Andrea Robinson on a nice party for four people on $80.

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Andrea Robinson on a nice party for four people on $80.

Postby Bob Ross » Sat Dec 16, 2006 9:03 pm

From CBS -- some nice ideas here:

As The Saturday Early Show's Chef on a Shoestring, Robinson put together snack and wine pairings for a special, festive holiday party for four on a budget of $80. That's double the usual "Shoestring" outlay.

Robinson prepared a snack that you can serve guests when they arrive, three hearty "tapa" style dishes, and a dessert. Each course was accompanied by a wine.

The menu included:

Truffled & Herbed Popcorn, paired with an Italian Prosecco

Chocolate and Chorizo Crostini

Goat Cheese and Wasabi Pea Potato Bites

Prosciutto-Sage-Chicken "Ravioli," paired with a Rose Cava from Spain

Pumpkin Cookies, paired with an Australian dessert wine

Think of it as an intimate holiday party with your closest friends.

Roughly half the budget was spent on wine, the other half on food.

To entertain four people, $80 may be a splurge for many people but, when you look at the quality of the wines and the elegant menu Robinson devised, you realize it's a steal!

Of course, you could always decide to serve just one bottle of wine, which would cut the cost almost in half.

The wines chosen by Robinso were all great bargains; the most expensive was $17. She served two inexpensive bubblies: a Prosecco from Italy ($11) and a Rose Cava from Spain ($10). Dessert was accompanied by a dessert wine: Muscat ($17). This Australian dessert wine comes in half bottles, which Robinson thinks makes a great hostess gift.

The wines included:

Mionetto "Il" Prosecco $11

Freixenet Brut de Noirs Rose Cava $10

Yalumba Museum Muscat NV $17


Recipes available at the show's website.
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Re: Andrea Robinson on a nice party for four people on $80.

Postby Jenise » Sun Dec 17, 2006 4:38 pm

Chocolate and chorizo crostini? My mind says, "no way", though I would not be as offended were the chorizo mentioned first. Then I think 'mole'.
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Re: Andrea Robinson on a nice party for four people on $80.

Postby Bob Ross » Sun Dec 17, 2006 4:45 pm

The recipe itself makes it seem like an entirely different dish, Jenise; I liked the tofu touch. The bitterness and fat of the chocolate might go well with chorizo depending on the style -- I don't know Goya's brand.

CHOCOLATE & CHORIZO CROSTINI

Ingredients:
1 2 1/2 oz bar Lindt Swiss Bittersweet Chocolate
4 oz soft silken tofu
1 thin baguette or ficelle (about 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter - not a wide baguette)
Very coarse salt such as fleur de sel or Maldon sea salt
4 oz fully cooked, sliceable Spanish-style Chorizo (e.g., Goya)

Method:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Break up the chocolate and finely chop it in a blender. Place in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on 50 percent power for about 1 1/2 minutes to melt the chocolate.

Meanwhile, puree the tofu thoroughly in a blender.

When the chocolate is melted, stir thoroughly to make it creamy and shiny. Stir in the tofu thoroughly until there are no white streaks. Cover the mixture and chill until spreadable like frosting, about a half hour.

Meanwhile, thinly slice the baguette on the bias to make long, thin slices like melba toast. Place on a baking sheet and place in the oven until crisp and toasted, about 5 minutes. Remove and cool.

Thinly slice the chorizo on the bias.

Spread each slice of baguette with some of the chocolate mixture, and sprinkle liberally with the coarse salt. Shingle several slices of the chorizo on top of each. Place crostini on a platter and serve.
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Re: Andrea Robinson on a nice party for four people on $80.

Postby Jenise » Sun Dec 17, 2006 5:08 pm

Oh, it's not Mexican chorizo then at all. Spanish chorizo is closer to pepperoni than the Mexican version I was imagining. How different to use tofu that way--have never heard of or imagined melting it into something.
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Re: Andrea Robinson on a nice party for four people on $80.

Postby Bob Ross » Sun Dec 17, 2006 5:41 pm

I should have asked Robinson during the seminar I took in September where she gets her recipes, Jenise. She comes up with some really interesting ideas.

What I don't understand, honestly, is why so many wine geeks knock her.
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Re: Andrea Robinson on a nice party for four people on $80.

Postby Jenise » Sun Dec 17, 2006 6:53 pm

why so many wine geeks knock her.


