First of all, let's talk about this flambe!
Sur la Table is new to Hilldale so I was thrilled to get into a recent class. I opted for the sizzling summer grilling class since my husband and I love to grill in the summer. The funny thing is that I can honestly say we're not really great at grilling. I mean, we're okay, but I tend to either cook my salmon to rubber or take it off the grill raw. My steaks are a little better. Everything else is OK.
We went on Father's Day and had the luxury of being the only ones in the class, though they can hold around 15 people. Our chef for the evening was Christopher Berns, someone who is well-known in the Madison College culinary program. He was fantastic! Jim really enjoyed listening and talking with him.
And, if you follow us, you may remember another Sur La Table instructor, Punky Eagan. She is a fierce baker in Madison and now that she's retired, she's teaching the rest of us!
Here's what we made:
First of all, let's talk about the pea puree. It was amazing. As a kid, I used to gag on peas. My mom would make me eat five for dinner and I would drop three to the floor before I got to the table. So, I was a little nervous about a spread with peas as the main ingredient. It turned out to be my favorite thing! Can't talk about what an awesome surprise this was for me.
The potato salad was also an incredible surprise. Trust me, I've made lots of potato salads before but it makes a world of difference when you use creme fraiche. I don't have the best pictuer here, but it was so light and hearty at the same time. Chris said we might have a hard time finding creme fraiche but it's worth the hunt. Also, you can make it. By the way, I tried to find it at Hyvee to no avail. So, I'll keep you posted.
Also, we boiled the potatoes and then grilled them. Makes a world of difference.
The pork skewers were delicious but the Romesco sauce gave it an extra punch. Not much to say here other than I loved it. Romesco sauce is mix of a few things like tomatoes, garlic, almonds, country bread, roasted red peppers and olive oil -- short version: pop in the oven, mix in a mixer.
We ended the night with bananas foster. And yes, that is a whole stick of butter.
As many of you know, I can't have lactose without essentially ending up in a lot of pain, so I had a few bites of it and let my sweet-toothed husband finish the job. I don't think he minded.
We had such a great experience in the class. My husband always says he wouldn't mind cooking if he knew how to do it... so I thought the grilling class worked out really well for us. My only wish is that we took home all the leftovers! LOL
Thanks to Chris and the folks at Sur la Table. We really had a great time and will be back! Hopefully we'll take a class with Punky!
Cast Iron Bananas Foster
4 scoops good quality vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 bananas, peeled, sliced
1/4 cup dark rum
In a medium cast iron skilled, combine sugar, butter, cinnamon and salt. Place over medium-low heat or the coolest area of the grill and cook. Stir constantly until sugar dissolves.
Increase heat to medium-high and add sliced bananas, stirring constantly and spooning butter mixture over fruit until they soften and begin to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and carefully pour rum over the bananas.
To flambe the bananas: Return pan to medium heat. Carefully tilt the pan slightly away from you to ignite the rum or use a stick lighter to light the rum. When the flames subside, lift the bananas out of the pan and divide over each portion of ice cream. Generously spoon warm sauce over the top of the ice cream and serve immediately.
I swear, everytime I make this, people go insane. I wish I could take credit for it, but a little, old Korean lady gave the recipe to me years ago.
I actually had all of these recipes on this blog but when I searched for it, I couldn't find it. So after a recent Periscope convo, I thought I'd put it up again for the folks who want to make it!
It's basically the recipe for bulgogi (bull-go-gee)--a Korean favorite. I just call it Korean BBQ to avoid any kind of awkwardness.
1 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin
4 T soy sauce
3 T sugar
5 T green onion or leek
1 T minced garlic
2 T sesame oil
2 T toasted, crushed sesame seed (optional)
2 T rice wine or cooking sherry (optional)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Slice the tenderloin in tiny shreds. (You can freeze it for a while and then it cuts better.) Mix thoroughly with all the ingredients listed above. Let marinate for a while (up to a day if you'd like, but sometimes I've done it for 30 minutes.)
Broil the beef mixture over a charcoal fire or pan fry quickly until browned.
**Also, you don't have to use beef tenderloin, but if you use a tougher meat, tenderize it with a mallet or something.** You can also go to the Korean market on Glenstone or Campbell and ask for "kalbi"--basically short ribs. That way you don't have to do any cutting.
