Posts Tagged ‘Cooking with friends’

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

Friday, September 20th, 2013 Comments Off on Venture Into a New Teambuilding Experience with “Cook the Part”
Killu Organizes VC Cooking Event

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!



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.

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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.

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

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

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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!

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

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

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

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

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Peach puree spaghetti

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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


Woodruff Sawyer Partners Cook Up Some Teamwork!

Friday, January 25th, 2013 Comments Off on Woodruff Sawyer Partners Cook Up Some Teamwork!

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The Partners of Woodruff Sawyer & Company, San Francisco, recently gathered to cook up some teamwork.  The menu consisted of the “Dinner in Athens” chapter of Cook the Part.  The participants gathered at the home of Susan Miner.  The objectives were clear:  1)  get to know each other better  2)  get to know spouses better  and 3)  create a fabulous dinner, while having lots of fun together.  Gary and I were honored to be invited to participate the cooking and dining.    Quotes from two of the WS partners:

Laurie’s Comments:

I thought the team cooking was superb.  Although I know all of the Woodruff partners at the dinner, most of us were meeting each others’ spouses for the first time.  We mixed the teams, and it proved to be a great way to get to know everyone!  And you of course get to know your colleagues a bit better when you spend two hours cooking with their spouse!  The food was wonderful and we could really appreciate how our different contributions made the whole meal come together – clearly a great metaphor for business… and life!

I’m looking forward to hosting my own in a few months – and plan to do a more casual version with my family over the holidays.

Jenn’s Quote:

Everything about the evening was fantastic…the time spent preparing the food was a great way to get to know others at the party. Although we do very little cooking in our day to day lives the instructions were clear and we felt like as novices we could still contribute. The food was delicious and the only negative thing that could be said was that we ate the equivalent of about 3 dinners because we just couldn’t stop ourselves…

Susan’s Comments:
Dinner in Athens was a great way to “host” a party!  Instead of scurrying around trying to finish cooking, serve drinks, and socialize, I was just another member of the team.  The whole process was very interactive, with lots of casual chatter and joking.  And what a pleasant surprise tasting each dish – great quality even with inexperienced cooks rolling out pita dough and working with puff pastry.  Much more of an event than a dinner, made memorable and special because everyone contributed to the success.  We’re already planning the Spanish Wine Dinner…


Taste Buds: Team Cooking Featured in the North County Times

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012 Comments Off on Taste Buds: Team Cooking Featured in the North County Times

“Cook the Part” by Karin Eastham of Rancho Santa Fe is about “team cooking.” “Extraordinary Cakes” by San Diego food entrepreneur Karen Krasne lends itself to the “team cooking” concept, too. (courtesy photos)

“Taste Buds: Team Cooking Featured in North County Times”

Holiday season is rapidly approaching, and with it comes party time. One new way to host a dinner party is as a team. Rancho Santa Fe resident Karin Eastham has written, “Cook the Part: Delicious, Interactive and Fun Team Cooking” (Crosswalk Press, $24.95), which shows how to involve all your guests in producing a themed dinner that will not only entertain, but be a source of fond memories shared.

For example, the “Tuscan Farmhouse Dinner” offers not only a menu and recipes, but a four-course food preparation plan for each of the guest “teams.” Appetizers are done ahead by the host so each group can nibble as they work on the Insalata Caprese, Chicken Under a Brick or Fallen Chocolate Cakes for Eight. (Most dinner plans are for a group of eight.)

Other themes are A Taste of Baja, Pacific Northwest Seafood Evening, Dinner in Athens, Authentic Tastes of Indonesia, Handmade Pasta With Homemade Sauces, Comfort Food and Spanish Wine Dinner.

Eastham’s book and her “team cooking” concept reflect a trend of “social baking/cooking,” illustrated in readers’ approach to another beautiful cookbook.

San Diego patissiere extraordinaire Karen Krasne, who has long been known for her extravagant, gorgeous confections, recently published “Extraordinary Cakes: Recipes for Bold and Sophisticated Desserts” (Rizzoli, $37.50).

The cookbook is “devoted to the most fanciful, beautiful and decadent cakes,” according to the press release. For example, the “New York, New York” employs chocolate ganache, devil’s food cake, chocolate chantilly, and caramelized apples. Sounds delicious, but daunting.

So what better way to tackle one of Krasne’s complex recipes than to divvy it up among friends? That’s what’s happening, said Krasne in the release: “It’s like (people are) replacing social media with social baking.”

Krasne’s cakes have so many challenging components that to make them, people tackle the individual parts (“You guys make the chocolate ganache, we’ll do the mocha pralines, they’ll do the coffee mousse …”). Then the group comes together to make a social event out of combining the sweet elements into a fantastical dessert and memorable occasion.

So if you’ve ever been cowed by a lengthy, elaborate recipe or dinner plan, this might be the way to put it together —- by enlisting the help of friends and family. Which is really what most of our favorite food experiences are about, aren’t they?