Madalaine McDaniel from Lakeside Table (Transcript)

Nicole S:                      Welcome to BFF With The Chef. I'm your host, Nicole Schwegman. Aloha friends and foodies and welcome back. Today, I'm getting the chance to interview Madalaine McDaniel, the blogger and YouTube host of Lakeside Table. A channel that is dedicated to showing you how to make simple and tasty recipes each week. A native of Saint Louis, Madalaine was a former medical sales rep, and a single mom that started out cooking by listening out for the fire alarm, however, after meeting her husband Jerry, and moving with him and his family to rural Illinois, she decided to buckle down and learn to cook.

                                    Since her early days of humble cooking, Madalaine has blogged about her journey become an accomplished home cook in her own right. She now shares what she's learned, as well as tips and tricks about cooking on her show and her blog. Hey, Madalaine, welcome to the show.

Madalaine M:               Hi, Nicole. Thank you so much for having me on. I am really, really excited to chat with you today.

Nicole S:                      Oh, me too. But, first thing, I normally start with three questions, but I have to ask you, okay, so I'm looking at your YouTube videos, is that your kitchen?

Madalaine M:               Yes.

Nicole S:                      Oh, my God.

Madalaine M:               That is definitely my kitchen. Usually, if you were to see like three inches past where the video is, you would see just tons of dishes, and things piled up, and dishrags, and homework from the kids. Yeah, it's pretty lived in, but with the video, we're able to bring it in really tight, and then I just make a clean spot for that area right there, but yeah, yeah.

Nicole S:                      I am impressed. I was looking at your cooktop. You have a Wolf cooktop, yeah?

Madalaine M:               Yes, yes.

Nicole S:                      Yes. Okay, I have a Viking, so I cannot complain, because it is amazing, but that cooktop.

Madalaine M:               Yes. They are great to cook with. I love that you're able to just get very precise. Cooking with fire, I mean, come on? Who doesn't love to cook with fire?

Nicole S:                      I love it. My cooktop is induction and that is because here in Hawaii, you can have like propane, or you can have gas, but I live in a condo, so we don't have a gas line. I actually, I love my induction. I love it, I love it, love it. If I had to choose, I would choose fire.

Madalaine M:               Well and induction cooking has gotten so precise now. It's gotten really, really good. The technology has just been great.

Nicole S:                      It's ridiculous. I love it. I love them both, but I just had to ask you about that kitchen because I'm like, it's a [crosstalk 00:02:42] kitchen.

Madalaine M:               it's my kitchen. It's seen. We built our forever home. I mean, this is it, folks.

Nicole S:                      Well, I love it. Well, all right. Everyone knows that we start our show out with three questions. Are you ready to do this?

Madalaine M:               You bet.

Nicole S:                      All right, tell me about the last meal you cooked for yourself on that insane kitchen you have?

Madalaine M:               Well, let's see, today is actually my eldest stepdaughter's birthday and so last night, or actually all day yesterday, I was doing a ton of cooking. My portion of her surprise birthday party was all the sweets. I did an apple pie with a crumb topping and a pumpkin pie. She does not like birthday cake. She always asks for something pumpkin. This year she asked for a pumpkin pie. I also made pumpkin cheesecake. Last night I was up to my eyeballs in pumpkin puree, and sugar, and everything. I ended up nibbling on all of the baked apples. That was pretty much what I did last night for dinner.

Nicole S:                      There is no shame in that.

Madalaine M:               None.

Nicole S:                      Not at all.

Madalaine M:               I enjoyed every nibble. I enjoyed everything. That and a nice cup of coffee to go with it.

Nicole S:                      That's great. Do you know what? That sounds like a good dinner to me. Somebody's screaming in their car right now. I'm just like, I don't care. That's delicious.

Madalaine M:               You know, there's nothing like when I do the apple pie, I cook the apples down a little bit and they just, oh my gosh. The cinnamon and it just smells so good. And then, I'm like, oh, I'll just take a little bit. I'll just take another little bit. And then, it's like so, usually, when I make these things, I always throw in a little extra because I know I'm going to be eating half of it while I'm making it, anyway.

Nicole S:                      Isn't that the point of baking?

Madalaine M:               Exactly, exactly.

Nicole S:                      That sounds good. What's a meal that brings you back to your childhood?

Madalaine M:               All right, well, let's see. I grew up in the 70s and here in the Midwest. Growing up in Saint Louis, my mom, I have the best memories of my mom coming home from work. She would still have her coat on and she'd go straight into the kitchen. One of my favorite, favorite things that she would make, what we would call a chicken divan or chicken divine. I'm not too sure what the actual name is, but it's a casserole. It had all my favorite things in it and I think she loved it because it was easy, and it was fast, and everybody loved it.

                                    It's a casserole dish, and you layer chicken that's already been baked, so like rotisserie chicken, or baked chicken, leftover chicken, and the rice, and then steamed broccoli. And then, she would smother the whole thing in Lipton Campbell's, no not Lipton, it was Campbell's mushroom soup, condensed mushroom soup, and then layer the whole thing with Swiss cheese. She would bake it, and it would be bubbly, and cheesy. Oh, my gosh. I could just eat that for days.

Nicole S:                      I know what you're talking about. That was like a staple from the 70s to the 90s, chicken divine, yeah. I had many a collogue, and many a friend whose parents would make that. Was that like in a Betty Crocker cookbook or something?

