12/11/2007 Wine Dinner at Midwest Culinary Institute

The Summit Room at Midwest Culinary Institute
Sensational Wine Dinner
December 11, 2007
Chef Arthur Leech

Tuesday, December 11, 2007 marked the inaugural Wine Dinner at Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College. As part of the planning team, I worked with College administration, Samantha Smith (from E&J Gallo Winery) and Carmen Parks (formerly of Rondo’s restaurant) to organize this, the first of our monthly Wine Dinners. It was gratifying to see this event come to life, and to have it so well-attended (somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 people attended the event).

Chef Arthur Leech provided the following menu, paired with wines by Samantha Smith.

Hors d’Oeuvres
Barefoot Brut Champagne

Spicy Asian Pepper Seared Wild Caught Salmon with a fresh thyme lemon vinaigrette
Martin Codax Albarino, 2006

Granny Smith Apple Chestnut Soup with Saffron Creme Fraiche
Bridlewood Reserve Viognier, 2006

Duck Confit & Roasted Mushroom Potato Lasagna resting on sauteed baby spinach and raspberry braised beets
MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir, 2006
Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley, 2004

Cheese Sampling of Brie, Compote, French Blue, and Manchego drizzled with Mission Fig Syrup
Bridlewood Reserve Syrah, 2003

Peach, Apple, and Golden Raisin Rustic Tarts with moscato and honey reduction, creme anglaise
Moscato, N.V.

The meal was neither too conservative nor too ‘wild’, which was appropriate for the first time. We, as a planning committee, needed to begin to understand our audience and where their tastes are.

01/08/2008 Wine Dinner at Midwest Culinary Institute

The Summit Room at Midwest Culinary Institute
Sensational Wine Dinner
January 8, 2008
Chef Alan Neace
Wine pairings by Chef Neace & Laura Landoll, Vintage Wine Distributors. Wine commentary, below, provided by Laura Landoll.

Champagne Welcome

Smoke-Roasted Corn Chowder with Petite Blue Crab and Shrimp-filled Morel
: Wonderfully silky, smooth chowder with a flavor that rich and full (there was smoked cheese in there), yet a light texture, topped with a nice garnish of a slice of morel mushroom that had been stuffed with blue crab and shrimp, then poached.
2005 Joseph Drouhin Saint-Veran, White Burgundy
WINE: Saint-Veran is very close stylistically to Pouilly-Fuisse, with its golden green hue, its intense fruity, flowery nose and its refreshing flavors. It can be enjoyed very young (two to three months after bottling). An independent, family-owned firm that is 125 years old — this is very rare today! Eleven of the world’s leading wine families, each a recognized leader in its region, have created an international association, named Primum Familiae Vini (“Leading Wine Families”) or P.F.V.

Cobenerro Crusted Sea Bass with Quark Spaetzle and Cucumber-orange Compote
: A generous portion of sea bass crusted with cobenerro spices (a Guatalaman spice blend), served with spaetzle that were crisp on the outside with a tender chew on the inside. The compote provided a brightness and acidity to the dish, and it was a very nice, complete flavor profile.
2006 Domaine Sigalas Santorini, Assyrtiko
WINE: Assyrtiko is one of Greece’s finest white grape varieties and is planted throughout Greece. It was first cultivated on the island of Santorini, where it has developed a unique character producing excellent A.O.C. wines. Assyrtiko has the ability to maintain its acidity as it ripens. It yields a bone-dry wine that has citrus aromas mixed with an earthy, mineral aftertaste due to the volcanic soil of Santorini. A light yellow color with green highlights citrus flavors, and a lemon intensity, particular of the grape variety.

Quinoa and Black Bean Salpicon with Oven-dried Cherry Vinaigrette and Elfin Greens
: A flavorful bound salad (a Salpicon is a chopped, bound salad) with quinoa (oh, I adore quinoa), presented in a base of a cucumber ring, garnished with micro elfin greens (no hobbits in sight), and presented with a crescent-shaped cracker. The dressing was painted on the plate, and was very flavorful and a good acidic compliment to the salad. A very nice presentation and flavor.
2006 Chateau de Campuget Rose Rhone, Syrah/Grenache
WINE: Chateau de Campuget, which belongs to the Dalle family since 1941, is producing A.O.C. Costieres de Nimes wines. Their vineyard, of 160 hectares, is situated in the heart of the A.O.C. area, between Nimes and Arles, a few kilometers from the right side of the Rhone river. Grape composition: 30% Grenache noir, 70% syrah. Its color is an intense peony pink. Its bouquet is very aromatic, with scents of small red fruits such as raspberries or black currants. In the mouth, there is a perfect balance between vivacity and mellowness.

