What a weekend. Oh right, that was 3 days ago. Guess it’s taken me a bit to recover from the sensorial experience known as Napa Valley Film Festival. We were there to promote the new indie film Answers To Nothing, starring Dane Cook with a cameo by yours truly. It’s out in theaters December 2nd, so be sure to see it!
As befits a festival set in the heart of California’s wine country, the focus was as much on the feasting and imbibing as it was on the films! And of course, Veggie Dreamgirl felt right at home. The people of Napa and the organizers of #NVFF couldn’t have been more welcoming! They put us up in this fabulous house (a special thanks to the Witt family for opening their gorgeous home to us) and entertained us all weekend. As soon as I walked into the house and saw the kitchen – it was craaazy gorgeous, modern, huge and rustic – I I knew I had to create. So we invited over the film’s writer/director, producers and actors and hosted a casual-luxe, Napa-inspired dinner party! Half the fun was hitting the local markets to source every local ingredient I could find.
K, now for the menu deets: 3 local cheeses served with locally grown globe grapes. Olives from a local farm. Pan roasted acorn squash with a raw kale salad served with a balsamic glaze and marcona almonds. And with a nod to my new bud Mario, a luxurious black truffle risotto. And because not everyone has hopped on the Veggie Dreamgirl train, guests also enjoyed filet mignon served atop a bed of garlic chard and dressed with a port wine reduction sauce. Dinner concluded with today’s feature recipe and a fitting tribute to Napa: Shiraz poached pears with a dollop of vanilla bean ice cream.
What you’ll need:
6 Bosc pears
1 bottle of red wine (preferably shiraz or zinfandel)
1 heaping tbsp. of cinnamon
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
vanilla bean ice cream (or vegan vanilla coconut ice cream) to serve with
What you’ll do:
Peel the pears leaving the stem attached. If the pears are not standing up straight, slice just a little off the bottom so they will stand up in your dish. In a large pot combine all the ingredients but the pears and stir until the sugar dissolves. Stand the pears up in the pot, cover and cook on medium for about 10 minutes. Turn all the pears on their sides so they are submerged in the wine. Cook another 5 minutes and then rotate the pears again. Cook for a final five minutes. Remove the pears carefully with tongs and place them on your plates. Cook the wine for another 7 minutes until it reduces. Add a scoop of ice cream to your plate with the pear and then drizzle a couple spoonfuls of the reduced wine sauce over the pear. Serve immediately.
and thank you to Matt for these fantastic pictures