Archive for the ‘Food & Wine’ Category

Pebble Beach Food & Wine

Friday, March 29th, 2013
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Photo By Patrick Tregenza ©

Not since the days of Bacchus, has a feast so sumptuous, splendid and stupendous been laid out as will be gracing the grounds of Pebble Beach for the 6th Annual Pebble Beach Food and Wine, April 4-7, 2013. Each year, the event seems to top the previous year’s offering and this year will be no different. Take over 100 of the world’s top chefs, mix in world class food and wine, a liberal dash of glitz and glamour and you’ve got the PBF&W. The event, which started as the rebirth of the Masters of Food and Wine, brings food and drink to the forefront through a series of interactive seminars, tastings, dinners, receptions, screenings and demonstrations. From the most revered names in the industry, like Thomas Keller and Daniel Boulud to chefs with a style all their own, like Guy Fieri and Morimoto Yamaguchi, Pebble Beach Food & Wine packs more into four days than most people can experience in a lifetime. With events numbering more than weeks in the year, 54 in total, your every need and want can be met and then some, why not take a break from the gastronomic action enjoy a casual walk or bike ride along the Coastal Recreation Trail and breathe in the rejuvenating salt air of the Monterey Bay. Or, if something more relaxing is needed, book a day at the award-winning Portola Hotel’s Spa on the Plaza or tee it up on one of the Peninsula’s many golf courses. This is an amazing event, set against the backdrop of one of the most beautiful places in the world. Make sure you reserve your place at the table!

Chef Jason’s Pumpkin Roll

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012
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When it comes to holiday baking I’m always on the search for something new and different that will “wow” family and friends. I decided to go straight to the top and asked Executive Chef Jason Giles at the Portola Hotel & Spa to share one of his favorites (that was also easy enough for a rookie baker like me) and VOILA, he had the answer! So here it is, Chef Jason’s Pumpkin roll, delicious and completely doable! Enjoy and happy baking!

Chef Jason’s Pumpkin Roll

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (after reducing on stove see below)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch jelly roll pan or cookie sheet.
  2. Pumpkin filling tends to have high moisture content, so I like to gently cook the pumpkin puree in a skillet over low heat for about 10-15 minutes to remove excess water and intensify the pumpkin flavor.  Cool completely before adding to recipe.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir in pumpkin puree, eggs, and lemon juice. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Spread the mixture evenly.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 15 minutes.
  5. Lay a damp linen towel on the counter, sprinkle it with confectioner’s sugar, and turn the cake onto the towel. Carefully roll the towel up (lengthwise) with the cake in it. Place the cake-in-towel on a cooling rack and let it cool for 20 minutes.
  6. Make the icing: In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and sugar with a wooden spoon or electric mixer.
  7. When the cake has cooled 20 minutes, unroll it and spread icing onto it. Immediately re-roll (not in the towel this time), and wrap it with plastic wrap. Keep the cake refrigerated or freeze it for up to 2 weeks in aluminum foil. Cut the cake in slices just before serving.

Enjoy!

Big Sur Food & Wine

Friday, November 2nd, 2012
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 Photo © Big Sur Food & Wine

Big Sur has been the location of movies and commercials and an inspiration to beatniks and metaphysical practitioners. It is beautiful, rugged and has been called the “greatest meeting of land and sea” by poet, Robinson Jeffers. And, while several thousand people call it home, interestingly, there is no actual city or town of Big Sur. What better way to properly celebrate this wonderful mish-mash of quintessentially Californian attributes, than to have a food and wine festival in its honor!

The Big Sur Food & Wine Festival runs Thursday, November 1st through the 4th and features a bevy of out of the box food and wine centric events, just like the region itself. Friday’s offerings feature the beginning of the Hiking with Stemware series with allows participants to take in the beauty of Big Sur on foot along with the beautiful taste of some of the area’s best wines. The events feature meals al fresco from local chef’s and are often paired with an inside look at artisan producers from around the state.

Evenings embrace the wild mystery of the area with events like the Wine & Swine and a series of Winemaker’s Dinners. These limited seating events feature small batch wineries paired with the creations of local chefs. The nighttime activities conclude with the After Parties at the Henry Miller Library. This venue has played host to a Who’s Who of American creative genius from Jack Kerouac to The Red Hot Chili Peppers and this weekend features music, wine, food and fun.

