Posts Tagged ‘teambuilding’

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
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“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)
By LAURA GROCH

“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?

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Secrets of the CIA: Team Cooking by AIWF Members from Across the Country

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 Comments Off on Secrets of the CIA: Team Cooking by AIWF Members from Across the Country
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The American Institute of Wine and Food celebrated Napa last weekend and honored Margrit Mondavi at the gala dinner on Friday evening. Margrit was one of the original founders of AIWF with her husband, Robert Mondavi, and Julia Child.   Five courses were served up at the gala by five participating chefs.  The chefs were:

Ken Frank  La Toque, Napa
Brandon Sharp  Solbar Kitchen, Calistoga
Joseph Humphrey  Dixie, San Francisco
Gale Gand  Tru, Chicago
Emily Luchetti  Farallon & Waterbar  San Francisco

The highlight of the weekend was the opportunity to attend a hands-on team cooking class at the Culinary Institute of America, where 16 participants prepared 22 different recipes. It is always such fun to meet people in the kitchen and cook together. I was teamed with two charming men, one from Michigan and one from Wisconsin. We enjoyed creating Grilled Steaks with Brussels Sprouts, Balsamic Red Onions and Gorgonzola Fondue, (although I preferred leaving off the fondue and letting others add it as desired.)  Our team also prepared the accompanying Potato Rissoto, something I had never heard of or tasted.  It’s now a new favorite.  Another favorite, prepared by one of the other teams was the Pan Roasted Prosciutto Wrapped Cod with Butter Bean-Olive Relish and Catalan Vinaigrette.  A selection of recipes and photos follow.

Teammates Fred and John

Teammates Fred and John

 

Grilled Steaks with Brussels Sprouts, Balsamic Red Onions and Gorgonzola Fondue

Grilled Steaks with Brussels Sprouts and Balsamic Red Onions

Grilled Steaks with Brussels Sprouts and Balsamic Red Onions

Ingredients

4 ea.              6 oz. steaks
1 cup              Brussels sprouts, cut in half, outer leaves removed
1/4 cup            vegetable stock
1 Tbsp.            butter
1 cup              balsamic red onions, julienned (recipe follows)
2 teaspoons  chopped chives
8 sprigs         watercress
6 oz.              blue cheese fondue (recipe follows)
to taste           salt and pepper

Method:

Brush steaks with a little olive oil, season and grill on all sides to desired temperature and allow to rest before slicing/serving.

In sauté pan over medium high heat, season and sauté Brussels sprouts until they are golden. Add vegetable stock to steam the sprouts until tender and to insure they are bright green. Add the balsamic onions and heat about a minute. Whisk in the butter to form a glaze; finish with the chives. (We kept the Brussels sprouts and the onions separate because one of our teammates hated Brussels sprouts).
Plate the Brussels sprouts and onions. Slice steaks on the bias and place on top of the vegetables. If desired, drizzle with the fondue. Decorate with the watercress.

Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Balsamic Roasted Red Onions 

Ingredients

4 ea.             red onions, cut into quarters from top to bottom
2 cups            balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup          sherry vinegar
1 cup             pure olive oil
to taste         salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the onions skin side down in a hotel pan.  Add the oil and vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes or until tender.

 Gorgonzola Fondue

Ingredients

1 ea.         shallots, small, minced
1/4 teaspoon  black peppercorns
1 ea.         bay leaves
2 ea.         sprigs of thyme
1 cup         white wine
1 cup         chicken stock
1 cup         heavy cream
2 Tbsp.       blue cheese
to taste      salt and pepper

Method:

Add shallots, peppercorns, bay leaves and thyme to white wine and reduce by 3/4s. Add cream and reduce by 1/2. Strain.  (Cool and reheat when ready to serve.) While simmering, emusify cheese into the sauce using a whisk (could use a blender, then return to pot). Adjust seasoning and serve hot.

 

Another favorite from our cooking adventure was this recipe prepared by another team.  All the teams did great work and we shared the wonderful fare served buffet-style and paired with three delicious wines. 

