Wine/Food Pairing at Appellation in Chelsea

Honey crisp apples for cabbage salad

I’m excited for tonight’s event. From 5:30-8:30, I get to hang out at Appellation Wine and Spirits in Chelsea with my friend Scott Pactor. I’ve been working with Scott for years, putting together the right combination of organic and biodynamic wines for many of my catered events. We first met when I catered the “green issue” of the sadly defunct Domino magazine back in 2007. Scott selected great, affordable wines to go with my menu, and he’s been my go-to wine guy ever since.

Cabbage from the farmer's market, perfect in a recession - just one gives you endless amounts of food!
Cabbage from the farmer's market, perfect in a recession - just a single cabbage provides endless amounts of food!

Tonight I’m serving three recipes from the cookbook: Red Cabbage, Apple, and Dulse Salad; Sundried Tomato Puree on crostini with arugula; and Bittersweet Chocolate Cake with whipped cream.

I thought I’d give you a behind-the-scenes peek of what’s in store for tonight. First of all, I got to work with one of my favorite ingredients today, dulse sea vegeatble, the savory, briney seaweed that gives the cabbage salad its distinctive taste. The dulse I use is harvested off the coast of Maine. I like to toast it over the flame of my stove to give it a crisp texture. I could probably do it in the oven on a low temperature, but that wouldn’t be as fun. Below, a tray of toasted dulse ready to be eaten.


As with most catered events, I bought a few ingredients that will simply be used to make the dishes look pretty, like these buckwheat sprouts and watermelon radishes.



A familiar element of most catered events is the classic crostini. I made these from baguettes from the farmer’s market. I sliced them thinly, showered them generously with salt and olive oil, and baked them for about 15 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees.


Finally, what’s a party without chocolate cake, especially near Valentine’s Day? Here’s the cake from my book. It’s packed with hazelnuts and prunes. I used a small mold to punch out delicate bite-sized servings, which will get a rich topping of freshly whipped cream.


Please come join us tonight, and see what wonderful wines Scott has selected for us! The book will be available too. For directions and information about Appellation, go to their site:

Hope to see you there!

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