Newsletter #26 & Skillet Meatball with Peaches, Basil and Lime Recipe

What’s Happening at La Toque If you’re looking for a fun activity to boost the spirits of your team at work, how about setting up a happy hour and start with a cooking class?  I was thinking it could be fun for your workgroup to start with one of these classes and then have happy hour with what you’ve learned at class.

How to make a few fun cocktails

Bake a dessert with me.  Have your group do a wine pairing 

Learn how to make some appetizers then enjoy them with your group with drinks

Classes this week: Shrimp risotto, sticky toffee pudding

Snap and Cook Photo Drawing  Thank you Caroline for being a regular baker with me.  She’s won a free class by submitting the photos above.  Send yours my way to 

Top Tip  Black pepper is a key ingredient in nearly every savory dish and I highly recommend you grind it rather than using pre ground.  Once an exotic ingredient this is now commonplace and this black pepper know how is my top tip this week.

What I’m Reading I thought I’d send a thought piece  your way.  How America Lost Dinner (the meal kit market craze, or is it not?  Is there a move back to take out?).  Hoping you’re cooking and eating dinner together and bucking the trends mentioned in this article.

What I’m Watching  I haven’t yet started my YouTube channel but many other great cooks have.  Most recently my friend’s son launched his cooking channel.  Check out Adam and Eats and give him a “like”.

What I’m Cooking  I thought this recipe sounded CRAZY but with peaches in my freezer from the summer harvest and the limes and basil ready to pick in the garden this seemed to be a perfect inventory reduction recipe.  It turned out to be so much more than that.  It’s incredible how the flavor combo melded together.  Hats off to Melissa Clark at the New York Times.  Try out her Skillet Meatballs with Peaches, Basil and Lime.  Photos once you’v made it are welcome.

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Neiman’s Chocolate Chip Cookies – Cooking School Online Learning Newsletter #25

News and Fun Facts   Most of my readers are living in the west coast and it’s tough times with the fires burning, some of you evacuated, some with losses and most everyone experiencing smoky unhealthy air.  So, once again, I’m making this newsletter light.   Light meaning you should all bake some cookies and watch my “escape” show.  Read on for more details and stay safe this week.   

Classes this week: black bean soup, quesadillas, chocolate lava cakes, chocolate cake, chicken tenders, roasted potatoes

Snap and Cook Photo Club Above is this week’s winner of a free class, a student making Indian Butter Chicken in class. Send me a photo ( of a chocolate chip cookie (ideally with you in the photo to enter the drawing.

Top Tip  Think comfort this week.  Think COOKIES.  And see this Cookie 101 article from  Cooks Illustrated to get you inspired and on the right track for fantastic results.

What I’m Reading  Aiming to head you into a no fuss cookie baking week, skip the tools and use your hands instead. Read “Your Hands Are Your Greatest Kitchen Utensil.”

What I’m Watching  Everyone needs a bit of escapism this week.   I recommend everyone watch this fun show “Million Pound Menu” which is a bit of “Shark Tank” meets British restaurants.  Prospective restaurant owners give their pitch to investors and possibly get a BIG investment for their dream restaurant concept.

What I’m Cooking   Cookies should just do the trick to boost your mood a few notches.  Have you heard of the Neiman Marcus story?  Is it a myth or not? Cookies are “it” this week so try the “comfort” recipe, the Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip cookie

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Neiman-Marcus $250 Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

  • 5 cups oats
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 cups unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces milk chocolate, such as Hershey’s bars, grated
  • 4 large eggs
  • 24 ounces chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups chopped nuts, your choice

           How to Make this Recipe

  1. Grind in a blender or food processor to a fine powder.
  2. Mix together the flour, oats, salt, baking powder and soda.
  3. Cream the butter and both sugars together with an electric mixer.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla.
  5. Add chocolate chips, grated Hershey Bar and nuts.
  6. Roll into 1 inch balls and place 2-inches apart on a cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes at 375° or until golden.

 There has been a story about the secret Neiman recipe for years. So many have tried to duplicate the recipe. This is the recipe posted here. But, if you want Neiman’s side of the story, they claim this is the real deal.

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Rosemary Salmon Purses – Cooking School Online Learning Newsletter #24

News and Fun Facts   My Toll House Cookie recipe I sent you was a bit of a loser in The Pancake Princess’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Bake Off.  The winners were Cooks Illustrated (I almost always love their recipes) and the college student tasters chose the All Recipe one.

Classes this week: Milk Chocolate Cookies, Indian Butter Chicken, Profiteroles.

Top Tip  Salmon know how!  Check this out and then try the salmon recipe below.

Snap and Cook Photo Drawing  Above is this week’s winner of a free class, a student making smoked salmon pasta in class. Send me a photo from a recent class or a photo of the rosemary salmon purses or even a chocolate chip cookie to enter the drawing.