Pan Roasted Prosciutto Wrapped Cod with Butter Bean-Olive Relish and Catalan Vinaigrette

Pan Roasted Prosciutto Wrapped Cod with Butter Bean-Olive Relish and Catalan Vinaigrette

Pan Roasted Prosciutto Wrapped Cod with Butter Bean-Olive Relish and Catalan Vinaigrette

Ingredients

2 cups         butter bean-olive relish, room temperature (recipe follows)
6 Tbsp.        Catalan vinaigrette, slightly warm (recipe follows)

6 ea.          5 oz. piece Alaskan True cod
to taste       salt and pepper
6 ea.          thin slices proscuitto for wrapping
1/2 cup       olive oil for cooking
2 cups         arugula

Method:

Prepare all recipes below; have ready as you begin to cook the fish.
Pat the fish dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture.  Season the fish with salt and pepper, then wrap each piece of fish with prosciutto.
In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat until just beginning to smoke.  Add the pieces of wrapped fish to the pan presentation side down.
Cook the fish until beginning to form a golden crust, flig and continue cooking until just cooked through.  Remove from pan.
While fish is cooking, gently warm the Catalan vinaigrette.
Spoon the butter bean-olive relish on the platter, place the fish on top.
Toss the arugula with the Catalan vinaigrette and season with salt and peopper.  Place the arugula on or around the fish.  Drizzle more of the vinaigrette over the dish.

Butter Bean-Olive Relish

Yield:  2 cups

Ingredients

1 cup           butter beans, cooked (sub Cannelini beans)
2 Tbsp.         pickled cherry peppers, julienned
1 each          small shallot, minced
2 Tbsp.         picholine olives, pitted and julienned
2 Tbsp.         kalamata olives, pitted and julienned
2 Tbsp.         chopped parsley
2 Tbsp.         chopped chives
1/4 cup        good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp.        red wine vinegar
to taste        salt and pepper

Method:

Fold all ingredients together, taste and adjust seasoning.

Catalan Vinaigrette

Yield:  1 cup (reserve excess for another use)

Ingredients

1/4 cup          pure olive oil
1/4 cup          garlic, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp.           shallots, minced
1/2 Tbsp.        paprika
1 teaspoon     paprika, smoked
3 cups            tomatoes, pureed
1 oz.               red wine vinegar, or to taste
1 oz.               sherry vinegar, or to taste
1/4 cup        extra virgin olive oil
to taste       salt and pepper

Method:

Heat olive oil over low heat in a small saucepan.  Add garlic and toast lightly.  Add shallots, tomato and paprika and cook until rduced by half.
Remove from the heat and add the vinegar.  Adjust seasoning.

 

 

 

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Building Traditions: The Gingerbread Village

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011 Comments Off on Building Traditions: The Gingerbread Village
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My family is all about traditions. Christmas must include Kieflies!  http://www.cookthepart.com/2010/12/12/kieflies-the-only-must-have-christmas-cookie/
Christmas must also include the same ornaments that we have used for 40 years, the same stockings (received upon the birth of the children), the same small repertoire of Christmas Eve dinners, followed by one of the more elegant choices for Christmas Day dinner. And, Christmas must include Gingerbread houses. This year, our first year as grandparents, included our new granddaughter Kaya Marie in the building event. I got to hold her while her mother, Maria, constructed and decorated. We also had the pleasure of hosting friends with their children in the construction zone. Some beautiful masterpieces resulted. Baking cookies or making gingerbread houses with your children are two wonderful ways to experience “team cooking” and learning the joy of spending time together in the kitchen. On my facebook page, I received two comments from friends/relatives who still remembered the gingerbread houses we made with them 40 years ago. Lifetime memories.

Following is the story from one of our guests, Eric Karpinski, who brought his wife and two lovely children to participate in the event.
The Transforming Power of Savoring by Eric Karpinski

Earlier this week, I took Becca and the kids to a gingerbread house making party with my friend Karin Eastham. Karin, a former biotech colleague of mine, has been pursuing her passions by publishing a cookbook around team cooking. The book is awesome and her blog shares a ton of great recipes and ideas about how to throw a fun cooking party or team building activity in the kitchen.As we settled into assembling the houses, I noticed I was feeling off. I’d had a run-run-run day getting ready for Christmas festivities which had left me feeling a little anxious and cranky. I broughtthat energy with me to Karin’s. Are the kids being polite enough? Did Becca really want to bring the family all the way up here instead of having a quiet afternoon at home? What do these biotechcolleagues REALLY think about my leaving the industry to be a coach? I could feel the negative energy of these questions — the judging and worrying — start to take hold and make me more anxious.

Then I noticed what I was doing. That I was taking what could be an amazing experience and tainting it with gratuitous negativity. Yuck! So I decided it was a great time to turn on my savoring tools. Iconsciously slowed down with a couple deep breaths and became aware of my senses. This helped me notice all the subtle positive things that were happening. How my 9 year-old’s tongue stuck out a little when she was concentrating on her masterpiece. How my 7 year-old was designing his house to maximize how much candy he could fit on it. How proud I felt as my wife talked about her leadership roles at work. How yummy the peppermint bark tasted. How much fun it was to meet some new and interesting people. Savoring brought me out of my worrying loops and into the wonderfulexperience we were having as a family.

