Goulash. Comfort Food at its Best.

I Loves Me Some Goulash

It’s still the depths of winter here in Michigan.  This is my least favorite time of the year.  Winter has drug on and on and we just want a bit of spring.  March is depressing as it is a bleak,

Traditional Hungarian Style Goulash

muddy, dirty snow, cold month, prolonging winter (at least that is my opinion).  My recipe is below.

Comfort food is my response to my serious case of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  Goulash is a favorite remedy.  In wintry weather, a hearty meal always hits the spot.   I was wondering about goulash recently. 

I know the version I make is different from a traditional Hungarian dish.  So here is a little in-depth look at one of my favorite foods. 

Goulash, a traditional Hungarian stew, has risen in popularity in the United States in recent years. Originally made with beef, tomatoes, onion, green peppers, and paprika, it was a filling meal for farmers to make quickly on the go. 

In America

Goulash Served with Rice

Goulash in America is quite different from the traditional Hungarian stew. The original is quite basic, and sometimes served with a starch such as carrots or potatoes. American goulash is essentially a meat sauce, almost always served over elbow macaroni. Other variations include using ground beef, or serving it over rice or egg noodles.

Twists on a Classic

If you’re interested in goulash and want to make it your own, try one of these substitutions!

  • try pork or veal instead of beef
  • add root vegetables like sweet potato and parsnips for more flavor
  • go veggie by swapping cannellini or kidney beans for beef
  • save time and effort by making a baked goulash

As such a malleable dish, goulash can be adapted to a variety of diets. It can easily be made gluten-free, vegetarian (even vegan!), dairy-free, and more. 

Still Not Sure?

If cooking seems too intimidating or complex, not to worry. Art of Cookery has plenty of cooking classes to cover the basics and the complexities of the art of cooking!  Not local to Whitehall and surrounding areas?  You can also book a private online lesson anywhere in the U.S.A. I (Chef Valerie)  will help you grow and develop a deep sense of connection, both with cooking and the very food you make. 

My Goulash!

Life is hectic. If preparing a home-cooked meal is enticing, but you don’t have the time in your busy schedule, and you are local to Whitehall, check out our selection of retail food. Art of Cookery has a rotating weekly menu of both prepared foods and meal kits. We even have goulash! Whether you have a few minutes to cook a meal kit or just need to grab a quick bite, we’ve got you covered.  Watch for a weekly new menu on our website, (click here) and also pinned to the top Facebook post for each weekly menu and order right away.  The food is made per order and not in advance ideally.  Although when we do make a batch to fill an order, we make extra and place it in fridge at the front entry for last minute grab and go pick ups.

Upcoming Classes

We are closed for a bit of a break until March 10.  But, so you can plan, here are the next upcoming classes:

Click here to access our website and click the red Calendar Button to see all classes on the calendar.

Magical Goulash

My version of this versatile comfort food. ONE PAN WONDER! Be sure to check out the notes at the bottom for ways to adapt it to your preferences. It is almost magical in how it always turns out. It can be as listed, vegan, vegetarian, keto....nearly anything.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Course: Comfort Food, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Hungarian
Keyword: Goulash, Macaroni
Servings: 4 people
Author: vkhanson

Equipment

  • 1 Dutch Oven w/lid
  • 1 Stirrer Spatula, Wooden spoon, Pancake turner
  • 1 Cutting board
  • 1 Knife

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tbsp oil EVOO is nice but any fat will do.
  • 1/2 cup diced Onion
  • 1/2 cup diced Bell pepper Using green pepper adds visual color but any works.
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced Add a 3rd if you love garlic!
  • 1/2 lb ground beef See notes for alternatives.
  • 1 14-15 oz can diced Tomatoes
  • 8 oz water rinse can with it before adding. Can also use white wine or broth or a blend.
  • 1 tsp Chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika Smoked, sweet, or regular.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste Start with 1 t salt and 1/2 t pepper and adjust at the end.
  • 3 oz Macaroni, dry or other small pasta (3/4 cup)
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh Basil Cilantro or Parsley work well too.
  • 1/2 c shredded Cheddar Or other favorite cheese. Skip if making Vegan.

