The other night we had the honor of attending a rather lively party that started out at the Chapel Bar (a funeral home in a previous incarnation) in Seattle. I’m always hesitant about ordering a mixed drink at a new place until I know they know what they’re doing, so I started with a Hendrick’s on the rocks with cucumber, always a safe choice.
But once I had tasted someone else’s The Carpenter and the Walrus (bourbon and sweet tea with bitters, surprisingly good), I realized Chapel seemed to have a grip on their cocktails, so I ordered a Pomegranate. It was tequila, lime and pomegranate juice – a very nice combination, and one that kicked rather a wallop. The ladies next to me were drinking the same thing but with vodka, basically a tart Cosmo – it didn’t really do anything for me, I preferred the tequila. Soon after this, we made our escape, needing to sober up before the drive home.
But the notion of pomegranate juice in a cocktail was an excellent one, inviting further experimentation. Continue reading
I can’t remember now when it was that we went out to visit the Boudreaux winery. Maybe summer before last? Anyway, it’s not all that far from my parents’ house, but it takes a while to get there, being way way up Icicle Creek and over a slightly alarming bridge. We know Rob, the winemaker, from back when he worked at KOHO radio – he interviewed our band several times. Now he’s making really kick-ass wine from some of the best vineyards in the state, working out of a winery which is completely off the grid. Not bad.
Rob’s wine isn’t cheap, so we didn’t exactly stock up while we were at the winery, but we did indulge in a bottle of his 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon. We were saving it for a special occasion, and we finally decided there was no time like the present – as in, last Friday. I am pleased to announce that the wine was worth the wait – it’s definitely a fruitbomb, but it’s a fruitbomb with character and nuance. It had woodsy, charry notes along with the jam, and every sip seemed a little different, depending what food we were eating at the moment.
To support the wine, we decided on a dinner of lamb rib chops, rubbed with salt, cumin and berbere powder, alongside our new favorite side dish of chickpeas cooked with garlic, pomegranate molasses, saffron and cilantro. The combination was amazing. We did do one thing differently with the chickpeas this time: we actually followed the full recipe and added fresh pomegranate seeds. I don’t always like the fibrousness of the seeds, but it seemed worth it this time.
This was a spur of the moment side dish that I threw together last week. I had originally intended to make a Turkish salad of chickpeas, cumin and lemon, but then I got sidetracked by pomegranate molasses and fresh garden tomatoes – one of those cooking moments that seem to happen to me so often, where I have two or three cookbooks open and end up ignoring all of them. Fortunately, this turned out delicious.
Impromptu Chickpea Salad
1 red onion, minced
a spoonful of pomegranate molasses
1 can chickpeas, drained
handful fresh spinach leaves
fresh mint, chopped
fresh parsley, chopped
several little red tomatoes, halved
Combine the chickpeas, spinach and herbs in a bowl large enough to hold the salad. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and saute the red onion until just softened. Stir in the pomegranate molasses, then add the hot onion mixture to the salad bowl. Toss to wilt the spinach. Add the fresh herbs and tomatoes, and extra olive oil if desired. Let sit at room temperature for half an hour or so before serving.