Madalaine M:               I think it must have been. I think it must have been, you know? I'll still make it for the family today. I've got a little bit more time because when Jerry and I got married, I became a stay at home mom. That's when I really got into cooking. I thought, well, okay, I've got time. I could break out a can of soup, but what if I made it from scratch? How hard would that be? I was so intimidated at first because I had no idea what is as doing. And then, I just gave it a shot one day. I was amazed at how easy it comes together and fast. And then, you've got your chicken divan, and it just blows Campbell's away. It really does.

Nicole S:                      Oh, my goodness. That sounds so good. It brang me back to my childhood. All right, give me an ingredient you cannot live without?

Madalaine M:               Oh, my gosh. Well, let's see. As much as I'm a huge fan of butter, and salt, without a doubt, but really if I had to venture away from those two, I would probably have to say cumin.

Nicole S:                      Cumin, wow.

Madalaine M:               Yeah, cumin is one of those things that you can add either in Indian food, or Mexican, or something. It's that little spice that just kind of takes things over the edge, and it's like, wow. What is that? It makes it really authentic. Put just a little bit in chicken soup, or put some in a chicken tortilla soup, or your enchiladas, or even guacamole. It's kind of that one hidden spice where I'll sprinkle a little bit of that in. Maybe instead of reaching for oregano, I might just reach for cumin. It's a little bit of heat. It's a little bit of spice. It's really, really nice.

Nicole S:                      You know, I hadn't thought about that. I do use cumin a lot. What a great little, yeah, that's right. You can't have a good chili without cumin.

Madalaine M:               No. You can throw in your chili powder. You've got to have that, but if you add cumin to your chili, or either you're making a red bean chili, or a white bean pumpkin chili with some leftover turkey or chicken, a little bit of cumin that, and maybe a little bit of sage too. So good.

Nicole S:                      That sounds good. That's really, really an [inaudible 00:08:33] idea of a white bean pumpkin chicken chili. Oh, that sounds delightful. All right, so I want to talk about, you sound so accomplished, and you have a YouTube channel, but you started out as literally a fire alarm cook. Take us on this journey from the fire alarm cook that you were, to cooking YouTube channel host.

Madalaine M:               Oh, my gosh. Well, we love to sit around the kitchen table or the dining table and tell family stories. It's definitely true when Jerry and I got married. He would come over and have dinner. We'd sit around, and just have something very, very simple. I remember he looked up and right above the kitchen table was my fire alarm. It was completely dismantled. He's like, "I've got to fix that." I was like, "Why?" And he goes, "Well, that's not safe." I said, "The thing just keeps going off." He would come over and he looked up and it was like, why do you not your fire alarm hooked up. I'm like, because every time I cook, that stupid thing goes off.

                                    He was like, "Uh-oh." Sure enough, well, after we got married, the very first Christmas we spent together, his girls came over, my son was there, we were all there. We had had a really bad winter storm. Our next door neighbors had gone out of town, and they said, you know, just asked us to keep a look on their house and you know, come and go as we needed to. Jerry said, "Hey, no problem. We'll go next door. We can pop it into Ray and Ruth's." So, that's what we did and then promptly forgot about it until about an hour later. He asked his oldest daughter said, "Hey, Alex, run next door and check on the dip." And so, okay. She comes back and she's like, "Dad, dad, we've smoked their house down." He's like, "Alex, that is not funny."

                                    She's like, "No, dad, I am not kidding." All of us, Brianna, Carver, Jerry, Alex, and I, we all go running over and sure enough, we open the door and smoke is billowing out of their house. I'm like, oh my goodness. I have burnt down their house. They are going to ... oh, my gosh. There was no fire, no nothing, but everything in the dip had split over, and had burned the bottom of the oven, and was smoking like crazy. They were not due back in town for three weeks, and we aired the whole place out. We were on our hands and knees sniffing the carpet, Febreezing everything. I mean, it was ... we finally got the smell out of the house. They were fine. They never even noticed.

Nicole S:                      Well, they'll know now.

Madalaine M:               They know now. Yeah, we've told them about by now, you know, since then. They just laughed and thought it was great. I'm like, oh my gosh.

Nicole S:                      Well, you went from that and now you have your own cooking YouTube channel. Talk to me about now. So, you went there, you smoked out your neighbor's house, and you're like, maybe I'm not so good at this cooking thing. Some people take up knitting. You know, what made you like and it was just, I'm not a cook. I'm just going to take up knitting. Not you, you're like, do you know what? I think I'm going to double down. Where did you get to that point where you're like, I'm going to learn how to cook.

Madalaine M:               I am truly, truly blessed with a family that they are so supportive, and they are not picky eaters. I thought, well, do you know what? That movie, Julie and Julia came out, and I love that movie. I'm like, oh my gosh, if this woman can cook, I can cook. You know, so it was really one of those things where it was very inspirational. Sure enough, I went out, and I know it may sound cliché, but I go Julia Child's cookbook and I had never cooked anything without a picture. There are no pictures in her cookbook. And certainly no, there might be some line drawings, but nothing else.

                                    I thought, do you know what? I am just going to roll up my sleeves. I love to eat. Cooking for me has always been a way to eat. Where we live, we live in a very, very small town. We have one really nice restaurant. That was ten, 11 years ago. We now have two really nice restaurants. I'm out of [inaudible 00:13:07]. If we are going to eat something, you know, besides Hamburger Helper and there's nothing wrong with that, but I was like, if we're going to venture out, then I need to figure this out. And so, I did. I started watching the Food Channel. I started reading Julia Child's cookbook.

