Saturday, June 2, 2012

My Sunset Magazine Weekend Celebration Adventures







    I had quite an exciting day today in Menlo Park at Sunset Magazine's "Weekend Celebration".  This was my second year attending the event.  It has been my aunt's birthday present to me two years consecutively, and I love it.  It was especially great to attend it this year with her because sit may be her last year to physically attend the event. I am hoping and praying that that is not how it turns out, because she has as much fun watching, smelling and tasting the demo dishes as I do.  We are like two peas in a crazy culinary pod.  We did not get to see as much this year as last year due to her impairment, but what we did not see (in their locations around the complex) we had seen last year.  Besides, people were carrying around flowers and potted plants, including dozens of varieties of succulents, such as those featured in the succulent wall (above), so there was not much loss there.  One of my favorite exhibits where you can purchase plants, kits and other box items is the succulent booth.  There is literature to teach you how to create your own succulent wall hanging.  Last year's booth was more beautiful, but it was more"DIY" this year, and sometimes, change like that is good.

    We also watched three cooking demonstrations.  The first was Safeway's Chef Jeffrey.  His demo was Asian Peanut Noodle Salad.  I picked up the recipe later in the day, but introduced myself and congratulated the Chef afterwards on a job well done.  Last year, on a chilly, rainy Bay Area June day, Chef Jeffrey showed us how to make flat bread and pizza with Safeway's fresh pizza dough.  Look for the salad on this blog soon!  My Aunt and I picked up a sample and it was absolutely amazing. 

    In addition, it was my pleasure to watch Chef Chris Cosentino demo Spring Lamb, Anchovy and Mint.  His techniques and tips were fascinating, and yes, I took notes!  I am the only one in my family who likes lamb, so it will be one of those "for me" meals.  Still, I am excited to use the knife techniques he showed the crowd, along with his lesson on muscle tissues.  That information is important to everyone who is me, I suppose, but fascinating, nonetheless.  The Chef was not only informative, but entertaining, as well. 

        When we first arrived at the West Entrance, Aunty and I went on a shopping spree.  A mild one, due to monetary constraints, but my shopping coup includes:  Orange Blossom Honey, Pomegranate Jelly and Pomegranate Balsamic Grill Sauce, Sweet and Spicy Mustard, Black Cherry Mustard (don't hate, it is GOOD!!!), and Lavender Infused Honey.  The hamster in the wheel that is my mind has been running in overtime all day creating new recipes for these beauties!  Stay tuned! 

    The last cooking demo we attended was the IKEA outdoor stage featuring hilarious, good-sport Seattle Chef Tom Douglas.  Items he'd needed (along with a sink that had water) just were not there, but he was a good sport and like any professional, he cleverly, smartly improvised.  Crab Potato Pancakes was the dish he demonstrated.  Aunty was practically drooling, she really loves those. 

    I hope I am fortunate enough to attend next year's event.  There are many demos I would love to attend, and many more things to learn!  For more information, you can always look at Sunset Magazine's website.  There will also be a Central California Coast event in September, with many interesting outdoor activities and celebrity chefs attending.  That one I cannot attend, due to the dates, which conflict very much with work.  Doesn't mean YOU can't go! 
    Until next time, folks. Thank You for viewing and reading!