Instructions

  • In Dutch oven over medium high heat, add oil. Once heated, add onion, bell pepper, and pinch of salt. Sauté for 1 minute to flavor the oil.
  • Add ground beef and garlic. Cook until meat is browned.
  • Stir in tomatoes, rinse can with water and add water.
  • Add chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir and bring to a low boil.
  • Add macaroni. Stir and bring back to low boil. Cover but stir frequently.
  • Simmer for 15 minutes. Add additional water if the pasta needs more to cook through (different sized pasta require varying amounts of liquid.)
  • Add basil and cook one minute more. Check for salt and pepper to your liking. Top with cheese.

Notes

How to adjust.  (This is really a great tutorial on pantry cooking and substitutions)
Starch (Pasta) substitutions:
  • ¾ c. (3 oz) any small pasta like macaroni, uncooked
  • 3 oz dry spaghetti, broken into small lengths
  • ½ cup dry rice, cook an extra 5 minutes for white and 10 for brown
  • 1 large or 2 smaller potatoes, washed and small diced
  • 1 c. fresh or frozen gnocchi, or small pierogi
  • Small batch of spaetzle
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn (or 1 14oz can)
Protein substitutions:
  • ½ lb any ground or diced meat. 
  • 4 to 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 oz firm tofu (just add the salt, pepper, and half the chili powder with the tofu)
  • 1/3 cup dry quinoa (can be used as a starch also)
  • ½ cup bulgur
  • 1 14oz can of beans
  • ½ lb. any type of sausage (reduce the salt & pepper) (a strong chorizo would need you to reduce the chili powder also…taste and season at the end)
  • ¾ to 1 cup cooked lentil (or at least soaked in salt water for an hour)
Aromatics substitution examples (The onion, green pepper, and garlic in the above recipe are aromatics):
  • 1/2 c. of one, or a blend of, shallot, green onion, leek, red onion; OR use ½ TBSP onion powder; OR 2 oz pickled pearl onion
  • ½ c. of one, or a blend of, any color bell, poblano, jalapeno (will be hot), fine diced carrot, celery, fennel bulb; OR ¼ oz dried mild chilies; OR up to ½ tsp dry chili flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced: use of one, or a blend of, 1 ½ tsp pickled minced garlic, 1 ½ tsp garlic powder,1 ½ tsp minced dried garlic, 1 ½ tsp favorite seasoning
Tomato substitutions:
  • Use: 1 14 or15 oz. can of whole, diced or stewed tomatoes and increase water to achieve 23 oz, food process fresh tomatoes to achieve 2 cups
  • 8 oz tomato sauce and increase water/wine/broth to 15 oz
  • 4 oz tomato paste and increase water so the total of water and paste equal 22 oz
  • 15 oz (or close to that) jarred pasta sauce plus water to equal 23 oz
  • 23 oz tomato juice
  • 1 can tomato soup plus water/broth to total 23 oz
  • If no tomato options available use 23 oz of a blend of wine, stock/broth, canned soup of choice, and/or bouillon and water (you may wish to include some cumin and/or paprika to kick in some flavor)
Seasoning substitutions:
  • Instead of 1 tsp chili powder & 1/2 tsp paprika, consider one or a blend of up to 2 tsp: cumin, paprika, chipotle powder, chili powder, or steak seasoning/rub blend
  • ½ TBSP Italian seasoning, or skip all seasonings (including salt & pepper) and stir in half an envelope onion soup mix, or something similar, then taste at the end and adjust s & p.
 Herb substitutions:
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, cilantro, parsley; chopped
  • 1tsp of dried herb or herb combination like Italian seasoning
 Cheese substitutions:
  • Cheddar is very nice in this.
  • Switch the cheddar out for any cheese you have/enjoy.
  • In addition to the cheese, consider toping with other garnishes, like green onion tops, snipped fresh herbs, sesame seeds, everything seasoning, even bacon bits.

