Monthly Archives: May 2012

5 Boro Picnyc – Opening weekend at Governors Island

Food from 5 Boro PicNYC

Beer!  Sausages!  Grilled cheese!  This photo shows just a small sample of the great food and drink available this weekend at the 5 Boro PicNYC on Governors Island.  Fortunately, the rainstorm held off yesterday until the event was over, so we were treated to bright sunshine and a relaxing and enjoyable day just a short trip away from the shores of Manhattan.

Arriving on the ferry from Manhattan

I met up with several fellow NYC food bloggers over on the island.  The first photo is of our picnic table, where we gathered up the sample plates and noshed.  The early group got there and staked out a spot so that we could have a space to eat, talk about the food, and, of course, take pictures of the different dishes.  I’m not sure that we picked an all-out favorite of the day, but there were several that were really tasty.

Crisp Lager – Sixpoint Brewery

What better way to start off the day’s festivities and tame some of the impending heat than with a Crisp Lager by the folks at Sixpoint Brewery.  This beverage, along with their Sweet Action and Redd brews were being served on tap.  Several other selections were available in cans, including Apollo, their version of a German wheat beer, another ideal summer drink.  In addition to beer, attendees could also quench their thirst on a variety of teas from PlanTea and glasses of ruby red sangria from Madria Sangria.

Boudin Blanc with caramelized onions and grainy mustard – Vandaag

Boudin Blanc and Blood Sausages – Vandaag

What could be more perfect to go along with said beer than sausages.  Fortunately, there were several stands where they’d taken this theme to heart.  The Boudin Blanc by Vandaag was ethereal.  Light in texture with subtle seasoning, the onions lent a slight sweetness to the combination.  The mustard added a dash of heat and tanginess to the mix.  They also grilled up some blood sausages, which were equally tasty, with a bit more spice and richness to them.

Kielbasa with pickled cabbage and mustard – Peels Restaurant

Many of the chefs had cooked up their dishes using locally-sourced meats and products, including the Berkshire pork from New Jersey that went into making this dense, hearty, garlic and poblano smoked kielbasa from Peels Restaurant.  Paired with vinegary cabbage and a splash of hot-spicy mustard, each bite had a bit of zing and along with a peppery punch.

Bison and Chipotle Sausage with corn-jalapeno relish – Alobar

Lamb Merguez with creamy cucumber-yogurt sauce – Alobar

In addition to the Boudin Blanc from Vandaag, my other favorite dishes of the day were by the team at Alobar, who works with Fossil Farms as a source for its meats.  Spicy merguez met a generous helping of a refreshing cucumber-yogurt sauce for a balance of heat and coolness, which was for me the perfect summertime pairing.  A sweet-hot corn and jalapeno relish complemented the richness of their bison sausage without overwhelming the delicate flavor of the meat.

Sausages, cabbage, and mustard – Jimmy’s No. 43

Bahn Mi – Jimmy’s No. 43

Brisket with chimichurri – Jimmy’s No. 43

Potato Salad Jimmy’s No. 43

Several of the stations at the event were organized by Jimmy’s No. 43, whose Food Karma Projects was the organizer for the weekend’s activities.  With the assistance of budding chefs from community programs like Teen Battle Chef and the Kingsborough Community College, they turned out several crowd-pleasing dishes including a spiced, porky sausage paired with savory yellow-style mustard and dressed with a sauerkraut-type slaw.  They also had a bahn mi with crumbles of savory sausage or tofu dressed with slivers of carrot and slices of cucumber and drizzled with creamy, spicy aioli.  Slabs of juicy brisket with just the right amount of char were garnished with a heaping dollop of tart, bright-tasting chimichurri.  To go along with these small plates, they had also prepared a refreshing potato salad, ideal for a hot early summer’s day.

Lucky 777 Chili Company trays

For those not in the mood for sausages, there were also several kinds of chili (7 bean, pork, and turkey) to choose from by Lucky 777 Chili CompanySlow Food NYC had whipped up a chicken taco that I thought needed a bit more juiciness to make it just right, although it had welcome additions of cheese, green sauce, and onions.  Another taco from Left Bank, made with barbecued pulled pork, was a hit with the crowds.  They were gone before I could even get on the line to try one.

