Friday, March 2, 2007

Review | Pairings with Andrea

On a recent episode of Pairings with Andrea, Andrea Immer-Robinson – the first woman ever chosen Best Sommelier in the United States and one of only 14 women in the world who have been appointed Master Sommelier by the prestigious Court of Master Sommeliers – paired one of my favorite types of wine with an easy and tasty menu. She whipped up a meal of cold sesame noodles, coconut milk & curry shrimp soup and steamed vegetables with rice wine vinaigrette and paired them with a California Sauvignon Blanc. I decided to test drive the menu and see how it fared. First off, I couldn’t get my hands on the recommended wine (Flora Springs Soliloquy Sauvignon Blanc), but the friendly folks at Sam’s Wine & Spirits suggested a suitable substitution: Beckmen Vineyards Estate Sauvignon Blanc. As for the menu, I felt that three dishes would be too much food for just myself and Chris, so I chose to make the sesame noodles and soup.

The verdict: the recipes were very simple and easy to prepare. Most of the ingredients are items that you can keep on hand in your pantry or freezer – canned tomatoes, frozen shrimp, lime, cilantro, peanut butter, coconut milk, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, spaghetti and chicken broth. I prepared both dishes – from start to finish – in under an hour. So how did they pair with the wine? Perfectly. The Sauvignon Blanc was a wonderful complement to the acidity of the lime juice, the richness and sweetness of the peanut butter and the herbal notes of the cilantro. I would definitely make the cold sesame noodles again. And tomorrow, I might try the steamed vegetables to serve with the leftover soup.

Pairings is a great show if you’re just starting to learn about wine (like me). She has a very casual approach, is obviously very knowledgeable and qualified, but manages to make wine fun and approachable. And even if you’re a wine connoisseur, I think you will still find her show to be informative and a great source of ideas.

Andrea Immer-Robinson’s website
Recipes: Pairings with Andrea “Asian Cuisine”
Sam’s Wines & Spirits

The two things that I didn’t like about the soup were the tails on the shrimp (easily taken care of by buying shrimp without tails next time) and the chunks of tomatoes (I used a can of diced tomatoes). So, before I reheated the soup, I took out the shrimp and removed their tails. Then I used an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot and added back the shrimp. I also mixed in a tablespoon of fish sauce which I think brought another nice dimension to the soup. I prefer the leftover, reheated (and retooled) soup over the original version.


c. jennings said...

I do love me some thai peanut noodles. very tasty. We had a little debate about how the soup would be sans the shrimp. It would still be tasty but having the shrimp in there is like reading a good biography with a photo every 25 pages or so. It breaks things up nicely and adds some good texture.

achandler said...

Yes! I am reading your blog. And, yes! I am liking it!

I may try my hand at the bacon buns, but I'll leave you to the ring around the tuna.

...Yet, after sampling your cooking, I may just leave all the cooking to you, and enjoy reading and tasting : )


Diana Kowalsky said...

I gotta try these recipes - I love cold sesame noodles and asian soups.

I am also going to DVR me some "Pairings" - I enjoy practical, down-to-earth shows about food and drink.

Oh, and I am totally excited: I set up an RSS feed page (where it collects a bunch of info from a bunch of web pages and brings it right to me), and I am adding jnoellecooks to the list!


Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!