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  • Great Salad Recipe

    Posted by Jeff Flynt

    Sometimes if you going to a family gathering, pot luck or any other get together where you must bring a dish to pass, you may feel confounded by what to bring.

    Especially, if you end up waiting until the last minute.

    A quick, easy salad to bring (since more people are being health-conscious these days) is this recipe from Epicurious for Thai Cabbage Salad.

    It's loaded with healthy vegetables and will feature a sweet, sour and spicy dressing that is sure to please.

    Of course with any recipe comes the option to adjust it to your personal taste. For example, if you're not into basic green cabbage, you can go with Napa cabbage. Jicama is a great addition of crunch and light flavor. If you don't like peanuts, you can substitute almonds or cashews.

    The possibilities are endless, but the ease and flavor of this salad will hopefully ensure you're the hit of the party.

  • Greater Green Bay Restaurant Week Ordered

    Posted by Jeff Flynt

    For the first time, visitors and other "foodie" types are being recruited to see what the Green Bay area has to offer.

    This summer, the Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau is introducing Greater Green Bay Restaurant Week.

    "There are a lot of great chefs that we have here in the Greater Green Bay area, and they've chosen to make this place their home," says Brenda Krainik, marketing director at the Greater Green Bay CVB. "They're so good; they could easily be in a larger Los Angeles or New York and be a very popular restaurant."

    It'll be 8 days of discounted dining, from Thursday July 11 through Thursday July 18, at 60 restaurants in the Green Bay area.

    "We initially had a goal of around 40, but there was such an interest from area restaurants," Krainik says. "In an effort to attract new customers during a slower time of year, we're reaching out to visitors from all across the region and Upper Michigan to try and see what our restaurants have to offer."

    At the event website, you'll find menus listed for each restaurant showcasing a prix fixe menu; simply a collection of items presented as a multi-course meal. Restaurants will offer a choice of three items like an appetizer, an entrée and a dessert, at a set price that is at a reduced cost.

    Menu options include a $10 Lunch, $10 Dinner, $20 Dinner and $30 Dinner. Each amount is per person. Every menu at every restaurant is different. When visiting a participating restaurant, the diner just has to ask for the Restaurant Week Menu.

    There are no passes to buy, no coupons to carry and no cards to punch. Reservations, however, are recommended.

    "The restaurant itself has a chance to gain a new customer, and the customer has a chance to try a food for a lower amount than what they would normally pay," said Krainik.

    The website assists diners in “planning” their Restaurant Week experience.

    "We thought that not only would visitors come to eat, they would possibly visit a winery or they may go to shop at some of our retail. It kind of rounds out their culinary experience when they travel," Krainik said. 

    Restaurant Week is being promoted by the CVB throughout the state of Wisconsin and in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, with the help of a Wisconsin Department of Tourism Joint Effort Marketing grant.

    “Everyone eats when they travel. We expect that visitors will plan a vacation to experience Green Bay in a whole new way,” said Krainik.

    I will continue to bring you more surrounding this event, featuring some of the restaurants hosting this opportunity and to remind you about how this inaugural event will work.

  • Syrah Restaurant Slinging Spring

    Posted by Jeff Flynt

    As Northeast Wisconsin struggles to lose its grip on winter and get into spring, Syrah Restaurant and Wine Bar is doing its part to help get us there.

    I spoke with Owner Dennis Fenrick recently about Syrah changing their menu to bring in lighter, yet vibrant flavors to your table.

    "We usually try to change up our menu 3-4 times a year," Fenrick says. "We brought in some lighter food and lighter flavors of the season. Took a lot of the heavier sauces and lighten them up a little bit. With salads, we're trying to make the food more in tune with the season.”

    Appetizers feature great options like stuffed dates (pictured above) with spicy sausage and a smoked tomato sauce; clams and andouille sausage in a saffron broth with grilled French bread; and salmon curado with citrus daikon slaw and roasted pepper-ancho chile aioli.

    There's a lot of fish, and a great variety, on the menu. Fenrick credits Chef Justin Johns for the ideas.

    "Chef Justin having spent 10 years in the Tampa Bay area, he comes from a really strong background in use of different types of fish that you don’t necessarily see in the Green Bay area every day,” Fenrick says.

    Other casual plates (Fenrick doesn't like the size-label plates) include their Gnarly Burger, Wine Country Cobb Salad and a Steak Bonh Mi.

    “Steak Bohn Mi kind of came from an idea of street food, that you might find at a food truck or in an ethnic area in a larger city,” Fenrick says.

    With the adjustments on the food side, the drink side also gets a makeover. 

    "The wine list is more difficult from a pour feature. I think I changed out about 4-5 wines by the glass. Beer list gets a lot more seasonal, because there are so many micro brewers that brew seasonally.”

    Bell's Smitten (golden rye pale ale) and New Belgium Rolle Bolle (brewed with sour sop and monk fruit) are two of the new seasonal brews featured at Syrah.

