Offering classes in bread baking, cooking and sewing in Greensboro, NC

MAKE THIS YOURS NC TEACHING STUDIO


Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

With a new year comes intentions…some may call then resolutions. My intention for this year is to expand my culinary skills by mastering the techniques for sauces such as Hollandaise and Bechamel and to master the creation of “show-stopper desserts” such as Crème Brûlée, with its crackly, caramelized topping. But one of my most challenging goals is to develop new classes to share with you.

To expand the opportunities in bread baking, I have added Buttermilk Buckwheat Bread, a new class featuring a delicious, gluten-free bread with a taste resembling Pumpernickel. Classes continue in yeast breads and batter breads such as soda bread and scones.  For a complete description of bread baking classes, go to: http://www.makethisyoursnc.com/description-and-schedule-of-bread-baking-classes/ 

Several new cooking classes have been added, including a new concept which combines cooking and bread baking in the same class.  In the new Combination Class, you can select the class you want based on the type of soup and bread you choose. Protein-Packed Salads is another new cooking opportunity. This class utilizes protein-packed grains such as quinoa, farro, or brown rice, paired with almonds, dried fruit and other ingredients to create a well-balanced, meatless meal. In addition to these new opportunities, is a class that demonstrates how components of an elegant dinner can be prepared prior to the meal and then blended just before serving…giving you more time to spend with your guests. For more information about cooking classes, go to: http://www.makethisyoursnc.com/description-and-schedule-of-cooking-classes/

Sewing classes continue to be a source of joy as I watch participants learn to make individualized projects which reflect each person’s creative spirit. Sewing classes offered build on skills, ranging from learning to sew a straight seam to learning to modify multi-size patterns to achieve the right fit for your body. To learn more about sewing classes, go to:
http://www.makethisyoursnc.com/description-and-schedule-of-sewing-classes/

Make your intention to learn a new skill. To learn more about scheduling a bread baking, cooking or sewing class, go to: http://www.makethisyoursnc.com/how-to-schedule-a-class/

I look forward to learning with you this year.

 

Monday, November 19th, 2018

I know this might be an unbelievable statement, but I actually enjoy going to the grocery store.  Before you think I have been sitting at the computer too long and my brain has gone to “mush”, let me explain.  As a child, going to the grocery was an activity I did with my Dad…a time when I had him all to myself.  Daddy enjoyed grocery shopping and he used our trips to the market to teach me about comparative shopping such as determining price per ounce (before this information was posted on a computer-generated label on each grocery shelf).  He taught me to closely examine produce and to be wary of meat packaged in such a way that the customer could not easily determine the amount of fat that might be hidden under the meat. But more than “grocery knowledge”, these trips were a time when we talked about life…a quiet time in the car with no other interruptions.
Although my “grocery time” with Dad ended long ago,  I still find each trip to the grocery store to be a bit of an adventure.  Rarely do I go to the market without encountering a friend somewhere within the store and that leads to “How are you?” discussions.  Often, conversations are started with other customers as we wait at the deli or the meat counter, and by the time orders have been filled, I have been known to share a recipe or food suggestion.  Such was my chance meeting of a delightful couple as we waited for meat selections on a recent morning.  As we stood in line, they told me about their plans to have a Thanksgiving Day brunch this year…a truly unique idea…but one that implied food selections beyond the usual turkey and dressing.  As I listened, I asked if they had considered having quiche, which would allow them to prepare the entree before guests arrived and then pull the quiche warm from the oven when their family was ready to eat.  When my new friends asked if I had a recipe, I smiled……
So this recipe is a gift to my “grocery store friends”.  I hope you enjoy the uniqueness of the blend of Parrano and Parmesan cheeses and the creaminess of the finished consistency.  But most of all, I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Not-Your-Typical Quiche

 

Ingredients
4 slices bacon, excess fat removed before browning
4 large eggs
¼ teaspoon Baharat spice mix (Baharat is a blend of Middle Eastern spices and is available at most markets)
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
⅛ teaspoon ground pepper
1 cup heavy cream + 1 cup 2% milk
Parrano cheese, cut into small cubes to make 1 cup cheese cubes
½ cup coarsely shredded Parmesan cheese
Pie crust for 9 inch pie
 
Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Coat a 9 inch pie plate with cooking spray.  Arrange pie crust in the prepared dish, then use a fork to pierce the bottom and sides of the crust.  This will allow steam to escape as the quiche bakes and aid in removing the hot quiche from the pie plate after baking.
Brown the bacon until cooked, but not crispy. Wrap the cooked bacon in paper towels to drain, then set aside to cool to touch.  Coarsely chop the cooled bacon and sprinkle bacon pieces in bottom of the pie crust.  Add the Parrano cubes and shredded Parmesan to the bacon, distributing throughout the pie crust.
In a medium bowl, add the eggs, heavy cream, milk, Baharat spice, sea salt and pepper, using a whisk to gently combine.  Slowly pour the egg mixture over the cheese and bacon in the pie crust.
Carefully, place the quiche in a preheated oven. (The dish will be very full)  Bake quiche for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until the crust is golden brown around the edges and the filling is set in the center.  Remove quiche from oven and allow to cook for 10 minutes before slicing.
Makes 6 servings
 
 

Monday, November 12th, 2018

Monnie will always be my friend.  We first became acquainted when she was the food services director at our church and I became her volunteer “food prep assistant”.  I was in awe of her culinary skill and often watched as she deftly prepared a variety of meals. I attempted to remember Monnie’s techniques and her innate ability to choose the right ingredients and blend them perfectly.  Being invited to dinner at Monnie’s house was a special treat, but it was also an opportunity to develop a friendship that extended beyond the kitchen.
Late last November, Monnie was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, a wickedly evil brain tumor that at present, defies all forms of treatment.  Over a period of months, the tumor first robbed Monnie of her independence and then the weakness that developed in her left side meant that it was no longer safe for her to work in the kitchen.  In weekly visits, I noted lapses in Monnie’s sharp memory, but somehow…beyond the confusion that clouded her thoughts at times…Monnie could always remember specifics about food and the preparation of it.  We had conversations about poaching salmon (because hers was always the best), the best way to use the blender to make Hollandaise sauce, and how to make your own vanilla extract.  In those brief moments, it seemed that Monnie had returned to the kitchen and was once again preparing meals for friends and family.
In July, the spread of the tumor began to affect Monnie’s ability to eat, and by August, she was on a restricted diet, which greatly affected her appetite.  Since pureed food has a consistency similar to pudding, I wanted to make something Monnie wanted to eat which was also something she could eat.  Knowing that Monnie liked chocolate…and remembering that I still had a bit of the vanilla extract Monnie had made for me…I combed the Internet for a chocolate pudding recipe I could make for my friend.  After a few modifications to the recipe and the addition of Monnie’s “custom-made” vanilla extract, I packed an individual serving in a cooler, and set out for what would unknowingly be one of my last visits.
Even through her sedation, Monnie noticed the cooler in my hand as I entered her room and a smile came to her face when I disclosed the nature of the cooler’s contents. With some assistance, Monnie ate the pudding slowly, savoring its flavor.  Each time I set the little bowl on the bedside table, Monnie’s eyes would follow my movement to make sure she knew where the pudding would be.  Many times during my visit, she gestured to the pudding, and gradually and deliberately, the pudding was eaten until the bowl was empty.
So now, I share this recipe with you.  To me, it will always be “Monnie’s Chocolate Pudding”.

 

Monnie’s Chocolate Pudding
adapted from Tyler Florence/Food Network

 

Ingredients

2 cups whole milk or 1 cup whipping cream + 1 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup natural cocoa powder
4 teaspoons cornstarch (1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon)
3 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (Use the best vanilla possible as it really makes a difference)
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
To top the pudding:
3/4 cup whipping cream + 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar

 

Directions
Put 1 1/2 cups of the milk, the granulated sugar, and the cocoa in a heat-proof bowl set over simmering water, being careful to prevent the hot water from touching the bottom of the bowl.  The mixture can also be melted using a nonreactive saucepan over low heat by closely monitoring the mixture to avoid scorching.  Bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of the milk, cornstarch, salt, egg yolks, and vanilla in a bowl. Gradually whisk small amounts of the hot milk into the egg mixture until all ingredients are blended. Return pudding mixture to the heat-proof bowl or saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the pudding comes to a full boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and continue whisking until thick, about 2 or 3 minutes more.
Pour the pudding into a medium-sized nonreactive bowl.  If you wish, six 4-ounce cups can be used to create individual servings.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, until set.
Just before serving, pour the cream into a chilled bowl.  Add the powdered sugar to the cream and whip the mixture with a whisk or mixer until soft peaks form.  Add a tablespoon of whipped cream to each serving of pudding.  Serve immediately.
 

