January 2012

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play with your food Don't miss Eigenberger's wine selection of the month in The Cue, BRAVA's monthly e-newsletter. Register to receive yours at Simple Sips Start your new year off with a KISS By Karen Eigenberger At the beginning of every year I like to start off with an achievable goal. Some people call this a "New Year's Resolu- tion," but that's a bit formal for me. One year my "goal" was to drink A Great (Tasting) Getaway Where culinary classes make for a welcome winter escape By Michael and Jean Muckian Chef Scott Baker knows that fresh, high- quality ingredients make the best food, and that even the most passionate foodies learn best when taught the art of cooking in a professional, well-prepared environment. Th at's one reason why the Culinary In- stitute of America grad is looking forward to January's swirling snows and frigid temperatures. Th ere's a good chance his French cooking classes at L'ecole de la Maison, the culinary school housed in Elkhart Lake's Osthoff Resort, will be fi lled with eager students whose passion for winter sports begins and ends with a soup ladle and paring knife. "Our purpose is to pass on the basic methods of classic French cooking," says Baker, Th e Osthoff's food and beverage di- rector. "We offer an ideal setting and both the facilities and ingredients to produce classic dishes that beg to be repeated." People spend more time in their kitchens in winter, the Waterloo, Iowa, native says. Th ese same home cooks can spend time in Baker's professionally equipped kitchen and learn new techniques that will help them whip up old favorites. "Our classes capture the results of good cooking techniques," Baker says. "Th is is done by always looking at classic, funda- mental methods. Students are surprised when basic principles are applied and the results are good." 68 BRAVA Magazine January 2012 Th e January classes are designed to exer- cise basic fundamental cooking skills, of- ten focused on a single area. Th is month the Friday and Saturday sessions include les- sons in preparing a European brunch (Jan. 6) or a French late harvest dinner (Jan. 7). Th ere also are classes in French desserts (Jan. 13), northern Italian trattoria foods (Jan. 14), crepes (Jan. 27), French bistro foods (Jan. 28), and a two-day course in artisan bread making (Jan. 20-21). Classes scheduled later in the fi rst quarter—soups and stocks and Italian pasta, to name two— expand on those basic skills. "Our recipes seem fresh and trendy to some and to others they are comfort clas- sics," Baker explains. "And they all have a 'wow' factor to them." Such guidance, given the school's supe- rior facilities, attract even the most serious foodies. And, after a hard day at the stove, would-be chefs can be pampered at the Sheboygann County resort's Aspira Spa. It's an ideal—and tasty—getaway. Th at sounds like a good deal to us. Visit Michael and Jean Muckian have covered the local food and arts scenes for over 25 and 15 years, respectively. Find their blog, Culturosity, at more champagne. I could easily follow that all year! One year it was to get organized and fi le everything im- mediately. As you can imagine, I'm still working on that one. In 2012, I invite you to join me in my new goal: Start the new year off with a kiss. And by kiss, I mean K.I.S.S. (or Keep It Simple, Sweetheart). Let's face it, life is complex. Balancing work, money, time, and perhaps kids and pets fi lls our days, leaving little time for entertaining. But fi nding time to enjoy friends, family and others is important! Whether it's at school, work or home, you can keep your entertain- ing simple. Having a January "after holidays" gathering? Keep it simple. Opt for quality over quantity. Isn't one truly memorable glass of wine better than tossing back three mediocre ones? Limit your choices at your gathering by carefully choosing one or two white wines and one red. Whether four or 40 people attend, they too will appreciate not having to make a decision! To keep your entertaining fresh try another easy tip: pick a theme. Narrow your wine selections with a purpose— whether it is a country or a specifi c region in California where wine comes from—and have fun with it. Try warm- ing up a January gathering with a vir- tual trip to Argentina by serving a fi ne Malbec, a rich Chardonnay and some empanadas as a snack. I guarantee you and your guests will feel transported south for a little while. This month remember that less really can be more. K.I.S.S. to you! Karen Eigenberger is partner at STEVE'S Wine-Beer-Spirits on Mineral Point Road. Visit

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