Last weekend we welcomed guests for our annual Candlelight Night event, but this year instead of folks mingling and walking from station to station for their five food and wine pairings, we had each group seated in our event room and tasting room. Our staff served up five courses to guests seated at their tables and a good time out was enjoyed by all! Some people enjoyed the pairings and asked for recipes, the number one requested recipe was the Creamy Mushroom Soup which I have shared with the public before. This is a delicious soup, even if you don't love mushrooms, you will love this soup! It pairs perfectly with our 2018 Traminette. Don't skimp on the fresh thyme. Fresh herb are best and lend a wonderful aroma and flavor to this soup that would be lost with dried thyme. Where the recipe calls for wine, I used Deer Run's 2018 Chardonnay. Chardonnay and mushrooms are a win-win combination!
The Jalapeno Popper Corn Dip served with tortilla chips and Conesus White also struck a chord with many who sampled it! I did reduce the number of jalapenos and used a combination of fresh jalapenos and canned green chiles which imparted great flavor without making it too spicy. If I was making this for a group of friends, I would have used straight jalapenos, but I always hear my mother in law, Joan Kuyon's, voice in my head whenever I am cooking something for large groups, "Don't make it too hot-spicy!" I added the scallions right into the crockpot, to allow those flavors to meld a bit while keeping warm in the crockpot. This is an easy appetizer to serve to a group and the ease of having it in a crockpot means it stays warm on the counter. In the blog post the author mentions using sour cream or mayonnaise, I opted for sour cream in my version.
For the Gorgonzola-stuffed prosciutto-wrapped dates, the ingredients are all listed in the name, making this one a no-brainer, but I will expand on how to pit and stuff a date for those who may have no prior experience with handling dates, just like me! I had never purchased dates and didn't even know they contained a pit, so I had to cut a slit in the date lengthwise and push the ends together like one would do to open up a coin purse and push out the pit with my gloved finger. The date opens up easily and is the consistency of a large raisin, sharing that sweetness level as well. Just a side note, I was not certain if the dates needed to be washed or not, so I did rinse them off well and I would recommend a good rinse before cutting into them. For the cheese stuffing, I used 1 part cream cheese, 1 part blue cheese crumbles and 1 part Borgonzola (a creamy Gorgonzola Brie). Scott, my husband and winemaker, thought "Borgonzola" sounded like a cheese from Star Trek made by Borgs.... Anyhow, I whipped the three cheeses together in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Using a mason jar lined with a sandwich baggie, I scooped the mixture into the sandwich baggie and readied my home-made piping bag. The dates have a natural pocket, once you remove the pit, which is perfect for stuffing and you can use a myriad of ingredients to make cute appetizers for your next party. They are bite-size and don't crumble (depending on your filling) making them a good appetize in my book! I piped the mixture into the date and wrapped with a third of a slice of prosciutto. Done and easy! This is a great recipe to pair with Deer Run's Vignoles and overall I would say it was a hit or miss appetizer with the crowd. Some guests loved it and some didn't eat it. Ah well, dates are unique and blue cheese can be a turn off, hence why I creamed it with cream cheese, but I did try one myself and they really were a nice balance of sweet, tang and salt and pretty darn tasty!
Sliced beef on crostini paired with Deer Run's 2019 Marquette was a nice and easy appetizer as well. This is a perfect recipe for those who want to serve cute appetizers, but are short on time and cooking space. Take crostini, spread with Cabot Horseradish cheddar spread and top with thinly sliced roast beef. We sell Cabot horseradish spread in our tasting room! Crostini can be purchased at the store or you can make your own by slicing baguette bread, arranging the slices on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil , salt and pepper bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes and, voila, you have crostini! Now you can easily assemble this no frills, delicious appetizer and if you want to make it a bit more fancy, add caramelized onions to the top and omit the roast beef for the vegetarians in your group! Easy and delicious!
For the flourless chocolate cake, I cheated and purchased this one at the store. For my own sanity, I would say it was worth it and everyone loved it. When hosting a large dinner or party you have to decide when its necessary to make it from scratch or to purchase at the store. In this case, the cake was deliciously rich and fudgy and paired incredibly with our red dessert wine, Dockside - no one was disappointed!
I am the winemaker's wife. Scott and I married in 2014 and I transitioned from a hospitality manager to a grape farmer's wife, event coordinator and blog author.