We were so excited to see Joel and Cherrie Girdner in Madison Sunday night. We met them at The Old Fashioned for a little Wisconsin fare. Since they're visiting, where should they go?
Cherrie just got her masters so these two Iowans wanted to take the drive north!
We've known Joel and Cherrie since at least 2007. Jim, Joel and I all worked together in Missouri and he has always been one of my favorites. Jim was Joel's chief photographer, so it was fun for Jim to see Joel find his voice as a photojournalist. Joel was also involved in some real turning points in my early career and that is personally something special to me. We worked on a couple of stories that ended up being honored with EMMY nominations... one of which we took home. Though it's never about the award, it's a wonderful memory to look back and go, "How did we do that?" Back then, stories were like our babies. Now Joel and Cherrie have real babies so it's neat to see life go on.
Joel is now the senior photographer at KCRG in Cedar Rapids. And coincidentally, he works with two of my former co-workers! His executive producer, Brandi, was my 10 p.m. producer in Madison! And Joel works with our former Missouri 10 p.m. producer, Larry...so, it's a reminder that the news business is small.
If you have any suggestions for them, they'll be in Madison for the next few days. I gave them a list but I'm sure I left out a lot!
I am so proud to share the news that two of our journalists at WISC are being honored this year for a Silver Circle EMMY. The honor goes to a those in the state who have contributed to at least 25 years of news excellence in Wisconsin.
News manager Steve Koehn and chief photographer Mike Van Susteren are being honored this year after 40 years in the business. I wrote about their work anniversary back in November.
Of course, just like in classic Mike and SKO fashion, the two are being SUPER HUMBLE about their honor but I am just jumping for joy. A lot of people in our newsroom are thrilled for them.
They will be honored with four other journalists from Wisconsin in October. I can't wait for their speech! In the meantime, check out how SKO let it get to him. And yes, we call Steve "SKO" and "skodaddy"... don't know why but it's pretty amazing.
I had a lot of messages from viewers telling me they had to turn down their TVs during the 6 p.m. news because they thought their smoke alarms were going off! NOPE, it was just us.
Watch the newscast (starts around 9:22)
I blame Dave Delozier! They started going off during his live shot :)
If you ever have a question during the newscast, you can tweet me, FB me or email me... and I'll respond during a commercial break. Sometimes we also go live on YouTube and you can join me there, too! Always check FB for any links or updates. We have quite the conversations going during the news!
We are always looking for more ways to make work fun. Today our management brought in a food truck. Oink!!!
Special thanks to Blair St. BBQ for coming to work today! The food truck was awesome! And since it was raining, it was very handy to have them park in our garage.
I recently judged a local celebrity karaoke contest for CASA and I ran across this:
The lovely Dannika Lewis took it home from the silent auction but I wish I would have been paying better attention to it. If you haven't figured it out, you fill in the holes with beer caps. The company is conveniently named Beer Cap Maps.
I recently wrote a Sip and Savor feature on Karben4 and chef Ben Jackson told me that a ton of people visit the brewery on the weekends because they're beervacationing across the state.
Sounds kind of neat! Of course, craft brews are uber cool but in Wisconsin it is a way of life. By the way, they sell out of Fantasy Factory every time it's bottled. The crazy label doesn't hurt!
On a whim, I bought this storage bench on Craigslist one morning and revamped it by the end of the day.
It started like this:
I painted the bench with chalk paint. This is two coats. Remember, that means no sanding, no priming.
From there, I distressed it with a fine grit sandpaper. Two things to note here -- I painted the hardware because I wanted to distress it. I also accidentally distressed too much in some places but I kind of thought, what the hell... let's go with it.
You want to make sure you get the edges and crevices that would naturally get distressed. This is the arm of the bench.
Afterwards, I added a coat of Annie Sloan dark wax. I tried using dark wax on another project and hated it -- I thought it made the piece look too muddy. I have found that I like dark wax on darker paint. However, I think I'll take a class sometime to learn different painting techniques so that I can be open to other suggestions.
Not bad for a $20 bench! This would look great in an entry way. The woman who previously owned it had it by her door and I think she even put her shoes in there. I am now using it at the foot of my bed for magazines, knitting materials and other random things that collect in my bedroom.
Bring on the next project!