Saturday , 19 August 2017

Lorie Fangio: GrapeFest Squeezes a Good Time out of Grapevine

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Lorie Fangio with Chef Youtz

The harvest is in and the grape stomping has begun, spectators at this year’s GrapeFest did just that both figuratively and literally and boy was it fun! Food, wine, friends; the streets of Grapevine were packed with them. Where else can you grab a gorgeous flute of champagne or a glass of red and walk a festival?

Grapevine was expected to host upwards of 250 thousand visitors to its 27 celebration showcasing Texas wines. Grapevine is the headquarters of the Texas wine industry and they take this title very seriously.

I was at GrapeFest from beginning to end this year, having been invited to host the prestigious culinary pavilion. It was a thrill to take the stage with local celebrity chefs that are the best at their craft and seemed to give off a sort of rock and roll vibe, a few even had groupies! Top Chef John Tesar, showed us the perfect pan searing technique for a beautiful Arctic Char while he told us about his new place, Spoon Restaurant and Bar located in Preston Center. Corporate chef, John Franke, the brains behind the menus at restaurants like, Whisky Cake, Velvet Taco and Red Dog Right, made a rotisserie corn, elote style that was out of this world and he encouraged the group to think outside the box when making tacos for your family. David McMillian, from the Meddlesome Moth in Dallas, voted the best beer restaurant in the world, made a quinoa stir fry with kale and pumpkin seeds, that I cannot stop thinking about. Cheese maker and cookbook author Paula Lambert, founder of Mozzarella Company, made a couple of simple summertime salad recipes that called for, you guessed, it cheese! Local chefs take the stage about every 2 hours, they cook for the group, share stories from their kitchens and the recipes so observers can go home and recreate what they have witnessed.

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Lorie with John Tesar, a regular on Food Network

I had the pleasure of cooking three demonstrations for the event this year and after asking for feedback from my Blog followers, I brought a new salmon recipe to the table. Fresh wild caught salmon cooked to perfection with a fresh basil pesto slathered on top served, on a bed of creamy polenta, a simple meal you can have on your table in 20 minutes.

The people of Grapevine are warm and gracious, like you might expect in a small Texas town, not unlike our beloved McKinney. This event is put on primarily by community volunteers; their level of excellence and commitment to their community was refreshing and inspiring. A great time was had by all, kudos to the sleepy town of Grapevine that really knows how to put on a party!

For pictures from the event and the lovely dishes the chef’s created check out my new Facebook page and visit my Blog to register for Fall and holiday classes.

Salmon with Citrus and Basil Pesto

1 Wild caught salmon fillet 1 ½- 2 pounds

1 lemon

1 recipe basil pesto

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Zest and juice lemon. Place salmon fillet in baking dish, brush with olive oil and drizzle with lemon juice reserving 1 teaspoon add salt and pepper and cook for 18-22 minutes until salmon is done. Meanwhile mix lemon zest and remaining juice with pesto. Slather the top of fish with pesto as soon as the fish comes out of the oven.

Basil Pesto

1 ½ cups fresh basil compacted

2 garlic cloves

½ cup walnuts

1/3 cup parmesan cheese grated

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

Place basil, garlic, walnuts, salt in food processor, pulse until smooth, add parmesan, olive oil and process until mixed well.

Polenta

3 cups chicken stock

1 cup yellow grits

1 tablespoon butter

¼ cup heavy cream

½ cup parmesan cheese

Add stock to a heavy sauce pan set over medium high heat. When it comes to a boil slowly whisk in grits, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until polenta is thick and tender. Add cream and cheese and stir well, add butter and stir until melted.

Story by Lorie Fangio. Lorie is a regular food contributor to TSB.

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