It all started about a week or so ago I was invited to join in a conference call with celebrity uber-Chef, Wolfgang Puck. Yes. You read that right. The wonderful people at Sam's put together an opportunity for a few lucky bloggers to ask their questions about holiday entertaining to Wolfgang.
Jenny and Mandy both had great questions about entertaining for large crowds and dealing with how to cook foods for everyone - without making special kid-friendly foods. It was really great to talk to Wolfgang and I have to say, if I hadn't already adored and been in awe of him, once I got to hear about him with his kids - 19 on down to 3 I believe - well, it just gave me an even greater respect for him. Since the two fantastic questions about crowds and kids (as well as a great one about inspiration for creating new recipes) came from Mandy and Jenny, you should really head over to their blogs (links at the top of this post) to see what they thought of this conference call with Wolfgang. You really shouldn't miss it.
So. I had one question that came to mind, and as always, my immediate thought went to the food. After all, when someone gives me the opportunity to pick the brain of a culinary genius, I want to glean as much knowledge for a common problem as I can. What was my common problem for entertaining during the holidays? The bird people. The bird. (Not that one, the turkey... seriously - sheesh).
I have brined both pork and turkey successfully before, but last year, when it was just us for Thanksgiving, I got creative and created an apple cider brine for the turkey breast I was making. The turkey turned out fantastic and moist, but it was still a bit too salty. I asked Wolfgang for the solution this problem. He literally gave me two. First, he pointed me in the direction of his brine recipe (solution, get it? yes, I know. I am a dork). The recipe sounds fantastic and will be what I'm trying this week for our turkey.
He also gave me the fix to my problem (which when he said it made such perfect sense I felt like was a bit of a duh moment for me) was not to brine it for nearly as long as you would a whole turkey. He also said that his favorite is to brine and roast a small turkey instead of a breast or large bird.
This whole surreal and amazing experience, as I mentioned above, was courtesy of the nice folks at Sam's Club as part of their Taste of Sam's event this weekend. Basically, Sam's is pretty brilliant. They are giving you the opportunity to go taste the products you need to prepare a feast to remember. So get to Sam's this weekend and take advantage people! They not only have the food you need, but if you are entertaining a crowd, they have the tools you need too. Wolfgang even mentioned that they have warming dishes, because, no one wants to go to all that work and end up with cold food (this is coming from a Mom who always seems to end up at the back of the line when the kids have what they need - it would be so nice to get to the food and have it still be nice and hot!)
I am hoping to get time in my wacky schedule to head to Sam's tomorrow myself and check out the event. If I get the chance, I promise to report on it accordingly!
My thanks go out to Sam's for giving me this opportunity and especially to Wolfgang Puck for taking the time to talk to us and answer our questions. He really couldn't have been more gracious or charming! So, as I said in the title of this post: I ♥ Wolfgang Puck!!
I will leave you with a video of some more tips from Wolfgang to help you with your holiday entertaining!