Tag Archives: PBS Food

Week 7 Sweet Dough Recap: The 2018 Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

Oh my,  Wisconsin Bakers! We sure do love your sweet, Sweet Buns!

The Tent tackled “sweet dough” during Week 7, which is baker-speak for beloved items like doughnuts, coffee cake and cinnamon rolls, as well as the loaded and elaborate breads that adorn our holiday spreads. But instead of using Grandma’s Christmas fruit loaf as a door stopper — sorry, Gran — this week, “celebration loaves” are the showstopper!

In the spirit of The Great British Baking Show, The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge asked participants to select just one of the three Sweet Dough challenges. Overcoming yeast, fryers and fruitcake, Sconnie bakers faced off with 24 Sweet Buns (see how Oxford Dictionaries settles the “bun” vs. “roll” vs. “cake” debate), 10 Jam Doughnuts and a partridge in a pear Celebration Bread. 

Continue reading Week 7 Sweet Dough Recap: The 2018 Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

A New Kind of TV Dinner

There’s a lot to enjoy about October: fall is officially here, new episodes of Wisconsin Life are airing every Thursday, and a brand-new season of Around the Farm Table kicks off this Thursday, Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m.

Cooler temperatures always inspire me to cook a hearty meal and spend an evening with some of my favorite shows, and I’m guessing I’m not alone. Why not explore some fall recipes inspired by some of WPT’s original series? Continue reading A New Kind of TV Dinner

Wisconsin Girl Treated To “State Dinner” at the White House

Eating healthy paid off in a big way for Wisconsin’s Raya Al Hajjar. The eight-year-old submitted a recipe to the 2016 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge and Kids’ “State Dinner” that was so good, it earned her a dinner with First Lady Michelle Obama last month.

The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge promotes cooking and healthy eating by asking kids ages 8-12 to prepare original recipes that are healthy, affordable and tasty. The recipes are judged, and winners from all 50 states are invited to a “State Dinner” at the White House.

Raya presented a Wisconsin cranberry chickpea salad that features parsley and lemon to give it a little twist. She was inspired by her family’s Palestinian background and the fact that her mom and grandma cook with chickpeas a lot.

Recipe: Wisconsin Cranberry Chickpea Salad

Now that she has the First Lady’s attention, how else does Raya plan to promote healthy eating? For one, she’d like to bring more attention to food choices in schools. “The milk, for instance, has so much sugar in it — it makes the kids have too much energy and it makes it hard to concentrate.”

“I can attest to that,” says Raya’s guardian, Marcia Mihdawi. “I’m a teacher, and after lunch you can really tell which students have had proper nutrition.”

Raya says the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge had a significant impact on her, and she offers this advice to any kids thinking about entering the contest next year, “…You have to be interested in healthy eating, you have to do it all the time and you have to want to help other people.”

See all of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge winners and get a free downloadable e-cookbook of the winning recipes.

Add Asparagus to the Grill

Asparagus is in season in Wisconsin. After you’ve enjoyed it boiled, broiled, steamed, roasted and raw, consider tossing those green stalks onto the grill.

Grilling asparagus is only slightly more complex than grilling a hotdog or bratwurst. Add a little oil, salt and pepper, and your asparagus will be just as flavorful. If you want to get more elaborate, blanche your asparagus and wrap with prosciutto before grilling. Or add some fancy cheese with this PBS Food recipe for grilled asparagus with Raclette.

From breakfast to dinner, there’s a number of ways to enjoy asparagus. Visit PBS Food for recipes and inspiration, and try something new while the markets are still stocked with local fresh asparagus.

Plant and harvest your own asparagus. Learn how with The Wisconsin Gardener.

Grilled Asparagus with Raclette. Get the recipe at PBS Food.


Healthy Eating has its Rewards

The place setting for the Kids' State Dinner in the East Room of the White House, July 18, 2014.
This seat at the Kids’ State Dinner in the White House could be all yours!

A little creativity could earn you and your kids a seat at a state dinner in the White House.

The 4th annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids’ “State Dinner” is seeking out original recipes that are healthy, creative, affordable, delicious and original. One recipe from each of the 50 states will be chosen, and the prize is an opportunity to attend the Kids’ “State Dinner” hosted by Mrs. Obama at the White House.

So dig into the family cookbook for a favorite recipe or help your kids create a new recipe from scratch. Need some inspiration? Check out all the 2014 winning recipes, including Amazing African Sweet Potato Stew from Wisconsin chef Sarah.

Find more details and submit your recipe at pbs.org/lunchtimechallenge. Entries must be received by April 30…so get cooking!

Food Worth Traveling For

Wisconsin Foodie is back for a fifth season on Wisconsin Public Television, and I’m excited because that means it’s time to start planning new culinary adventures.

