It was never my intent for this to be a "home cooking" blog - and it won't be, but bear with me, this ties in to an earlier post. Mrs. F was off on her own at Sra. Martinez [as to which more detailed thoughts will be forthcoming] tonight, while I was left to rifle through the fridge and construct a meal from what I could find. OK, let's see - an Italian dry sausage ... some Cypress Grove Midnight Moon cheese ... some local grown baby bok choy and spring onion from Norman Brothers ... the rest of the Carlisle RRV Syrah we opened last night ... I can work with this. While I enjoy cooking, I don't relish spending a ton of time making a meal when I'm only getting started at 9pm, so this will be quick. Onion chopped and into a hot pan with some oil, when it starts going golden the bok choy goes in. A splash of soy, a splash of black vinegar ... this lapsang souchong vinegar still looks OK, some of that too ... and a spoonful of toban jan sauce. Toss, lid down for a couple minutes, done.
The sausage was chewy and rich with a little spice and tang. The cheese, a Gouda-like aged goat cheese apparently produced specially for Cypress Grove in Holland, was firm but not hard, with nutty, salty, caramel notes, and little grainy crystals like a good Parmigiano-Reggiano. The wine was even better on the second day - blackberry, graphite, smoke, some nice acidity. And my quickly cooked baby bok choy didn't suck.
So what did all of these have in common? Fermentation. The sausage relies on fermentation both for preservation and flavor development. The cheese likewise is the product of fermentation. The vinegar (doubly so the lapsang souchong vinegar, which was flavored with fermented black tea) and toban jan (made with chiles and fermented broad beans) too. Wine - well, yeah. Completely unintentional and coincidental. And actually quite delicious - as noted in a comment to that prior post, all loaded with umami.
I still would have rather been at Sra. M's.