Taking a Break
Recharge, Seasonings, and Ratatouille. Here is the recharge part: Art of Cookery is taking a break. John and I are going to close our respective businesses (his is Gotta Go Tours) for a few weeks to recharge, deep clean, and organize.
We will be closed from February 12 to March 8.
You can expect a fresh menu the following week. I will list below the classes in March.
At the bottom, you’ll discover a recipe that is great year round for different reasons, Ratatouille.
Next up, Seasonings. Here is a little tutorial for you regarding spices and herbs:
Spice Up Your Cooking
Proper seasoning is the difference between an average meal and a restaurant-quality feast. As a home chef, learning what spices to add will elevate your cooking and impress family and friends alike!
If you want to up your culinary game, start with the basics. Some good go-to spices include:
- black pepper
- crushed red pepper flakes
- bay leaves
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- smoked paprika
- ground mustard
With these basics, you can make thousands of combinations, adding the finishing touch to your delicious meal. If your food starts tasting flat, take a look at your herbs! Ground spices, such as paprika, lose their freshness after about 6 months. Take a quick whiff; if they’ve lost their scent, it’s time to go. Whole spices, like cloves, last up to 5 years.
Tips and Tricks
- When sauteing vegetables, add a bit of salt. Adding salt at the beginning of the cooking process allows time for it to penetrate the veggies, seasoning them throughout.
- Spice up your dishes with white pepper! Black pepper is made from dried, unripened berries, and white pepper is made from ripe fruit. This means black pepper has a hotter, more pungent taste, while white pepper is earthy and complex.
- For a kick of spice and pine, pick up some juniper berries. They can be crushed and added to marinades and sauces, or in a rub for meat.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Seasonings are the spice of life. To get to the top of your cooking game, sign up for a cooking class with Art of Cookery! There, you learn how to use spices to amp up your meals. If you’re looking to cook at home, pick up one of our meal kits. With detailed instructions and fully prepped ingredients, our kits will give you the home-cooked meal in just minutes feel without the hassle.
No time to cook at all? Order from our menu of prepared retail meals.
Just remember, there will be no classes, meal kits, or menu items until mid-March as per the first statement in this blog. We are recharging and coming back to the Art of Cookery kitchen renewed and excited!
- 1 Skillet large
- 1 Turner or wooden spoon to stir the sauté
- 1 Cutting board
- 1 Knife
- Measuring cups and spoons
- 1 Saucepan to cook pasta
- 1 Colander to drain pasta
- 1 cup Dry Pasta of choice (macaroni, noodles, medium penne)
- 6 cup Hot water to cook pasta
- 1/2 tbsp Salt to cook pasta
- 3 tbsp Fat (olive oil, butter, bacon drippings)
- 1 small Eggplant small diced
- 2 pinches Salt divided
- 1 small Zucchini small diced
- 1 Onion halved and sliced
- 1 Bell pepper large dice
- 3 cloves Garlic minced
- 3/4 cup Dry white wine (using a sweet wine will work, but will result in a slightly sweeter dish, use what you drink) or, substitute broth and add 1 T lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cup Chopped tomato
- 1/4 tsp Ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp Ground fennel seed (You can grind it in a coffee mill, mortar and pestle, or just use 1/3 tsp fennel seed)
- 3/4 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Black pepper
- 1 tsp Mustard powder
- 2 tsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Fresh oregano (or 1/3 tsp dried)
- 1 tsp Fresh thyme (or 1/3 tsp dried)
- 1/4 c Fresh basil chiffonade
- 12 cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 lemon cut into wedges
- 1 sprig thyme you want the leaves for garnish
- In saucepan place water and salt to cook pasta according to package directions.
- In skillet, heat fat over medium-high heat. Sauté eggplant and 1 pinch of salt for 1 minute.
- Add Zucchini and another pinch of salt. Sauté for 1 minute, stirring often.
- Add onion and bell pepper. Sauté 2 minutes more.
- Stir in garlic. Wait 30 seconds and add wine, stirring to loosen any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet.
- Add tomato, coriander, and fennel. Stir and bring to a simmer.
- Once simmering, stir in salt, pepper, mustard, sugar, oregano, and thyme. Simmer 1 minute.
- Stir in fresh basil.
- The pasta should be done now, or soon. When it is cooked to your liking, reserve 1/2 c pasta water and drain the rest in the colander.
- If the ratatouille is quite thick, thin with some or all of the reserved pasta water. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper as desired.
- SERVE! Place pasta on plates (or one serving bowl) top with ratatouille. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and fresh thyme leaves. Add halved cherry tomatoes and lemon wedges.