The San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival comes once a year and just in time to stretch out our bellies before the Thanksgiving holiday. This year SDBWFF teamed up with SommCon to educate industry professionals and serious wine enthusiasts about the trends, technology, and science behind the beloved libation. Needless to say, I was in my element at both events and couldn’t wait to share the top ten tricks and facts that I learned this year. I had the joy of attending both a grilled cheese/mac&cheese workshop with Laura Werlin as well as a pastry class with Gale Gand who offered up these lovely tidbits.
From Laura Werlin:
- Crushed chips or crackers mixed into salted butter adds a delightful texture to the outside of your grilled cheese.
- Butter the bread not the pan for even toasting and to eliminate any soggy spots.
- Mayo instead of butter does a great job of making your sandwich crispy but is less flavorful.
- Grated cheese melts more evenly for both grilled cheese and mac & cheese.
- When choosing cheeses for grilled cheese and mac & cheese, make sure you pair at least one melty cheese like cheddar, brie, or jack if you plan on using a hard cheese like Parmesan.
- Use a good non-stick pan with a lid over medium to medium-high heat to make sure the cheese melts fast but doesn’t get soggy.
From Gale Gand:
- Using water to make pastries creates a delicate dough while milk creates a sturdier dough better for savory recipes.
- When baking cakes, try adding melted butter at the end of the recipe for a different effect.
- When you’ve made a whoops cracking an egg, fish out rogue egg shells with a bigger egg-shell not your finger.
- Try using pearl sugar for an extra flair on top of your pastry as it stays a pretty white even after baking. Looks like snow!
- If you don’t have a stocked full bar, don’t sweat it. Instead, offer one or two well-crafted cocktail recipes so that your lack of variety is intentional and better guides your guests to their drink choices.