What I’m Reading  Fall is cookbook season.  They are top of mind as the gift giving season will soon be upon us.    It’s no surprise many cocktail books are being published in this unsettling 2020.  But I wanted to highlight Ina Gartner’s “Comfort Food” and Yotam Ottolenghi’s  “Flavor”.  If you watched Nadiya Hussain’s Netflix cooking series you may want to check out her “Time to Eat”.  And then I’d like to steer you away from restaurant cookbooks and celebrity chefs.  They are fun and often have fabulous photos but I often find them using difficult to find ingredients and sometime hve errors in the instructions or ingredient lists.  Support a small business and buy them from or Omnivore Books.

What I’m Listening To The Proof podcast from American’s Test Kitchen is very fun.  While it’s not exactly about cooking, it certainly is about food.  Listen to the latest about Oreo cookies or the history of tofu.

What I’m Cooking  This is a simple recipe that’s fancy enough for a dinner party.  I’ve been teaching this for years and it’s been a favorite of my students: Rosemary Salmon Purses.  Just buy some good quality salmon (see tip above), layer a few ingredients and wrap it up with parchment paper to make a purse.  It’s great for each guest to open it up at dinner time and to be surprised by what’s inside the purse.

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Eggplant Parmesan – Cooking School Online Learning Newsletter #23


Chocolate Lava Cake with a Dollop of Ice Cream

News and Fun Facts For those of you who are fans of durian (or non fans but just are interested in this unusually smelly fruit there’s a Thorny issue: Malaysian durian industry hit by demand slump and manpower shortage due to COVID-19

I’ve found that some are best served by 1:1 classes so I’ve added private lessons to my list of class offerings. Also, just added is a class option for your next team building event. Classes this week: Southwestern Corn Tart, Salmon Cakes, Gingerbread Cake with Apples. New baking series and dinner series start after Labor Day.

Cook and Snap This week’s winner is the photo above, a Chocolate Lava Cake from last week’s class.  Send me a photo of the Eggplant Parmesan to enter the drawing for a FREE CLASS

Top Tip The fall planting season will soon be upon us. How about visiting one of the local Bay Area Seed Libraries before you start? Here is one close by and read this article for more.

What I’m Reading It’s a bit late to take advantage of the cheery harvest but I’m so lucky to have some canned and waiting for a winter day to make a cherry pie to remember the summer sun.   These are from a “you pick” orchard a friend recently visited.   If you’re more likely to purchase yours at the store, read on to learn how the magic of sourcing cherries happens in The Scramble to Pluck 24 Billion Cherries in Eight Weeks


What I’m Watching I have just finished a marathon of 6 season’s of Chef’s Table on Netflix streaming. Before I move on to a different show I wanted to highlight Nancy Silverton. One of her claims to fame is La Brea Bread Bakery in Santa Monica, CA.   You’ve probably experienced her now mass produced version of her original recipe but serious bakers should also check out her bread cookbook. You can watch Nancy’s show on Netflix Streaming but here’s a recap.

What I’m Cooking Before the summer ends I wanted to point you to one of my summer joys, Eggplant Parmesan. For those of you looking for an easy entry into vegetarian cuisine this one may be fore you as you may not even miss the meat since it’s so tasty.


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Chocolate Chip Cookies – Cooking School Online Learning Newsletter #22


Strawberry Meringue Torte

News Due to the events of the week, here is a short but hopefully comforting newsletter (that is, the chocolate chip cookie recipe). Classes are “on” this week: shrimp risotto, eggplant parmesan and scones.

Cook and Snap Send me a photo of what you’ve made in my cooking classes or the “recipe of the week”. Each week a photo will be drawn for a free cooking class. The photo above is this week’s winner: strawberry meringue torte.

What I’m Cooking One of the most comforting foods is chocolate chip cookies I must admit.   Try some out this week with the original Nestle Toll House Cookie recipe. Oh, yes, send me a photo please!




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Corn Fritters – Cooking School Online Learning Newsletter #21

Corn Fritters

Corn Fritters

News and Fun Facts Announcing the new “Snap and Cook Club”. Each week I’ll be posting a recipe in the newsletter and teaching both savory and baking classes.   Snap a photo of the dish you’ve made from either the newsletter or a class recipe (with you in it or just the dish) and email it to   Each week one photo will be chosen to be posted in the next newsletter and/or other marketing material and the “winner” will receive a free online cooking class.

Come to class this week: smoked salmon pasta, shaking beef and chocolate lava cakes are on the menu. 3 week dinner series also starting this week.

What I’m Reading Tomatoes are taking over the market and perhaps your garden. I’ve had the pleasure of incorporating my garden tomatoes into my recent cooking classes. If you’re in the midst of this tomato wonderfulness, perhaps you’d enjoy the heartwarming story in “The Life-Changing Magic of Canning Tomatoes

What I’m Watching Spice Box Travels has a new YouTube channel. I met Linda when we were writing a book of culinary essays together. Since then she’s taught cooking classes at various schools in the Bay Area, teaches cooking classes at Kaiser, has a newsletter and now a YouTube channel!

