• 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!!

Yuz(u) Will Love These

Monday, February 15th, 2016 No comments

thumb_IMG_5079_1024thumb_IMG_5072_1024The long anticipated arrival of Yuzu Pearls allowed me to try this fabulous dessert and share the result with you. The Yuzu fruit is a citrus fruit originating in East Asia. It looks and tastes a lot like a lemon. It first came to our attention when we ordered dessert at Yuki Yama in Park City. We almost never have room for dessert after eating sushi, but this beautiful little dessert passed by and we were intrigued. It was a light, citrus flavored cheesecake and immediately had to research how we can create these at home. After a bit of searching, I found yuzu juice and yuzu pearls. I decided to give the pearls a try. The result is a very good imitation of the dessert from the sushi restaurant.

Here are the ingredients and the steps to make this yummy, yuzu cheesecake:

Crust
5 oz. graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Cheesecake
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
8 oz. mascarpone cheese, room temperature
8 oz. whipping cream
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1.5 oz. Yuzu Pearls
1 gelatin leaf

Extra whipping cream for serving.

You will need 8 small canning jars or other glass containers.

Process the graham crackers in a small food processor and mix in the melted butter. Put 2 to 3 tablespoons of the mixture into the bottom of the small jars and press down – I used the tamper from my espresso machine.

Soften the gelatin leaf in a small amount of water and remove from water and put into a small saucepan. Add the yuzu pearls and heat over a larger pan of boiling water until softened. Process the yuzu pearls and gelatin in a small food processor until the pearls are dissolved.

In a large bowl of the electric mixer, process the cheeses until smooth. Add the caster sugar and process until combined. Add the vanilla and the yuzu mixture and blend.
Beat the whipping cream until stiff and fold into the cheese mixture.

Spoon the cheese mixture into the jars and close with lids until ready to serve.

When serving, remove lids and add decorative whipping cream to the top.

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Toasting the Editor-in-Chief: Celebrating Karin’s birthday with an elderflower, orange and passion fruit cake

Sunday, November 29th, 2015 No comments

By: Ingrid Webb

Last weekend we gathered to celebrate Karin’s birthday as a family with a fish taco feast prepared by her children. We are visiting for the holidays, so I offered to bake a cake, which has quickly become one of my specialties. The recipe calls for Edlerflower Cordial, which I’d never used before, but we brought some back with us after our last visit to our daughter’s house in England. Elderflower cordial isn’t easy to find in stores in the US, but you can get it on Amazon and possibly your local BevMo, as well as making your own.

Here’s the recipe, which I came across in Cambridge Magazine: https://www.belvoirfruitfarms.co.uk/2015/06/elderflower-orange-passion-fruit-layer-cake/Elderflower Birthday Cake

Karin’s birthday cake was my fourth time making the recipe. The recipe calls for two entire oranges pulverized and added to the batter, making the cake itself very moist and flavorful. The cake is made with almond flour which also provides a nice texture. With all the different fruits and rich creams, we thought upon first reading this recipe that it would be very sweet, but it’s not at all. It’s a very well balanced cake for adult taste buds.

The recipe calls for an Elderflower Cream, which contains passion fruit, in between each of the cake’s four layers and on the top. While passion fruit isn’t readily available this time of year, we were able to get passion fruit (along with mango for the mango salsa and rhubarb for a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie) at Specialty Produce. (If you haven’t been to Speciality Produce, it was quite a treat! What a variety and quality of produce!)

As always, the cake was a huge hit.

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Small Plates, Big Fun!

Monday, September 14th, 2015 No comments

Halibut and Penn Cove Mussels in Fennel Saffron Broth

Halibut and Penn Cove Mussels in Fennel Saffron Broth

If I could add another chapter to my book, it would be a Small Plates chapter. Small plates give you an opportunity to explore so many wonderful options to satisfy your palate. You don’t have to go to a trendy restaurant to achieve a dining adventure like that, however. You can do it by inviting a group of friends to create this experience in the comfort of your own kitchen – which is exactly what we did on Saturday night. There were 10 people involved in our Small Plates/Big Fun evening. We divided the group into 5 teams of two chefs each. Each team was responsible for one of the courses. I had most of the ingredients prepared in advance (measured, chopped, etc.) Each team took “Center Stage” in the kitchen as they prepared their assigned dish. We had an extra special bit of fun with this concept when everyone picked a song to go with their dish…Kristina started it all with Hukuna Crostata as she and Marc prepared their Apple Crostata. We also heard Les Poissons during the preparation of the fish dish, among others.

