Executive Chef David Maplethorpe retired from the Rex Bar and Grill the day after Valentine’s Day. With the sudden closing of the iconic restaurant, Maplethorpe exited earlier than his planned May 20th date, after fulfilling his commitments with the Montana State University Billings Wine and Food Festival.
Vine-ripened tomatoes. Sugary-sweet corn. Crunchy-spicy radishes. There’s no better time than the present, while winter lurks, to plan your summer harvest. We need hope, visions of deliciousness, especially after living through one of the heaviest Montana snowfalls in 30 years.
In our busy lives, getting dinner on the table can be challenging. Making sure your family receives nourishment not only involves the act of cooking, but also planning and shopping even before pans can be pulled out, and the stove and oven turned on. But these days, fresh food for dinner can be easily secured. Pre-packaged ingredients for cooking dinner are one click away on your smart phone or tablet. Then at the grocery store, a wide selection of ready to cook and eat food is available.
The holidays are upon us and this is the time of the year that food traditions from years past are recreated and savored. For Lori Smith, it is fruitcake, Carolyn Holmlund leftse, and Chef Jeffrey Cooper latkes.
Instead of the traditional Thanksgiving feast brimming with animal-based products, a plant-based option could become the norm this season. The traditional meal of roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, and green beans with cream of mushroom soup can be re-created with flavorful plant-based choices. Even pumpkin pie can be made without milk, butter, and eggs.
On Billings’ Montana Avenue in Billings, Brewmaster Michael Uhrich of Carter’s Brewing and Executive Chef Jeremy Engebretson of Lilac are brewing new flavors. While many think of pairing food with wine, the duo is partnering beer with food, beyond the ballpark hot dogs and mass produced aluminum canned libations advertised with frogs and beautiful women.
Clint Peck lives with the mantra of, “Don’t say whoa in the middle of a mud hole.” Peck left cattle ranching to make wine, fermenting the dream at his Yellowstone Cellars and Winery in Billings, Mont. Tucked in a small industrial space on the West End of town, the winery will produce about 3,400 cases of wine this year.
What is the beef about steak? At the table, with fork and knife in hand, do we really know and appreciate the food before us? In this program, we journeyed to the American Fork Ranch in Two Dot, Montana located under the Crazy Mountains to travel from pasture to plate.
With my producer Jackie Yamanaka, I attended the inaugural Raising the Steaks: 2016 Environmental Stewardship Ranch Tour. About 40 people, mostly ranchers, learned about how the health of rangeland, streams and creeks, and wildlife interplay and influence successful cattle ranching.
The 2016 MSU Billings Wine and Food Festival Winemasters Symposium brought together winemakers Marc Mondavi of Charles Krug Winery and Divining Rod Winery along with Joy Merrilees of Shannon Ridge Family of Wines, and Executive Nick Steen of the Northern Hotel. For the symposium, Chef Steen created a menu that partnered with the wines provided by the festival’s winemasters.