Edible Orlando and Walt Disney World Making Magic for the Second Harvest Kids Cafe

Last Sunday Edible Orlando and Walt Disney World were blessed with a beautiful day and wonderful support for their combined efforts of hosting the inaugural Field to Feast dinner to benefit Second Harvest Kids Café. The venue was perfect- Long & Scott Farm in Zellwood and the crowd was fun and enthusiastic!

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The Chefs spent a number of weeks working on pairings that blended well with Rioja wines and beers from Cigar City Brewing and Cask & Larder Brewing. As guests entered the farm reception they enjoyed adult punch made with Palm Ridge Reserve Whiskey before settling in to the shabby chic farm setting.

FIELD TO FEAST DINNER MENU

Victoria & Albert’s
Chef Scott Hunnel
Sommelier Rebecca Lewis
Lake
Meadow Chicken Sausage with Zellwood Corn Succotash

California Grill
Chef Brian Piasecki
Sommelier Michael Scheifler
Spice-crusted Local Calico Scallops with Zellwood Pumpkin Ravioli, Toasted Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette, Baby Sage, Buttered Brussel Sprouts, and Pumpkin Dust Brittle

Flying Fish Cafe
Chef Tim Keating
Sommelier Stig Jacobsen
Asian-inspired Uncle Matt’s Citrus-marinated Rock Shrimp and Local Calico Bay Scallop “Cocktail” with Salad of MacGregor Farms Greens, Herbs, Epcot Cucumber, and Bhut Jolokia-Kaffir Lime Vinaigrette

The Wave . . . of American Flavors
Chef Frank Brough
Sommelier Damaris Jimenez
Locally-sourced Sweet Potato Agnolotti with Bourbon-Maple Pork Belly, Liquid Caramel Corn, and Vanilla Powder

Epcot® Events
Chef Leonard Thomson
Sommelier Pete Freidel
Suwannee Farms Florida Fresh Cab Beef Tenderloin over Balsamic Charred Onion Bread Pudding topped with Wine Reduction and served with Duck Fat Fries and Zellwood Sweet Corn Gelato

Florida Local at Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival
Chef Jens Dahlmann
Sommelier Tom Kovacs

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As I told one of the guests, I felt the chefs and servers were enjoying the evening as much as the guests, there was truly a community feel that grew in the crowd through the day of set up and into the evening.  It was a great event to be part of and I cannot wait until next year!!

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Breakfast Stuffed Biscuits- Alabama Biscuit King Copycat

Travel for our family often encompasses eating explorations, sure, history and local culture top the list too, but all of us can usually agree on getting to the locals only must eat store (eat-store, aka restaurant, coined by my nephew Sir Sully).  We recently dined our way thru a vacation in Lower Alabama.

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Gi-Normous, ugly and heavenly filled mouthwatering, belly aching irresistible biscuits are not to be missed on your next trip to LA (lower Alabama).  And they are born and raised all within view of the curious diners.  We visited the home of these ugly treasures, called Biscuit King Cafe in Fairhope, Alabama felt like we stroke gold, and as mentioned above, a small belly ache from over indulgence.   This small family business has something going for sure.

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After taking the first few bites the rest of meal was spent ogling what was going on in the kitchen.  When sheet pans went in the oven, how long until they came out.  What did the fillings look like, how did they stuff them.  We asked the ladies cooking a few questions, some of them laughing at us, in particular when we asked if any of the fillings were raw… “you caaan’t  put raw  food in a biscuit, thaaat’s just craaazy”.  Deep South stuffed biscuit etiquette explained…

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Happily we took enough away that I was able to recreate a similar recipe- Surely the Biscuit King reigns supreme, but until theirs and mine go head to head, I will stand by these are just as good!

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Ingredients Biscuit Filling

  • 6 ounces slice turkey or ham, julienned into strips
  • 6 eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces shredded cheddar

Biscuit Dough

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk, plus more for brushing

Biscuit Topping

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Sea salt

Directions

In a frying pan, over medium heat with a small amount of oil, sauté the meat until caramelized with golden color.  Remove the turkey from the pan and take the pan off the heat.  Whisk together the eggs and milk until frothy, and return the pan to the stove.  Over medium heat add the eggs to the sauté pan and cook until softly scrambled before removing from the heat.  Make sure not to overcook as there will be carry over cooking and reheat in the oven.  Add the tablespoon of butter to the eggs and mix until melted and incorporated.  Refrigerate until ready to assemble the biscuits.  Keep the eggs and the meat separate.  Be sure they are both cool before assembling as it will eliminate chance of overcooking the eggs.

