VILLAGE WINE MERCHANT'S SLOW COOKER SMACKDOWN A SMASH HIT FOR CROCKPOT CONNOISSEURS
February 17, 2016 -- The Village Wine Mechant in Sea Cliff hosted its first ever "Slow Cooker Smack Down" on Wednesday February 10.
Four local amatuer chefs entered the crockpot cuisine contest, and scores of residents turned out to feast on the flavorful fare, each paired with an appropriate wine selected by the Merchant's Sommelier Mike Amendola.
The entries offered tasters a wonderful variety of American regional and international classics.
Resident Erik Longabardi's entry was a German Rabbit Stew, delightfuly flavored with lemon and topped with capers and sour cream. The rabbit, he explained, he obtained from an Amish supplier in Pennsylvania from whom he often buys organic natural farm products. Paired with the dish, was an Albino Piona Blanco diCustoza.
Linda LaMarca slow cooked a New Orleans classic - Jambalaya, while Suzanne Milanese offered another classic of the American South - barbecue pulled pork sandwich.
Ms. LaMarca said she has tried a few different dishes with her slow cooker, and that this Cajun staple she made with Andouille sausage, chicken and shrimp is her favorite. Mr. Amendola's selection for the Jambalaya was a Domaine DeLa Bastide Cotes-Du-Rhone.
For the pulled pork, Ms. Milanese explained that she allows a large piece of pork shoulder to marinate over night, and then cooks it for nine hours in the slow cooker. "It's a great dish when you're having a crowd," she said, and likes to serve a red zinfandel with it. Mr. Amendola agreed and selected a Hullabaloo Zinfandel.
The final entry was Moroccan Chicken with a side of couscous slow cooked by Catherine Epstein. She explained that she made the dish and shared it with her neighbors when she was one of the fortunate one's to have had electricity during Hurrican Sandy. "I love working with the crock pot in general," she continued. "You can throw anything in it and when you come home your house smells delicious." A Petite Sirah from Three Wine Company complemented the dish perfectly.
Ultimately, even though all of the dishes were truly fantastic (and we're not just saying that), a winner had to be chosen. And after a night of counting ballots, the 2016 Slow Cooker Smack Down champ was finally announced the next morning - it was Ms. LaMarca's Jambalaya.
Be on the look out for more cuisine and wine events at the Village Wine Merchant. Owner Frank Scavone and Mr. Amendola have been cooking up some good ideas.
Article and photographs by Northwordnews
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