Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Foodbuzzed: T-Flo Redux Dinner
Foodbuzz Blogger Fest 2011 left lasting impressions in several forms, but Tyler Florence's "#T-Flo" Twitter trending during his cooking demo at the gala dinner may be the favorite of many attendees. While we waited, hungry for our first course, bloggers giggled at T-Flo's casual chatty demeanor, sensual relationship with his ingredients, and appreciation of steam. He whipped up cider-marinated pork chops, red cabbage, handmade spaetzle and mustard sauce before our eyes in minutes. We could smell it. We couldn't wait. We wanted it. We needed it.
Suffice to say we were not served T-Flo's mouth-watering Eastern European-inspired supper. (We got wedding steak). But that didn't stop Sabrina The Tomato Tart, Andy Windattack and I from trying our hand at his menu the evening Foodbuzz Fest came to a close. And dare I say largely improving it?!
Sabrina is one mad host. She even had enough frilly vintage aprons for everyone!
After our trip to Bi-Rite for all the goods, Mark of [No Recipes] came over to help. He didn't put on his apron though...
First thing's first, we got our Heritage Foods pork chops marinating in a bath of Samuel Smith's organic cider, brown sugar, salt, allspice berries and whole long pepper.
Red cabbage: Check.
Beer break! Sabrina produced a chilled bottle of honey ale from her cellar - perfect with the Bi-Rite pretzel I nabbed for a starter.
Not surprisingly, Andy had a vision for a delicious salad to start the meal of right.
Gorgeous persimmon, pomegranate, and paper-thin radishes bejeweled his citrus-kissed winter salad.
An Alsatian 2010 Domiane Roland Schmitt Sylvaner Grand A Petit Leon was a crisp and supple wine pairing with the salad (and might have been into the entree course, had we not finished the spritely bottle while cooking!)
Handmade spaetzle? Yawn. We decided stinging nettles might amp up this dish. Nettle spaetzle? What sounds cooler than that? Mark volunteered for the dangerous task and helped whip up a killer dough.
Many kitchen tools were tested for spaetzle-making ability, but a simple dough scraper and utility knife won. The technique is what took the most time...
We rendered pancetta fat to lightly fry the fluffy boiled spaetzle in for added crispness and flavor.
We couldn't leave dessert out of our Germanic feast. As the cool autumn air was settling into the bay, warm apple pie was the clear solution. Sabrina was all over it.
Would T-Flo approve of basic apple pie? Perhaps... But we wouldn't. I suggested adding some dimension with crumbles of pork sausage, and naturally cheese came up next. Aged white cheddar, pile it on!
Andy plates while bloggers document. Just another day...
Behold: Our cider-marinated pork chop, pickled red cabbage and fennel kraut, parsnip & sunchoke mashers, fried nettle spaetzle, and creamy yogurt mustard sauce.
We enjoyed the meal with a 2009 Van Volxem Saar Riesling, a delightfully dry fruity German wine, and perfect blind date.
The pie was a delicious brunch-for-dessert disguised treat, gussied up with a scoop of Bi-Rite Maple Walnut ice cream. The table was split in favor of the sausage, but in the end everyone's plate was clean.
Groggy from the long Foodbuzz weekend, hours of cooking, glasses of wine, and hermitage from the cold outside beyond the steamy window, we sat, admiring our tablescape with gratuitous irony sharing laughs. You're right T-Flo, spaetzle is the new black. But what's the new nettle?