Lisa from Bouke

Roast pork loin with rosemary
with piquillo pepper, blood orange and rosemary relish
lentils with walnuts, capers and mint
green beans with basil

American cheeses and fruit

Hermann J. Weimer Cabernet Franc 2007, Fingerlakes New York State
Hosmer Cabernet Franc 2006, Fingerlakes New York State


Billy Vivos was the host for our March vinartculture dinner.   Lisa Donneson, founder of Bouke wines from the North Fork of Long Island,  joined us for dinner.   Sourcing her grapes from various North Fork growers, Lisa produces a red, white and rose, all blends.  The op-art label design is a favorite of mine and her bottles arrived in individual felted bags.  Her attention to packaging and design is carried through to her uniques blends.  Check out her website at:

Tom, the chef for tonight’s dinner, created an excellant pairing to the Cabernet Franc.  The herbaceous rosemary perfumed pork hit me the minute I stepped into the elevator.  Served with the piquillo pepper, blood orange relish and lentils, it played off the fruit, vegetal and earty notes in the wine.   The pork was cooked to perfection and we all enjoyed the texture of the lentil dish with capers and walnuts. We finished off the dinner with American cheeses.  My favorite was Manchester, an aged raw milk washed rind goat cheese from Consider Bardwell Dairy in Western Vermont.  Billy’s apartment sits on a perch in the heart of the city with dramatic visuals above and below.  The room was filled with the roasted aromas of the pork and warm with candlelight.  The setting was Hopperesque,  everything swallowed up in light inside and out.

plating dinner New York state of mind........

We settled on pork as a good and versatile meat that would pair well with New York cabernet franc. My inclination was to braise it in milk, but since the previous two dinners had involved a braised meat, Carlita suggested roasting instead. This caused me momentarily alarm. My few experiences with roasted meats had not been very successful, and in fact my one roast pork loin had caught on fire on top. I tend to associate roast pork with a dry, flavorless disappointment, which also is how I often think of life. No need to follow that particular thought.

At any rate, I found a simple recipe in the ever reliable SAVEUR magazine: A five-six pound boneless loin is rubbed with oil, seasoned with salt and rosemary, first browned on the stovetop and then roasted inside the contented roar of the oven for about two hours at 250 degree—I would recommend a little longer—until a meat thermometer reads 150 degrees. Then tent it with aluminum foil for another half hour outside the oven. That’s about it. The meat turned out moist, trailed by the faint scent of the rosemary. One might even venture out on a limb and bandy about extravagant words like “succulent.”

The side dishes were also easily prepared and, I think we would agree, worthy choices. Green beans sauted in oil and then tossed with basil is something I’ve done quite often, and it’s close to foolproof. The lentil recipe was new: The lentils were boiled in chicken stock,  finished with a dressing of noisette oil and lemon juice, then dressed with capers, walnut and mint—that turned out particularly well, with the brine of the capers and the freshness of the mint adding a nice counterpoint to the homey earthiness of the lentils. Both recipes come from Patricia Wells’ Provence Cookbook, an excellent collection I would find even more delightful if Wells’s prose weren’t so snappily blissful. This isn’t to fault her: In my mind cooking is a means to reach the unsensational serenity that comes of following a recipe’s prescribed path and finding that one arrives, eventually, at a meal that’s delicious. Is it any different from playing a Brahms piano sonata while reading the score?

That’s probably no way to sell cookbooks, though.