                                    That cookbook led to another, to another, to another. And now, and I used to tell the kids, I was like, "Hey, you know, if you can read, you can cook." And now, it's like, if you can watch YouTube, you can cook. And so, that was really the inspiration of living in a small town, not having any restaurants really available to use, and quite frankly, it's expensive. I wanted to keep expenses down. I wanted to keep the conversation going around the table with the kids. The dinner table was the best place to do that. I always kept a frozen pizza in the freezer because there have been plenty of times where we've literally have sat down to dinner, I'm like, I'm sorry guys. I can't eat this. I'm not going to let you eat this and then we break out the frozen pizza.

Nicole S:                      I love that. You know, I love the fact that one, you didn't give up. Like I said, some people are like, do you know what? I'm going to learn to knit. I think before the past five years, it's not like they're going to be like, I'm going to Postmates. And you lived in a small town so that's not going to happen. Postmates does not live everywhere. That is only for us city folk. And so, you decide, do you know what? I'm just going to buckle down. Not only do you buckle down, you go with what I consider ... I love Julia Child, but man, her cookbook is kind of hard, especially because she does not give pictures. There are no pictures in the 60s. She's like, nope.

Madalaine M:               Yeah.

Nicole S:                      We're going sans picture. You just had to hope that it came out right. Can you think about how many people who cook something, and it probably wasn't right and they're like, it's close enough?

Madalaine M:               That's so true. That is so true and it's intimidating. The thing that, and I don't know if you're like me, but it is so hard to read a recipe all the way through. I'm like, I look at the first three ingredients and I'm like, oh yeah, I got that. I got that. And then, I jump right in and then I get halfway through and I'm like, oh, I was supposed to start this two days ago.

Nicole S:                      Do you know what? I used to be like that. Now, I've learned my lesson about, you need to read the recipe all the way through before you do it. Right now, as we speak, I have English muffins that I just made. Truly, to have a good flavorful English muffin, you have to start that dough 24 hours. This is why I've never had a yeasted waffle because I always ... I'll be like, oh, I want a yeasted waffle. I've had them. They're delicious. Other people have made them, but I just don't think ahead enough to go, oh yeah. I should probably start those waffles because I want waffles now. I don't want to wait 24 hours for them.

Madalaine M:               That is so true. That is so true, but once you actually do slow down, you save yourself so much time, and so much headache just by reading it all the way through, just taking a deep breath, and it makes the biggest difference in cooking for sure, for sure.

Nicole S:                      It totally does. I can't tell you how many times I've read something. You've got to read it so that you understand the order of things. Now, I understand why recipes are written the way they are and the order of why the ingredients are written the way they are. If you read a recipe for anyone that's just wondering what the heck are we talking about. When you read a recipe, they put the ingredients in order of what you're going to do first. That way, if you notice right in the beginning sometimes when you're baking, they tell you to mix together the flour, and the baking soda, and then set that aside.

                                    That is because that is the thing you need to remember because you're going to need that already done and ready to go when it's ready for you to mix your wet and dry. I used to wonder why they do that, but it's so you don't forget it because you're going to need that prepped. Also, we want to mix our flour and our baking soda together before you add it to the mix because if you don't, you risk the chance of your baking soda penetrating all through your flour, and then your stuff won't rise evenly. Those of you that are wondering you've got like a lopsided cake, it's because you probably didn't mix your stuff together good enough, but I digress. You're totally right.

                                    Now, the fact of the matter is that you've got a YouTube. I keep going on this because I'm like, people are like, "You should have a YouTube channel." I'm like, do you know how hard it is to YouTube? You should get down and on your knees and thank all the YouTuber's that are out there making recipe videos for us, for the rest of us. That's like take 45 that you saw and they are putting on a fun face, but you know, what you don't know, is that it took them six hours of prep to get to that point. Girl, I salute you for having a YouTube channel and I want to know, one, your production value is insane for being just a beginner. You have like panning shots. In my other job, this is what I kind of do. The fact that you have panning shots, and you have cut takes. How did you get started doing this?

Madalaine M:               Thank you. Thank you so much. The main reason why I wanted to start the YouTube channel was after picking apart the different recipes, and Julia Child's cookbook and all that, what I realized was, a lot of these recipes with these really big beef [inaudible 00:18:35], chicken [inaudible 00:18:36], and all these big named things. They're really easy. They're not difficult, but they've got this huge intimidation factor. I really wanted to make these videos that they're short. They're really under five minutes. If you've seen my videos, I try to always start off with a blooper. There's so many bloopers.

Nicole S:                      I love those bloopers. They're so cute.

Madalaine M:               It makes it fun. It makes it very approachable. It's like, do you know what? It's okay to screw up, or if things aren't pretty, because it's going to taste amazing. But, as far as the video quality, my ringer is, his name is Keith Sutterfield, and he has his own production company called Sutterfield Media. He does all my videotaping. He does the editing, and he works his magic. That's what makes it fun. I have a friend who comes in and she helps me clean the dishes because we do these videos in batches. We'll do anywhere between five and I think we've even done up to nine videos in a 12-hour day.

