What a pleasure it was talking with Chef Eric Rodriguez of Everybody's Cafe at the Great Taste LIVE show. The kitchen at Green Building Supply was really humming as Michael Zador, James Spielmaker, and Anna Shaner were assisting in the prep of several dishes.
Everyone in attendance at the live show sampled nachos, a veggie wrap, bruschetta, and a roasted cauliflower soup. One common denominator of each dish was a simple vinaigrette-four dishes, four different vinaigrettes, and Chef Eric explained and showed how to make each one.
This was part of his presentation on what he terms "real" fusion cooking, which begins with bringing all five tastes-salty, sour, savory, bitter, and sweet into balance, plus considering how the other senses o
f sight, smell, and touch will come into play. Add to that the interplay of the dish with our emotions, thoughts, and spirit, and the result is a "tantric dining experience."
I'm going to continue exploring Chef Eric's "fusion" style in a follow-up interview scheduled for late February.
The next LIVE show at Green Building Supply is on Tuesday, March 7 with Chef Matt Steigerwald, former owner of the Lincoln Cafe and Lincoln Wine Bar in Mount Vernon, IA.
REMINDER: GREAT TASTE LIVE AT GREEN BUILDING SUPPLY
TUESDAY, JANUARY 3 AT 7:00 PM
with CHEF ERIC FROM EVERYBODY'S CAFE
Last week's visit with Tenaya Darlington author along with her brother, André of Movie Night Menus, inspired me to replay the following show about movies and food. If you want to curl up on the couch with a great food flick read on.
It was so much fun discussing food in films with Caroline M. Grant. Caroline and her collaborator, Lisa Catherine Harper, are the editors of The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage, a fascinating book of diverse essays focussed on "true tales of food, family, and how we learn to eat."
Caroline is an avid movie lover so we spent the hour talking about some of our favorite films where food plays a role like Aing Lee's Eat Drink Man Woman and its Westernized counterpart, Tortilla Soup. Dinner Rush, The Big Night, Moonstruck, and others were part of the banter before time ran out. We had many other films on our list, but I'm curious how the ones we ended up talking about fit in with your favorites. Let me know. Send your comments to email@example.com.
Caroline's kids also nominated their favorite food film.
This week's show starts with a discussion featuring two of my favorite topics-menus and movies. Tenaya Darlington and her brother Andre have paired classic movies with great eats in a book that is fun on many levels.
Whether you need a quiet night to kick back with a friend or two or want to throw a party, Movie Night Menus is chock full of terrific food options that fit perfectly with some of the best flicks ever made.
The book is "...organized chronilogically, so you can eat and drink your way through American cinema," writes Tenaya. I think she and I are going to get along just fine so tune in for our conversation.
Check out their new website HERE for recipes, tips on entertaining, and I'll bet plenty of great cheese recommendations.
Whenever I think of chestnuts the first image that pops into my mind is a street vendor in Rome selling fresh roasted marroni (chestnuts) in little brown bags. The smell of a wood fire wafts into my nostrils, and my heart fills with longing to walk the streets of Roma on a cold December night with my wife, and stroll from piazza to piazza experiencing the wide variety of stalls filled with a myriad of items for Natale.
Next I am transported to a small woods in Cerro, a tiny town above Verona at the foot of the mountains. Our family is walking with Severina, our Italian mother, and she is instructing us on how to find and pick up chestnuts. She turns the leaves over with her cane uncovering more and more of the prickly cases that encase the nut. We stuff our bags full, and head to her apartment to roast some, and get warm.
It may not be quite as romantic, but John Freeberg, Michael Havelka, and a few other folks joined me at Green Building Supply on Tuesday, December 13 for our own local chestnut festival. John turned out a quite delicious apple/chestnut soup. Also, he made a chestnut hummus, a chocolate cake with chestnuts, and the live audience enjoyed a triple cream cow's milk cheese (Trillium from Fox River Dairy)with a honeycrisp apple, and hot spiced apple juice.
