june. summer. could there be a better time to sit outside, drink, and eat great food? the only real answer to this is: no. many of my weekends these days consist of crossing the street to D&M, chatting with the guys there about the new wines they just got in, and heading to the park with some fruit, salami, cheese, a baguette, and toshi. glamorous eh? sf weather has been a real treat. and my only real issue each weekend is what to pair with the rose i inevitably bought at the store (#whitegirlproblems).
this weekend, i had a friend in town from slo who has been working in wineries and restaurants since i can remember. a real wino, if you will. i took her to the store to see what she had to say about these “wine masters” across the street, and we came out with 5 bottles of rose. shocker. we found two great porch pounders: villa creek (sweet smelling but twists your tongue with grapefruit) and knez (sour peach with a citrus/floral crisp). perfect for my park problems.
let’s skip ahead => on the last sunday of each month my friends and i get together to eat different variations of a thanksgiving feast – but with different themes. you could also call it a supperclub. this month’s theme: thai food. and guess what pairs absolutely perfectly with thai? three of the most buttery, fruity rose wines: cuvee from anne amie vineyards (a life changing pairing), caliza’s pink, and l’aventure’s rose (created by accident but is perfect – if you can find it, buy it).
each month a different host chooses a theme for dinner’s menu. past events: colors of the rainbow (each person gets a different color), chopped: basil, cajun, childhood favorites, names you can’t pronounce, picnic, and breakfast for dinner. we had chicken lettuce wraps, spring rolls, shrimp/cream cheese rangoons, cabbage slaw, pad thai, green curry, chicken satay, and a cold noodle salad.
i hosted this month and made a college staple and one of my favorite recipes ever: caramelized black pepper chicken. adapted from charles phan of the slanted door.
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
a little less than 1/4 cup fish sauce (nam pla)
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
2.5 shallots, thinly sliced
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
combine the sugar, fish sauce, water, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, pepper and jalapenos in a small bowl.
heat the oil in a large pan. add the shallot and cook over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. add the fish sauce mixture and the chicken and simmer over high heat until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce reduces and caramelize over the chicken. there should be very little sauce left at the bottom of the pan. serve.