I love to cook and try to take advantage of any chance I get to learn new cooking skills. Earlier this week was such an opportunity. Bluebird Hill Cellars held its monthly Women and Wine Wednesday. This month featured Chef Shelly from Inspired Tastes. Chef Shelly is a personal chef who does cooking classes, dinner parties and meal prep. She has a wicked sense of humor and her 79 year old mom, Mimi, goes toe to toe with her as her sous chef.
The theme for the evening was Indonesian food. Chef Shelly has visited Indonesia and shared some wonderful stories with us about her adventures. It certainly added to the fun of the evening. Ten women sat under the gazebo and joined Shelly in learning knife skills while chopping onions, shallots and garlic. We also experienced several never before tasted food items that I am excited to add to my rotation. One in particular was sweet soy sauce, good enough to eat with a spoon!
The menu for the evening included a Indonesian chicken curry, loempia with peanut sauce and dadar gulung, a stuffed pancake roll, for dessert. We all participated in preparing each course and then got to taste our creations, paired with Bluebird Hill’s beautiful, award winning wines.
The chicken curry was a wonderful stir fry seasoned with ginger and its woodier, spicier first cousin, galangal. This was one of the first-time ingredients I mentioned. It is grated much like ginger but required a box grater because of its woody texture. The micro-plane just couldn’t handle it. There was also fresh tumeric. I had never seen it fresh, only in the shaker bottle. It’s a stunning orange color. The sauce was a paste made from these ingredients as well as coriander, macadamia nuts, the onions, shallots and garlic. Those are all blended together and added to coconut milk with a stalk of lemon grass for extra flavor. All cooked together with the chicken, green beans, carrots, and cabbage this was one creamy, delightful blend of flavors. I can’t wait to replicate the dish at home, I think even Neal would like it. We paired this amazing dish with Bluebird Hill Chardonnay, a triple gold medal winning wine that will win over even the most “I don’t like chardonnay” drinker.
The next course was the loempia. Loempias are the Indonesian version of egg rolls and they were delish! The filling was a mixture of cabbage and chicken, stirred with seasonings and wrapped in an egg roll wrapper. The rolls are then fried in peanut oil to a golden brown. OMG, they were great.
Finally, we finished off the meal with a simple but elegant crepe dessert, dadar gulung. We all had a chance to try our hands at making crepes. It brought back wonderful memories of my mother making the crepes for blintzes. She was like a machine! The crepes for this dessert were stuffed with a simple filling of black sugar and bananas, sauteed together to create a syrupy pan of love! the crepes were then filled and wrapped, no further cooking needed. These were served with Bluebird Hill’s dessert wine, sweet enough to compliment the dessert but not so sweet to by cloying. A perfect pairing.
If you have the chance to participate in one of Chef Shelly’s classes, no matter what she is preparing, I highly recommend it. She is skilled, entertaining and a great teacher. AND…if you get a chance to visit Bluebird Hill Cellars, be sure to do that too! You will find warm friendly folks who take pride in both their wine and their customer experience.