Saturday, November 27, 2010

Wine and Swine GIVEAWAY!

Happy Thanksgiving weekend, everyone!

I have so much to be thankful for this year. At the top of my list is the birth of my beautiful new niece, Anna, who at the age of one week, already has me completely and utterly smitten. I mean, how could you not love this face?


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Self-indulgent aunt-swooning aside, though, I have something exciting to share with you all. A giveaway!

If you're a food lover worth your salt, you're probably emerging from your turkey coma, shaking your head at the mass quantities of vittles you ingested and simultaneously wondering, "What's next?" Well, the good folks at the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival are here for you, with a delightful weekend of porcine delights that you won't want to miss. VoilĂ  - the Wine & Swine Culinary Weekend!

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The Wine & Swine weekend pairs pork and pinot (and other vino varieties, too) in all manner of piggerrific ways. They're kicking things off this Friday, December 3rd, with a Pork & Cork at the AT&T Conference Center, during which chefs will use all parts of the pig to create a flavorful feast paired with Old and New World wines. Saturday brings the Sip, Swirl & Squeal Wine Seminar, where you'll be treated to unique wines paired with a sampling of pork specialties. The weekend will culminate on Sunday with a real Hill Country Pig Roast, during which a herd of fantastic chefs (namely, Jonathan Gelman of the Driskill Grill; Paul Qui of Uchiko; Larry Kocurek of Kocurek Family Charcuterie; Josh Watkins of The Carillon; Jack Gilmore of Jack Allen's Kitchen; Rebecca Rather of Rather Sweet Bakery in Fredericksburg; Larry McGuire of Perla's and Lambert's; John Bullington of Alamo Drafthouse; and Jason Dady) will each be preparing a whole pig in his or her own culinary style to share with attendees. Add live music, craft beer, and wine tastings and set the event at a ranch in Driftwood, and you've got yourself a very Austin-y pig party.

The Festival folks have very generously provided me with a pair of tickets to the Texas Hill Country Pig Roast to give away to one lucky reader of this blog! To enter, simply leave a comment below with your favorite part of the pig. If you are on Twitter, you can get an additional entry by tweeting, "Enter to win a pair of tickets to the @txwineandfood's Hill Country Pig Roast from @foodiethenew40: http://bit.ly/iiZhsk"(retweeting my tweets about the contest works, too). Entries will close at 7:00 p.m. CST on Tuesday, November 30th; I'll pick the winner that evening.

If you'd like to attend any of the Wine & Swine weekend events, be sure to check out their website for more info and tickets!

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

She lives!!

I know, I know; it has been a ridiculously long time since I last posted. I apologize, dear readers - I have been so busy devouring everything in sight (well, except for that time when I was duking it out with the stomach flu). But never fear! I won (take that, flu!), and I have so much deliciousness to share with you.

For starters, I was fortunate enough to attend the media preview for Project Transitions' Guess Who's Coming to Dinner series. If you're not familiar with this fundraiser, I urge you to get familiar, pronto. This wonderful foodie event offers an evening of delightful dining in the company of other fun folk. Each person attends one of a number of different themed dinners (the themes vary widely; everything from "Around the World in Eight Platters" to the more cheeky "A Shroom with a View" or, my personal favorite from last year, "Winter Olympics: What Would Tonya Harding Serve?"). After the meal, all the guests from all of the dinners assemble at NEST for a champagne and dessert reception. The Project has the support of Les Dames d'Escoffier, which means that the meals are top notch - and all the food and wine is donated by the hosts, which means that every dollar of the $100 ticket price goes to fund critical services for Austinites living with HIV and AIDS. What could be better than that?

If the media preview was any indication, this is truly an event not to be missed. The food and wine were absolutely fantastic, and the wonderful company and gorgeous surroundings ensured that the evening was delightful in every way. For starters, check out the table that was set when we arrived. It looked to me every bit like a sparkling jewel centerpiece for the lovely fall evening.


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The theme for the media dinner was "Going Quackers," so duck was the order of the evening. Luckily for me, as I loooove duck. As we waited for the other guests to arrive, we sipped prosecco and nibbled some ducky hors d'oeuvres.

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The very gracious Cathy Negrel of Negrel Antiques, serving deviled duck eggs.

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Smoked duck breast bruschetta with fig & walnut tapenade

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Warming shots of sweet corn soup with duck cracklings. MmmmmMMMMMM.

After mingling a bit, we were seated at the table and plied with wine. Then this arrived:

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I was still getting the hang of using my nerd lights with my new camera, so please don't let my less-than-optimal photo convince you that this dish was anything but divine. There were two preparations of duck - a confit and a pan seared breast with candied cranberries. These were served with a lovely couscous pilaf with currants and toasted pistachios, and some roasted fall vegetables.

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Duck cam close-up.

Dessert was an impossibly luscious green tea and dark chocolate pot de creme with orange blossom honey whipped cream and a bit of honeycomb for garnish, prepared by Suzanne Court:

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It was with great difficulty that I restrained myself from eating both mine and Pat Sharpe's pot de creme (so that's how she stays so thin).

Thanks to this wonderful preview, I'm completely sold on this event and fully intend to attend Guess Who's next year. The 2011 Guess Who's is on February 5th; keep an eye on this page for details. Hope to see you there!

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