Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Romancing the Date

A little afternoon romance never hurt anyone, especially when it includes the date of one's choice.   After a week of fashion at El Paseo Fashion Week 2011, it was time to move from eye candy to real food from famous chefs who were highly decorated in their own right. 

For the first time ever, Food & Wine Festival Palm Desert presented "Romancing the Plate with the Perfect Date."   A stellar line-up of chefs, led by James Beard award-winning chef Jimmy Schmidt and Duff Goldman of Food Network's popular Ace of Cakes show, created dishes inspired by the lowly, succulent, but often misunderstood date.  I was a little skeptical about this at first as dates are hardly de riguer in gourmet cooking.  But I was won over on first bite.  Dates might be the "truffle of the desert."

The event was emceed by Andie Hubka of Cooking with Class, who also served the first course, an amuse bouche of Blue Cheese and Almond Stuffed California Dates with Chive Oil accompanied by a glass of Korbel Sweet Cuvee sparkling wine.  

Palates ready, the next course Vietnamese Beef & Noodle Soup in a Duck & Date Broth that was paired with a 2009 Sonoma-Cutrer Sonoma Coast Chardonnay.  I am a huge fan of Pho, but this was an unexpected combination and one that should be tried again.  This dish was prepared by Chef Scott Robertson of New Leaf Catering.

Do "re and mi" follow Pho?  Maybe, but in this case it was the fabulous chef Jimmy Schmidt who prepared Roasted Wild Salmon, topped with Deglet Noor Dates Chanterelle & Arugula, and plumped Celeriac Ravioli with Date Emulsion.  Though a menu was in front of me, and Chef Jimmy Schmidt had just shown us the Celery Root, I was blown away by the Celeriac Ravioli and almost forgot that it was not pasta.  This dish was paired with the ever -versatile 2007 Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.  Delicious!!   Jimmy Schmidt's food is phenomenal and alone was worth the price of admission.

The moment most people were waiting for was now at hand.  The finale.  The end.  Dessert! This had to be spectacular and no one was disappointed.  Duff Goldman prepared Pear Ginger Spice Cake with Khadrawl Date Sauce & Chinese Citrus Chantilly Cream paired with Korbel Sweet Rose'.  A new Thanksgiving Classic emerged.  And, best of all for me who suffers from migraine headaches, not one bit of chocolate was needed to create a most delicious and memorable dish.

For more information on Dates or the recipes for the items listed please visit http://www.datesaregreat.com/.
Andie Hubka with Chef Jimmy Schmidt as he explains the Celery Root

Andre Carthen, Food & Entertainment Expert
Kathy Ireland Worldwide
(He makes a mean Mandarin Spice Martini too!)

1 comment:

  1. Hey Christy, just seeing this thanks for the mention. Hope you are having a great summer and enjoying the Mandarin Spice Martini. ;)