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Rate and Review
International Food & Wine Festival
September 30 - November 13, 2011
Friday, October 14, 2011
10:00 a.m. - noon
Alan Wong, Alan Wong's Restaurants, Honolulu, HI
Fred Dame, MS
Pork Dumplings with Spicy Lemongrass Black Bean Sauce
Beringer Blanc, Knights Valley
Twice-Cooked Short Ribs with Korean Chili Sauce and Gingered Shrimp
Stags Leap Winery Petite Sirah, Napa Valley
Pineapple "Shave Ice" (not
your ordinary "Shave Ice") - Hawaiian Vanilla
Panna Cotta, Coconut Tapioca, Haupia Sorbet, Lilikoi
Sauce, "Shaved" Pineapple
Beringer "Nightingale" Botrytised, Napa Valley
Review by John Bowers
Aloha! Chef Alan Wong is considered a master of Hawaiian Regional Cuisine, and on Friday, October 14, 2011, he was the guest chef at the Kitchen Memories event at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. Alan is the owner and head chef of Alan Wong's Restaurants, based in Honolulu. Coordinating the wine pairings was Fred Dame. Fred is a Master Sommelier and is the first American to have served as President of the Court of Master Sommeliers Worldwide. He is also Cellarmaster of The Sardine Factory restaurant in Monterey, California. And our hostess once again was Pam Smith. Pam has hosted scores of events at the Festival over the years.
Alan started us off with a fun exercise in understanding sweetness. Each of us were given a small Snickers bar, a half cup of Coca-Cola, and a glass of water. It's easy to do at home, so here's how: Drink a little of the water, then a little of the Coke. Note how the Coke tastes sweet. Now take a bite of the Snickers bar, not the whole thing! A bite about the size of your sip of Coke. The Snickers bar will taste sweeter still than the Coke did. Now back to the Coke. After the Snickers bar, the Coke doesn't seem as sweet as it did after the water. Moral of the story: depending on what you are eating before and after other things, your perception of sweetness varies. Alan said many of his cooks are 18-30 years old and come into the kitchen with Cokes, candy bars, Red Bulls (!), etc., and when they start tasting food as they are cooking it, they can make mistakes in their judgment.
Our first course was Shrimp and Pork Dumplings with Spicy Black Bean Lemongrass Sauce. This looks like a dish that might take some practice, and it was sensational. Chef Alan mentioned the challenge of featuring local cuisine in Hawaii, where 85% of the food is imported. It takes a considerable amount of creativity to feature local and regional cuisine when such a small amount of food is truly local. Someone mentioned the difficulty of finding one or two of the exotic ingredients, and I believe Fred said all you need to do is jump on the internet, and whatever you wish for can be on your doorstep tomorrow. Or you can jump on a plane, fly to Hawaii, and have Alan make it for you! Either way, this was a wonderful, savory treat. One of my tablemates said if she were at home, she would lick the bowl to get every last bit of that lemongrass sauce. Fred paired a Beringer Blanc with the dumplings. This white wine is a blend of semillon, sauvignon blanc, and viognier. Citrusy, toasty, and aromatic, it provided a delightful complement to the dumplings.
The main course was Twice-Cooked Short Ribs with Korean Chili Sauce & Gingered Shrimp. Usually when you cook short ribs, you sear them first to brown them, and then braise them real slowly in order to tenderize them. Alan flips it around, braising the ribs first, then finishing them on a hot grill for a few minutes to get some nice grill marks. To serve them, you use a clean paintbrush to first brush your serving plate with the Korean Chili Sauce. Then you center the rib meat on the plate and put a single gingered shrimp on top of the ribs. That's a small piece of broccoli and one of cauliflower, plus a few pieces of eggplant in the photo. Not the most inspired little sides, and I wish we had a more substantial brushstroke of that lovely Chili Sauce, but the short ribs and shrimp were divine. Fred chose a Stag's Leap Winery Petite Sirah to go with the short ribs. Petite Sirah wines are bold reds, known for their very dark, inky color and spicy, peppery, dark berry flavors. They pair very well with spicy dishes like short ribs with chili sauce. But Fred said the little piece of broccoli on the plate was scary. Pairing any wine with broccoli is, well, forget it.
