Our annual Savor the Central Coast food and wine event takes place September 26-29. In anticipation, we’re going behind the scenes with celebrity chefs who are giving live cooking demonstrations at the event. Today, we chat with Sandra Lee, an Emmy-award winning chef and editor-in-chief of Sandra Lee Magazine as well as the host of several culinary shows on the Food Network and the Cooking Channel.
What’s your favorite local ingredient from the Central Coast region?
I’m looking forward to tasting my fair share of fresh seafood—shrimp, tuna and more. I’m partial to recipes that use avocados, cilantro and other spices used in Latin-style cooking.
What’s your favorite thing to cook this season?
It’s fall, which means the calendar is packed with so many things to do. That’s why I create recipes that are both delicious and doable. I call them my “Weeknight Wonder” recipes because with them you can expect a fantastic family dinner that will lessen the stress of your already busy schedule.
Weeknight Wonder recipes are ones the whole family will love! Try these favorites from the Sept/October issue of Sandra Lee magazine: Pork Chops with Apples baked in brown sugar and a little butter, and add some pizzazz to pizza night with a Bresaola Pizza with arugula, mozzarella and parmesan. It’s “fast-fix” with a little flair.
What’s one easy tip for the home cook?
Food with Flair: When it comes to pairing up cocktails and food, think creatively. A mix of appetizers—hot and cold, finger foods, dips, and spreads—is always welcome, but don’t limit yourself. Consider side dishes such as vegetable salads or hot dishes that guests can eat with their fingers or with a cocktail fork. Top things off with a few bites of dessert and something sweet to sip.
Can you preview what you’ll demo at the event?
Vintage Chic Margarita
• 1.5 oz Don Julio® Blanco Tequila
• 1.5 oz of Fresh Squeezed lime juice
• 1 handful fresh strawberries
• 4 oz crushed ice
The Southern Belle (4 servings)
• 1.25 oz Bulleit® Bourbon
• 2 oz Fresh Squeezed Pineapple Juice
• 2 oz Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
• 1 teaspoon sugar
What has been your favorite live-cooking moment? Most embarrassing moment?
Everywhere I go, the ladies and gentlemen in the audience always cheer for “cocktail time”. It sets the tone for a great demo.