As the title indicates, “Foodie” is a show about food, but the program also fits nicely into the travel genre. Each episode, host Kyle Cherek visits restaurants, bars, creameries, farms — you name it — that are among the most talked about in their communities. All are certainly worth a visit, whether that means driving across town or across the state.

Wisconsin Foodie logo
Watch online and Thursday nights at 7:30

I’ve been to a handful of venues based on Foodie’s recommendation and was delighted when I saw that I’ve already been to one exceptional pizzeria featured on the new season. Last summer, I stopped at Salvatore’s Tomato Pies in Sun Prairie to break up a long drive to the Twin Cities from Lake Geneva. My dining experience was great and it’s been enhanced now that Wisconsin Foodie has revealed the chef and the story behind a pizza you can’t get anywhere else in Wisconsin.

Check out Salvatore’s and more culinary delights on Wisconsin Foodie Thursdays at 7:30, following another great travel show Around the Corner With John McGivern. Both are available to watch online, anytime. Oh, and if you visit Salvatore’s don’t be afraid to keep it simple…the crust, sauce and whole-milk mozz are perfect as is. Happy (culinary) travels.

Want more? Watch the first three episodes of Wisconsin Foodie’s new season, plus all past episodes online now.

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!

Get Cooking! Emmy-winning 'Mind of a Chef' Returns

The Mind of a Chef, winner of the 2014 Emmy for Outstanding Culinary Program, is streaming online now.

I’m not a food blogger, and I will never Instagram a photo of my food. Yet, here I am, about to tell you all of a pretty decent meal I made last night – spaghetti with roasted veggies, or Spicy Roasted Ratatouille with Spaghetti as Cookie + Kate so elegantly calls it.

I came across this recipe in the midst of a challenge to go vegetarian for two weeks. It resonated with me because I had just watched the preview for the new season of The Mind of a Chef, in which chef Ed Lee reflects on cooking saying, “…it’s just elevating stuff that’s already there.” I like to think I took simple eggplant – something that was “already there” in abundance in late summer  – and elevated it to Spicy Roasted Ratatouille.


The Mind of Chef (the new season is streaming online) embraces the sort of experience I had with eggplant. In 2013, I hated eggplant. Since then, I’ve found eggplant comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, and realized that they can even taste alright when paired with the right ingredients. With food, exposure is everything.

In its new season, The Mind of a Chef, exposes viewers to an array of recipes and ingredients as it follows the creation process of two chefs, Ed Lee and Magnus Nilsson.

Lee grew up in Brooklyn, but has worked for the last decade at 610 Magnolia Restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky. The combination of his Korean heritage, New York background, and embrace of the American South is reflected in his innovative cuisine that has won several major food awards.

The Mind of a Chef title image
The Mind of a Chef is streaming online now.

Nilsson is the head chef of Fäviken in northern Sweden, where he is renown for his creative use of fresh local ingredients… even in the dark Nordic winters!

Ed Lee starts the first half of the season by going back to his roots in East Brooklyn, where he claims he learned as much about Korean cuisine as he did about Latin cooking – or any other style, for that matter. From there, The Mind of a Chef journeys to Europe, South America and all around the globe in search of culinary inspiration.

Watch The Mind of a Chef online from Wisconsin Public Television

Oh, and Anthony Bourdain narrates…who better to voice a show all about travel, cooking and humor?

As for going vegetarian – my two week challenge ended after only 36 hours, the result of a miscommunicated lunch order. At least I can now say I’ve had a duck sandwich.


Mix-Up Your Fourth of July

Give switchel a try and bring something new to the picnic table.
Last week, the PBS Food Extracts e-newsletter appeared in my inbox as it does each and every Friday, and the top stories this time inspired me to shake things up a bit this July 4th. Most of us plan to have hot dogs and s’mores this weekend, but PBS Food has gathered a bunch of less traditional food and drink recipes that are perfect for a summer barbecue.

Glasses filled with switchel and fresh strawberries
Switchel from “Around the Farm Table”

I’ll admit it was the picture of a strawberry-topped cake that got me to click through to the recipes, but when I dove into the list I was delighted to also see a few recipes from Around the Farm Table, which premiered on WPT las fall and recently debuted on the PBS Food website.

Featured are recipes for rhubarb jam pie and switchel. For the uninitiated, switchel is a potent drink with a vinegar and water base. A bit of raw ginger gives it extra zing while honey and fresh fruit provide a hint of sweetness. Farmers used to drink switchel, also known as haymaker’s punch, during long hot days in the field. In a way, it’s the original sports drink.

If you like a real strong ginger beer or kombucha, you might consider mixing up a batch of switchel — though it certainly won’t please anyone looking for a sweet glass of lemonade. Check out this recipe and find a ton of other ideas for your July 4th weekend — including grilled pineapple margaritas and strawberry rhubarb sorbet — from PBS Food.