NYC Hot Sauce display

Barbecued chicken was also on the menu at a few places, including at Jimmy’s No. 43 and at one of the hot sauce vendors, Heartbreaking Dawns.  Their Jalapeno Pineapple sauce had a lot of spicy heat that just hung out on my tongue for a while before it finally faded.  I didn’t try the samples from High River Sauces, as they looked a little bit out of my depth, spiciness-wise.  Of the sauces that I tasted yesterday, NYC Hot Sauce had one that I think needs to find a place in my fridge.  The hotter of their two sauces had a nice garden-like taste up front with a long, lingering heat, the kind that just makes you want to go back for another taste of whatever it is drizzled upon, dunked on, or otherwise slathered.

Jarlsberg USA grilled cheese competition prizes

By way of full disclosure, I was one of the judges for the Grilled Cheese Cook-off on Saturday sponsored by Jarlsberg USA so I had a bit of an ulterior motive for sampling all the ooey-gooey melty goodness that was being prepared for the event’s participants.

Grilled cheese sandwiches from Big Food (left) and Marky Ramone (right)

Two of the entries in the competition seemed to be more meat-focused than cheese-oriented.  The pork sandwich with corn chips and cheese from Big Food needed more umph for me.  Everything seemed to get lost in a jumble without any major flavor notes working in harmony.  Marky Ramone‘s meatball pâté with cheese and his own sauce seemed to be a riff on a classic meatball sub.  While the meat was well-seasoned and tasted great, kind of liked a smushed version of a classic Sunday-style Italian meatball, I didn’t think it paired all that well with the Jarlsberg.  The sauce was layered inside the sandwich, which meant it disappeared into the bread, making me wish I’d had just a side of the marinara in which to dip the sandwich.

 OMG Grilled Cheese – Chrissy’s Cooking Club / Bushwick Campus Farm

This was the steadiest line all day long, and massive amounts of credit for keeping up with the demand goes to the team of organizers and students behind the OMG Grilled Cheese, which was the winner of the day.  This isn’t just my tastebuds talking; it was the decision of the judging team, too.  The students grew many of the ingredients for these sandwiches, including the side salad and the garlic scapes that went into the exterior coating of butter that you can see in the photo above.  What sold it for me, was not just the terrific contrast of cheese, sautéed peppers and scallions, and the bright freshness of the soffrito dressing the sandwich, but that this dish focused on the cheese and not letting that get lost in all the other flavors going on at the same time while also having a great garnish of peppery salad that contrasted perfectly with the nutty, rich melted dairy.  Unfortunately, I wolfed down my sample in a couple of bites flat, neglecting to take a photo.  You can see a good shot of it here, taken by one of the other judges.  Congratulations to this team for taking first prize at the Grilled Cheese Cook-off!

OG sundae – Wooly’s Ice

After all the sausages, cheese, and beer, it was now time to cool off a bit.  Good thing some of my favorite dessert folks had made the trip to the island, too.  Available for purchase were ice creams from Van Leeuwen and shaved ice concoctions from Wooly’s Ice.  As much as I love ice cream, I was in the mood for something a bit lighter after having had all that food.  Wooly’s fit the bill perfectly: light-as-snow flavored ice with slices of sweet strawberries and chunks of chocolatey brownie.  It was the perfect way to wrap up the day’s eating adventures.

Buon appetito!

Thanks to Jimmy and his team for a great time at Governors Island!

Thank you to Jimmy Carbone of Jimmy’s No. 43 for providing me with a press pass to attend this event.  Thank you, too, to The Burrell Group Ltd, who represent Jarlsberg USA and who selected me to judge the Grilled Cheese Cook-off.  For a complete list of the winners of the events taking place this weekend as part of the 5 Boro Picnyc, including the sausage cook-off, which I also judged, please see here.  All opinions in this article (unless otherwise stated) are mine and my responsibility alone.

Ramp Butter

I can hear it now, the silent screams, “Arrgghhh, not another post about ramps!”  Yes, this is about ramps, but it is about what to do with that scraggly bunch that you so optimistically purchased when you first saw them in the farmers’ markets a few weeks back.  Now, they’ve found a home on the bottom of the crisper drawer, and you need to use them up before they decay completely.  One solution is to make Ramp Butter.

