My brother John works night shifts, and last year I decided to surprise him with an invite for a little wine dinner at 4 a.m. I hadn't had the opportunity to hang out with him for a few months, and decided to replicate the experience.
This time the wine isn't quite as fancy, but it turned out to be a great one. I've got a soft spot for Paso Robles red blends, and this one did not disappoint. The 2005 Bishop's Peak Rock Solid Red was a steal on clearance at $10 (down from $15). 14% abv. 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Syrah, 23% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Petite Sirah. You never know with those bottles that end up on the sale rack, but this one aged well and had the structure to last until 2010. Soft and low tannins, full fruit flavors of black cherry, plums, and stewed fruit. I'm not going to recommend it for a typical breakfast, but with the more dinner-oriented meal we had it was a great match.
Needless to say, the meal was somewhat above the freeze-dried mystery rations we had to eat during a mountain backpacking trip in New Mexico. As I was on the tail end of housesitting for Paul and with the commandment to clean out the cupboard and larder, I defrosted a 2 lb. ribeye. I thoroughly covered it with Penzey's Northwoods seasoning and slow roasted it for a few hours until medium rare, and sliced it down the middle for two thick portions. For sides, I fried up sliced fingerling potatoes in a cast iron skillet and braised some baby bok choy with soy sauce. To top the beef, homemade red onion marmalade and a fresh sour cream-horseradish sauce.
Despite all of that description, you can't really see any of the food in this picture. But you can see a hungry and happy brother that had spent eight hours toiling in the dark. He put up with my early days of cooking when the results were often unpredictable and occasionally inedible, so the least I can do is put a good meal in the boy once in a while.