nov. 28, 2010: i was at the grocery store yesterday and a bag of dried split peas caught my eye. i'd seen a recipe for split pea soup in a mediterranean cookbook my father had given me as an early christmas gift, and i decided i'd prepare it for dinner tonight. first i soaked the peas overnight, which made the cooking process much swifter. i decided i'd add smoked bacon and carrots (i sauteed the bacon with the carrots and onions in sunflower oil first, then added the chicken stock and split peas). i think this turned out pretty well. it definitely had a smoky flavor, but it wasn't overwhelming. plus, i got a tip from another online recipe to serve it with freshly fried crisp bacon, and it was very good.
also, earlier in the day i used what was left of our basil plant to make pesto via http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/basil-pesto-recipe2/index.html. i added the pesto to the rest of the rotisserie chicken greg had prepared on friday, using the cuisinart to cut it into smaller pieces. i mixed in mayonnaise and the pesto and let it sit (though i wish i had made more pesto for this dish). i had bought a fresh loaf of crusty french bread (not a baguette) from schnucks this afternoon, and i sliced that up and toasted it in our oven. then i spread each side of the bread with mayonnaise and topped it with the pesto chicken and some sliced roasted red peppers i made this afternoon (very easy to do, especially if your gas grill accidentally catches on fire. this is when it's good to have a very alert and very smart shepherd-mix named ashby, who can whine to let you know about the blaze outside your back door.) anyway, this sandwich would have been better with more pesto flavoring, and i would have liked to have added some pesto to the mayo that i spread on the toasted bread, too.
we paired this soup and salad mix with this australian, which was a blend of semillon (65 percent), sauvignon blanc (21 percent) and riesling (14 percent). greg liked it, saying it was citrusy without being overwhelmed by grapefruit. i wasn't so sure. i definitely tasted lemon and a certain tartness, and i thought it was better paired with the pesto chicken than the split pea soup. but i wouldn't get it again. schnucks on north green river.
this column runs as "bottle by bottle" in the evansville courier and press twice or so a month. the focus is on wines, food and how they intersect. if i receive gifts, i'll tell you. photo credits are noted. i buy most of my wines from winetree, varsity liquors, schnucks, the fresh market, kwik liquor and winestyles (in evansville, ind.); big red liquors and sahara mart (in bloomington, ind.); vecchio's italian market (in newburgh, ind.); whole foods (in st. louis); and binny's (in chicago.) also, i do try a number of wines that i don't necessarily mention in the column, through travels to france and other markets (germany, hungary, italy, etc.) that don't sell wines i can find here. those experiences factor into my tasting descriptions, even if i don't mention them in the column, so keep all that in mind. i write the column to tell my readers in the evansville, ind., area what i consider to be flavorful, balanced and good-value wines for sale in this area.