We had a date with Disney last Friday evening to attend a special preview event of Disney California’s 3rd annual Food & Wine Festival. Armed with our camera, a big appetite and eyes for some delicious vino, we sampled an amazing spread of California inspired cuisine and wine pairings. Prepared by some of the resorts top Chefs, the fabulous “Taste Of California Marketplace” themed dishes we savored were just a sampling of what was to come for the “Eat and Drink” festivities which are to be held on April 11-May 5, 2008. The festival events, which include wine classes led by Master Sommelier Michael Jordan of Napa Rose, cooking demonstrations and fine meals prepared by the fine Disney chefs such as Andrew Sutton, executive chef of the celebrated restaurant, Napa Rose, as well as guest chefs, including Nancy Silverton, formerly of LaBrea bakery and Campanille fame.
Introducing Michael Jordan…(left) not the super athlete who has etched the #23 into the minds of basketball fans worldwide, but the Master Sommelier who can blind taste test a glass of wine and describe the grape variety, country, appellation and vintage of the wine. To top it off, this Michael Jordan grows over 150 varieties of heirloom tomatoes!! And he’s gonna pass on a special purple Japanese heirloom tomato plant over to us! Hero!
One of the highlights of the evening was attending a special, super-energetic and informative 45 minute wine lesson by Michael Jordan himself. His entertaining style of teaching helped breeze through some basics of tasting and identifying wine and made wine more approachable and less pretentious. This “teaser” class left us thinking about wine so much that we might even consider taking the 1st level sommelier class! Can you imagine taking a final exam where you had to drink wine? Hell, yeah!
And finally, the moment we were all waiting for…the food and wine!
And yes, we ate everything…almost twice! Snort, snort!
Kona Kampachi and Tangerine Vinaigrette along side Delta Asparagus Panna Cotta Topped with Tender Radish Salad. English Pea Pesto filled Raviolis with Spring Onion Coulis and Sungold Tomato Sauce. Both dishes paired with Brassfield Estate, “Serenity,” High Serenity Ranch, Lake County.
Roasted Certified Angus Beef Medallions with Forest Mushrooms. Paired with Rudd, “Crossroads” Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville
Spicy Fennel Sausage with Roasted Tomato Bolognese served over Meyer Lemon Marscarpone Polenta. Paired with Flora Springs, “Poggio di Papa”, Sangiovese-Cab blend, Napa Valley.
Crispy Skin Sonoma Duck Breast Served over Wild Mushroom Risotto with Blood Orange Gastrique. Paired with Williams & Selyem, Pinor Noir, Russian River Valley.
Lobster Lollipops served with Red Bell Pepper Remoulade Sauce. Paired with Baileyana, Chardonnay, Grand Firepeak Cuvee, Edna Valley.
For dessert, Berry Trifle served in a martini glass and Chocolate Marquise. Paried with a refreshing Sparkling ROSÉ….ummm….we forgot which one. But it tasted exquisite, even though at this point, we were pretty much in a food and wine coma!
Now, our contribution…Don’t laugh at us….
Everything was outstanding, but the special Lobster Lollipops with the Panko bread crumbs left feeling like giggly little kids, aching for more. So we decided to try to duplicate this idea of a “seafood on a stick”. Lobster does not fit into our budget this month so we used shrimp for this fun dish. The Japanese Panko bread crumbs gives fried foods and awesome, crispy, crumbly texture. There’s always at least a bag of panko in our pantry as back up because when we need a last minute dish, anything with panko is always a hit! Give panko a try, you’ll love it!
Panko Crusted Shrimp Lollipops
with Ginger Soy Caramel Dip
This dish is so versatile, you can use it with just about anything. We also made this panko dish with chicken and squash, for a vegetarian option. Japanese Panko bread crumbs gives fried foods and awesome, crispy, crumbly texture. There’s always at least a bag of panko in our pantry as back up because when we need a last minute dish, anything with panko is always a hit! Give panko a try, you’ll love it! The marinade for the soon-to-be-fried-goodies is optional. If you are serving them with the Ginger Soy Caramel Sauce, we recommend not to marinate the shrimp or squash, so that there is more contrasting flavors between the shrimp and the sauce. The chicken still benefits from the marinade, but if you choose to skip this step, brine the chicken for about 30 minutes instead. The end result will be a juicier meat.
