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Texas Food and Wine — What a Sensational Pair

Chef Kelly Casey (with pastry bag) of Hudson's on the Bend in Austin plates her dinners.

It wasn’t about the prosciutto-wrapped quail, so juicy and tender with each bite. It wasn’t about the cocoa powder and raspberry flavors that mingled so beautifully in each sip of the Inwood Estates Tempranillo-Cabernet blend.

It was, however, about how the lush red fruit flavors of the 2007 Fall Creek Meritus joined with slices of Texas beef tenderloin marinated in coffee and chipotle to reach new  gustatory heights.

That was the point of the first Edible Texas Wine-Food Match, held Friday at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center in Austin.

Five chefs, narrowed down from a field of more than 35, were competing to see who could make the most successful pairings of Texas ingredients with Texas wines.

It was clear to both the celebrity judges’ panel and to the audience who did that best: David Garrido of Garrido’s in Austin.

Susan Auler (left) of Fall Creek Vineyards and celebrity chef Jacques Pépin enjoy the Edible Texas Wine-Food Match.

The chef, who once worked for Bruce Auden at the original Biga, took home the $5,000 grand prize as well as the People’s Choice Award. The centerpiece of his meal was the already-mentioned beef tenderloin with the Meritus,  but he also presented a crispy oyster with habanero-honey aïoli partnered with the Fall Creek Vineyards Chenin Blanc 2010 and a pastel de calabaza, or zucchini cake, with lemon crema and spicy caramelized pecans served with the Sister Creek Muscat Canelli 2010.

Patrick James “P.J.” Edwards of San Antonio’s Bin 555 won a second place commendation from the judges for his meal, which started with a crudo of Gulf Coast group with cured Poteet strawberries and Becker Vineyards Provençal Rosé 2009. It was followed by roasted lamb loin with herb-glazed turnips and porcini-raspberry soil, which was presented with the Becker Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009. A Grapefruit “Dreamsicle” with vanilla semifreddo and the Becker Vineyards Clementine 2010 rounded out his meal.

Organizer Marla Camp

Other chefs in the competition included Peter Smith of the JW Marriott in San Antonio as well as Kelly Casey of Hudson’s on the Bend in Austin and Josh Raymer of Navajo Grill in Fredericksburg. Each presented small plate versions of his or her entire menu to the crowd.

Chef Josh Raymer of Navajo Grill's Prosciutto-Wrapped Quail alongisde a Fredericksburg Market Salad with Pickled Peaches.

The local ingredients included a number of treasures worth seeking out at farmers markets as well as grocery stores: Pure Luck cheeses, Round Rock Honey, quail from Diamond H and Texas Quail farms, Shiner Bock, Broken Arrow Ranch Venison, Bluebonnet Hydroponics lettuces, and Texas olive oil. Alongside Casey’s blue cheese cheesecake were figs from her own trees.

Other Texas wines poured included Messina Hof’s Riesling and Riesling “Angel,” Perrisos Viognier and Petite Sirah, Stone House Scheming Beagle Port, and Flat Creek Muscato, Estate Syrah and Port.

Kelly Casey's Hopelessly Blue Cheesecake with her homegrown figs.

The judges included celebrity chefs Jacques Pépin and John Besh as well as Mozzarella Company found Paula Lambert, François Dionot of L’Academie de Cuisine and Michael Bauer of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Proceeds from the evening, planned by Marla camp of Edible Austin and Terry Thompson-Anderson of the Texas Food and Wine Gourmet, will benefit the not-for-profit Texas Center for Wine and Culinary Arts, which is being planned for Fredericksburg. The goal is to raise all of the money needed to operate the center before it opens in October 2013.


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Chefs’ Corner: Fig Tree’s Pâté-stuffed Quail

FigTreeQuail2This is a special-event dish with real autumn appeal, as it pairs a game bird with tender, simmered apples and a buttery apple sauce. The pâté is the surprise in the middle. The recipe comes from Byron Bergeron at Fig Tree Restaurant.

Pâté-stuffed Quail

1 quart (4 cups) apple cider
4 Granny Smith apples (peeled and cored, but kept whole)
5 tablespoons butter, divided use
10 (4-5-ounce) boned quail
Sea salt, for seasoning
1 pound black truffle mousse pâ

For sauce:  In a saucepan large enough to hold a quart of liquid and 4 apples, put the apple cider and bring to a simmer. Add apples. Cover pan and poach over low heat for about 20 minutes, or until apples are done but still firm. Remove apples and reduce liquid to syrup (about a cup). Whisk 3 tablespoons of the butter into reduced liquid 1 tablespoon at the time.  Reduce heat and keep sauce warm.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place quail on a baking sheet lightly sprayed with oil and season birds with salt. Insert a portion of the pâté into the cavity of each quail. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and brush the quail with it. Roast the quail for 10-12 minutes or until done at 160 degrees internal temperature. Lightly cover with foil and set aside to rest.

Slice cooked apples  into thin rings. Place 3 or 4 rings in the middle of each plate. Place the roasted quail on top of apples and drizzle sauce around the plate and over the quail.

Makes 5-10 servings.

From Byron Bergeron/Fig Tree, 515 Villita St.

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