• Team cooking is a blast!
  • It’s fun and a great way to entertain.
  • You can achieve so much more than a single cook can accomplish.
  • It takes the stress out of hosting dinner parties.
  • Prepare great meals at a fraction of the cost of restaurants.
  • Put an entire gourmet dinner together in 2-3 hours.
  • No corkage fees!!

Cook The Part: Chicken Under a Brick

Monday, April 7th, 2014 No comments

This is one of our favorite recipes from Cook the Part: Delicious, Interactive and fun Team Cooking and is the main dish in the Tuscan Farmhouse Dinner. It is the perfect chicken recipe for a BBQ or a summer holiday get-together. The recipe is fun to make and not too time consuming so you can still enjoy the company of your guests. Enjoy!


Chicken Under a Brick Cook The Part: Chicken Under a Brick

8 large chicken breast halves, boneless with skin on
12 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
1 ½ cups olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons grill rub
Canola oil spray for grilling
8 bricks wrapped in foil
Rosemary sprigs or basil leaves for garnish

Step 1: Prepare chicken.
Wash and dry chicken. Place breasts, one at a time, into a large sealable plastic bag and, using covered bricks, pound to ½” thickness. Remove from bag and repeat.

Step 2: Make marinade.
Place garlic, oregano, red pepper, rosemary and thyme in a small food processor and gradually add oil while processing.

Step 3: Marinate chicken.
Divide the marinade and prepared chicken equally between 2 large sealable plastic bags and turn until chicken is coated.
Refrigerate in marinade until ready to grill.

Step 4: Preheat grill.
Spray grill rack with canola oil. Preheat grill to medium. Wrap your 8 bricks in foil and place them on the grill to heat. Be sure to use thick gloves or pot holders to handle heated bricks.

Step 5: Grill and serve.
Remove chicken from marinade. Sprinkle with salt and rub. Place chicken skin-side down on grill. Top each breast with a covered brick and grill until skin is brown and crispy, approximately 5 minutes. Turn chicken and grill until done, another 2 minutes or so.

Remove to platter and cover with foil until ready to serve. Garnish with rosemary or basil and serve.

Let us know how you like it!

Categories: Recipes, Team Cooking

Simple and Simply Delicious: Italian Baked Chicken

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014 2 comments
Italian Baked Chicken 300x225 Simple and Simply Delicious:  Italian Baked Chicken

Italian Baked Chicken


Happy New Year!
This is my first post for 2014 and I was inspired by our recent week in Park City, Utah, where we always cook for our house guests, but try to keep things simple to allow plenty of ski time and time for other local activities. We decided to prepare this 25-year family favorite, which is still appreciated in 2014 as it was in the 1980′s. A few simple ingredients and easy preparation have made this a standby for so many years.




Italian Baked Chicken
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

5 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (preferably organic), washed, dried and cut in half
2 green peppers, seeded, washed and cut into 6 strips
1 red pepper, seeded, washed and cut into 6 strips
1 yellow pepper, seeded, washed and cut into 6 strips
4 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered

Place all ingredients in a large roasting pan (I use a large broiler pan).

2/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
4-5 large cloves garlic, crushed

Mix dressing ingredients well.

Drizzle dressing over the chicken and vegetables. Bake uncovered, basting frequently with juices for about 1 hour.
Increase temperature to 400 and bake 15 minutes longer to brown.
Arrange on hot platter.
Serve alone or with spaghetti with a marinara sauce and grated Parmesan.


Macaroons: A Great Sidekick for Kieflies

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 3 comments
Macaroons 225x300 Macaroons: A Great Sidekick for Kieflies

Macaroons: A Great Sidekick for Kieflies

Every year when I make the required Kieflies for Christmas, I face the issue of leftover filling. Not sure of the origins of this 35 year old recipe, but it was created with too much filling for the amount of dough that is made. So I usually end up freezing the filling and then making another 1/2 batch of dough later in the month. On occasion, I have also made nut rolls with the extra filling. This year I decided to make the extra half batch of dough right up front, which left me with a new problem: six egg whites with no purpose. Since everyone in my family loves macaroons, I used the extra six egg whites to create a my own macaroon recipe as follows. Rave reviews followed and the new tradition has now been established. Plus there are more kieflies to share with friends and neighbors.

