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?

4th of July Menu

Still need some menu ideas for 4th of July celebrations? Look no further! I’ve rounded up some of my favorite recipes along with others from the blog world!

Appetizers:

Guacamole with Basil & Shallots

Roasted Vegetable Cheese Spread

Cheese Filled Endeive Leaves from MommyRD

Main:

Chicken Satay with Coconut Peanut Sauce

Grilled Pizzas from Fake Food Free

Prosciutto Chihuahua Panini from Eating for England

Sides:

Artichoke Ravioli Pasta Salad

Greek Potato Salad

Arugula & Apple Salad

Lynn’s Cabbage Slaw with Mango from The Actors Diet

Drinks:

White Wine Mojito

Pomegranate Champagne - add some blueberries for the 4th!

Desserts:

Strawberry & Mascarpone-filled Cupcakes

Banana & Blueberry Popsicles – perfect for little ones – from Weekly Bite

What’s on your weekend menu? If you have some good recipes,  please share below with a link!  Have a safe & happy 4th!

maple & goat cheese wontons

I don’t know about you but if I’m at a Chinese restaurant, there is a good chance I’m getting cream cheese wontons. I’m not sure what it is, but I just can’t resist them. Crunchy on the outside, creamy cheese on the inside and just plain good.

But what about a sweet twist on the typically savory? I had some honey goat cheese in the freezer and just had a feeling that with some maple crystals, that I had been wondering what to do with for quite some time, this could be transformed to a delicious treat.

Unfortunately baking doesn’t give it that same crispy shell as frying does, but maple goat cheese trumps cream cheese any day. ;)

Maple & Goat Cheese Wontons - 4 pieces

  • 2 Tbsp honey goat cheese (or plain)
  • 1 Tbsp maple granules
  • 4 wonton wrappers
  • real maple syrup

Pre-heat the oven to 375° F.

Mix the goat cheese and maple granules together until smooth, heating in the microwave for a few seconds if necessary. Lay out 4 wonton wrappers on the counter, and have some water handy. Place 1/2 Tbsp of filling in the center of each wonton. Wet the edges with water and fold in half so that it forms a triangle. Pinch edges together to form a seal. Fold bottom corners in and pinch together.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown. Drizzle with maple syrup before serving if desired.


jam & shortbread cookies

I generally don’t mess with recipes if it involves flour and baking. I’ve had some baking disasters and have learned my lesson on one too many occasions so I’m not sure why I was feeling so bold, but I took liberty with changing a number of things with this Rachael recipe. Thankfully, I can report back that it turned out perfectly.

I’m so glad that I made them into cookies instead of bars; I plan on giving them away this weekend to a very special Mother and I think the round shape looks much sweeter than a bar.

And being in the bakery field, I know the importance of quality control, so I made sure they tasted ok ;)

Jam & Shortbread Cookies - adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine – makes 24 cookies

Preheat oven to 350°. Line cupcake pan with liners. Using a food processor, mix flours, almonds, sugars, baking soda and salt until nuts are finely ground. Add butter and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Beat egg and vanilla in medium bowl. Pour over dough mixture and place dough and egg mixture back in bowl. Knead with your fingers until clumpy.

Add about 1 1/2 Tbsp of dough mixture into the baking cups, pressing with fingers to form a crust. Drizzle with 1 tsp jam, heating the jam in microwave for about 15 seconds to melt if necessary. Top with 1 Tbsp crumbles. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.