I went to Iowa’s Premier Wine & Food Expo today with high hopes. Some of my expectations were met… some were underwhelmed. I think that my expectation was that this would be a sort of meet-and-greet between local food vendors, restaurants, chefs and foodies. It was that… somewhat. But for $21 per person admission I got a little of what I had hoped for, and a lot of what was a foodies’ version of the Varied Industries Building at the Iowa State Fair. Meh. Not sure what the truck was all about, but it was pretty and shiny so I photographed it!
Highlights for me were chocolate samples from Chocolaterie Stam, Havarti and Bleu Cheese samples from Maytag, super yummy Spicy Red Pepper pasta sauce from Sorrisos Sauce, homemade tortilla chips and green salsa from Dos Rios, and taking a look at a selection of kitchen tools, gadgets, etc. from Hockenbergs (Foodservice Equipment & Supply).
Low points… a proliferation of “stuff.” Not to name any, because I’m not grumpy enough to hurt any of the vendors’ feelings, but there was a lot of unrelated paraphernalia and/or accessories. Enough said about that.
HOWEVER!… my outlaw sister and I did get to take in Curtis Stone‘s cooking demonstration, which was high in entertainment value, and a definite high point of the Expo for me.
Stone started out by making a drink he called Emerald Eyes… a mixture of Tanqueray, Midori melon liquer, pineapple juice and ice. Stone shook the drink… not very successfully, but was a great sport about it. The third time was a charm. He topped the drink off with a touch of champagne. Wish I had written down the recipe, because I can’t find it on the web!
Stone talked about what an important role food plays in everyone’s life. To demonstrate, he chose a single female, Alicia; and a single male, Scott out of the audience. It so happened that Scott is a culinary student, and Stone put them to work making homemade tagliatelle pasta. He then had the two sit down at a table while he prepared the tagliatell with crab and red pepper. A fairly simple, uncomplicated dish… Stone highly recommended throwing in a generous amount of butter. He quickly had the dish plated up and served to the young, newly-introduced pair.
Stone shook things up even more by inviting a couple, Jan and Chuck, married for 48 years, up to the stage. Jan was immediately given a glass of champagne, a fluffy robe, and was escorted to a cushy bed set up on stage. Stone then put her husband, Chuck to work making her breakfast in bed. Dripping with innuendo, Stone had the audience laughing throughout the demonstration. That was one recipe I did manage to find on the web (see below). Okay. I was too cheap to buy the book. Yes I know I will regret it laater because when I *do* buy it, it won’t be personally autographed by Chef Stone. C’est la vie.
Stone ended the show with a question and answer session. My outlaw sister, Carol, managed to get in the last word with her question. Not about food. Not about being a celebrity chef. “Is Bobby Flay as hot in person as he is on TV?” I thought it was awesome. Chef Stone (a little) flustered, show over. Time to go home. Our work here is done.
Curtis Stone’s recipe for Homemade Waffles with Caramelized Apples and Vanilla Ice Cream
Serves 4 to 6
To caramelize the apples:
3/4 cup/168 g sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/2 cup (1 stick)/113 g unsalted butter
6 Pink Lady apples (about 2 1/2 pounds/1.1 kg), cored and each cut into eight 1-inch-wide wedges
½ cup/65 g raisins
1/4 cup/55 g heavy whipping cream
For the waffles:
1 1/2 cups/245 g all purpose flour
3 tablespoons/42 g sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons/about 5 g baking powder
3/4 teaspoon/about 3 g baking soda
3/4 teaspoon/about 4 g salt
1 1/2 cups/360 ml whole milk
1 large egg
3 tablespoons (1/4 stick)/40 g melted unsalted butter
Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/2 pints/710 ml vanilla ice cream
To caramelize the apples and raisins:
Place a large heavy frying pan over medium heat. Add the sugar. Using a small sharp knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the sugar and add the bean. Cook for 2 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the butter. Add the apples and toss to coat.
Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the apples begin to soften and release their juice Stir in the raisins. Continue to cook, gently tossing the apples occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the apples are tender but still hold their shape and the caramel sauce forms. Stir in the cream.
To make the waffles:
Meanwhile, preheat the Belgian waffle iron. Preheat the oven to 200°F/93°C. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl. In a separated bowl, whisk the milk, egg and melted butter to blend. Add the milk mixture into the dry ingredients, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.
Ladle about 1/2 cup/105 ml of the waffle batter onto each of the two 4 1/2-inch-/11-cm-square grids or about 3/4 cup/155 ml over a 7-inch-/18-cm-diameter grid on the waffle iron. Cover and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, depending on your iron (most new irons have a timer), or until the waffle is golden and crisp on the outside and cooked through. Transfer the waffles to the oven tray and keep them warm in the oven, while cooking the remaining waffles.
Cut the square waffles diagonally in half or cut the round waffles into 4 wedges. Place two hot waffles triangles or wedges on each plate. Spoon the caramelized apple mixture over the waffles. Scoop the ice cream atop and serve immediately.