Recharge, Seasonings, and Ratatouille Recipe

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! 

The Fundamentals

If you want to up your culinary game, start with the basics. Some good go-to spices include:

  • black pepper
  • cumin
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • turmeric
  • bay leaves
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • cinnamon
  • smoked paprika
  • oregano
  • 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!

Classes

Sweet Pickled Beets (how to make them and how to safely can them) 3/10/22 @ 12 noon $38

Traditional Bread Baking 3/12/22 @1:00 PM $29

The Art of Pasta 3/20/22 @1:00 PM $19

Old Fashioned Doughnuts 3/22/22 @5:15 PM

Ratatouille

There's a lot of different ways to make and serve this quintessential dish. Here's my take on it.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: French
Keyword: eggplant, pasta, zucchini
Servings: 4
Author: vkhanson

Equipment

  • 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

Ingredients

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

Ratatouille

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

This is a great summer garden dish. Use what you have. No zucchini (is that even possible?), substitute yellow squash. No bell peppers? Substitute any kind you have, like poblano, mild Hungarian, banana pepper. The eggplant kind of makes the dish but if you don't have any use a couple portabella mushrooms or okra (yes okra).
It also makes a great cold weather comfort food. You just have to go to the store for your produce and not the garden.

Tips for Plating Food Like a Pro

Tips for Plating Food Like a Pro

Here at the Art of Cookery, we know that first, we eat with our eyes. We all want to prepare delicious food, but beautiful plating enhances the experience of a meal. For home chefs who might be cooking regularly for themselves as well as for family and friends, it can feel like a task to just have dinner on the table after a busy day. With a few easy steps, it is possible to create a simple meal that is elevated to the next level with plating. Keep some of the following tips in mind as you plate your next dish.  Soon, you’ll be plating food like a pro!

Use The Right Tools

Making sure you’re using the right tools is key for plating food. Most tools are items that you likely already have stashed in a kitchen drawer or ones that you can purchase easily. Start with some of the following to achieve the aesthetic you’re hoping for. 

  • Tongs are a must-have for plating foods like pasta into the perfect “nest” shape.
  • See the source image They’re also great for placing food with precision.
  • Squeeze bottles are helpful for adding drizzles or sauces with a professional flair.
  • Molds will allow you to plate foods into a desired shape on the plate and are helpful for adding height to your presentation.

Contrast Colors

To create a visually pleasing dish, it’s important to pay attention to the colors of the food and 

the plate it’s presented on.  In most cases, a solid white plate offers a great palette for any meal displayed on its 

surface.  When creating a dish that is white or pale in color, opt for a brightly colored or contrasting plate to highlight the dish. 

Look for ways to contrast colors in the foods that you serve. This goal can also be achieved with sauces and fresh garnishes. 

Add Finishing Touches 

Before presenting a plate, be sure to take one last look before serving. La Tourangelle suggests adding a drizzle of sauce elegantly over the top. Top the plate with chopped fresh parsley or cilantro. Dust a dessert plate with powdered sugar or cocoa. Adding fresh ingredients or an extra touch of attention is sure to make the dining experience special. 

If you’re looking for more ways to advance your culinary skills, be sure to book a class with us at the Art of Cookery. We even offer private online classes available anywhere in the United States! Participate in your own kitchen and interact live with a teaching chef!

On the days you’re not up for cooking or plating, we’ve got you covered. The Art of Cookery can prepare meals for you. Reach out to us for meals that suit your specific dietary needs.  Check out our current menu below.

Learning to cook at home can be a daunting task, but we can help make it fun and simple. On the days when there’s just not enough time, we’ll cook for you. Contact us! We look forward to meeting you and taking the stress out of your next meal!  

Menu

This menu is through 2/11.  Look below the menu for pics of the top three dishes.


Burn’s Night, Wandering, and Classes

Burn's Night

January 25, 2022 is this year’s Burn’s Night.