Alan brought Michelle Karr along with him. Michelle is Alan's pastry chef, and she showed us how to prepare the dessert course: Pineapple "Shave Ice," Hawaiian Vanilla Panna Cotta, Coconut Tapioca, Haupia Sorbet, Liliko Sauce, "Shaved" Pineapple. Quite a description! I'm not going to even attempt to describe the dish other than to say it's Hawaii wrapped in a dessert. Sweet, tropical, rich, smooth, cold, refreshing. Stunning. If you fly to Hawaii for the dumplings, go ahead and get the pineapple "shave ice." Fred paired a Beringer "Nightingale" wine with Michelle's dessert. Nightingale is made with sauvignon blanc and semillon grapes, which are picked, laid out in small trays, and sprayed with the botrytis spores that cause the grapes to dehydrate, concentrating the sugars and fruit acids. When the grapes are fermented into wine, the result is a sweet, intensely flavored wine often tasting of apricots, peaches, and honeysuckle, perfect for pairing with a fruit-based dessert. Not so good with a chocolate dessert, Fred noted. A sweet, fruity wine and a sweet, fruity dessert are truly a match made in heaven.
The Kitchen Memories events are not cheap, that's for sure. If you haven't tried one, or if you haven't tried any of the myriad Premium Events, you owe it to yourself to do so. The Food and Wine Festival only happens once a year, and life's short. Aloha!
Shrimp and Pork Dumpling
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground shrimp
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1/4 cup fresh water chestnuts, peeled and diced (can substitute with fresh lotus root)
1/2 cup green onion, green part only, thinly sliced
1 egg whole
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch freshly cracked black pepper
12 each won ton pi (dumpling wrappers)
1 egg, beaten
1. Combine all ingredients
in a bowl and mix thoroughly
2. Place the dumpling wrappers on a dry table and scoop 1 tablespoon of the shrimp and pork mixture onto the middle of the wrapper.
3. Brush edges of the wrapper with the beaten egg and fold in half into a triangular shape. Carefully push out the air and seal the moistened edges completely.
4. Brush the two smaller corners of the triangle with beaten egg and pinch together to form a tortellini shape.
5. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Without crowding the pot, add dumplings to the boiling water and cook for approximately 3-4 minutes or until they float.
6. Remove, drain, and keep warm on a plate.
Spicy Lemongrass Black Bean Sauce:
3 tablespoons lemongrass, sliced thinly
2 each 3-inch pieces of lemongrass, smashed
1/2 tablespoon ginger, minced
1/2 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon yellow onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons sherry wine
1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons Chinese salted/fermented black beans, divided
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups clam juice (no MSG)
2 cups chicken stock (white)
6 each Kaffir lime leaves (3 chopped)
1-1/2 tablespoons Sriracha (Thai hot sauce), divided
6 each sweet basil leaves, roughly chopped (reserve a pinch to finish)
1 tablespoon cilantro, roughly chopped (reserve a pinch to finish)
1 teaspoon sherry wine
1. In a large sauce pot, heat 3 tablespoons
of butter, then add 3 tablespoons sliced lemongrass,
1/2 tablespoon ginger, 1/2 tablespoon garlic, and 1
tablespoon onion. Cook for 2 minutes until the onions
are translucent but not browned.
2. Add 2 tablespoons sherry wine, 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce, 1 teaspoon fermented black beans, and 1/2 tablespoon Sriracha; mix well.
3. Add 3 tablespoons flour to create a roux (paste) and cook for 5 minutes, stirring to prevent the flour from burning.
4. Add one-third of the combined clam juice and chicken stock. Mix thoroughly with a whisk and add the next third.
5. Bring to a boil and add 3 chopped Kaffir lime leaves, 5 chopped basil leaves, 1 tablespoon cilantro, and the last third of the clam juice and chicken stock.
