A quickie

Happy New Year all!  I have only a minute but wanted to send you a quick note to say thanks for being a reader of this blog.  Know that John and I wish each of you a healthy, prosperous, and happy 2022.

Below is this week’s menu.  I’ve decided to add a Menu page to my website’s um….menu.  🙂  Look at top of the page between the Class Listing and About Us pages.  I will post it there first, before posting it anywhere else.  I did that because I know a blog post may not always happen weekly, but the menu will.

Today I have made fresh the Rotini, Sauerkraut, Tomato Soup.  I won’t be making anything else until Saturday at the earliest as there are a LOT of charcuterie orders to get filled tomorrow.  Email or text if you want to get some of those three foods.  All are super delicious.  I’ve posted some pics below the menu.

Also….this is exciting but also a challenge….I’m getting a giant new stove delivered today.  MORE BURNERS!!!

Upcoming Class

Get a new stove yourself?  Maybe an air fryer/convection toaster oven or microwave for Christmas?  Didn’t know that air fryers are the same thing as convection cooking?  

I have an upcoming class for you.

January 4 at 12 noon.  How to use convection cooking.  Only $20.  Click here to go right to booking a ticket.


It’s Almost Christmas…of 2021! How Did That Happen?

It feels like I lost two years.

I was just reflecting on 2020 and 2021 and have the weird feeling that those years got lost from my life timeline.  

Perhaps some of you can relate?  As we try to figure out if we can gather for Christmas for everyone’s comfort and safety, it is odd to realize we haven’t had a Christmas celebration in 2 years.

Are you gathering?  Are you changing plans or traditions?  Let me know in the comments?  I just don’t quite know how to navigate this continuing pandemic.

To give you all a bit of holiday cheer, scroll down to find a discount code that can be used online when booking a class.  You can save 10%!

 

Snow Farmers

Here’s a fun fact:  My husband, John, is one of the area’s new Snow Farmers.  The Snow Farmers are a group men (all Dads) who have gotten together to create snow when the conditions are right but Mother Nature got busy elsewhere and didn’t have time to put some out for area kids to sled and play on.

They are currently waiting for the Hanson Street hill in Whitehall to be closed so the kids will be safe.  If you see them out there, bring them a hot cup of joe and tell them thank you.  They are usually making snow in the nighttime or early morning.  They also assist with helping to keep Montague’s skating rink cleared of snow for skaters.

John, Rusty, and Elie. (Jimmy is absent the photo)

Upcoming Menu

Here is the menu for December 21 – 26.  Please note that I will not be making anything 12/24 or 12/25.  The foods on the menu will be fine in your fridge for a day or two if you really want something for meals those two days.  Just ask for your order to be made late in the day of 12/23.  You can pick up that evening, or the next day from the refrigerator we keep just inside the front entry to Art of Cookery.

Remember to let me know if you want a hot meal or refrigerated one when you pick up.

A Discount!

Book a class using our online registration and enter this code at check out to get a 10% discount.  The class can occur next year but must be booked by midnight 12/31/21.

CODE:  DEC2021

Don’t see a class you are interested in or can’t attend due to schedule?  Let me know via email what you want and some dates/times that work.

Last Post's Quiz

WOW!  You all really came through on that quiz I last posted.  I learned so much from you.  And your suggestions for posts were wonderful!

Look for something you suggested in upcoming posts.  I’ll be addressing pantry staples in my next post.  I will weave the topic together using a tried and true recipe.

Pear Conserve

This delightful pear and almond conserve goes well with both savory and sweet treats.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Resting Time1 hr
Course: Appetizer
Keyword: Conserve, Jam, Pear
Servings: 8 half pints
Author: vkhanson

Equipment

  • Waterbath Canner
  • Canning funnel
  • Dutch Oven
  • Small Saucepan
  • Cooling Rack
  • Jar grabber
  • Half-pint canning jars (about 8)
  • Lids and Rings for jars
  • Ladle

Ingredients

  • c Pears Peeled, cored, diced
  • 6 c Sugar
  • ½ c Lemon juice
  • ½ c Finely diced almonds unsalted is preferable
  • 2 t Dried citrus zest Any flavor works. Or, 2 T fresh
  • 1 t Minced ginger root
  • 3 oz Liquid pectin usually 1 pouch

Instructions

  • Mix pears, sugar, and lemon juice in Dutch oven. Let sit for 1 hour. Stir occasionally.
  • Fill canner half-way (up to the bottom of the raised rack) with hot water and place over burner to come to a boil.
  • Put new lids in small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a slight boil and turn off burner.
  • Add almonds, zest, and ginger root to Dutch oven mixture.  Bring to a rolling boil.
  • Add pectin and return to a boil.  Boil 1 minute.
  • Remove from heat and, using funnel, ladle into jars.  Tighten lids on.  Place in canner and submerge. There should be at least 1 inch of water over the tops. Add more hot water if needed. Cover.
  • Once water in canner returns to a boil, set timer for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, pull up the canning rack, remove jars and place on cooling rack.

