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Category — Classes

not 1, not 2, not 3, but…

Four winners!

Many thanks to all of you who left comments these last few days for my Free Cooking Classes giveaway.

Before I announce the winners and show you the videos of the drawing, I have a few things to say.

So… today is my birthday. I pretty much love my birthday! I love everything about it, but the thing I love most is that it’s in October and it’s at the end of October.

What makes that so special is late October is when it finally cools down in the Arizona desert and life becomes enjoyable and the outside become bearable again. October is the best and the end of October is the very very best!

That is until this year.

100

All I can say, is what the hell is this!?!!! This is the worst! How is it even possible for this to be possible? One HUNDRED degrees on October 27th is not right! Not right at all. I am mad and this is ruining my birthday!

Alright. I’m done. I just had to get that off my chest. I’d love to say I feel better now that I’ve said it, but I don’t. I’ll try not to complain about it for the rest of the day.

Now, on to the enjoyable task at hand… giving away fun stuff!

Yesterday, after the entry time ended, I wrote the eligible names down on slips of paper and took them over to my neighbor, Karin’s, house. She and I are finishing the last-minute details on our neighborhood Fall Festival, which is this Sunday. I had Karin help me videotape the drawing. I held my iPhone, while Karin folded up all the slips of paper, put them in a pot and drew out the winners. I used the time-lapse feature on my phone for the first time.

I did… OK with it. Not great, but sufficient.  Here, you can judge for yourself:

Winner #1 for the cooking class on Tuesday, November 8th is…

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October 27, 2016   9 Comments

Free Cooking Classes!!!

It’s contest time!

win-class

To be entered to win a free cooking class, all you need to do is leave a comment on ANY post on this entire site. You can leave a comment on a recipe you’ve made. Or one you want to try. Or on a party theme you’ve enjoyed. Or on this very post. You can say whatever you want.  “This is great!” or “I want to win.” or “Come on pick me, I never win anything!”

Here is the low-down:

You are entering to win one of four (1 of 4) spots in an evening class that I teach at Les Gourmettes Cooking School.

It would probably be best if you actually lived in the Phoenix area, since that’s where the classes are held … because airfare and lodging are not included. 🙂

Classes are demonstration, they begin at 6:30 p.m. and end at 9:00 p.m. At the end of the cooking demo, we move to the dining room to enjoy the meal prepared in class. The classes are held at:

Les Gourmettes Cooking School
6610 North Central Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85012

mixers

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October 21, 2016   15 Comments

massage your kale

One of my favorite Valley chefs, Kevin Binkley, was the teacher at Les Gourmettes this week. I’ve mentioned Kevin and his stellar restaurant, Binkley’s, many times before on this site.

Chef Kevin Binkley

Photo

Kevin was able to do something that no one else has done, make me a kale salad lover – as long as it’s this salad! I could eat it every single day for lunch and dinner and be a happy camper.

dinosaur and curly kale

Kevin calls it a crushed kale salad. It is the same technique you’ll find all over the internet, only they are calling it massaging the kale instead of crushing it. One thing he does differently is to tear the kale into bite-sized pieces instead of cutting it into ribbons or chiffonade.

In this video, I’m holding the camera with my left hand and only using my right to massage the kale. You’ll use both hands.

 

So why crush or massage the kale? Because doing so helps break down the very strong cell structure of the leaves. After a couple of minutes, you’ll notice a visible difference as you massage the kale; the leaves darken, they shrink and wilt and become quite silky, and most importantly, palatable. Raw kale is bitter and tough, massaging or crushing is key to enjoying it uncooked.

roast walnuts

One big take-away for me from the class was the way Kevin toasts nuts. Instead of spreading them on a dry baking sheet, like I usually do, he tosses the nuts in a little oil and salt. If you’ve ever toasted nuts before, you know that when they are done, they are dry. So dry that salt, sugar, or spice won’t stick to them. Tossing them in the oil and seasoning before toasting is so much better!

Two points I need to make: You’ll notice the recipe calls for raspberries, I didn’t have any, but they are a beautiful, colorful and yummy addition to the salad. Also, be sure to buy bunches of kale, not the bagged chopped up variety. The bagged stuff has the center ribs included, you don’t want the ribs. I used one bunch of dinosaur or black kale and one bunch of curly kale. A mix is a nice way to go.

Oh, and if you’re interested in learning more about Kevin Binkley – enjoy this great documentary.

Binkley's Crushed Kale Salad

Binkley’s Crushed Kale Salad

Toasted Walnuts

  • 1 cup raw walnut halves
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • Egg yolk from 1 small egg (or 1/2 yolk from a large egg)
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and diced shallot
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Salad

  • 2 bunches kale (a mix of dinosaur, curly, and/or red)
  • 1 ½ cups finely shredded Parmesan, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 navel oranges
  • 1 container raspberries

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April 29, 2016   1 Comment

from the table to the pot

Thanksgiving table

It is always a good idea to use seasonal produce in a centerpiece, especially on a Thanksgiving table. After all, the holiday is all about bounty and nothing looks more bountiful than beautiful fruits and vegetables.

Of course, we don’t want to be wasteful either, so using that produce for meals in the days to follow is a must!

centerpiece

Our Thanksgiving centerpiece consisted of pomegranates, tangerines and persimmons (later used in a salad) baby zucchini and pattypan squash (sautéed as a side dish that weekend) along with the winter squashes of butternut, acorn and delicata, used for the following soup recipe.

The recipe is the same one I used for a cooking class last Wednesday at Les Gourmettes Cooking School. The only difference was that instead of seven cups of mixed squash, I used 3 cups of butternut along with red bell peppers and sweet potatoes.  The variation for that soup is included.

placesetting

Here is one more photo from our holiday dinner – one of the placesettings.

