Although not a regular restaurant goer as there are always so many fun dishes to cook myself, I have been a fan of Rick Bayless for 20 years and had the fortune of dining at Frontera in Chicago last week. It was the best Mexican meal I’ve ever eaten in the U.S. His chicken mole had a special twist to it. I couldn’t figure out if it was just some super cilantro or a touch of epizote. All I can say was it was A1 delicious. The chocolate cappuccino was frothy with a tad of cinnamon and great Intelligentsia espresso.
Over the years I watched his TV series “Mexico, One Plate at a Time”, cooked from his cookbooks and went to a local Williams Sonoma to have him sign one of my cookbooks. So you can imagine what a thrill it was to finally dine at his flagship restaurant. Try out his recipes at home and watch his show. I’m thinking of an all Mexican cooking week next summer at camp. Let me give some thought to that but it could be super fun and Mexican food is a hit with the younger chefs.
Our Yummy Yotam camp was so much fun and I learned a lot from the young chefs who came to cook with me. Most notable was that their taste buds differ a lot from mine. We all agreed that his shakshuka was top notch. I could eat that every day and never weary of it. I like the carrot salad with yogurt and cinnamon. They didn’t. They raved about his quinoa salad with cucumbers. I didn’t. Here is how the young chef votes for the recipes ranked with a yes/no vote for many we tried. I strongly recommend buying the cookbooks but enjoy the recipes I found online too.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Figs 25/2
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Lemongrass Yogurt Dip 21/4
Coconut fish 19/6
Peach, Raspberry and Watercress Salad with 5 Spice Blend 19/4
Tomato Carpaccio with Spring Onions and Ginger 8/3
Quinoa cucumber salad 9/2
Meatballs with Fava Beans and Lemon 18/11
Sweet Winter Slaw 12/9
Carrot Salad with Yogurt, Cinnamon and Dill 0/8
Stuffed Eggplants with Lamb and Pine Nuts 2/11
Tomato Semolina and cilantro Soup 6/10
Chocolate is on my mind today. It’s not that it usually isn’t but today is a special day as I head into 15 baking classes, two of which are all about chocolate. One of my favorite activities in chocolate camp is my chocolate guessing game. For this, I hand out samples of chocolates. The wrappers have been cleverly hidden in brown paper bags so no one can cheat. I have my students “guess” what goodies have been added to each chocolate. It’s a fun activity to challenge their taste buds and I try to find the craziest flavor additions. We’ve done bacon, pretzels and even gojo berries. This is what we’re tasting in Chocolate Champions summer, 2019.
I remember a few months back when I hosted a dinner party starting with an announcement. It wasn’t a toast for someone’s birthday or a grand speech. I just piped up “I have bad news for you. I have never made any of the recipes you’re about to eat”. One of the guests inquired about my source for the recipes. I mentioned they were all from Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooks. She was delighted as she adored Yotam’s recipes. As I was pondering something fun and delicious to teach this summer, novel but slightly kid-friendly, Yotam came to mind. Some of is recipes are much too complicated for the young chefs in my classes but some not, especially with his recent cookbook, “Simple”. I must admit I’m truly a fan of “Jerusalem” but was thinking “Simple” may be a better fit for young chefs. After waiting some time for the book to come in at my local bookstore, Books, Inc., I bought the book, marking easy and kid-friendly recipes with hot pink post it notes. Then I incorporated some of them into my after school classes to test them out a bit. I wanted to make sure they would be a good fit from a skill level and palate for kids. Seeded chicken and cornbread were quite popular and very doable so they made it to the camp menu. After a friend brought over the carrot salad with yogurt and cinnamon for dinner one night I thought it was so terrific I fit it into the menu for class that week. Now the countdown until summer begins. 2 weeks to go until our summer camps called “Delectable Dinners: Yummy Yotam Ottolenghi” begin.
Now Accepting Applications for Summer Cooking Camp Scholarship
I’m happy to announce my first (but hopefully annual) scholarship to my summer program. This is just a small way for me to give back to the community.
Click on “APPLY” to go to the scholarship application form for one student to the July 22-26, 2019, 9:00am-12:00pm, Bread and Croissants camp at La Toque de Cindy in Palo Alto, California, for a prospective student aged 10-15. This scholarship has a value of $295. The deadline for applications is April 8. Applications will be accepted via this form only and the winner will be chosen based on need and other factors. The winner of this scholarship will be notified by April 30 and will attend this camp free of charge. All information submitted will be held confidential. If you have questions about this scholarship, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org. APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP.
On a recent visit to New York City I basically ate up the city. Literally. Between shuttling my daughter between tours of prospective colleges I dined at Jean Geoge as I so love his family cookbook, snapped up a few delightful pastries at Sarabeth’s in honor of my love for her cookbook, “Sarabeth’s Bakery: From my Hands to Yours”.
Amsterdam Avenue was a culinary wonder and visiting the Jacques Torres store didn’t disappoint. In a rush for some sublime chocolate but with little time to savor each item in the store I bought his chocolate covered orange peels and champagne truffles to carry home after snacking on a few luscious chocolate samples the staff let me taste. I cracked open the boxes this week to recall my fond memories of my visit to that dream of a store. The orange peels are out of this world, pairing the bitter taste of the peels with the creamy bittersweet of the chocolate coating is brilliant.
We’ll try to come close to these chocolates when we aim to duplicate them in the March 11 Chocolate Confections class. I have some candied tangerine peels in the freezer just waiting for a good chocolate dip and plenty of transfer sheets to make beautifully dipped ganache. If interested in this class, click on the Class tab above to register.
Jacques Torres Chocolate & Ice Cream, 285 Amsterdam Ave #1, New York, NY
It has been so rewarding to hear from many of you about your interest in my cooking program for 2019. Thank you for all of your patience while I put together a fun filled and rewarding program. There’s plenty to choose from in the listing below and I am also accepting requests for private events. Registration and More
After School Classes
- February 20, 27, March 13, 20 Weekday Dinners
- February 21, 28, March 14, 21 Weekday Dinners
- April 9, 16, 23, 30 Weekday Dinners
- April 10, 17, 24, May 1 Weekday Dinners
- April 11, 18, 25, May 2 Weekday Dinners
- February 15 Baking
- March 11 Chocolate Confections
- June 3-7 Delectable Dinners: Yummy Yotam Ottolenghi
- June 10-14 Delectable Dinners: Yummy Yotam Ottolenghi
- June 24-28 Easy Peasy Meals for Younger Kids
- July 8-12 Easy Peasy Meals for Younger Kids
- July 22-26 Bread and Croissants
- July 29-August 2 Chocolate Champions