When everyone in the room is on the same page, you can just sense it. A prime example was last Wednesday evening’s gathering of 20 ladies at Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP for a little education, a little business networking, and plenty of indulgence. Deborah was commissioned by AWIN, Anchin’s progressive women’s initiative to lead a private food and wine pairing session through Goldie’s Table Matters, which married the Restaurant Wine Ritual with the enjoyment of those very wines alongside various styles of cuisine. Judging purely by the questions asked, these ladies not only “got it”, they were way into it!
The Delicious Side of Learning
Aside from the cheeses presented, all of the food pairings were homemade by Deborah and me. It might impress you what two people can accomplish in the tiny kitchen of a NYC apartment. In the 36 hours leading up to the event, we prepared 5 of Deborah’s famous concoctions for coaxing the best flavors out of wine. Her Black Bean & Sweet Potato Flapjacks with Chipotle Cream and Avocado Mash, for instance, transformed everyone’s Blanc de Noirs Sparkling Wine from a straightforward, palate-whetting bubbly into a complex, sophisticated Champagne wannabe that practically exploded on our palates. The fattiness of the Avocado Mash component further demonstrated how a sturdy, structured Vacqueyras can at once reveal its juicy, delightful side.
Adding the umami effect into the mix, Mini Mushroom Turnovers with Red Pepper Coulis managed to bring out the earthy flavors in an otherwise fruit-driven Spanish Mencia, revealing just how much lies beneath the surface of a wine before savory food flavors are introduced. The same exercise using an Unoaked Long Island Chardonnay was perhaps the vino eye-opener of the evening.
Two famous high-acid styles of wine…a dry Provencal Rose and an Austrian Gruner Veltliner…effortlessly proved how a Green Bean Salad with Pesto can instantly gain more dimension on the palate than the simple, refreshing summer dish it appears to be.
Deborah’s tangy, silky Black Olive Tapanade made another strategic appearance at this event, as did her Tortillas Espanolas, as they shined differently with every wine presented. A selection of Murray’s Cheeses echoed those savory sentiments; our crowd enjoyed the silky fat of the brie-like Fromager d’Affinois, the sharp, citrusy delight of Mrs Quicke’s Farmhouse Cheddar, and the sweet, gritty intensity of 2 Sisters Gouda Isabelle, and observed as each of them exaggerated or tamed different elements in each wine.
The Famous Finale
As was expected, these women’s evening wouldn’t have been complete without some energized networking. It’s always a good sign when, even after the wine is gone, no one wants to leave. Our group enthusiastically kept the conversation churning well over an hour after the scheduled wrap-up time. If this sounds like an interesting setting to you, there’s nothing we would love more than to provide you with a similar wine & food adventure. In the mean time, access our above links to our strategic partners Murray’s Cheese and Suburban Wines to sample what you might have missed, link to our recipes from the event, and read on for the newly-revealed recipe for those Turnovers and Coulis. Happy Dining!
1 package (8 oz) softened cream cheese
½ cup butter (one stick) softened
1 ½ cups flour
2/3 pounds mushrooms
1 medium onion
1 tsp thyme
2 Tbsp butter
2 oz sour cream
1 oz flour
1 tsp salt
2 Tsp water
1. In a bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Gradually beat in the flour until incorporated. Shape pastry into a disk, cover, and refrigerate for about 90 minutes.
2. Mince the onions and then the mushrooms in a food processor. In a large skillet, over medium heat, sauté onions and mushrooms in butter until tender. Add thyme. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream, flour and salt. Set aside.
3. Make ¾ inch balls out of dough, and flatten into 2 inch circles. Beat egg and water.
4. place about ¾ tsp of the mushroom mixture into the centers of the circles. Fold pastry over and seal edges. Brush the tops with egg mixture.
5. Bake at 425 degrees for 12-14 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.
Yield: 3 ½ – 4 dozen bite-sized hors d’oeuvres.