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Claire Robinson Interviewby Pattye Grippo    
Claire Robinson

Claire Robinson has several episodes and specials to help cooks get ready for the holiday season. One November 13th she has the "Thanksgiving" episode of her 5 Ingredient Fix show, and she will also be taking part of the Dear Food Network Top 10 Thanksgiving Problems Solved special on the same day. Then on November 28th, Claire will be judging the "Holiday Windows" episode of the Food Network Challenge.

In addition to her shows on the Food Network, Claire has recently released the 5 Ingredient Fix: Easy, Elegant, And Irresistible Recipes cookbook. You can also find recipes from Claire and all the Food Network talent this Thanksgiving season here and on Food Network's new In The Kitchen App for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch available on the App Store (more info here).

Claire was kind enough to provide our site with one of her recipes.

Brie and Onion Puff

Brie And Onion Puff

Recipe courtesy Claire Robinson, 2010

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large Vidalia or Spanish onions, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup water
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 (5-inch) rounds brie cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and saute until just brown, about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of water and cook stirring often, until dark golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.

Roll each sheet of pastry to a 12-inch square on a marble surface or parchment paper to prevent sticking. Divide the caramelized onions in the center of each pastry. Put a brie round on top of the onions and brush edges of both pastry squares with beaten egg. Fold pastry up and over cheese to completely enclose the cheese in the pastry. Press the seams together to completely seal. Arrange each pastry round, seam side down, on a silicone mat or parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the top of each pastry round with beaten egg. Bake until golden brown. 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes before indulging. Enjoy!

Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 20 minutes
Ease of preparation: intermediate

I had a chance to speak with Claire Robinson on November 9, 2010 about food, cooking, and her television shows.

Question:
When you were initially putting together the show, why did you choose five as the magic number of ingredients?

Claire Robinson:
One, I have a horrible memory. I went to the store and I thought "what is the max number of ingredients I can remember without having to write anything down?" I kind of went with that one-hand rule, where I can remember everything with one finger. That's where the number five specifically came from.

Also, five was few enough that I still found it approachable. If I wrote a seven ingredient recipe does that really look like it's only a few ingredients? When you write that out it's still a lot to tackle for one dish. So five I though was few enough that it still seemed approachable and I can remember it on one hand. But also it's a great enough number that I can offer complexity in each dish. So that's why I thought the number five was perfect.

With five ingredients, so far, there hasn't been a dish I haven't been able to do. Some of them definitely are trial and error and take a lot more practice to get it right. I want to make sure each and every ingredient is tasted when you take a bite. So five is that number where I can still do every recipe. It will hold up to an ingredient heavy recipe that would be it's sister or cousin. You know coq au vin I've been able to do in five ingredients, I did cornish hens au vin.

It took some doing to see if five was the right number and after writing enough five ingredient recipes I thought it was the perfect number - I can tackle anything. Although there's a couple I'm still working on, which are gumbo which I think I've nailed, and chili. I'm working on chili right now. It's just choosing the right ingredients and so far each combination I've put together, I want to make sure that there isn't something missing and I'm not wishing I could add something. Because when I feel that I know the recipe is not done.

Question:
What one dish that you remember from growing up that you still make for your family for Thanksgiving now?

Claire Robinson:
My Grandma's green bean casserole. I actually made it last year for "Dear Food Network". It's the one dish I make every year. The funny thing is I actually made a different green bean side dish for my Thanksgiving special because I wanted a fresher green bean taste, but my Grandma does it with canned green beans.

Everybody's got their dish that they can't seem to have Thanksgiving without or it's their classic. My Grandma put the canned green beans, shredded mozzarella from a bag, sour cream, onions that were sweated in some butter with flour added to make a roux out of it. Sour cream was added to the roux and poured over the mozzarella and buttered corn flakes were put on top.

Now I've twisted that using fresh ingredients. I do the same dish with haricots verts. This year when I was putting together my ingredients it was September and I had an entire thanksgiving feast going in my kitchen. Because I had all those smells I was craving that green bean casserole. I had leftover fresh green beans, so I made it with fresh green beans. It was delicious, so I'll keep doing that dish. It was nice to have both though because they were so different.

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