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To make the biscuit dough:

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar together. Using a pastry blender or your hands, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few large clumps remaining.   The butter should be cold, and will leave some lumps.  If you prefer to use your hands be quick and make sure the butter is very cold so it doesn’t melt.  I like to use my hands so I can get the flour/butter mixture to crumb faster.

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Pour in the buttermilk and fold the flour until the liquid is incorporated.  The dough will stick together in a ball and be slightly tacky.  Do not overmix as this is when biscuits become rocks.  Allow the dough to sit for a few minutes before assembling the biscuits.

On a lightly floured surface, scoop out a half cup measure of dough and with floured fingers, gently pat the dough into a 6 inch circle.  The thickness should be about ¼ inch.  Repeat with another half cup portion of dough.

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To assemble and bake:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Spread a ½ cup of the chilled scrambled eggs over the surface of one biscuit disc.  Sprinkle a ¼ of the turkey/ham over the eggs and then follow with an ounce of shredded cheese.

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Gently lift the remaining disc and place on top of the egg and cheese filling.  Press the edges together and tuck the seam under the bottom of the disc.  Transfer the stuffed biscuit to a parchment lined baking sheet and brush with butter, followed with a sprinkle of sea salt.

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Repeat process three more times for a total of four stuffed biscuits.  Place each two inches apart, which may require using two baking sheets.  Bake at 375 for 40 minutes, rotating baking sheets half way.  The temperature of the center should reach 160 degrees.

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These can be held in a warming oven for about 30 minutes.  We had one leftover that we reheated in the microwave the following day which turned out was still pretty good.  Certainly best fresh from the oven, but I won’t be throwing out the one that doesn’t get eaten.

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It is a state that does many things right – Perfect color of Crimson, rows of pecan fields, perfectly drawn hounds tooth, National Championships, Silver Queen Corn, gardenia scented streets, and now… Stuffed biscuits.

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Roll tide, Roll Biscuits!

Chicken Chickpea Curry- Influenced by a Morning with Indian Cuisine Chefs

I took a quick trip to Chicago last year to learn about Indian food, it was an incredible learning experience and left me with a new favorite cuisine.  Not sure why I didn’t realize it before, it makes perfect sense- a lot of vegetarian dishes, no pork, cilantro and a ton of flavor, all things I love!

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Being in the kitchen with 2 Indian Chefs for the morning, tasting and learning was a perfect way to understand the philosophy behind the cuisine.  Talk about using a lot of seasoning- there is no dusting or sprinkling in Indian cuisine, it is more like straight up dumping.  The more seasoning the better.   The chefs tasted and layered the flavorful stews and sauces for thru the morning, before lunch was served, adding more and more from the bags of spices.

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I was really amazed at the exuberant amount of seasoning they added to all the food, it reminded me of a Chef I worked with when I first started cooking who didn’t believe in the “standard olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic” marinate, but more pushed us to use heavily seasoned marinates and highly flavorful sauces.  But these Indian chefs took that to a whole new level and I loved it- look at the amount of peppers prepped for one lunch- lol- crazy.

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Needless to say, I have become a bit of a dabbler in Indian cuisine; recently I modified a Cooking Light recipe that caught my eye.  I suppose curries are equivalently comforting to me as a beef stew to someone else.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown basmati rice, aka, Popcorn Rice (you can also use standard basmati rice)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • ¼ cup diced green pepper
  • 1 cup ground chicken
  • 2 teaspoons medium curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (28-ounce) can unsalted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

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Preparation

1. Cook rice according to package directions; drain.

2. While rice cooks, heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, peppers and ground chicken; sauté 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in curry and cumin; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, and spinach; cook 2 minutes or until spinach wilts, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in yogurt and salt. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve over rice.

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We did manage to have some fun, tried a lot of great restaurants, local food, native micro brews and met a lot of friendly people!  I even had one of my lifetime goals fulfilled… (see evidence below).

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Oh, and one other thing I learned was Chicken Tikka Masala is commonly thought of as being from the Indian culture, but it was derived in England, where Indian food is very popular.  I suppose it is similar to Southwest United States did to Mexican food- Tex Mex…

Being able to learn from expert chefs priceless, if you get the chance be sure to soak it in!

Valentine’s Bacon Cake Pops- Tabitha’s Tasty Temptations

Love is in the air or is that chocolate? …or bacon grease?   I hope everyone found some sweetness today, someone to gaze at or a warmth of the heart!   I took this oppurtunity to try out a small local business and gave Sir Wes something I knew he would love- Bacon Cake Pops!

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The greatest part of this confectioner was their custumization- I was ballsy enough to request a special order at the last moment and was lucky enough for it to be granted.