Ramp Butter

Ramp butter is perfect for tossing into roasted vegetables, hot off of the grill to give them a punch.  Stuff a slab underneath the skin of a chicken prepped for going into the oven, letting the flavors perfume the meat as it bakes.  Or, as I did one time, place a piece of frozen butter inside a hamburger.  As the meat cooks, the butter melts and bastes the burger from the inside out, lovingly seasoning it and adding a layer of flavor.

Green and white parts of ramps

Fortunately, this year, I didn’t let my ramps get that far gone (yes, that photo is really from my fridge), so I still had bright green, herb-like leaves and alabaster white bulbs to work with.  I chopped them up and added them to about a stick of softened butter.  Then, I combined that with some salt and pepper, dropped it into plastic wrap, formed it, and sealed it.  Before putting it into the freezer for storage, I made sure to label the mixture, so that I wouldn’t mistakenly think that it was another variety of compound (flavored or seasoned) butter that I might have made.  I hope you whip up a batch of this with your leftover ramps and find something delicious to cook with it.

Ramp Butter

Serving size: 1/2 cup (one stick)

Prep time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 stick (1/2 cup or 8 oz.) Unsalted Butter, softened

1/4 tsp. Salt

1 pinch White Pepper

2 Tbsp. Ramp greens (tops), finely chopped (if the greens are too wilted, add 1 Tbsp. finely minced, fresh Parsley instead)

2 Tbsp. Ramp whites (bottoms), finely chopped

Assembly:

Butter with seasonings and ramps

Place butter in bowl.  Add salt and pepper.  Add green and white parts of ramps.  Mix together thoroughly with a wooden spoon or spatula or fork.  This is best to do without a food processor or hand blender, as the butter will get too soft and will start to melt if you use them.

Butter on plastic wrap

Spread out a piece of plastic wrap that is about 10-12 inches in length on a board or the kitchen counter.  Put the butter mixture in the center of the plastic wrap.  This will keep your hands from getting greasy and will make it easier to shape the butter mixture.  Take the piece of the plastic wrap closest to you and fold it over the butter mixture.  With the plastic wrap, begin to shape the mixture into a long, rectangular block.

Shaped butter

Working quickly, so as not to allow the butter mixture to melt, continue to shape it until the block of butter is more or less uniform.  My attempt wasn’t quite perfect, but I knew that I needed to stop fiddling with it as the butter was getting too soft to handle.

Finished ramp butter

When the butter mixture is shaped into a rectangular-ish block, finish it by wrapping the entire form in plastic wrap and in twisting the ends.  Place in the freezer to harden and keep it there until ready to use.  You can cut off slices of the butter mixture as you need to use it, keeping the rest frozen.  Don’t forget to label it!

Buon appetito!

Mad Sq Eats Is Back!

With the arrival of some more consistently gorgeous weather, it is the perfect season for Mad Sq Eats to come back to town.  You can still catch this food-centric pop-up market for another couple of weeks.  I’ve passed through it a few times when errands and appointments have put me over in that part of town.

List of Vendors

There’s some vendors who have sold there in the past as well as a few different ones, bringing new and delicious flavors to this gathering.  The bright colorful Marimekko tabletop decorations and umbrellas add an extra air of festivity to the area and make this an almost vacation-like oasis at the meeting point of busy downtown several streets.

Mighty Balls – Pork Slider with Spicy Feta and Jalapeno Jam

Looking for a quick, hearty, spicy snack?  This photo was taken at the Dekalb Market, but I’ve had these at quite a few food events since I discovered how tasty their combinations are.  Definitely stop by the stand for Mighty Balls and grab one of their sliders.

Arancini Bros. selection

Another great quick bite to have is the crunchy, pillowy, filled rice balls from Arancini Bros.  These Sicilian street snacks come in sweet and savory flavors and are easily eaten on the go.

LaSonrisa – Coconut Curry Chicken Empanada

LaSonrisa empanadas are other delicious portable edibles to check out.  I’m a fan of their pulled pork one, however, the vendor there encouraged me to try out their popular Coconut Curry Chicken.  Tender chunks of meat dressed in a juicy, tropical-scented, lightly spiced sauce all stuffed inside of a crispy shell.  I think this one might be my new favorite of their product line.