6. Simmer for 15 minutes. Strain, discard solids, then place the sauce back into the pot and add 1/2 teaspoon Chinese black beans, 1 tablespoon Sriracha, 8 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon sherry wine, pinch of basil, and pinch of cilantro.
7. For aromatics, add 2 pieces of smashed lemongrass and 3 whole Kaffir lime leaves.
of Shrimp and Pork Dumplings
12 ounces Spicy Lemongrass Black Bean Sauce
1. Place two Shrimp and Pork Dumplings in a small bowl.
2. Ladle 2 ounces of Spicy Lemongrass Black Bean Sauce over the dumplings. (Avoid adding whole lemongrass and Kaffir lime leaves.)
Korean Chili Sauce:
1/2 cup Korean fine chili powder
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons red Korean miso
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
1 cup Korean Chili
1 cup sugar
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (optional)
1. Combine Korean Chili Paste, sugar, and
vinegar in a saucepan and boil until it becomes glossy
2. Add soy sauce and mix well.
3. Optional: finish with 1 tablespoon unsalted butter to sweeten taste.
Twice-Cooked Short Ribs:
1 pound boneless chuck
short ribs, cut into pieces
2 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)
1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and smashed
1/4 garlic (whole/head)
3 each green onion stalks, white bottom portion only, smashed (reserve green portion for Ginger Scallion Shrimp)
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 teaspoon water
Braising the Short Ribs: 1. Place the short ribs in a large saucepan or Dutch oven and add just enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil over high heat. 2. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour, skimming any impurities off the top. 3. Add the sugar, soy sauce, mirin, ginger, garlic, and green onions. 4. Continue to simmer, skimming the top, for another 2 to 3 hours or until the short ribs are fork tender. 5. Remove the pot from the heat and transfer the meat to a deep pan. Pour the braising liquid through a strainer into the pan, covering the short ribs. Cover and chill the short ribs overnight in the refrigerator. 6. The next day, remove any fat solids from the top.
Thickening the Braising Liquid: 1. Bring one cup of the braising liquid to a boil in a small saucepan. 2. Separately, combine the cornstarch and water into a slurry, then pour into the braising liquid. 3. Stir until sauce is thickened, then turn off the heat, strain, and set aside.
Grilling the Short Ribs: 1. Begin heating a grill. 2. Set the chilled ribs aside. 3. Transfer the remaining unthickened braising liquid to the large saucepan and reheat on the stovetop over medium heat. 4. When the liquid is hot, add the short ribs and reheat thoroughly. 5. Transfer reheated ribs to a plate and brush the meat with the thickened Braising Liquid. 6. To prevent sticking, 'season' the heated grill by wiping it with a towel saturated with canola oil. 7. Grill the ribs 1-2 minutes on both sides over high heat to achieve nice grill marks.
6 shrimp, U-15 or 16/20 size, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup peanut oil
1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion, green portion only
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Method: 1. Rinse, peel, and devein shrimp. 2. In a stainless steel mixing bowl combine ginger and green onions, then season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix well. 3. In a small pot, heat peanut oil to the smoking point. 4. Carefully ladle the hot peanut oil over the ginger scallion mixture. 5. Add the sesame oil to the hot ginger scallion mixture and stir in, then set aside to cool before use. 6. Heat a small saute pan. Add some oil from the ginger scallion mixture, being careful to use only the oil. Bring to medium heat. 7. Season the cleaned shrimp with salt. Place them all in the heated pan. 8. When the shrimp is almost done (approximately one minute on each side), add about 6 tablespoons of the ginger scallion mixture to the sauce pan. 9. When the shrimp is pink/orange in color, turn off the heat and reserve until needed.
Broccoli and Cauliflower:
6 pieces of 1-inch broccoli florets, rinsed and peeled
6 pieces of 1-inch cauliflower florets, rinsed and peeled
Method: 1. Fill two medium-sized pots with water and bring to a boil. 2. Add salt (1 teaspoon per cup of water). 3. Add the cauliflower and broccoli florets to separate pots. 4. Blanch the cauliflower for 3 minutes and the broccoli for 2 minutes. 5. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. 6. Drain and set aside.