Our menu was as follows:
A few items prepared by hosts to give our chefs some nourishment during cooking:
Bruschetta with Heirloom Tomatoes
Blistered Green Beans

Then the fun started:

Peach and Burrata Arugula Salad by Juan and Karin
Pear + Gorgonzola, Caramelized Onion + Candied pecan+arugula+aged Balsamic as improvised by Annette and Peter
Halibut and Penn Cove Mussels in Fennel Saffron Broth by Gary and Louise
Chicken Bastilla by Genevieve and Dan
Apple Crostata with Almond-Crumb Topping by Kristina and Marc

The recipe for the Halibut and Penn Cove Mussels in Fennel, Leek and Saffron Broth follows:

Serves 6 as a Main Course or 10 Small Plates

Ingredients
1 cup thinly sliced fennel (bulb only)
1 large leek, washed and thinly sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
3 carrots, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 large tomato, chopped

2 ½ lbs. Alaskan halibut, washed, dried and cut into 3 oz. pieces
3 dozen Penn Cove mussels

4 tablespoons EVO (3 for vegetables and 1 for browning fish)
32 oz. box of fish stock or chicken broth
½ cup dry white wine
Sea salt to taste
1 teaspoon saffron threads
2 tablespoons flat leave parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons G-Rub (recipe in Cook the Part)

Preparation
In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil and sauté onion and fennel for about 5 minutes. Add chopped carrots and leeks and cook until soft.
Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add tomato. Add wine and saffron and cook for 5 minutes until all vegetables are soft and flavors are blended. Add ½ of the fish stock. Cook for additional 5-10 minutes.
Brown halibut in an iron skillet.
Add mussels to stock mixture and cook for 2 minutes until most of mussels are opened. Add browned fish to pan and cook just until done, adding more stock if needed. Discard any unopened mussels.

Divide seafood into 10 bowls. Add broth to each bowl. Sprinkle parsley over top. Serve with toasted bread.

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Patty Mekita’s Famous Meatballs

Friday, July 17th, 2015 No comments

Patty Mekita with Kait

In Patty’s Own Words!

I get the sauce started first and it was as follows:

Olive Oil (maybe a tablespoon or two or three)

2 large onions chopped

A bulb of garlic (or at least eight or nine big pieces of garlic) finely chopped

Lots of freshly chopped basil (maybe at least a generous dozen big leaves)

S&P

1 Cup of white wine

A small can of tomato paste

A large can of whole San Marzano tomatoes (break them up with your hands first, or say, use a mash potato masher)

A large can of diced San Marzano tomatoes

A large can of San Marzano puree

Sauté the onions in the olive oil, then add the garlic, then add the basil and salt and pepper and sweat them all well together; then add the cup of wine and stir well and let that cook for a few minutes and really get hot and start to burn off the alcohol. Then add the tomato paste to this mixture and stir really well. Then add the tomatoes, one can at a time, and stir slowly.

Once this sauce is well mixed and on a low simmer, start the meatballs (these are all general measures):

1 ½ lb. of chop meat – this does not have to be the expensive kind, it can be reasonably priced and it will be delicious and fine (ground beef for those not familiar with this term)

2 large pieces of garlic finely chopped

1 Cup of bread crumbs (I tend to use Gluten-Free crumbs made by Panache Pantry – the Gluten-Free Vintage Sicilian)

1 Cup of shaved parmesan or grated Grana Padano (I used shaved parmesan in the meatballs on Saturday, and had grated Grana Padano on the table for sprinkling)

½ cup of chopped fresh parsley

1 jumbo egg or two small eggs

Water – like maybe a generous ½ cup or more if needed

Once the meatball mixture is really well mixed, I start rolling them into balls and just toss them into the sauce leaving room in between each one so they don’t bump into each other and break up. Once that’s all done I put the lid on the big pan and let it cook slowly for hours, giving a stir in the center of the sauce about every hour. At a minimum I cook it for about five or six hours.

I have many variations of this sauce with timing and some slightly different ingredients, or the preparation of fresh Roma tomatoes. A very delicious addition to this sauce that cooks all day is braising baby spare ribs early on, and also preparing rolled beef bracciole (which are filled with S&P, grated cheese and pignoli nuts) – and then you have real Sunday Italian sauce that’s cooked all day with delicious meats.

My recipes above are not fattening and they are pure and healthy, so please don’t leave out any of the ingredients to skimp on a few calories.

I’m really particular about the San Marzano canned tomatoes if I don’t prepare fresh ones – it’s the white can with the long San Marzano tomatoes on it, I think they’re distributed by a company in Pennsylvania.

