February 22, 2014

Spring-Summer 2014 Cooking Classes

I'm teaching a few of new classes this spring: one for kids & parents featuring foods from the second Hunger Games book (March 29), a Mother's Day brunch (May 11), and a Girls Night Out appetizers class (June 20).

Several of my most popular classes are being repeated: Latin salsa dancing & Cuban food (May 9), cooking with wine (June 7), and sushi (June 29).

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

THE APPRENTICE CHEF: ON TOP OF SPAGHETTI - March 8 @ 10:30 12:30 (hands-on)
  • For aspiring chefs, children from ages 7 to 12. We'll make homemade spaghetti noodles with meatballs, marinara sauce, & cheesy Alfredo sauce, and chocolate gelato for dessert.
DATE NIGHT FOR COUPLES: READY TO RUM-BLE - March 23 @ 5:00-7:30 (hands-on)
  • Learn to prepare coconut bisque with rum flambé, macadamia-crusted scallops with rum beurre blanc, jerk pork tenderloin with spiced rum glaze, Caribbean rice, mini-hot buttered rum cheesecakes with caramel sauce, plus a piña-limonada cocktail.
HEIR AND A PARENT: THE GIRL ON FIRE - March 29 @ 10:30-1:00 (hands-on)
  • Feast like "The Girl on Fire" with a meal inspired by Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire. Learn to prepare Peeta's raisin nut bread with fresh ricotta cheese, District 4's grilled shrimp with chile-tomato sauce, Katniss's favorite lamb stew, plus The Capitol's chocolate custard with cherry flambé. This class is designed for children, at least 7 years of age, plus a parent.

February 10, 2014

Mole Carnitas with Strawberry Salsa

I created this dish for the 1, 2, 3 Cook & Snap Recipe Contest sponsored by The Foodie Blogroll. Each month, participants are asked to create a signature recipe using three ingredients. This month's ingredients were--in the spirit of Valentine's Day--chocolate, strawberry, and cinnamon.

~ Please VOTE for my entry! ~

Immediately, I knew I didn't want to make something sweet. Too obvious, right? But, how could I combine such desserty ingredients into a savory dish?

The answer: Mole and salsa.

A traditional mole sauce contains a long list of ingredients--including several kinds of chile peppers, garlic, seeds, nuts, tomatoes, spices, herbs, chocolate--and takes several days to make. According to Diana Kennedy, the authority on Mexican food:
The word mole comes from the Nahuatl word molli, meaning "concoction." The majority of people respond, when mole is mentioned, with "Oh yes, I know--that chocolate sauce. […]" Well, it isn't a chocolate sauce. One little piece of chocolate (and in Mexico we used to grind cacao beans for the mole) goes into a large casserole full of rich dark-brown and russet chiles. […] As in other Mexican sauces, the seasonings and spices are not used with such a heavy hand that they vie with each for recognition, but rather build up to a harmonious whole.
For my recipe, I include the chocolate in the form of unsweetened cocoa powder AND chocolate stout beer to braise a big hunk of pork (because, what's sexier than deliciously fatty pork? NOT MUCH). There's cinnamon in there, too, which is traditional for a mole sauce. A sweet and spicy strawberry salsa tops it off.

Mole Carnitas with Strawberry Salsa
carnitas adapted from Pinch of Yum

February 5, 2014

Maple Cornflake Pie

Today is our seventh snow day so far in 2014, and most likely we'll have another day off tomorrow. To pass all these days stuck inside, I taught myself how to knit (working on my third scarf now) and have been cooking a lot.

This pie was baked strictly out of necessity (another night snowed in, another night with a finicky boiler, another night trying to ward off unwanted anxiety) and with whatever ingredients I had on-hand. The original recipe calls for 2/3 cup of dark corn syrup, but since I didn't have any I improvised with brown sugar and maple syrup.

This kind of old-fashioned cereal pie creates a two-layer dessert...a sweet, sticky bottom layer (hubba) with a chewing, crunchy top layer.

February 1, 2014

Coq au Riesling

I love when people come over to cook. Monday night, my friend Theresa helped me make a recipe that's been on my list for a while...Nigel Slater's Coq au Riesling. I wanted to try coq au vin (chicken cooked in red wine), but the color the chicken takes on from the wine isn't appealing to me. Using a white wine, however, sounded much better!

Here, chicken is browned then braised in wine with bacon, mushrooms, and onions. The sauce is finished with heavy cream. We served it over creamy truffled polenta to soak up all that deliciousness.

Next month, Theresa and I are going to make lobster rolls...including homemade buns!