Smashed Chickpea Salad – Cooking School Online Learning Newsletter #10

Smashed Chickpea Salad

Smashed Chickpea Salad

 

News and Fun Facts Online classes coming up soon!  The online pie class is coming up this Thursday and I posted an online bread class for next Friday.  We’re into week 10 of shelter in place and you may still be loving to cook. But I bet some are starting to get into a cooking rut. I’m offering in this newsletter some sympathy via an article I’m reading and an easy peasy recipe, perfect for a quick meal and perfect for a blazingly hot day.

Top Tip Today’s tip is a shopping tip rather than a cooking tip. Cooks Illustrated conducted a taste test taste of Comparison Supermarket Olive Oil and there’s what they had to say about them.   By the way, did you know there is a lot of fraud on the olive oil world? Much of it is laced with non olive oil, sadly. It’s hard to know what is the “real deal” but I trust Cooks Illustrated.

What I’m Reading Move over fancy food. In comes easier home cooking and lower pressure cooking: easy and with pantry staples – Foodie Culture as We Know It Is Over

Or how about this for a bit of sympathy for those who have reached their capacity of cooking enthusiasm – I Fell Into a Deep Cooking Rut—Here’s How I Got Out

It’s not that I”m suggesting you all pitch your plans to cook dinner at home tonight but I wanted to know about a good source of restaurant information on the San Francisco Peninsula.   Do you know about Peninsula Foodist

What I’m Watching Nadya’s Time to Eat.   Many of you know me and how I teach my classes – no shortcuts! We make mayo from scratch, ditto with harissa. For those who are getting weary, Nadya shows you how to cut some corners to save time.   I loved Nadya on the British Baking Show and was so happy a friend tipped me off that she has her own show.

What I’m Cooking If exhausted from all of the cooking in the past two months, try out this Smashed Chickpea Salad. It’s what the New York Times calls a “no recipe recipe”, meaning that you can virtually throw it together and serve. So easy and delicious!   This was posted in one of Smitten Kitchen’s Newsletters. That’s a great read btw and it’s free to subscribe to it.

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Queso – Cooking School Online Learning Newsletter #9

Queso

Queso with Pickled Jalapenos

News and Fun Facts Many thanks to those who offered to be my first online class customers last week. And thanks for everyone who wrote to me indicating they would sign up for a class. So, I’m going to give it a go May 28 at 3:30-4:30 PM with a Lattice Pie class. The cost is $29 and you can sign up here.   I am now selling gift certificates. One of my camps is an auction item at the May 31 Palo Alto Players auction and they asked me to sell gift certificates which their patrons could buy. I decided to let anyone buy them, though, so you can buy gift certificates here. Think about both of those but read on to enjoy today’s Mexican based newsletter.

Top Tip For the queso recipe you’ll need to be handy with a knife and onion cutting. In class I teach various ways to cut an onion based on the skill level and age of my students.   Here is how Cooks Illustrated suggests you cut an onion which I teach for my advanced students who want to get even sized diced pieces.

Onion, How to Chop

What I’m Reading This article is for a true cooking enthusiast, one who is curious about where all of that great Mexican food came from and what everyone ate south of the border a long, long time ago. Read “Generations of Handwritten Mexican Cookbooks Are Now Online

What I’m Watching I had never heard of a shrub. Well, of course I know that’s another name for bush but not a culinary term. Did I make you curious yet? Here is how to make a berry shrub. Mixing it with club soda or mineral water would be a refreshing drink with your queso.

 

What I’m Cooking I’ve been posting some rather adult recipes so here’s one my kids LOVE. We experimented with this queso recipe a few weeks ago. It was a winner in the house with the teens and they begged me to make it again this week. So I’m sharing New York Time’s rendition of queso with you. It’s great in a bowl aside a pile of tortilla chips or pour it on chips to make nachos. While your munching on that, read Bon Apetit’s “My Four Greatly Held Certainly Correct Opinions on Nachos.”

