemon and mint granita, where the mint flavors temporarily overwhelmed my palate.  Very refreshing, though!

I also brought two bottles of wine for the evening.  Later on during the evening, Mrs. Ho jokingly referred to me as "the best dinner guest" since I brought all the wines as well as my own dinner...  Well, I guess that's just the kinda guy I am!

1985 Veuve Clicquot Rare Vintage Rosé - as the label as "Rare Vintage" I'm assuming that this wasn't actually released onto the market years ago, but was disgorged only recently.  Nose was nice and slightly mineral, fruity with salty plum, caramelized sugar and honey.  The nose was still somewhat fresh which supported my guess that this was an "RD".

1995 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection - I had just had the 1997 vintage last night, and was curious to compare the two vintages.  Decanted for about 3 hours before we got to drinking it.  Nose was very grassy, pretty sweet, still pretty alcoholic, smoky, minty with strong notes of herbs.  Still a pretty full-bodied wine with good concentration.  This wine could easily last another 15-20 years.

This was a fun and relaxing way to spend Friday night.  Perhaps Mrs. Ho will allow me to bring over my own dinner again soon...

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