Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wine galore and the "mystery" basket

I'm so excited the weather is starting to change and fall is on the way...most importantly, fall produce has some of my favorite flavors. Hearty mushrooms, squash, pears, eggplant, juicy figs...all so delicious to me.

Friday night, some girlfriends and I headed to Winslow's Wine Bar for some dinner and drinks. We sat outside on comfy, over sized chairs and enjoyed people watching. We split a Spanish Cava (similar to champagne) and the cheese board complete with an assortment of cheeses: a blue, a mild cheddar and my favorite- a smoked, Spanish cows milk cheese called San Simon. The cheese board came with sliced, Gala apples, pecans, red grapes, an assortment of olives, salted almonds and toasted baguette slices. My friend Jessica ordered the roasted tomato soup- it was rich and hearty.

After hors d'oeuvres, we opted for some red wine- an Australian Shiraz called Woop Woop...and sadly, repeating the name was our entertainment for the rest of the night. For dinner, we split the gnocchi with a butternut squash buerre blanc, chunks of pancetta, sage and trumpet mushrooms. I wanted to lick the sauce from the bowl...I declined.

Tonight we had Week 6 of culinary classes: veggie cookery! I was really excited because there is not a single vegetable I don't like...seriously. We were paired up (my partner was a fellow TCU grad, Jen) and given a "mystery basket" of veggies and we were required to use all of them. Ours contained jicama, rutabaga, fennel, eggplant and collard greens.

In a couple hours, we whipped up:

Tempura-fried rutabaga

(sounds weird but the rutabaga fried beautifully)

Stir-fried purple cabbage, jicama, and broccoli with a ginger, garlic and plum sauce (the exec chefs told us that jicama is a great, fresh substitute for canned water chestnuts...same texture and crunch

Collard greens wilted in bacon fat topped with an over-medium egg and chopped bacon all atop garlic toast

An pan-fried eggplant "Napoleon" with tomatoes, melted Brie and basil oil

Roasted fennel and pears with a brown sugar, butter, ground clove and lemon zest glaze topped with candied orange peel and toasted almonds

After all of the food was critiqued, the instructors made some tempura-fried fritters with pears and apples- delicious! Next week is meat fabrication for all you carnivores!


sammyss said...

I discovered a restaurant that serves French breakfast foods all day long. Magnifique! My favorite is the dish containing eggs, cheese, breakfast sausage, and your choice of condiments on the flakiest croissant this side of Paris. One would expect pommes frites served the traditional way but, at this spot in heaven, they are made fuller and more crisp. There are a number of drink choices but I usually go with the jus d'orange which I am sure is fresh squeezed by French maidens. While I highly recommend this piece of Paris in Texas, I hesitate giving the name. I'm concerned that if the general populace was made aware of this jewel, I would have problems fighting the crowds to get my meal. Sammyss

Unknown said...

I want to be the 1st to order your cook-book!:)
By the you drink cuba libra's and margarita's all in the same day?
Love you,
aunt becky
I almost forgot..
Father James will be joining us on 10/24 for the very special dinner!He is whipping up some fancy chicken stuffed something... we can not wait to meet the "kentucky" boy and to see you!