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.
There are too many classes on our scheduleto 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
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.
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 scheduleto 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!
Just like spring delectables of morel mushrooms and asparagus, hops is a great spring food to capture.
Keyword: canning, Hops, Pickling
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
Prepare the hops
10cyoung spring hops sproutsIf they are allowed to get too tall they will get woody.
1/4ccanning saltor coarse salt
Prepare the jars/jar
1tbspred pepper flakes
1 1/2tbspfennel seed
1tspPickle Crisp(calcium chloride)
Prepare the syrup
3ccider vinegar5% acidity
1 1/4cbeer made with hopsI like an IPA
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.
Into each jar, place: 1 TBSP horseradish, ½ tsp red pepper flakes, ½ tsp fennel seed, 1/8 tsp Pickle Crisp (Calcium Chloride)ORAlternatively, 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)
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.
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. OR1/2 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.
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.
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 Foodi. Not 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.
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.
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.
Use your air fryer to transform your jalapeno abundance into delicious pepper poppers!
Keyword: Jalapeno, peppers, snack
Servings: 52 per person
10jalapeno peppersLarge and firm
5ouncesfinely shredded cheddarextra sharp is best
1TBSPmilkor half and half or cream
1cupfinely crushed bread crumbsI prefer the Italian seasoned version
1smalllimeboth the zest and juice
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.
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 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.
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.
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
· 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)
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.
Just posting a quick note to thank you for following my blog, I hope you will enjoy learning about a cooking class and/or get some interesting recipes and other good stuff. There have been many following it in the last few weeks.
Did you know we have a class on how to make your own Mozzarella?
I just created a special promotion to those purchasing two tickets for a cooking class or our Delicious Demise events. There are two more tickets available to the October 19, 2019 Delicious Demise and six still to be claimed for the November 2nd one.
Get 20% off one of the tickets! Use promocode FALL19 if booking online or mention it when booking offline via telephone or email. Offer expires November 13, 2019.
A great use of this promotion is to book two classes of equal value and split the discount across both tickets, OR book two separate classes and I will put the discount toward the one with the highest ticket price. Let me know which you want to do.
Sign up for upcoming cooking class!
FYI, there’s still room in the Venison (meat in general) pressure canning class at noon on Tuesday, 10/15/19 and in the How to Create a Charcuterie Board class the same day at 5:30 pm. There are a lot of upcoming classes so check them out! You can find out which days a specific class is offered by going to our registration page and scrolling down to see the list of classes, click on the red link under each class to see the dates and times of a class. Desire a class on a day/time that fits your schedule? Send me a note requesting it as I can often accommodate.
Get ready for the taste of Autumn and the holidays with pumpkin pie!
I am just now adding a seasonal cooking class. I’d really like your feedback on this new offering. In the Pumpkin Pie class participants will make a pumpkin pie to take home straight from the pumpkin! From roasting the pumpkin, to making the pie crust, to making and baking the pie. That’s right, you will learn how easy and delicious it is to avoid opening cans of milk and pumpkin containing dubious over processed ingredients. A pie to brag about.
What do you think? Is it something people would be interested in?
But only if you are an avid sourdough mother fermenter!
I started my sourdough ferment decades ago. I call her Sally and she lives in a half gallon blue Ball jar in my refrigerator. She has a fantastic depth of flavor and character unique to her due to how I feed her. At Art of Cookery I teach classes on sourdough so check out our schedule. Don’t see something you are interested in? We take requests!
But that’s a different story.
This one is about scones borne of her deliciousness. I feed Sally weekly, adding to her volume. However, I don’t always bake bread weekly (especially since we closed our bed and breakfast, removing the need for copious amounts of toast). Pouring some of her down the drain to make room would be unforgiveable. So, another use requires development (this means I have been playing in the kitchen, one of my favorite activities). With Sally, I have recently made:
Sourdough chocolate cake
Sourdough flour tortillas
They were all terrific.
But, the scones seemed to have a remarkable height and delicateness that is worthy of taking the time to blog about it. While I made cherry chocolate chip scones, you can switch it up with any dried or fairly dry fruit. Examples are dried raisins, currants, figs, pineapple; and, diced rhubarb and apples. Because I knew I was serving them to a group that included someone who didn’t like chocolate, I chose to top the scones with the dried cherries and mini chocolate chips so that they could be removed. This recipe suggests you incorporate them. You can choose either.
Photos are at the bottom so you can see texture and process clues.
Sourdough Country Scones
Prepare. You need:
2 bowls. Small and medium
Pastry Blender (just two knives work if you don’t have a pastry blender) AND Spoon/rubber scraper
1 and ½ cup dry measure; 1 cup liquid measure
1 & ½ teaspoon; 1 tablespoon measures
Pastry brush AND knife or bench scraper
Baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone mat
½ cup raisins (or chocolate chips or dried fruit of choice, I like currants or mango/pineapple)
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
5 TBSP cold butter
1 cup sourdough starter
3 TBSP sour cream
2 TBSP orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (or nutmeg)
Heavy cream (for patting and brushing scone tops)
Additional sugar (optional, for sprinkling on top)
Orange zest, optional
In medium mixing bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, & salt. Use a pastry blender to cut in butter until mixture looks like coarse crumbs.
In small bowl, mix sourdough starter, sour cream, orange juice, and vanilla. Fold wet mixture into dry mixture. Use a spoon and stir until just moistened.
Add fruit and mix only lightly. Squeeze and press some with hands to blend fruit. It will be sticky. Scrape/Pour onto prepared baking sheet. With hands wet with cold cream (to help prevent it sticking to your hands), press together and pat dough into a round shape ½ inch thick. Sprinkle with zest and brush tops with cream and sugar if desired. Cut dough into 8 or 16 wedges and use a pie server to slightly separate about 1/2 inch apart (or, cut and leave together. It depends on whether you want a crisper exterior all of the way around, or soft moist sides.
Bake in 425 degree oven for 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Makes 8 large or 16 small scones.
If doing chocolate, omit the cinnamon as the combo may not be to everyone’s tastes.
If using rhubarb (which is fantastic) use nutmeg and toss the diced rhubarb in a little extra granulated sugar to coat.
If you cut them into 16 or so pieces, they will bake faster than 8 pieces so watch for a golden kiss to tell doneness.
If health/weight conscious, reduce the sugar and don’t top with sugar and cream.
Greek yogurt works as a substitute for sour cream, lemons/lemonade work just as well as orange/orange juice, and almond (or other extract) works well instead of vanilla. Make these have YOUR desired flavor profile.
If you make these sourdough scones, please tell me about it!! Share a picture on our Facebook page Art of Cookery.