Notes

You don't have to can this fantastic little recipe, but the jars make great host/hostess gifts.
This pairs well with beer and cheese.  I make a sourdough bread using beer and rosemary.  To serve, slice the bread, spread with conserve, and place a slice of cheddar on it.  YUM!

Pate a Choux Class

There’s still room for 1 more person in next week’s Pate a Choux class.  Pate a Choux is french pastry and is normally used to make cream puffs in the US.

The class is December 21st at 12 noon.  It is $20.


A Quiz

Would you mind helping me get to know my readers?

I’ve created a little 4 question quiz that would help me understand what you seek in content.  What do I do that you like, what change or added content do you suggest?  What is your food personality?

THANK YOU.

26
Created on

Getting to know YOU

I would love to get to know my readers and respond with content you would enjoy.  Would you mind answering a little quiz?  🙂  Pretty Please?

1 / 4

What is your favorite food type?

2 / 4

When cooking a meal, do you enjoy making everything from "scratch" (i.e. using fresh produce and measuring your own ingredients) or are you inclined to use prepared foods like Hamburger Helper or a roast seasoning kit?

3 / 4

What content would you like to see more often? Or perhaps there's something I've never posted but you would like to see a post about?

4 / 4

When you read my posts, what is your favorite content?  What do you look for? Skip over?  Be honest, I want to know!

The average score is 3%

0%

New Menu - 12/13 - 12/17/21

Upcoming Classes

Art of Cookery classes for December are pretty well filled up, but there are a couple with space left.  Here they are:

  • How to create a Charcuterie Board – 12/13 @5:15 pm – $24
  • Pate a Choux Pastry – 12/21 @12 noon – $20

As always, I encourage you to make a request if there’s a class you seek but isn’t on the calendar, or is, but not at a time that works for you.  Check out our classes on our website for ideas on what we offer.


Menu and Old Recipes

Sunday Morning's Menu is Published

With our Retail Food License upgrade comes great responsibility.  🙂

For three weeks we have published a menu for the next week.  It is going quite nicely!  Prepared food can be ordered hot (for immediate consumption) or cold for eating later (all reheat well in microwave or stovetop).

I keep the foods reasonably priced (which is a challenge in todays skyrocketing food prices 🙁 )

The Meal Kits are designed for you to have a hot meal that is unique.  Kind of like the boxed meal kits (like Hello Fresh, etc.) but with most of the work already done.  Not a box with whole potatoes, carrots, onions, you discover veggies chopped and in some cases, par-cooked.  The sauces are already made.  You will have some heat and/or assembly but not much.

Charcuterie boxes require at least 24 hours notice as they are made fresh for each order.  48 hours is best.

See this week’s menu below.

Cooking Classes Are in Full Gear

Our cooking classes are at pre-pandemic levels.   

An expanded kitchen results in classes that occupy more space.  Lots of new tools/topics have been added, like Tagine cooking.

Be sure to check out our website for all of the cooking classes.  Click here to go the the home page.  

Click the button below to see the schedule.  Feel free to make a request for a specific topic in a time frame that works for you.  

A Moroccan class set up to learn how to use a tagine.

Old Handwritten Recipe Cards

Yesterday, I found an old recipe card box that has traveled with me in life’s journey for forty years.  Apparently is was always to valuable to part with as I moved and/or transitioned through life.

As a teenaged bride, I wrote down my mother’s popcorn ball recipe and went on to use it many times over (as supported by the stains) to treat my own children.  Then, there were my mother in law’s gumball bread (at every Christmas celebration) and Mac and cheese (at every 4th of July) in her own hand.  She is gone now.  But these are fond memories and go beyond simple recipes.  My Aunt Rose brought a meatball dish to a family reunion in the late 1980’s…I HAD to have the recipe.  I didn’t make it much but I remember the feeling of family and fun when I look at the recipe card.  🙂 

I hope you have memories like these tucked away somewhere.  They are a time capsule treasure.


Good News, Finished Kitchen Make-over and a Chicken Stroganoff Recipe!

Exciting News!!

This morning, the Retail Food License inspector arrived for the final inspection of our kitchen remodel project.

