Tuesday, September 13, 2011


What were you doing that Sunday? Me?   I was cooking dinner for my nephew Frank, his girlfriend Cindy, my wife Laura and myself. I watched a cooking show the day before; the recipe was braised pork shoulder and mushroom dumplings and gravy. It looked awesome and I had to give it a whirl. Not to mention, my nephew is always a sucker for my experimental cooking.

As I started chopping my ingredients, I had inadvertently tuned my television to msnbc, which was replaying the entire live broadcast of 9-11-01. At first I thought it would be cruel to play such a thing on the 10th anniversary of the disaster. However, as I watched I was drawn to it. I had been working the day it happened and found it quite interesting hearing it as if it were live. I learned things I did not know before and I was reminded how precious our lives are.

I continued preparing the evening meal. Frank and Cindy arrived right on time and dinner was served. The pork was braised in a bath of celery, carrots, onion, garlic, fresh thyme, rosemary, paprika, peperoncino oil, sherry, chicken broth, beef broth, and tomato paste. The pork cooked for two and half hours before it was removed and the bath water strained. I made the dumplings with self-rising flour, butter, cream of mushroom soup, salt, and pepper. The dumplings cooked in the strained broth. Lastly, I made petite peas steamed with salt, pepper and French fried shallots.

As we ate dinner, a discussion broke out about the anniversary program I had watched earlier and memories started popping up. Everyone could remember where they were the moment the event occurred. It seemed as if it happened yesterday. Of course, we all understood the tremendous tragedy that handcuffed the entire country as the result of the fantastic event. Now I have an even greater appreciation for the heroes that perished that day.

As usual, I had chosen a wine to serve with dinner. Cindy informed me that she eagerly awaited my wine of choice. I decided on a bottle of Louis Jadot Vosne-Romanee 2005. I decanted the bottle a half hour before dinner. The color was gorgeous, a deep "burgundy" red. Aromas of crushed dark fruit and spice rose from the vessel. Flavors of raspberry, violets, and dark mineral caressed my palate. This wine has a silky texture and an elegant finish. I had never tasted a wine from this appellation until today. To my anticipated surprise the wine was a hit and paired perfectly with all aspects of the meal. I am glad that I have five more bottles in my cellar aging to perfection.

Once again great food, awesome wine, tremendous company and a reason to celebrate made today a day to remember.

You can try this recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/aaron-mccargo-jr/braised-pork-shanks-with-mushroom-dumplings-recipe/index.html