A few days ago I bought a $30 bottle of Pineau des Charentes to make a "jelly" described thusly in My Bombay Kitchen: "Here's a twist on an old Parsi favorite of jellied port or sherry with stewed prunes. Pineau des Charentes is a little extravagant, but you can serve only a little bit of it with a compote of fresh fruit. It's like having your dessert wine and fruit all at once."
Pineau des Charentes. PINEAU DES CHARENTES!!!! I never knew what I was missing these forty-two years. I may never get around to the jelly (and will never get around to the compote), but have made the acquaintance of PINEAU DES CHARENTES!!!!
Holy mackerel, this is some fine alcohol. Reminiscent of Lillet but richer, more syrupy, more ridiculously delicious, more likely to give me a quiet, nagging hangover tomorrow but so heavenly I shall ignore the warning signs.
Tonight, I banged out a very workmanlike, extremely spicy meal from Bombay, and to my surprise, my finicky children approved.
First, Parsiburgers. Okay, a copout -- but it was a rocky day. One of the easier recipes in King's book, essentially ground turkey mixed with some Asian ingredients (ginger, chile, cilantro). Isabel took one bite and said, in her flat tweener way, yum, then proceeded to eat the whole thing. With her fingers.
Owen also partook copiously, and applauded the quick-cooked greens, commenting that on TV kids are always saying how they don't like spinach when in fact it's really good. His chest puffed out a little as he made this declaration.
Personally, I have mixed feelings about the quick-braised greens which lacked the oily vigor of Chinese-style greens. Also about the carrot-raisin salad. Sweet and orange and innocent-looking, but austere and killer fiery with all that chopped green chili. Tasty, but definitely unusual and vaguely sinister, given childhood associations with carrot-raisin salad.
Dessert was a fresh tangerine "jelly" ("Molded desserts are old-fashioned, certainly, but so much fun," enthuses King.) that collapsed into a bright puddle when I tried to ceremoniously unmold it onto a platter. Though we ate every bite, this engineering failure makes me wonder if I should waste my PINEAU DES CHARENTES!!!! on a possibly futile molded jelly.
I shall pour myself another wee dram and ponder.