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  12/07/2007      12:00 am

The Dr. Pat Show: Talk Radio to Thrive By!: Great Food, Great Beer - Chef Brent Wertz

Guest Profile

Brent Wertz

V.P. Food and Beverage, Kingsmill Resort & Spa

Great Food, Great Beer Spokesperson

A graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, Brent Wertz knows a thing or two about food. And, having worked for Anheuser-Busch since 2002, the certified executive chef knows a thing or two about beer as well. Brent joined Kingsmill Resort & Spa-one of several commercial properties owned by Anheuser-Busch-as Vice President of Food and Beverage in 2002. In this position, he oversees the culinary experiences of 11 food-and-beverage outlets, including The Bray Bistro, Eagles, Regatta's Caf and Marketplace, Moody's Tavern and the Marina Bar & Grille. Brent is also responsible for the introduction of trendy beer-pairing dinners, during which Kingsmill guests sample the latest Anheuser-Busch brews expertly matched with creative
cuisine. From the appetite-stimulating amuse-bouche to the sumptuous dessert
finale, Brent successfully marries Anheuser-Busch products, unique
ingredients and seasonings to produce innovative dishes, such Budweiser
Poached Shrimp, Another Recipe Name, or the decadent AmberBock Truffle Tart.
A member of the American Academy of Chefs and the American Culinary
Federation, Brent was recently named president of the elite Resort Food
Executive Committee. He has appeared on the PBS special "Historic Chefs of
America" which aired as a sequel to the PBS series "Historic Hotels of
America", "Thrill to Grill" chef series and several episodes of the Food
Network show "Follow that Food." He has also been featured in Chile Pepper
Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Philadelphia Inquirer and other major
daily newspapers and magazines touting his beer and food-pairing culinary

Recipes from Great Food, Great Beer

Pepper Steaks with Balsamic Onions - Serve with an American-Style Amber Lager, such as Michelob AmberBock -
Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 sweet onions 1-1/2 pounds total such as Walla Walla, Vidalia, or Maui, peeled and sliced lengthwise
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
4 boneless tender beef steaks each 1 to 1-1/2 inches thick and about 8 ounces, such as top loin New York strip or rib-eye
1/4 cup freshly cracked multicolored peppercorns see Cook's Tip below

Preheat the oven to 375F. In a large skillet, melt 1-1/2 tablespoons of the butter with 1-1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and stir in 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened, about 8 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with the sugar. Raise the heat to medium-high and stir often until the onions begin to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the vinegar and 1-1/2 teaspoons of the thyme leaves. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the liquid is evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes longer.

Rinse the steaks and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides lightly with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, then coat with the cracked peppercorns.

In a large ovenproof skillet, melt the remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat divide among two pans if there's not enough room for the steaks in one. Add the steaks and cook until well browned on the bottom, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the steaks over and cook until beginning to brown on the other side, about 2 minutes. Place the pan in the oven and bake until just pink in the center for medium-rare cut to test, 7 to 8 minutes. The steaks will continue cooking for a few minutes after you take them out of the oven.

Transfer the steaks to individual plates. Spoon the onions over the top, sprinkle with the remaining 1-1/2 teaspoons thyme leaves, and serve.

Cook's Tip

To crack the peppercorns, process them briefly in a spice or coffee grinder, or crush them with the flat side of a large knife or the bottom of a heavy pan.

Melon, Serrano, and Arugula Salad

Serve with a European-Style Pilsner, such as Kirin Ichiban - Makes 6 servings

3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon molasses
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 cups loosely packed trimmed arugula
1 ripe cantaloupe, peeled and cut into thin slices
3 ounces Serrano ham, thinly sliced
1/4 cup 1 ounce shaved Manchego cheese

In a large bowl, combine the vinegar, oil, molasses, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper, stirring well with a whisk.

Arrange the arugula in an even layer on a serving platter. Top with the cantaloupe slices and ham, and sprinkle evenly with the cheese. Pour over some of the dressing and serve immediately.

Cook's Tip

Serrano ham is an air-cured ham from Spain. You can find it in the deli section of many supermarkets, or you can substitute Prosciutto.

Gingerbread Cake

Serve with a Dry Stout, such as Bare Knuckle Stout - Makes 12 servings

1 cup dry stout
1 cup dark molasses not blackstrap
1 teaspoon baking soda
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups finely chopped crystallized ginger
1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 325F. Butter two 8-inch square glass baking dishes. In a deep saucepan, combine the stout and dark molasses over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and whisk in the baking soda it will foam up. Set aside and let cool.

In a bowl, combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, all-spice, and salt. In a bowl, combine 1 cup of the crystallized ginger, the melted butter, and brown sugar. Stir in the eggs and lemon zest. Stir in the flour mixture in four additions alternating with the stout mixture. Pour the batter into the baking dishes, dividing evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely, dust the tops with confectioners' sugar, and cut each into 6 squares.

In a bowl, combine the cream and granulated sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Stir in all but 1 teaspoon of the remaining crystallized ginger. Serve the cream with the cake, sprinkled with the last bit of ginger.

Recipes from THE ANHEUSER-BUSCH COOKBOOK: GREAT FOOD, GREAT BEER, 185 Flavorful Recipes for Pairing Beer with Food by Anheuser-Busch Sunset Books; January 2008; 24.95/softcover