Monday, October 25, 2010

Exploring the Incredible Food Show

I had so much fun yesterday! I spent the afternoon in a corner of culinary heaven. The second annual Incredible Food Show took place in Lexington offering more than 80 vendors and more cooking demonstrations that one person could attend. I learned, I sampled and I left with a bounty of information and happy tummy.

Vendors nearly all offered samples of their products. There was everything from beer cheese to five meat Tuscan pasta to cheesecake brownie cake. Yes, the portions were small but with so many items to try I couldn’t have stomached larger samples.

These Kentucky-based producers demonstrated that right in the Commonwealth there all sorts of local food creators to choose from. Kentucky chefs, using Kentucky products, were also featured in cooking demonstrations. One series, called Sunday Suppers, hosted a chef each hour of the afternoon making one course of Sunday supper. I made it to three of the four demonstrations and, just as when I watch a cooking show on television, I picked up tips to use at home. The difference was that this time I actually got to taste the dishes on the spot.

Here are three quick tips I picked up from the chefs.

Chef Edward Lee of 610 Magnolia in Louisville made a creamy butternut squash soup without cream or butter. How did he do it? He made a stock from vegetables, roasted the squash then pureed it and added stock to it until it was the correct consistency. It was smooth, velvety and delicious!
Chef Ouita Michel of Holly Hill Inn in Midway created the main course—stuffed veal with apples and squash. I liked the trick she used for coring the apples. The cut them in two then used a melon baller to remove the core. Her entire creation was definitely a feast for the eyes, reminding me of the importance of presentation.
Chef Brigitte Nguyen made apple desserts. She credits Cook’s Illustrated with the pie dough recipe she uses. She also explained that the best pie crust is made with butter and shortening—butter to make it flaky and shortening to make it tender. I believe she used 1/12 cups of butter to ½ cup shortening.
When the next Incredible Food Show rolls around, I plan to be right there again.

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