I've spent a good bit of the day working on a classic French beef stock, with the goal of eventually making demi-glace. Aside from that, I managed to come across a great sale on some Delmonico cuts of boneless ribeye, so I got one thick one for me and a thin one for the roommate who prefers her steaks well done. With mine, I had a glass or two of the 2004 Clay Station Petite Sirah, purchased for a song at $8. Apparently this winery is putting out a series of "emerging varietals", including things like Viognier and Malbec. The Petite Sirah is good, but not as strong as I generally like it. Smooth on the beginning and fully tannic on the end, with notes of cherry and blueberry. I'm anxious to try their other offerings, and appreciate this attempt to bring lesser known grapes into the mainstream. Though with my eclectic palate, these hardly count as unusual. Where's the Negroamaro and Kadarka?
Back to the stock: there's a tradition in restaurants or in households 200 years ago of keeping a kettle slightly boiling all the time. In the modern era, we normally see this with activities like making stock or soup. I roasted a bunch of beef soup bones, carrots, celery, and onion earlier, and added them to the enameled cast iron Dutch oven with a lot of cold, filtered water. I added some peppercorns, sprigs of rosemary and oregano (I don't have any fresh thyme on hand), and have been skimming the broth every hour or so. And when my roommate and I both had leftovers from our steaks, I tossed them in the pot. A couple of green beans got in there? No problem! I picked a couple of ripe tomatoes earlier, rinsed them and crushed them by hand into the sauce. Seriously, I've read incredible stories about what goes into the stock at commercial kitchens. Carrot peels, the inedible portions of the cow, leftovers from the sausage mill... All I can say is, the stock smells awesome and I haven't even strained it yet. Reduced down into proper demi-glace... I can hardly wait.