Aspen F&W Classic: Day 2

Day 2 was off to a kick start with the dynamic Tim Love.  A native of Denton, Texas, with restaurants in Fort Worth and Houston, Tim Love is a man after my own heart…a meat and tequila guy.  At 10 am, he walked on stage with a glass of white wine (Texas wine, I hope).  He said he had been out till the wee hours the night before at Escobar and insinuated that it was a rough morning.  So, had he been dancing on the stripper pole?  Oh, right, I am supposed to talk about the class…Rub, Marinate, or Season: What is the Best?  In a nutshell, you should marinate tough, or lesser cuts of, meat because you need to break down the connective tissue.  For flank steak, he made a Korean Bulgogi using white onions, sesame seeds, garlic, chili flakes, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil.  According to Love, when you marinate, 98% of the time, you should be using white onion as “it expands your palate”.

Next came the Kick Ass Rub (see recipe at end of post) that he used to season pork shoulder that had been brined in salt water overnight with tequila-soaked wood chips.  He also prepped a New York Strip with the rub, and mentioned that you should only technically rub a steak, or a meat you are going to sear/cook over a high heat, and season that which you will be cooking over a long period of time.  The difference being that by seasoning, you are letting the flavors soak into the meat, and with a rub, you are creating a coating, or a crust for the meat.  Another important note for grilling, use an oil with a high smoke point, preferably peanut oil.  You can add that EVOO when serving the meat.  Also add some flaked salt and chopped herbs.  He encouraged questions, but watch out, because you also may be pulled up on stage to down a shot of tequila with him if you are deemed too obnoxious.  He also ends the demo with a tequila drinking contest that has a twist…I won’t spoil it for you.  You just have to go see him for yourself.  And once you do, you will be hooked.

I also attended America’s Best Wine and Cheese Pairings with Laura Werlin and Megan Krigbaum.  Laura Werlin is the author of six books, including James Beard Award-winning The All American Cheese and Wine Book.  Megan Krigbaum is the senior wine editor at FOOD & WINE.

From left to right, the wines included Lenz Blanc de Noir Rose, Chateau Grand Traverse Dry Riesling, Evening Land Gamay Noir, Navarro Vineyards Pinot Noir, Scribe Chardonnay, and Dashe Late Harvest Zinfandel.  The wines were paired with a variety of American artisanal cheeses, and I tried to use the tips I learned the day before from the Pairing Wines with Difficult Foods class.  While there are certainly some “safe” pairings, I found the relationship between cheese and wine to be not quite as straightforward, but I will try my best to sum it up:  Pairing wines and cheeses from the same region can make interesting mixes.  Try a Sancerre with a lightly aged goat cheese from the Loire Valley, or an epoisses with a Burgundy (my favorite cheese with my favorite wine…how can you go wrong!).  In addition, an aged wine will pair better with an aged cheese, a young wine will mix well with a young cheese.  Harder cheeses, such as Parmesan or Cheddar, will pair better with more tannic wines, such as the Navarro Vineyards Pinot Noir or a Cabernet Sauvignon.  Creamier cheeses, like Brie, pair well with wines displaying more acidity, such as a Chardonnay, a dry Riesling or some Roses.  A dry Rose or a Sauvignon Blanc is also a nice accompaniment to a soft, herbal goat cheese.  Lastly, there is harmony in contrasts.  Try a triple-cream Brillat-Savarin with Champagne.  Or, take the salty cheeses, like Stilton and Roquefort, for instance, and pair with a sweeter wine, such as Port or the Late Harvest Zin.  Add some candied walnuts and you will have a perfect dessert.  Buen provecho!

Kick Ass Steak Rub

Makes 3 cups:
2 cups sweet paprika
1 T aji chile powder
3 T cracked black pepper
5 T minced dried garlic
3 T onion powder
4 T kosher salt

Mix all ingredients together.  Can be used on just about anything…steak, vegetables, shrimp, fish…just have a kick ass good time using it. 


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