He issued a license for the new and improved space to do retail food sales!

This will now become a larger part of our business plan than before.  Our cooking classes will be held 2-3 times per week and we will be selling more meal kits and packaged foods. 

We are also looking into the future at pop-up hot comfort food sales both at our location and at other locations, such as breweries.  Stay tuned for more information on that part of our plan.

Fall into Wanderland

John and I (Valerie) are two of the founding members of White Lake Wanderland.  Together with other board members, (Casandra Atchison of Jimmy’s Pub, Kara and Mike Smith, and Elly Kennedy) we created and ran the 2020 Winter Wanderland in February 2020.  That inaugural event was wonderfully successful and brought a lot of people to the area to wander the two cities of Montague and Whitehall.

Well….then there came a pandemic.  Sigh.  So the Fall 2020 event and Winter 2021 events couldn’t be held. 

We were so excited to bring you the 2021 Fall into Wanderland last weekend.

The weekend of October 15, 16, & 17 was so FUN!  From kids costume parade to adult costume events to a thrift date and budget buffet, there was something for everyone.  Art of Cookery even hosted the Thrift Date and Budget Buffet.

Put February 4, 5, & 6 2022 on your calendars for the next event, Winter Wanderland.

One more thing, we are looking for about 3 more board members.  Let us know if you are interested.  You can comment on this blog, email ICan@artcookery.com, or message the FB page. Don’t want to be a board member but willing to help as a volunteer?  Let us know that also.

There are classes on our fall calendar.

We’ve loaded our calendar with classes.  Check out what is coming up.

This Friday, 10/22/21, is the next class. It is one of our How to Series and is both informative and affordable. The topic is The Art of Pasta and participants will be making pasta (Fettuccini in this case) by hand and by machine.  There are two tickets still available. Click here for more information.

To check out all upcoming classes, check out Art of Cookery’s website and calendar.

To request a specific class you do not see listed, email us at ICan@artcookery.com.  We can usually accommodate such requests.

Chicken Mushroom Stroganoff

A creamy, delicious, and hearty comfort food
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken, mushrooms, noodles
Servings: 8
Author: vkhanson

Equipment

  • Large Skillet
  • Turner
  • Saucepan
  • Colander

Ingredients

  • 4 qt hot water
  • 2 tbsp coarse kosher salt or 4 t table salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 16 oz dry egg noodles or other preferred noodle
  • 1 tbsp oil or fat
  • 1/8 t red pepper flakes
  • 8 oz white mushrooms Rinsed and sliced
  • 1 lb chicken breast, partially frozen Sliced into 1/4" thin by 1" pieces. This is easier if partially frozen.
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 t minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 c dry white wine
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 tbsp flour if you want a thinner sauce, use 2.
  • 1 1/4 c chicken broth or bouillon, or stock, or water, or milk
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1/8 t paprika
  • 1/2 t black pepper or to taste
  • 1 1/2 c sour cream
  • 3 tbsp butter to add to hot noodles, can be omitted if stirring the stroganoff and noodles together immediately.

Instructions

  • Place hot water, 2 T salt, and bay leaves in saucepan and place on burn to come to a boil.
  • Place skillet over high heat, add oil or fat, and when hot, add red pepper flakes and mushrooms. Sauté mushrooms for 5-8 minutes.
  • Once a lot of moisture has been released and steamed away, add onion, 1/4 t salt, and chicken. Sauté for 2 minutes until chicken is no longer pink.
  • Add rosemary and wine. Stir and cook to reduce moisture by half.
  • Add garlic and flour. Sauté 1 minute more.
  • Meanwhile, drain the noodles when they are at a desired doneness and place back in pan or in serving dish. Stir 3 tbsp butter in to keep them from clumping.
  • To the sauce, add broth, salt, pepper, and paprika. Bring to a boil.
  • Add sour cream and stir and simmer for about 2 minutes until thickened.
  • Stir in the noodles and heat back up, or serve over hot noodles. Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika.

Notes

You can substitute mashed or fried potatoes or rice for the noodles.
A green herb, like chives or rosemary is a nice garnish.
Use two cans/jars of mushrooms instead of fresh for a short cut.  This will shave 5-8 minutes off your time.
Another time saver is using the breasts of a cooked rotisserie chicken.  Chop into bite size pieces and add with the broth.  If doing this, add the onions with the mushrooms.

A Thyme for Every Season(ing) Under the Sun

Change, Change, Change

I am very excited to tell you about some news.

We are renovating our kitchen so we can extend our line of food options for our customers.  And also to streamline the teaching space.