                                    A lot of the bloopers come out because I'm so tired. When you say something over, and over, and over again, you're trying to say it for the very first time. I do all the writing of the scripts. I do the recipes and I test the recipes. And then, I bake everything the day ahead of time, and then I bake it again maybe once or twice as we're filming. There is a lot that goes into it. It's so much fun, Nicole. I cannot tell you. I mean, at the end of the day, my back in killing me, my feet are about ready to fall off, and I just look over at my husband at the end of the night and I'm like, "Oh, my God, sweetheart, that was the best."

Nicole S:                      Your outtakes are so cute. They're hilarious. I think that's one of my favorite parts about the video. The way you start it. Whenever you see something that's super polished, it's almost not relatable. The little bloopers just make ... it lets me see a little bit of you and I think it's really funny and really cute. I love the way that your videos start. I love the fact that you reveal like, no, you have help. I think some people think to themselves, oh, I'm going to start a YouTube channel, and they just go, and they turn on the camera. You can, right? If you're just talking to the camera, but to get to that level that you're doing, you might need some help. Maybe you can do it by yourself, but my goodness, that just.

Madalaine M:               I think, you know, I love listening to all sorts of podcasts. I was listening to an interview and they had somebody on there and they were like, "Do you know what? Do your best to find out what it is that you really enjoy, and what your area of expertise is, and anything outside of that, if you can, if you have the ability, or if you have the resources, or if you can delegate that, then you really get to hone in, and really make something special with the gifts." Instead of trying to be the jack of all trades, and try and do everything, if you can really just hone in, and just specialize in that thing that you're really good at, that makes a huge difference.

Nicole S:                      I was looking at your Instagram. You look like you travel a lot. Tell me a little bit about where you've gone recently because I've seen some of your Instagram photos.

Madalaine M:               Recently, we took a family vacation to Italy. We went all over Florence, and Rome, and up to Sienna, and saw the Palio, which is an ancient horse race. Oh, my goodness, if you ever get a chance or Google it, it is hair raising. These guy's go round and round, three times around the square bareback in medieval costumes. It's amazing. It's truly awe-inspiring. I have to tell you, Nicole, that is probably where I had the best meal of my life. Okay, it was homemade pasta, which there were making right there in the window of the restaurant. It was this little bitty restaurant and they were like, okay, yeah, we'll have ... it was a fettuccine Alfredo.

                                    Okay, fettuccine Alfredo. No biggie. Okay, got it. We've all heard about, we've all had it. This was on steroids. This was like the best. They bring out this huge Parmesan wheel. If you put your arms out in front of you and you touch your middle fingers together and take elbows out, that's how big this wheel of Parmesan was. They poured Brandy all over the top of it, and they lit it on fire, and they swirled it around, and they made a cheese sauce with this burning Brandy, and cheese, and then they let the fire go out. And then, they covered it up, and then they went back to the kitchen, and they got the freshly boiled pasta, and they brought it out. They poured that over the cheese wheel, and then they poured over all this fresh heavy cream and truffle oil.

Nicole S:                      Do you think you could ... people are going to ask me about that later. After the show, you've got to like, try to remember where that was so we can possibly direct.

Madalaine M:               I cannot remember the name of the restaurant off the top of my head, but I will definitely give that to you.

Nicole S:                      [crosstalk 00:24:13] now.

Madalaine M:               It was in Florence. It was in Florence.

Nicole S:                      That sounds so amazing. I've gone to Italy too and I'm telling you, that was probably one of the best. I live in Paris for like a month when I was a brand new Naval officer. Both places, like, there is just some fine eating to be had in Europe.

Madalaine M:               No, truly, truly, truly.

Nicole S:                      Let's get into Escoffier. You are in culinary school.

Madalaine M:               I just finished my 12th seek. Escoffier has two schools, two physical schools. I think one is in Colorado and the other one is in Texas, in Houston, if I'm correct.

Nicole S:                      I think it's in Austin.

Madalaine M:               Austin, okay. Thank you. I live in rural southern Illinois. There's no culinary school anywhere near where we are, but I really wanted to do something to, not just for myself personally, although that's definitely a part of it, but doing this blog, and doing the YouTube channel, I really wanted to dive deep into the culinary arts and learn the professional tips, and tricks, and be able to pick the minds of these really wonderful chef's, and get some hands-on experience. That's really why I went back to school and started this program.

                                    It has just been so much fun. I've been working so much. First, I'm like scratching my head going, online cooking school, what? You know? How do you that? I mean, how do you know if your hollandaise sauce actually tastes like a hollandaise sauce. Because it is online, they focus so intensely on technique. That is really where the expertise comes in. You're taking pictures of every single step along the way. It really has, it's helped me with my mise en place. It's helped me with my knife skills.

                                    It's helped on so many levels. And just really learning to look at recipes from a different point of view. And how to break them down, and to go, okay, if I want a different flavor profile, what other spices can I insert in here, or can I replace, or you know? Being able to ask those questions. Like what is the difference between baking soda and baking powder? Things like that. It's really been a wonderful resource.

Nicole S:                      That sounds awesome. I wanted to make it clear to people who are listening that, you're in an online culinary school. But, you answered some of my questions. I was like, how do they know that you can chop a carrot the right way. That's because you're taking pictures of it.