There is a wonderful mix of events throughout the weekend so you can choose to try a taste or go whole hog. The event organizers have graciously provided shuttle transportation for some of the events so be sure to check the Big Sur Food & Wine website for more details. As food and wine festivals go, this one may give you a little more than you bargained for; and that’s a good thing!

Salinas Valley Food & Wine Festival

Friday, October 19th, 2012
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The Salinas Valley is widely known as the “Salad Bowl of the World”. From strawberries and lettuce to artichokes and broccoli, much of our nation’s produce comes from this fertile region. So it should come as no surprise that one of the fastest growing events in Monterey County is the Salinas Valley Food & Wine Festival. The fun begins on Saturday October 20th at noon and runs until 5pm. Featuring world class wine and gourmet food, the event highlights the culture of the Salinas Valley and takes over six square blocks of Oldtown Salinas. The event is free to the public and those wishing to taste wine and beer can purchase a wristband.

In addition to the gourmet highlights of the day, a variety of art and activities are also available including musical acts performing throughout the day and a classic car show. The National Steinbeck Center also plays host to a VIP Pavilion starring an additional 150 vendors. In addition to food exhibitors the VIP Pavilion an additional 50 wineries and 30 breweries will be on site. The Portola Hotel & Spa’s very own Peter B’s Brewpub will be on site, pouring some of their famous craft beers. So come experience the bounty and the rich culture of the Salinas Valley at the Salinas Valley Food & Wine Festival!

Chef’s Summer Recipe

Monday, July 30th, 2012
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Summer food can mean many things for many people. For some, it’s a simple sandwich thrown into a backpack before rushing off to the beach. For others, it’s a taste-a-pallooza of barbecued meats and other seasonal traditional treats. And then there are those that enjoy something light and cool to beat the heat. The trick, however, for a great summer meal is combining all those tastes into one incredible dish that can be enjoyed by all.

Sounds daunting, but when the Portola Hotel & Spa’s Executive Chef Jason Giles has got your back, you are only a few simple steps away from wowing guests, friends and family alike. Luckily, the man behind the great tastes at Jacks Restaurant & Lounge and Peter B’s Brewpub is sharing some of his summertime secrets with all of us.

Take it away Chef!

This is a great summer salad that is easy to prepare and doesn’t heat up the kitchen.  I would serve this with a nice crusty sour French bread and sit out on the patio enjoying all that summer has to offer.

Begin by marinating the Flank steak.  Place the Flank steak in a container that can hold the meat and ½ cup of the balsamic vinaigrette (see recipe below).  Pour the vinaigrette over the steak, being sure to coat both sides and then let it marinate for about 2 hours in the refrigerator. 

Combine all of the ingredients except the oil in a blender.  Mix until well blended.   Add two pinches of black pepper.  Slowly add oil until well blended. Taste and season with salt if needed.

When you are ready to eat…

Heat the grill on high and lightly oil the grilling surface.  To prepare the steak for grilling, lift out of the marinade and let most of the dressing drip off (otherwise the grill will flare up when you put the meat on). Then season with salt and black pepper.  Grill for 6-8 minutes per side or until desired doneness.  Remove from the grill and let the steak rest lightly covered with foil on a plate on the kitchen counter. 

While the grill is still hot, lightly oil again.  To prepare the peaches, lightly season with the salt and black pepper and then grill for 3 minutes or until some nice charring happens.  Remove and let rest until service.

To assemble the salad….

Peel and dice the avocado, slice the peaches (each half in to 5 pieces), chop and rinse the red leaf lettuce.  Make sure the arugula and spinach are clean as well. In a large salad or serving bowl combine the three lettuces and toss with the remaining ½ cup balsamic vinaigrette.  Arrange the sliced peaches and avocado on the top of the lettuce and sprinkle with the toasted almonds.

For the meat I would recommend slicing it very thin as Flank tastes better that way. Then you can either put it over the salad in the bowl or serve it on the side and let your family and friends dish it up themselves.

Enjoy life, savor great food and embrace good company!

Cheers,

Chef Jason