 

 

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Fruit Lattice Pie – Cooking School Online Learning Newsletter #8

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Fruit Pie with Lattice Crust

 

News and Fun Facts Thank you for those who gave me a bit of a push to go online. I’ll be opening up in person classes as soon as I’m able but I hope some of you can enjoy my online Zoom classes before then.   If you’d like a free pie crust making demo, come to the Paly Wellness Center meeting Thursday morning. I’ll do a bit of demo then answer questions about pies. Contact radhidhall@yahoo.com for more information. On Friday I’m running my first Zoom birthday party, also about pies. If all goes well, I’ll start zoom classes you can enroll in. Please send topics you’d like me to teach to latoquedecindy@gmail.com. Since pies are on my mind, this newsletter will be, you guessed it, all about pies.

What I’m Reading I just snapped up some PlusGra butter at the Grocery Outlet . This brand is excellent but there are many European style butters in the market these days to choose from. Kerrygold and PluGra are good ones to use in your pie crust. Years ago my supper club did a butter tasting. Kerrygold won the taste test. Read what Bloomberg Businessweek has to say bout this grass fed Irish butter.

What I’m Watching To get a head start on pie making, you may want to watch this YouTube video showing how to make a lattice pie crust.

 

What I’m Cooking When I was young, my family picked wild blackberries in the estate behind our house.   We were thrilled when we had 4 cups, enough to make a blackberry pie. For the upcoming classes this week I consulted my sister (a fantastic baker) about the recipe we used so many times as kids.   Here is a variation of that tried and true Fruit Pie with Lattice Crust recipe.   If you don’t have blackberries, other types of fruit will do.

 

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Cooking School Online Learning Newsletter #7

Honey Cake with Citrus

Honey Cake with Candied Citrus Frosting

 

News and Fun Facts This newsletter is going to focus on being scrappy and getting full use out of the ingredients you can get your hands on.   I hope that you took advantage of the flour you can order directly from Central Milling. Mine arrived yesterday. The flour shortage is happening in Europe as well. Here is one solution in England. I just heard that a lot of produce and milk are being dumped since the farmers can’t get them into the grocery stores. So read on for ways to stretch what you have. If Central Milling didn’t work out, try Bob’s Red Mill  or King Arthur.

Top Tip Stretch out your ingredients and get scrappy with what you have on hand.  Make your own buttermilk, crème fraiche and yogurt.  I never liked the girl scout motto “when it doubt, throw it out”. One wouldn’t want to eat moldy bread but don’t be a slave to the expiration dates on packaged goods.  Read about the food expiration dates you should actually follow.  And here is Cooks Illustrated’s article on “How to be a Scrappy Chef

What I’m Reading I belong to a supper club in which we try out a different cuisine each time we meet, a bit of a glorified potluck. Sometimes we all cook a cuisine from a certain part of the world, say Cuba, one time we all made a dish from lemons, a versatile ingredient. On rare occasions we get quite creative. Our next meeting will be Cooking with Spirits when we are able to gather again with friends. From time to time we all cook from the same cookbook. Think of this of a beta test of a book, a try before you buy. We did this with the Slanted Door book. Serious Eats chats about “Why Cookbook Clubs May be the New Way to Entertain”.

That is for those of you who want to get inspired for the future. For those tired of shelter in place cooking, you may find some humor in “The Myth of Easy Cooking” from the Atlantic.

What I’m Watching While we’re on the subject of humor, if you have used cooking videos to learn how to cook and failed, it’s possibly not you. It could very well be the video. BBC tried out some cooking videos and discovered some of them are “fake news” videos. Here’s what they found out

What I’m Cooking This week I really loved the Honey Cake with Candied Citrus Frosting recipe from Sunset magazine.   In the fine print you’ll read that it takes many hours. It’s not many hours of labor but many hours of cooking and refrigerator time so it’s a good one while we shelter in place for another month. Even if you bake a lot this is worthwhile to try as you’ll learn how to make a frosting with flour which needs to be cooked first with sugar and milk then beat with the butter. It’s very unique. Then in an effort to use every scrap (even the pith) of the oranges you have on hand, the candied citrus is a great technique. Layered on top of the cake really added unique flavor to this cake. But, honestly, you could use those candied citrus in so many ways. Just get creative.