Madalaine M:               Yes, every step of the way. Each homework assignment, you're breaking it down between ten and 20 photographs of how are you holding the knife? How are those cuts? Doing the mise en place. Is your sanitary? They actually walk us through having a sanitary bucket with bleach, and water, and making sure that the PH balance is just right so that you can clean your work surfaces, and your knives appropriately. It's a pretty deep dive in [inaudible 00:27:37]. It's fascinating.

Nicole S:                      That's amazing. I have the through the Nave, I have a GI Bill, and when I retire, was like, well, I got this GI Bill, and I have a master’s degree. I don't really think I'm going to ever get a doctorate. I might go to culinary school. There's a lot of culinary schools, especially in ICC in New York that really great about accepting GI Bills and they'll use them for that. They'll help you with the cost. I consider doing that. It's not even because I think I want to be a chef, it's just I love the idea of gaining that knowledge. Do you know what I'm talking about?

                                    I think people when they think about, well, should I go back to culinary school? I don't think it's because you necessarily want to be a chef. It's because you want that knowledge. I had the wonderful opportunity, I've talked about this before, that I've gotten the opportunity to go to a part-time culinary school in DC. I would do it at night twice a week. It was insane how long the hours were. I was always extremely tired the next day, but I learned and took so much from that course. I really truly loved it. I completely understand why you'd want to go to culinary school.

                                    I will put a link to the show notes to the course that you are taking. Because we're talking about culinary school, I want to jump to some of your recipes. The first one up, I couldn't wait to talk about this, was your popover recipe. Oh, my goodness. I watched that video three times. Now, I have it in my cart on Amazon is a popover pan. My husband's going to be like, "Another pan? Seriously?" If you saw my collection of pots and pans, you would understand what he's saying.

Madalaine M:               Absolutely, absolutely. The thing that I love about the popovers is that, not only are they incredibly easy, but everybody has these ingredients on hand. They have a huge wow factor and they're fun. I mean, they're just so ... I mean it's like magic in your own oven. A popover pan is fabulous and they give you great amazing popovers, but you can also make them in a muffin tin, and get really great results too. The biggest key to that is letting the batter rest. On my blog ...

Nicole S:                      Actually, walk us through it. Can you walk us through it from start to finish, kind of, with a muffin tin? If you had a muffin tin because some people are like, "Girl, I am not buying a popover pan." I know, I know, we're going to walk you through in a muffin tin. Walk us through.

Madalaine M:               Exactly. All right, so this is one of those recipes where it really helps to like read it all the way through. I'll tell you what the key is right now. Before you preheat your oven, make your batter. You want to get four eggs and give those a good whisk, and then pour in a cup and a half of milk. And then, about a cup and a half, or ten ounces of flour, and a teaspoon of salt, and then go ahead and melt two tablespoons of butter and stir that all together. It can be a little lumpy. That's okay. Stir that together. Put in a nice clean bowl, but a dish towel over it, and let it rest for 20 minutes. That is key.

                                    Go ahead and preheat your oven to 450 degrees. You can get your muffin tin out, and spray it with nonstick spray. Actually, I take that back, before you spray it with nonstick spray, put it in your oven, and go ahead, and let it come up to temperature because what you're trying to do is you're going to take this cold batter, and you're going to pour it into a really hot ten. It's going to cause a million little explosions that are going to create this lift, like a hot air balloon, and that's going to be your popover.

                                    The reason why you're letting your batter rest, is you're letting the gluten absorb all the liquid and the eggs, and it's going to become pliable. All the gluten in the flour is going to become pliable. It's going to be stretchy and that's where the 20 minutes comes in. You can also let it rest for an hour, an hour and a half, but if you do, you might want to go ahead and put it in the refrigerator. About 20 minutes before you're ready to put it in the muffin tins, let it out, come to room temperature, and then bring out your hot muffin tin, straight from that 450-degree oven.

                                    Then, you want to spray it with your nonstick spray, and then quickly, as fast you can, pour in the batter until it's about half full that little muffin tin, and then pop it back into the oven. You're going to bake it there for 15 minutes. Without opening the door, lower the temperature to 350 degrees and let them cook for 20 minutes. That last 20 minutes, oh my gosh, make sure you turn the light on in your oven because you can really see the popovers just become little hot air balloons. It's magic. Absolutely magic.

Nicole S:                      That sounds so good. I love that it's actually quite easy, but they are quite ... popovers are very impressive. I find them impressive. Anytime I go to like a buffet or something and they have popovers if you have the choice between a dinner roll, and a popover, get a popover. It's delicious. Because they're just like, sometimes they're not soggy, but they're just a little bit moist inside and it's just delightful.

Madalaine M:               They are so good. You can eat them as a roll with a little extra butter, or you can cut them in half, and they're hallowed inside so you can put all sorts of fillings in them and use them as sandwiches.

Nicole S:                      Oh, that's a great idea. I love that. I want to talk about your pecan crusted salmon recipe. I bring this up because this is like a date night recipe to me. Let's say you're like a CrossFitter, and you see that guy or gal CrossFitter across the room, and you finally get up the nerve to ask them out, and then you got to be like, oh no, I don't know how to cook very well. Don't worry, this recipe's for you. You can make this for them. It's totally paleo approved. Madalaine, walk us through this really delicious [crosstalk 00:33:54].

Madalaine M:               I love this recipe. This is another one that is so tasty. I have served this. We've had people over for dinner, and they're like, "Oh, we're having fish." I'm like, "Yeah, we're having pecan crusted salmon." And they're like, "Oh, I don't like fish." And they love this dish. Love, love, loved this. I've actually converted people over to become seafood people. I'm really happy about that. With your salmon, you're going to take a salmon steaks or salmon little filets, and then go ahead and set those aside. I like to put them on with the skin side down onto just a baking sheet.

