Lamb loin chops; panzanella with eggplant; exploding beer bottle – 23 September 2017

OK, so this set out to be a great dinner and it was, and then the beer (actually, cider) bottle explosion definitely made it a memorable evening.

I wanted to make the eggplant panzanella from Weber’s Big Book of Grilling (p. 198-9), and decided what the heck, I’d make the lamb chops, too. I bought a cute, small globe eggplant – probably smaller than the recipe really meant – at the farmers’ market last week, along with two pretty summer squashes I used last night, in order to make this. D had cut up a baguette we mistakenly left out overnight (so too hard to eat) and left in its bag for future panzanella – and then I noticed today that this recipe, unsurprisingly but I didn’t remember, requires slices of bread (2, Italian; I used an extra one in addition b/c it was small and would have been left over) instead of crouton sized, b/c the bread is grilled. So I got some Acme Italian slices out of the freezer and let them defrost, and they worked perfectly. Used about 4 small tomatoes from Dirty Girl Farm (farmers’ market) and Ella Bella (Bowl). Also a pile of smallish leaves from our soon-to-be-gone basil plant out back. I ran out of dressing following my recipe notes of using half the recipe, so made another half recipe. Make whole recipe next time, and use the leftovers for something – it’s a perfectly fine balsamic vinaigrette.

I bought a loaf of Morell’s Country at the farmers’ market (we biked up, bought new helmets, forgot the movie from the library) and we had that with dinner (and also for lunch for cheese sandwiches).

Bowl doesn’t apparently do rib chops, so I bought 4 loin chops, which were much thicker than the required 3/4″ (maybe 1 1/4″?). D grilled them about 10 minutes on high, then about 5 more on medium. The chops are coated with the dressing, as are the bread slices and the eggplant slices, before grilling. I didn’t notice the taste of the dressing/marinade on the lamb, but on the bread it was super good.

Recipe is in my accompanying recipe blog, so I don’t have to keep typing it in.

I remembered that we still had a wine I just adored when I tasted it at Solano Cellars, and dug that up from the cellar. It was much lighter than I recalled – more like the brilliant Failla we tasted at my student M’s employer’s place (Failla – duh) several years ago. Absolutely beautiful wine: McHenry Pinot Noir, 2010, Santa Cruz Mountains. I remmber it was pricey, but didn’t write the $ on the bottle. Nor when I bought it, but I’m guessing it was more than 3 years ago. Anyway, it was about a perfect wine IMO. Fewer than 320 cases produced. Yikes.

And then, as we sat talking after dinner, a boom sounded from the dining room. Sounded like a transformer blowing or something. Turned out to be one of the bottle of sweet cider we’d gotten from R&E’s batch. Apparently, the yeast really liked being in the warmish room and metabolized the residual sugar all to heck, and breathed out their CO2 in quantity. Have to congratulate the bottle capper – the bottle blew but held onto its cap. Interesting. Anyway, pieces of bottle and pools of cider (sniff) everywhere – in kitchen corners, down the hall almost past the dining room – yikes, glad no one got hit by it. Amazing. So we texted them and I decided to uncap the other two bottles that were in the warm room instead of in the fridge, and R&E came over with sanitizer (phosphoric acid or something like that) and the capping equipment so we could recap them. I popped off one cap and got a geyser up about 3 feet, so lost most of that one (we drank it after sitting it in the freezer for awhile) and then just squidged open the second one so it just oozed some bubbles, and they were able to recap that one. And put it in the fridge!

More interesting than many dinners, anyway.

Ah, lunch.

I bought the bread in the morning (great that Morell’s is open before lunch now!) so we could have it for a sandwich for lunch, and then with the lamb chops for dinner. Unfortunately, I’m adding this lunch part on 12 October, so I don’t remember what kind of sandwich it was, but I’m sure it was cheese of some good variety, with romaine and mayonnaise. Nice avocado and romaine salad there, with evidently balsamic vinaigrette.


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