Friday, June 1st, 2018

I really like hummus.  I spread it on crackers…on corn chips…or spoon it on a plate to be the base for a salad of grains and nuts.  Problem is, commercially prepared hummus uses lots of lemon juice to provide acidity and this does not work well for folks who have to “keep an eye” on foods that do not pair well with digestive problems like reflux.  Thus, I accepted the challenge to develop a type of hummus that had lots of flavor, but without lemon juice. 
In trying to identify an ingredient that would provide the “tanginess” of lemon juice, but without the citric acid, I decided to try vinegar.  Yes…vinegar.  Surprisingly, although vinegar has its own form of acid, it is actually used by some as a “home remedy” for reflux.  After deciding to try vinegar as an ingredient in my hummus, the next challenge was determining the type of vinegar to use.  Luckily, there is a wonderful oil and vinegar store here in Greensboro and the store staff encourages “vinegar tasting” before you buy.  After tasting many delightful and surprising flavors of vinegar, I chose three and headed home to pair these vinegars with three different vegetables to create my own kind of hummus.  After my initial attempts, I made one more change in the standard hummus ingredients…I use rinsed and drained cannellini beans instead of garbanzo beans (chickpeas).  I find that cannellini beans provide the smooth texture needed, but without the strong aftertaste which sometimes accompanies garbanzos.
Try these three and let me know what you think.  Enjoy!

Herbed Carrot Hummus

Ingredients
To prepare the carrots:
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
6 medium organic carrots, washed, peeled and cut into thin slices

1 clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Vadouvan spice mix
To assemble the hummus:
1 15.5 ounce can cannellini beans rinsed and drained
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons tahini
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon lemon infused white Balsamic vinegar (or 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil + 1 teaspoon lemon juice)
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
To garnish the hummus:
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Vadouvan spice mix

Directions
Blend 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil and ¼ teaspoon each of fine sea salt and coarse ground pepper in a medium bowl.  Add the carrot slices and toss to coat with the oil/spice mixture.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the carrots and remaining marinade and cook, stirring occasionally until carrots are fork-tender and beginning to turn brown, approximately 10 minutes.  Add the thinly sliced garlic and 1 teaspoon vadouvan spice mix to the sautéed carrots and cook an additional 2 – 3 minutes, stirring often.  Remove from heat and allow the sautéed mixture to cool slightly.
Put the herbed, sautéed vegetables in a food processor or blender.  Add the rinsed and drained cannellini beans, olive oil, tahini, lemon infused white balsamic vinegar and Sriracha sauce.  Pulse the ingredients to achieve desired consistency.  Transfer the hummus mixture to a bowl.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and 1 teaspoon vadouvan in a small skillet until mixture sizzles and becomes fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Use a teaspoon to drizzle a portion of the herbed oil over the carrot hummus before serving.  (Any remaining herbed oil can be stored in a tightly closed container at room temperature for up to a week.)

Serve at room temperature with corn chips or crackers.

 

 

Edamame Hummus

Ingredients
8 ounces edamame in oil, drained
1 15.5 ounce can cannellini beans rinsed and drained
3 Tablespoons tahini
2 teaspoons Gochujang (Korean pepper sauce)
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup grapefruit infused Balsamic vinegar

Directions
Put the edamame, drained cannellini beans, tahini, Gochujang and fine sea salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse to blend.  Combine the olive oil and grapefruit infused Balsamic vinegar.  With the motor running, drizzle the oil and vinegar over the hummus mixture and blend to desired consistency.

Transfer the hummus to a bowl and serve with corn chips or crackers.  Hummus can be refrigerated in air tight container for up to one week.

 

 

Roasted Beet Hummus

Ingredients
To prepare the beets for roasting
1 to 1 ½ pounds golden beets, washed, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

To assemble for hummus
1 15.5 ounce cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons Tahini
3 Tablespoons cranberry-pear infused balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce


Directions
To roast the beets:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Blend the olive oil, dried thyme, sea salt and ground pepper in a large bowl.  Add the cubed beets and toss gently to cover with the oil/spice marinade.  Spread the marinated beets in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Place in the preheated oven and roast beets for 25 minutes or until fork tender.  Remove from oven and allow to beets to cool to touch.
To prepare the hummus:
Place roasted beets in the bowl of a food processor.  Add the rinsed and drain cannellini beans, olive oil, Tahini, cranberry-pear infused balsamic vinegar, and Sriracha sauce to the beets and process the mixture until smooth.  Transfer the hummus to a serving dish and serve with corn or pita chips.
The hummus is best served at room temperature, but is delicious when chilled, as well.  Any remaining hummus can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