Sumac-rubbed Roast Pork Tenderloin Roulade with Ratatouille, Haricot Vert, aromatic infused pear, chive fragranced polenta cake, and sauce diable
: Gosh darn it, not enough people use Sumac when cooking. Its delicate, slightly citrus-y flavor was a nice addition to the pork tenderloin roulade. The tenderloin was trimmed & skinned, and the edible cut-offs were made into a farce that was placed atop the tenderloin (secured using powdered egg whites — “meat glue“, as Chef called it) and wrapped in caul fat before being seared off and roasted. Each of the components of the dish — ratatouille, pear, polenta, and verts — paired well with the tenderloin and, taken all in one bite were tasty, but sometimes the flavor profiles were muddy when mixing & matching components. For example, pear + pork == tasty. Pear + pork + ratatouille == less so.
2006 Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir
WINE: A beautiful wine that truly expresses the terroir of the red, volcanic earth where it was grown. Aromas of red fruits, violets, clove, and tea leaf. Flavors mirror aromas with juicy bing cherry, lavender, earth, and mineral followed by an elegant finish that lingers with spicy cinnamon and clove notes. The mouth-feel is round and generous with a concentrated mid-palate and good acidity. Appealing now, but will further reward those who cellar this wine. This wine is Salmon Safe, LIVE (Low Input Viticulture and Enology), and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.
2005 Consentino Winery, Sangiovese
WINE: Spicy, exotic red and black fruit with hints of clove in the nose. A vibrantly colored, rich and concentrated, yet brightly balanced wine on the palate. A round, rich, and balanced wine that evolves into an intense mixed berry sensation with ripe tannins in the center. An elegant white pepper note finishes this richly textured wine. Grape composition: 92% Sangiovese, 2% Petite Sirah, 2% Early Burgundy, 2% Merlot, and 2% Alicante.

Delicate Pistachio and Cranberry Cake with terrine of cream medley, Tellicherry red wine sauce, and chocolate decor
: I enjoyed helping Chef prepare and refine this recipe. The original concept was modified to substitute almond paste for the tardy pistachio paste, and we bumped up the flavor of the cranberry center by rethinking the filling. Each cake — which was individually made — required that batter be added to the silicone mold, a filling of thick, red cranberry gelee added, then the mold ‘topped off’ with a bit more cake batter, sealed, and baked off. When opened, the cakes oozed a ruby red center.
2003 Les Clos de Paulilles Banyuls
WINE: Les Clos de Paulilles is owned and managed by the Daure family, the preeminent wine growing family of the Roussillon. The entire vineyard is hand-harvested when the Grenache has reached exceptional degrees of ripeness — a minimum of 15 degrees. The grapes are crushed but not de-stemmed into stainless steel vats. Neutral grape spirit is added during fermentation — a process called “mutage” — after the wine is allowed to macerate for a full six weeks. The wines are pressed after maceration. Bottling occurs the Spring following the vintage, and the wines are aged in-bottle in climate-controlled cellars for a minimum of two years. Dark black-purple red with intense blackberry jam aroma and succulent, rich flavors. A superb dessert wine. Grape composition: 100% Black Grenache.

This dinner was very successful, and set the bar for meals to come.

02/13/2008 Wine Dinner at Midwest Culinary Institute

On February 13, 2008, we attended another Wine Dinner at the Midwest Culinary Institute, this time cooked by Chef Rick Potter, C.E.C. who is a faculty member at the college. Wines by Jamie Stewart, Master Sommelier, from Foster’s Group.

Here’s the menu Rick prepared, and boy was it good!

Wolf Blass Yellow Sparkling NV

Creamy Corn & Leek Soup with toasted English croutons
Beringer Alluvium 2006

Spicy Pan Seared Scallops with braised Savoy cabbage with carrot ginger emulsion
Chateau St. Jean Riesling 2005

Baby Greens, Marinated Tomato, Grain Salad with smoked duck roulade
Etude Pinot Noir Rosé 2006

Rosemary Crusted Leg of Lamb with morel reduction, horseradish mashed potatoes, and turned vegetables
Greg Norman Shiraz/Cabernet 2002
Souverain Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Panna Cotta on Flourless Chocolate Cake with macerated fruit
Penfolds Club Tawny Port NV

03/26/2008 Wine Dinner at Midwest Culinary Institute

On March 26, 2008, we attended the next montly Wine Dinner at Midwest Culinary Institute, this time helmed by Chef Matthew Winterrowd, the newest executive chef on faculty there. Wines by Rich Parducci, winemaker from McNab Ridge.

