Posts by Sheena Chihak
How’s that for dinner with a view? I was lucky enough to eat here (well, technically the table next to this one) on a visit to Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. As a preview to their new culinary package that launches THIS MONTH, I enjoyed fresh coastal-inspired meals with Chef Bernard Ibarra, a behind-the-scenes garden tour, interactive foodie workshops, more incredible meals, and an amazing sommelier-led dessert and liquor pairing. Oh, did I mention the FOOD?! Here’s a sampling of the deliciousness:
Every meal was locally-sourced and delicious but the greatest part was hearing from the motorcycle-with-side-car-driving chef. Chef Ibarra is walking the walk of the farm to table movement, he helps in the expansive garden on property, keeps bees for honey, and makes amazing sea salt.
But let me tell you about the sea salt! The water surrounding Terranea is prime for making sea salt (something about kelp beds and water purity that create sea salt higher in important minerals such as magnesium and potassium).
Here’s how they make it:
Step 1: Chef and the kitchen staff, wearing their white coats and swim trunks, wade into the sea with buckets to collect water (Are you picturing this? I LOVE this mental image!).
Step 2: Let the water evaporate. Spread out the wet salt to dry further.
Step 3: Flavor or smoke the salt as needed and use it in the Terranea restaurants and salt scrub spa treatments.
During my visit they made about 20 pounds of salt per month, but they are unveiling their new Sea Salt Conservatory this Earth Day (April 22) which will give them the ability to make more like 200 pounds of sea salt per month. When they hit that level of production I encourage you to try to get your hands on some of the salt to try. And if you’re feeling a twinge of jealousy about this trip, book your own Land to Sea Culinary Immersion Package here!
Quick! What comes to mind when I mention Green Bay, Wisconsin? It’s Sheena here, digital food editor for BHG.com and I’d bet serious money your first response was Packers football. Fair enough. Where else will you find an NFL team in such a small market? And just try to name one more NFL team owned by the fans – that’s right, you can’t. The Packers are unique and important to Green Bay, but if that’s all that comes to mind, you have not experienced the amazing food scene on the cusp of exploding.
CHEESE!!! No, that’s not excessive use of the caps lock key. Wisconsin = cheese, but until you’ve tasted cheese curds made the morning you ate them and met some cheese-making experts you don’t fully grasp it. From small batch cheeses at places like Renard’s Cheese to the brand I think synonymous with fresh mozzarella in the Midwest – BelGioioso – Green Bay is home to super-fresh cheese. Cool learning: BelGioioso makes its mozzarella to order and gets its milk from within a 30-mile radius of their factories so milk can go from farmer to packaged product in 4 hours! And they can make a LOT of cheese. Check out all the provolone!
Farm to Fork is Hot. The local food trend is in full swing as evidenced by a remarkably large farmer’s market, rent-able plots to grow food at their botanical garden and Green Bay restaurants. I ate one of the best meals of my life at Three Three Five created by Chef Chris Mangless (aka: The Traveling Chef). Earlier in the day Chef Chris met us at Twin Elm Gardens where many of his ingredients come from, from there he dreamed up a 27-course dinner using some of the foods we saw growing that morning. Some of the dishes I just pause to reflect on from time to time are the Meyer lemon hummus with pine nuts; carrot soup with coconut, ginger, and of all things, a marshmallow; and pork belly fried rice using black rice, pineapple, and soy. Here’s a sampling of my meal:
Craft Beverages Everywhere. Breweries abound in Green Bay. We sampled brews from Badger State Brewing Company (tasting room coming soon), Titletown Brewing Company (expansion coming soon), and Hinterland Brewery (new location coming soon). As you can tell from the updates soon to come for each company the craft brew business is booming. Though I enjoyed each beer we tasted, I’m not a big beer drinker, so my beverage highlight came from The Libertine. The dimly-lit, prohibition-styled space felt cozy and inviting and the cocktails were crafted by expert hands.
So if you find yourself venturing to Green Bay, don’t forget to explore cuisine outside the stadium.
Hi all, it’s Sheena, editor with BHG.com joining today. On day three of the Sochi Winter Olympics, I attended day one of the 3rd annual Clearwater Beach Uncorked food and wine fest on the white sand beach of Clearwater, FL. Unlike Sochi there were no extreme downhill slopes or frozen ice rinks, but temperatures in the mere 50s and 60s had weather-spoiled Floridians shaking in their boots (they were literally wearing boots in the sand!). I admit it did look strangely like snow with palm trees jutting out.
The chilly temps and wind didn’t stop hundreds of people from lining up to get into this much-anticipated food and wine fest. In the spirit of the Olympics, I broke down Uncorked into three events and scored myself against the crowd.
Event 1: The line.
My score: Gold!
Just look at all these hungry mouths salivating with thoughts of cheese, seafood, and wine. I blissfully wore my VIP badge like a gold medal and walked right in. Note to future Uncorked attendees: This is a major perk of the VIP ticket.
Event 2: Getting through the crowd.
My score: Nowhere near the podium.
