Tuesday, November 22, 2011
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?
Monday, November 29, 2010
The plan shaped up, and by day-of the head count had risen to 20 guests. Achievable? You bet!
In fact, I'm certain it will go down as one of the most memorable Turkey days ever. But every success has a starting place. Ours was with these two crucial elements:
1. Some very generous, flexible, and incredible hosts
2. A Table
The "kids table"... Outside. (Brrr!)
large batch pleasers! This improvised batch went quick, an effervescent concoction of Sofia Blanc de Blancs, Lambrusco, and fresh cranberries.
Banana Wonder and gussied up a plain ol' baked brie with pistachios and golden fig preserves.
recipe), minted pea purée, Knedliky (Czech raised bread dumplings, recipe below), an autumn salad with edible flowers...
Koehler Santa Ynez Riesling, the meal was just perfection.
recipe here) and a decadent Texas pecan & chocolate pie (recipe here).
New Orleans with a fistful of rum pralines to put to good use.
Rum Praline Ice Cream
makes 1 quart of ice cream
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup The Kraken Black Spiced Rum
4 rum pralines, crumbled (from Laura's Candies in New Orleans' French Quarter - they ship!)
If using an automatic ice cream maker, make sure bowl is completely frozen before starting. Whisk the chilled milk and cream with sugars until completely dissolved. Stir in the vanilla and rum. Pour mixture into ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions (should churn for about 25 minutes). Crumble pralines into the ice cream during the last minute. Set in freezer for at least two hours before serving.
Czech It! the Prague Blog) made them come out absolutely perfect.
Note: This made 3 medium sized loaves... About 12-15 servings. The cooked loaves freeze beautifully too!
Raised Dumplings (Knedliky)
1 pkg dry yeast
1 cup milk
½ tsp sugar
1 ½ cups Wondra flour (in the blue can)
2 - 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp baking powder
3-4 slices country white bread
1 tbsp butter
Slice the bread into small cubes (removing the crust if desired).
In a dry non-stick pan, sauté the cubes over medium to med-high heat till they get somewhat toasty. Add pat of butter to the pan and toss with the cubes as it melts. Set aside to cool.
Heat the milk just barely to warm (too hot and the yeast will die) and then add the yeast and sugar. Stir gently to dissolve.
Mix together all ingredients except bread cubes, adding flour gradually until you have a heavier dough. Then add the toasted bread cubes and knead gently with floured hands (or in stand mixer) until combined.
Divide into 3 oblong loaves (each loaf must fit across pot of boiling water, with room to expand). Set on a floured surface, cover with plastic wrap and/or a tea towel and allow to rise for 45 min-1 hour.
Take out dumpling loaves and place on cutting board. Pierce with fork or knife to let steam out. Roll over and pierce again. Cool a bit and slice using bread knife - or, as one recipe suggested, with a piano wire!
*If you make ahead: Boil loaves and let cool…then wrap well in plastic wrap and store in fridge. Day of, slice dumplings and steam to re-warm.
Drown with gravy and enjoy!