Burns Night is a commemoration of the life and legacy of famous poet Robert Burns. First celebrated by Burns’ own friends and family as a memorial to the writer, it has since become an annual celebration in Scotland – and is now popular with nations across the world. 

One of the traditional ways to celebrate Burn’s Night is with a Burn’s Supper. These dinners can be formal or informal and may include only friends or friends and family. During this supper, ‘Selkirk Grace’ is recited as well as the ‘Address to a Haggis’. Whiskey and food are also main components of this supper.

My husband and I love to do murder mysteries with friends.  We recently did one that was themed in Scotland.  So I developed a Burn’s Supper menu.  I am sharing some recipes from it at the bottom of this post in case you want to hold a Burn’s Night Supper with friends.

The Menu:
  • Cock-a-leekie Soup
  • Haggis, Neeps, and Tatties
  • Cranachan

Upcoming Classes

This week I taught all of the ways to use a Dutch oven.  If you are only going to have one pan, that is what you should have.  We made bread, fried chicken, slow roasted pork, and baked a big cookie.

Then yesterday, a hearty soup class.

Next week’s Ravioli making, and Pierogi Paradise classes are full.  Please make sure to watch our calendar to see all of the upcoming classes so you don’t miss out on one you are interested in because it was already booked out.  Click here to go to the calendar.

Just tonight I added another of both of those classes for the following week or so because I received a lot of feedback that people missed registering in time.

The next available classes are:
  • Quiche – 1/31 at 5 pm $25
  • Ravioli – 2/1 at 12 noon $25
  • Lasagna – 2/3 at 5:15 pm $38
  • Pierogi Paradise – 2/8 at 5 pm $30

Email ICan@artcookery.com to book offline.  Use the link above to book online through the calendar.  OR call/text 231-740-4065 to register via phone.

Winter Wanderland

I am one of the founders of, and am the president of, White Lake Wanderland.  This is a group of volunteers who formed a 501C3 to bring residents out of their homes to enjoy all of the great activities this area has to be proud of.  

February 4, 5, and 6 is the next weekend long event.  Called Winter Wanderland 2022.  There’s activities for all interests and ages.  Sledding, skating, snowshoeing, hot toddy touring, bonfires and more.  Click here to go the the Facebook Wanderland page for more information.  Just click on the EVENTS and check all of the activities out.

Click a photo below to see which menu item it is.

Current Menu for Pick-up Orders

Burn's Supper Recipes

Cock-a-leekie Soup

Serves 8 (1 c servings)

 Ingredients Needed:

  • 2 T butter
  • 1/3 c rice, rinsed
  • 1 lg clove garlic, minced
  • 12 oz leeks (1 to 2 leeks) with outer leaves removed, leeks washed well and sliced into ½” discs
  • 5 c chicken stock
  • 1/2 c chopped cooked chicken, packed
  • ½ t season salt
  • ¼ t black pepper
  • 4 T heavy cream, divided

Preparation:

  1. Place butter in saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. When melted, add rice and garlic and sauté 1 – 2 minutes.
  3. Add leeks and stock. Bring to simmer.
  4. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, until rice has cooked through.
  5. Taste and season with the salt and pepper. The amounts of these will vary based on the salt content of the stock.
  6. Be sure chicken is hot. Add the same amount of chicken to each bowl.
  7. Ladle 1 c broth into bowls and swirl ½ T heavy cream over each bowl.

Haggis Neeps and Tatties

Americanized Haggis

Requires an electric pressure cooker.

Makes 4 ½ c 

Ingredients Needed:

  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t allspice
  • 1 t dried thyme
  • ¾ t gr coriander
  • ¾ t nutmeg
  • ½ t black pepper
  • ¼ t cinnamon
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • ½ lb beef or chicken liver, finely diced
  • 13 oz stock
  • 5 oz steel cut oats

Steps

  • Prepare all ingredients.
  • Press sauté on pressure cooker and add butter.
  • Once melted, add the onion. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.
  • Add the turkey. Cook and stir until nearly all pink gone.  Add liver and spices/herb.
  • Cook until liver is no longer red. Add stock and oats.  Bring to simmer and press cancel.
  • Place lid on and lock, making sure vent is closed.
  • Pressure cook on high for 15 minutes. Let vent naturally for 5.  Then release.
  • Open pressure cooker.

