Painting the Pantry

The chaos from our most recent renovation project finally ruffled John’s feathers. Everything we own—from wine and bread crumbs to bike pumps and ski helmets—was strewn throughout the living/dining room in our new loft. Clutter from our once organized pantry occupied every surface in the kitchen. Paint cans, rollers and brushes were piled in the sink to dry. We had just finished priming the  shelves in the soon to be “coolest pantry in Denver.”

We were both tired, cranky and starving. The setting sun was just low enough in the sky to make our new sun umbrella totally useless. The air was hot and still and the sun was bright. Still, we opted to eat on the deck to escape the chaos inside.

I had taken two steaks out of the freezer that morning. While John fired up the grill, I surveyed the sparse contents of our refrigerator and found 1/2 an onion and some frozen peas. I chopped up the onion and threw it in a pan with 2 tablespoons of butter. When the onions became translucent,  I added one teaspoon of our organic Tarra·Cardamom Rub, two teaspoons of black currant vinegar and about a cup of red wine. I brought the whole thing to a boil then reduced it down. Mushrooms might have been a good addition, but I didn’t have any.

Though I take credit for what turned out to be an amazing sauce, it could not have been created without the genius input from Reese Hay, the chef du cuisine at the 8100 Mountainside Grill in the Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek and the creator of our Tarra·Cardamom rub.

While the sauce reduced, I picked through a jumbled pile in the living room and discovered a treasure—a bottle of Cristom. It’s an awesome pinot noir with “intense berry flavors, firm acidity, and light almost feminine tannins—near perfection in a glass”.  [ The words of Conde Cox of the Portland Monthly Magazine, not mine. To me it just tastes good.]

The meal was the perfect reward to a tumultuous and labor-intensive day: steaks grilled to perfection and drizzled with my new favorite red wine reduction sauce, and a great bottle of wine. The sun finally dropped behind Union Station, the sky lit up in reds and oranges, and a gentle breeze softened the heat of the day.

Who cares if the peas were frozen?

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