2 long eggplants, partially skinned, cut into 12 2" x 1/2" x 1/2" sticks, towel-dried
4 cups canola oil
Method: 1. Heat oil to 350 degrees F in a medium-size pot. 2. Add the eggplant in batches and fry for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. 3. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. 4. Season to taste with salt and keep warm.
12 tablespoons Korean Chili
6 pieces of Twice-Cooked Short Ribs
6 pieces Gingered Shrimp
6 pieces Broccoli and Cauliflower Florets
12 pieces Fried Eggplant
Method: 1. Spoon 2 tablespoons of Korean Chili Sauce onto the center of plate. 2. Place one grilled short rib in the center of the sauce. 3. Place one Gingered Shrimp on top of the short rib. 4. Place one piece each of Broccoli and Cauliflower Florets 1 inch above the short rib. 5. Place two pieces Fried Eggplant 1 inch below the short rib.
Hawaiian Vanilla Panna Cotta Yield:
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup whole homogenized milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 vanilla bean (seeds removed)
1 - 1/4 gelatin sheets bloomed in ice water (or 2 and 1/2 teaspoons Knox powdered gelatin)
Method: 1. Bring cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. 2. Remove the gelatin sheets from the water and add to the boiled mixture. Stir to dissolve the sheets. Strain. 3. Pour 3 tablespoons into each of 6 martini glasses and let set in the refrigerator for 4 hours.
Yield 14 servings
1 tablespoon clear gel starch
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons passion fruit puree
1 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
Method: 1. Combine the 3/4 cup water and clear gel starch. Set aside. 2. In a small pot, combine the passion fruit puree, water and sugar; bring to a boil. 3. Add the gel starch mixture to the pot and return to a boil, then remove from the heat and chill until cold.
Yield: 12 servings
8 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup tapioca pearls
1/2 gallon ice cubes
1 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut milk
1/4 cup sugar
Method: 1. Bring the water and 1 cup sugar to a boil in a large pot. Add tapioca pearls and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 2. Remove from heat, add ice cubes and let sit for 2 hours. Strain and set aside. 3. In a small pot, bring the coconut milk and 1/4 cup sugar to a boil. 4. Remove from heat and cool. 5. Fold the prepared tapioca pearls into the sauce and place in the refrigerator to chill.
Yield: 20 servings
2 - 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 - 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup Karo light corn syrup
3 cups extra-rich (25%) coconut milk
1 - 1/2 cups water
(Substitute last two ingredients with 4 and 1/2 cups of canned unsweetened coconut milk if unable to find extra-rich coconut milk)
Method: 1. Bring first three ingredients to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain and chill. 2. Once chilled, thoroughly combine it with the coconut milk and remaining water. 3. Transfer to an ice cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer's directions.
Yield: 6 servings
pineapples, peeled, quartered, core removed.
two quarters for garnish.
1 vanilla bean, seeds removed
1/4 cup ginger root, washed and sliced into 1/8" pieces
Method: 1. Combine all of the ingredients together in a Ziploc bag and set in the freezer for a day.
6 martini glasses of Hawaiian Vanilla Panna Cotta (see recipe)
6 tablespoons Lilikoi Sauce (see recipe)
1 and 1/2 cups Coconut Tapioca (see recipe)
6 mint leaves, julienne cut
2 cups of fresh pineapple, diced into 1/2" cubes
1 - 1/2 cups Haupia Sorbet (see recipe)
6 quarters of Shaved Pineapple (see recipe)
Plating each serving: 1. Take chilled martini glass of Hawaiian Vanilla Panna Cotta and pour one tablespoon of Lilikoi Sauce on top. 2. Add 1/4 cup of Coconut Tapioca. 3. Place 1 julienned mint leaf on the tapioca along with six cubes of diced pineapple. 4. Place 1 icecream-size scoop (approximately 1/4 cup) of Haupia Sorbet on top. 5. Using a microplane, coarsely shave one quartered frozen pineapple over the sorbet. 6. Grate lime zest lightly over the top. 7. Serve immediately.