    Fenrick says they're considering opening up earlier on Saturdays (they did it last year and seemed to like it) and possibly doing Sunday evenings, but that's yet to be decided.

    ********

    Two big events are coming to Syrah. On April 16, Syrah is hosting a wine dinner featuring Dry Creek Vineyards from Sonoma County.

    For craft beer lovers, Syrah will host a beer dinner in May with 3 Sheeps Brewing Company. 

    You can follow Syrah on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Staying Loose with Juice

    Posted by Jeff Flynt

    I've come to realize that I may be missing out on something HUGE.

    Apparently if you're not juicing, you could be missing out as well.

    I know a number of people who've tried juicing and have nothing but great things to say about it.

    Now, there's a story from the Huffington Post that helps lay out all the reasons people are turning to the simple juicing technique.

    Green juices (as in the color) are possibly the best for you. Now you can pretty much use anything leafy and green to get yourself a ton of benefits. Kale is the best, but if you have spinach, that would work too. Wheatgrass is also a great thing.

    Any kind of fruit or vegetable adding in can add to the benefits. Now all you need is either a juicer or a blender.

  • Weekend Wine Values

    Posted by Jeff Flynt

    The fine folks at Food and Wine Magazine have released their staff picks for Best Wine Values at $15 and under.

    These wines may be tough to come by in Northeast Wisconsin, but I can attest to seeing a few of them in local wine sections of grocery stores. (That's unless you can head to a wine shop or liquor store). 

    Those I've seen are the d'Arenberg "The Stump Jump" Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre, the Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel and the Geyser Peak Winery Sauvignon Blanc.

    A scavenger hunt can be a good thing, especially if it takes place indoors and the goal is great tasting wine.

  • Chasing Skirt Steak

    Posted by Jeff Flynt

    The word "steak" should not be a dirty, taboo one. Why would I write such a statement? Because I believe that steak has several dirty connotations.

    The first I believe is that those who eat steak are rich. That's not necessarily true, and I'll explain in a minute. Another is its unhealthy. Depending on how big of a cut (I'm known to have an affinity for 25+ oz. Porterhouses and will take it down every time) and how often you consume it (remember everything should be in moderation) can affect steak's particular health value to you.

    Plus if you have an iron deficiency, your doctor will likely tell you to consume more red meat. So take that.

    Back to the original point I made. I provide exhibit A, the skirt steak, as the best bang for your buck. The Wall Street Journal has a story talking about the splendor of that long, flat muscle from the rib plate.

    It's definitely something to go to your butcher or meat guy at the grocery store and ask about. Sometimes it's not always right there in front of you at the meat section.

    The article above has a great idea if you don't have a grill and want to cook it indoors.

    Skirt steak is also lovely if you marinate it, and it's also the cut often used in steak fajitas.

    Make skirt steak your next red meat purchase, I guarantee you will be satisfied.

  • Mythbusting in the Kitchen

    Posted by Jeff Flynt

    Depending upon how you were taught to cook, or who's kitchen you've spent the majority of your cooking time, you pick up habits and learn about tricks which you can apply to your everyday culinary experience.

    Some of those habits are good, some not so good. In fact, I've had several head chefs tell me they would rather hire someone with no experience, than someone with a lot of experience, because the rookies are easier to train how YOU want things done, as opposed to bringing with them bad kitchen habits.

    I'm sure not everyone believes that, but it is an interesting theory. 

    This brings me to the topic of myths in the kitchen. I'm always curious to learn from other cooks and chefs how they operate, more so than what they make. (I'm unsure why that is, but that's a subject for another time).

    The Daily Meal looks at 8 different kitchen myths which they deem to be untrue.

    Some of these, I've never even heard of. And after reading about them, I'm still a bit confused. But I figure they must have started somewhere, and then became accepted by a number of other people in order to even reach this stage where it can be called a "myth".

    For example, in all my years of pouring salt into a pot of boiling water did I think to myself, "There, that'll make it boil FASTER!" Salt to me has always been about seasoning and curing.

    I've never believed that storing coffee in your freezer extends its shelf life. I know people who put coffee in their refrigerator, but not the freezer. I put my coffee in the cupboard, end of story. I go through so much of it, I guess I've never tried to think of ways to extend its life. That's what happens when you have a coffee addiction.

    Check out the list for yourself and see if these are anything you do at home or previously believe in. Message me if that answer to that is yes, because I'd love to find out where it came from.

     

  • Wine Problem Solved?

    Posted by Jeff Flynt

    There are a number of problems with drinking wine, especially if you're not an expert and have a major cellar at your disposal.

    I'm not even referring to selecting the wine.

    Do you drink in a regular wine glass or stem-less? What do I serve with it? Is it good enough to drink by itself? Will people think ill of me should I finish the whole bottle by myself?

    A new product helps with the issue of how long do I have to drink the wine before its taste and profile change?

    It's called Savino.