Shrimp Lollipop Recipe
1/2 pound shrimp (225 g), shelled & deveined
1/2 pound chicken (225 g) or 2 zucchini (other options). Cut into about 2-3 inch strips.
2 T (30 ml) Sesame Oil (optional)
3-4 dashes of Fish Sauce (optional)
1/4 c (60 ml) Soy Sauce (optional)
3 T (45 ml) Granulated Sugar (optional)
1 T (15 ml) Finely Grated Fresh Ginger (optional)
2 Cloves Garlic, finely mashed in mortar & pestle (optional)
2 eggs, beaten
1 c (240 ml) Flour
1 c (240 ml) Panko bread crumbs
Vegetable oil to fry
Tooth picks or short bamboo skewers
1. (Optional Marinade) In bowl mix sesame oil, fish sauce, soy sauce, granulated sugar, ginger, and garlic until sugar is completely dissolved. Marinade shrimp (chicken or zucchini) for about 20 minutes.
2. Place beaten eggs, flour, and panko each into separate bowls.
3. Heat about 3/4″ of oil in pan to about 350ºF for frying. Fry shrimp, chicken or zucchini until cooked and golden brown on each side. These ingredients cook very quickly (especially the shrimp), so be ready to flip them, then pull them out of the oil after a minute of so of frying on each side.
4. Place on paper towels to remove excess oil. Skewer and assemble!
5. Dip with Ginger/Soy Caramel Dip.
Ginger Soy Caramel Dip/Sauce Recipe
2 c (430G) granulated Sugar
2 t (10ml) Lime Juice
1/2 c (120ml) Water, approx.
1/3 c (80ml) Soy Sauce
2 t (10ml) finely grated Fresh Ginger
2 t (10ml) Chili Garlic Sauce
Finely Grated Zest of 1/2 a Lime
1. Place the sugar and 1 t (5ml) of lime juice in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a sturdy wooden spoon, until the sugar has liquefied (be diligent in your stirring, or else the sugar will heat unevenly, leaving clumps that are a pain to dissolve without burning the caramel). Continue to cook until the caramel has reached a golden brown color (the caramel may still appear opaque, that’s ok). Be very careful. You have napalm in a pan right now.
2. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour in water. Stand back a bit as you pour, because the caramel is going to bubble, hiss, & splatter a bit.
3. Return the caramel back to the heat and stir to dissolve any remaining lumps.
4. Let the sauce cool a bit, then add the soy sauce, remaining 1 t (5ml) of lime juice, grated ginger, chili garlic sauce, and grated lime zest. Carefully taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. After sauce has cooled completely, thin with additional water if necessary. You have to wait until it has cooled completely because the thickness will vary depending on how much you caramelized the sugar.
Disney’s “Taste of California” Wine & Food Festival
Usually when we think of Disney, we think of Micky Mouse and the happiest place on earth for kids. But inside the fortress walls of Disney’s California Adventure lies some very fine and sophisticated restaurants. For this festival, Disney has unleashed it’s chefs and given them the spotlight to share their culinary passions and skills. One experience of this event and you’ll be saying, “Screw the kids, Mom and Dad are going to Disneyland!”
More appetizers that you might enjoy:
- Thomas Kellers Cornets
- Crispy, curry crusted tofu and basil fresh springrolls
- Salmon and sweet corn cakes
- Roasted klondike rose potatoes with herb goat cheese, thyme
- Vietnamese stuffed squid
- Asian nachos with pork and/or wonton chips/prawn crackers
- Parmesan poppy seed crackers
- Baked walla walla sweet onion dip
- Panko crusted shrimp lollipops
- Zucchini blossoms stuffed with pork
- Purple kohrabi chips
- Tofu frites, fries and mojo’s
- Vietnamese Spring Rolls – Pineapple and pork fresh springrolls
- Roasted nuts with parmesan, black pepper, sea salt
- Vietnamese beef wrapped in wild betal leaves – Bo La Lot
- Turkey and bacon fried springroll
- Vietnamese green mangoes and chili salt dip