Category Archives: Foodie Road Trip

My Visit to the GE Monogram Experience Center in Louisville

If you read my last post, or follow me on twitter, you know I was in Louisville, Kentucky last week visiting the GE Monogram Experience Center with a great group of food bloggers from around the country. Some of those bloggers were people I felt like I already knew from all of our interactions through social media and had been dying to meet IRL…

This is Coryanne Ettiene of Housewife Bliss

And then there were some of those bloggers I did not know at all before this trip and now feel like we’ve been friends forever…

My new partner in crime, Sarah of 20SomethingCupcakes.


I have to say, I was familiar with the slogan “GE We bring good things to life”, but I had no idea they were involved in manufacturing so many things; from light bulbs to airplane components and everything in between! We were brought in to learn specifically about the Monogram line of appliances GE has to offer in their high end category.

Our time was broken into segments of classroom time, where we learned about the specs and features of each appliance, and then we got to head into the kitchen and gets some hands on experience.

The fully integrated refrigerators are pretty unique in that they offer a full sized drawer that can go from refrigeration to freeze and back again, giving you the option to use either feature when you need it. How cool is that?

The under cabinet Ice Maker (aka the bourbon ice maker) makes a continuous cycle of fresh ice, in perfect little squares; just right for cocktails, and perfect for people like me who love to entertain (and drink cocktails).

Well,  and of course we had some fun during our time outside of the Monogram Experience Center… our visit to the 21C Hotel which hosts an art gallery and  trendy bar, was the perfect spot for us to hang together on our first night.

As I mentioned earlier, we got to put on our aprons and break into teams (I’m pictured above with my teammates Isabel of Family Foodie & Coryanne of Housewife Bliss) to test out the appliances and participate in an Iron Chef competition (right up our ally!).  For the chive potato cakes that I made, I took advantage of the speed cooking opportunities that the Advantium oven offers. I needed to cook 2 pounds of red potatoes before I could mash them and shape them into cakes, so I popped them into the Advantium and 5 minutes later they were ready! The Advantium offers multi-level cooking: Speedcook, True European Convection, sensor microwave, and warming. My team rallied together in this 50 minute challenge and ended up in a tie for 1st place!

GE knew what a group of foodies would want to do in our down time, so they took us on a visit to Bourbon Barrel Foods  where we got to sample some of their amazing bourbon smoked sugar and other goodies (yes, that is bourbon lemonade in my cup). While there, we also had a tour of a micro brew soy sauce company. A lot of love goes into brewing soy sauce in small batches, and it sure pays off; it was fantastic!

A trip to Louisville would not be complete without a trip to Churchill Downs. So on our last day, that’s exactly what we did. Attending the Kentucky Derby in a pretty dress and fancy hat is still on my bucket list, so I will have to go back!

Thank you to GE for such an informative look at your kitchen appliances, and for sharing your charming city with all of us.

Here is a list of my food blogging friends that attended this event with me. Be sure to check them out—I miss them already!

Brenda from A Farm Girl’s Dabbles
Molly and Caitlin from Cooking with Caitlin
Coryanne from Housewife Bliss
Heather from Farm Girl Gourmet
Lisa of With Style and Grace
Brian of A Thought for Food
Maggy from Three Many Cooks
Irvin of Eat the Love
Teri and Jenny from Spoon Fork Bacon
Isabel at Family Foodie
Jenn at Foodess
Cynthia from The Daily Basics
Sarah from 20 Something Cupcakes
Kris from Young Married Chic


Ultimate Kentucky Hot Brown and a visit to Louisville

I just returned from my first visit to Louisville, Kentucky where I had the opportunity to tour GE’s Monogram design center. The best part? I got to go and hang out with some of my favorite bloggers from all over the country. Some of those bloggers I felt like I already knew from our conversations on Twitter, so meeting in person was a real treat!

Our group stayed at the lovely Brown Hotel, est. in 1923, and known for its Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich, created by the hotel’s chefs shortly after opening. This open faced sandwich features a thick slice of toasted bread that is topped with a generous amount of roasted turkey, a crazy amount of mornay sauce, tomato, Parmesan, and garnished with 2 slices of crispy bacon. What’s not to fall in love with here? Eating a Kentucky Hot Brown  was on my wish list during  the 48 hours I spent in Louisville, an idea my new friend Sarah of 20 Something Cupcakes was also on board with.

Though we found many ways to enjoy the bourbon Kentucky is famous for, we never got our hands on that sandwich. Eating a Hot Brown prepared at the Brown Hotel will remain on our bucket lists along with attending the Kentucky Derby in a beautiful dresses and fancy hats.


In the meantime, Chef Joe Castro, who worked as executive chef at the Brown Hotel for 15 years shared his recipe with me, which I decided to make at home for my family upon my return.

I know now what all the fuss was about, cuz boy was it good! It is however extremely rich. The recipe makes 2 sandwiches, but the idea of using a quart of heavy cream was something I couldn’t get my arms around. I followed chef Joe’s recipe, but made 4 sandwiches with the sauce and still had a bit leftover. I also reduced the amount of turkey. So did I recreate a true Kentucky Hot Brown with my changes? I don’t know, but it was about all our stomachs could tackle, and I am pretty sure I won’t be having my cholesterol checked any time soon!

Stay tuned for more about my trip to Louisville and the GE Monogram Experience Center tour.

Kentucky Hot Brown (recipe courtesy of Joe Castro)


1/2 Stick Butter
1/3 Cup Flour
1 Quart Heavy Cream
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, Plus 1 Tablespoon for Garnish
Salt & Pepper to Taste
14 Ounces Sliced Roasted Turkey Breast
2 Slices of Texas Toast (Crust Trimmed)
4 Pieces of Crispy Bacon
2 Roma Tomatoes, Sliced in Half Lengthways
1 tsp Paprika
2 tsp Chopped Parsley
  1. In a sauce pan over medium-high heat melt the butter then add the flour to make a roux.
  2. Cook for 2 minutes while stirring then whisk in the cream
  3. Add the bay leaf and nutmeg to the cream and bring the cream to a simmer (make sure you stir often as the roux will stick to the bottom and burn)
  4. Once it’s simmering cook for two minutes then take off the heat and add the 1/2 cup of Parmesan and season to taste with salt and pepper
  5. Using two small, oven-safe dishes place a slice of bread and cover with half of the turkey.
  6. Cover the turkey with half of the cream sauce then place two tomato halves along side of the toast and turkey.
  7. Sprinkle each dish with the remaining Parmesan and cook under a broiler until brown and bubbly
  8. Remove from the broiler and cross two slices of bacon over each Hot Brown then garnish with a pinch of paprika and a little parsley



Early Release Party and Book Signing

After a very long wait and a whole lot of work, my book is finally getting closer to release date!

Celebration started  a bit early with an event hosted by Kathy Corbet and Custom Kitchens here in Richmond.

Guests enjoyed samples of a few of the recipes from my book, like: Crab Cakes with Pacific Rim Sauces, Wonton Crisps with Smoked Salmon, and Slow Cooked Hoisin Pork (served slider style with Asian slaw).

The evening was a lot of fun, and a wonderful way to get excited about my upcoming book tour.

Are you in Nashville? I will be kicking off my tour in  Nashville at the Viking Culinary Center on April 14th for a cooking demonstration and book signing. You can learn more about the event and register here.

I’m so excited to to meet some of my food blogging/twitter friends in the next few months! Stay tuned in the next few days for the rest of my schedule. Hope to see you soon!

Here’s a look at the celebration, thanks to Beth Furgurson who  captured  some  of the moments on film.