Thursday, October 24, 2013

NYC Wine & Food Festival & Shoprite Potluck Blog

This past weekend I had the privilege to take part in two different events of the annual food network NYC Wine & Food Festival. John got us tickets months ago to attend the Jets & Chef's: The Ultimate Tailgate which was hosted by Mario Batali and Joe Namath on Pier 92. There were about 35 different booths set up with personal portions of tailgating food for guests to try along with plenty of alcohol and some celebrity demonstrations. Seeing Iron Chef Marc Forgione handing out his own food was one of the highlights of the event for me although I didn't have the courage to try his bone marrow offering. 

My favorite item of the day was the Fire Roasted Beef Short Rib with Apple Parsnip Puree and Horseradish from VB3 Restaurant & Bar. A few runners up would be the Crispy Smoked Wings with Chile-Lime Sauce from Mighty Quinn's Barbeque, the Burnt-end Chili from Joe & Misses Doe and the Pulled BBQ Beef Cheek Sandwich from the Pig & Prince. Of course for dessert I can't forgot to mention I tried a Cronut Hole from Dominique himself of the Dominique Ansel Bakery.

The 2nd event of the day I attended not only as a foodie and fan of the network but as a food blogger. We have been asked to join the Shoprite Potluck blog!!! Yes that's right, can you believe it?? We recently signed a contract that will have us blogging once a month over the next year for Shoprite :) Starting in November they will be sending us a box of products to try and we will be making recipes with the food to post on here and on their blog as well. This is an amazing opportunity and we can't even begin to express how excited we are about it. 

To celebrate our new partnership I was invited to attend a demo and dinner at the DeGustibus Cooking School which is located on the 8th floor of historic Macy's Herald Square department store. DeGustibus has been open for 33 years hosting many world renown chefs who cook for their audiences as well as teach hands on classes. It is set up like a theater and I was lucky enough to have a front row seat!! Do you notice above their heads is a long mirror?? This makes it easy for you to be able to watch what is going on in the pans or pots while they are cooking and a great way for even the people in the back to see the action.
Judith Choate was our chef for the evening as she provided us with great insight and a delicious meal complete with recipes for every course we ate. Judie is a IACP and James Beard cookbook winner and has published over 100 hundred cookbooks. She is a self taught chef who began cooking at the age of 5. Years later she owned a retail bakery, meat pie shop in NYC and also ran her own catering business until 1985. She has been a recipe and menu developer, food stylist, and restaurant consultant for companies such as Heinz, Perdue, McCann's Irish Oatmeal, Starbucks and Costco.

She gave a few pieces of good advice for all of us home cooks out there:
 - Taste your food as you cook (I definitely need to do this more!!)
- Season high above your food so the salt and pepper can spread out as it falls
- Use fresh herbs and salad dressings whenever possible
- Try to neatly plate your food it will make you enjoy your meal more when you sit down to eat
- She also loves using an Immersion Blender (I don't own one but Christmas gift this year??)
Judie and the kitchen staff used only Shoprite brand products to cook with and there was no surprise that everything was fresh and full of flavor.
 Here was our menu for the evening:
We started our meal with these Tricolor Quinoa Fritters and a Yogurt Dill Dipping Sauce as our Amuse Bouche. They were quite easily my favorite item of the night so look out for the recipe over the next few weeks.
She followed the fritters with this hearty Sweet Potato, Spinach and Quinoa Soup which was perfect for a chilly fall evening.
Next we were served a Hearts of Palm & Avocado Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette. I had never eaten Hearts of Palm before but I really liked the way they took on the flavor of the vinaigrette and complimented the avocado in texture.
For our entree we dined on Organic Beef Tenderloin with Crispy Potatoes and fresh Chimichurri Sauce. Excuse the picture because I forgot to take one and had already started eating...I just couldn't help myself! Oops :)
I was stuffed at this point but there was just enough room for an amazing trifle made of berries, hazelnut spread, Panettone and whipped cream.
I had a great time at both events last weekend and I hope you enjoyed my account of the day :) Don't forget to check out the Shoprite Blog and look for our 1st Potluck post next month!!

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