Food Post Weekly Round-Up: October 25, 2009

backlot noticeA quick reminder: As of Tuesday, October 27, 2009, Disney Advanced Dining Reservations have been moved back to 180 days ahead of arrival date! So those of you headed to Disney during the next six months, plan to be on that phone or online on Tuesday :)

On to the round-up, I’m amazed every week by the number of fun Disney food posts there are around the web. I’m so lucky to have found each and every one of these blogs and videos, and I hope you’ll benefit from (and bookmark!) these great sites. Lots of great information here this week… Away we go!

One of my favorite baking blogs, Cookie Madness, headed to Disney World a couple of weeks ago and returned with a fantastic trip report complete with photos from Citricos and Yachtsman Steakhouse. Also, be sure to check out her post about the S’mores Fudge from the Main Street Confectionery!

Everything Walt Disney World has an information-packed review of where to go to get groceries around Disney World, including a great FAQ about grocery delivery!

Okay, this one is from September, but I just found it and had to include (I LOVE this blog). So, Watch Me Eat spends some time at the Yak and Yeti Local Foods Cafe quick-service spot in Animal Kingdom. I love that they serve your food in take-out containers here.

The Disney Blog announces that Stone Crab Season has begun at Fulton’s! There’s even a special menu…

If you love chocolate cake, you’ll love this! The Mouse For Less has a fun article where 12-year-old chocolate cake critic, Max, rates five different Disney World chocolate cakes on a scale of one to ten!

Have $375 to burn on a great New Year’s Eve event? Disney Parks Blog announces the Victoria and Albert’s New Year’s Eve experience, beginning this year. Sounds divine…

The Orange County Register’s Around Disney Blog reports that Hook’s Pointe in the Disneyland Hotel has re-branded to become the only seafood-focused dining spot in Disneyland. The blog also posts a great round-up of where to find halloween treats and desserts in Disneyland!

Domestic Debacle posts photos and a review of the Polynesian Resort Spirit of Aloha Luau show.

Mommy Musings has a superb bunch of Party for the Senses Photos from the week celebrating “Classical Cuisine.”

In the Orlando Sentinel’s Daily Disney Blog (this is a new blog that’s in beta for the OS — very cool), Heather McPherson shares the recipe for Citricos’ Onion Tart.

etckt has a fun description of Hoop Dee Doo Revue, accompanied by a list-o-facts about the dinner show.

Finally, a couple of fun videos for you this week!

Chef Brian Piasecki, currently presiding over the Contemporary Resort’s California Grill, demonstrates the recipe for Le Cellier‘s Cheddar Cheese Soup in this cool video!

And Cat Cora, who’s new signature restaurant Kouzzina just opened in September, joins the muppets to promote Disney’s Give a Day, Get a Disney Day promotion!

Disney Food Post Weekly Round-Up: October 11, 2009

Hi all! The top story in Disney dining this week is that Disney World is trying out a new seating system at four Magic Kingdom counter-service restaurants.

Disney has been restricting seating to groups who have already received their food, hoping to cut down on the amount of people “saving tables” while the rest of their group is still ordering food. It remains to be seen what the outcome will be. In the meantime, Robert Niles at Theme Park Insider has discussed the issue in his blog post: Pecos Bill and the Prisoner’s Dilemma.

But while that debate rages on, there’s still plenty of other great Disney food writing going on. The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival continues, brand new hotels have opened (which means brand new eating establishments!), there’s a new food spot for the Alaska cruises, and more! Here we go!

Epcot Food and Wine Festival News
Attractions Magazine takes a look at Epcot’s Party for the Senses, including photos and a video! Haven’t had enough? Laughing Place adds their Party for the Senses photos as well! This is one event I would LOVE to attend someday.

Etckt stopped by the Food and Wine Festival to sample some dishes from the International Marketplaces. He’s an incredible photographer, so be sure to check this one out!

And the Disney Parks Blog posted some great videos and recipes from celebrity chef team The Deen Brothers and Food Network’s Dinner Impossible Chef Robert Irvine. The blog also posted their highlights from the Wine chat with Gary Vaynerchuk.

