Jeff and I just spent a couple of days with the good folks at General Mills and a bunch of super talented bloggers. We got a tour of the GM headquarters, which seems more like a small city, than a company. The campus is outfitted with test kitchens, a cookbook library, photo studios, banks, dry cleaners, grocery stores, secret recipe testing labs (I tried to sneak in, but security is tighter than the white house) and halls lined with the history of the company, which goes back to the 1800s. It is quite amazing to see how this company has shaped Minneapolis and the food culture in general. We were there as part of an event for Gold Medal bloggers. In addition to seeing the inner workings of the company, we got to visit with the people behind the blogs. Some of them we’d travelled to Kansas with to ride the combines and tour the mills, and others we just met for the first time. All of them have amazing blogs, which I have no doubt you’ve visited.
Here are some highlights of our days with Gold Medal – including pictures of us racing on segways. I have to admit I was terrified to reveal any photos on a segway, but it was so much fun I have to own my love for this strange mode of transportation.
We started out the day getting tips from the food stylist. This is her magic tool kit.
Then a few pointers on photography.
We toured one of the prop rooms (there are three more). Swoon.
My personal favorite was the session with two flour/baking geeks (I do believe they would take that as a compliment, as intended). They run the top-secret testing lab I mentioned earlier and politely declined when I invited myself to come visit.
Then came the segways. It was a blast!
Need I say more?
Jeff and I are just cool enough (total geeks) to don helmets and ride segways in our home town. The rest of the bloggers at least had the comfort of being away from home.
Then off to the Mill City Museum. A place Jeff and I have been many times to teach at the Farmer’s Market.
Ready for his close up.
Segways are a sure way to bond. Julie and I discovered our true nature (competitive and incapable of following the single-file-rule).
The next day we got to bake in the Betty Crocker Test Kitchens.
The space is filled with light and every piece of equipment a baker could ever want.
Jeff and I had a blast. Thanks to the team at Gold Medal for a great time in the kitchens and beyond. OK, so what did we bake with Gold Medal All-Purpose Flour? It wasn’t bread, for once–it was blintzes, which are basically Jewish crepes filled with cheese. Can’t remember which recipe we used that day, but Jeff dug out his grandmother’s and here it is:
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup Gold Medal All-Purpose Flour
1 pound Eastern European farmer cheese (it’s crumbly, often available in Russian stores in the US)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
Beat the eggs, milk, and flour to form a thin batter. Heat a crepe pan or a small skillet over medium heat until very hot and then butter it; wipe out excess butter with a paper towel. Pour a little batter and swirl to just cover bottom. Cook until shrinks slightly from pan and then peel off pan-bottom with a fork; flip and briefly cook (tjhey’ll just barely brown). Stack the blintzes on a plate. The first few may be “practice” until the pan “cures.” Use more butter if things are sticking.
Mix cheese, sugar, and flour to create the filling. Place a large spoonful in the middle of each blintz, then fold sides over toward the middle. Tuck top and bottom to form a packet. Fry them in butter in a skillet just before serving with a dollop of sour cream or jam.
Pictures were taken by Joe Dickie – (I took the first picture and the one in the prop room, just so you know Joe can focus.)
Note: Gold Medal Flour is a sponsor of BreadIn5, LLC’s promotional activities.