Asia Dog – Slow-cooked Pork Slider with Ginger BBQ Sauce and Slaw

Usually when I stop by Asia Dog‘s stand at any market, I pick up the Vinh, a combination of heat and tanginess sort of like a mock banh mi in hotdog form.  This time, however, I decided to go with something different: the pork slider.  It somehow felt a bit more like barbecue weather.  Tender pork with spicy, zippy sauce and topped with crunchy pickled cabbage.  This hit all the right flavor notes.  Why not grab a beverage from Brooklyn Soda Works, which they are also selling at Asia Dog, to go along with it?

Red Hook Lobster Pound – Maine-style Lobster Roll

Sweet, briny chunks of Maine lobster, dressed in mayonnaise placed on a grilled, top-split roll with a bed of cool, crunchy lettuce.  This is an ideal summertime meal, capturing the essence of the seaside in every bite.  I could have almost been at the beach, if not for the honking horns and screeching brakes in the background.

Roberta’s Pizza – Kale and Ramp Pizza

I’m almost embarrassed to confess that I’ve never been out to Greenpoint to Roberta’s to try their amazing pizzas.  Part of the reason why is that I’ve been able to sample them elsewhere when they fire up the portable ovens and bring their pies to other parts of the city.  This Kale and Ramp one combined two of the “it” farmers’ market products of the season for a pizza that had a garlicky kick with a carpet of green over dollops of creamy, sharp pecorino.

Danny Macaroons – Sea Salt Caramel Macaroon

While doing my initial pass through the food stalls, my eye spied a display of Danny Macaroons‘ sweet treats.  The folks at Birch Coffee have trays filled with several of Danny’s flavors.  They also sell their cold-brewed coffee in growlers (jugs) for those who would like to stock up for the warmer season.

People’s Pops – Shaved Ice with Red Plum Syrup

Did you have a Snoopy Sno Cone machine growing up?  Yeah, neither did I.  So, seeing the folks at People’s Pops shaving the ice by hand and then drizzling them with syrups made from locally-sourced fruits and herbs.  I went with the sweet-tart Red Plum version to cleanse my palate.

Steve’s Ice Cream – Strawberry-Ricotta

Last summer, I discovered Steve’s Ice Cream.  They’ve closed up their shops in Brooklyn and Manhattan, so I was thrilled to see them here.  As it’s just turned into strawberry season, I went with the tart-tangy Strawberry-Ricotta which was like eating the berriest, strawberry milkshake ever.

Umbrellas at MadSqEats

This is just a small sample of all the terrific food items at Mad Sq Eats.  It’s a great spot to drop by for lunch (plan to go before or after the rush of office workers), a late afternoon snack, or even a quick dinner.  It closes on June 1, so you only have a few more weeks to get over there.

Buon appetito!

Red Lentil Dal with Tamarind and Asparagus by Naomi Duguid

It’s asparagus season, here in New York, which is one of my favorite times of year.  I never liked these tender green stalks when I was growing up, as I’ve mentioned, but now I look forward to seeing them when they arrive in the farmers markets.  It also means that I start pulling ideas from magazines and website as to how to prepare them aside from the usual steaming, grilling or sautéing.  In this month’s issue of Food & Wine magazine there was an article about Naomi Duguid with a recipe for Red Lentil Dal with Tamarind and Asparagus

Ingredients

The colors in the photo of the dish, plus the fact that I enjoy eating dal combined with the fact that I can now get my hands on some fat, juicy asparagus, made me tear out the recipe to try it.  I found the asparagus at the Greenmarket, had a few of the spices in my kitchen already, and sourced the other ingredients from my neighborhood stores.  The tamarind concentrate proved to be the hardest component to find, but I did locate it after going to about three places.

Asparagus cooking with the spices, garlic, and onions

I’m trying to get more vegetables into my diet and am also attempting to eat less meat in general, so this dish fit those criteria.  It was also a snap to pull together making it an ideal weeknight dinner or quick lunch.  I cut this recipe in half, which gave me about two portions for a light midday meal.

Lentils added to the pan to cook down for a few minutes

As a side mention, if you, like me, religiously follow the list of ingredients in putting together your shopping notes, you will forget to pick up the limes that are listed in the recipe headnotes and at the end.  I’m not sure why, but somehow they aren’t included with the main ingredients, even though Ms. Duguid mentions them as integral to the balance of flavors in the dish.  I bring this up, as I thought that the freshness of the lime juice really brought the whole meal together.