Spring is finally here…the information for my taxes is complete…the soil in my raised-bed garden has been amended and the first seeds have been carefully sown…and I certainly want to spend more time outside than in the kitchen!
In an effort to create a meal than is delicious and creates an aroma than “brings folks to the kitchen” without spending hours in preparation and clean-up, I decided to take three of my favorite roasted foods and sequence their baking time so that all three could be baked in the same oven…at the same temperature.  In the instructions for “Dinner in the Oven” you’ll find the recipes for Apricot-Mustard Glazed Pork Tenderloin, Sweet and Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Parmesan Roasted Asparagus.  And…in my effort to explain how all three dishes can be prepared simultaneously, you’ll find directions for the size of each baking dish, where to position them in a standard-sized oven, and what time to put each dish in the oven so that all will be ready at the same time.
Now you can prepare a tasty dinner and still have time to enjoy the outdoors!
Dinner in the Oven
1) Prepare Pork Tenderloin first and position baking dish vertically on left side of oven rack.  Set timer for 1 hour.
Apricot-Mustard Glazed Pork Tenderloin
Ingredients:
2 ½ to 3 lbs boneless pork tenderloins
⅓ to ½ cup apricot preserves
2 Tblsp coarse-grain Dijon mustard
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Coat a 9 x 11.5 inch roasting pan with cooking spray.
Remove excess fat and ligament skin from the tenderloins and place them in the roasting pan.
In a small bowl, whisk together the apricot preserves, honey-Dijon mustard and thyme leaves. Use a spatula to spread the apricot marinade over the tenderloins.
Put the tenderloins in a preheated 325 degree oven. Roast for 50 minutes to 1 hour, basting once with marinade mixture (optional).  After 50 minutes, remove the tenderloins from the oven and insert a meat thermometer into the thickest portion of the meat to check for an internal temperature of 145 degrees (the inside of the meat will be slightly pink). When the desired internal temperature is reached, remove the tenderloins from the oven, cover lightly with foil, and allow meat to stand for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
Spoon the marinade remaining in the roasting pan over the sliced meat on the serving dish. Serve immediately.
Makes 8 servings
2) Prepare Sweet Potatoes next and when the timer reaches 30 minutes, position the potatoes beside the pork tenderloin, in the back right corner of oven
Sweet and Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients
4 small sweet potatoes, washed and dried (Do not peel the potatoes)
1 ½ teaspoons real maple syrup (not imitation, such as in pancake syrup)
½ teaspoon ground cumin
pinch of ground red pepper
Directions:
Microwave the washed sweet potatoes for approximately 8 minutes, or until fork tender.  While the potatoes are in the microwave, mix the maple syrup, cumin and pinch of ground red pepper in a small bowl.
Remove the potatoes from the microwave and split horizontally. Place the split potatoes in an 8×8 baking dish that has been prepared with cooking spray. Spoon the maple syrup/spice mixture evenly over each potato half.
Roast the potatoes at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.
Makes 8 servings
 3) Prepare Parmesan Roasted Asparagus as the third dish and when the timer is at 20 minutes, position the asparagus in the front right portion of the oven.
Parmesan Roasted Asparagus

Ingredients
1 pound of fresh asparagus
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
fine sea salt
coarse ground black pepper
freshly shredded parmesan
Directions:
Coat a baking dish with cooking spray.
Wash and drain the fresh asparagus and pat it dry with a dish towel.  Trim the ends of the asparagus to remove the tough part of the stalk. Place the asparagus stalks in a single layer in the prepared baking dish. Use a spoon or spatula to spread the olive oil evenly over the asparagus. Sprinkle a small amount of sea salt and coarse ground pepper over the olive-oil coated asparagus. Finally, sprinkle finely grated parmesan as the final layer over all the asparagus. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the parmesan cheese layer is melted.
Serve warm. Makes 6 – 8 servings

 

 

 

 

Saturday, January 27th, 2018

When one thinks of Super Bowl snacks, many possibilities come to mind.  There are nachos with cheese, chips and salsa and “pigs in blankets”…cocktail franks wrapped in crescent roll dough.  Rarely would carrots, beets and collards enter the imagination as a snack for hungry folks gathered around the TV for Super Bowl festivities…but with these recipes, I hope to change that opinion.  Each one can be prepared in advance and set out to bring to room temperature prior to your football viewing celebration.
So pretend that these snacks are not made from vegetables and give yourself an opportunity to try something new.  I predict that you will find them to be surprisingly delicious!

