August 13, 2015

Blue Crab Boil


I've been wanting to cook crabs at home ever since I went to Florida in April 2014. I was so excited to eat at a crab shack during that trip, but we drove 45 minutes just to discover that they hadn't caught any crabs that day.

No worries, I thought...I'll buy some live blue crabs at Seafood City when I get home and have my own boil. Sadly, if the Florida fishermen aren't catching any crabs then there will be none in St. Louis either.

Cut to earlier this year: My friend Theresa and I decided we were going to have a crab boil one spring afternoon...but there were only two, pathetic, disabled crustaceans left in the bin. We ended up having dinner at Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co. instead.

THEN...yesterday, I get this text from Theresa:


But wait. "We could totally do a boil today," I replied. And so, Theresa showed up with 5 pounds of blue crabs, some tiger shrimp, and red potatoes. I supplied the giant stock pot, boil seasoning, lemons, andouille sausage, and beer.

One thing about crabs that you buy at an Asian market....they don't come with rubber bands on their claws. And these were feisty little fellows:


video

It was hard to pick them up...they kept striking out at my tongs, kept grabbing ahold of the tongs, the bag, each other. I ended up getting out the long BBQ tongs to avoid injury.

video

(Yes, I talk to my food. Yes, I cackle-laugh. And, yes, I said "sorry" to each one.)

August 5, 2015

Scotch Eggs


Despite the name, Scotch eggs originated at a department store in London in the 18th century...or so goes one story. Another story is that the idea of cooked eggs wrapped in meat made its way to England via North Africa by way of France. Others say Scotch eggs are an Indian export from the 1600s. Still, many maintain that this recipe is a variation of the Cornish pasty made by northern Scottish pig & chicken farmers.

The name may come from a man by the surname of Scott, who may have originated the recipe in Yorkshire...or the name could be a corruption of the word "scorch," as the eggs were cooked over an open flame in Elizabethan England. Other explanations, from The London Telegraph, are that "the snack's original name was 'scotched egg,' which [...] simply means 'an egg that has had something done to it.' Tom Parker Bowles has a likeable theory to do with the fact that 19th century recipes often included anchovies in the meat: 'Scotch,' for some reason, was a title applied to a number of dishes which contained these salty fishes."

* * *

Scotch eggs always seemed like a daunting recipe to me...a lot of work for a few bites of food. Really, though, they are quite easy to make. I made these, with the help of my (Scottish) boyfriend's sixteen-year-old daughter, on Sunday...and they were given the thumbs-up by the BF and his brother. I ate leftovers for breakfast on Monday. I wish I had more today. 

Scotch Eggs

August 4, 2015

Quick Pickled Jalapeños


As summer is winding down, you may have an abundance of peppers from your garden. What to do with all those jalapeños? You could, of course, make pepper jelly. But, you could also pickle some of those peppers.

If you've never pickled before, don't be afraid...this is surprisingly easy. And with jars of pickled jalapeños in your fridge, you have a reason to make nachos for dinner!

Quick Pickled Jalapeños 
recipe from Eats Well With Others


1 cup white vinegar *
1 cup water
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp coriander seeds
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
16 jalapenos, stems trimmed and sliced

* I used apple cider vinegar.

In a large saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, coriander seeds, and garlic. Bring to a boil, dissolving the sugar and salt. Add the sliced jalapenos to the pan and push down on them so they get submerged in the liquid.

Cover, turn off the heat, and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Transfer the jalapenos and garlic to a mason jar. Pour the pickling juice over them until the jar is full. Cover tightly with the lid & let cool to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator.

Fall 2015 Cooking Classes



Kitchen Conservatory's fall schedule is now available online and runs through December.

I'm teaching a few demonstration classes: Girls' Night Out classes out on August 29, October 17, & December 19 (this one is a champagne-laden menu). I'm also teaching a menu featuring sweet & spicy food on September 19.

My Date Night for Couples classes include a beer pairing on December 7, sushi on November 15, and an ultimate cocktail party on December 20.

One new class that I'm particularly excited about is a sweet & savory brunch on September 6.

I'll also be teaching a couple gingerbread house classes for adults and kids in December.

Below is my schedule. To register, call Kitchen Conservatory at 314-862-2665 or register online.

GIRLS' NIGHT OUT: THIS GIRL IS ON FIRE  - Saturday, August 29 @ 6:30-9:00 pm (demonstration)
  • Enjoy a prosecco cocktail, antipasti with marinated mozzarella and citrus-roasted olives, shrimp scampi with fennel, seared scallops on balsamic-tomato risotto, plus individual limoncello tiramisù.
SUNDAY FUN DAY - Sunday, September 6 @ 1:00-3:30 pm (hands-on)
  • Before we say goodbye to summer, let's celebrate the holiday weekend with exciting sweet and savory dishes. This class will make bourbon kettle corn, chicken and waffles with cornflake-encrusted chicken and bacon-chive waffles served with maple pan gravy, Monte Cristo sliders with strawberry-tomato jam, smashed sweet potatoes with lemon-garlic aïoli, plus apple pie with a cheddar-vodka crust.
ORIGINAL CIN - Saturday, September 19 @ 12:00-2:30 pm (demonstration)
  • Sip on a ginger champagne cocktail, and enjoy Sriracha caramel popcorn, roasted carrot-red quinoa salad with spiced lemon vinaigrette, kung pao shrimp and scallop noodles, plus chai tea cake with cinnamon ice cream.
GIRLS' NIGHT OUT: COLOR ME AUTUMN - Saturday, October 17 @ 6:00-8:30 pm (demonstration)
  • Sip on a maple Manhattan cocktail, then enjoy roasted fennel hummus with red pepper oil and baked pita chips, Brussels sprouts and pear panzanella salad with creamy pomegranate dressing, coq au Riesling, fresh cavatelli pasta with green apple pesto, plus pumpkin gooey butter cake with white chocolate sorbet.
DATE NIGHT FOR COUPLES: ON THE TOWN FOR TWO - Sunday, October 25 @ 5:00-7:30 (hands-on)
  • We will prepare classic French onion soup, Caesar salad, show-stopping jaw-dropping brandy-flamed steak Diane, roasted garlic-mashed potatoes, plus triple chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge sauce.

July 27, 2015

Shrimp Shumai


I've been wanting to make dim sum at home for a while now. I've made steamed pork buns and potstickers before, but I wanted to try my hand at other kinds of steamed dumplings. So, last night, Nick and his daughter Maggie came over to prepare dinner with me. 

Maggie was in charge of making sesame chicken potstickers, and she did a fabulous job! She also made a spicy peanut dipping sauce (recipe at the end of this post) to go with them.


I was in charge of the shrimp shumai, a recipe that I wanted to test so that I can use it in an upcoming cooking class. 

I was very happy with both of these recipes, and I will definitely make them again. They were much easier and not as tedious as I'd expected. 

Today, I'm using the leftover chicken filling (it makes way more than 20!) to make meatballs that I'll eat with rice and veggies. 

Shrimp Shumai

adapted from Mark Bittman