Red Lentil Dal with Tamarind and Asparagus

Served with brown basmati rice and the juice of a sliver of lime, this dish was creamy, tart, fragrant, and earthy, with just a little sweetness from the onions.  The spices provided an aromatic perfume that melted into the lentils, brightening up their sometimes drab nature.  Next time, I might add more of the serrano to the dish to give it some additional heat and a bit of depth, but other than that (and the aforementioned lime issue), this dish seemed to me to be perfect in taste and texture.  It’s definitely one I’ll be having during this asparagus season and many more in the future as well.

Buon appetito!

Schoolhouse Kitchen Closes Its Doors

Part of what I like so much about going out and exploring the New York City foodscape is that I have the opportunity to meet genuinely amazing and passionate people who have created fantastic edible products for us to enjoy.  So, it is a bit sad to share this news today.  About a couple of weeks ago, Wendy Smith, President of Schoolhouse Kitchen, announced that they would be closing down their business effective the end of May 2012.

Samples at New Amsterdam Market

This post, however, is not to mourn, but, rather to let you know that for fans of their products, supplies of their spreadable fruits, chutneys, and vinaigrettes are still available by ordering via Schoolhouse Kitchen’s website, through this Friday, May 18.  I haven’t been over to the Whole Foods stores in the city as yet to see if some of their products are still on hand there.  You might also look to the website to see what other stores have stocked them to see if they still have some on the shelves as well.  Once they are sold out, these delicious items are gone for good.

Thai-Inspired Chicken Skewers

I had developed a few Recipes for the Schoolhouse Kitchen website, as well as featured several items in Product Giveaways and the company in a Product Spotlight back in November of 2010.  These recipes are still available on line, as of this writing.  One of my all-time favorites is the Thai-Inspired Chicken Skewers, which are a perfect summertime dinner starting point.  Over the next few months, I’m going to try to adapt this recipe to see if I can create a similar dish now that her incredible Citrus Coconut Vinaigrette is in limited supply.  I wish Wendy and her family well.  It was a real pleasure getting to  know them and in meeting her mother Patsy at the Fancy Food Show last year.  I hope that all of their future endeavors bring them joy and happiness, and I look forward to our culinary paths meeting again.

Buon appetito!

Brooklyn Uncorked 2012 by Edible Magazine

Wednesday evening, the hallowed halls of the former Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower, an event space now known as Skylight One Hanson, rung with the clicking of glasses at Brooklyn Uncorked.  This annual wine and food event features vintages from New York State producers paired with dishes created by local chefs.  Having been to it last year, I knew that there would be much delicious wine to drink and many tasty dishes to sample.

This was the crowd at one point

My methodology was to experience the wines through the various small plates that the participating restaurants had prepared.  In speaking to several of the folks at the food tables, they told me that they worked with the vintners to create dishes that would work well with the wines that would be available for sipping at the event.

Les Trois Petits Cochons

Before embarking on my first tasting, I visited the booth at the front of the hall to have a few bites of the products by Les Trois Petits Cochons.  The smooth, earthy Mousse Truffée, luscious Smoked Salmon Terrine, and woodsy Venison Pâté were a perfect way to get my tastebuds geared up for all the other wonderful things to come.  These incredible, locally-made products shared a stand at the front of the hall with Orwasher’s Bakery hearty breads, Schoolhouse Kitchen‘s fragrant spreadable fruits.

iCi

Grilled Spring Vegetable Salad with Sopressata & Asparagus & Whipped Goat Cheese

One Woman Wines

2010 Grüner Veltliner

The schmear of tangy goat cheese spread worked well with the rough, crunchy salad and sweet carrots piled high on the plate while the crisp, acidic wine finished cleanly on the palate.  The Grüner Veltliner provided a nice pairing with the peppery flavor of the greens and the zing of the cheese.  This beverage would match well with lots of summer fare.