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Chicken, Shrimp and Filet Satés with Peanut Sauce

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015 1 comment
Marinate chicken and shrimp

Marinate chicken and shrimp

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For your next BBQ, try something different!

Marinade
1 cup kecap manis (Sweet Indonesian Soy Sauce)
4 garlic cloves, crushed
Juice of one lime
1 teaspoon coriander
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt

Satés
1 ½ pounds filet mignon, cut into strips across the grain, 1/2” wide, 1/2” thick
1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ½ inch strips
24 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, with tails on
36 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least one hour
Banana leaves for serving décor

Peanut Sauce
1 cup creamy peanut butter
Juice of ½ lime
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
½ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon chopped jalapeño
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Prepare Satés.
Cut filet and chicken into strips as indicated.
Prepare filet, chicken and shrimp skewers. (Keeping each separate due to different grilling times.)

Make Marinade.

Combine all ingredients and pour over skewered satés in a shallow pan. Refrigerate until ready to grill or broil.

Prepare Peanut Sauce.

Combine all ingredients in small saucepan and stir continuously until sauce begins to simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently and leave in saucepan. Reheat when ready to serve.

Grill Satés.
Heat grill on medium heat. Grill the skewers as follows:
The chicken skewers should take about 4 minutes per side.
The filet should take about 3 minutes per side for medium rare.
The shrimp should take about 2 minutes per side. Cook just until they turn white and remove so as not to overcook.

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Ready for Cinco de Mayo?

Saturday, May 2nd, 2015 No comments
Toast Margarita or Lemonade

Margarita Toast

To get started, make one pitcher (or more!) of lemonade using this simple recipe:

Fresh Lemonade

Ingredients:

1 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed, or frozen if you prefer)
1 cup sugar dissolved in 1 cup boiling water (this is called simple syrup—the heat allows the sugar to dissolve)

1) Mix both the lemon juice and simple syrup together in large pitcher
2) Then, add four cups of cold water and ice

To Serve: Sometimes we have the lemonade “on the rocks,” sometimes we have ½ lemonade and ½ freshly brewed ice tea for an Arnold Palmer, and sometimes we have half lemonade and ½ Pellegrino (for a lighter lemony sparkling water).

For kids, you can even dip the glass rim in sugar (the kid version of our Margarita salt).

 

Simple Homemade Margaritas

For an adult refresher, follow this recipe (thanks to Carin Canale-Theakston):

Ingredients:

Grab a 12 oz. container frozen limeade
Fill the limeade container as follows:
1 container water
1 container tequila
1 12 oz. bottle Corona beer

1) Mix all together in a large pitcher. Serve in Margarita glasses filled with ice (with or without salted rims).

 

 

 

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Spanish Paella, Made Easy!

Monday, June 23rd, 2014 No comments

Paella, a dish traditionally loaded with clams, mussels, shrimp, chicken, lobster, and sausage, is an absolutely delicious meal, meant to share with a big, hungry group. To make it easier to prepare, I’ve decided to used chicken, sausage and shrimp for a pared down version of this spanish meal. Don’t skimp on the peppers though–this simplified Paella recipe is packed with flavor!

Paella Simplified

Spanish Paella

SIMPLIFIED PAELLA

6 slices thick bacon, crumbled into ½” pieces
8 tablespoons Spanish olive oil, divided
2 large onions, chopped
1 Anaheim pepper, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and very finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
8 garlic cloves, crushed
4 cups medium grain rice
3 teaspoons kosher salt
2 32-ounce boxes organic chicken broth
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 12-ounce bottle clam juice
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
3 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh thyme, chopped
½ cup red wine

24 large shrimp (U-12)
1 10-ounce package frozen peas
2 tablespoons Gary’s Rub*
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, rinsed and dried
1 pound smoked sausage
½ cup Italian parsley, chopped
1 4-ounce jar pimientos, drained
2 lemons, quartered

*Recipe in Cook the Part book, or use your favorite dry rub.

 

Prepare paella on the stove top.

Sauté the bacon until brown in large paella pan.
Remove from pan, crumble and reserve. Add a few tablespoons of 0live oil to the pan. Add onions and sauté until sweated.Add all the chopped peppers and garlic. Sauté a few minutes more until soft.

Add a bit more olive oil and then add the rice and salt. Stir until rice is nicely coated with the oil.

Heat the broth in a saucepan and slowly add to coated rice.

Moisten the saffron threads in some of the broth in a small cup for a few minutes before adding all to the paella pan.

Add the clam juice. Cover and cook rice for 10 minutes.