Here is the link to the Kieflie recipe: http://www.cookthepart.com/2010/12/12/kieflies-the-only-must-have-christmas-cookie/

Karin’s Macaroons

6 egg whites, beaten until whites are stiff with 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 package Baker’s Sweetened Coconut
4 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup sugar

1 cup Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips

Heat oven to 325°F

To the beaten egg whites, add the coconut, flour and sugar, folding in each of these ingredients until well blended.
Drop by tablespoonful onto parchment paper. Makes 30-36 cookies.
Bake 20 min. or until edges are golden brown. Remove from baking sheets to wire racks; cool.

Melt the chocolate chips on 50% power in the microwave for 90 seconds, stir, repeat.

Dip or spoon chocolate onto the tops of the macaroons.

Making cookies is always a team sport, so invite friends to join you.

Patty helps make Kieflies 300x225 Macaroons: A Great Sidekick for Kieflies

Patty helps with the rolling and filling of the Kieflies

Perfect Kieflies 300x225 Macaroons: A Great Sidekick for Kieflies

The finished product: Perfect Kieflies


Hungarian Rhapsody at the Four Seasons Gresham Restaurant

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013 2 comments

When have you ever asked someone about their favorite cuisine and had the answer be “Hungarian”?  All that is about to change for me!  Tonight we had the pleasure of dining at the the Budapest Four Seasons Gresham Restaurant.  The chef is Italian, so the menu has both Italian and Hungarian offerings. We experienced a delightful mix of both by making selections from both sides of the menu.  Each course was divine, but my two favorites came from the Hungarian side of the menu: Chilled Peach and Apricot Soup – Almond Crumble, Milk Sorbet, Mint and Lemon Meringue and the Chicken Paprika – Galuska Dumplings, Paprika Sauce and Cucumber Salad.

photo 9 300x225 Hungarian Rhapsody at the Four Seasons Gresham Restaurant

Hungarian Chicken Paprika with Galuska and Cucumber Salad


Hungarian Chicken Paprika with Galuska
4 pc. chicken breast with skin
1 cup chopped white onion
3 garlic cloves
5 pc. Hungarian yellow Pepper
(long and yellow color)
3 pc. Tomato
1 tablespoon Sweet paprika powder
1/2 teaspoon Caraway powder
salt and pepper to taste


For Paprika Sauce
2 dl. sour cream
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons cream

Dice the onion, paprika and tomato and add to a preheated pan; add the chopped garlic. Cook for about 15 minutes. Add water continuously until all the vegetables reach a paste consistency. Finish the sauce with caraway and paprika powder, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Keep boiling for 10 more minutes. Add the chicken breast, cooking for about 15 to 18 minutes (depending on the size of the breast).

Remove the chicken from the Paprika sauce and finish it adding some sour cream, mix with flour to make it thicker if needed. Blend it and pass through a chinois.


.15 kg Flour
3 eggs
Miss all the ingredients together and strain through strainer with large holds in order to have small button size into boiling water, cooking for 5-6 minutes. Strain the Galuska and keep it under running cold water. Saute the Galuska with a touch of butter before serving.

photo 10 300x225 Hungarian Rhapsody at the Four Seasons Gresham Restaurant

Cucumber Salad


Cucumber Salad
2 cucumbers
3 dl Vinegar and water (1:1)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons oil
1 clove crushed garlic

Peel the cucumber and thinly slice it. Season with salt and let it rest for 10 minutes. Strain, removing the water and mix with the rest of the ingredients. Let marinate for at least 3 hours and refrigerate before serving.