Palo Santo

Grilled Liver, Heart, Kidney of Rabbit with Aioli & Greens

Roanoke Vineyards Wines

2009 Marco Tulio (Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc blend)

Grilled to order on the spot, this meaty skewer was not to everyone’s taste, not even to mine.  I did sample it (possibly the liver part?) along with the creamy aioli and crisp scallions and herbs.  The Marco Tulio was more than a match for the richness of the meat with its bold berry flavors.  At the same time, this wine was not overbearing at all, and I could see it as an ideal companion for many a grilled dish.

Northeast Kingdom

Poached Mussel with Ramp Aioli, Lemon Jam, Trout Roe, and Dill

Lieb Cellars

2011 Bridge Lane Rosé

I love the fact that Rosés are getting so much attention on this side of the Atlantic in recent years.  Lieb Cellars also has a special place in my heart because their light, crisp, very food-friendly Pinot Blanc is available on tap (yes, on tap) at one of the places in my neighborhood.  Their Bridge Lane Rosé with notes of ripe, luscious summertime berries (I think I caught some white raspberry flavor in there.) and a barely fizzy texture, complemented the briny mussel and the sharp, salty trout roe that topped the buttered toast round.

Five Points & Hundred Acres

Low-Country Pickled Shrimp with Cornbread-Fennel Biscotti & Yogurt

Dr Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars

2009 Dr. Frank Rkatsiteli

As with the pairing above, this one, too, had a lovely balance to it between the intense flavor components of the food and the wine’s ability to cut through it and harmonize all the different tastes going on in my mouth.  The floral notes and acidity of the wine were an ample partner for the plump, tangy shrimp nestled on a crunchy, licorice-perfumed base.

The Chocolate Room

Single-origin Flourless Chocolate Cake

Bloomer Creek Vineyard

2008 Pinot Noir

When I first encountered Bloomer Creek wines a couple of years ago, I got to know them via their lush, fruit-and-honey-scented Rieslings.  Their ruby-red Pinot Noir, full of the taste of cherries and other berries, proved to be ideal to cut through the dense, decadent flourless chocolate cake.

Gwynnett St.

Sweet Shrimp, Preserved Lemon, Daikon, and Dulse

Bedell Cellars

2011 Taste Rosé

This lightly fruity Rosé was a crisp, clean partner for the sweet, succulent shrimp dressed with sharp radish greens and salty dulse.  This beverage would be an ideal companion for those seafood platters that you might be dreaming up for casual summer get-togethers.

The Good Fork

Mung Bean & Kimchi Pancake with Gochujang-braised Berkshire Pork

Red Tail Ridge Winery

2009 Dry Riesling

Just looking at this photo of the above dish with a crunchy, fried mung bean and kimchi cake piled high with spicy, tender pulled pork and topped with thinly-sliced, salty pickles makes me wish I could come up with another plate of it right this minute.  This pairing was probably my favorite of the evening, with the crisp fall fruit taste of the Riesling melding beautifully with the velvety texture of the pork and the punch of heat from the kimchi and the gochujang.

Blaue Gans

Pork Belly with White Cabbage Salad and Spring Carrots

Wölffer Estate

Classic White Table Wine 2010

Silken slices of pork laid delicately over a bright, crunchy white cabbage slaw and decorated with at sliver of sweet carrot were a refined presentation of a classic Central European dish.  The wine was no less elegant with a nice acidity that paired well with the richness of the meat and the tang of the slaw and ended with a light, clean finish.

Trestle on Tenth

Smoked and Roasted Pork Shoulder with Red Onion Jam on Ciabatta

McCall Wines of Cutchogue

2011 Pinot Noir Marjorie’s Rosé

A hefty dollop of sweet red onion jam made a wonderful foil for the smoky, roasted pork in this slider.  I saw folks going back for a few of these nibbles.  For me, the wine pairing was more so-so.  I enjoyed the wine, but I just wasn’t completely won over by this match.

Allswell

Lamb Belly Toast with Citrus Yogurt & Black Mint

Brooklyn Winery

2010 Zinfandel

The buttery, rich lamb belly with yogurt dressing fell apart gorgeously and just melted in my mouth.  A sip of the sweet, fruity zinfandel went with it perfectly, working with all the fattiness to enhance the flavor of the lamb.  I could have enjoyed several more helpings of this combination.

