24 March 2008

Easter cooking

I like Easter.
We spent most of Saturday in the kitchen, and the rhythm of rising dough, reducing onions, dyeing eggs and preparing chocolate kept everyone in a good mood as we cleaned the house and watched more snow fall. Our kids helped a lot in the kitchen, finding aspects of the holiday cooking that they enjoyed doing.

My wife doesn’t like a too-sweet coffee cake in the morning so we made an egg-and almond-rich gugelhopf. I let the starter ferment overnight, giving the final cake a lovely soft tang to it. Mixing the starter with the egg-rich dough makes for beautiful kneading, and my son loved working the dough. I’d say our gugelhopf was more of a bread than a cake. The round loaf was encrusted with almonds, and the dark and golden raisins added a soft sweetness to the festive bread.

We headed to a friend’s home for Easter dinner and thought an onion tart would be a nice accompaniment to the ham they were serving. I love slow cooking onions, watching two or three pounds of onions reduce to a sweet mass of marmalade. My youngest hovered by the stove and regularly stirred the mixture. I added a bit of sweet red pepper for color and a little heavy cream to celebrate. I thought the cream would add the right amount of fat to the tart, and that would make for a good onion tart and wine combination. We drank a nice riesling with it, a 2001 Dr. Thanisch Bernkasteler Badstube Kabinett. I love riesling with a few years on it. They age so well but it seems that few people give the wine the time it needs to mature. Even a few years like this makes for a beautiful, elegant bottle of wine. The pale yellow color deepens a bit, and the nose is rich with a mineraly smell; one could almost extract petroleum from it. And then bam! and I’m floored by the balance between acidity and a gorgeous pineapple and green apple fruit. My wife always laughs at my obsession with matching a certain dish with a specific bottle of wine, but sitting there yesterday with my family and friends, eating ham and an onion tart and drinking this riesling, I thought, “Ahh, another perfect combination.”

No comments:

Post a Comment