Food Poisoning & Road Trip to Taos, New Mexico


I don’t have much patience as a Chef especially when it comes to food poisoning. Getting it in this country really upsets me because there simply isn’t a good reason for it even though it happens often.

I was really looking forward to a “girls” road trip recently.  I have had very few vacations in the past 10 years and I was feeling “fooded out” and needed a break from cooking.

Both Taos and Santa Fe are great culinary towns and I love green chili!  Jocelyne, my culinary partner for 2chefsandawineguy was one of the girls going on the trip.

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Cranberry Pecan Cream Salad


This is one of my favorite ways to eat Cranberries during the winter!  It is a great dish to take to share for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  It is so pretty and always surprises people who usually eat Cranberry Sauce.

This dish only has a few great ingredients! It is super easy to make but is best if the cranberries and sugar mixture rest overnight. So be aware that this step does require some extra time and really can’t be rushed if you don’t want the salad weeping cranberry juice.

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Tres Leches Crepe Cake with Espresso Whipped Cream & Chocolate Nibs



OMG this recipe is the ultimate dessert if you ask me. Chocolate crepes filled with a mixture of Dolce de Leche, salted caramel on the bottom and topped with toasted hazelnuts and cocao nibs.  Just reading the ingredients makes me want to have it now.  The fusion of French and south American ingredients are phenomenal in this recipe.  The good news is this dessert is not too sweet, and is very decadent.

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Puff Pastry Open Faced “Duck Confit Ravioli” with Manchamanteles Sauce


This recipe has several different parts.  I worked on the presentation of this dish and created the puff pastry base and window pane for the duck confit while Sherrie worked on the Manchamantels fruit mole sauce for the duck confit.

This was truly a France Meets the America’s fusion dish.  The duck confit is a dish that comes from France. The Manchamanteles  Mole Sauce whose nickname is “tablecloth stainer” is from Mexico. The two dishes combined was a real hit at our recent October 4-Course Dinner.

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Salvadorian Pulled Chicken Tamals with Mole Verde Sauce


There is a distinct texture and flavor difference between Salvadorian tamal’s and Mexican Tamale’s even though both are made with corn masa.

The Salvadorian tamal’s have a rich brothy savory flavor and the texture is somewhat like a congealed thick rich corn pudding filled with pulled chicken, potatoes and chickpeas and olives. They also have a distinct flavor from the banana leaves. These tamals are almost like a masa souffle-like texture!

The Mexican Tamale’s are prepared from a raw corn dough made of corn treated with lime, lots of delicious pork fat and leavening and are usually wrapped in corn husks, the Salvadorian one’s are prepared with a dough that is pre-cooked, with a type of sofrito called “recaudo”, and  are wrapped in pre-cooked banana leaves.

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Toasted Pumpkin Seed Guacamole with Peach Wood Smoked Salmon


Several years ago I went to a plastic manufacturing company and had them cut some molds out of plexi-glass for me so I could create “stacks” like the one above. The were cut from a 2 inch diameter plexi-glass tube in about 4 inch lengths.  They were really inexpensive and I have used them over and over. All I do is pop them in the dish washer and they are ready to be used for the next crazy idea I have!

Visually I love the look of “stacked” food and have used this idea a lot in my career.

I thought that the smoked salmon would look great on top of the guacamole so I got the molds out of storage, dusted them off and went to work on this recipe.

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Chili Peanuts & Pumpkin Seeds


I love nuts of all kinds with all types of seasonings!

This is a great tasting, slightly spicy snack to create as the beginning to any Mexican or South America style dinner as well as a great snack to have with cocktails or beer.

It is super easy to make and something you could create with your family and friends. It would also make a great treat to take while hiking or going on a road trip like the one I am leaving on tomorrow morning for Taos and Santa Fe, NM.

I am taking Jocelyne and my friend Mel on this road trip and thought that these Chili Peanuts & Pumpkin Seeds would get us “in the mood” for some great New Mexico cuisine.

I have been researching the best restaurants to eat at in Taos and Santa Fe and have my list prepared!  I am so looking forward to this trip.  I need a break and I need someone to cook for me for awhile!

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France Meets the America’s 4-Course Wine Dinner


October 4 Course Wine Dinner

wine and food pairings by Claude Robbins

France Meets The Americas  Dinner


Domaine Allimant-Laugner, Crément d’Alsace, Rosé, Brut, NV

Amuse Buche and Apperitif

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds & Peanuts with Chili

Kopke, Porto, (dry) White Port, NV

First Course

Toasted Pumpkin Seed Guacamole with Salpicón (“Medley”) of Roasted Poblano with Peach Wood Smoked Salmon & Accompanied by Blue Corn Chips

Masi, Valpolicello Classico, Bonacosta,  2012

Second Course

Banana Leaf Covered Salvadorian Pulled Chicken Tamals with Baby New Potatoes, Chickpeas & Recaudo Sauce, Served with New Mexico Hatch Green Chili Mole Verde Sauce

Domaine Lucien, Alsace, Pinot Gris, 2012

Third Course

Puff Pastry Open Faced Duck Confit “Ravioli” & Manchamanteles Sauce

Château de Cristia, Chateauneuf-de-Pape Rouge, 2012

Dessert Course

Multi-Layered Chocolate Tres Leches Crepe Cake with Espresso Whipped Cream, Organic Cocoa Nibs & Hazelnuts

Kracher, Burgenland (Austria), Trockenbeerenauslese, #7 Grande Cuvée, 2005

In many ways this was the most complex dinner the chefs have put together since we started the blog. The idea for this menu came out of the three of us going to a local Salvadorian restaurant to try their Salvadorian tamals (tamales).

The idea we came up with was to create a dinner with dishes ranging from Mexico to South America, each with a slight “French” twist. Because of the French twist we decided to primarily pick French wines to go with the dinner.

The final result was a very flavorful dinner that created some very interesting and challenging wine pairing possibilities.

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Curried Chicken Empanadas



I learned this recipe from one of our teachers when we had a wine school in China!  Marcus (our teacher) came for a visit to see our school in Denver.

While he was here he stayed with Claude and I at our house for a month.  Getting to know him was quite interesting.  When he first arrived he told me, before going to bed, that there were two things he “required” while he was visiting! I was shocked!  No one has ever ventured into my home and told me that they “required” something from me! So of course I asked what it might be.  He said “bacons (bacon) and coffee”! Now I was doubly shocked! I asked him if he could get bacon in China.  He said yes but it cost $1 per slice!!! Luckily for Marcus I had just smoked 75 lbs of bacon and had plenty. He ate about 15 lbs in 30 days and assured me he was not going to have a heart attack from it because he was taking the cholesterol lowering drug Lipator!!! I was worried for him!

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Calabacita con Carne de Puerco

My friend, Mel, made Calabacita for me not long ago.  I had never heard of this dish and was wondering what on earth it could be!  It is a delicious Mexican soup with complex layers of flavor! Calabacita means “little squash” in Spanish and usually refers to the summer squashes like yellow crooknecks and zucchini’s, or fall squashes like delicata’s and butternut. I used the delicata’s in this recipe.


You can make Calabacita spicey or mild depending on which chilies you add to the dish. And the dish can be made with meat like ground hamburger, pork or just vegetables.  Today this version of Calabacita con Carne de Puerco (or Mexican Squash with Pork) has the addition of some leftover shredded smoked pork that I needed to use before it spoiled.


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