Gramercy Tavern

House-made Chicken “Mortadella” on Thyme Cracker with Caramelized Onions and Candied Pistachios

Channing Daughters Winery

2010 Blaufränkisch – Sylvanus Vineyard

Another pairing that I wasn’t completely charmed by was this one.  I enjoyed the big, hearty bold berry, cherry, and spice notes of the wine, but I wasn’t completely sure that it went with the mortadella-style chicken creation.  I felt that the food was somewhat overshadowed by the wine.

Tanoreen Restaurant

Mediterranean Baked Eggplant with Tomatoes, Potatoes, Caramelized Onions, and Spices

Paired with a 2009 Merlot from Merliance (no photo available)

Merliance is an alliance of Long Island Merlot producers who blend their wines together to produce a vintage that encompasses the characteristics of all of the vineyards of the region.  I picked up notes of purple plums and earthiness with a hint of spice and vanilla.  This was a terrific partner for the sun-kissed Southern European influence of the eggplant dish which had sweet, savory, and acidic flavors to contend with in every bite.

The Cleaver Co. & The Green Table

Savory Spring Bread Pudding

Shinn Estate Vineyards

2011 Rosé

This bread pudding captured the essence of what the word “savory” means: part salty, part buttery, part nutty-cheesy-dairy.  The herbs dotting the bread, the slivers of smoky bacon, and the brightness of the vegetables helped to balance out the richness of the other ingredients in the dish itself.  This summer-fruit-filled, light textured Rosé was the ideal partner for this plate.  I was tempted to go back for another go-around and end my tasting adventures at this table.

Osteria il Paiolo

Fave Beans with Pecorino

Osteria il Paiolo

Ricotta & Spinach Gnocchi with baby heirloom Tomato Sauce

After passing by several empty tables that had been completely wiped out of food for the evening, I came upon this one that had two Italian-inspired dishes for folks to try.  Meaty, freshly-peeled fava beans are a springtime staple.  The creamy-tangy pecorino is a great foil for the hearty beans.  My favorite of the two dishes was the pillowy-light gnocchi that just seemed to melt in my mouth with a pop of sweet-acidic tomatoes and an earthy backnote of truffle oil.  I could have consumed several platefuls of this dish, and I was so taken with all the incredible flavors working together that I forgot to get a glass of wine with which to eat it.

Colonie

Another table that was empty of plates by the time I arrived at it was that for Colonie.  I was so disappointed as I’d been intrigued to see what this Brooklyn Heights locale was going to present.  Next year, I will need to plan a bit better so as not to miss out on their delicious fare.

Rose Water Restaurant

Meyer Lemon Crudot, Spring Onion, Spinach, Curry Cream

Ravines Wine Cellars

2011 Dry Riesling

The perfumed spice of the curry dressing combined with the dry, crisp finish of the Riesling made a delicious match for the ample slice of buttery tuna crudo in this dish.  This was the ideal cocktail hors d’oeuvre and one I’d like to try to replicate for one of my next parties.

PRINT Restaurant

Roast Strawberry Parfait

One Woman Wines

2010 Sauvignon Blanc

Although dubbed a parfait, by the time I made it to the table to PRINT for dessert, they were offering more of a Roast Strawberry Crumble instead.  After having eaten several heavier dishes throughout the evening, I actually welcomed this intense sweet-tart fruit with toffee-like crumbs just as it was.  The refreshing lightness of the wine was a terrific way to wrap up the evening’s tastings…or so I thought.

Brooklyn Oenology

2010 Riesling “Friend”

I realized that I hadn’t stopped by to chat with the folks I know at Brooklyn Oenology.  They still seemed very busy helping people sample their New York State made, New York State sourced wines.  I was offered a glass of their Riesling and then mused over what I could pair with this honey-scented wine.  I went back for the pork dish from The Good Fork.  At this point, there were no pancakes left so it was just plates filled with mounds of tender, shredded pork dressed with spicy sauce.  The Reisling’s luxurious fruit feel and slight sweetness was a perfect match for the bold meat.  That ended my eating adventures for this year’s episode of Brooklyn Uncorked on a very, full, completely satisfying note.

Buon appetito!

Thank you to Edible Manhattan for providing me with a press pass so that I could attend this event and cover it for this website.  The opinions and tasting notes are mine, as unrefined as they may be, and were not influenced by any of the food or beverage partners or by the magazine and its staff.