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~ Culinary Q&A & Kitchen Therapy Too (2/11/11) ~

Culinary Q & A #2

2/11/11!  A date to remember!  There has been A LOT going on here in Melanie's Kitchen this week and  I am writing this on the morning of what is going to be a remarkable weekend!

As I've mentioned to you before, every February I volunteer my time to WPSU-TV for their annual Connoisseur's Dinner.  Each year, they invite a different PBS Celebrity Chef, who oversees the preparation of his or her recipes from his or her latest cookbook.  The dinner itself is held in the evening, in the grand ballroom of The Nittany Lion Inn.  It is an extravagant event, which also includes a silent auction of all sorts of locally donated items ranging from cruises and museum tours to autographed Joe Paterno Penn State memorabilia.  On the morning of the event (which is tomorrow), the Celebrity Chef gives a live cooking demonstration at WPSU-TV in front of a studio audience of about 125 invited guests.  This is the part where the Melanie's Kitchen team comes into play:

Steven Raichlen & Nittany Lion 2-11-11 Once the celebrity chef has given WPSU his/her menu, who in turn gives me his/her demo menu, my team (myself, my assistant Jeanne and my great and good friend Chef Jami) goes to work to make it happen.  Melanie's Kitchen preps all of the food for the Celebrity Chef's personal cooking  demonstration, as well as prepares all of the food served as a tasting to all of the guests.  At about 4:00 PM this afternoon, I will have the pleasure of welcoming the grillmaster himself, Steven Raichlen, into my kitchen.  Tomorrow I will have the pleasure of personally assisting him in the studio during his demo.  This year's menu, from Steven's latest book, Planet Barbecue, is:

~ South African Grilled Cheese Sandwiches ~

~ Spanish Grilled Shrimp Sprayed w/Olive Oil and Wine ~

~ Caveman T-Bone Steaks w/Hellfire Hot Sauce ~

~ Cambodian Coconut Grilled Corn ~

~ Brazilian Grilled Pineapple ~

Steven Raichlin #3 (Joe at Grill) This is an aggressive menu to say the least, and let me tell you this:  preparing it in February in Central Pennsylvania has presented its challenges:

Meet my husband Joe, who shoveled the snow off of the deck and in this picture is spraying shrimp with EVOO and wine, then grilling them... enough to feed 125 people!

Steven Raichlin #4 (Grilled Shrimp) Don't these look just yummy?  Let me tell you, they are!  Let me also tell you that all of Steven's recipes are well-tested and well-written because:   each and every item has been pre-prepped, prepped, and/or finished by us and each recipe has worked perfectly for us.  Steven's Planet Barbecue book is also a great read and I recommend you add a copy to your culinary library!

Steven Raichlin #5 (Grills)I think I forgot to mention that in addition to preparing the food, I also supply all of the hardware necessary to perform the demo.  This list changes with each year and every chef, and, when the grillmaster is coming to town, that means having grilling utensils as well as grills, tabletop grills, butane cooktops and even a smoker or two on hand!

Steven Raichlin #6 Over the past five years, I've acquired quite an arsenal of kitchen utensils, pots, pans, dishes, and glassware.  Thusfar, I've worked with Lidia Bastianich, John Folse, Joanne Weir and Martin Yan.  This afternoon I will have a kitchen encounter with Steven RaichlenIn central Pennsylvania, it is indeed the winter doldrums, but it is anything but dull here in Melanie's Kitchen.  Gotta run... it's almost showtime!!!

Have a great weekend everyone, and once again:  To leave a comment or to ask a question, simply click on the blue title of any post, scroll to the end of it and type away!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2011) 


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