Monday, June 28, 2004



I have a new couple I am teaching and they are super. Really interested, and ask a lot of great questions. Tests my knowledge, which I love. They wanted to start by learning really traditional sauce making, so (can you believe?) we made Hollandaise and Bearnaise Sauce! (Over poached salmon and a pan seared steak). After all that whisking, they decided for the next class to try something more, well, useful for everyday cooking. It was a trip to make Hollandaise again...I hadn't done that since cooking school! In honor of my trip to Spain (I leave tomorrow! SO excited!) here is a recipe for Gazpacho:

4 large red tomatoes, very ripe
1 slice white bread, crust removed OR 1/2 cup skinless almonds
1/2 red onion roughly chopped
1 cucumber, seeded and roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar

Puree all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Add tomato juice if the mixture is too thick.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004


Gin Bramble Cocktail

This is a drink called a Gin Bramble. I doubt anyone has Creme De Mure, but if you do, try this, you will LOVE it. If you don't, go buy some!

2 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin
1 teaspoon simple sugar (equal parts sugar and water, heated to dissolve, then cooled. Make about 2 cups, it keeps forever in the fridge)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 oz. crème de mure (blackberry liquor)

Shake gin, sugar solution, lemon juice and liquor vigorously with ice, strain into a glass and garnish with blackberries (if desired.)

Recipe from Bombay Gin

Thursday, June 17, 2004


Rick Bayless

Everyone has a favorite chef, (well, not everyone, but some people.) and I am no exception. The trouble is, I change my allegiances pretty often. One week I will go on and on about how incredible I think James Peterson is, or how Alton Brown is so cool, then turn right around and lament that Jan Birnbaum closed Catahoula. But this week, I am fixated on Rick Bayless. He owns several very authentic Mexican restaurants in Chicago, (Frontera Grill and Topolobampo ) has a few cookbooks out, (Authentic Mexican, Salsas that Cook, etc.) a show on PBS (Mexico, One Plate At A Time) and a website (that I have a link to, to the left). What makes him so interesting to me is that his passion for food is so encompassing, and for all the right reasons. Since I cannot possibly start to wax on about him in a way that does him justice, I will just encourage you to buy his book or check out his show and see for yourself what happens.

Today’s horoscope for me. I’m an Aries. "You're almost there. At last you have the right crowd's attention. Keep your message simple and your comments positive."

Wednesday, June 16, 2004


Grapefruit and Mint Tuna Tartare

I know it's silly, but I just realized WHY (scientifically) when you are making tuna tartare, the tuna is dressed with the oil before adding the grapefruit's so the fish is coated with the oil to protect it from getting "cooked" by the acid
in the citrus. (The citrus cannot penetrate the fat. Remember that oil and water don't mix? Same principle.) If you don't want to the tuna to turn opaque (cook.) make sure to coat it really well with oil before adding any acid. Every tuna tartare recipe I've ever used does that, but I never though about why until last night. Here is the recipe I developed:

4 Tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice (if not sweet, add 1 teaspoon sugar or sweetener)
4 Tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chiffonade
1 Tablespoon pickled ginger, minced
1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 medium red jalapeno, seeded and minced
One small cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
6 oz sushi grade tuna
6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt
Pepper to taste

Combine first six ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.

Toss together cucumber, tuna, oil and salt. Dress with vinaigrette and serve immediately.

Serves four as an appetizer

Additions: Diced Avocado, Grapefruit Segments, Chives, Bell Pepper, Sesame Seeds or Toasted Cashew Pieces.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004



I have had so much on my mind lately, I thought cooking last night with the Magnificent Seven would be a chore, instead, for a few brief hours, it really took my mind off of my worries. Just goes to show. It was our last class, and we made a heavy menu! Sangria, Ahi Tuna with Grapefruit and Mint, Butternut Squash and Parsnip Soup, Wild Mushroom and Polenta Stuffed Peppers and Turkey Meatloaf Roulade with Sundried Tomatoes. Altogther an inexpensive, easy meal! I was so happy when they all thanked me for the lessons, and said they feel a lot more comfortable in the kitchen. To me, that was the best compliment ever. Here is a recipe for Tiramisu they had requested.

