Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Learning from Local Chefs

2011 Celebrity Chefs
Last weekend I attended a fund raising event for our local Lion's Club, their 2nd annual Celebrity Chef dinner.  It was a wonderful event, consisting of a five course dinner with wine pairings.  What made it extra special was that each course included a demonstration by a local chef explaining how to successfully recreate the dish at home.  Doesn't that sound like fun?

This dinner provided a wonderful menu, with the recipes, so the at the attendees could try to recreate the delicious flavors at home.  I will be trying the recipes and sharing the results with you in the future, but for now I'm sharing pictures from the event and the recipes.  These recipes are being provided exactly as written by the chefs.

The First Course
The first course was called Tapas Amuse Bouche and consisted of three tasty appetizers, presented by local chefs David Miguel and Andrew Nathan.  The wine for this course was 2010 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, with bright peach and floral aromas that was crisp and zesty.

Chefs Miguel and Nathan
Babaganoush with Poached Shrimp
Spinach, Artichoke and Roasted Garlic Gougere
Zucchini and Feta Pancake with Tzatziki Sauce

The Second Course
Our second course, the salad,  was also presented by Chefs David Miguel and Andrew Nathan.  It was a delicious Greek salad served in a Pita pocket.  This was not your ordinary Greek salad.  No, indeed not.  Everyone at our table raved about the flavors and the presentation.  The Greek salad was paired with 2010 Russian River Pinot Grigio, with fruity aromas and white peach flavors.

Chefs Miguel and Nathan
The Third Course
Our third course was a fish dish, of seared red snapper topped with a Mediterranean salad presented by Chef Guy Gencarella.  The mild tasting red snapper was packed with very big flavor when paired with the Mediterranean salad.  The wine for this course was 2010 Connecticut Chardonnay with bright apple fruit flavor and hints of honey and oak.

Chefs Gencarella

The Fourth Course
The fourth course was a hearty boneless braised short rib served over homemade cavatelli with broccoli rabe and mushroom ragu.  Try saying that three times fast!  It is a mouthful to say and was a delicious mouthful to eat.  The 2009 Connecticut Cabernet Franc served with this course was a light bodied red wine that was easy to drink.  I'm not a red wine lover, but this wine was lovely with this course.

Chef Luce

The Fifth Course
The final course was the dessert course prepared by Chef Alison Mansfield.  She prepared a mascarpone panna cotta with fresh raspberries and pistachio shortbread cookies.   Chef Alison stressed how easy this dessert was to prepare, but is sure was a winner with the dinner crowd.   Dessert was served with 2007 Napa Valley DARK, a port style wine that was smooth, rich and yummy.

Chef Mansfield (center)
I can't wait to try these delicious recipes.  Thanks to all the chefs for sharing their time, expertise and recipes.


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