 

Herbed Carrot Hummus

Ingredients
To prepare the carrots:
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
5 medium organic carrots, washed, peeled and cut into thin slices

1 clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Vadouvan spice mix
To assemble the hummus:
1 15.5 ounce can cannellini beans rinsed and drained
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons tahini
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon lemon infused white Balsamic vinegar (or 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil + 1 teaspoon lemon juice)
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
To garnish the hummus:
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Vadouvan spice mix

Directions

Blend 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil and ¼ teaspoon each of fine sea salt and coarse ground pepper in a medium bowl.  Add the carrot slices and toss to coat with the oil/spice mixture.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the carrots and remaining marinade and cook, stirring occasionally until carrots are fork-tender and beginning to turn brown, approximately 10 minutes.  Add the thinly sliced garlic and 1 teaspoon vadouvan spice mix to the sautéed carrots and cook an additional 2 – 3 minutes, stirring often.  Remove from heat and allow the sautéed mixture to cool slightly.
Put the herbed, sautéed vegetables in a food processor or blender.  Add the rinsed and drained cannellini beans, olive oil, tahini, lemon infused white balsamic vinegar and Sriracha sauce.  Pulse the ingredients to achieve desired consistency.  Transfer the hummus mixture to a bowl.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and 1 teaspoon vadouvan in a small skillet until mixture sizzles and becomes fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Use a teaspoon to drizzle a portion of the herbed oil over the carrot hummus before serving.  (Any remaining herbed oil can be stored in a tightly closed container at room temperature for up to a week.)
Serve at room temperature with corn chips or crackers.

 

Fennel, Pistachio and Roasted Beet Spread 

Ingredients
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon dried thyme, crushed with your fingers
¼ teaspoon za’atar seasoning

1 large fennel bulb, stems and fronds removed
1 ½ pounds golden beets

½ cup shelled salt and pepper pistachios
4 – 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar


Directions
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Cover a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Blend the 2 tablespoons olive oil, sea salt, coarse black pepper, crushed dried thyme, and za’atar in a large bowl.  Set aside.
Wash and dry fennel bulb and cut away tough outer layer.  Cut bulb in half vertically and remove inner core.  Cut fennel halves into ½ inch slices.
Wash, dry and peel beets.  Cut the beets into ½ inch thick slices and then cut slices into ½ inch cubes.
Add the sliced fennel and beet cubes to the olive oil/spice mixture and toss to coat.
Arrange the marinated fennel and beets in a single layer on the parchment covered baking sheet.  Roast for 25 minutes or until marinated vegetables are fork tender.  Remove from oven and allow vegetables to cool slightly.
Place the shelled pistachios in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until finely ground.
Add the fennel, beets and sherry vinegar to the ground pistachios, pulsing to blend. With the food processor running, drizzle in 4 – 5 tablespoons of olive oil and process until mixture reaches desired consistency.
Spoon mixture into bowl and serve at room temperature with corn chips or crackers.

 

Collard and Pecan Spread 

Ingredients
3 cups tightly packed collard leaves, center ribs and stems removed (approximately 3 ½ ounces)
¼ cup raw, unsalted pecans
3 Tablespoons no salt added vegetable cooking stock
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
⅛ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
¼ to½ cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions
Rinse the collard leaves until all grit is removed.
Steam the collards over boiling water for 2 – 3 minutes then transfer the collards to a bowl of ice water to cool.  Drain the water and wrap the collards in a kitchen towel to remove excess moisture.
Put the pecans in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until their texture
resembles coarse corn meal.
Add the collards, cooking stock, olive oil, vinegar, honey, red pepper flakes, sea salt, and black pepper to the ground pecans in the food processor.  Pulse the mixture until the collards are finely chopped and all ingredients are blended.
If using, add the Parmesan to the blended mixture and pulse 3 – 4 times to mix the cheese with the other ingredients.
Serve immediately at room temperature.  Any remaining spread can be refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to a week.
(Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, October 2013)

 