    According to Foodbeast, "The genius factor of Savino is the ‘float’ component which creates a physical barrier between oxygen and the remainder of your wine while still allowing you to make a pour from the device."

    In my time I've seen several different ways of storing wine after it has been opened. From just re-corking the bottle (again this is why I prefer screw caps), to using wine stoppers, CO2 devices and even plastic wrap around the neck and top of the bottle.

    So I'm a bit hopeful that this new product is a way to keep your open wines "fresh" for a bit longer.

    As a general rule, I store everything (even reds) in the refrigerator after opening. I give it about 3 days, then unless really desperate, it gets relegated to the cooking category. I'll always find a wine to use the leftover wine in some recipe.

  • Wisconsin Home to Top Athlete-Owned Restaurant

    Posted by Jeff Flynt

    There have been many examples of athletes who use some of their fame and a lot of their money to go into the restaurant business.

    Wisconsinites love their sports and its teams. So naturally, when two of the Badger State's most famous and popular athletes decide to team up off the field and in the kitchen, it's bound to have people take notice.

    At 8-Twelve in Brookfield, Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and Milwaukee Brewers OF Ryan Braun have taken that concept to a whole new level.

    The Daily Meal has named 8-Twleve tops in their list of 10 best athlete-owned restaurants in the country. The SURG Restaurant Group haunt beat out other eateries from the likes of Joe Theismann, Billy Sims, Greg Norman and Vince Young.

    You can follow 8-Twelve on Facebook and Twitter.

    ******

    Just a reminder, I will be appearing on FOX 11's Living with Amy tomorrow (Friday) at 9 a.m. I'm cooking a pair of egg recipes just in time for Easter. Insert your own punch line here. 

  • Giving Easter Meals a New Twist

    Posted by Jeff Flynt

    A lot of times Easter, much like other holidays, lends itself to tradition. Tradition in where you go for the day, whom you choose to spend the day with, activities done that day and of course, and what meals you serve.

    So it's time to freshen up some of those old, traditional meals with something a bit outside your comfort zone.

    The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has a piece with some recipe ideas to liven up the yearly gathering of family and friends.

    Ham is good anytime, but pulled ham like it's done in one of those recipes will really make it memorable.

    I love scalloped potatoes and/or gratin dishes. It's comfort food to a tee. 

    Asparagus is definitely a fan favorite, as is prosciutto. Mix in a poached egg and voila, upscale cuisine.

    I will provide a couple of egg-dish options myself, during my next appearance on FOX 11's Living with Amy coming up on Friday.

    Be sure to tune in.

  • Wollersheim Dry Riesling Grabs Top Award

    Posted by Jeff Flynt

    Out of nearly 1,700 wines from 13 different countries, Wollersheim's Dry Riesling was named Wine of the Year, Best of Show White and Best of Class Riesling at the 30th annual San Diego International Wine Competition, held March 16 and 17.

    “We are always impressed as we go up against wonderful wines from all over the world and receive recognition for ours in Wisconsin. We are being awarded in respected classes even as our wines are offered at a much lower price than others that we’re up against,” said winemaker Philippe Coquard in a release.

    At last year's San Diego International Wine Competition, the Prairie du Sac winery received the coveted title of Winery of the Year 2012 along with six Platinum medals, with one being awarded to the Dry Riesling.

    According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Wollersheim is scheduled to release its first brandy in April and open a restored wine cave on the property in June.

    It continues to be an exciting year for wine fans in Wisconsin and for Wollersheim.

  • INSIDE: Raven and Rose

    Posted by Jeff Flynt

    The life of an executive chef is an extremely busy one. If you want a peek into a whirlwind workplace, there's a story out of the Huffington Post featuring Chef David Padberg at Raven & Rose in Portland, Oregon.

    Here are a couple of things to note from this diary.

    • I can't emphasize the long days and multi-tasking that must take place to run a restaurant, especially one like Raven & Rose that does forgotten herbs and vegetables you won't find at your local grocery store. Then to deal with regular ordering from individual farms where weather could play a major role in how much product you can buy.
    • It's important to remember that Chef Padberg is opening the restaurant full-time for the FIRST time during this particular week. Then throw in organizing for special events to come down the road, adding new recipes and changing up the equipment in the kitchen. Talk about the need to organize.
    • Speaking of organization, the fact that Raven & Rose is downtown in the entertainment district. So when Chef Padberg mentions that on a Tuesday, the kitchen gets hit by a theater crowd before a show, know that it's a BIG deal. Theater crowds need to have their orders turned around faster than normal customers, because they need to make the show ON TIME. That's extra pressure for the kitchen.
    • Making time for your family is important. Chef Padberg mentions he hasn't seen his parents in two years, and they still have to wait to play billiards upstairs before he can enjoy a meal with them. Long hours away from your family and demands on the business can make it really hard on a marriage or relationship. 
    I would like to make it to Portland someday, and if I should have that opportunity, I want to pay a visit for a meal at Raven & Rose.