If I had only one wine left in the world to choose out of the several that I enjoy, I would keep Pinot Noir because of it’s complexity and versatility. In this edition of Flights By Night, we feature a duo of Pinot Noirs paired with sliced duck breast (graciously sent to me by Maple Leaf Farms), with a pear and carrot sauce, on a crispy sweet potato nest.
The Pinot Noirs we shared with the duck include a 2012 Willowbrook Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley) and a 2012 Gavilan Pinot Noir (Chalone Appelation). When Andy and I choose two of the same varietal for a pairing, it’s fun to choose two wines we have tasted before and already know are very different. The Willowbrook is a very pleasant wine to drink all by itself with all the characteristics of a soft pinot noir, but I find the Gavilan is a better wine when it is served with food. The Gavilan is slightly effervescent and has a fuller body. That being said, we obtained many bottles of the Gavilan at a very good price, and my tastebuds fell in love with it. It became my everyday drinker for a while. Now onto the food pairing…
The sauce served on top of the duck is a take on an Alton Brown recipe–I wanted to use pears in my sauce in honor of California Pear’s Local Pear Love campaign. The major switch I made is that I used carrots instead of parsnips in the recipe, the rest I kept (mostly) the same. :)
For the sweet potato nests, I shredded two sweet potatoes in the food processor, squeezed out the excess water in them, and placed the shreds on a parchment lined and lightly oiled sheet pan (I like using a coconut oil spray for this.) I baked the shreds at 400° until they were browned and crispy. Then I plated the shreds in a circular formation to resemble little bird nests.
To prepare the duck, I seasoned the breasts with salt and cracked pepper, then started them in a cold saucepan (skin side down). I slowly brought them up in temperature and rendered out the fat, getting a nice sear/texture and brown color on the skin. Then I flipped them over to cook them a bit more and finished them in the oven for ten minutes at about 200°F. (When you remove the breasts from the oven, allow them to rest about five minutes before slicing into them. They will stay nice and juicy that way!)
You can read about other food and wine Flights By Night here!
I can’t believe it’s been four years since I met Andy at the Curtis Park Wine Tasting and now we live here in Curtis Park together. We are really looking forward to taking our annual walk over to the Sierra 2 Center in a few weeks to enjoy food, wine and friends. :)
I am happy to share information on this event (which happens to be one of the best food and wine tastings of the year in Sacramento) put together by the Sierra 2 Center, and I hope you will join us for the 25th Annual Curtis Park Wine Tasting! -cg
The tradition continues at the 2015 Curtis Park Wine Tasting, Silent Auction & Beer Garden Event on Sacramento, October 10th, 2015 4-7pm.
Building on the success of 24 previous years, this event showcases more than 50 wineries, 20 restaurants and handpicked craft brews by owner & operator of Curtis Park’s own Pangaea Bier Cafe.
The Wine Tasting, Silent Auction & Beer Garden Event is the biggest event of its kind in Curtis Park. Event proceeds benefit SCNA, Bret Harte Elementary School and McClatchy High School. The event takes place at the Sierra 2 Center, 2791 24th Street, Sacramento, California 95818
Bring your friends with you, or come meet some new ones. This year we’re turning 25 and we’re celebrating in a VERY big way.
• Raw Oysters on the Half Shell (Scott’s Seafood on the River)
• Dad’s Kitchen
• Freeport Bakery
• Lucca Restaurant & Bar
• Localis (apart of the Broderick Restaurant family)
• Sugar Plum Vegan Bakery
• Tower Café
• Tapa the World
• Taylor’s Kitchen
Event Sponsors: Cook Realty, McDonald Plumbing, Joseph F. Eschleman, Black Pine Communities, Melissa Heede (Remax)
Advance until 11:59pm, Oct. 7: $40 (SCNA Members)/$45 (Non-members) Membership can be purchased or renewed during your registration process. Online ticket sales will close at 11:59pm on Oct. 7. After Oct. 7: $50 all online tickets available until 11:59pm, Oct. 7. After Oct. 7, tickets available at Sierra 2 Center office and at the door the day of the event. Tickets are also available for purchase by visiting the Sierra 2 Center office at 2791 24th Street or by calling 916-452-3005 prior to 5:00 p.m. Friday, October 9, 2015. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door prior to the event.
In this edition of Flights By Night, we bring you a classic pairing of pork and Pinot Noir. A bone-in pork chop with an apple and onion sauté and an apple gastrique. Served with roasted Brussels sprouts.
The Pinot Noirs that Andy chose are some of the most delicious Pinot Noirs I have ever tasted and they are very reasonably priced. Wine number one is Handley’s 2012 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir (their self-titled “flagship wine”) and wine number two is Talbott’s 2013 Kali Hart Pinot Noir (which is my personal favorite red wine right now, because of it’s drinkability with or without food).
As for Handley, they couldn’t make a bad wine if they tried. Case in point, their Gewürztraminer ($20), but that is another pairing for another time. ;) Handley’s Anderson Valley Pinot retails for $32 via their website and Talbott’s Kali Hart Pinot Noir goes for ($21). However, you can find the wines at lower prices if you do a google search for them. ;)
The food pairing was a no-brainer because pork is always a perfect match for Pinot Noir. I quartered the Brussels sprouts and roasted them in olive oil. For the apple and onion sauté, I sliced the onions and cooked them in olive oil, seasoned them with salt, and then added 2 Tbs coconut sugar to help caramelize them. Then I added some chopped apples, and cooked the onions and apples down together until the mixture was browned and thickened.
