The holidays are here. Oh yes they are. I made this Spaghetti Squash Salad just so that I could take a moment and breath.
If your holidays are anything like mine the dwindling days between now and the new year are filled with shopping lists and parking lots. The nights are packed just as tight with loud, laughing parties for work or with friends, friends, more friends, and friends of friends. Breathe, Greg. Breathe.
Some of these events probably include a celebratory dinner or two. The kind that will keep you out of breath and in the kitchen for hours and hours (if not days and days). These multi-coursed marathons are mandatory this time of year. After all, standing rib roasts are once-a-year affairs (at least in my house). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I’m looking forward to all the exuberance. Really I am. But sometimes you’ve just got to give yourself a breather with the gift of a quiet dinner at home with special friends or maybe just that one special someone. After all, the season is meant to be enjoyed. A quiet, simple meal is one of my favorite ways to celebrate.
Another way I know the holidays are fast approaching is the state of my wine cellar. It always seems that by December there quite a few special bottles of wine stacking up– and they start calling my name.
Some will be cellared more deeply (where I can’t hear them), some may find their way under the Christmas trees of close friends. The loudest chorus comes from wines that were set aside in previous years for a glamorous evening spent with a rib roast or the like. But some sing so sweetly that I just know they’re destined to be enjoyed on a quiet evening at home.
Lula Cellars 2012 Costa Vineyard Pinot Noir
Pairs well with grilled salmon, seared duck breast, and grilled lamb chops
It’s these moments that I like to make something simple to highlight the special wine I’ve chosen for quieter evenings. Just because a wine is special (or even quite expensive) doesn’t necessarily mean I need to reach too deeply into my culinary bag of tricks to do the wine justice. Holidays, aside, I wouldn’t want to make a meal that struts all over the special qualities of a special wine I’ve been looking forward to sampling.
Spaghetti Squash Salad and Lula Cellars Pinot Noir
This Farro and Spaghetti Squash Salad is the perfect example of a the kind of simple meal that deserves a special wine. It’s studded with little jewel like dried cranberries which gives the salad its holiday flair and makes eating it by the Christmas tree seem like the right thing to do. The pomegranate juice in the dressing carries the weight of the nutty farro nicely. There’s barely any vinegar in the dressing, which means the Lula Cellars 2012 Costa Vineyard Pinot Noir doesn’t have to work too hard to out swagger the salad. I also need to mention that the spaghetti squash I used for this special meal was grown right on the same property in the Anderson Valley as the grapes in the pinot noir. I’m not saying I stole it (exactly). But they were born to be together.
Now go ahead and breath. Enjoy the holidays. I hope you can put aside some time for a quiet dinner at home. I’m sure glad I did. GREG