Last fall, I took part in a fantastic weekend adventure and it all centered on meat. Butchery to be specific, both pork and beef, with side forays into charcuterie, sausage making, bacon smoking, a lot of cooking, more eating and wonderful camaraderie. It was part summer camp, part serious food skills and part female empowerment. My French friend Kate (a bit of a misnomer as she’s actually an American living in France) concepted the idea of a Grrls Meat Camp where woman in the butchery field, culinary world and farming realms could gather, discuss their challenges and begin to build a support network in a field where woman are few and far between. Which is how 17 of us found our way to a little lodge at a YMCA camp in northern Illinois.
Archive for the ‘adventures/field trips’ Category
Posted in adventures/field trips, cakes, chocolate, tagged butchery retreats, chocolate cake, chocolate lard bourbon cake, Grrls Meat Camp, lard cake, recipes with lard, sour cream ganache on May 17, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
Posted in adventures/field trips, travel, tagged california wine country, healdsburg wineries, visiting wine country, where to eat in napa, where to visit in napa, wineries in Napa & Sonoma on April 23, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
Last year, about this time, I did a real jackass kind of thing. I invited myself along on someone else’s vacation. It was St. Patrick’s Day, we’d been enjoying all that Chicago has to offer on a gorgeous, unseasonably warm 70 degree day where everyone is Irish. My friends mentioned they were going to Napa and asked for recommendations. I then say “What? I’m going with you! You need me with you! I know people.” Obnoxious, right? I immediately apologized the next day and gave them an out, which they declined and invited me along anyway. That’s good friends for you.
Posted in adventures/field trips, breads, breakfast items, pastry, travel, tagged cardamom, cardamom buns, swedish baking, Swedish cardamom custard buns, swedish pastries on January 9, 2013 | 7 Comments »
I’ve always wanted to visit Scandinavia. I knew I’d get there at some point, the opportunity just hadn’t presented itself. Yet. Then during a trip to Napa Valley last June, there is was, right in front of me. After many, many glasses of wine my friend Rachel leaned across the bar and said “Kathy, you have to come to the wedding.” “Of course!” I replied, “I’m game for a road trip to Iowa!” She looked at me, dead serious, and said “No, it’s in Sweden. On Thanksgiving.” “Wait …what?” “Yep, Sweden. In the town my mother grew up in. Höör.” And that my friends, is how I came to find myself in Sweden, in late November, in a curiously named town, in a tiny country church built in 1727 witnessing two friends tie the knot and enjoying a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner at the reception. You can’t make this stuff up.
My apologies for the radio silence. Despite my best intentions to get posts ready before getting out of Dodge, nothing is quite done. I’ve got a queue of half written posts – good ones too – unedited photography and a whole lot of crap to sort through. I just haven’t gotten to it. Fact is, I’m in France. Doing everything and nothing at the same time.
Posted in adventures/field trips, chocolate, events/restaurants, other good stuff, tagged Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy, Chocolate Academy, Chocolate Classes, Chocolate Classes in chicago on January 20, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
Once in a while, I get to do some very cool things. I’m very fortunate in that way. Last week an email came over the wire from Gale Gand with an invitation to join her at the Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy for a demonstration. That our friend Pastry Chef Meg Galus was giving the demo was an added bonus. You don’t have to ask me twice.
Oh summer. You’ve sucked me in again. How time flies during these warm, happy months. Here it is, mid-August and suddenly I’m looking around at pre-season football fans in their Bears jerseys and shorts, wondering where the time went. Well, I know where the time went. Five glorious weeks in France will do that to you and I’ve been slow to get back up to speed around here.
Whenever I get a bit down, I kick myself and remember that I’m pretty fortunate. My life, crazy and hectic as it might be, is pretty good. I’ve got great friends and have had the unique opportunity to cook and travel to some pretty interesting places of late. Just last week I returned from a month in Thailand where I was lucky enough to cook in Bangkok for The Four Seasons World Gourmet Festival assisting Chef Gale Gand, one of the nine featured chefs. Oh the situations I find myself in (hold onto your hat – it’s a reoccurring theme.)
I will go a long way for some good eats and I’ll go even farther for a good slice ‘o pie. But driving north of Duluth, MN takes the proverbial cake, er, pie. I carved out a little free time over the July 4th week and decided to pack up my little car and head north. My pal, Laurel, recently returned from Argentina is killing some time back in Minneapolis over the summer so I thought I’d hightail it up there, say hello and hear all about her trip to South America for the wine harvest. I also planned to see an old college pal and stop at another friend’s cabin on the way home. But first … that pie.
Ok folks! I FINALLY have an update on my little Victory Garden with the Peterson Garden Project. You see, we’ve been a bit behind schedule but no worries. That happens when you’re working with a lot of donated stuff. After my initial buy in, several weeks passed in which lovely wonderful people volunteered to help clear the lot, build raised boxes, hold various gardening seminars and provide really excellent support. I did none of these things. Yes, I suck.