Other Disney Dining News and Web Posts
Orlando Sentinel’s The Dish columnist Heather Mcpherson reports on honors received by Central Florida’s authentic Mexican restaurants, including two in Disney World!

Disney and More reports and comments on an expansion at the Last Chance Cafe in Disneyland Paris’ Frontierland.

Mouseplanet contributor Chris Barry discusses his Top Five Dining Moments in Disney World.

Main Street Gazette highlights some great themeing by Magic Kingdom imagineers via the Popcorn Kiosks in the park.

Scott Joseph Orlando gives us a first look at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando bars and restaurants.

Stuff From the Park shares a Golden Horseshoe menu circa the late 1970’s — back when there were waiters here! Hmm… that’s the first time I’ve seen Pepsi listed on a Disney Park menu…

Stitch Kingdom shares some photos of the construction of the Outlook Cafe on the Disney Wonder. The Cafe is being built in preparation for the upcoming Alaska cruises.

Thanks for all the great dining news and updates this week, all! We’re grateful for all the great writing you do!

Interview: National Pie Champion and Orlando Chef, Dawn Viola

I’m thrilled to be able to write up a quick profile and interview of Dawn Viola, a first place winner at the 2009 Crisco National Pie Championships and a past volunteer sous chef at Disney World’s Food and Wine Festival Party for the Senses!

Dawn's 1st Place Apple Pie

Dawn's 1st Place Apple Pie

A nationally recognized artist, competitive cook, and food writer from Central Florida, Dawn has worked in the design and marketing industry as a creative director and copywriter for 18 years. In addition to food writing and recipe development, Dawn is a marketing manager with The Walt Disney Company, where she produces mini documentaries on how Disney runs its business.

Dawn’s work has been featured in Bride’s Magazine, The Knot, Weddingbells, The Wall Street Journal, and the Orlando Sentinel. She has also been featured on Orlando’s Mix 105.1 Scott and Erica Show and Martha Stewart Radio.

Pies and Parties
As a competitive cook, Dawn was recently awarded first place in the 2009 Crisco National Pie Championships, Apple category – Professional Division, for her Vanilla-Vanilla Bean Roasted Apple Pie recipe. The competition aired in early September on Food Network as part of the Food Network Challenge series. To read more of Dawn’s thoughts and ideas, check out her blog, Wicked Good Dinner.

DisneyFoodBlog: How many versions of the Apple pie recipe did you try before landing on the winning version?
Dawn Viola: The pie crust was the first part of the recipe I developed, and the most challenging part of the development. About two years ago I discovered I had a food allergy to soy that prevented me from using vegetable shortening. This lead me on the path of creating an all-butter pie dough. Test after test, I failed to duplicate the flaky texture I was able to achieve with shortening, until I started incorporating an acid into the dough mixture. I think I made a pie about once a month for two years until I was happy with the texture of the dough. All of my hard work paid off at the Pie Championships!

DFB: What are the ingredients/techniques that made yours different from the other entrants’ recipes?
DV: I make my own butter from local cream. European style butter is listed in the recipe, which is the closest texture to making it yourself. My dough is slightly sweeter than most – somewhere between a pate brisee and pate sucre dough. I add vanilla bean and vanilla powder to the dough, and vanilla bean to the apples. I broil the apples with a little bit of sugar, which adds another dimension of flavor to the filling. The dough also contains an acid in the form of apple cider vinegar. Any acid, such as vinegar or lemon juice, or even vodka, will help to shorten the gluten strands during the mixing process and contribute to the flaky texture.

The other secret to flaky dough is the mixing process when cutting in the butter. It’s imperative that the ingredients stay cold to keep the butter cold and solid. The cold butter should be in chunks varying in size from a nickel to a dime.

DFB: Have you entered the contest before? What prompted you to enter this year?
DV:This was my first year entering, but I had been preparing for an entire year. I didn’t feel my dough was ready in 2008, so I continued to test and entered the recipe in 2009.

DFB: Was it difficult to prepare and bake the pie with all of the cameras and commotion, or was the set relatively quiet during baking?
DV: It wasn’t difficult to cook with the cameras there – the crew stayed on the other side of our work tables so we had a bit of breathing room. The challenging part was trying to smile, cook and talk at the same time, explainig what you were cooking to the cameras. It’s not as easy as it looks. Everyone was completely focused, so there wasn’t much noise or talking going on unless we were talking to the camera.

