Tag Archives: cooking

Week 8 Biscuits Recap: The 2018 Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

Snap, Crack(le). . . Bake! 
English Digestive Crackers by Jean from Madison

The poet Carl Sandburg’s Good Morning, America begins with 38 definitions of poetry. His memorable line, “poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits,”  is as scrumptious to speak as the 62 snappy crackers, stout tea cakes, and sturdy gingerbread structures submitted to our Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge: Biscuits Week (and by “week” we mean 20 days — thanks for your patience and support of the WPT August pledge drive, bakers)!

Biscuits — or crackers and cookies to Americans — took center stage in Paul and Mary’s tent, along with our five remaining British bakers this week. Cathryn, Brendan, James, Danny and John faced the quarterfinals with three demanding challenges testing their skills of precision, dough handling and even their architectural acumen.

In the spirit of The Great British Baking Show, The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge asked participants to select just one of the three Biscuit challenges. Let’s get cracking with our review! 

Continue reading Week 8 Biscuits Recap: The 2018 Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

Local cooks rise to the Create Cooking Challenge

Creative cooking shows – from unique international flavors to  comforting favorites – have long been a key part of the public TV experience. Recently, the Create Cooking Challenge 2018 gave viewers of the Create channel a chance to envision a show of their own.

Watch 2017 winner Buki Elegbede – a judge this year – create the perfect whoopie pie. (And check out his series, Baked by Buki!)

This year, several Wisconsin cooks rose to the challenge! Read on to see what they shared – and maybe get some tips of your own.

Continue reading Local cooks rise to the Create Cooking Challenge

Gather “Around the Farm Table” for a Brand-New Season

Join fourth-generation organic dairy farmer Witscher for a new season of "Around the Farm Table" beginning tonight, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1.
Join host Inga Witscher for a new season of “Around the Farm Table” beginning tonight, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1.

Around the Farm Table is back! Join fourth-generation organic dairy farmer Inga Witscher and her friends at her organic dairy farm near Osseo, St. Isidore’s Mead, and other locations across Wisconsin for new outings designed to uplift our understanding of sustainable farming practices. It all begins tonight, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1 (or you can watch the season premiere online now).

From a delightful, locally sourced “thank you” lunch for her farmer friends to a visit to an herb farm to brew a fresh cup of tea, the third season of the Wisconsin-produced series follows Witscher as she seeks out the best ingredients the region has to offer and produces fresh meals that celebrate Wisconsin’s landscapes and appetites.

Watch the season premiere episode, which features a Downton-Abbey inspired “shooting breakfast,” below, or tune in tonight! Want more Around the Farm Table? You can find more new episodes, as well as episodes from past seasons, online, anytime here.

Get Ready for More of ‘The Great British Baking Show’!

Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins coax the bakers through their challenges — and provide comic relief. Season 2 premieres tomorrow, Sunday, Sept. 6 at 6 p.m.
Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins coax the bakers through their challenges — and provide comic relief. Season 2 premieres tomorrow, Sunday, Sept. 6 at 6 p.m.

Love The Great British Baking Show or eager to learn what all the fuss is about? Tomorrow’s your day! Get ready for a brand-new season following the trials and tribulations of passionate amateur bakers competing to be named the U.K.’s best when season 2 premieres tomorrow, 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 6 on Wisconsin Public Television.

This season, full of good old-fashioned competition, a hearty helping of humor and plenty of delicious treats that we (unfortunately) cannot sample, will welcome a baker’s dozen — with contestants ranging from space engineer to student, teacher to dentist, psychologist to carpenter.

Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins will coax the competitors through their Signature, Technical and Showstopper challenges, under the scrutiny of judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. After 10 weeks of whisking, crimping and piping, only one can emerge victorious … who’s it going to be? Begin the baking journey 6 p.m. tomorrow!

What's Cooking Tonight?

Chef Vivian Howard whips up veggie burgers made from butter beans in tonight's episode of "A Chef's Life," which airs at 7 on WPT.
Chef Vivian Howard whips up veggie burgers made from butter beans in tonight’s episode of “A Chef’s Life,” which airs at 7 on WPT.

Whether I like it or not, it seems that cooler weather is here to stay. This year, I’ve decided to make the most of fall and winter. No more sulking on the couch and dreaming of California.

One cool-weather activity that helps reduce my inner gloom is cooking. It’s an indoor activity, it warms up the house and it adds some lovely (hopefully) smells to the air. Luckily, Wisconsin Public Television offers a plethora of cooking shows, including back-to-back episodes of A Chef’s Life and Martha Stewart’s Cooking School on Thursday nights.

Tune in tonight at 7 for brand-new episodes of both shows, beginning with A Chef’s Life “R-E-S-P-E-C-T the Butterbean” (now I’m singing Aretha Franklin in my head). Tonight’s episode follows the show’s star, chef Vivian Howard, as she crafts a delicious veggie burger using butter beans (also known as lima beans) in an effort to make a burger that stands out from the rest.

As someone who cooks vegetarian meals frequently, I’m looking forward to some new veggie burger ideas. You can watch this new episode tonight on WPT, or watch it online.

