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David Q

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Help needed for a dinner...

by David Q » Mon Nov 20, 2006 2:34 pm

Hello all. This is my first post to this forum, but am gald to see that there is online support for wines. It makes it easier that it is on a forum, too.

Anyway, I am planning on making a dinner for my wife. It has been kind of a hard year for her, and I wanted to do something nice. I figured a regular present would not do it, and since she and I do not have the opportunity to go out to dinner much, I would make her one at home.

My main "problem", if you want to call it that, is what to serve with dinner.

I will list out what I am planning on making, in the order I am going to serve it.

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Shrimp Tasos
Appetizer from Chef Tasos of the Sheraton Fredericton Hotel
Consists of: Jumbo Shrimp, garlic, parsley, green onions, lemon juice, butter, white wine, salt & pepper.

Salad w/ Blue Cheese & Walnuts
Consists of: mixed Salad greens, walnuts, Blue Cheese; dressing- lemon juice, white wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, s & p, drops of hot sauce

Chardonnay poached salmon w/ Caper tomato relish
From Chef Patrick Scott Payne
Consists of: Salmon fillets, chardonnay, salt & white pepper; Relish- tomatoes, red onion, capers, chives, olive oil, garlic, s & wp, lemon juice

strawberry Truffles
From Roxanne E Chan
Consists of: Cream cheese, white chocolate, conf sugar, ginger root, strawberries, crustallized ginger, toasted coconut, pistachio nuts


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Now I am thinking of making a Campari Cocktail for a pre-dinner drink.

It's the main part of the dinner that I am not too sure about. I was thinking about either a Pinot Gris, or possibly a Riesling.

Also, I'm not sure if I want to add an after dinner drink or not.

What would you guys reccomend?
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Howie Hart

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Re: Help needed for a dinner...

by Howie Hart » Mon Nov 20, 2006 3:17 pm

Welcome David!
I don't know what a Campari Cocktail is, but if you started with a Champagne or other bubbly, it could continue on through the shrimp dish and salad. With the salmon, I'd either serve the same Chardonnay the salmon is being poached in or go with a lighter red, such as Beaujolais or Pinot Noir. I don't think the dessert would pair up with most sweet wines, with the exception of perhaps a cream sherry.
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Re: Help needed for a dinner...

by David Q » Mon Nov 20, 2006 3:52 pm

Howie Hart wrote:Welcome David!
I don't know what a Campari Cocktail is, but if you started with a Champagne or other bubbly, it could continue on through the shrimp dish and salad. With the salmon, I'd either serve the same Chardonnay the salmon is being poached in or go with a lighter red, such as Beaujolais or Pinot Noir. I don't think the dessert would pair up with most sweet wines, with the exception of perhaps a cream sherry.


thanks for the response.

a campari Cocktail is made mostly of Campari. here is the definition per Wikipedia:
Campari is an alcoholic aperitif obtained from the infusion of bitter herbs, aromatic plants and fruit in alcohol and water. It is a type of bitters.

I thought it might go well with the Shrimp, and probably the salad.

I didn't think about serving the same Chardonnay as was used with the Salmon. I have not tried a Beaujolais, could you possibly recommend a good, cheaper (-$20) brand to try before I make the dinner?

As for the desert, I hadn't thought of a cream sherry. But then again, I suppose I don't want the ending to be too sweet.

thanks for the advice!
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Re: Help needed for a dinner...

by Otto » Mon Nov 20, 2006 4:02 pm

Good ideas from Howie. Food matching is a really personal thing so there aren't really any absolute rules. Considering the herbs used in the sauce for the fish, I might go with an aromatic Italian white instead: some Greco maybe or Coda di Volpe (Feudi di San Gregorio's Lacrima Christi del Vesuvio Bianco should be easily available)? But using the same wine for the sauce and glass is a sure way of making a good match IMO (as long as the wine is genuinely good enough that one wants to drink it!).

The dessert sounds tricky for wines. I might try a match a good quality Belgian Trippel Ale however. I'm not sure that will work either, but I think it would have a better chance than any wine I can think of.

Cheers,
-O-
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.
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Re: Help needed for a dinner...

by Howie Hart » Mon Nov 20, 2006 4:36 pm

David Q wrote:...I have not tried a Beaujolais, could you possibly recommend a good, cheaper (-$20) brand to try before I make the dinner?...