That having been said, this change means that the teaching kitchen will have some sporadic hours and there is likely to be a couple of weeks coming that we will be fully shut down.

Stay tuned for more details.  Know that if you are already registered for an upcoming class, that class will run.  We will be doing some online classes during that time.

We are aiming for mid to late October for the renovation to be complete.

Upcoming Classes

Here is a list of some upcoming classes.

This is subject to change and do contact us if you want a specific topic added to the schedule.  We do that all of the time to accommodate individual schedules and desired topics.  Click here for more information on times and prices

  • Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner – August 19
  • Sourdough Bread Start(er) to Finish – August 31
  • Pickle Party – September 2
  • Pickle Party – Online Class – September 2
  • Rock your Pot Instant Pot Cooking – September 7
  • How to safely Can Venison (and other meats) – September 11 & 28
  • Pressure Can…Like a Boss – September 14
  • Fettuccini Pasta and Alfredo Sauce – Online Class – September 16

Snack Kits Now Available

We have just developed a little picnic kit. 

It is great to take to the beach and/or to the local brewery.  

In it is a cute little loaf of our housemade sourdough bread, made with fresh rosemary and craft beer from Sawyers Brewing Company and topped with our version of Everything Seasoning; housemade Pear Almond Conserve, single serve commercially packaged butter and cheese.  A disposable knife is included.

The bread is made daily and the cost is $6 per kit.  Each kit will serve 1-4 depending on how hungry people are.

To order, call or text 231-740-4065 with desired pick-up time/date.  We try to keep them on hand.  The kits are also sold at Sawyers Brewing Company in Montague.

If you don’t care for rosemary, or everything seasoning, give us enough notice and we can change out a few of these options.

Everything Seasoning a la Art of Cookery

This delicious blend is great on everything...thus, its name!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Course: Seasoning
Keyword: Seasoning
Servings: 20
Author: vkhanson
Cost: $5

Equipment

  • Jar
  • Lid
  • Measuring spoons

Ingredients

  • 2.5 tbsp Poppy seed
  • 2.5 tbsp Sesame seed
  • 1 tbsp Minced dried garlic
  • 2 tsp Onion powder
  • 2 tsp Sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic powder

Instructions

  • Mix everything together in a jar and close with lid. Easy peasy!

Notes

Great on more than just bagels.  Try on bread, in salads, grilled meats, mixed into cream cheese or sour cream for a quick spread or dip.

Opening Fully!!

Art of Cookery is Reopening Fully for In-Person Classes

Like so many other small businesses, Art of Cookery shut down in March 2020.  Many attempts were made to provide live online classes via Zoom.   However, those classes just were not engaging public interest.

Recently, we’ve done a few small group live classes for people who are in the same “bubble” while we wore masks.  

Now, we are fully vaccinated and the CDC recommendations are that it would be safe enough to increase class sizes and allow unrelated class participants who are vaccinated to attend and no masks are required!!  That’s pretty exciting.  Unvaccinated persons cannot attend unmasked in a mixed group of unrelated persons.

There are many classes on the schedule including some youth classes.

Upcoming Classes

There are too many classes on our schedule to list them all here, and some are booked out with no more tickets available, but here is a highlight of some you may be interested in.

Pickled Asparagus on June 7th at 5:30 pm.  Learn how to make this delectable and unique local delicacy.  Learn some home canning techniques too!

Quiche on June 12 at 2 pm.  Learn tips and techniques for this quintessential brunch/breakfast dish.

Kids Young Chef Series June 14, 21, 28, July 12 & 19 at 11 am.  It is for young people ages 10-16 who are interested in truly learning how to cook.

Condiment Series: Ketchup o!n June 17 at 5:30.  Learn how to make ketchup from scratch and to control what goes into this condiment favorite.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner on June 23 at 12 noon.  Together make this delicious and vibrant full meal…and then sit down and enjoy it at Art of Cookery

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing on July 2 at 1 pm.  These are great to celebrate any holiday

Cookery Creations Meal Kits are A Hit

The meal kits were rolled out for orders in early May and are well received.  These aren’t boxes with whole, raw produce and proteins.  The veggies have been prepped to the recipe and much of the dinner is so close to finished that you have only a few steps. 

They tend to take between 20 to 30 minutes for a hearty, complete meal. 

The second menu set was just posted today.  Check it out!  There’s something for everyone…even a vegan option.

Make Your Own Chili Powder

Did you know chili powder is not simply powdered dry chilies? It is a blend of various spices.  Chef Valerie makes most spice blends she uses instead of purchasing them.  

Here is a great chili powder recipe.  Ideally you blend it in a small food processor or, better yet, a coffee grinder, but you don’t need to.