Andy was busy with the pork chops on the grill and meanwhile I made the apple gastrique. It was such a simple preparation. I just used one part honey to two parts apple cider vinegar. I started with the honey in a small saucepan, and roasted over low heat until the honey turned darker. Then I added the apple cider vinegar and brought to a simmer, then turned down the heat slightly and reduced until the gastrique stuck to the back of a spoon (gastrique will thicken even more as it cools). Tip: You can serve the gastrique with pork, duck, or chicken. ;)
That’s it for today’s Flights By Night! Check back in a few days for another great food and wine pairing!
On September 27 at 4 pm, a dinner coordinated by the California Pear Advisory Board will take place on the historically-named Dead Horse Island Bridge on the Delta near the community of Walnut Grove. Attendees will mingle with other guests and local California pear farmers while enjoying a scenic view in the heart of one of the largest pear-growing regions in California.
The event will include locally-raised meats, Delta-grown crops such as corn, tomatoes, endive, and, of course pears. The dinner will be catered by Giusti’s Place, a great local restaurant located next to the bridge. An appetizer and cocktail from the Farm-to-Fork Pear Recipe Contest that was held in August will be featured: Grilled Pear Bruschetta from Taste Restaurant and Jay Yoon with Dawson’s Steakhouse at the Hyatt will be serving his House Pressed Bosc Pear Martini (shown below). Delta area wines and local beers will also be served.
Each person will be allowed to reserve no more than four tickets at a price of $125 each. To reserve tickets, please send an e-mail to the California Pear Advisory Board at email@example.com. Please note the event is for people over the age of 21.
The California Pear Advisory Board is a non-profit organization made up of farmers who grow pears in California. The cost of Pear Bridge Dinner tickets is meant to cover expenses only. Any money remaining after costs are covered will be donated to a local charity.
If you’d like to try some special pear dishes at local restaurants you can CLICK HERE to find out what’s being served and where.
It’s been Farm-to-Fork insanity here at cavegrrl.com headquarters! Andy and I are scheduled to attend so many events and dinners in celebration of this very special time of year in Sacramento. One of my favorite upcoming events is Farm-to-Fork’s Legends of Wine. I’m am thrilled that my mom will be coming out to visit during that week and will be going to Legends of Wine with us.
Legends of Wine provides the unique opportunity to sample and discover more about some of the region’s most celebrated varietals, as selected by two of Sacramento’s internationally recognized culinary powerhouses—Darrell Corti and David Berkley. Set against the backdrop of California’s majestic State Capitol, guests will sip a wide array of award-winning wines paired and presented with artisan cheeses and local delights.
If you’ve never attended Legends of Wine, here’s a brief look at last year’s event—some of my favorite wineries, along with some pictures of the impressive fruit and cheese arrangements we enjoyed.
First up is Bokisch Vineyards! They caught my attention at the first Legends of Wine in 2013 with their Tempranillo (one of my favorite varietals), and last year they served an Albariño.
I was very impressed with Capay Valley Vineyard’s line up—their sparkling viognier was my favorite. :)
Another notable winery was Casey Flat Ranch—their Estate Red Wine is excellent.
Aaand… always a favorite of mine… Matchbook. Their entire flock of wines are both affordable and delicious. Maybe this year they will bring their Arsonist Chardonnay?
Here’s one of Andy’s picks from last year: Michael David’s Sauvignon Blanc. Looking forward to trying more from them this year, and perhaps they will bring their Inkblot Tannat! :)
Along with the wines, there were fabulous displays of fruits and cheeses for the pairing:
This year’s Legends of Wine is September 17th from 6:00-8:30 p.m. on the west steps of the State Capitol. Tickets are $59 each. To purchase tickets, head over to the Farm-to-Fork website here. See you there!
One highlight for me included Tyler Florence’s Fried Chicken (mainly because I don’t always eat fried chicken, but when I do, it’s made by Tyler Florence.) I smiled and giggled like a schoolgirl when I picked up my portion of juicy crispy poultry garnished with garlic and herbs and a lemon wedge and Tyler urged me to “squeeze that lemon all over it”. Pretty tasty for sure.
Sorry to gush over celebrity chefs there for a moment. Anyway, it was also great to see Sacramento’s own Michael Thiemann, who is just about ready to open Empress Tavern on K Street. Here he is preparing meats that would go into a special Hawaiian-themed plate with turkey, rice and macaroni.
Here’s a shot of Brad Cecchi, formerly of Sacramento restaurant, Grange. Good to see him out there as well.
It was fun to visit the “Tartare Bar”, where I got to participate in the “Tartare Hand Job”, um…their title, not mine ;)—raw meat was placed on the back of my hand, seasoned with a “chive bomb!” and I was supposed to eat the portion all at once. Let’s just say I’m not that good at shooting food in one big bite, but the tartare was excellent. :)
I can’t fail to mention some of the fabulous wineries present: Cameron Hughes, Inglenook, Lombardi, Del Dotto Wine, Wines of Germany, Faust Wine, Prager Port Works, Clif Family, Leaf and Vine, Antica Wine, Cornerstone, and of course Charles Krug.
Some other favorite bites of mine came from the charcuterie station… plenty of prosciutto and sausages to be had, as well as several fresh figs and smoked almonds. I also enjoyed some artisan cheeses and an assortment of heirloom vegetables. By the time Andy and I left the event, we were stuffed!
All pictures except for the one of Tyler Florence were taken by Catherine Enfield of the Munchie Musings website. Thanks for allowing me to use your photos, Catherine! :)
Next up for me in the Cochon 555 series is Sunday, September 13, 2015 at 05:00pm at Magnolia Brewing @ Dogpatch in San Francisco. You can purchase tickets for Cochon’s other upcoming national events here. More information on the San Francisco’s Heritage BBQ event to come soon.
You can follow Cochon 555 and all of their events on Facebook here or on Twitter here.