Saturday, July 25, 2015

Foodie Field Trip- Iowa Blogger Tour Part 3- Country Club Market and Main Dish Media

Shawnie and Josie, from the Iowa Pork Producers Association really put together a fantastic agenda for our group of bloggers. After yesterday's tour and incredible dinner at Splash we spent a quiet night relaxing at The Wildwood Lodge in Clive. The hotel was great, with a cabin in the woods theme. Wednesday morning we had a leisurely start to the day and around 10 a.m. headed over to Country Club Market in Clive for some awesome cooking with Chef Terrie Kohl, the owner of Country Club Market and a food styling workshop with Sue Hoss from Main Dish Media.

Jenni and Chef Terrie
Chef Terrie reads through a recipe
Chef Terrie is a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute with an impressive resume of culinary positions and experiences. She is living her dream, and mine. She runs this awesome business from her home, and holds cooking classes and demos for clients, and caters events. She has been a judge at the Iowa State Fair for the past fifteen years, and is a cookbook collector like me. Her collection, however, makes mine pale in comparison- she has over 3,700 volumes! 

Our afternoon with Chef Terrie was going to be a blast! She greeted us with a trio of appetizers and nice cold beverages, including local wines from Penoach Winery. We nibbled on Marinated Chilled Shrimp, Tomato and Cheese Tortellini Skewers; Fresh Fruit and White Cheddar Skewers, and Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus with Parmesan. We heard about Chef's culinary school years, her meeting Julia Child (I died... I melted.....I did!!) and learned a lot about Country Club Market and why Chef enjoys sharing food with so many people. 

Yes, it's a picture of a picture. I'm a dork like that. But look
at who it is !!!! Chef Terrie and Julia Child !!!!
So, four fantastic recipes with, you guessed it, a pork theme, a bunch of very experienced cooks and loads of cameras clicking away made a very exciting class. The menu included Maple Bacon Wrapped Pork with Rosemary Cherry Sauce; Cabbage Apple Salad with Maytag Bleu and Bacon Dressing; Portobella Risotto with Bacon, Manchego and Asparagus, and Chef Terrie's Famous Bananas Foster Flambe with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. We paired up to make the recipes, with Kristin and Kelli working the salad, Alicia and Cristen made the risotto, Jenny handled the Bananas Foster, and Jenni and I tackled the pork loin. Talk about fun! It was really a great experience cooking with so many other talented cooks. 

Between the chopping, prepping, sauteing, sizzling, laughing we all really had a great time. Many of us have never met in person before so this was a wonderful way to get to know each other doing what we all love. Some of the girls made short videos and live streams, loads and loads of pictures were taken, and before we knew it, lunch was ready!

Jenni and I worked on the bacon wrapped pork loin

Tart dried cherries, rosemary, garlic, onions- such
a delicious combination!
Slicing the pork and getting ready to plate it

"Keep it casual" according to Sue
This is where our food styling workshop comes in. Like we all do in our own homes when we make a recipe for our blogs, we cook, we plate, we take pictures, and then after all that- we eat. So Sue Hoss came armed with her toolkit of brushes, cotton swabs, tweezers, skewers and a kitchen torch, ready to show us how to make our food photography better. Sue works with lots of clients and some really big names- Better Homes and Gardens/Meredith Publishing and HyVee. Sue talked about the importance of keeping our plates casual, so they are more appealing to the readers we are trying to connect with- real people in real homes we hope will cook our food.

Sue discusses all kinds of photo ops with food- like catching
your dish fresh from the oven and still a little messy,
more realistic and readers can identify

Sue had an entire tool bag of tools used for arranging
food or garnishes to get the right look.
Overdoing it can put off some readers, making the recipe look too fussy and complicated. I completely understand this. Because I often "think like a chef" I see that as a challenge but if I am making dinner on a weeknight, it might be a deal breaker for me. Sue worked with all of our dishes, except dessert, and gave us loads of hints on making each course look the best on the plate, in the bowl, and in the photo.

Now it's time to eat! Everything was so so delicious! The apple and cabbage salad was fresh and crunchy- loads of texture with a warm bacon dressing and bites of creamy bleu cheese. 

The risotto was perfect- the mushrooms were left in large pieces for a more substantial bite, the asparagus was still slightly crunchy and the Manchego cheese was creamy, salty and even better than Parmesan.

The pork loin was so tender and delicious, wrapped in crispy bacon, draped with a sauce of dried cherries, sauteed red onions, garlic and rosemary. The dried cherries plumped up perfectly in the sauce. A splash of red wine vinegar adds the acid we needed to cut through the richness of the bacon.

Dessert was pretty fantastic. Chef Terrie's Famous Bananas Foster is everything I expected it to be- rich, decadent, creamy, buttery, rummy.....naughty!

Chef Terrie says keep the banana slices thick so they
don't break down during cooking.

That rum was some high octane stuff!

Beautiful! What a wonderful party dessert
These dishes were both elegant and homey at the same time, and would be equally wonderful for a holiday meal, or a weekend dinner at home. We all got a copy of every recipe so we can recreate this menu for our families.

Not surprisingly, we are, once again, too full to move! Country Club Market, and Chef Terrie, are a wonderful resource to have here in central Iowa, and would make an awesome outing for a group of friends, a team building activity for a group of coworkers or a great way to meet new friends if you join an existing class. As lunch draws to a close we say our goodbyes to some of the girls who have to head out, and the rest of us head back to the Iowa Pork Producers office to end our day, so stay tuned. We'll have a wrap-up of this fabulous tour and those amazing hamballs!

Remember, please visit the blogs that all these wonderful women devote so much love to. There is something for everyone- crafts, fitness, farming, and of course, food!

Food and Swine by Cristen Clark

Fit and Farm by Alicia Schmitt

The Gingered Whisk by Jenni Ward

Make the Best of Everything by Kristen Greazel

In The Kitchen With Jenny by Jenny Unternahrer

Midwest At Its Best by Anna and Sam Konchar

The Sustainable Couple by Kelli Lane

Don't forget- stick around for the tour wrap-up, some odds and ends and, as promised, those hamballs!

**photos by the girls from Iowa Pork Producers, all the blogging girls, and myself

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 55: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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