DFB: Would you recommend this competition to other amateur and professional bakers? Why?
DV: If you love to bake, this competition is highly recommended. It’s well organized and so much fun. There is a friendly competition among entrants, which keeps everyone on their toes, but there is also a lot of camaraderie and support. Many of us have become good friends and keep in touch through Facebook and email.

DFB: How early in advance do you suggest working on a recipe for the competition?
DV: It’s never too early to start testing recipes, but it should always be fun, and never a chore. And you’ll be surprised at how many “taste testers” step forward when they hear you’re testing pie recipes!

DFB: What lessons were you able to take away from the competition?
DV: It’s impossible to guess what the judges will enjoy and mark with high accolades. I talked with a lot of bakers who were extremely disappointed because they created recipes specifically for the competition, with the intent to win. Bake for the joy of baking, bake for yourself, not just for the judges, and you’ll never be disappointed.

DFB: Now on to Disney food! When have you had the opportunity to volunteer at the Party for the Senses and other Disney events?
DV: As a Disney Cast Member, I have volunteered with the catering and events team during the Epcot Food and Wine Festival for the past two years.

DFB: What was the experience like?
DV: Volunteering has been a wonderful experience, and an exciting opportunity to meet Disney’s world-renowned chefs and connect with visiting top chefs from around the world. Last year I had the privilege of meeting Daniel Boulud, Patrick O’Connell, and Paul Bocuse during the Bocuse d’Or competition — an experience I’ll never forget.

American Pie CouncilFinally…The Recipe
Many thanks to Dawn Viola for sharing some of her insights into her volunteer work and competitive baking experience! If you’d like to compete in next year’s National Pie Championship (which takes place April 23-25, 2010, in Orlando, FL!), check out this information on the American Pie Council website. And if you’d like to try your hand at Dawn’s award-winning Vanilla – Vanilla Bean Roasted Apple Pie, here’s the recipe!:

Dawn Viola's Apple Pie, Step by Step Photos

Dawn Viola's Apple Pie, Step by Step Photos

Ingredients:
For the crust:
2 1/2 cups Organic all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting/rolling
2 teaspoons Salt
1 tablespoon Vanilla powder
3 tablespoons Organic sugar
1 Vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
2 1/2 sticks unsalted Danish butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 tablespoon White vinegar, chilled
6 – 8 tablespoons Ice water

For the filling:
4 tablespoons Danish butter
12 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced in large chunks
1 Vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
2 teaspoons Ground cinnamon
1 cup Organic sugar
4 tablespoons Organic all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Apple cider
1 tablespoon heavy cream

For the egg wash:
1 egg
1 tablespoon of cream
Coarse sugar

Directions:
Measure out all ingredients and place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Place the food processor blade and bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Make the dough:
Place the food processor bowl back on the motor with the blade, as directed by the manufacturer. Combine flour, salt, vanilla powder, sugar and vanilla bean seeds in the food processor; pulse to mix. Add butter cubes and pulse 10 times, or until the mixture begins to resemble coarse meal with pea-sized pieces.

Add the vinegar and pulse to mix. Add one tablespoon of water at a time, pulsing to incorporate, until the mixture begins to clump together. Pinch some of the dough in your hand. If it sticks together, the dough is ready. If the dough does not stick to itself, add another tablespoon of water, pulse, and pinch the dough together again. Repeat until the dough holds together without being overly wet. Dough should be slightly crumbly, but hold together when pinched.

Remove dough from the food processor and transfer to a work surface. Divide the dough into two equal parts and gently shape into two flat round discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Prepare the apples:
Preheat the broiler. Add apples, vanilla bean seeds, cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of the sugar to a roasting pan; toss apples to coat. Broil until the tops of the apples begin to brown. Apples can burn easily under the broiler, so don’t walk too far away. Toss apples as soon as you notice browning. Once apples are caramelized (but not cooked through), remove from heat and add the remaining sugar, the flour, vanilla extract and salt.
Add the apple cider and cream, stir to incorporate. Taste for seasoning – add additional salt, sugar, vanilla or cinnamon to taste.