Then I focused on building up the experience in my mind and sharing what I was feeling. I expressed my appreciation of Karin for hosting and doing the baking ahead of time. I shared my own memories ofmaking gingerbread houses as a kid at my aunt’s house. I talked about how Piper, the two year old with us, was an perfect stand-in for Cindy Lou Who, with her big blue eyes and brilliant smile. All of this helped increase the joy I was feeling and encouraged the others to share similar stories.

While I’d arrived grumpy and tired, I left Karin’s house energized and happy. Savoring had helped me not only salvage a bad day, but imprint some great memories that I will hold onto for a long time.

Check out Eric’s advice for how to really “savor” the holidays:

http://thehappinesscoach.biz/?p=640

 

 

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“Being Comforted”

Saturday, June 11th, 2011 1 comment
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Jennifer shows roasted garlic mashed potatoes ready to serve.

Jennifer shows roasted garlic mashed potatoes ready to serve.

By Jennifer Cayer, Guest Blogger

With these difficult economic times, multiple overseas conflicts, and earthly disasters, do you ever feel like you just need a safe harbor?  You should try good comfort food in the company of friends.  I recently had the great fortune of hosting a “Cook the Part” party at my house with some really fun couples.  The group worked in mixed teams and enjoyed a 4-course dinner outside in a lovely Rancho Santa Fe evening.  We chose the Comfort Food menu which included a fresh green salad with white peaches and goat cheese (Yummy!).  The salad was meant to include pears for winter comfort, but as white peaches are now in season, we modified the recipe to include peaches, candied almonds and goat cheese in place of the pears, Gorgonzola and toasted walnuts.  Using fresh local produce is one of the key elements to Karin Eastham’s book, “Cook the Part” (even if it means mixing up the recipe/menu).  The salad was divine.  I enjoyed watching Steve Hochberg braise the short ribs with quiet intensity.  There was a bit of a competition between my husband, Paul Cayer, his team-mate Patti Wiggins, and one of the other teams including Sue Burgess and Mark Wiggins.  I’m not sure who won but it seems we all did because the food turned out amazing!  Dan Burgess was intimidated by having to make pie crust from scratch with his partner Nance Hochberg, but they created a wonderful apple tarte tatin.  A fun time was had by all!  I look forward to doing this again!

The meal will be enjoyed poolside in this beautiful setting at the home of Jennifer and Paul Cayer

The meal will be enjoyed poolside in this beautiful setting at the home of Jennifer and Paul Cayer

A big thank you to Jennifer and Paul for hosting another beta test for one of the eight themed menu chapters in Cook the Part.  Below we share the recipe for the Apple Tarte Tatin:

Apple Tarte Tatin

Apple Tarte Tatin

APPLE TARTE TATIN
1¾ cup flour
9 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
4 to 5 tablespoons ice water
 
12  large Granny Smith apples (6 lbs.)
2 cups sugar
9 tablespoons butter
Zest and juice of one lemon
 Preheat oven to 425?.
 Prepare crust.
 In food processor, mix flour, salt and butter until crumbs are formed.  Add ice water and pulse until mixture holds together nicely.  Wrap in wax paper and chill until needed.
Prepare apples.
Peel, quarter, slice each quarter into three slices.  Add the lemon zest and juice to the apples.  Add ¾ cup of the sugar and stir.  Let steep for 20 to 30 minutes then drain apples.
Make caramel and cook apples.
Using a 12 inch iron skillet, melt butter and add remaining 1¼ cups sugar.  Stir until a brown bubbly caramel forms.
Add the apples to the caramel, arranging them in a nice pattern around the pan.  Continue to add apples in subsequent layers, filling in the empty spaces until all apples have been added to pan.  Cook about 15 minutes, covered, basting the apples with a bulb baster periodically.  When the syrup is nicely thickened, remove pan from heat.
Prepare and Bake.
Roll the dough out in a 13” circle.  Center the dough over the apples, forming an edge with the excess dough.  Bake 20 minutes in a preheated oven until crust is nicely browned.  Remove from oven and ensure that juices are not too thin.  If necessary, cook down juices on stove until juices are thick.
Flip Tarte Tatin.
Turn the pan upside down onto a serving dish.  You may need help with this as the pan is red hot and very heavy.
 Serve.
 Cut Tarte Tatin into slices.
 Serve with vanilla ice cream.

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