Amuse Gueule
Kumomoto Oyster, cauliflower, buttermilk, lemon
Anime Prosecco NV

Jonah Crab, chickpeas, cucumber, mango
McNab Ridge Sauvignon Blanc 2007

Sea Scallops, coconut, rice, ginger, cabbage
McNab Ridge Chardonnay 2005

Duck Breast, barley, wild mushroom, red wine, orange
McNab Ridge Pinotage 2004

Lamb Chop, potato, Brussels sprouts, truffle, thyme
McNab Ridge Coro 2004
McNab Ridge Petite Sirah 2005

Milk Chocolate-Passion Fruit-Kiwi, Dark Chocolate-Caramel-Pistachio
Puerto Dessert Port

04/16/2008 Wine Dinner at Midwest Culinary Institute

The Midwest Culinary Institute (MCI) Wine Dinner for April was planned and prepared by Chef Alan Niece & the Olympic Culinary Team. Wines by Brian Scott from Vintner Select. Additionally, the culinary team prepared booklets with recipes for all the dishes they served which were given to the guests.

Due to a previous commitment, I was unable to attend this event.

Gruet Blanc de Noir Sparkling, NV

Poached Dover Sole & Shrimp Quenelles
trio of squash on a bed of sautéed spinach,
buerre blanc, lobster mushroom dusted cracker
Selby Sauvignon Blanc, 2006

Smoked Tomato Salad
citrus compote, lemon vinaigrette & pâte à choux
Verdad Albarino 2006 Ibarra-Young Vineyard

Sauté Poulet Bercy
chipolata sausage, duchesse potato,
peas & carrots à la flamande
Mikael Bourge Cot 2006 – Les Hout de Cot (Malbec)
Cinnabar Mercury Rising 2005

Whimsical Dessert
cinnamon ice cream atop flourless chocolate cake,
Grand Marnier marinated fruit filled almond florentine, hazelnut soufflé with vanilla sauce, sweet red wine sauce
JRE Winery Zinfandel Tradition, 2005

08/12/2008 Wine Dinner at Midwest Culinary Institute

On Wednesday, August 12, 2008, the Midwest Culinary Institute hosted another Wine Dinner, this time prepared by Chef Kyle Goebel with wines by Chad Johnson, owner of Dusted Valley Vintner Winery. Sadly, we were in Houston, Texas and missed the dinner. But here’s the menu and photos… It sounded great!

Amuse Bouche
Yellowfin Tuna Tataki, Yuzu, Wakame, and Microgreens
La Sera Malvasia 2007

First Course
Watermelon Consomme, Pickled Cucumber Granite, and Lavendar Dust
Boomtown Pinot Gris 2006

Second Course
Sliced, Butter-Poached Lobster, Hearts of Palm, Avocado, Valencia Orange Supreme, and Mango Beurre Blanc
Boomtown Unoaked Chardonnay 2006
Dusted Valley Vintner Viognier 2006

Third Course
Duck Confit, Sweet Potato Crepe, Chantrelle Mushrooms with Seared Duck Breast, Bing Cherries, Arugula, and Micro Cilantro

Boomtown Merlot 2004

Fourth Course
Cinnamon-Smoked Lamb T-Bone, Herb Risotto, and Blueberry Gastrique
Boomtown Syrah 2006
Dusted Valley Vintner Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Fifth Course
White Donut Peach, Dark Chocolate, and Raisin Compote
Red Head Ranch Late Harvest Zinfandel 2004

09/17/2008 Wine Dinner at Midwest Culinary Institute

Chef Matthew Winterrowd
Wines hosted by Chip Emmerich of Burnet Ridge Winery

Cold Smoked Salmon Cheesecake with Beet Crust and Radish Salad
Russian River Vin Gris Pinot Noir 2007

Shrimp, Basmati Rice, Okra, Tomato, Coconut
First Course
Shrimp, Basmati Rice, Okra, Tomato, and Coconut
Lake Erie Pinot Gris 2007

Crab, Mango, Avocado, Lime
Second Course
Crab, Mango, Avocado, and Lime
Patianna Organic Sauvignon Blanc 2007

Monk Fish
Third Course
Monk Fish, Roasted Parsnips, Corn, and Chives
Melange a Trois Chardonnay 2006

Fourth Course
Chicken, Herb d’Provence, Spinach, Chantrelles, and Bread Pudding
North Coast Pinot Noir 2005

Beef Tenderloin
Fifth Course
Seared Beef Tenderloin with Rosmary, Brussel Sprouts, and Dauphinoise
Super Tuscan 2004
Purple Trillium 2005

Apple Tart
Roasted Apple Tart, Cardomon Ice Cream, and Chamomile Golden Raisins
Jackson Triggs Vidal Icewine