As you can tell, Uncorked is a hot ticket for foodies. When the crowd became too much for my figure skater-like height (I come in below the 5’3” female figure skater average) I escaped to the VIP area where I enjoyed lobster mac and cheese from The Lobster Pot and sipped on Mount Gay Rum and Four Roses Bourbon. I learned a bit about the extensive histories of these two liquor brands. Mount Gay dates back all the way to 1703 and wow, their Extra Old rum was amazing! Four Roses was able to keep operating through prohibition because bourbon was considered medicinal. Doctors would actually prescribe a pint of bourbon every 12 days for various “illnesses,” such as having the vapors, a hurt back, etc.
Event 3: Eating!
My score: Bronze. (Much like Bode Miller in the super-G, I put forth an impressive effort that only a few could beat.)
Those who know me well know my ultimate favorite food is cheese. Thanks to Tillamook, Cabot, and Kerrygold, I indulged in some of the most delicious cheeses I’ve tasted. My personal gold-medal cheese sample was Tillamook’s Vintage Extra Sharp White Cheddar. YUM! The folks from Tillamook told me this product is trickier than some of their others to find, but I will definitely be on the hunt. Every few steps through the tents of the festival brought another scrumptious nibble. Crab dip with hot sauce, scallops on a creamy risotto, pasta tosses, gelato, bruschetta, smoothies, and on and on the list could go.
It was a truly delicious day sampling food products and chef creations in a setting that can’t be matched. As a parting gift for all of Uncorked’s attendees we were treated to a breathtaking sunset. Anyone who’s interested should start planning for next year’s 4th annual Uncorked event.
Hi all, Sheena Chihak, digital food editor at BHG.com here. Just two weeks before the biggest food holiday of the year I was given stomach-stretching practice in beautiful St. Petersburg, Florida at their inaugural Enjoy Arts & Tastes Food and Wine Festival. Thanks to HSN, which is based in St. Pete’s and was a sponsor of the event, the festival was swarming with celebrity chefs such as Curtis Stone, Ming Tsai, Scott Conant, Donatella Arpaia, Ingrid Hoffmann, and Lorena Garcia who all have product lines with HSN.
My first stop was a behind-the-scenes tour of HSN.
Yes, that is Curtis Stone standing mere feet away filming a LIVE TV segment. Let me tell you, HSN is a well-oiled machine. Those counter-tops Curtis is working are on wheels so when his segment is finished they simply roll the table out into the hallway and the next chef rolls his tables in. Above you can see Curtis working at the counter that I saw afterward sitting in the hallway waiting to be cleaned. The craziest thing though, is how many people come and go with doors to the studio opening and closing while filming live TV. Curtis and the HSN host are definitely pros, they tuned everyone out and proceeded as though no one else was there. After filming, I got to sit down with Curtis for a brief interview.
Insights gleaned from Curtis:
- Look for the continuation of the kale trend. Curtis thinks you’ll be seeing more chefs getting creative with hearty, intense veggies such as rutabaga, celery root, and kohlrabi.
- If you’re in the Beverly Hills area, you’ll soon be getting a new Curtis-operated restaurant named Maude after his grandmother who taught him how to make fudge.
- Curtis is on the juicing trend. Each morning (when he’s home) he and his 2-year-old go out to their garden, pick some produce, and make juices to start their day.
The rest of the festival was full of food and cooking demos by the chefs. Duff Goldman hosted a huge late-night dessert tasting party at the Dali Museum. There was a Grand Tasting with 60+ local restaurants, wineries, and artists. Ingrid Hoffmann hosted an event called Sip, Savor & Swing with Latin-inspired dishes and dancing. The festival was capped off with a burger showdown called Battle of the ‘Burg hosted by Donatella Arpaia.
Here’s just a taste of my food samplings.
A few more things learned:
Donatella’s Tips for Perfect Pasta
- Give pasta room to dance (use lots of water)
- Add salt to your water (and don’t be stingy)
- Maintain a rolling boil
- Bonus tip: Do NOT add oil to your water. It keeps the sauce from sticking to the pasta later
“Iron Chef is the most real of reality TV,” Donatella Arpaia
Based on my own observation, Ingrid Hoffmann is a fantastic dancer! It felt like that needed to be shared.
It’s here, it’s here, Fresh cookbook is here! Hello again, it’s Sheena, digital food editor for bhg.com, joining in. I have not-so-patiently been waiting for this book, and warm summer-like weather to get here so I could start cooking from it. This weekend I dove in with the Orecchiette in Creamed Corn with Wilted Tomatoes and Arugula recipe. I’m here in Iowa, where, in case you haven’t heard, we have stellar sweet corn! So I grabbed my fresh-from-the-market sweet corn and got shucking. With the husks removed, I made easy work of cutting the corn off the cob with my handy Oxo Corn Peeler.
I do my best to cook healthy. This summer recipe is loaded with fresh produce, hence, lots of good-for-me vitamins, but it’s also got quite a bit of cream and cheese. I made an easy swap of fat-free half and half which saved me 49 calories and 9 g fat per serving. I didn’t touch the cheese amount. For me, the cheesier the better – and not just as it pertains to food. It might not be quite as rich, but it was darn good. If I had been willing to share this meal with anyone else, they would agree it was deliciously indulgent.