Venture Into a New Teambuilding Experience with “Cook the Part”

Friday, September 20th, 2013 No comments
Killu Venture Into a New Teambuilding Experience with Cook the Part

Killu Sanborn Organizes VC Cooking Event

By Killu Sanborn

Now this is the way to have a business dinner! The night before BIOCOM VC Day in San Diego, we got a handful of life science investors from San Diego and San Francisco area together to cook a Greek meal. And what a meal it was! Following Karin’s recipes for the team cooking of a Greek dinner, we made far better tasting Greek food from scratch than we ever thought possible in such a short time, and as a group of life science investors who had never cooked together before. – Who knew?!?

How about some homemade pita bread with tzatziki sauce? – No problem! Greek salad? – The best you’ve tasted in a long time…and surprisingly easy to make as a team. Tiropita (did you even know that that is)? – Fresh, warm from the oven, and delicious.

And all this was just the beginning…Now came the grilled lamb chops, roasted asparagus and roasted Greek potatoes with lemon. All turned out so well, legends were born right there and then. To finish the meal, Greek yogurt with caramelized walnuts, dates and honey were just the perfect touch of sweet, sour and crunch.

The whole evening was filled with great joy from cooking together in good company, with plenty of laughter, and savoring the delicious dinner we prepared together. What a fun way to spend an evening – and what great conversations, shop talk and other, can be had over delicious Greek food you’ve just cooked in a group of friends!

Can’t wait to do it again. What a treat!



Das ist mir Wurst! (Translation: That’s sausage to me!)

Sunday, September 8th, 2013 2 comments
photo 3 225x300 Das ist mir Wurst! (Translation:  Thats sausage to me!)

Gary grills perfect sausage

For over 50 years, my mother, Irmgard, made homemade German sausages. It was the mainstay of every barbeque my family had while I was growing up. Sure, there would be burgers, but they were secondary to Irma’s homemade sausages. For the last few months, Gary has been talking about getting out the old meat grinder that my mother gave us many years ago to try his hand at sausage-making. Finally, last weekend, we invited friends to help us with this multi-day adventure. I cleaned up the old tools (meat-grinder and attachments)

and  Gary purchased the pork and casings. I didn’t realize Gary was buying 40 POUNDS of meat until the process was well under way. And so it began. Good thing that we had extra arm-power in our friend Bob Zaugg and lots of help with everything else from accomplished chef, Barbara Zaugg.
After many hours of grinding, we mixed in the spices, different spices for the German sausage and a completely different complement of spices (plus some ground veal) for the Italian sausage. The Italian sausage version was created by my sister, Erika Florentine, after marrying into an Italian family. Both recipes are included below.

We saved the filling of the casings for Labor Day to give us plenty of time to prepare (soak) the casings). The end result was a great barbeque featuring Irma’s sausage as the star of the show. Rave reviews were enjoyed from all.

Irma’s German Sausage
10 lbs. ground pork (purchase pork butt or shoulder, trim most of fat from meat)
2 cups chicken broth
1 lb. onions, chopped and sautéed
1/2 bulb garlic, peeled, chopped and sautéed with onion
8 – 10 teaspoons salt
1-3 teaspoons pepper
1/2 to 1 teaspoon nutmeg
Coarsely grind meat. Add all other ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Stuff casings.
Can be frozen for a couple of months. Thaw in refrigerator and grill until perfectly browned.
Share with friends!

Erika Florentine’s Italian Sausage
2 1/2 lbs. boneless lean pork
1/2 lb. boneless veal
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons crushed fennel seeds
4 teaspoons salt
1 to 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoons ground thyme
4 crumbled bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground netmeg

Coarsely grind meat. Add all spices. Mix thoroughly. Stuff casings or freeze in one pound packages for pizza or pasta dishes.

