After weeks of preparations, it was finally time for our food party. Our final menu included six courses and five paired wines. Carly also made a cheese platter with cheeses complementary to each of the wines that we could nibble on between courses (just in case we didn’t get enough to eat!) Each couple introduced their course and told us a little about their wine selection. Some were very serious about this little bit of homework I issued, and we all learned a lot.
Course 1: Christy’s favorite salad featuring feta cheese, caramelized pecans and balsamic vinagrette
This was paired with a Washington Hills 2008 Riesling, which featured key lime, crème brulee and mineral essence. It had a creamy texture with nectarines on the finish. It is suggested as an aperitif, with ham, Asian cuisine or salad with red onions and feta- thus, an excellent choice for this course.
Course 2: Baked Shrimp Scampi
Carly pulled this recipe out of the Barefoot Contessa‘s cookbook. Any meal of Ina’s is sure to be a winner and this was no exception. I especially loved the use of Panko breadcrumbs, which gave it a good texture.
The dish was paired with a Lockwood 2009 Chardonnay. 2009 was apparently a very good year in Monterrey. This wine boasted aromas of fresh pineapple and orange blossom supported by French oak nuances. Flavors of nectarine and white peach could be tasted on the front palate with citrus tones through the finish. The chardonnay complements a variety of seafood and chicken dishes and was a perfect choice with shrimp.
Course 3: Penne alla Vodka
This is one of my favorite dishes and served as the perfect pasta primi. Who doesn’t love pasta?
Pasta without chianti is like bread without butter. The two go hand and hand. A DaVinci Chianti was selected for this dish. Forgive me as I do not recall the year. DaVinci Chianti is a well-balanced wine of medium weight with jammy flavors of ripe plums, cherries and red fruit. It has a long, peppery finish and pairs well with all starters, pastas and meat dishes.
Even though I employed a liquor spout to ensure small pours of 2 oz, at this point, we were – quite frankly- getting a little drunk. The bellies were also starting to get full, so we took a break to converse and walk it off before our palette cleanser and main course.
Course 4: Lemon Sorbet
By definition, a palate cleanser is used in the middle of a meal to remove any lingering flavors from the mouth so the next course can be enjoyed with a fresh perspective. The French also swear by them as a digestive to avoid heartburn and indigestion and to stimulate the appetite so you can eat, eat, and eat some more. As this was our general goal, it seemed appropriate here.
I was a little skeptical about involving jalapeño jelly with beef tenderloin but the balsamic vinegar took away some of the bite leaving only yumminess.
A cabernet was served with this course. I have searched high and low for a picture of the cabernet we drank and I simply cannot find one. My excuse is that I was probably too buzzed or too full at this point to take any more pictures. Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir are usually good matches for beef tenderloin.
Course 6: Chocolate Tort
This delightful dessert was a Williams Sonoma masterpiece. Our neighbor Carrie is an expert at desert and she did not disappoint.
With each bite chocolately goodness, we enjoyed sips of Rosa Regale, a semi dry red sparkling wine. This Italian lovely is a bit lighter than champagne and tastes of rose petals, fresh raspberries and strawberries. I cannot imagine a better complement to the sweet, rich velvety chocolate of the tort.
Finally, we were done eating and drinking. Being much too full to retire, we stayed up chatting until well past my usual bedtime. Until the next time. Cheers!
- Foodies Unite Part I: The Preparations (whileeveryoneelseissleeping.wordpress.com)