I'm not sure what your local retailer has to offer. Actually, it is really hard to find Beaujolais over $20, but there are a few. Do not get a Nouveau and avoid 2003. Robin has some recommendations in today's wine letter and a search for "Beaujolais" will reveal several recent tasting notes that have been posted here.
(Look in the "Wine forum")
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Cynthia Wenslow

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Re: Help needed for a dinner...

by Cynthia Wenslow » Mon Nov 20, 2006 5:05 pm

Perhaps a Champagne with dessert, but I am of the "Champagne Goes With Everything" school of thought.

Or, perhaps just very good coffee?

Edited to add: An after dinner drink would be nice. Does she like brandy?

Edited AGAIN to say I think this is a very nice thing you are doing! :)
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Re: Help needed for a dinner...

by David Q » Mon Nov 20, 2006 6:04 pm

Cynthia Wenslow wrote:Perhaps a Champagne with dessert, but I am of the "Champagne Goes With Everything" school of thought.

Or, perhaps just very good coffee?

Edited to add: An after dinner drink would be nice. Does she like brandy?

Edited AGAIN to say I think this is a very nice thing you are doing! :)


I had thought of Champagne to go with desert, it might compliment the sweetness of the Strawberries.

I'm pretty sure she likes Brandy, but I don't think that she has had that much of it to drink.

And thanks for the compliment.
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Re: Help needed for a dinner...

by Linda R. (NC) » Mon Nov 20, 2006 10:11 pm

Hi David, I'm no expert, but I have to throw in my 2 cents worth. I would do a sparkler, champagne or prosecco with the first two, the same chardonnay used to poach the salmon, and perhaps a tawny port with the dessert.

My reasoning behind the port is that I had cheesecake with either strawberry or raspberry topping along with a glass of tawny port. It was delicious. I'm thinking it would work with the cream cheese and strawberries in your truffles.

Do let us know what you decided on and how it worked.
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Re: Help needed for a dinner...

by David Q » Tue Nov 21, 2006 12:28 pm

Thanks to everyone for the great ideas!

The dinner won't probably be for about another month, but I wanted to have plenty of time to try all the ideas before hand.

I will definetly let you know how it went.
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Re: Help needed for a dinner...

by David Q » Thu Dec 21, 2006 12:38 pm

Figured I would post a little update...

The dinner is going to happen this Sunday night.

I have decided to go with a Champagne for the Appetizer and Dessert.

My friend, who is a server at a 4 star restaraunt (sp?) has offer her services, and will be serving my wife and I. She is also going to provide a bottle of Leap Frog Chardonnay.

I have decided to cook the salmon in a Dancing Bull Chardonnay.


I will let you all know how it turns out.
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Re: Help needed for a dinner...

by Mike Filigenzi » Thu Dec 21, 2006 2:24 pm

Thanks for the update, David! I think you've done the right thing (or at least the safe thing) in going for the champagne over the Campari cocktail. Campari is one of those either-or things that some people (like me) love but which others find to be revolting.

We'll be waiting to hear how it all turns out!


Mike
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Re: Help needed for a dinner...

by Cynthia Wenslow » Thu Dec 21, 2006 5:10 pm

Best of luck! What a nice friend to make it even more special by offering to serve.

Have a wonderful evening, David, and be sure to report back!
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Re: Help needed for a dinner...

by Bob Henrick » Thu Dec 21, 2006 6:41 pm

Hello David, and welcome to the forum. I see that you have already had some good advice regarding the wine. my suggestions would be, for the appetizer either a good sauvignon blanc from New Zealand or from Sancerre in France. a wine that we too often forget would be my second choice and that would be a fino sherry such as Tio Pepe from Spain. If you choose the sauv blanc, that could easily carry over to the salad course, but I would drop the hot sauce, since it already has lemon juice and wine vinegar. too much vinegar can ruin the dish for wine. Your entree course cries for a really big type of chardonnay, but personally I would go with a pinot noir. If it must be chardonnay, then I would try to find one that sees minimum time in oak, if it sees ANY time in oak at all. With the dessert I would go with a sparkler that also carries some sugar, but not too much. On the low end it could be a prosecco from Italy, or a little higher up the ladder, a Crement d'Alsace from France.
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Re: Help needed for a dinner...

by Robin Garr » Thu Dec 21, 2006 7:38 pm

Mike Filigenzi (Sacto) wrote:Campari is one of those either-or things that some people (like me) love but which others find to be revolting.