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December 7, 2015   1 Comment

It’s all about the packaging!

As you know, I am not a baker. I don’t enjoy it. I don’t have the patience for it. I am not good at it. Even so, there are times when I do have to bake. When teaching cooking, for example.

This last recipe from my “Gifts of Food” class at Les Gourmettes is a dozy. I decided to add it to the class for one reason and one reason only – the packaging.

Big mistake for a person who doesn’t enjoy baking!

packaged

But sometimes packaging is everything. At times, cute packaging is all it takes to cause you to make a bad purchasing decision. Buyer’s remorse sets in soon afterwards.

adorable

But come on! How cute is this cookie, that looks like a mini double crust lattice pie, in an adorable little scalloped window box, on top of a doily and all tied up with bakers twine?!?  To me – it’s Irresistible!

I’m sure most of us can admit that we’ve bought something only because of the packaging and not so much for what was inside. These bad decisions not only happen when purchasing something, though. Making this cookie to teach in front of a class of students is a case in point.

In my defense, I do know how to and do enjoy doing lattice work with pie dough. On pies! Turns out that making lattice work with cookie dough is not the same thing! Not by a mile! Pie dough is flexible and easy to work with. Cookie dough is delicate, tears, falls apart and needs to be refrigerated over and over again.

  • Time and Patience!
  • Qualities a baker has.
  • Qualities I do not!

So if you’re a baker – this recipe is for you!

If you’re not, but you have a friend who is – a very good friend who will let you call the cookies your own – have them make them for you!

Or just make the dough, roll it out and use decorative cookie cutters on it.  The cookies are not only pretty – they are quite delicious too.

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December 2, 2015   No Comments

coffee cubes

wishbone

It’s obvious that I’ve been away from blogging too long. I’m not quite back in the grove because I somehow missed my traditional Thanksgiving post. So here’s wishing you and yours a love and fun filled Thanksgiving weekend.

Back to the business at hand.

I hesitate to share this next “Gifts of Food” recipe. I was thinking I should try to market it to my dear friends Steve Kraus & Tram Mai to sell in their Press Coffee Roasters stores. The packaging is so cute that even though I don’t drink coffee, I’d buy these puppies just for the sweet little sack!

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November 27, 2015   No Comments

cookie snow globe

This is the favorite of the six recipes I taught for my “Gifts of Food” class last week at Les Gourmettes.  It’s just so darn cute and has so many elements I love.

  1. Cookies
  2. Food in jars
  3. Pretend snow (isn’t cold and doesn’t melt!)
  4. Adorableness in abundance

snow globe

I mean, seriously, how happy would you be if someone gave you this?  Not only cute, but yummy too!

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November 25, 2015   1 Comment

salt of the earth

salts

The third of the six recipes I taught at my “Gifts of Food” cooking class at Les Gourmettes was the gift of flavored salts.

You don’t need to be a wonderful cook to make these. But every wonderful cook you know would love to receive them!

The Wild Mushroom Salt is fantastic to use in soups and sauces, and makes the perfect seasoning for all meats or for sautéing fresh vegetables.

Use the Smoked Paprika and Ancho Chile Salt in every Mexican, Spanish and Southwest recipe you can think of! Or be adventurous and rim your margarita glasses with it.

Lime-Ginger Salt is also great to use to rim a drink glass and is fabulous to sprinkle on chicken or fish before grilling.

The most versatile of the four salts, use the Herbes de Provence Salt to season everything from meats and poultry to soups, vinaigrettes and sauces.

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November 24, 2015   No Comments

fall granola

Last week I told you I had nothing new in the way of recipes for  Thanksgiving this year. On second thought, I do have a little something for you.

my poached pear

I made a delicious pumpkin granola for my “Gifts of Food” class at Les Gourmettes. If you are looking for a last minute simple and healthy Thanksgiving dessert, this granola, paired with poached pears, fits the bill. Plus,the granola doubles as a great gift to package and give at Christmas.

Pumpkin Spice Granola

Recipe adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen by Sara Forte

1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup Grade B maple syrup
1/3 cup pumpkin purée

3 tablespoons sesame seeds

2 ½ tablespoons melted coconut oil
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans

1/2 cup toasted pepitas
3/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

pumpkin

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together salt, pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, pumpkin purée and sesame seeds until smooth. Stir in coconut oil.

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November 23, 2015   2 Comments

en Papillote

salmon en papillote

This is the salmon and spinach recipe that I was talking about in yesterday’s post. I’ve corrected two items from the original recipe – which I enjoyed at the Ballymaloe Cookery School. The first change being the enormous amount of spinach the recipe called for. I’ve reduced it from 2-pounds to 8-ounces. If you make this dish you will be amazed to think that 2 pounds could have ever been used!

too small

The second major change was the shape and size of parchment. The original recipe called for a 10-inch circle. I’ve made Fish en Pappillote (in parchment) several times before, so I should have known better. The traditional shape is a heart, not a circle. Even if a circle is used, 10-inches is in no way large enough, as you can see from the photos above and below.

the good the bad

I’d already cut out the 16 parchment circles I needed for a cooking class, so I went ahead a struggled through by using them … along with about 60 paper clips to hold the parcels together!

I don’t mean to make it sound as though the recipes from Ballymaloe where bad. There were 14 recipes from that wonderful day of cooking and this is the only one I’ve had to correct or modify.

The thing I like best about this recipe is the fact that the parcels are steamed – not baked. Fish en Papillote is traditionally baked, I love this extra-moist alternate way of cooking so much, that I think I’ll steam instead of bake from here on out.

This is the very definition of healthy and delicious!

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December 17, 2014   No Comments