                                    I don't spray the baking sheet with any oil or nonstick spray because I actually want the skin to stick to the baking sheet. And then, in a small bowl, you're going to mix together, if you do bread crumbs, you can do bread crumbs, and herbs, and butter. If you want to go gluten-free, you can use almond flour or almond meal, and crushed up pecans. You want to make your pecan's and just crush them, crush them, crush them. Or, you can even do is taking about two cups, this is my personal favorite. I like to get two cups of pecans and just put them in a Ziploc bag and get a mallet, and just crush the heck out of them.

                                    Take about two tablespoons of dried herbs, and two tablespoons of melted butter, and mix them together until it starts to come together like coarse sand. Put that over the salmon, and preheat your oven to 375. You're going to back that for, okay, so the trick with fish is that for every half inch of thickness, you're going to bake that fish for 15 minutes. A lot of times, you'll find salmon filets that are maybe three-quarters of an inch or an inch thick, so you're going to bake that fish for about half an hour, depending on if you like it completely all the way done, or a little medium rare.

                                    Either way, you bring it out and put it on over a little mixture of sour cream, and mustard. So good. The mustard's cool and tangy, and the fish is hot and moist and full of that nutty flavor, and the herbs. Oh, it smells so good. You can even drizzle a little lemon juice over top. It is so good.

Nicole S:                      That sounds really delicious. What are you eating with that?

Madalaine M:               Usually, I'll do a little green salad with a homemade little vinaigrette. A nice side with that is maybe some beans and rice. If you like Spanish rice, it's really good with that too. Or even just some steamed broccoli dipped in butter.

Nicole S:                      It sounds delicious. What's your most popular recipe on your YouTube channel?

Madalaine M:               Let's see. On the YouTube channel, that would probably, it might be a toss-up between the chicken tortilla soup, which I did with my youngest stepdaughter, Brianna. We had so much fun doing that. That is your go-to request for her birthday meal. She always asks for chicken tortilla soup. It's probably a toss-up between that one and my dad's crab cakes. My dad's crab cake. That's also a video I did with my dad. That was tons of fun. He took mom to Emeril restaurant down in New Orleans for their 30th wedding anniversary. They actually got to meet Emeril.

                                    They sat at what they call the bar, but it was actually like a kitchen bar. Emeril was cooking for them, and pouring the wine. This was the recipe he gave my dad. I kid you not Nicole, you make this crab cake recipe. It will spoil you. You will not be able to go to another restaurant and order crab cakes because I haven't found any restaurant that's crab cakes compare to these. These are phenomenal. It's really big chunks of crab meat and the trick with these, is that you broil them in the oven. You use ... when you go to get crab in a can, you can either get a lump or a claw. You want to get the lump because you're really going to get those big, buttery, flakey, chunks of crab meat that are just divine. Those are the two biggest hits.

Nicole S:                      Yeah. That's a pretty big tall order because I spent four years by the bay in Maryland, so crab and crab cakes were a specialty there. People in Maryland will fight you if they tell that.

Madalaine M:               I hope they do. I hope they do.

Nicole S:                      Yeah. You know, there's somebody right now in Maryland, like I'm taking my earrings off. Those are fighting words.

Madalaine M:               If I ever had a chance to go up against Bobby Flay, this would be it.

Nicole S:                      Yeah, I'm like, okay. I'm going to try it. I believe Emeril has some really amazing food. I believe that that crab cake is probably bam, out of this world. I got to go back to Maryland. I don't want to get jumped because of a crab cake.

Madalaine M:               I spent 12 years on the east coast, in the DC area.

Nicole S:                      So, you know.

Madalaine M:               I get it.

Nicole S:                      You were putting down some words. You know. All right. I'm like, she knows what she's talking about you all. I want to ask you, what's been the most surprising thing about doing this? Like, about doing your YouTube channel, and your blog?

Madalaine M:               Wow, wow, wow. I would have to say, well, first of all, I really ... my impression of having a food blog and YouTube channel was like, oh yeah, I'll just snap a couple of pictures when I'm cooking dinner, and then, pop it up there. It'd be awesome. That could not be further from the truth. I was really surprised how much work goes into it, and how much learning about backend stuff, and CEO, and Google search, and all these different things that go into it. Even just, you know, photography. I mean, learning how to use a DSLR camera was like, whoa.

                                    I remember using one in the 70s because that's all we had. But then, actually going, oh, yeah, you can actually turn that little wheel off auto and get some really wonderful results. So, just all the work that goes into it. But, what surprised me more than anything, Nicole, was how much I love it. I mean, I wake up thinking about this pumpkin chili that I want to make inside the pumpkin shell. You know, how to bring out more flavors of chocolate. How can I make something low carb that's traditionally that's fat-free, or whatever? It's how can you bring the flavors together. I'm shocked at how much I actually love doing the work. I love it.

Nicole S:                      That's so great to hear. I love it when people love what they're doing. That's what I love about food bloggers and chef's, it's a labor of love for so many of you. I wouldn't even know how to make instant pot rice if there wasn't a food blogger out there going, do you know what? I'm going to find out how to use this thing and I'm going to learn how to teach everybody else how to use it. Instant Pot was embraced by food bloggers. Those were the first people who were like, let's learn how to use this contraption. I love food blogger's so much for that. And just the enthusiasm that you all have. I want to ask you, what is that one tip that you can give a home cook out there, that can help them make their meals more delicious tonight?