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Cooking School Online Learning Newsletter #6

Creamed Kale Photo

Coconut Creamed Kale

News and Fun Facts While recipe exchanges are always fun, they are almost a necessity in this time of shelter in place while we all try to up our cooking game and get out of the regular meal rotation. CNN agrees.  I’ve received about 10 recipe exchange emails. If you have, too, and found an amazing recipe from a friend of your friend, send it my way to latoquedecindy@gmail.com. I’d be happy to post it next week so everyone can enjoy it. I received this turkey chili recipe

Top Tip The main (and sometimes only) topic with friends these days is food acquisition. For those “stress baking” yet finding the grocery stores empty of flour, Central Milling has excellent flour and you can buy it here. Even if you haven’t started the victory edible garden in your yard, try growing scallions from the root ends after you’ve enjoyed the tender tops for dinner, Here’s how to magically grow new scallions.

What I’m Reading There are hints that shelter in place may soon be over (and hints that it may not be for a long time). While we’re in this “at home” mode, it’s fun to think about what you’ll do once you’re freed to hop on a plane and free to socialize. This read will let you dream of that magic moment in our future.

We are all non travellers these days so my read for you this week is an armchair adventure. Poulaine bakery is a “must” destination in Paris. I’ll bet many of you know that. But, read about Lyon, the food fanatic capital of France in an article a friend sent this week. It’s on my list for my next trip to France.

Breaking Bread in Lyon from The New Yorker

What I’m Watching The Slow Food organization has generously recorded their sessions after they run live. Here is a recent one, Making Pizza with Chef Facchini and Victoria.

What I’m Cooking I really went out on a limb this week with my recipe experiments. In my wildest dreams I would never have thought to pair a rather bitter kale with Madras curry powder. It works like a charm in this recipe as the coconut milk and flaked coconut must act as enough of a sweetener to balance out the other ingredients. This is an easy way to consume a lot of kale. Sure, you can buy a bunch of kale and work with that in this recipe. I took an easier route and poured two bags of Trader Joes’ baby kale in to the dish. Ali Slagle’s Coconut Creamed Kale. If you have a subscription to the New York Times, you can get the original recipe here

I have typed it up here in case you don’t.

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Cooking School Online Learning Newsletter #5

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Potato and Wild Mushroom Gratin

News and Fun Facts Are you in the market for a new cookbook or just want to give a boost to a small culinary based business?   Omnivore Books in San Francisco has closed its doors while we shelter in place but they are selling books online. This is a wonderful cookbook store so please visit it when they reopen but for now you can buy books from them here.

I didn’t get any responses from my grocery delivery poll so I’m going to assume everyone is braving the brick and mortar grocery stores. This week, what’s your favorite cookbook? If no responses arrive in my Inbox, I’ll tell you mine. Well, I’m apt to do that anyway even if you vote! Vote for your favorite cookbook here.

Top Tip Delicious Science praises the wonders of vitamin D.   Many of you may be getting vitamin D through your milk since you’re not allowed much to go out and about to enjoy the sunshine. Another great source of vitamin D are mushrooms. To bump up their vitamin D quotient, law them outside gill side up to absorb more.   Dry them out and finely grind them to have vitamin D at the ready for a year. If you have a picky eater in your household, take that mushroom powder and add it to hamburger meat, pizza sauce and pasta sauce.

What I’m Reading “The Art of Simple Food” by Alice Waters was given to me by a sister who knows I’m a fan of Alice, a founder of the food revolution in California. I do adore everything she’s done to change the way we eat, grow food and cook. This book, would be perfect for a college student in their first apartment or for anyone beginning their culinary journey. It’s not for me but it could be the perfect gift for someone in your life who suddenly finds it necessary due to the shelter in place order to take up cooking. She details what to store in your pantry. Many pages list the tools one needs in their kitchen.  For instance, she describes the necessary knife set to be a chef’s knife, a serrated knife and a paring knife. I give her the thumbs up for this as there is no need to have a huge set of knives. Next she explains how to create a menu and gives samples. Lastly, there are recipes for many basic dishes such as pesto. It’s one of the top 10 Must Have Cookbooks, says Fox News.