Chili Powder

This quick mix is a very tasty chili powder and was developed by Chef Valerie at Art of Cookery
Prep Time5 mins
Author: vkhanson

Equipment

  • Coffee Grinder

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 2.5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1.5 tsp paprika
  • 1.5 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1.5 tsp dried oregano
  • 1.5 tsp garlic powder
  • 1.5 tsp onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Mix everything together and pulse in coffee grinder. Store the resulting chili powder in a sealed container.

Spring, Asparagus, and Easy Peasy Meals

Hope Eternal

Have you ever read An Essay on Man by Alexander Pope?  If you haven’t, you should.  If you have, read it again.  Read it to discover how relative it is in these times.  I am referring to politics, very divisive issues, global warming, earth day…even spring.

Even though it was written in the early 1700s, it is startling how perfect it is for today.  Thinking about the often used quote snippet “Hope Springs Eternal” as I was starting to introduce some thoughts on Spring, and wondering where it came from.  I did dome searching and was amazed.

But, I digress, Spring brings hope for me.  In normal years, it means the start of cooking classes really getting going, the flowers and leaves unfurling, warmth.  Getting seeds in the ground.  This year, it brings hope for healing and health.  I wish that for everyone.

The Asparagus is up!!!

I’ve had three pickings now.  And even though I have a little patch of younger asparagus, I had enough today to pickle a couple of jars. today.

I LOVE pickled asparagus.

There are four classes listed on Art of Cookery’s schedule to learn how to make this seasonal and local specialty.  If you can’t make one of the dates work, let me know what dates work for you.  Perhaps we can do some rescheduling.

Pickled asparagus really jazzes up a simple hotdog on a bun, is truly the best veggie for bloody marys, dresses up a charcuterie board, and, of course, is great right out of the jar.  There are so many more uses for it.  Come learn how to make this spring delight!

There are a lot of class topics taught at Art of Cookery, have a look.  If the one you are interested in isn’t on a good date for you, just tell us what does work.  On a related note, se below for a recipe to pickle another unique spring food, hops.

Easy Peasy Meal Options

Last year, and still this year, we are in the midst of changes.  Art of Cookery tried to do distance learning ZOOM classes, but it just wasn’t what people wanted.  They wanted hands on learning but with social distancing rules, and indeed a complete shutdown in many industries like restaurants.

We got a little creative and created a hybrid “class.”  Called Cookery Creations, it is a meal kit that has your cooking the final details of the meal, but Chef Valerie has done all of the prep and created a self guided set of instructions to help you get meals that include chicken Kiev, Bahn mi bowls, crusted tuna steaks, Spanish rice, and pork cutlets along with other sides … in MINUTES of your time. 

Check out our facebook page for the pinned current menu of meal kits.  These menus will change every few weeks and will include brunch and picnic kits too.  Our website has some information too.

We’d love to hear from you on dishes you would enjoy in a Cookery Creations Meal kit.  Let us know!

Pickled Hops

Pickled Hops

Just like spring delectables of morel mushrooms and asparagus, hops is a great spring food to capture.
Prep Time3 hrs
Cook Time20 hrs
Course: Appetizer
Keyword: canning, Hops, Pickling
Servings: 12
Author: vkhanson
Cost: 5.00

Equipment

  • Large bowl
  • Large sauce pan or Dutch oven
  • Water bath canner or pressure canner and equipment (funnel, magnet, jar gripper)
  • 4 pint canning jars (& lids/rings), OR 1/2 gallon pickle jar & lid if making refrigerator version
  • knife and cutting board

Ingredients

Prepare the hops

  • 10 c young spring hops sprouts If they are allowed to get too tall they will get woody.
  • 1/4 c canning salt or coarse salt
  • water to cover/submerge

Prepare the jars/jar

  • 1/4 c horseradish prepared
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fennel seed
  • 1 tsp Pickle Crisp (calcium chloride)

Prepare the syrup

  • 3 c cider vinegar 5% acidity
  • 1 1/4 c beer made with hops I like an IPA
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 2 tbsp mustard seed
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp canning salt

Instructions

Prepare the hops

  • Then transfer out, rinse Trim woody bases. 
  • Wash the hops in large bowl of water and swishing.  Then transfer out, rinse and repeat.
  • If a bit droopy and you aren’t processing right away, trim the ends and soak in cold water for an hour or two.  If you will be pickling the next day, drain and put into plastic bag(s) in the refrigerator or a cooler. 
  • If you are continuing the process, place washed hops in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and cover with cold water.  Let stand for one hour.  Rinse.