Madalaine M:               Let's see, to make things more delicious, the first thing, when you say delicious, the first thing that pops into my head is butter. Flavor is, fat is a carrier of flavor. If there's any way you can add more butter, I would say go for it. That aside, getting fresh herbs, either you can grow them, or you can just keep a few stocked in your refrigerator, I think adding chopped fresh herbs as a finishing touch on anything, not only does it visually give a wonderful pop of color, and we eat with our eyes first, but it also, the aroma, and the smell of having those fresh herbs hit you, it just adds so much variety, and flavor, and texture to anything that you're cooking.

                                    Another thing with herbs, if you don't have fresh herbs on hand and you're using dried herbs, I would just take a little skillet and kind of roll the herbs in your hands a little bit, kind of wake them up, and then toss them into that warm pan. Make sure you don't burn them. That heat from the pan, a dry pan, not butter, not anything else, just a dry skillet, will help open those flavors of those herbs up. You can either add that while you're cooking. You can add that as a finishing touch. Using that element of heat with your herbs, I think really will add a lot to what you're doing.

Nicole S:                      That is a fantastic tip and one that I did not know about, but will absolutely going to do, and that fresh herb as well. I have them always in my fridge. My husband's always like, "You are the fresh herb killer." Because I have so many that I sadly don't go through them all. There are just people right now going, "What's wrong with you?" I'm like, I know. I'm sorry.

Madalaine M:               Do you know what, Nicole? There is one other thing too. I hate doing dishes. I mean, if anything, that's probably the worst part about any cooking in the kitchen is the dishes part. I'm always looking for ways to multipurpose an item. Probably my best multipurpose tool is probably an ice cream scoop. The thing that I love about an ice cream scoop, not only obviously is it awesome for ice cream, have you noticed like if you're using, if you're trying to get mayonnaise or peanut butter for a recipe, and it calls for a cup, or a half a cup, and trying to get it into a measuring cup is so hard.

                                    If you take your ice cream scoop and if you measure that ice cream scoop, I think like a typical ice cream, like a normal one, they come in all sorts of sizes and the one I have is a quarter cup. I know that I can dip that in, it goes in perfectly in that mouth of a mayonnaise jar, or a peanut butter jar, or all sorts of different jars. It's the perfect size to go, level it out, and of course, if you have the one with the crank, then it takes it and just scoops it off perfectly, and neatly, and then it's one less thing you need to wash.

Nicole S:                      Girl. That is genius.

Madalaine M:               I love my ice cream scoop.

Nicole S:                      That is the best. Wow. I never thought about that. Wow. That's a great tip. Oh, my goodness. You have shared some good tips. Now, I'm going to have two good tips to share with everybody.

Madalaine M:               Thank you.

Nicole S:                      Okay, where can people find you on the internet, besides YouTube? Tell us where.

Madalaine M:               Okay, well, I have my blog and that is lakesidetable.com, L-A-K-E-S-I-D-E-T-A-B-L-E.com. You probably didn't need all that.

Nicole S:                      That's all right. Somebody [inaudible 00:45:49] for me. No.

Madalaine M:               I'm on Instagram at just as, lakesidetable, all one word. I'm on Pinterest as m_lakesidetable and YouTube. Yeah, those are where you can find me.

Nicole S:                      Well, you have been a delight and I'm so glad I got to talk to you.

Madalaine M:               Thank you so much, Nicole. This has been so much fun. I really enjoyed hanging out with you. Thank you so much for having me on.

Nicole S:                      So, isn't Madalaine just a sweetheart? That was really great to talk with her this week. I learned a lot. First of all, I had no idea you could go to culinary school online. What will they invent next? Seriously, it's kind of ridiculous in a good way. For all those people who have always wanted to go to culinary school, but there's no way you're ever going to be able to take off work to do that, or you live out in the middle of nowhere, and you just can't afford to move to New York, now you have an option, especially for people who don't necessarily want to work in the culinary industry. You just want that knowledge. Now, you have a great alternative that you can use.

                                    It sounds really cool. I've checked it out. It looks really awesome. If I wasn't already involved in a ton of other projects, I would probably enroll in Escoffier myself and check out that culinary school. I will put a link to that in the show notes. Also, the ice cream scoop thing, genius. Seriously, that is one of the most genius tips I have ever heard. I have used that tip since I first learned it from Madalaine. She is right, it's truly, if you get the right one and you measure it, you really can get like a half cup scoop out of it. Game changer, especially for peanut butter and for honey. Yeah, that was a great tip.

                                    There's not really many, or any corrections I want to make this week. I just want to let you know that season two is coming along great. I want to thank you if you subscribed to the podcast, that really helps. If you'd like to leave a review, I'd appreciate that as well. What's the best thing you can do is just tell someone else about this podcast and get them to subscribe as well. If there's someone out there who's a foodie, who you think will enjoy listening to me ramble on and chat with other fellow foodies, and you know, listen to me being a goofball, I love being a goofball, and talking about great food, let them know. Send them a link, and get them to subscribe. That really helps me out.

