macy’s culinary council: andrea robinson

You may recall that I told you a few weeks ago that I’m trying to learn more about wine, especially how to pair wine with food. Many of you gave me some great resources – Thank You! I also recently received an invitation to attend a Macy’s Culinary Council event featuring Andrea Robinson, renowned Master Sommelier, author and chef. Just what I needed. (I also got to meet Melissa!)

I can say, without a doubt, that I loved Andrea Robinson. She was engaging and warm without an inkling of being haughty.

I really appreciated her “rules,” the first being that there are no “rules” when it comes to pairing food and wine.

  • it’s not the protein, it’s the prep that you are matching
  • body with body – to acheive balance
  • pair intense herbs with intense, big reds
  • the fermentation element in foods (vinegar, cured meat, etc.) pairs well with the fermentation process that wine undergoes
  • everything goes with bubbles

In addition to being one of 16 female Master Sommeliers, she is the author of a number of books on wine and food, (I purchased Great Wine Made Simple), chef and most recently, the developer of a new set of wine glasses, The One. She prepared some delicious food to go along with some delicious wines for us to sample!

First was an edamame pesto that I will be making soon, it was delicious and fresh-tasting. The St. Supéry Sauvingon Blanc that was paired along with it was excellent as well. It was delightfully citrusy and refreshing on a 90 degree day. This pairing was an example of the similar fermentation elements between food and wine (ie. the toasted sesame oil and wine both being aged in a barrel)

While the proscuitto & sage crusted pork was very good, it was the last dish she made that I’m still thinking about. Skeptics of the world, the chocolate & chorizo toasts were my favorite of the evening. Salty & Sweet is a combination I’m sure I’ll never grow tired of, but the creamy chocolate with salty chorizo was the ultimate of sweet & salty. I can’t wait to make this again…I’ve just got to find a crowd with an open mind. ;) Any takers?

cuban cobb salad

There are times when I like my salad to have some meat to it. Literally.  And this salad fits that bill precisely.

It is filling and flavorful, an easy way to fit in your vegetables and incredibly easy to put together. When I make salads for lunch I need them to keep me satisfied for a few hours and I also need them to come together in a pinch so I don’t spend hours the night before on my lunch. (Someday I’ll start making peanut butter and jelly) The pulled pork came from Brasa, a local rotisserie, and so any part of this salad that would have taken any time was done for me. The rest required a bit of chopping and I was left with an amazing brown bag lunch. :)

Cuban Cobb Salad - 2 servings

  • 10 cups romaine and baby romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups cucumbers, chopped
  • 1 cup yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 avocado, mashed
  • 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup sweet butter pickles, roughly chopped
  • 4 slices smoked ham, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 pound pulled pork
  • dijon dressing, see below

Layer all ingredients over lettuce and drizzle with dijon dressing.

Dijon Dressing

  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey

Whisk all ingredients together.

ask the nutritionist: healthy eating at a BBQ

It seems like every time I turn around, we’ve got another Summer get-together on the calendar. In Minnesota it is completely normal to hibernate throughout the winter and then spend as much time outside as possible, in addition to socializing with your friends, during the summer. (Yes, the winter is that cold and we do what we can to not leave home.)

While I always enjoy and appreciate these get-togethers, between drinks, desserts and burgers, my normal eating habits seem to struggle a bit. Here are some tips to keep some balance to your diet in the midst of summer parties!

  • Don’t stand by the food table! If you are there, you will nibble.
  • Keep the drinks to a minimum – once you move past two drinks inhibitions will be lowered, not to mention the calories will start adding up!
  • Decide what you really want to eat – is it a burger? Is it your Mom’s famous cupcakes? Pick one and then keep everything else on the healthy side.
  • Skip the bun! Buns are rarely worth it to me.
  • Fill up on veggie sides – I like to bring either a side dish, salad or snack that has veggies so I know I have some.
  • Enjoy the company! That is the real reason for get-togethers after all, isn’t it?
  • If you overdo it, move on and wake up the next morning to a new day!

Do you have any tips to add?

wild mushroom & truffled brie

You can say any of these words (truffle, brie, mushrooms) and it is a guaranteed swoon. But when you put them all together? It gets a little tricky to hold back. And it seems any desire to hold back is left by the wayside.

It actually wasn’t my intention. You see I was planning on adding some thyme from my “garden” but that truffle oil and salt always seems to catch my eye at the most perfect moments.

Would it be too much I wondered? Too rich and too ridiculously over-the-top it was not. There was definitely swooning and not just by me.

Warm brie, truffled mushrooms and crispy bread – I’m not sure if I can think of many other combinations quite like it. But then again, I’ve got everything I need right here.

Wild Mushroom & Truffled Brie

  • 8 oz wheel of brie
  • baguette slices, toasted
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz mushrooms, roughly chopped (I used an exotic variety of baby bella, oyster and shittakes)
  • 1 tsp truffle oil
  • 1 small pinch of truffle salt

Pre-heat oven to 375°. Remove wrapper from brie and place back in bottom half of cardboard. Bake on a sheet pan for about 10-15 minutes, until brie is soft.

Heat large pan over medium heat. Add olive oil to pan. When hot add shallot and saute for about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for about 5-7 more minutes, until mushrooms are tender. Remove from heat and add truffle salt and oil, stirring to incorporate.

Invert warm brie on platter and cover with mushroom mixture. Serve alongside baguette slices.