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I have tasted several flavors from Tabitha’s Tasty Temptations– all delicious and unique.  You can tell there is a chef involved with the flavor combinations.  If you are in Central Florida- give them a try.

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So happy I get to spend another Valentine’s Day with my best friend- everyday I know how lucky I am- Love you Sir Wes!!

View from Behind the DisneyBog!

The Happiest Place on Earth kicked off the 17th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Presented by Chase on Friday!  This is a festival that is eagerly anticipated by food and wine lovers all year.  It is a not to be missed event for anyone that loves culinary experiences, wine tasting or any Disney fan.  The festival runs thru November 12th this year, a bonus of one more day than last year! 

The opening day and weekend is filled with special events and activities for guests to enjoy- one in particular which I was looking forward to for weeks was a reception in the Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog.

I have loved work the last 10 months since I joined the Disney Parks Event Catering team- we have had so many magical events that thrill and delight our guests, but some experiences are still extraordinary to even the most senior veterans of Park Events.  I have to admit, my jaw dropped when I realized that the Ocean Spray reception was actually going to be in the Ocean Spray #DisneyBog.  That is just plain Crazy Town to me…

We had first class servers offering the guests small bites and cocktails.  They were so great to suit up in the waders and their gracious service really added to the magic of the experience! 

The menu was to incorporate Ocean Spray Craisins® and Cranberries, and it was simple for the Chef to get creative with the red beauties.   From breads to meats, butters and desserts they offer a such a versatility, so fun to play with in the kitchen!  One of my favorite recipes for cranberries is Cranberry Salsa.

The team put together great recipes for the items which the guests received to at the end of the evening.  Hopefully they will take them home and delight their own guests!

Craisins® Infused Five Spice Char Kobe Beef

Rock Seared Free Range Chicken with Craisins® Vodka Caviar

Artisan Cheese Stuffed Craisins® Brioche

Cranberry and Sea Salt Cured Wild Salmon

Cranberry Marinated Gold Beets with Kumquat Jalapeño Marmalade

The Cranberry Beets were our favorite, they looked like petite sliced peaches.  We cut the beet in a cylinder shape and then submerged it in crushed fresh cranberries to let the flavor and color absorb.  This is a method I will surely use again, they are so pretty! 

The waders were lined up for the guests to pull on before they jumped in the bog. 

This is definitely a high fashion jumpsuit, would have loved to gotten in one of these numbers!! 

Meanwhile the focus went to the Cranberry Inspired Cocktails that were being served!

Cranberry Bomber, Cranberry Martinis, O Fizz, Cape Codder were mixed by our bartenders and enjoyed by all.

The storms were off in the distance, flirting to give us a downpour, but with a stroke of luck, the weather held up.  The sunset came and went and the guests ate, drank, and learned about cranberries and the versatility of the treasure, all right in the comfort of the Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog. 

This reception was one that I will add to my Disney Catering tales.  The experience for the guests was once in a lifetime for many, and it certainly was phenomenal for the team that put it together! 

WDW Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2011 and a BAMA Hat!

Last weekend was a good one, yes sir!  Food and wine and a Crimson Tide victory!  I would also note that I was thankful to have been touring around the countries of Epcot, as it prevented me from seeing the Steelers game. Blah!

Caribbean Islands- Jerk spiced Chicken Drumstick with Mango Salsa and Frozen Rock Coconut Mojito

The weather was beautiful and the crowds fortunately were not to bad being that it was the first weekend of Epcot’s F&W Festival.  If you ever get the chance to go, I recommend it highly; it’s just a great day outdoors, with tons of great food and plenty of beverage choices.  You can read more about it here.

Starting our around the world tour at WDW Epcot Food and Wine Festival!Beer in hand and we are ready to go!

"Yes, I am quite brave to be wearing this Paul Bear Bryant hat the day after Alabama rolled Florida!"

"Well, sure you can call me Lady Carroll! And I like your hat as well!"

 

Hawaii- Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour Dole Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise and Tuna Poke with Seaweed Salad and Lotus Root Chips

Just a fun shot of the "Golf Ball"!

There are guest Chefs from around the world and Chefs from Walt Disney World that participate in the Food and Wine Festival.  The creativity and planning starts very early in the year, all of these details you can see as you are walking around the World Showcase.

We really loved the new utensil dispensers!

South Africa- Bunny Chow

 

Hops and Barley- Pumpkin Mousse with Ocean Spray Craisins and Orange Sauce

Sir Wes is working on his skillz!

France- Coq au Vin sur gratin de macaroni and Crème Brulée au Chocolate au Lait

Poland-Kielbasa and Potato Pierogies with Caramelized Onions and Sour Cream

Yes, a good time was had by all! Fat and Happy!

Yes, a good time for sure!