Categories: Menus and Memories, Recipes

A Garden in the Table: The Stocksee Park and Garden Show

Sunday, June 30th, 2013 No comments

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Every June in the small village of Stocksee in Schleswig-Holstein (the northernmost of the sixteen states of Germany), you will find the Park and Garden Show. This is nothing like our fairs in the US. There is an annual competition to create a Garden, according to an assigned theme. This year the them was “Lazy Gardens” or Stress-Free Gardens.

Participants sign up to take a small plot of land in which they create their gardens and compete for the top prize. My favorite garden this year was the garden created right in the center of the table. No need for table decorations or centerpieces. The Garden was the primary theme of this table setting.

Other highlights of the event were plants and flowers displayed for purchase – not in plastic bins, but on lace fabric, wild game sausages, and you could buy a beautiful cappuccino in a porcelain cup, not served in paper or plastic.

A delightful day visiting this small village of 450 residents and enjoying the competing stress-free gardens.


Empellón Cocina: Mexican with a Twist

Friday, May 31st, 2013 No comments

We recently had the great pleasure, while visiting New York City, to have an early dinner at Empellón Cocina, a new restaurant recommended by Gavin Kaysen for their creative interpretation of Mexican Cuisine.  We were curious about the meaning of Empellón and learned that it means “push or shove”, which tells you that this must be an adventuresome chef who wanted to infuse a bit of fun into the atmosphere.  Rising Star Chef Alex Stupak has created an incredible menu with offerings that must only exist on his menu, as we have never seen them anywhere else.  Guacamole made with pickled Jalapeños, Pistachio Guacamole, instead of the usual corn chips, the guacamole and salsas are offered with Masa Crisps.  All seven salsas can be sampled for $15.  There were so many tempting selections, but the portions were too generous to try everything on the menu.  We shared the Soft Shell Crab Tacos and the Shrimp Tacos after our starters of Pistachio Guacamole and the 7 Salsas, my favorite was the the Smoked Cashew Salsa (with smoked cashews and chipotle pepper).

Shrimp Tacos 300x225 Empellón Cocina:  Mexican with a Twist

Shrimp Tacos with Smoked Potatoes, Brown Butter Crema and Pickled Pasilla Oaxaquena.

Seven Salsas e1369991467638 225x300 Empellón Cocina:  Mexican with a Twist

7 Salsas, including such flavors as pumpkin seeds, smoked cashews, tomatillos, chipotle peppers, and the spiciest of all : Salsa Habanera.

Soft Shell Crab Tacos e1369992649806 225x300 Empellón Cocina:  Mexican with a Twist

Soft Shell Crab Tacos with lightly roasted tomato petal and lime mayo.

Chef Alex shared the recipe for the Arbol Chile Salsa – Recipe and below commentary from the Chef:
This salsa lasts indefinitely and improves with age. It is extremely picante and can be used in place of pretty much any store bought hot sauce. We use this salsa on our tongue tacos as well as in our micheladas but it goes well on just about anything.
100 each Arbol Chiles
1/4 cup Sesame Seeds
1/4 cup Hulled Pumpkin Seeds
1/2 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
10 each Allspice Berries
5 each Whole Cloves
1 tablespoon Mexican Oregano
1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
1 tablespoon Sugar
5 each Garlic Cloves
2 cups Cider Vinegar
1. Remove the stems from the chiles and discard.
2. Roll the chiles between your fingers to remove all the seeds and discard seeds.
3. Place the chiles in a blender.
4. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet until they begin to pop and turn a deep brown color. Add the sesame seeds to the blender.
5. In the same skillet, toast the pumpkin seeds until they pop and all turn a golden color. Add the pumpkin seeds to the blender.
6. In a molcajete or spice grinder, pulverize the cumin, allspice, cloves and oregano. Add the ground spices to the blender along with the salt, sugar and vinegar.
7. Blend the mixture for several minutes. It should be quite smooth.


