Long Overdue.....
 Wine and Food Pairing
September 2014

I am really getting old.  I HAVE to be, because I did not write about a wonderful, FANtastic Food and Wine Pairing event I worked for a friend's husband, who'd asked if I would be interested.  It was at a gorgeous local winery in mid-September and although extremely hot, it was an amazing event.  My sous chef extraordinaire, Mr. Jesse, son of my culinary partner in crime, Miss Maria, and I worked diligently to prep for the occasion.  It was a TON of work, but it was fun, a great learning experience, a great way to network, and absolutely and completely worth it.  Such wonderful wines and foods and people to meet and greet! 

Mr. Jesse and I served two of my favorite easy and flavorful snacks, both of which I have featured on the blog previously.  Here they are, stars of the show!  We served my Mini Pastry Pizzettes topped with lemon scented mascarpone cheese and a white zinfandel and fresh raspberry reduction, and, my Italian Marinated Flank Steak Bruschetta.  Here's a photo essay of that experience!  I hope you enjoy the photo  as much as I fully enjoyed prepping and serving. 

I began by bringing three flank steaks to room temperature before rubbing with my spice rub and marinating.  Recipe to follow the next photo!  I grilled them on my grill plate indoors (smoked up my entire little apartment, so funny!).  Stay tuned!

My Italian Marinade
Note:  Split all the below ingredients into three plastic zip-lock bags, for three flank steaks!
1 large red onion, finely chopped
6-8 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
1 cup Flat Leaf Italian Parsley finely chopped
6 scallions, greens finely chopped
12 sprigs fresh oregano and Thyme, each, stripped and finely chopped
6 tablespoons Smoked Paprika
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 sweet Italian chiles, seeded, ribbed and finely chopped
salt and pepper

And THIS is what they look like upon being grilled, sliced against the grain at an angle, because, pretty, and placed on toasted baguette slices.  

 I add dots of sriracha around the plate and sprinkle grated parmigiano reggiano and scallions over the bruschetta.  

Next, the dessert that received many compliments!  Made Everything so worth while!

Mini Pastry Pizzettes with Lemon Scented Mascarpone Cheese and topped with fresh raspberry White Zinfandel Raspberry Reduction. 

The Wine and Food Event was on a Thursday evening, September 11th, to be exact, and I spent the entire evening late into the wee hours of the morning prepping pastry dough to cut out the little discs that make up the pizzettes.  Yes, I look like I have been awake most of the night. 

Next, my awesome Sous Chef, Mr. Jesse, worked his magic. 

At the bottom of the photo, you can see I have my Italian Marinade ingredients lined up ready to use!

I spent a very long time using proportional mathematics to calculate how much lemon zest and lemon juice I would need, as well as how many tablespoons of honey I would need, based on my original recipe that calls for only one cup of mascarpone cheese.  THIS calls for 15!  Turned out quite amazing. 

But THIS was the star of my mini pizzettes......the Drunken Raspberry Reduction, Fresh Raspberries reduced in White Zinfandel, pomegranate balsamic vinegar and Blackberry Flower Honey.  It received far more accolades than my bruschetta did.  All in a day's work. Very grateful for the positive feedback!

Not only did we grill the flank steaks, chop veg and grate cheese, not only did we reduce a pound of fresh raspberries with two cups of White Zinfandel, balsamic and honey, not only did we cut out dozens of pastry discs and bake them for fourteen minutes at 375-degrees for the mini pizzettes, we also had to cut 15 baguette loaves specially made for us for this even into bruschetta slices.  150 slices of bread topped with extra virgin olive oil, parmesan cheese and toasted in the oven and we were ready to box up our products and grill!  Mr. Jesse and I were both very pleased with our boxing organization for transport.  

We were both very tired but very proud of all of our hard work.  You can see the stove top just to the right, and it is pretty gunky. The grilling and flank steak slicing had already been accomplished.  We were feeling quite accomplished!

Then came the fun part!

Mr. Jesse and I prepped pizzettes continuously for two hours on paper plates, as our dessert went fast!  One intelligent thing I'd done was to fill my ice chests with ice for the raspberry reduction and the mascarpone cheese.  We plated as people arrived at our table because it was so warm, near 100 degree heat, the cheese softened and warmed; we learned to be vigilant.  One of the unavoidable problems we'd run in to was shaving the milk chocolate; it was so hot, the chocolate shavings melted into puddles and despite my attempts to chill it in the ice chest, it was not enough.  Live and Learn, yes?  Our pizzettes were served with a local vintner's wine which he only  makes at certain times, and not every year.  I was lucky enough to have the vinter give me a bottle to take home!  Oh yeah!  

My Mini Pizzettes with Lemon Scented Mascarpone and topped with White Zinfandel Raspberry Reduction and Milk Chocolate Shavings.

Another view.  

Now, I want to give THANKS to the two gentlemen who made this venture an amazing learning experience and a great joy to work.  Mr. Daniel, THANK YOU and your team for asking me to do this.  I am eternally grateful.  And, to Mr. Jesse, for being the most diligent and intelligent Sous Chef.  You were an incredible help and showed great energy and efficiency and determination to help me pull it off.  

Thank You, Gents!

Thank You, gentle readers, for your support and caring about my culinary journey and learning experience.  It really means the world to me to have your support.  As always, with much gratitude, GO COOK SOMETHING IN YOUR KITCHEN!!!!  
Thanks for your time!!!


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