Add the ground pepper, chopped tomatoes, thyme, ground black pepper and wine and allow to cook until the rice is al dente, about 25 minutes, simmering on low. Avoid over-browning the rice on the bottom of the pan. (You may have to loosen it once or twice during cooking. “Soccarat,”a crust, will form on the pan bottom. This is a normal, natural part of your paella.)

Add the shrimp, peas and crumbled bacon. Cover completely with aluminum foil. Continue cooking until shrimp are completely cooked.

Grill chicken and sausage for paella.

Heat grill to medium. Sprinkle the chicken with Gary’s Rub. Grill chicken and smoked sausage until done and nicely browned. Cut sausage and chicken into bite-sized pieces. Remove meat to a platter, tent with foil and put into a warming drawer or oven until ready to add to the paella.

Finish paella.

Add chicken and sausage to paella pan. Cover and let stand 15 to 20 minutes. Top with the parsley and pimientos and garnish with the lemon wedges.

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Father’s Day Brunch Recipe: Tortilla Española

Friday, June 13th, 2014 No comments

Father’s day is almost here! One of my all-time favorite dishes to cook up for a Father’s Day is Tortilla Española, also offered as an appetizer in the Spanish Wine Dinner chapter of Cook the Part. This delicious dish is a staple of Spanish cuisine, consisting of egg omelette made with potatoes cooked in olive oil. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do.

TORTILLA ESPAÑOLA

TORTILLA ESPAÑOLA

TORTILLA ESPAÑOLA

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons Spanish olive oil, divided
  • ?4 Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced very thin (Note: Use a mandolin (if available) set at 1/8”)
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt?1 onion, cut in half and sliced very thin?2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons dry grill rub or seasoning
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Roasted red pepper strips, purchased or homemade

1) Prepare potatoes for Tortilla Española, sliced about 1/8″ inch thin

2) Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high flame.

3) Add potato slices and sauté for 12 minutes, turning to ensure even cooking.

4) Add another tablespoon oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Reduce flame to medium.

5) Add onions and continue cooking until onions are soft and potatoes are tender, about 5 minutes.

6) ?Add crushed garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.

Turn off flame and set aside.

7) ?Beat eggs with 1 teaspoon salt, rub and pepper in a large bowl.

8) Remove potatoes from skillet, add to egg mixture and let stand for 10 minutes.?Add 1 tablespoon of oil to skillet.

9) Pour egg and potato mixture into heated skillet. ?Allow eggs to set, lifting the sides of the omelet to let more egg mixture run underneath.

10) When the omelet can be lifted from the side of the pan, invert the omelet onto a plate and slide it back into the pan to cook the other side.

11) Add ground pepper to taste.?Slide the cooked omelet onto a cutting board or serving plate and cut into cubes or wedges. This can be served at room temperature. Serve with roasted red peppers strips.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! Enjoy!

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Cafe Terra: Cookbook Review

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014 No comments

Excerpt from “Cafe Terra” Cookbook Review:

As a food blogger it is normal to see stacks of cookbooks in every corner of your home.  With technology today, many cookbooks are enjoyed virtually.  So with your e-reader happy,  time to fill those empty spaces in your home with a new tchotchke.  So of course adding to my collection is totally normal, right?

cookt-the-part-1a

My hubby and I love cooking together, and we love cooking with friends.  When we are cooking with a group, we each will take on a cooking task.  It is more fun cooking with a group of friends, you can make more food, and still eat at a normal time…..

See the full story here: http://www.cafeterrablog.com/2014/06/03/cook-the-part-cookbook-review/

Get your own copy of Cook the Part here!

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The Perfect Summer Side: Recipe for Honey Cornbread

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 No comments

There’s something about cornbread that always tastes of Summer. Perhaps it’s the honey? In any case, this recipe for Honey Cornbread Mini Muffins is the perfect side dish to any BBQ this summer. Serve these with Paper Wrapped Salmon or even with some delicious bbq Baby Back Ribs.

Honey Cornbread Mini Muffins

Honey Cornbread Mini Muffins

HONEY CORNBREAD MINI MUFFINS

Makes 24 mini muffins

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup butter, melted
¾ cup plain yogurt
¾  cup milk
¼  cup honey
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
1 cup cooked corn
Butter for mini-muffin pans

Step 1: Mix together corn meal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

Step 2: Combine eggs, melted butter, yogurt, milk, honey, jalapeño and corn in another bowl.

Step 3: Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture. Refrigerate mixture until 30 to 45 minutes before baking (up to 6 hours).

Step4: Bake muffins!

Preheat oven to 400.  Butter mini-muffin pans. Bake muffins for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into muffin comes out clean.

 

Let me know what you think! 

 

 

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