While hops are soaking

  • Sterilize (or at least wash very well in hot water and detergent)4 pint jars (you may need 5), OR, if not canning and storing in refrigerator, a ½ gallon glass or plastic container. If you have a sanitize stage on your dishwasher, that will work best. 

Jars

  • Into each jar, place: 1 TBSP horseradish, ½ tsp red pepper flakes, ½ tsp fennel seed, 1/8 tsp Pickle Crisp (Calcium Chloride)
    OR
    Alternatively, if using the refrigeration method, add to the syrup or directly into 1/2 gallon jar: 1 TBSP red pepper flakes, 1 ½ TBSP fennel seed, ¼ c TBSP horseradish, 1 tsp Pickle Crisp (Calcium Chloride)

Next

  • If you will be canning, prepare the water bath or pressure canner and get water to a simmer.
  • Have the proper lids and rings ready. Be sure to scald the lids briefly in water and have hot for when placing on the jars.

Syrup

  • In Dutch oven, place: 3 c cider vinegar (5% acidity), 1 ¼ c beer of choice, (I suggest an IPA), 1/3 c sugar, 2 TBSP canning salt, 2 TBSP mustard seed, 2 TBSP onion powder (you can also choose to pack stalks loosely & use minced onions), 2 TBSP garlic powder (or finely minced garlic)
  • Bring syrup to a boil and boil gently for one minute. 
  • Add the cleaned hops and simmer 5 minutes.
  • Ladle into pint jars to ½ inch head space. 
    OR
    1/2 gallon jar and let cool, then refrigerate.
  • If canning:  Wipe rims with clean damp cloth (or paper towel) and tighten on rings.  As you fill and seal jars, place on canner rack. Remember that cool jars meeting boiling water equals broken glass…try to move swiftly when putting hot syrup into jars and placing on the rack.  
    If water bathing, the water should be boiling with the rack hooked over the sides just above the water.    When all jars are in the canner, process. 
  • Water bath canning:  lower the rack into the boiling water carefully. Place lid on and boil for 10 minutes.  Start timer when water comes to a boil with the jars in it. 
    Pressure canning:  Turn heat on to high, close and tighten lid.  Exhaust steam for 10 minutes then place the steam weight on.  Process at 5 pounds of pressure for 10 minutes. Allow pressure gauge to return to 0 before opening.

Notes

If canning and the center of lid doesn’t go down with vacuum after cooling, jar did not seal.  Store unsealed jars in the refrigerator.  They will last a long time in the refrigerator.
These are especially delicious served on extra-sharp cheddar cheese.

jalapeno poppers

Pepper Poppers Post

Jalapeno Poppers

This is an odd way to begin a post about Jalapeno Poppers…but for a bit of backstory……

Here at Art of Cookery, one of my (Chef Valerie Hanson) favorite appliances is the Ninja FoodiNot only is it a great electric pressure cooker, but it nearly could replace every cooking appliance in your kitchen, including your range.  It just about does it all.  No.  I am not being paid for this or even trying to get you to buy one.  Just sharing about a great tool I use in the kitchen.  One drawback to it is that it is heavy.

P.S. Art of Cookery has to have a number of cookers for classes and has 2 Instant Pots and we love those as well.  The Foodi just does more than other pressure cookers.

Art of Cookery class line-up includes  a session called “Rock Your Pot” on how to use an electric pressure cooker and get maximum use of it.  This post is about a specific feature of the Foodi.  The air fryer.

Jump to Recipe

Harvest Season

It is October in Michigan and last Friday I had to harvest everything left on my tomato and pepper plants due to a frost warning.  Since I have been using the bountiful plants yummy fruit all summer, I was shocked to see how much was still on the plants.  Specifically, ripe to green tomatoes and bell, jalapeno, serrano, poblano, cayenne, sweet Italian, and Anaheim peppers.

It ended up not freezing.  But, better safe than sorry.  I’d have cried over losing all that produce.

So for five days, I have been canning tomatoes, marinara, pickled green tomatoes,  pickled peppers,  pepperoncini, and salsa verde.  I’ve also been dehydrating various peppers.

Jalapeno POPPERS

Yesterday, I still had a pile of jalapenos looking at me  and I still needed to make dinner.  Fortunately for me, my husband gifted himself with a pretty cool Weber grill.  He made jerked chicken and pork.  I just had to make a side.  POPPERS it is!  Who doesn’t love the wonderful blend of heat and creamy cheese that are Jalapeno Poppers?!