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

One of my favorite Saturday morning routines is a trip to the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market.  The Market is a wonderful cacophony that feeds the senses with the bright colors of produce, the aromas of baked goods and the sounds of friends greeting friends in the aisles between the vendors. The Farmers Curb Market is a Greensboro gem; an oasis within the city that brings those who grow and produce our food together with those who greatly appreciate their efforts.
Saturday, November 4, I have an opportunity to be part of the “Farmers Market Family”, by giving a food demonstration in the Market kitchen.  I will be making “comfort foods” from two of my favorite cold-weather recipes, Confetti Chili and Irish Soda Bread, which are available on this website.  In addition, I will be making another type of chili…a vegetarian form of Confetti Chili…which substitutes delicious marinated mushrooms for the sausage in the original recipe.  I encourage you to try this new recipe…and I bet you’ll never miss the meat!

Bet-You-Won’t-Miss-the-Meat Chili!
(Hearty Chili with Wine-Marinated Mushrooms)

To Prepare Wine-Marinated Mushrooms:
Ingredients
8 ounces Cremini mushrooms, washed, dried, and coarsely chopped
1 Tablespoon + 1 ½ teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon + 1 ½ teaspoons red wine such as a cabernet or red zinfandel
1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
¾ teaspoon Vadouvan
½ teaspoon Za’atar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
Directions
Wash the mushrooms.  Drain the excess water and then wrap the mushrooms in a dishtowel to absorb moisture. 

While mushrooms are drying, make the marinade by combining the red wine, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, Vadouvan, Za’atar, kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper in a medium bowl. 
Coarsely chop the dried mushrooms.  Add the chopped mushrooms to the marinade and stir gently to blend.
Use plastic wrap to cover the bowl containing the mushroom mixture.  Place the bowl in the refrigerator and allow the mixture to marinate 4 – 6 hours or overnight.
To Create the Chili:
Ingredients
1 recipe Wine-Marinated Mushrooms
1 Tablespoon butter, for sautéing
1 tablespoon (heaping) dried, minced onion
1 can black beans, with liquid
1 can dark red kidney beans, with liquid
1 can great northern beans, with liquid
1 can corn, with liquid
1 can petite diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon low sodium Worcestershire sauce
½ cup hearty red wine, such as a zinfandel or cabernet
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese for garnish
Directions
Melt the butter in a medium skillet.  Add the wine-marinated mushrooms and remaining marinade.  Sprinkle the dried, minced onion over the mushrooms. Sauté the mushrooms and minced onion until softened and amount of cooking liquid is reduced, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, approximately 8 – 10 minutes.
Add all the canned ingredients to the sautéed mushrooms, including the liquid from each can.  Stir in the spices, Worcestershire sauce and red wine.  Simmer, covered, for approximately 30 – 45 minutes, then remove from heat to allow the soup to “rest” for a few minutes before serving. 
Serve hot, sprinkled with shredded sharp cheddar cheese.
Note: I recommend allowing the flavor of the soup to “mature”, so I make the soup one day and eat it the next….or perhaps you could make it early in the morning and enjoy it for dinner that night.
 