Serve with mashed potatoes and mashed turnips or rutabaga.   

Neeps

Ingredients:

  • 1 c water
  • 2 pounds of turnips or rutabaga, peeled and diced into 1” cubes (neeps)
  • ¼ t salt
  • ¼ t nutmeg
  • ¼ c half and half
  • 3 T butter
  • 1 Tchicken bouillon powder
  • ¼ t pepper
  • ¼ t garlic powder
  • ¼ t turmeric

Steps:

  1. Pour water into pressure cooker and place steamer basket of turnip/’baga in basket.
  2. Sprinkle with ¼ t salt and nutmeg. Place lid on and lock.  Check that vent is closed.
  3. Using high pressure, cook for 10 minutes, then quick release.
  4. Set out bowl (or food processer) and place remaining ingredients in.
  5. Open lid and remove basket of neeps. Place in a bowl with remain ingredients and mash.  If smooth is desired place all in food processor and blend to smooth.

Tatties

Ingredients:

  • Water that steamed the neeps, plus more to cover potatoes
  • 2 pounds of potatoes, washed, and cut into 1” dice
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ c sour cream
  • 3 T butter
  • 3 T milk
  • 1 t salt
  • ½ t pepper
  • ½ t garlic powder

Steps:

  1. Add potatoes to the neep water in the pressure cooker and add 1 t salt, garlic, and bay leaves
  2. Place lid on and lock. Check that vent is closed.
  3. Using high pressure, cook for 9 minutes, then quick release.
  4. Set out bowl and place remaining ingredients in.
  5. Once finished cooking, drain the potatoes, and add to the bowl of ingredients.
  6. Mash to smooth.

Whiskey Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 3 T butter
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 4 t whiskey
  • 2 c heavy cream
  • 5 t mustard (whole grain or Dijon or mix of both)
  • Salt & pepper to taste (½ & ¼)
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • Parsley for garnish

Steps:

  1. In saucepan, heat butter and add shallots. Cook over med-high heat for 2 minutes.
  2. Add whiskey and carefully light to burn off alcohol.
  3. Add cream and mustard, and when it starts to simmer add salt/pepper to taste.
  4. Remove from heat and whisk in lemon juice.

To serve, place ½ c of haggis in a 14.5 oz tin cans with both ends removed, greased, and placed on a greased baking sheet.  Add ½ c tatties, and then ½ c neeps.  Refrigerate or bake immediately.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, until the interior reaches 165°F.  Set on plate.  Run a sharp knife around inside to loosen.  Carefully pull up tin.  Serve with whiskey sauce and parsley.

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Cranachan

Serves 8 (1/2 c servings) 

Ingredients Needed:

  • ¼ c steel cut oats
  • 4 T whisky
  • 11/2 c raspberries
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • 1 T whisky
  • 3 T honey
  • Mint for garnish 

Preparation:

  1. The day before needing the dessert, lightly toast the oats in skillet for a few minutes.   Mix the toasted oats with 4 T whisky to soak overnight.
  2. Remove 8 raspberries. Mash the rest with a fork.  Place in refrigerator.
  3. As close to serving as possible, whip the cream to soft peaks.
  4. Add 1 T whisky and the honey. Whip to standing peaks.
  5. Add the soaked oats. Whip again.
  6. Add a scoop to each bowl.
  7. Place 1/8th of the mashed berries to the top.
  8. Place another scoop on top of the mashed berries.
  9. Top with a berry and a pinch of minced mint.

Stay Warm and Healthy Friends!


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 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Resting Time1 hour
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.

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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 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
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 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
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.