Monday, November 9, 2009

Randy Rucker and a wine tasting dinner

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How does he do it, this chef Randy Rucker guy?

He arrives at our host’s studio at 3:30 in the afternoon to start prepping our wine dinner for that very evening!   All by himself…eight courses…and after fishing with his family off Bolivar all morning! 

Randy’s motto reads “Mother nature gave us perfect food, my job is not to mess it up”.   To begin with, he acquires the freshest local ingredients.  Heavy on seafood courses (no complaints from me here!) his light-handed touch in preparing seafood harkens back to days in Peru learning tiradito.  East meets west in tiradito:  Japanese immigrants introduced Peruvians to sashimi – sliced raw fish, not cubed; in a light dressing and not acid-cooked (as in ceviche).

The first course (pictured above) was bay scallops, sashimi style, with orange zest and serrano chile, served with a Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose Champagne.  Divine!

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Black Drum dressed in miso, shiro dashi and herbs was served with wakame and green apple - to bring out the fruit in the wine - a Chateau Ste. Michelle Horse Heaven Sauvignon Blanc.  The leche de chile (juices) on the bottom tasted like nectar!

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Golden Croaker, caught that morning by Randy himself, was marinated in lime, cream sake, basil, and dashi (made with the Croaker heads and bones and mushroom stems);  finished with purple basil and thinly sliced serrano peppers.  The accompanying wine was perfect with this dish:  K Vintners 2008 Columbia Valley Viogner.

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Randy was lucky Helen didn’t inhale the bok choy sautéed in duck fat, as Jeff listens.

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Pork Belly - fatty and luscious with a thick and crispy crust, ciccarones (niblets of pork skin), trumpet royale mushrooms and baby bok choy.  I’ve never eaten so much pork fat in one sitting and enjoyed it so much!  To cut the fat:  K Vintners 2006 Morrison Lane Syrah.  A theme begins to emerge – complex and flavorful wines of Washington State.

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Doris and Bode chat while Nina watches Randy pour.

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Kabocha squash soup - creamy but cream less, with cinnamon butter, zests of lemon, lime and orange.  Finished with fresh basil and oregano, and served with a white wine - K Vintners Columbia Valley 2008 Viogner, just to keep our taste buds hopping!  The tartness of the wine was offset by the sweetness of the soup.

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Nope.  Doris and Nina didn’t like it very much!

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It was a blind tasting…each bottle was wrapped twice so that Tim couldn’t cheat!  Mwahahaha!

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Duck confit, roasted duck and cedar infused parsnip puree – another perfect match with Quilceda Creek’s 2003 Merlot. 

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Randy plates the beef ribs braised in kabajaki sauce, served with Yukon gold potatoes and maitaki mushrooms.  Served with K Vintners 2006 Walla Walla Valley Grenache (with 6% Syrah).

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Not your ordinary chocolate mousse – here’s it’s made with goat’s milk and spiced with lots of cayenne pepper.  Acutely spicy and strong enough to put hair on one’s chest, I was the last one standing and begging for more!   Lionetti 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon and a 100 points Quilceda Creek 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon.

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And to top it all off, a Humboldt Fog with whole grain crackers…oozing, rich and a magnificent way to end the dinner.

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Thanks Ralph for hosting another memorable wine tasting!  You have raised the bar once again!

Read about Randy’s Tenacity dinner (held at the studio) by clicking on the link.



  1. Incredible! Were you able to walk after all that heavenly food? The pictures are amazing Drag. My sister, yup she is!! And to think, we get to taste a lot of what she makes. I love being her guinea pig.

  2. What a dinner! Every course looks amazing. The pork belly and beef ribs have got me salivating. And that cheese...heaven.


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