One of the final memorable events of the Food Network Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival was the “Farm-to-Table” brunch hosted by Chef Alex Guarnaschelli and beautifully paired with wines from the California Central Coast vineyard, Wild Horse Winery. The brunch was held at One Atlantic, an incredibly beautiful, understated space high above the Atlantic Ocean. Before brunch, guests enjoyed the magnificent views while sipping luscious Jersey peach bellinis made with Cook’s Sparkling Wine.
The menu included a basket of assorted rolls, scones and warm beignets filled with raspberry jam; heirloom tomato and corn salad with basil, radishes and homemade ricotta paired with Wild Horse 2008 Chardonnay and an unbridled* 2007Chardonnay; grilled spice-rubbed strip steak, a crustless quiche with Four Story Hill Farm bacon and Swiss chard, and sides of crisp zucchini blossoms with caper aioli paired with a Wild Horse bridled* 2008 Pinot Noir and an unbridled 2006 Pinot Noir; and, the piece de resistance, Hammonton Farm blueberry cobbler with a brown sugar crust and buttermilk ice cream paired with a 2006 Inniskillin, Vidal, Niagara Peninsula (Canada).
Here is the recipe for the delicious Blueberry Cobbler
(Courtesy of Chef Alex Guarnaschelli, who explained “A cobbler is traditionally topped with a biscuit dough. Mine is slightly different but tasty!”)
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- ¾ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground, dried ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) lightly salted butter, cut into cubes plus 1 tablespoon for greasing the baking dish
- 11/2 stick lightly salted butter
- ½ cup Confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ cup finely ground pecans
The cobbler filling:
- 3 pints blueberries, stemmed, washed and dried
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- The juice and zest from 1 lemon
- Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (optional)
1. Make topping #1: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger and nutmeg. Too to blend the ingredients. Add the butter to the bowl and break it up with your fingers integrating the flour with the butter. Refrigerate.
2. Make topping #2: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, “cream” the butter and sugar together until smooth and increased in volume, 5-8 minutes. (Alternatively, use a hand mixer.) Add the vanilla.
3. Use a large strainer or sifter to sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt and allspice. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a spatula to mix in the dry ingredients. Stir until blended. Stir in the nuts. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use your fingers to break the dough into clumps and spread the clumps out in a single layer on the baking sheet. Place the tray in the center of the oven and bake until golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
4. In a large bowl, toss the blueberries with the sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and zest. Pour them into the baking dish and top with an even layer of topping #1. Place in the oven and bake until the topping is golden brown, 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for about 15 minutes. Top it with the pieces of topping #2 and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
All ingredients were sourced from local farms as noted.
* The difference between a bridled and an unbridled wine is that bridled indicates it is a “select” wine, while unbridled is much more versatile.
In a remote interview with Chef Alex, who is the Executive Chef at the restaurant Butter in New York City,
I asked her what she had learned from the star chefs under whom she had trained. She said, “Larry Forgione taught me the importance of using domestic and local ingredients and painting them in their best light with simple recipes. Guy Savoy taught me about developing flavor in foods when cooking. Daniel (Boulud) taught me that I had everything left to learn. And, Joachim Splichal (The Patina Group) taught me the importance of food costs and using the greenmarket to illuminate good dishes.”
In reference to a question about seafood choices and the effects of the Gulf Spill, she explained it hadn’t really affected her choices, but that she stays current with sustainable seafood by following the Monterey Bay Aquarium website, as do many top chefs, who follow what seafood is the best choice in their geographic region.
In describing the menu at Butter, which is known for it American cuisine, she explained that, “The ingredients are sourced from various farms and other places in the United States. The ingredients are fundamentally American. Because of my French training, the techniques and style of the dishes are basically French.” Next stop on this food writer’s itinerary is Butter!
To view the entire slide show of the weekend’s festivities, go to my Flickr.
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