Posts Tagged ‘teambuilding’

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!



Tamales – A Mexican Christmas Tradition

Thursday, January 10th, 2013 1 comment
Linda with Tamales

Linda with Tamales


By Linda Sierra

I’m happy to report the tamales were a hit yet again this year.  We made more than 6 dozen and it is done in a sort of assembly line where one puts the masa on the cornhusk, the next puts the meat and olives and the next folds them up.  This is a blast.

This recipe has been in my family since I was a child.  My  mother has been using it since I was about 5 years old.  So it is at least 40 years old.

Feliz año nuevo!






Folded TamalesSteaming Tamales


3 lbs – 1 inch chunks beef stew meat
2 cans – 28 oz. enchilada sauce (Las Palmas “mild”)*
2 lbs – 1 inch chunks pork stew meat
2 Tbs – Oregano
4 – Cloves garlic minced
60 – Dried cornhusks (~1 pound)
8 cups – Instant Masa (Maseca brand)
2/3 cup – Vegetable oil
2 2/3 cups – Shortening (Crisco) or lard (I use Crisco)
2 – Medium onions chopped
2 Tbs – Baking powder
2/3 cup – Flour
60 – Black pitted olives cut in half

• In large pot put beef, pork and garlic with enough water to cover. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1.25 hours until meat is tender and stirring occasionally.
• Soak cornhusks in warm water for about an hour, they will become soft. Drain, keeping them damp on paper towels.
• In large skillet over medium heat cook onion until tender in hot vegetable oil. Stir in flour until blended. Add enchilada sauce, oregano and 2 teaspoons of salt. Drain meat, reserving the liquid. Add meat to the sauce and cook for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally with a fork to shred the meat. The sauce will be very thick.
• Beat at low speed with hand mixer instant masa, 5 1/3 cups reserved meat liquid, shortening, baking powder and 4 teaspoons salt.
• Assembly: place cornhusks tip away from you. Use a small spatula or large spoon and spread 2 Tbs of masa onto center or cornhusk in a rectangle about 5” x 4”. You can paste two corn husks together with a little masa if they are too small. Put 2 Tbs of meat on the center of the masa, place 2 olive halves on top of the meat mixture.
• Wrapping: Lift up right side and fold 1/3 of cornhusk over filling, fold the left side over the last. Fold the tip of the cornhusk backwards, about 1/3 of the way down. Tamale will be open on one end. Place the folded tamale with the folded side down so it won’t open.
• Steaming: In a large pot with a vegetable steamer add an inch of water. Place tamales with the open end up, folded side down, standing up in the pot, over medium-high heat, heat water to boiling. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Be sure to add water if it is evaporated to keep the moisture right for proper steaming.
• Test for doneness: Remove and unwrap 1 tamale. If the dough is firm and does not stick to the husk they are done.
• Yield: 5 dozen. You can cut the recipe in half. I usually double it.
• You can find most of these items in the Hispanic Food section of most grocery stores. Northgate Gonzales has everything you’ll need if you have trouble finding everything.
• *You can also make your own enchilada sauce but run the risk of making the sauce too spicy. I can help you if you want to make it from scratch. That is why I recommend the “mild” Las Palmas enchilada sauce because the flavor is rich and not hot. Be sure it says “mild” on the label or it will be very hot.


Taste Buds: Team Cooking Featured in the North County Times

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012 No comments

“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?


Cook the Part featured in the San Diego Business Journal

Monday, May 14th, 2012 No comments

Serving A Purpose: San Diego Business Journal

Serving a Purpose
HUMAN RESOURCES: Cooking Uses Ingredients of Team Building By Julie Gallant Monday, May 14, 2012
Karin Eastham, after a long and highly successful corporate career, has developed a unique teambuilding program that brings people together in her kitchen to prepare a team dinner that captures workplace dynamics.

The kitchen can be a great gathering place for parties and is often the hub of family socializing, but who would have ever thought the warm and relaxing setting would be a venue for human resources activities.

As it turns out, two local companies and an author have devised creative ways of putting the kitchen to work for teambuilding exercises that can help employees work together harmoniously, or, at the very least, generate camaraderie that fosters an improved work environment.

Inspiration for corporate teambuilding in a social setting can be found in Karin Eastham’s book, “Cook the Part: Delicious, Interactive and Fun Team Cooking,” published by Crosswalk Press. The book features eight themed menus with complete plans to prepare a team dinner in the comfort of a kitchen and home.

The premise behind the book is that when co-workers gather to cook and dine for an evening, they will experience a fun event that captures workplace dynamics. To begin with, the participants set a goal of creating a fabulous meal. There will be time constraints for completion of that meal. Everyone will have tasks to complete; therefore, each role is critical to success of the team.

Eastham, a Rancho Santa Fe resident, suggests bringing work teams of eight to 12 people into the kitchen where they can learn about interacting with others, role flexibility, and authenticity and vulnerability as they help each other prepare a meal. Results can range from developing better relationships, to gaining a better understanding of co-workers, to learning about each other’s strengths and weaknesses, she says.

Click on the link above to read the full story….