What I’m Watching In Delicious Science, Dr. Michael Mosley and botanist James Wong celebrate the physics, chemistry, and biology hidden inside every bite of your next meal. Learn how the hidden chemistry of food keeps our bodies fit and healthy; take a global culinary adventure to reveal the science that makes our food taste delicious; and discover how the chemistry in our food affects our brains and creates our deepest cravings. By donating as little as $5 per month to KQUED you have access to this show and much of the PBS content.

What I’m Cooking Easter dinner was slightly (actually majorly) different than most years. We did a Zoom family call and enjoyed a rack of lamb and potato gratin. I’ve taught a fairly high calorie gratin in class but thought I’d try out this potato and wild mushroom gratin full of vegetables which a sister and fabulous cook gifted to me. Since it cooks for 2 hours (yes you read that right) it’s good for a dinner party or just when you want to be tempted by the smells of the kitchen while you shelter in place.

 

 

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Cooking School Online Learning Newsletter #4

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Curried Noodles with Shrimp

News and Fun Facts. 100% of you said you’re “stress baking” in my poll last week. I hope you have enough flour on hand to continue. If not, grocery deliveries may be the best way to access safe and healthy food. Some of you have probably waited ½ an hour to enter a grocery store donned with a protective mask and followed the arrows around the store with 6 feet between you and the next customer. It may be time to try out online shopping although I just heard that Amazon will put new online customers on their wait list and also shorten the store hours of Whole Foods. I’ve used Farm Fresh to You for some excellent organic produce and many swear by Good Eggs.   In a recent Nextdoor post the neighbors are speaking highly of Imperfect Produce, Google Shopping Express, Instacart, Safeway. What’s your favorite delivery service? Vote here.

Top Tip. If you buy limes in bulk, perhaps you’re in the habit of squeezing the juice and storing it in the freezer. Try out this tip and freeze the entire fruit.

EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP image

What I’m Reading. Wondering what cooking tools are trending? Read “The New Trophies of Domesticity” from The Atlantic

If you’re getting weary of all this cooking (and I hope you’re not), maybe just watch other people cook. There’s a lot of that happening on Instagram. Read “The Joy of Watching Other People Cook”.

What I’m Watching. Have some fun this week and watch (or probably re watch) the movie “Ratatouille”.   If you have tired of the English version, how about watching it in Hindi?

What I’m Cooking. Bon Appetit won out all of my recipe tests this week with their “Curried Noodles with Shrimp” recipe. I thought it odd to drain out the liquid from the noodles after lovingly soaking them in curry powder but the noodles will actually retain the curry flavor so don’t worry about draining them. Did you know that curry powder isn’t Indian really? It’s actually British, sort of. Curry refers to a number of spice blends, not just that bright yellow one in your spice collection.

Wishing you health and happy cooking,

 

Cindy

 

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Cooking School Online Learning Newsletter #3

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Carrot Cake

News and Fun Facts. Firstly, welcome to a new teacher for the summer. Check out her new class: Are You Food Smart?, July 27-31, 12:30-3:30pm, ages 8-12, teacher: Hiral Jhaveri,

Who out there is stress baking? The New York Times seems to think we all are. If my kitchen is evidence, they are right on the mark. I baked an angel food cake, blueberry muffins, cornbread, country bread, carrot cake. All in the last week! Read the NY Times. “Stress Baking More than Usual?”. It must have been too tall of an order to ask everyone to cook chicken adobo 3 ways since zero votes came in. Here’s an easy poll for the week. Are you stress baking? Vote here. 

Top Tip. For more even centers in your thumb print cookies, try out this idea from the October, 2019, edition of Cooks Illustrated.

EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP image

What I’m Reading. I loved, loved, loved my time in New York City in January and my visit to the original Sarabeth’s Bakery in the Chelsea Market. In honor of that trip and the difficult situation in New York right now I reading “Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hands to Yours”.   The best biscuit recipe is in this book and she leads one through making puff pastry. It’s a great read and chock full of amazing baking ideas.

