Posts Tagged ‘team cooking’

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

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)

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.


Macaroons: A Great Sidekick for Kieflies

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013 3 comments

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:

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 with the rolling and filling of the Kieflies

Patty helps with the rolling and filling of the Kieflies

The finished product:  Perfect Kieflies

The finished product: Perfect Kieflies


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

Friday, September 20th, 2013 No comments
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 No comments

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.

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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.

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.