Friday, June 24, 2011

Round zucchini stuffed with mushrooms and spinach

                                                   6 portions

   6 round zucchini (try substituting wide cylinders of normal zucchini)
   10 large button or crimini mushrooms
   1 clove garlic
   1⁄2 C grated aged cheese
   Approx. 6 oz./175g spinach (enough to reduce to about 1 cup when cooked)
   1 onion
   20 leaves fresh basil     

  • Hollow out zucchini and dice bits you've just removed. Rub insides with clove of garlic.
  • Clean, finely slice and sauté the mushrooms in 2 T melted butter, about 10 minutes, till soft, much reduced in volume and no liquid is left in pan. Season and empty into food processor.
  • Use the same pan to sauté the diced onion and the zucchini bits in 1 T olive oil also about 10 minutes, lightly browned, reduced in volume and dry. Salt lightly and add to mushrooms. Pulse a few times until you have a homogenous mix but stop before you get a purée.
  • Clean the spinach, spin dry if necessary, and wilt in a covered saucepan, stirring occasionally. Once wilted, continue cooking over medium heat without lid till water has evaporated.
  • If necessary. Lift spinach mass onto cutting board and chop. Add to mushroom mix with handful of chopped basil and grated cheese. Check seasoning and stuff hollowed-­out zucchini. Optionally enhance flavour with lemon zest and juice, and thyme, or garlic.
  • Bake stuffed zucchinis about 30 minutes at 375 F. If desired, top with more grated cheese when cooked, and place under broiler 2 minutes to melt the cheese.

 Wine Suggestion:

        Dry Rosé from Provence, Corsica or Languedoc. Young reds from the 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Raspberry Crème Brûlée


1⁄2 litre (2 cups) of whipping cream
6 egg yolks
120g (4oz) of sugar
1 vanilla pod or 2 tbsp vanilla extract
30 raspberries
6 tbsp of sugar for torching, if desired.


Preheat your oven to 100C/220F.

Distribute the raspberries between the 6 ramekins; your goal is to submerge them completely in the crème brulee mix before baking. If your ramekins are too shallow place the berries on their side and press them gently to remove the air pockets that make them float. In a bowl gently whisk (without incorporating too much air) the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla. Bring cream and the scraped vanilla pod to a boil and then pour it slowly over the egg+sugar mix while continuing to slowly whisk. Strain mix if it seems uneven in texture.

Ladle mixture into the ramekins.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until set. Crème brulee is ready when completely set. Be careful not to over bake as this will result in a rubbery texture. If after one hour the crème is still runny, increase the oven temperature to 120C/250F.
Once set, let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, then transfer in the fridge for 2 hrs (up to 2 days). To speed things up you can also place the crème in the freezer for 1 hr.
If desired sprinkle a heaped tablespoon of sugar on the crème and with a torch caramelize the sugar until dark amber. Serve immediately after.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

An adventure in Molecular Gastronomy

Siphons and syringes to the ready and a large dose of imagination Chef Alex and his avid students carried out a fun Molecular Gastronomy Class using fresh market ingredients. 
We created an elaborate menu to cover techniques such as Spherification [controlled jellification of a liquid which forms spheres when submerged in a bath] and gelification to make all sorts of gelified shapes and we created foams and emulsions.

And the results? Well after getting familiar with handling the siphon and managing the precision of ingredients the following menu was tested and approved:

Aperitif: Mojito Espuma
 Tomato Water Consommé with Cucumber Gelée
Poached Quail Eggs with Parmesan Foam
Carrot flavored Ravioli filled the fresh pea puree served with Orange Caviar
Pistachio Chocolate Microwave Cake
Chocolate Mousse with fresh Mint Caviar

For a taster here is the Pistachio Chocolate Cake Recipe, which was made at light speed:

80 grams Sugar
80 grams Pistachios
20 grams flour
4 Eggs
100 grams Chocolate
5 - 2.5 inch ramekins
1 Siphon, Gas cartridge

In a food processor, add the sugar, flour and the pistachios and blend until even. Add the eggs and blend until smooth. Add this to the Siphon and charge it with one cartridge. Add a few pieces of chocolate to the bottom of the ramekins. Foam in the batter into the ramekins about half way up. Microwave them for 30 seconds, then flip on the plate and serve immediately.

The Adria brothers may have closed their famous molecular restaurant El Bulli but you can still buy your chemicals on-line:

and take a class with Cook’n With Class to get you up and running!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Mastering French Cheese & Wine

Cook’n With Class - Wednesday ‘s - Cheese & Wine Master Class

Life is endless tasting experience when living in France! There’s so much to learn about French Cheese and Wine. With 400 varieties of cheese and thousands of wineries it can be daunting (yet fun) trying to explore it all.
However most people know what they like and in the Cheese and Wine Master Class we guide you to understand better the tastes and the flavors you like and "bien sur" discover new ones.

Perhaps you’ve always liked Burgundy wine but didn’t know the grape or you are always drawn to Chardonnay white wines but don’t know the region? 

What about cheese? – not sure if goat cheese is your favorite or perhaps a Roquefort is more to your taste? The amazing part is when pairing the Cheese and Wine noticing and understanding why these flavors combine to delight your palate. The French concept “terroir” is fascinating and in the Cheese & Wine Class we dig in and explore the finest that French culture has to offer while enjoying delicious produce from our sommelier and Chef.

This Wednesday we tasted one champagne, 2 white wines, 2 red wines and a fortified red wine with accompanying cheeses.

The Cheese List

- Sainte-Maure de Touraine
- Crottin de Chavignol
- Gratte Paille
-  Mimolette/Boule de Lille (mi-mou)
-  Roquefort + Roquefort/Gingerbread

The Wine List

- Champagne Demilly De Baere, Brut
- Domaine de Blanes 2010, Muscat Sec
- Château Coutinel 2006, AOC Fronton
- Château Taffard 2003, Médoc Cru Bourgeois
- Domaine du Mas Rouge 2008, AOC Muscat de Rivesalte
- Banyuls

"Tchin, tchin" :)