The recipe below makes some delicious poppers.  If you want to go even healthier, use Neufchatel cream cheese (or refried beans) and a low fat cheddar.  You can also use skim milk and egg whites.  And, toasting a few slices of lite bread and crushing them will reduce a few calories as well and still have lots of flavor.

Air Fryer Jalapeno Poppers

Use your air fryer to transform your jalapeno abundance into delicious pepper poppers!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Jalapeno, peppers, snack
Servings: 5 2 per person
Author: vkhanson
Cost: $6

Equipment

  • Air Fryer
  • medium saucepan

Ingredients

  • 10 jalapeno peppers Large and firm

Filling

  • 5 ounces finely shredded cheddar extra sharp is best
  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 TBSP chopped cilantro

Coating

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 TBSP milk or half and half or cream
  • 1 cup finely crushed bread crumbs I prefer the Italian seasoned version
  • 1 tsp salt

Dipping Sauce

  • 2/3 c sour cream
  • 1 small lime both the zest and juice

Instructions

  • 1. In a saucepan of boiling water, gently boil the jalapenos, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.
    2. Remove from saucepan and plunge in ice water. Leave in ice water to cool.
    3. Drain on paper toweling.
  • 1.      Mix together the 5 filling ingredients.  Place in a Ziplock style bag.  Set aside. 
  • 1. Place the flour in a bowl. Set aside.
    2. Whisk the egg and milk in another bowl. Set aside.
    3. Toss the crumbs and salt in a third bowl. Set aside.
  • 1. Slit a side of the jalapeños and remove seeds and veins. It is helpful to have a pair of slender scissors to snip the top of the seeds to separate from the stem. Rinse and drain the insides.
    2. Snip a corner off the bag with the cheese mixture and fill the peppers by squeezing into the slit until full. Press the pepper shut. If there is a small seam of cheese, it is ok.
  • 1. If the peppers dried, slightly dampen them. Roll each pepper in flour, then egg/milk, then crumbs (really press the crumbs on, you want a good coating). Place on a plate as they are finished.
    2. Spray exposed top and sides lightly with cooking spray. Turn over and spray the other side.
  • 1. While air frying, mix together the sour cream and lime juice/zest for a great dipping sauce.
  • 1. Remove air fryer basked and spray with cooking oil. (Unless your fryer indicates not to.) Replace the basket and preheat at 375 for 5 minutes.
    2. Place five in your fryer basket seam side down. This is counterintuitive but do it.
    3. Set your timer for 10 minutes.
    4. After 3 to 4 minutes (before the cheese melts enough to start running out) turn the poppers so the slits are facing up. Finish cooking the full 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining peppers.

Notes

If you have extra coating and some zucchini, green tomato, or egg plant nearby, dredge them through the coating bowls and air fry for 3 to 4 minutes.

Chicken, Cheese, and Tamales. Oh MY!

Chicken, Cheese, and Tamales are an odd combination for a post.

About the Chicken

Indeed!  I was intrigued by Chef Michael Symon’s recent appearance on Good Morning America where he shared his recipe for making that now infamous Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich.  So much so that I made it, and then made it again tweaking it slightly.  I then shared them with patrons at our local craft brewery Fetch.  They are a huge hit.  Thank you Chef Michael!  In the final recipe I settled on (see end of this post for full recipe) you see my notes for some of what I changed.  Essentially I adjusted the flour, some seasonings, and added onion powder to the mix.  You can click the recipe link above to see his recipe.

Cheese!

A lot of you may already know that I love to make my own cheese.  I also teach cheesemaking at my Art of Cookery cooking school.  Making Soft Cheeses such as Mozzarella and Sour Cream/Crème Fraiche is one class that is popular.  On rare occasions over the years I have taught a hard cheese class by private request.  Currently, I am considering making it a class that is on our calendar schedule.

Feedback Request

I am hoping for feedback from you. 

Making cheddar is a time commitment.  Here is the schedule.

On day 1 we start the class around noon.  The day is over about 6 to 7 hours later.  It will definitely be 7 if we use the cheddar’s whey to make ricotta. There are downtimes, such as 45 minute waits here and there but it is a process that moves forward all afternoon.

Next, on day 2 there is a 1 hour session pulling the cheese out of the press.  It can be a little more if we are using the ricotta to make Ziergerkase Cheese (DEFINITELY worth it).  If making the Zierrgerkase, there is a 1 hour class 24 hours after putting it in the cheesepress.  That day would be skipped if not making that second cheese.

Then, 3 days after taking the cheddar out of the press, the last class is about 1 hour long and covers waxing and aging the cheese.

Ziergerkase is soaked for up to four days in a bring of Cabernet and Tarragon. Delicious!