What I’m Watching. Did you know 50% of the produce in Russia is grown in home gardens? It’s time to plant the coronavirus victory garden at your residence. Garlic is a top ingredient to denature viruses. Thyme, rosemary, oregano, caraway seeds, turmeric, parsley, ginger will all improve your immune system. This may be the time to plant the vegetable garden you never seem to have time for in April. Recently I watched the Slow Food USA class on how to plant your garden. They also have a class on a DIY spa using your garden herbs and pizza making know how. What a great time to re purpose your edible garden into a DIY spa with chamomile, rosemary and thyme. No chamomile in your garden? No worries. Buy some tea and find a new use for it. Watch this how to show to learn now.

The show is live at least once a week but you can see past episodes which have been recorded. See here to learn about the series.

 

 

planting a garden

 

 

 

What I’m Cooking. With all of that reading of Sarabeth’s book, it just seemed right to try out at least one new recipe from her book. For those looking for a great carrot cake recipe, try hers. My mom loved it, my husband liked it, my kind of picky son gobbled up a few pieces.   It’s fun to make it in a bundt pan but don’t let this scare you off if you don’t own one. Just bake it in a cake pan.   You’ll see in my photo a light dusting of flour on the top. For those who have attended my classes you know how I loath this technique and have you use parchment paper instead to line pans. This is no small feat with a bundt pan so I suggest just lightly spraying the bundt pan with cooking oil. I think this recipe works so well since the egg whites are whipped up before the dry ingredients are added.

Wishing you health and happy cooking,

 

Cindy

 

 

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Carrot Cake

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Carrots Cake, Sarabeth’s Bakery

cooking spray

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

1 cup superfine sugar

¾ cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 ½ cups grated carrots (use large holes on box grater)

½ cup (8 ounces) minced pineapple (canned is fine)

½ cup (2 ounces) walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

½ cup seedless raising

 

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT

Bundt pan

How to make this recipe

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Spray bundt pan with cooking spray (or flour and butter it).
  2. Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl
  3. Combine the sugar, oil and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer. Attach the bowl to the mixer and fit with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until the mixture has thickened slightly and is light in color and texture, about 3 minutes.
  4. Reduce the mixer speed to low. In thirds, add the flour mixture and mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, just until the batter is smooth.
  5. Add the carrots, pineapple, walnuts and raisins and mix until combined. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatila.
  6. Bake until the cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert and unmold the cake onto the rack and let cool completely. The cake can be stored at rom temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 2 days.

 

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Cooking School Online Learning Newsletter #2

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Chicken Adobo

News and Fun Facts. Mary Berry from The Great British Baking Show turned 85 this week.   How inspiring! That’s the fun fact of the week but read on for a reality check on food safety.

You are probably wondering if your food is Covid-19 safe.   I am quarantining mine in the cooking school kitchen for 3 days before I bring it into the house. This may be a bit too cautious. Read here for some recommendations on food safety. Is it safe to eat produce? How about farmer’s markets? How long does the virus stay on food?

Top Tip. You may know I’m a fan of cast iron. It’s a healthy way to achieve a non stick surface. If you’re willing to manage the weight of a cast iron Dutch oven, I highly recommend Staub cookware.   For a well seasoned skillet, head to the Paly Flea Market. I have bought several skillets from a vendor there. The bonus of buying used cast iron is that it will be well seasoned.   Here is what Cooks Illustrated says about the care, benefits and best ways to use cast iron.

What I’m Reading. Cooks Illustrated is my favorite cooking magazine. I’ve let them stack up over the past 15 years while I’ve been teaching in person classes and I’m having a terrific time reading all of the back issues. The Top Tip is from the January, 2017, edition.   This magazine changed over the years, most notably with the departure of Chris Kimball but it’s still an excellent read.

What I’m Watching. Ruth Reichl is a far of Chefs Table and I am too. Each episode showcases a different chef. It’s on Netflix streaming.

What I’m Cooking. Chicken Adobo from the New York Times was calling out to me this week. I made it and would give it probably 3.5 out of 5 stars. But it got me thinking of the other Chicken Adobo recipes I’ve collected over the years.   All so different but all so good. One is from my supper club. That one is simple but I must have loved it as I’ve kept it in my recipe binder for years. The other is from Cooks Illustrated. This one is very interesting with molasses and espresso powder. Try out all 3 recipes and tell me which one you liked best.  Vote here.

 

 

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