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Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Amanda McClements and Andrew Stover
Washington, D.C.-based food writer Amanda McClements has trailed celebrity chefs through Iceland, picked buckshot out of quail on a South Carolina farm, and dined on tripe, tongue and crickets, all in the pursuit of good food. A native North Carolinian who counts herself in the "eastern" barbecue camp, she has cultivated her love of all things culinary by reviewing restaurants and reporting on the hottest food news and trends. Her work has appeared in Food & Wine, ForbesTraveler.com, and The Washington Post, among others. Her blog, Metrocurean.com, is a go-to source for DC restaurant buzz.
Fall Food and Wine Chat3 ideas for simple fall dishes:1. Pumpkin: The NY Times calls it one of the 11 best foods we're not eating - it's packed with vitamin A, it's low-cal and high fiber. Make pies for dessert or serve it for dinner with a little butter and cinnamon.
Pumpkin and the various winter squash that come into season with the changing of the leaves are great bridges: they can be used in sweet or savory dishes, with hearty meats or lighter cheeses. This means they can also match with a variety of wines, which is a mixed blessing: there is no “go-to” wine for pumpkin as there is for asparagus (Sancerre) or foie gras (Sauternes). How the squash relates to other items on the plate will determine what wine will bring out its own flavors.
Wines: Pumpkin Pie—dessert try with something that mimics the spice in the pie….think cinnamon…light reds of shiraz/Grenache/mourvedre blends are fabulous! Also good would be Austria reds of Zweigelt or St. Laurent. Event whites can work—Vin Santo from Italy (nutty not to sweet) or even nice white Burgundy (Chardonnay) that has some nutty and spice characteristics.
Taste: Torbreck ‘Cuvee Juveniles’ Greanche/Shiraz/Mouvedre Blend, Barossa Valley, Australia—light, spicy, cherry fruit. Easy and nothing too serious.2. Roasted veggies: So easy and elegant! Cut carrots, parsnips, fennel bulbs and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper on a baking sheet. Roast at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
Wine: Usually we think of whites when it comes to veggies…mainly because they are often fresh/crisp and have a lot of green and acidic flavors. But roasting—they taken on new flavors. Rose would be a great match to veggies provided it has some crisp acidity to cleanse the palate. Wines from provence would be especially good as they tend to have slight herby flavors. Carrots are a bit sweet so if you have a good showing of carrot, perhaps look for a wine with some sweetness, like Oregon Pinot Gris or Riesling.
If you prefer red, then grill your veggies and grab a lighter red like Pinot Noir, Barbara from Italy or a Beaujolais from France.
Taste: Nekeas Vega Sindoa Grenache/Cabernet Rose, Navarra, Spain—loads of ripe red fruit, strawberry, raspberry, fresh finish. 3. Crostata, aka free-form pie: My favorite way to use fall fruits is this rustic dessert. Take a pie crust (make your own or buy one in the fridge section of the grocery store) and roll it out onto a baking sheet. For the filling, you can use anything you like! Sliced pears, apples or plums. Toss with a little sugar, cinnamon, ginger. Pile into the center of the crust, leaving a 2-inch border. Then fold the sides of the crust up around the edges to hold in the fruit. Bake at 350 for 20-30 for soft fruits, 40-50 minutes for apples. Top with whipped cream or ice cream.
Wine: Something like this is just screamy for a light sweet dessert wine—Moscato/Moscatel, late harvest white dessert wines or even red ice wines---if you have a lot of red fruits in the pie.
Taste: Flare Espumoso de Moscatel, Valencia, Spain—like Moscato from Italy—fresh and fizzy with white peach, white grapes, frothy bubbles. MMMMMM!
Savory Pumpkin Pie with Roasted Quail
by Urbana Restaurant and Wine Bar, Washington, DC
Executive Chef Richard Brandenburg
1 quail per person
1 pound pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cut into small dice
1 cup leeks, white part only, washed and diced
½ pound mixed mushrooms, sliced
½ pound butter
1 cup white wine
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch allspice
1 pinch ground star anise
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Melt butter in a heavy bottomed pan.
Add leeks and pumpkin and sweat gently until transparent.
Add spices and cook slowly until aromatic.
Pour in white wine and cook till tender.
Purée in food processor and when cool, fold in eggs and mushrooms.
CRUST – Makes one crust
1 pound 1 ounce bread flour
6 ounces sugar
14 ounces soft butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine all the ingredients except the flour in a Kitchen Aid with a dough hook. Mix on a low speed until combined. Add the flour and mix only until smooth.
To make by hand, rub the butter into the flour, blend in the sugar thoroughly, add the vanilla extract to the eggs, beat them then fold them into the dough until incorporated. Using your hands, bring it all together quickly into a soft mass.
For both methods, refrigerate 1 hour before use, then roll out the pastry and press into a greased 10” pie tin.
Place a piece of parchment paper over dough and place a handful of dried beans on top to keep crust from rising.
Preheat oven to 350F and bake blind for 14 minutes.
Cool, then add pumpkin mixture and bake for a further 10 minutes.
Cool pie before serving.
1 8-to-10 ounce bird per person
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon butter per quail
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Mix the cinnamon, sugar, salt and pepper together in a bowl and season each quail with a tablespoon of the mixture.
Heat the canola oil in a sauté pan and sear each quail all over until golden brown. Add a tablespoon of butter on top of each quail and roast in a baking dish in the oven 5 minutes more.
1 cup of port
1 cup of sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons cold butter
Reduce the port to a syrup consistency over high heat, add the sherry vinegar and reduce until syrup again then off heat beat in the butter.
Cut a piece of the pie, lean the quail up against it and drizzle the port reduction around. This would be good with an Arugula Salad with a simple dressing of Olive oil and Lemon. A good wine for this would be a pinot noir with lots of cherries.