The In-laws from Heaven

Know what I love about my in-laws? They show up bearing gifts. Gifts of WINE! Wine and great company, that is. 😉

For the past few days, we’ve had some of the best food in town and a wide selection of exceptional wine. Except that one that reminded us all of manure. Which was weird.


Thanks Joe & Sue! We love you and wish you could have stayed longer. Mwah!

Brussels Sprouts

Brought to you by the Baptist Wine Club and the letter B.

So The Other Joe wants my recipe for Pork Loin Chops with Brussels Sprouts. And I’ll tell you something about it, I don’t remember where I got the basis for this, except that I ate a meal of salmon and brussels sprouts somewhere in California or Washington state on a business trip. I think, it’s all a little vague. But I absolutely remember the bitter tang of the sprouts in combination with the other flavors on that plate. It was one of those meals you pray is served in Heaven, so you won’t be deprived of its enjoyment once you shuffle off the mortal coil. It was that good.

With that said, I just sorta made up this meal earlier this week because thick-cut pork loin chops were on sale, and I just flat-out wanted some brussels sprouts. First and foremost – cook the pork chops any old way you like them. Mine were dusted with sage and dredged in bread crumbs, then sauteed in butter. You could do a roast with a little gravy made with the drippings deglazed with Calvados or port. That would be delicious.

Now for the important details. The secret here is in those infamous sprouts. You’ll need about a pound, removed from the stalk.

First, peel off any outer leaves that look wilted or dirty, then rinse in cold water.

Next, cut off most, but not all, of the tiny little nub that holds it all together. Slice each sprout length-wise (top to bottom), so that each little half is held together by that leftover stalk-bit. Now, slice each half horizontally* to the nub, so that you end up with a sort-of miniature shredded cabbage looking pile.

Separately, mince about half a yellow onion and two cloves of garlic. Keep these separate because the garlic goes in near the end.

To cook, saute the onion in some butter and olive oil till transparent. Add the shredded brussels sprouts, sauteing for 4-5 minutes. Toss in the garlic and some sea salt and fresh-ground pepper. Stir it all together and as soon as you smell the garlic, pour in 1/2 cup of vegetable broth OR 1/4 cup vegetable broth plus 1/4 cup dry white wine. Simmer for a minute or two till slightly reduced.

Serve with pork loin chop of your choosing. Enjoy!

*I really should have take pictures. This seems difficult to explain, but it’s actually pretty simple if a little time consuming. Alternatively, you could just quarter the suckers. That would be faster and just as pretty.

Middle Sister Rebel Red (California)

Dateline 1993 – Mom: “We didn’t expect you to be the rebellious one.” Me: “I’m not trying to be rebellious.”

Dateline 2009 – Me: “Ok. I am trying to be rebellious. Well, a little.” (Hi Mom!)

This red blend was simply irresistible. And not only because it was on sale for $9.99 at the HEB. I blame the funky Middle Sister in platform heels; residing in Santa Rosa, California, apparently. Little Sis and I don’t have a middle sister, but if we did, I’m sure she’d have put our pathetic attempts at rebellion to shame.

At first sip, this Zinfandel-Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon blend is light and refreshing. It’s clean and dry, lightly tannic, strongly cherry/raspberry, with a lingering, mild tobacco taste. Subtle, but out of the ordinary for a California Zin-Merlot-Cab blend. And also just right for dinner at home with take-out pizza on a (long overdue) rainy night.

I’ll confess this one is not something I’ll add to the regular rotation, but I might be persuaded to pick it up on sale. Maybe. If all the stars align. Or I’m feeling rebellious.

Procrastinate Sauvignon Blanc (California 2006)

I picked up this surprising SB at HEB for only $9. I mean really, who can pass up a label like “Procrastinate?” Not this procrastinator, so I didn’t. I bought it.

It helped that I was planning salmon with asparagus and rice for dinner, for which Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio are my preferred selections. It also helped that the label describes its contents as “vibrantly aromatic” with “notes of lime and lemon grass . . . ruby grapefruit, peach and citrus peel . . . tangerines.” Sounded perfect for dinner.

I was taken aback by the smooth, buttery mouth-feel and the balanced fruitiness, not things I’m accustomed to in a SB – which I usually find citrusy and crisp. And Handsome noticed a subtle yeastiness, which normally I avoid but works well for this wine.

It was good alone as I was preparing our meal and was pleasant with buttered French bread though it clashed rather severely with a half-wedge of Brie we were trying to finish up. I probably should have served the aged Provolone Picante hiding in the fridge instead – something to remember for next time. (Because really, who serves Brie with white wine?)

With dinner, the lemon grass and citrus peel flavors stood out making the wine taste more like what a Sauvignon Blanc normally tastes like. Crisp, cool, delicious, great with fish.

So yes, “vibrantly aromatic.” Easy drinking. Inexpensive. A welcome addition to the wine list here at Chez Knighton.