Archive for the ‘Cooking Tips’ Category

Adventures in Team Cooking

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 Comments Off on Adventures in Team Cooking

I’ve always felt that team cooking is a perfect metaphor for corporate life. The recipe is the same—a plan, time and resource constraints, everyone having an important part to play, and the desire to get results while having some fun.

With Cook the Part, team building has a purpose. Everyone shares equally in the success or failure of the meal (and I’ve never seen a failure). Plus, hosting a Cook the Part event takes the intimidation out of ‘ordinary’ teambuilding activities. You can do this at home—and there’s no corkage fee!

Team Building

Top 5 Reasons for hosting a Cook the Part dinner party:

  • Team cooking is fun and a great way to entertain
  • Get to know fellow co-workers better through cooking
  • Together, you can achieve so much more than a single cook can accomplish
  • Prepare great meals at a fraction of the cost of restaurants
  • Great excuse to drink wine and eat delicious food!

We had a fantastic Cook the Part party recently. Check out the photos of the food and fun (big thanks to the Posard Team for participating!):

Team 8


Team 9

Cook the Part cook prep

Cook the Part BBQ

Cook the Part Dinner

Get the PDF version of Cook the Part by using coupon code FB2014 at checkout.


Creating Great Family Chemistry: Fun with Jesse and Molecular Gastronomy

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013 Comments Off on Creating Great Family Chemistry: Fun with Jesse and Molecular Gastronomy

By Bryna Kranzler

Maybe this isn’t how you have fun with your kids, but it is how I do.Last summer, when Jesse was home for a visit, we had a free day together so I broke out a molecular gastronomy kit we had bought, and decided to have fun with it. After watching the video about all the amazing things we could do, we picked a few projects.

First we thought we’d make fruit caviar. So we pureed some peaches and squeezed the grapefruit…

Making Fruit Caviar

then mixed each juice with sodium alginate.

Juice mixed with sodium alginate.

And dropped little pearls of it into a mixture of calcium citrate in water.

Photo 3

Although Jesse had gotten an A in AP Chemistry, and I had been in Honors Chemistry (back at a time before molecular gastronomy existed and the laws of chemistry were different), it hadn’t occurred to either of us that citric acid (we had added OJ to the peach puree to thin it) might interfere with the ability of sodium alginate to gel.

Photo 4

So that didn’t work. Or look very appetizing.

Photo 5

So we decided to make balsamic vinegar caviar. Start by putting a cup of oil into the freezer to chill.

Photo 6

After heating balsamic vinegar and agar agar, we extrude droplets of it from the syringe that arrived with the kit into the cold oil. It worked!

Photo 7

This is what Balsamic Caviar looked like when we were done:

Photo 8

So we got more ambitious and decided to make balsamic spaghetti.

Photo 9

Worked beautifully (even if it looked more like squid ink pasta)

Photo 10

We set it aside to serve over fresh strawberries. So we mixed some peach puree with agar agar, and that worked, too!

Photo 11

Peach puree spaghetti

Photo 12

On to the main course: Goat cheese spheres, which we would serve with balsamic spaghetti.
First we blended water and calcium algenate.

Photo 13

Next, we combined goat cheese with a little milk and calcium lactate, and dropped it into the mixture of water and calcium algenate.

Photo 14

Voila! Goat cheese spheres with heirloom cherry tomatoes, balsamic spaghetti, olive finishing salt and olive oil.

Photo 15

But that was only the appetizer and Jesse needed dinner, too. So he sautéed garlic and heirloom cherry tomatoes in olive oil with fennel seed and chilies, then removed them while he sautéed pasta.

Photo 16

Once the pasta browned, he added back the sautéed garlic and heirloom cherry tomatoes.
We finished off dinner (since we’d had the strawberries with balsamic spaghetti for a snack) with a ‘simple’ dessert: Peach spaghetti, fresh raspberries, and one of my homemade cranberry-kumquat-ginger macaroon.

Photo 17

The process took 6 hours, and was some of the most fun we’ve ever had together.


Construct Lunch: Deconstructed Niçoise Salad

Monday, February 18th, 2013 Comments Off on Construct Lunch: Deconstructed Niçoise Salad
Deconstructed Nicoise Salad

Deconstructed Nicoise Salad

Planning a party can be daunting. We are always looking for fresh ideas, but the workload must be reasonable. Today, my daughter-in-law, Maria, and I hosted a baby shower for my niece, Leigh. The challenge was a fresh idea for a luncheon for 25. Having attended several baby showers over the past year, we experienced many nice events, but we wanted to do something a bit different. At a recent book club gathering, my friend Lynn Muto served a “deconstructed Niçoise” and I loved the term, so I decided to do a luncheon version of her idea.

The menu included poached salmon, prepared in a small amount of water, shallots, lemons, parsley and dry sherry. The salmon was perfect when poached approximately 8 minutes. We served the salmon with capers and sliced Kalamata olives, surrounded by dill and lemon wedges. With the salmon, we served traditional tri-colored fingerling potatoes, which I roasted with a bit of olive oil and kosher salt for 45 minutes at 375 degrees. The potatoes were cooled to room temperature, but not chilled. Green beans, an important component in any Niçoise, were steamed for approximately 7 minutes to keep them crisp, but not raw. A cherry tomato and Kalamata olive medley in a balsamic vinaigrette and truffled deviled eggs completed the line-up. For the deviled eggs, just add a teaspoon or two of truffle oil to your standard deviled egg recipe.

Two toppings were provided with the salad: a yogurt and chopped dill topping and our champagne vinaigrette, the most popular of the two. The centerpiece of the luncheon table was homemade lemon scones, coming from my new cookbook, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis (Author), Renato Poliafito (Author), Tina Rupp (Photographer).
A purchased cake and lattés were offered as a break from opening the many beautiful baby gifts.


Holy Mole: Poblano Y Negro

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 Comments Off on Holy Mole: Poblano Y Negro
Mole Tasting at Red Iguana

Mole Tasting at Red Iguana

For an easy dinner any night of the week, stop at your favorite Mexican restaurant and pick up a quart of your favorite mole. On our outing to Park City this week, we stopped at Red Iguana 2 in Salt Lake City for lunch and purchased two quarts of mole to be used for a dinner during our stay. First, we enjoyed the mole tasting to make our selection. The offerings included:
Mole Amarillo
Mole Coloradito
Mole Poblano
Mole Verde
Mole Negro
Red Pipian
Mole de Almendras
It was a tough decision, but we settled on the Poblano and Negro. Dinner tonight was a breeze with the two moles already made and available. If you cannot find a restaurant that sells good mole by the quart, you can also purchase mole at the grocery store and follow the directions.
We are having dinner for six tonight. The remaining work was to prepare the meat, 4 skinless, boneless organic chicken breasts and a 1-1/2 pound pork loin. The breasts were cut into 1-1/2 cubes and sautéed in a small amount of vegetable oil until brown. We then covered the chicken with the mole Poblano and simmered for 40 minutes. The pork loin was trimmed and also cut into cubes, sautéed and simmered in the mole negro. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the mole before serving.
We prepared a side of Mexican rice, which is always made with a chopped onion. Stir fry the rice in a tablespoon of oil, making sure each grain is coated with oil and then adding chicken broth. We added some chopped green onions (because they were left over from our breakfast frittata.
The rest of the menu was an appetizer of Rajas (recipe coming soon), a salad of arugula, zucchini ribbons, red pepper and panela cheese. Dressing was olive oil (2 parts), lime juice (1 part) and Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. The final accompaniment was Jamaica, a tea made with dried hibiscus blossoms.