Kuchen by Another Name: Quarktorte

Thursday, May 9th, 2013 1 comment
 Kuchen by Another Name:  Quarktorte

Katrin ready to put “kuchen” in the oven

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by Katrin Hakenesch


 I love all kinds of cakes and this one is one of my favorites. Quarktorte is not exactly a cake (Kuchen), it’s rather a “fancy cake”, a little special. My husband told Karin about my Quarktorte and that he loves it so much. This way I came to the honor to bake one for Karin and Gary and would like to share the recipe with you.

Two notes:

It is a German recipe, which calls for Quark. You can find Quark at special grocery stores like Jonathon’s in La Jolla, but it is fairly expensive compared to the very reasonable Quark you can buy in stores in Germany. In the US I substitute the Quark with Greek Yogurt and use less milk then the original recipe calls for.

The recipe is metric. I do recommend using a digital scale for measuring ingredients for baking because it is more accurate then the traditional way.

You need one 24 cm springform pan. I cover the base with parchment paper and cover the sides slightly with butter. Preheat the oven to 350 F.


160 g flour
60 g butter
60 g sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon backing powder
1 pinch of salt


750 g Quark or whole milk Greek Yogurt
200 g sugar
300 ml milk (with Yogurt 200ml)
150 ml canola oil
1 package Vanilla pudding powder
Juice from ½ lemon
1 whole egg
2 egg yolks beat the egg white in a separate bowl until stiff

Optional: add grated lemon zest from 1 lemon


Prepare the dough for the base and fill into the springform, spreading the dough over the pan and forming a little rim around it. Place in refrigerator.

Mix the other ingredients with a handheld mixer until well combined. At the very end carefully fold the egg white into the mixture. Fill into the springform and bake for 1 hour. Check during the last 20 minutes of baking that the top doesn’t darken too much. If it gets too dark, cover the top loosely with some aluminum foil. Take out of the oven and let cool before you remove the springform.



Carnitas Means “Little Meats” and Big Flavor

Monday, April 15th, 2013 1 comment
Carnitas 300x225 Carnitas Means Little Meats and Big Flavor

Roasted Pork Shoulder for Carnitas

We love Mexican cuisine, everything from fish tacos to chicken mole to the traditional Chiles en nogada. This weekend we made carnitas. This dish requires a pork shoulder. Naturally, in Costco fashion, the only pork shoulder available was over 14 pounds. So we cut the large piece in half and froze half. We trimmed the meat of most of the excess fat, then salted it. It’s best to then refrigerate for a day before beginning on the prep.

Here is our recipe for easy carnitas that earned rave reviews from our guests:

5 pounds pork shoulder (after trimming fat)
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
Canola oil
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon Gary’s Rub (from Cook the Part, page 26)
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
6 cloves garlic

Heat oven to 325 degrees on convection roast.
Cut the pork shoulder into 6 inch chunks.
Heat a few tablespoons canola oil in large iron skillet on the stove top. Brown the pork pieces until well-browned. Add chicken broth to the frying pan and scrape all the browned bits from the frying pan and add to the roaster.
Generously sprinkle the rub on the browned pork.
Place the browned pork pieces into a large roasting pan.
Add the cinnamon stock, bay leaves, cumin and garlic to the roasting pan. Add water to the pan until the pork is about 2/3 covered with the liquid.
Roast for 4 hours or until liquid cooks down and pork falls apart when probed with a fork.
Remove pork from the liquid and shred, discarding any additional fat.
Place in a large roasting pan and pour a few tablespoons of liquid over the meat.
Cover with foil and refrigerate.
Before serving, remove the foil and heat in the oven in 350 degree oven until warm or crisp up as much as desired.
Serve with guacamole, chopped red cabbage, red onion, black beans, purchased or homemade salsas.
We served this with warmed corn tortillas or lettuce to be used for lettuce wraps.

Good with a fresh Mexican salad to start.