Michael Havelka talked about the chestnut, its history in the States and Iowa, growing chestnuts for profit, and John chimed in about preparing them in numerous ways. We also tackled such lofty topics as the future of agriculture with Avi Pogel, Dr. Thimm, Chef Eric, and one or two other folks contributing to the lively discussion.
Next month join me and Chef Eric from Everybody's Cafe LIVE at GBS at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, January 3.
IMPORTANT LIVE SHOW ANNOUNCEMENT
This month's LIVE show at Green Building Supply is Tuesday, December 13 at 7:00 PM. Chestnuts in many different forms on the menu. Don’t miss it!
Now on to to this week's Great Taste.
The story of Champagne is a complex one with hundreds of years of history. It is one of the most famous wines made in France. A wine cannot be named Champagne unless the grapes are grown in one of the 320 appellations that comprise the entire Champagne area.
Fact: Every champagne is not extraordinary. I bet you have experienced some like that.
Many, though, can elicit a transcendent experience. A few years ago, Alan Tardi, a James Beard award-winning writer and chef, was allowed access to one of the most famous and secretive champagne houses.
Zagat ratings rely on three criteria for judging restaurants-food, decor, and service. Each of those categories are critically important, and, in general, work as a reliable guideline for diners who want to take the pulse of a specific dining spot.
Depending on my mood, how much time I have, and whether I have a friend in the area who has already run restaurant interference for me, I’ll check Zagat, Chef’s Feed, Yelp (be very careful there), Slow Food, and Eater in the hopes of uncovering the perfect location to fulfill my inner hunger for a special experience.
Great pizza and Great Taste combined at Green Building Supply Tuesday night with pizzaiolo Aaron Hall featured as the maestro of dough. Aaron's passion for pies is evident as you watch his hands manipulate the once alive, dried, ground, and now alive again wheat infused with living microorganisms. The best part was the privilege of enjoying five different types of pizza including toppings like pistachio pesto with arugula, roasted potatoes, garlic cream, and sage, and hot calabrian chiles with fontina.
Dr. A. Thimmaiah, associate professor of Sustainable Living, joins me in the show's first segment to discuss the new 10-month certificate program at MUM to train future farmers.
The program has three phases-classroom work, a practicum where each student will be given a quarter acre of land, and focus on an agricultural project, and concludes with a month long internship working with farmers in the USA, Bhutan, India, Italy, and other spots.
The certificate will feature the very first university course in the United States offered on Biodynamic farming methodology. That part of the curriculumn will be taught by the co-exectutive director of Demeter Association Inc. (the organization established to represent Demeter International and entrusted with upholding the principles of Biodynamic practices and principles), Jim Fullmer.
A groundbreaking ceremony will be held Friday, October 21 at 3:00 pm. for the new Ag Center. The location will serve as the classroom and laboratory for the new initiative, and is located just north of Reiff Grain and Feed on Highway 1.
PLEASE CLICK ON "READ MORE" for information on the second half of the show!
Interviews either click or they don't. Luckily, most of the time, they flow smoothly. Some times they flow like they could go on forever.
It was a real pleasure talking with Julia Turshen, and I actually discovered the "why" near the end of our discussion. Sorry, I can't give the revelation away, but I hope you'll listen and find out for yourself.
Julia has co-authored cookbooks, many for top-notch chefs and cooks like Mario Batali and Dana Cowin, and even the actor, Gwyneth Paltrow. She even hosted her own radio show for a time, Radio Cherry Bombe, on the Heritage Radio Network. Small Victories is her first cookbook, and it is an intimately personal tome full of stories that accompany each recipe.
Kris Johnson's greenhouse provided some fun fall surprises at this week's LIVE Great Taste show. Kris grew and harvested mixed greens and strawberries (that's correct strawberries the first week of October). Sheila Higgins, baker/cook extraordinaire, added the creative element, turning out sorrel soup, a tangy dressing for the greens, and some showstopping quinoa mini cupcakes.