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Category — Classes


Two weeks ago when I posted a picture of all the tomatoes, potatoes, onions, and garlic that we’d be using in classes, a loyal follower asked to see a picture of what my refrigerator looked like at the start of classes. I said, “Oh no you don’t!” I assured her that it was so full, that one had to worry about things falling out when opening the door, and that my extra freezer in the laundry room was so full that I had to use duct tape to ensure that it would keep closed – embarrassing but true! But she insisted that she would enjoy seeing the fridge, so I told her I’d post a picture before the next set of classes… the day has come…ouch!

Above is the new set of tomatoes, potatoes, citrus, and friends and below……. is the fridge – don’t judge, it’s my job.  And you will never see a picture of the duct-taped freezer, and that’s final!

Yes, the drawers have been over-filled so many times, that they no longer have usable tracks to run on. They are currently so full that you couldn’t fit a tiny jalapeno into any one of them right now!

Now on to prettier and tastier things…

Ganache (pronounced /gah NAHSH/) is a rich mixture of chocolate and cream which can be used as a frosting or filling. Depending on the intended use, different ratios of chocolate to cream are used, to create anything from a light glaze to a dense and rich chocolate truffle. Although ganache is exceedingly luxurious, it is what I like to call “easy-breezy” to make!  Ganache was developed in the mid-1800s, and both France and Switzerland claim credit for the invention.

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June 13, 2011   4 Comments

topsy turvy

One of my favorite comfort food desserts is pineapple upside-down cake, well it’s actually a toss-up between that and my famous carrot cake.

For their graduation luncheon, the teens in last week’s class requested  “cake, cupcakes, pineapple upside-down cake, macarons, and ‘something’ chocolate”. 

After compiling all of their suggestions, I settled on pineapple upside-down cupcakes and macarons filled with chocolate ganache.  The easy cupcakes are here today and the much more complicated and patience-needed macarons will be posted on Tuesday.

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June 12, 2011   5 Comments

all the rage…

What makes something suddenly become a fad, the new “in” thing, all the rage?  Especially when it’s something that’s been around forever?  And when I say “forever” – I’m talking about more than 200 years.  And what I’m talking about are cupcakes!

According to the source of all modern knowledge… Wikipedia… “The first mention of the cupcake can be traced as far back as 1796 when a recipe notation of “a cake to be baked in small cups” was written in American Cookery by Amelia Simms. The earliest documentation of the term cupcake was in “Seventy-five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats” in 1828 in Eliza Leslie’s Receipts cookbook.”

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June 8, 2011   No Comments

soup lovers

On the last day of classes each week, I ask the kids, “What was your favorite thing you ate this week, excluding desserts?” (I have to say, “excluding desserts” or all ten of the kids would rattle off one of 8 desserts we had made, trust me, I know – I was a kid once too and I’ve made the mistake before!) Six of the ten kids from last week said that the potato and bacon soup was their favorite dish.

Darn it, if I would have known that before, those six kids would have automatically been my teacher’s pets, because as you know… I Love Soup!

We made a couple of other soups too, and I’ll post those in the coming days, plus a few more of the pastas, cupcakes, and sweets – stay tuned…

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June 5, 2011   2 Comments

red lobster

In addition to the wonderful duck skin I brought home from Les Gourmettes after the last class of the season, I also was privileged to receive 3 lobster shells. I used them to make 4 cups of lobster stock, 2 cups of which I have used to make luxurious Lobster Risotto. I happened to also have a frozen lobster tail in my freezer, so I’ve cooked the tail, used the meat for the risotto, and used that shell to make lobster oil, which is drizzled on top of the finished dish… truly outstanding!

In the next week, I plan to take the remaining 2 cups of lobster stock and make another dish, maybe a Maine lobster bisque…. I’ll decide upon that later and share with you what transpires. In the meantime, here is the recipe for the lobster stock… tomorrow the oil and risotto will be posted.

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May 13, 2011   No Comments

lucky duck

One of the countless benefits of working at a world-class cooking school is the goodies I get to bring home. Not only delicious leftovers but in most cases, what I even appreciate more are the by-products of the food made there.  The chicken, beef, and veal bones; extra produce that was purchased but not used; even homemade puff pastry that a chef made as a demo and then left behind. Earlier this week was the last class of the season and I hit the mother load; lobster shells and duck skin.  Today we will use the duck skin and in the following days I will show you how to make priceless lobster stock and lobster oil, and then use those to make lobster risotto, YUM!

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May 12, 2011   No Comments


First and foremost, I must thank my amazing guest blogger of the past two days; my gorgeous, generous, gracious, and very talented daughter, Marissa. It was a joy to have two full days off without any stress or guilt. Yes, it is strange but true, I feel guilty when I don’t post. Not because any of you, my kind and loyal followers make me feel so, just my own self-imposed desire to be a true “daily” blogger.  Take, for instance, last Friday and Saturday. I was overwhelmed and overworked preparing for a cooking class birthday party I was holding on Saturday night. I had not only the usual recipes to type and copy and the food to shop for and prep – but also a house to clean, furniture to move, linens to press, centerpieces to make, china, crystal, and cutlery to polish, a table to set, and weather to fret over.  Posting was out of the question and I felt bad about that. But the class went off without a hitch, (in part, thanks to my perfect assistant, Marissa) the dinner was lovely, the weather cooperated, and the guests left educated, full, and happy.

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May 11, 2011   1 Comment

garden party

I’m gearing up for a demonstration cooking class in the garden next weekend.  In that garden spirit, I made myself a delicious breakfast gazpacho drink this morning, what a way to get the day started!

I hope you’ll come out to see me at Berridge Nurseries (4647 E. Camelback in Phoenix) next Saturday, April 16th, at noon.

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April 8, 2011   No Comments

what’s this?

Do you know what this is a picture of?

It’s the Girl Scout cooking badge.  I’ll be working with 10 young ladies, helping them earn their badges today. A recipe will follow from the class, once I’ve cleaned up the kitchen, that is…

OK, class of over. The girls have their badges. The kitchen is clean and I’ve had my enchilada for dinner. Life if good! One reason I like to use this particular recipe for Girl Scout cooking classes is that it is a real family-pleaser. The enchiladas are creamy, mild, and cheesy, what’s not to like?

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March 30, 2011   1 Comment

Prime Rib meal #2 – Soup!

This is meal #2, using the idea of “Cook Once – Eat All Week”. Yesterday we cooked a prime rib and used two of the ribs for dinner, refrigerated the rest for more meals. Today that meal is a hearty and filling soup.

In other news…. the summer cooking classes for kids are now posted here on the site. Check out the “Classes” page to the left and use the “Registration” page to sign up for classes, if you are so inclined.

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March 4, 2011   2 Comments