What I’m Cooking Smitten Kitchen posted a wonderful Corn Fritters which we loved this week.   The family loved it even more when my song came up with the bright idea of a tasty sauce: mayo, smoky paprika, a bit of chipotle in adobo sauce.   Just play with these ingredients until you get the proportions you like and mix it up.





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Chocolate Walnut Cookies – Cooking School Online Learning Newsletter #20


Post Brownie Class Happiness

Chocolate Walnut Cookies

News and Fun Facts Fall planning is underway so let your voice be heard. Tell me what you’d like to learn by writing to While you’re pondering that, come to class this week: scallops, queso, pesto pasta and a pavlova type cake are on the menu.

Top Tip My favorite baking chocolate is Guittard as I mentioned to my students in brownie class (happy brownie chef above). And be wary of chocolate chips. They have some additives which make their melting and cooking properties different than bar chocolate. Don’t get confused with chocolate know how. Just enjoy and may be read this article. Are you Baking with the Right Chocolate

What I’m Reading For those of you want to learn what others have to say about the fondant controversy, read Everything is cake, except fondant hate, which is very real

What I’m Watching With baking on my mind, season 4 of Chefs Table has been super to watch. While in NYC I’m sending my husband and daughter to Milk Bar, Christina Tosi’s bakery. To learn about her watch her Chef’s Table episode. And then maybe join her bake club, a daily baking class on Instagram.

What I’m Cooking Most of my cooking in July was at my online classes so I don’t have a super new recipe for you, just a tried and true one I love. If you’re in the baking mood, how about trying Chocolate Walnut Cookies? Not only is it delicious but it’s a way to use up your egg whites (as is the pavlova type cake I’m teaching on Friday)


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5 Spice Peach and Raspberry Salad – Cooking School Online Learning Newsletter #19


5 Spice Peach and Raspberry Salad

News and Fun Facts News Alert! For those of you who live on the SF Peninsula I have sad news for you. Mayfield Bakery in Palo Alto has closed, my all time favorite place to buy sliced bread. To support my other treasured bakery, head on over to Mademoiselle Colette’s in Menlo Park and Palo Alto to show your support. This newsletter highlights peaches as we head to the end of the peach season in California.

Classes this week: watermelon salad, salsa, tuna melt, pasta alfredo and vanilla peach pie.

What I’m Reading Here’s a peach article a friend sent me this week. Lots of ideas for those end of the season peaches! Stone me! 17 ways with peaches and nectarines – from delicious compotes to a freekeh salad

What I’m Watching I am watching not a bit about peaches this week but rather fantasizing about food and travel with Somebody Feed Phil on Netflix streaming. It’s fun and a great show to help you build up your future “must visit” restaurant list.


What I’m Cooking This week’s recipe is a rather crazy one from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Simple Cookbook, 5 Spice Peach and Raspberry Salad. We’ve made it at cooking school in past years. Although I do love it I sadly didn’t snap a photo.

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Mustard Chicken in Phyllo – Cooking School Online Learning Newsletter #18

Mustard Chicken in Phyllo

Mustard Chicken in Phyllo

News and Fun Facts I am afraid I don’t have any fun facts this week, just fun classes. The Lunch Bunch menu for this week is tuna sandwiches, beef tacos and cheddar biscuits.   Friday’s Baking Blowout class is almond biscotti. Well, I guess my fun fact is that “biscotti” just means “cookie” in Italian but we Americans have come to think of it as those crunchy twice baked crescent shaped cookies.

Top Tip After years of making hard boiled eggs with shells sticking to the whites, I triumphed this week. Kenji Lopez of The Cooking Lab fame and now a part of the New York Times Cooking team has done so many experiments about the cooking of hard and soft boiled eggs.   Here’s what he learned from his experiments and perfecting the art of non clinging shells. How to Boil the Perfect Egg

What I’m Reading I’m thinking a lot about lunch due to my Lunch Bunch class series. So, when I came across this article I decided to include it here. How I Make My Lunch Every Day Without Losing My Sanity

What I’m Watching I had the pleasure of dining at Atelier Crenn a few years back for a very special anniversary dinner. It was so fun to watch Chefs Table, Dominique Crenn, on Netflix learn more about this unique chef who starts each meal with a poem. I’ve put Petite Crenn on my restaurant “wish list” now. It’s my list of places to go once restaurants open up. Are you making one too? Chefs Table, Dominique Crenn

What I’m Cooking It’s I tried out a New York Times recipe for Chicken in Mustard Sauce.   It was so easy you’d really love that aspect of it. However, despite the Dijon mustard and mustard powder, I found it rather bland. Try it out if you want something simple that even picky eaters will devour, Since I wasn’t wowed by it I am giving you a recipe along the same lines, Mustard Chicken in Phyllo. I have loved this for many years and my niece and I served this for so many dinner parties.

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