3 large eggs, separated
½ cup sugar
1 cup mascarpone cheese
½ cup chilled heavy whipping cream
2 cups very strong brewed coffee or espresso, cooled to room temperature
3 tablespoons Kahlua or Baileys Irish Cream
18 Italian ladyfingers or pre-made pound-cake cut into strips
2 tablespoons cocoa powder

Beat together yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Beat in mascarpone until just combined.

Beat whites with a pinch of salt in another bowl with cleaned beaters until they just hold soft peaks. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time, beating, then continue to beat whites until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat cream in another bowl with cleaned beaters until it just holds soft peaks. Fold cream into mascarpone mixture gently but thoroughly, then fold in whites.

Stir together coffee and liquor in a shallow bowl. Dip 1 ladyfinger in coffee mixture, soaking it briefly on each side, and transfer to an 8-inch glass baking dish (2-quart capacity). Repeat with 8 more ladyfingers and arrange in bottom of dish, trimming as needed to fit snugly. Spread half of mascarpone mixture evenly over ladyfingers. Make another layer in same manner with remaining ladyfingers and mascarpone mixture.

Chill tiramisu, covered, at least 6 hours.
Just before serving, sprinkle with chocolate.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004


Rhubarb Ketchup

The Magnificent Seven were ON FIRE last night (figuratively speaking.) We made some fun things, most of which I've done with other clients. Asian Coleslaw, Red Snapper with Tomatoes and Olives, Coconut Shrimp with Spinach and Mixed Berry Cobbler. (YUM!) We only have one more class, I'll be sad when it's over! One thing I learned is that lite coconut milk (the only type available at my local Trader Joe's) is not really good for cooking with. Oh well. Here is a recipe for Rhubarb Ketchup. Rhubarb is so under appreciated!

1 pound rhubarb stalks, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup ruby port
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
Zest of 1 small orange, peeled in wide strips
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Cayenne pepper

In a medium saucepan, combine the rhubarb with the port, vinegar, sugar and orange zest and bring to a boil.

Remove the pan from the heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Cover and simmer over moderately low heat, stirring often, until the rhubarb is just tender, about 5 minutes. Discard the orange zest.

Transfer to a blender and puree. Season with salt and cayenne.

Makes about 2 cups

Serve with roast chicken, pork, game or add a little to balsamic salad dressing

Wednesday, June 02, 2004


Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Something I took from Rick Bayless...

"It’s important for everyone to know how to cook— kids, teenagers, adults—everyone. Not only does it make all of us more independent and better able to take care of ourselves, but it helps us better appreciate the world through flavor and the satisfaction of mastering a simple craft. And it helps us make more knowledgeable choices about our own nutrition, as well as about political, cultural and environmental food issues. Food is, after all, one aspect of life we all have to share in."

Is he brilliant or what.

Today is my brother's birthday...happy birthday to him! Here is a recipe I think he would like:


2 cans pineapple rings in juice
3/4 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
For batter:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon dark rum
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
2 tablespoons dark rum, for sprinkling over cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt butter in a well seasons cast iron skillet. Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Arrange pineapple on top of sugar mixture, overlapping pieces slightly.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in granulated sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and rum. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture and beat on low speed just until blended. Beat in pineapple juice, then add remaining flour mixture, beating just until blended. (Batter may appear slightly curdled.)

Spoon batter over pineapple topping and spread evenly. Bake cake in middle of oven until golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cake stand in skillet 5 minutes.

Invert a plate over skillet and invert cake onto plate (keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together). Replace any pineapple stuck to bottom of skillet. Sprinkle rum over cake and cool on plate on a rack.

Serve cake just warm or at room temperature.

Special equipment: a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet

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