Grilling in Wisconsin: Q&A with Food Blogger Erin Clarke

Erin-Clarke-1Blogger and food lover Erin Clarke of The Law Student’s Wife chatted with us about her love for baking, cooking and of course, grilling.

COR: Where did you get your love of cooking?

Erin: Food has always been a part of my life-ever since I was a little girl. I was taught by two of the world’s greatest cooks and would spend my childhood baking. Cooking came to me later because I had to come to grips with not being able to live on cookies and cakes alone.

I created my blog, The Law Student’s Wife, because I’ve always loved to write. When I moved to Wisconsin I used blogging as a way to share what was happening in my life “Up North”.  My blog has helped me share and broaden my vision of community which, to me, is the dinner table.  My recipes focus on taking classic comfort dishes and adapt them to be lighter and healthier – and above all on a budget.

COR: What do you love the most about the culinary scene in Wisconsin?

Erin: What I love the most about Wisconsin is the state pride for everything Wisconsin – especially their cheese.

Grilled-Halloumi-Cheese-with-Fresh-Cherry-Salsa-The-Law-Student's-Wife-1COR: Can you tell me a little bit about your recipe, Grilled Halloumi Cheese with Fresh Cherry Salsa?

Erin: I love the concept of cheese on the grill, Halloumi cheese especially. It’s amazing for vegetarians and a great appetizer. It’s a very clean and fresh dish that’s simple and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients. The Arbequina extra-virgin olive oil really helps bring out the rich flavor of the cheese.  The cherries bring a fresh, tart summery flavor to the Halloumi cheese, creating a rich, creamy and sweet flavor profile.

COR: If you weren’t going to go with cheese, what other ingredient do you think embodies Wisconsin’s grilling traditions?

Erin: It would have to be a bratwurst. Here in Wisconsin we have a serious take on brats. There are so many vendors and they take it very seriously. I would only eat a brat in Wisconsin, because I know it’s gonna be done right.

COR: What are some of your favorite flavors to grill with during the summer?

Erin: It really depends on what I’m cooking, but I love citrus flavors. I think citrus and summer go really well together. One of my favorite things to make is Shrimp with pineapple, olive oil, salt and pepper, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

COR: What was the first thing you ever fixed on the grill?

Erin: The first thing I ever learned how to grill were my Dad’s hamburgers, which I still miss to this day, but on my own it was a basic pork tenderloin. I also love to grill bread. There is nothing better than grilled bread.

COR: Let’s talk favorites? What’s your favorite thing about grilling?

Erin: I love the pride people take around barbecue, their secret sauce or special rub. The pride people take in their method is just amazing.

COR: The 4th of July is a big grilling holiday. What are some grilling traditions you or your family keep?

Erin: The 4th of July has always been a very big deal –more so when I was growing up. We’d have a big family dinner and sit up on the roof and watch all the fireworks around town. We always have the same meal every year my Grandma’s baby back ribs, grilled corn-on-the-cob, and I always bring a strawberry pie with whipped cream and blueberries for a red, white and blue feel.

COR: Do you have any grilling tips for our readers?

Erin: Preparation is really important. When things start going it can move really quickly. Make sure your grill is at the right temperature and that it’s properly oiled. And finally, there is no reason why a woman can’t rock it on the grill!

For more delicious recipes from Erin, and to follow her life in Wisconsin, visit her blog The Law Student’s Wife!