Garden Potluck & Astor Center Wine Class

8 Aug

Jason and I had a fun-filled weekend. I met my friend Jennie on Saturday afternoon to discuss wedding invitations and she made us delicious homemade waffles! I haven’t had waffles in a while, I loved them.

I did some grocery shopping Saturday afternoon in Red Hook at Fairway Market because I did some recipe testing today, and then Jason and I headed to our friends Anna and Lou’s for a garden pot-luck party. Jason and I brought a cheese plate from the Bedford Cheese Shop, one of my favorite places in our neighborhood! I picked out three cheeses, one goat, one cow and one sheep’s milk, of varying degrees of firmness. The goat’s milk cheese was creamy and soft, while the sheep and cow’s milk cheeses were more firm and strong in flavor. We had so much fun – there was great food and beverages, it was a beautiful night outside and of course, great friends.

Today, Jason and I went to a wine and food pairing class at Astor Center called, “Cooking for Wine: Summer Reds.” I had gotten Jason the class for his birthday and the day was finally here to go to the class. There were 13 people in our class, mostly couples of varying ages and backgrounds – it was a lot of fun talking to everyone and hearing how they heard about the class, where they’re from, etc. The class was run by two instructors, a chef instructor and a sommelier instructor (a trained wine professional). We tasted 7 kinds of light summer reds, first without food, and then with food that we made, to see how their flavors changed when paired with food.

Here’s our group getting ready to taste the wine with the food we made!

We had so much fun and really enjoyed the wines and food. A lot of people stay away from reds in the summer because they tend to be heavy and higher in alcohol content, but today’s class changed our minds about that!

The 13 of us broke into 3 groups and split up the dishes we made. On the menu today were Parmesan Cheese Straws, Mini Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts, Grilled Hanger Steak with Chimichurri Sauce, Ratatouille and a Plum Tart with Streusel Topping.

Here are the cheese straws – they were made with puff pastry and so easy. I think we may make them soon again.

The tomato and goat cheese tarts also had caramalized onions and basil on them and were made on puff pastry – delicious. The flavors in this dish went really well with a few of the wines we tasted.

The main course, hanger steak with chimichurri sauce and ratatouille was so flavorful and packed with seasonal vegetables from the farmer’s market. This dish paired well with some of the more medium-bodied wines we tasted today (but still light compared to typical reds).

Finally, here’s our dessert! Jason and I were on Team Plum Tart with another couple from Brooklyn and think it came out pretty good. The dough was really easy and this tart can be made with any stone fruit you have on hand. It had a streusel topping of walnuts, brown sugar, butter, flour and cinnamon that gave it a really nice flavor and texture.

Here’s a list of the wines we tasted – you’ll notice it’s a mix of domestic and international wines of different varietals. We ended up purchasing some of them after class (at a discounted price!) because we enjoyed them so much. I included some of my comments on each below, but feel free to ask me more questions if you have them.

  1. Meliasto Rose, Spiropoulos 2009, Peloponessos, Greece (We loved this one, the lightest of the bunch but a little acidic; a great wine on it’s own)
  2. Grignolino “Poggeto,” La Casaccia 2008, Piedmont, Italy (This wine was somewhat earthy with a light finish and would be great with a cheese plate and charcuterie)
  3. Beaujolais “Pierre Chermette,” Vissoux 2008, Burgandy, France (This wine paired really well with the Steak and Chimichurri Sauce. I thought it was jammy and had notes of plum on the nose.)
  4. Sancerre Rouge Croix du Roy, Crochet 2006, Loire, France (This is a Pinot Noir from the Sancerre region in France. It was very fruit forward and paired really well with the tomato and goat cheese tart)
  5. Belle Pente, Pinot Noir 2008, Oregon, USA (Compared to the Sancerre Rouge, this was more full bodied and bolder in flavor.)
  6. Chook Sparkling Shiraz NV, Southeast Australia (We had never had a sparkling shiraz before and were surprised that we really liked it; this wine would be great with grilled dishes like burgers and steaks)
  7. Brachetto d’Acqui, Cascina Sant’Ubaldo 2008, Piedmont, Italy (This was our dessert wine, which we also loved. It was sparkling, refreshing, very fruit forward and paired wonderfully with the plum tart.)



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