Sunday, February 13, 2011

The V Day Menu Pt 2: How it Turned Out

Now that I am finally fully digested, it's time to write. I spent my entire weekend eating & drinking my way through the city and my cookbooks. Although I'm sure my waistline isn't happy with me, my taste buds sure are!

Saturday afternoon my husband and I went down to the "deep south" to Willow Park Wines & Spirits for a Port, Cheese & Chocolate Tasting. Tickets were only $20pp and I was fortunate enough to score 2 of the last 4 available. We got there early, expecting a line up and found no such line, but it was free samples day! After tastes of Chocolate Port, the new Mumm Napa Rose, Ukranian vodka (so smooth!) and even PEI "Straight Shine" (similar to moonshine but not quite-this version is legal to sell), I was almost stumbling into the tasting room when 2pm came! We found a seat at the end of the first row and these are the goodies we found on the table:

I was happy that I didn't eat lunch before this! The first pairing was a White Port with a triple cream Brie & White Chocolate-looked like the kind you melt and cook with. The Blood Orange rind inside the glass of port really brought out the citrus flavor and was nice. Then there was a 10 year Tawny Port paired with a Comte cheese (Matt really enjoyed the cheese) and Sea Salt Caramel w/almond & dark chocolate. At this point I'm thinking that I'm on Cloud 9, almost oblivious from the way all the flavors worked together! 3rd pairing was Warres Warrior Port (ruby) paired with a Blue Stilton in a shell of dark chocolate tart topped with port jelly. This was so amazing, I am now on the blue cheese wagon-I hated it before Saturday! And finally, the last taste pairing: St. Germain Liqueur paired with a Scottish Chevre Cheddar (just like Goat's cheese) and a candied pear with 38% milk chocolate. The St. Germain is an elderflower liqueur and the flowers are found in the Swiss Alps and made in Paris. According to the staff, this stuff is just about to take off with reviews being done in various media. We picked up a bottle and good thing we did: we heard there were only 2 cases left in the store! Other Port tasters left with bottles as well. The flavor is very light, very sweet, and we also got to try it mixed with Champagne. I'll be picking up some bubbly after work and drinking that tomorrow night! Here's a pic of the bottle:

After that we headed to the Keg for a steak dinner, using up gift cards we got from Christmas. We ate so much! I ended up with a "food hangover" and didn't sleep well that night.

And now, Sunday-my attempt at a spicy 3 course meal. I did exactly the menu I blogged about before and started the app, the Buffalo Chicken Bites, at 1:30pm to allow for a 4 hour cooking time on low. The chicken came out slightly overcooked I thought, but the sauce was robust and spicy (I added extra hot sauce to the mix and used beef broth instead of chicken-had to use it up) and Matt ended up dipping his bites into extra sauce!

I started the bread at 5:30pm - a cheddar herb bread. Although I followed the recipe exactly, it didn't rise as much as I thought it might and turned out more like a soft biscotti in size. Taste wise, it was a little dry, but was a great off-set to the heat of the chili.

Which brings us to the pork chili! I ended up making a last minute change: I can't call it Chipotle chili because I didn't use chipotle peppers-used regular hot chilis instead. I followed the recipe exactly as is and it turned out great-very rustic, flavorful and packed a good deal of heat too!

The wine pairing stayed the same as mentioned before, only I couldn't find a 2007 Sumac Ridge Gewurz anywhere-I had to settle for the younger 2009 version. The sweetness of the wine paired well with the heat of the buffalo chicken and the chili, but I thought it went best with the dessert...

Which leads me to my favorite course of the night! I made a spiced chocolate cake which was nice and moist, but the icing on the cake was the best part! I decided to get inventive for the frosting and here's the recipe-I call it "slowburn sauce"

1. Melt 3 squares of unsweetened chocolate in a bain marie (bowl over a pot of boiling/simmering water on the stovetop).

2. Add 2 tbsp of butter or margarine

3. Slowly add 1/3 cup icing sugar, add another tbsp of butter/margarine to bring to a good consistency, adjust to your taste

4. Add a few dashes of hot sauce to taste! I used Marie Sharp's Orange Pulp Habanero Sauce.
Stir it up!

Last but not least, frost & enjoy! Matt and I thought the sauce tastes mild at first, but wait about 10 seconds and a slow burn will rear it's hot head at the back of your throat. Loved it!!! I will definitely make this again.

So all in all our spicy Valentine's Day meal was great-and I had so much fun that I'm going to do another 3 course meal this weekend for Family Day long weekend! I don't know what the main event will be, but the feature food is cauliflower, or chou-fleur in French. And if Matt was smaller, he would be mon petit chou-fleur!

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