                                    Other than that, there's a Facebook group, by the way. If you're interested in joining that, I would highly recommend it. Right now, it's kind of like an exclusive thing. It's kind of like a new club where not a lot of people know about it, but don't worry. Soon enough, everyone's going to know about it, and then it's going to be like ridiculous. You're going to be standing out in line, wondering why can't I get into this club? Get in early. Join the Facebook group. There's all types of nifty cool things that I put in there. I'm only going to get even better. You can see it now while it's still raw, and new, and exciting.

                                    This has been BFF With The Chef, wishing you a fantastic week and hoping that you've been inspired to go out and make something delicious. Goodbye.

 

Olivia Hersey from LivFit Training (Transcript)

Olivia Hersey from LivFit Training (Transcript)

Welcome to BFF with the Chef. I'm your host, Nicole Schwegman. Aloha, fellow friends and foodies, and happy New Year. Today we are doing something a little different. I'm interviewing Olivia Hersey, the owner of LivFit Training, a company dedicated to helping women and men meet their fitness goals. Olivia has been living the dream in Hawaii, where she's been a certified personal trainer since 2014, and she's also a group fitness coach at F45, a high-intensity interval training student. Liv is also an avid foodies and takes her meals quite seriously. She aims to have her clients have a healthy and balanced approach to nutrition so that they can meet their goals.

Andris Lagsdin from Baking Steel (Transcript)

Andris Lagsdin from Baking Steel (Transcript)

Welcome to BFF With the Chef. I'm your host, Nicole Schwegman. Aloha, friends and foodies, and welcome back. Today, I'm getting the awesome opportunity to interview Andris Lagsdin, the chef and inventor of the Baking Steel. Andris started out as a chef, but gave up restaurant life to work for his family Steels business. While working there, he had the brilliant idea to create a Steel surface to cook pizza, based on a technique he read about in the book Modernist Cuisine by Nathan Myhrvold.

Jen Wooster from Peel with Zeal (Transcript)

Jen Wooster from Peel with Zeal (Transcript)

Aloha, friends and foodies, and welcome back. Today, I'm getting the chance to interview Jen Wooster, the creator of the healthy food blog, Peel with Zeal. Both Jen and her husband, who she affectionately calls Mr. Peel, suffer from different autoimmune diseases. She has Celiac Disease, while Mr. Peel suffers from a more serious diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. They both follow the Wahl's Protocol, a functional medicine diet, which Jen blogs about each week. Both she and her husband invite their readers to join them as they create healthy recipes that focus on healing your body through food. They believe that food and life should be fun and that a little bit of humor makes each dish taste just a little bit better.

Sandy Axelrod from The Traveling Locavores

Sandy Axelrod from The Traveling Locavores

Welcome to BFF with the Chef. I'm your host, Nicole Schwegman. Aloha, friends and foodies, and welcome back. Today I'm interviewing Sandy Axelrod, the chef behind The Traveling Locavores, a blog which chronicles her life, and the food she's cooked as an executive chef and caterer for more than 18 years. After receiving her grand diplome from the Cordon Bleu, Sandy spent 50 years working in the culinary field. Although she's retired from the professional kitchen, Sandy still spreads her love of all things culinary by teaching private cooking lessons and freelancing as a food writer. She's also the author of the cookbook Affairs to Remember, now currently available on her blog, and Amazon.

Morgan Murphy - Author and Food Critic (Transcript)

Morgan Murphy - Author and Food Critic (Transcript)

Aloha friends and foodies. First of all, happy Thanksgiving if you're listening to this on Thanksgiving. Today, I get to interview author, traveler, and amazing storyteller Morgan Murphy. His most recent book, On the Road Again, immediately hit number on Publisher Weekly's list when it was released, and his book, Bourbon and Bacon, also launched at number one in Wine & Spirits. His other books, Off the Eaten Path and Second Helps, have helped to make him one of the culinary world's best known food critics. You may have seen him on the Travel Channel or read his work in Southern Living, but in short, Morgan is everywhere. And by the way, he's one of my dear friends, so I'm really excited to have him on the show.

Haylie Abele from Our Balanced Bowl (Transcript)

Haylie Abele from Our Balanced Bowl (Transcript)

Welcome to BFF with the Chef. I'm your host, Nicole Schewgman. Aloha, friends and foodies and welcome back. Today I'm getting the chance to interview Haylie Ably. The blogger enforced behind our [balanced 00:00:20]. Haylie's blog is a fun, lighthearted place where she shares recipes that come straight from her kitchen. After losing 80 pounds and recovering from an eating disorder, she makes an emphasis on living a balanced lifestyle and is passionate about showing others how it can be done. Her recipes are mostly healthy, occasionally indulgent, and always filled with love.

Wendi Spraker from Loaves and Dishes (Transcript)

Wendi Spraker from Loaves and Dishes (Transcript)

Aloha, friends and foodies, and welcome back. Today I'm interviewing Wendi Spraker, the blogger behind Loaves and Dishes, a website dedicated to unapologetic comfort food, where Wendi also serves up funny stories, memories, and nourishment for body and soul. In addition to writing her blog, Wendi serves on the board of the International Food Bloggers Conference, where she recently also served as a moderator. She's a director of her local arts council culinary program, Taste of Stokes, and she's a food columnist at her local paper, The Stokes News. When she's not writing, teaching, or speaking at a food conference, you'll find Wendi at home in the mountains, enjoying her family, hiking, kayaking, or hugging her pugs.