Not that I admit to 'knocking her' by taking on your question, but I'd guess it's because she doesn't talk geek-to-geek language. Her expertise, and it's obvious she has that, seems to be aimed at the bottom 80% of the market--the people who drink whatever they buy within 48 hours crowd--which is fine, someone has to do that job. But the words required to make her points clear and easy to understand to that strata sound oversimplified and condescending to some of the rest of us. And then there's the Target gig....

She still do that? I've been in a Target store exactly once in my life, so I wouldn't know.
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Re: Andrea Robinson on a nice party for four people on $80.

Postby Robin Garr » Sun Dec 17, 2006 7:04 pm

Jenise wrote:And then there's the Target gig....

She still do that? I've been in a Target store exactly once in my life, so I wouldn't know.


Target has pretty successfully repositioned itself as much more with-it and upscale than Walmart or K-mart, but that being said, there's something about the Target gig that doesn't set very well with me, either. I have the same intuitive (and not necessarily fair) feeling about Immer/Robinson as I do about David Rosengarten: A non-trivial sense that they're serving a commercial interest that may not place the consumer's interests first.
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Re: Andrea Robinson on a nice party for four people on $80.

Postby ChefCarey » Sun Dec 17, 2006 7:39 pm

Bob Ross wrote:From CBS -- some nice ideas here:

As The Saturday Early Show's Chef on a Shoestring, Robinson put together snack and wine pairings for a special, festive holiday party for four on a budget of $80. That's double the usual "Shoestring" outlay.

Robinson prepared a snack that you can serve guests when they arrive, three hearty "tapa" style dishes, and a dessert. Each course was accompanied by a wine.

The menu included:

Truffled & Herbed Popcorn, paired with an Italian Prosecco

Chocolate and Chorizo Crostini

Goat Cheese and Wasabi Pea Potato Bites

Prosciutto-Sage-Chicken "Ravioli," paired with a Rose Cava from Spain

Pumpkin Cookies, paired with an Australian dessert wine

Think of it as an intimate holiday party with your closest friends.

Roughly half the budget was spent on wine, the other half on food.

To entertain four people, $80 may be a splurge for many people but, when you look at the quality of the wines and the elegant menu Robinson devised, you realize it's a steal!

Of course, you could always decide to serve just one bottle of wine, which would cut the cost almost in half.

The wines chosen by Robinso were all great bargains; the most expensive was $17. She served two inexpensive bubblies: a Prosecco from Italy ($11) and a Rose Cava from Spain ($10). Dessert was accompanied by a dessert wine: Muscat ($17). This Australian dessert wine comes in half bottles, which Robinson thinks makes a great hostess gift.

The wines included:

Mionetto "Il" Prosecco $11

Freixenet Brut de Noirs Rose Cava $10

Yalumba Museum Muscat NV $17


Recipes available at the show's website.


The truffled and herbed popcorn sounds way too much like a French 75 - taking things I like a lot separately and putting them together unsatisfactorily. And just about as trendy as it gets.
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Re: Andrea Robinson on a nice party for four people on $80.

Postby Bob Ross » Sun Dec 17, 2006 7:49 pm

Thanks, Robin and Jenise. That's very helpful -- I've never looked at her in that way, I suppose because my first impression was formed at a great seminar she gave in Boston on Penfolds Bin 389 in January 2001. My impression of her in September this year was exactly the same -- remarkable in my experience for someone who has gotten so much exposure over the intervening five years.

She's quite self aware -- good business person, knows her stuff, but doesn't parade it in person. Refreshing really. From a recent writeup:

Ultimately drawn to the West Coast mecca of wine, Robinson made her cross-country move in 2003. Today she’s an anomaly in premium-priced Wine Country as an unabashed advocate of inexpensive wine. This frank wine expert, an ambitious and astute businesswoman who can pinpoint wine from nearly every region of the world, says what people find most surprising about her is that she’s not a know-it-all.

“I have a certain level of expertise in wine,” she says, “but I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface and I’m on this same pie-eyed adventure as most people, going ‘Wow! New discovery!’”


Savor Wine Country.

That rings absolutely true from the way she presents herself in person, and she certainly sells inexpensive wines through her wine club, and writes them up with great enthusiasm and accuracy.

I appreciate your insights -- interesting how I formed my opinions of Robinson.

Regards, Bob
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Re: Andrea Robinson on a nice party for four people on $80.

Postby Carl Eppig » Sun Dec 17, 2006 7:59 pm

I'm a big fan too. Have all her books (read cover to cover) and get her annual "Wine Buying Guide for Everyone", which for its name just about sums up all of what Jenise said. The other annual I get is Tom Stevenson's "Wine Report." These two are light years apart, but I find them both very useful.
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