So, it is about a 10 hour class time commitment, broken up over a few days.  That is followed by the students themselves aging the cheese.  That entails turning it over a couple times a week and storing it in a dark cool place.

Questions to help me with:

  • I would have to charge $100 per person.  Do you believe it is worth the time and money?
  • I think it is a great way for someone to decide they want to go into cheesemaking without the costly equipment purchase (For instance, a cheese press alone is not cheap!)  Do you agree?
  • The participant(s) would have to commit to keeping the schedule.  Do you believe it is a doable schedule?  Any other questions or feedback?

Tamales – Yum

Rita and her husband with John Gonzales of Michigan’s Best.

I like to teach a lot of various cuisines.  As a result, some of my cooking classes are involved in making some Asian, Moroccan, and Mexican dishes for example.  One topic I have never approached but always wanted to is Tamales.  I love them but know they can be a failure for many reasons if you don’t know the secrets.

Recently, I reached out to Rita Rodriguez, owner of Two Hot Tamales in neighboring Newaygo County and asked if she would be interested in being a guest chef at Art of Cookery and teach a Tamale class with me as her sous chef.  She Said YES!  As a result, we have settled on December 8, 2019 at 1 pm.  This special event will take place at 1 pm and last approximately 2 hours.  However, stay tuned, pricing has not yet been set.

So here is what I am asking:

Are you interested?  We’d like to have a number for planning purposes.  Responding that you are interested doesn’t mean you are committed or registered, just interested.  Please comment below, and/or send an email to ICan@artcookery.com.  You can private message on our facebook page too.  Or just look for the even on our facebook page and click on interested.

And now for that Chicken Sandwich recipe

Ingredients

·        2, 10 to 12-ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 4 small ones)

·        1 cup buttermilk

·        1 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

·        1 teaspoon garlic powder

·        1 tsp onion powder

·        1 1/4 teaspoon table salt

·        1 teaspoon black pepper

·        1 ½ TBSP Hot Sauce (Chef Michael suggests Louisiana brand but use what you have.  Increase to 2 tablespoons if making the spicy version)

·        3/4 cup flour (I use a blend of one part “00” flour, 1 part extra fancy Durum semolina and 2 parts unbleached all-purpose flour.  All all-purpose will work just fine, in fact it’s what Chef Symon used, but in my opinion, the flour blend gives a better coating and crunchier result.)

·        3/4 cup cornstarch

·        2 tsp sweet paprika

·        1 tablespoon garlic powder

·        1 tsp onion powder

·        2 tsp cayenne powder, optional (if making the spicy version, even more if desired)

·        Oil for frying

·        4 soft brioche hamburger buns

·        unsalted butter

·        Dill pickle chips

·        Miracle Whip or Mayo, for serving (I use Miracle Whip but Hellman’s is ok and Dukes Mayo is the southern standard)

Directions

Lay out your chicken breasts on a cutting board and cover with a piece of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, pound the chicken to an even half-inch thickness. Cut each in half to make four.  If your breasts are very large, trim two bun size pieces from each breast and use the two smaller cuts as a pair of bonus chicken slices or make a fifth sandwich from them.

In a mixing bowl whisk together the buttermilk and next six ingredients. Submerge the chicken in the buttermilk and soak.  Chef Symon recommends at overnight or for at least 4 hours I recommend at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours.

Once the chicken is fully marinated.  Heat a pot of oil or deep-fryer to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl whisk together the flour(s), cornstarch and seasonings.

Drizzle 3 tablespoons of the buttermilk marinade into the flour mixture and mix loosely with a fork, creating some small clumps. This will help the chicken achieve a jagged, flakey crunch.

Bread and fry the chicken.

Remove one piece of chicken from the buttermilk, letting the excess drip off. Place it in the flour mixture and turn to coat evenly. Gently press the breading into the chicken and repeat with the remaining pieces.

Deep fry for four to five minutes, until the chicken is crunchy and cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Remove to a draining rack and season with salt, if desired. I do not salt them. While they rest and cool slightly, finish the sandwich.

Finish and assemble the sandwich.

Heat a skillet or griddle.  Rub a stick of butter on the griddle so there’s a melted smear for each Brioche half.  Place the cut side of the brioche buns over melted butter and lightly toast.  (Chef Symon melts the butter and brushes it over the buns with a pastry brush and then toasts.  My way is easier)

To finish, spread both halves of the buns with generously with Miracle Whip or mayo and add a layer pickle slices to the bottom half. Place a piece of chicken on and top with the other half of the bun.  Serve fresh and hot.

ENJOY