Then at 7:30, a new Martha Stewart’s Cooking School, “Steakhouse” will take your taste buds on a completely different, more meat-centric adventure, as Martha prepares baked stuffed clams and teaches a technique for searing a porterhouse steak.

View Martha’s steak-searing tricks below, and tune in for the full episode tonight.

Is it dinnertime yet?


Make Fall Sweeter

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle (Photo Courtesy: Taste of Home)
Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle (Photo Courtesy: Taste of Home)

It feels like fall arrived a little early this year. This week’s cooler temperatures and crisper air reminded me that fall is officially just around the corner. For many, the season is an occasion to bring out boots, scarves and of course, pumpkin spice.

Pumpkin spice seems to divide the masses. Whether you’re for it or against it, you’re bound to encounter it in candles, lattes and even yogurt. I identify as pro-pumpkin, in moderation at least. My stance led me to the wonderful world of online recipes, where I found my new favorite holiday dessert: Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle.

Trifles of various varieties always remind me of family gatherings. I remember my grandmother delicately layering kiwis, strawberries, pudding and angel food cake to create a colorful dessert that was as much of an artistic creation as a delicious after-dinner treat. This sentimental attachment to trifle meant that I immediately gravitated toward this trifle that incorporated spiced pumpkin, and I was glad a gave it a try.

Here’s the recipe I use for most Thanksgiving get-togethers, courtesy of Taste of Home. Instead of the homemade whipped cream, I usually use frozen whipped topping. The dessert is delicious, and seems to combine all of the best fall flavors.

If you’re pro-pumpkin like me, PBS Food has a whole collection of recipes just for you! Check them out here.

Do you have a favorite fall recipe you’d like to share? Comment below!

Chef Tory Miller Makes Food Local, Sustainable, Healthy and Delicious

“I thought it would just taste like vegetables, but it really tastes delicious!”

That was one of the comments from the school kids that Madison-based James Beard Award-winning chef Tory Miller is helping to learn about eating local, sustainable, healthy and tasty food.

Learn more about Miller’s journey from Racine to New York to Madison to become one of the country’s top chefs on tonight’s all-new Wisconsin Life at 8 on Wisconsin Public Television. Can’t wait? Watch his Wisconsin Life segment online now!

Soul Food Junkies

Watch Independent Lens “Soul Food Junkies” at 9 p.m. Monday, Jan. 14 on Wisconsin Public Television.

Soul FoodWell I think it’s safe to say I’m hungry… I barely made it through the title and I already have a list of things I want to make for dinner this week. Not to mention the KFC craving I’ve had for the past week or so. I suppose it’s not too late in the season to have a fat week… there’s plenty of time ’til summer right?

I guess it’s no surprise that obesity is an issue in this country and fast food companies continue to grow despite the economies ups and downs. By and large, the best tasting foods are the worst one’s for you, and more often than not, they take a lot of time to prepare and cook on your own. Because honestly, when’s the last time you made Cajun catfish, macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes all from scratch? That’s hours of prepping and cooking for just one meal – so much easier to just get carry out.

That being said, there’s just something about a home-cooked meal that’s so much better than fast food. Now it may be the money you save, it may be the ability to control the ingredients, it could even be the fact that you have total control over how the final product turns out, but clearly the best part is the leftovers. I’m thinking ribs, garlic red-skin mashed potatoes and perhaps some steamed vegetables are on the menu this week. What’s your favorite meal to cook?

Back to the Kitchen

Watch Martha Stewart’s Cooking School at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27 on Wisconsin Public Television.

IMartha Stewartt’s nice to see opportunities for people to learn how to cook that are free and easily accessible for everyone. It just makes me sad to think of how many people from my generation are incapable of cooking a meal without mixing some ingredients together with a box mix or using the microwave. Let’s be honest, “I can’t even boil water without setting off the smoke alarm” isn’t something anyone should be able to say with a straight face.

Everyone loves a home-cooked meal, but I’ve found that it’s even more enjoyable when you prepared the food yourself. There’s just something about starting with all of the raw ingredients, chopping them up and measuring them out and then seeing and tasting the final product.

Obviously there are downsides that come along with cooking from scratch… It tends to take significantly longer to prep and cook each meal, chopping onions burns your eyes and I swear it doesn’t matter how small of an amount of garlic you chop up, the smell lingers for at least a day. On the bright side, no one ever said you couldn’t cook in large quantities and save the rest for leftovers on the days you don’t have time to cook.

Back to Basics with Simply Ming

Watch Simply Ming 2 p.m. Saturdays on Wisconsin Public Television.

If you want to really impress your dinner guests, Simply Ming might be a fantastic cooking show to check out. Each episode focuses on a single cooking technique, from roasting vegetables and working with butter to more complex tasks like filleting salmon or cooking with tequila. So, whether you’re skilled or just learning (like me) chef Ming Tsai is sure to address some interesting techniques that can improve your cooking. For example, he’ll show you how to get a nice salmon fillet, but he’ll also point out the meat (that most people throw away) that can be used to make a nice tartare.

You can tune in each Saturday afternoon at 2 to perfect your culinary skills with Simply Ming. Check out the program’s page on WPT to see upcoming episodes and to learn how you can subscribe to Ming’s video podcast series – ’cause sometimes all you need is a quick 3-minute tutorial to get you back in the kitchen. Happy cooking!