Finish the pie:
Place a 9” pie plate into the freezer. Remove one dough disc from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 5 – 10 minutes, or just long enough for it to become easy to roll, but still chilled. Lightly flour your work surface and roll out to a 12” circle. Place in the bottom of the chilled 9” pie plate. Return to the refrigerator to chill. Remove after 5 minutes and add apples.

Remove second dough disc and roll out to a 12” circle on a lightly floured surface. Place on top of the apples and pinch the top and bottom dough edges together to enclose the apples. Add decorative edge if desired, and slice 1” air vents around the top of the pie.

Make the egg wash:
Beat the egg in a small dish and mix in cream. Lightly brush the egg wash over the top of the pie and along the edges. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.

Bake:
Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Cover edges with aluminum foil if browning too quickly. Turn the pie in the oven, and continue to cook for another 15 minutes. Continue to cook for 7 minutes, as needed, until the crust is golden brown and flakey.

Cool:
Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least two hours before cutting and serving

Disney Food Post Weekly Round-Up: Part II

Animal Kingdom eat here
Here’s the second in this week’s Round-Up series! Thanks to everyone out there covering such great Disney Food topics!

Main Street Gazette bids farewell to Spoodles: Main Street Gazette designer Eric Hoffman provides a tribute to Spoodles and memories of his family’s most recent meal there.

Scott Joseph discusses Party for the Senses changes and Paradiso 37: Legendary food critic Scott Joseph gives his view on this year’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival Party for the Senses updates as well as his review of Paradiso 37.

The Orange County Register analyzes Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue menu changes in Disneyland: Scroll down through the article to catch the info about the barbecue. It follows some other interesting info about Disneyland’s recent changes and construction.

SoloFriendly recaps her trip to Tangierine Cafe: SoloFriendly reviews the very popular counter service restaurant in World Showcase’s Morocco pavilion — and explains why the name has that weird spelling!

StitchKingdom shares the new Cap’n Jack’s All-Day Menu: WDW’s Downtown Disney has added Cap’n Jack’s to its list of all-day eateries.

2009 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Details

Details are trickling out about the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival!

Epcot Food and Wine Festival

To book any and all activities and events, reservations open on August 11 at 7:00AM. Call 407-WDW-FEST (939-3378). Theme park admission is usually required, along with a reservation and extra payment for the event.

Check out the Disney Food and Wine Festival Page for info and more updates.

Culinary Adventures — Signature Dining Experiences
Celebrity chefs pair up with Walt Disney World restaurant big cheeses to develop a 5-course meal. Schedule and celebrity chefs include:

10/1 6:30 p.m. Jiko–The Cooking Place — Suvir Saran
10/1 7:00 p.m. Portobello Italian Trattoria — Tony Mantuano
10/13 6:15 p.m. Ragland Road — Kevin Dundon
10/15 5:30 p.m. Flying Fish Café — Tim Keating
10/16 6:30 p.m. bluezoo — Todd English
10/22 6:30 p.m. The Wave — Frank Brough
10/25 6:30 p.m. Victoria & Albert’s — Scott Hunnel
10/29 6:30 p.m. California Grill — Brian Piasecki
10/30 6:30 p.m. Wonders Retreat — Jean Claude Boisset vs. Jean Charles Boisset Wines
11/5 6:30 p.m. Cítricos — Phillip Ponticelli

Price: $100.00-$375.00 per person, plus tax. Gratuity included. Theme park admission is not required.

Food and Wine Pairing Meals
An old favorite returns.

Saturdays, 2:30–4:00 p.m. — Tutto Italia Ristorante
Mondays, 3:30–5:00 p.m. — Tokyo Dining
Tuesdays, 3:30–5:00 p.m. — Restaurant Marrakesh

Price: $55.00 per person, plus tax. Gratuity included. Theme park admission is required.

Mexico Tequila Tastings
A NEW addition!
La Cava del Tequila, Mexico Pavilion

Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 3:00 p.m.

Price: $35.00 per person, plus tax. Gratuity included. Theme park admission is required.

[Read more…]