Impossible! What's not to like!? :roll:
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Re: Help needed for a dinner...

by David Q » Fri Dec 22, 2006 1:24 pm

thanks for all the responses.

I decided against the Campari, mostly, because I have never tried it. I would not want to be tied to a drink, and end up not liking it. I will be sure to try it eventually though.
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Re: Help needed for a dinner...

by Jenise » Fri Dec 22, 2006 2:15 pm

Oh! You'd never had Campari? Then you've made the right choice--it's definitely an acquired taste and has about a .02 % chance of appealing to the uninitiated, especially as a food match. Get a nice chardonnay for your shrimp, and call it good.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Help needed for a dinner...

by David Q » Tue Dec 26, 2006 11:54 am

Here are the updates, as promised...

The Champagne matched quite well with the shrimp, and the salad as well. The Chardonnay, Frog's Leap, was quite good with the Salmon and Asparagus. The Truffels went really well with the Champagne.

Here is what I did, basically, to get ready for the dinner:

Bought new place mats, napkins, and napkin rings.
Used the china that her grandmother had given us, but we had never used.
Bought a new candle holder/center piece, and tapered candles. the candle holder looked like vines with grapes, which went well with the vines on the table cloth. I also moved the pictures of the wine bottles and glasses, that were in the kitchen, into the living room, above the table.
since we have wood floors in the living room, I cleared the living room out, minus the entertainment center, and borrowed some room dividers from her parents. I then hung some green curtains over the dividers, they're nice curtains, and are about 7 feet in length. this was for when she came in the front door, so she could not see the kitchen, and it would give us some privacy.
I moved the table into the living room, set the table, with my friends help, and had a picture of us, that we had done as one of our engagement pictures, set behind the candles.
I put a single rose on her plate, and another single rose in a small vase to her left. There were also some rose petals on the table.
For lighting, I only used the candles on the table, and the christmas lights I placed around the room. I had a strand wrapped in faux vines, and set on the floor around the base boards, and front of the entertainment center. I then used iccicle lights on the room dividers, over the "entrance" for the servers, and connecting to the lights in front of the ent center.
I had some smooth jazz playing on the stereo while we ate.
Our friends, who offered to serve us, also took pictures. I made enough food so that they could sample some as well.
Even after serving us, they were also kind enough to load the dishwasher and run it before they left.
After we ate dessert, I turned on the song that we had danced to at our wedding. I had set up an area in the living room big enough for dancing, so that's what we did.

In the bedroom, I put candles around the room. I used tapered canedles in wine bottles that she had liked. I also put rose petals on the bed and the floor, and the room smelled wonderful.
I will stop there.


I just wanted to thank you all for your advice, and if you have a chance, you should try some of the recipes I used. Most of them were really simple to make, and tasted great.

Thanks again.
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Re: Help needed for a dinner...

by Howie Hart » Tue Dec 26, 2006 12:31 pm

David - Sounds like you did it right. Well done! 8)
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Re: Help needed for a dinner...

by Cynthia Wenslow » Tue Dec 26, 2006 12:55 pm

I would certainly have been impressed. What a wonderful gift of an evening. I'm glad it went so well!
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Re: Help needed for a dinner...

by Mike Filigenzi » Tue Dec 26, 2006 3:07 pm

Nicely done! Sounds like a really great evening.



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Re: Help needed for a dinner...

by Jenise » Tue Dec 26, 2006 5:58 pm

David, you set a fine example for all men. What a wonderful, romantic way to be pampered, and what a memory-for-a-lifetime you created. Touche!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Help needed for a dinner...

by David Q » Tue Dec 26, 2006 7:17 pm

Jenise wrote:David, you set a fine example for all men. What a wonderful, romantic way to be pampered, and what a memory-for-a-lifetime you created. Touche!


Yeah, we were talking about how I may have set the bar too high. What am I supposed to do for my anniversary? :lol:

Oh I think I also forgot to mention that I printed a menu, which was on the table, and sent her an invitation to the dinner about a week before hand, where she had to RSVP.
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Re: Help needed for a dinner...

by Howie Hart » Tue Dec 26, 2006 9:57 pm

David Q wrote:Yeah, we were talking about how I may have set the bar too high. What am I supposed to do for my anniversary? :lol:

Hire a string quartet to play seranades? :?

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