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

A note to all my subscribers,
I truly apologize for any confusion about my last posted recipe.  I prepared Irish Soda bread as a morning snack for a women’s retreat at my church last weekend.  So many ladies asked me for the recipe, I decided it would be best to post it to my website…but since Irish Soda bread is one of the recipes I teach in my Soda Bread and Scones class, I felt it would not be fair to those who have paid for the class (and the related recipes) if I merely posted the recipe on my website for the public.  Thus, the only way I could share the recipe with the ladies who attended the retreat was to “password protect” the recipe for two days.  This would allow them to access the recipe for the bread they ate at the retreat…without offering a “class specific recipe” to the public.  I thought that  a “password protected” recipe would not be posted publicly…but it was and thus, became very confusing to my wonderful subscribers.  Perhaps there was a better way to share the recipe to a limited audience…but with my “limited technical skills”, this was the only way I knew.  I have received many questions about the unusual posting of the Soda Bread recipe, so I have decided that the best way to address the confusion is to re-post the recipe to my blog, making it available to all.
Once again, I apologize for the confusion…and hope you enjoy the Irish Soda Bread.
Irish Soda Bread
adapted from Bread, ©2014, Publications International, Ltd., p.134
Ingredients
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
¼ cup sugar
4 teaspoons (1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ – 1  teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
1 cup currants
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 ½ – 2 cups buttermilk
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cover a baking sheet or a line a 9 x 12 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
Combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, caraway seeds (if desired) and currants.  Using a pastry blender or two knives cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add the buttermilk to the mixture and use a spatula or wooded spoon to blend ingredients into a slightly sticky dough.  Transfer the dough to the your choice of pan and use a spatula to shape the dough.  If using a parchment-covered flat baking sheet, the dough can be shaped into a 10 – 12 inch round; in the rectangular baking pan, spread the dough evenly, reaching all corners of the pan.
Bake the soda bread 50 – 60 minutes or until golden brown and crust is firm.  Cool on the baking sheet or pan for 10 minutes.  Use the parchment paper to lift the bread from the pan and place the bread on a cutting board to slice.  Transfer any remaining bread to a wire rack to cool completely.
Servings:  In the rounded form, the soda bread can be cut into 12 – 15 pie-shaped servings.  When baked in the rectangular pan, the bread can be cut into approximately 18 – 20 servings.
Note:  Warm soda bread cuts best with a “light hand” using a sharp, serrated knife in a gentle, sawing motion.  Cooled soda bread can be stored in an air-tight container for up to 5 days.  Reheat the bread by wrapping a serving in waxed paper and pacing in microwave for approximately 10 – 15 seconds.

Monday, February 27th, 2017

Last summer, my husband and I became pilgrims along the Camino, hiking the trail from Baiona, Spain, near the Portuguese border, northward to reach the Cathedral of St. James in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.  After attending a service in the Cathedral to give thanks for the safe completion of our 75-mile hike, we joined fellow pilgrims in a nearby restaurant for a celebratory lunch.  Even though we were quite full after a wonderful meal of baked fish and fresh vegetables, we noticed a unique cake that seemed to be popular among others in the dining room, and asked what it was.  Upon learning that the cake was a Santiago Torte, it seemed only appropriate to end our time in this historic city with cake that shared its name.  The distinct flavor and texture of the Santiago Torte were captivating and became a “food memory” of our time in Spain.
Back at home, I began my search for a recipe for Santiago Torte.  An internet search yielded several variations with a variety of different ingredients…one used 2 types of citrus, another only oranges, one used 6 eggs, another only 4…but the absence of flour was the one common factor in all the recipes.  The main ingredient of each recipe was finely ground almonds.  After meticulously reading approximately 10 recipes, I selected two and because there were distinctive differences in not only the ingredients but also the in the techniques for mixing the cakes, I decided to make both of the cakes on the same afternoon…the only way to fairly compare flavors and textures.
The reviews of the two tortes were somewhat varied.  We preferred the texture of the cake made by folding the beaten egg whites into the remaining ingredients, but the flavor of the cake made with the zest of one orange was judged to be better than the cake made with two types of citrus.  One aspect shared by both recipes was the level of “sweetness”.  It seemed to me that the flavor of each cake was somewhat masked due to the amount of sugar used in the recipes.
In an effort to create a Santiago Torte that reflected the best parts of each recipe, I made the Torte several times, each time changing one aspect of the recipe, taking notes about flavor and texture.  The one consistent factor was with each Torte, I slightly decreased the amount of sugar used in a previous attempt, until I reached an amount that maintained the needed proportion of dry ingredients to liquids, but complimented the flavor instead of masking the citrus with “sweetness”.  Two weeks ago, I incorporated all my changes into one last “try-this” attempt.  I took the Torte as my contribution to a dinner at a friend’s house.  After a wonderful meal, I placed a slice of the cake in front of my friend, asking her to try let one more attempt. Then, I watched her face…and waited.  Her smile said it all…the recipe was finally complete!
As you enjoy my version of Torte de Santiago, please share your thoughts and possible suggestions for further revisions.  I look forward to reading your comments.

  Santiago Torte, A Spanish Almond Cake

serves 12

 

Ingredients
2 cups (250 grams) blanched, slivered almonds
¾ cup caster or superfine sugar, divided use
finely grated zest of 1 orange
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or vanilla extract (Vanilla paste contains flecks of ground vanilla beans and is thicker, with a slightly richer flavor than vanilla extract.  It is available at larger grocery stores.)
5 eggs, separated
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
Whipped cream for serving, if desired

 

Directions
Preheat the oven to 340 degrees.  Coat an 8-inch springform pan with cooking spray and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
Place almonds and 2 tablespoons of the ¾ cup of caster sugar in the bowl of a food processor.  (The caster sugar will prevent the almonds from “clumping” as they are ground)
Grind the almonds until they reach the consistency of fine corn meal.
Combine egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl and use an electric mixer on high speed to blend into a smooth, creamy mixture.  With the mixer on medium speed, beat in the orange zest, cardamom, cinnamon, and vanilla paste.  Add the ground almonds and combine all ingredients with mixer on low speed. (Mixture will be very thick.)
Place egg whites in medium bowl.  Using the whisk beaters of the mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Add the beaten egg whites to the almond mixture and use a large spatula to blend.  (Do not use the mixer to blend the egg whites with the almond mixture.  Due to the thickness of the almond mixture, it will be necessary to use the spatula to cut through the mixture several times to completely incorporate the egg whites.)
Pour the cake batter into the prepared springform pan.  Bake in the preheated oven for 35 – 40 minutes or until the cake is golden and firm to the touch.  (The center should be slightly set and not as dark in color as the remainder of the cake.)
Allow cake to cool in the pan on wire rack.  As the cake cools, it will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.  At this point, loosen the sides of the pan and remove to allow the cake to continue cooling.  (The cake will remain on the bottom of the spring form pan.)
Just before serving, dust the top of the cake with confectioner’s sugar.
Note:  If you wish to truly make this like the cake served in Santiago, Spain, make a stencil by cutting the image of a St. James cross from paper.  Place the stencil in the center of the cake and then dust with confectioner’s sugar.  Remove the stencil, dust off the sugar and place in a plastic bag to use again.

Monday, January 30th, 2017

When I was a child, I hated beets.  Beets were deep red circles that came from a can and they were always pickled, which in my child-like mind meant that they smelled “funny”, so I certainly did not want to eat them.  Then one day in my adult life, I ordered a salad with roasted vegetables.  I was eating my salad and talking with friends at my table when suddenly, I tasted something I didn’t immediately recognize.  Parting the lettuce with my fork, I was shocked to realize that there were beets in my salad and even more surprised to admit that these beets actually tasted good!  A few “waiter-questions” later, it was revealed that these beets were roasted, not pickled…and thus began my new relationship with beets.
In this recipe, slices of red and golden beets were combined with slices of fennel in a marinade of olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and za’atar, a spice blend available in most grocery stores.  After roasting in the oven, they were placed in the bowl of a food processor with blood orange infused extra virgin olive oil and cranberry-pear infused white balsamic vinegar, which are available at specialty oil and vinegar stores.  A few quick pulses of the food processor yielded a texture that was coarsely chopped, but not pureed, giving the spread more body and versatility in its use.  Be sure to read the serving suggestions at the end of the recipe.
Who knows?  This spread might actually be a healthy option you could serve as a snack at a Super Bowl party!

 Roasted Fennel-Beet Spread

 Ingredients
1 large red beet, washed and peeled
1 large golden beet, washed and peeled
1 fennel bulb, green fronds removed
Marinade:
2 Tablespoons extra virgin oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Za’atar seasoning
To make the spread:
2 Tablespoons blood orange infused extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons cranberry-pear infused white balsamic vinegar
Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Cover a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut the beets into ¼ inch slices.  Trim the bottom and remove the outer layer of the fennel bulb.  Slice the fennel bulb into ¼ inch pieces.
Make the marinade by blending the extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, coarse ground black pepper and Za’atar seasoning in a large bowl.  Add the sliced fennel and beets and use a spatula to turn the slices to cover with the marinade.
Arrange the beets and fennel slices in a single layer on the parchment-covered baking sheet.  Roast the vegetables in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the slices can be easily pierced with a fork.
Place roasted vegetables in bowl of food processor.  With motor running add blood orange infused olive oil and cranberry-pear infused balsamic vinegar, pulsing until the vegetable mixture is chopped into small pieces, but not pureed.
Transfer mixture into a small bowl if serving immediately.  If you plan to serve the spread later, transfer the mixture into a storage container and allow it to cool before covering the container and placing in the refrigerator.  The spread can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Serving suggestions:
1)  combine with plain hummus and used as a spread on bread for sandwiches or wraps
2)  add 2 to 3 Tablespoons, per serving, to a salad, such as the Almond, Farro and Black Bean Salad and stir to
blend
3)  use it as a topping over goat cheese on your favorite crackers