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A Spare Gus

A Spare Gus

It is finally THAT time of the year, ASPARAGUS is up!  

As a child we had a lot of acres of it and had to pick it all ourselves.  Sometimes we had to get up at 4 am to get some picked before school (and then consequently missed the bus and had to walk to school, uphill both ways, in the snow, barefoot) 🙂 But really, depending on which school it was 2 to 6 miles.  

I hated asparagus as a child.

Now, I love everything about it.  It is delicious, healthy, and beautiful.  Also, it is fun to grow.

When we moved to our current location 3 years ago, I dug up some that I had planted at our previous place and a friend gave me some they were planting that spring on their farm.  At age 3 the stalks are coming up fat and happy.  

I thought I would include a little tutorial.

In case you didn’t know, when planting young asparagus roots, you don’t pick the little stalks that come up the next year.  The second year you can take a couple of early pickings.  The third year and after you can pick the whole season.  My season cut-off date is June 20.

After June 20 I let the stalks (which are actually sprouts) grow into mature plants.  A mature plant is about 6 feet tall and is graced with flowing ferning branches.

They enjoy a 10-10-10 or 15-15-15 for fertilizer.   They prefer a light sandy soil and their roots grow large and deep.  Fertilize when the soil starts warming, usually some time in April.  I fertilize again when I stop picking. 

If you want to plant a few crowns (roots) for yourself get on over to Tri-County Feeds in Montague as they are selling baby asparagus roots.

P.S. White asparagus is just green asparagus that never saw the sun or other nurturing light.  Purple asparagus is a real line of plants.  Its color comes from the high levels of anthocyanins in the spears.

Every June, go to Michigan’s Oceana County and enjoy the National Asparagus Festival.  It is a fun, quirky festival.  The mascot of the festival used to be (guess who?) Gus (as in A Spare Gus)

See bottom for an easy roasted asparagus recipe.

Menu

I’ve slightly changed our grab n go foods menu.  Each menu will run for two weeks, rather than one.  You can also order online through our shop.  Of course, cash is welcome, as is venmo, zelle, paypal.  There is a sign on the wall above the grab n go refrigerator describing the pay options.  Ordering ahead is recommended to ensure you get what you want, but there are usually extras made and placed in front refrigerator for pick-up 24-7. However, there are no guarantees that everything on the menu will be present if you randomly stop in for something.  There is always bread, mustard, and cookies.  Jams are coming soon.  Always check the menu dates at the bottom.  Here is the current menu (and below that, the menu that starts May 30):

Upcoming Classes

Gluten Free Vegan Doughnuts, 5/26/22 @5 pm  $24

Pickled Asparagus, 6/2/22 @12 noon   $38

To see all upcoming classes Click here and then on the red “Calendar of Classes” button.

Roasted Asparagus

This quick and easy asparagus recipe is delicious, healthy, and beautiful as a side.
Prep Time1 min
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: Asparagus
Servings: 2 people
Author: vkhanson
Cost: 4.00

Equipment

  • 1 baking sheet greased

Ingredients

  • 1 lb asparagus get the fresh, thick stuff, the size of your thumb or more. If it came from more than 2 states away, skip it. You want fresh in-season stalks.
  • 3 tbsp oil or fat I prefer bacon grease, followed by butter & then olive oil if I don't have bacon drippings.
  • 1/4 t garlic powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/4 t black pepper or to taste. You can adjust after roasting.
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese, small hole shredded if you must, use the pre-grated canister, but it is so much better shredded from a block of the real cheese.
  • 2 eggs, poached super optional, yet super delicious. See notes for how to poach.
  • 1/2 lemon, squeezed
  • 1 pinch paprika optional, for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425F
  • Wash and trim the asparagus. To trim: break the cut/broken end by hand. It will naturally break where the tough butt ends.
  • Whisk the oil/fat, salt, pepper, garlic powder together in a small bowl.
  • Lay the washed, trimmed spears on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Rub the whisked mixture onto the stalks.
  • Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes. The time will vary by the thickness of the asparagus. It should be easily cut but not mushy and slightly browned.
  • Remove from oven and plate. Sprinkle cheese & lemon juice over.
  • Optional: top with a 4-minute poached egg, cut in half at the moment of serving.

Notes

Poached Egg:
Heat 4 c water and 1 T white vinegar to simmering.  You do not want a boil.
Meanwhile crack 2 eggs into 2 teacups or small vessels.  Have a slotted spoon and a plate with paper toweling on it.
Once the water is simmering, set a timer for 4 minutes and gently pour each egg into the simmering water's surface.
After about 40 seconds, nudge each egg to be sure it didn't secure to the bottom or the pan.
When the timer rings, use the slotted spoon to remove the eggs.  Place over asparagus. (for a much runnier yolk do a 3 minute egg)
ENJOY!
An even easier roasted asparagus recipe is to have a small loaf pan of melted salted butter, hotdog forks, and a bonfire.  Light the fire, put the spears on the forks, dip in butter, and roast like marshmallows.  Have a shaker of garlic salt for those who want to use it.

Derby Delicious

Derby Delicious Day!

Today is the running of the 2022 Kentucky Derby.  YAY!!  My husband John and I are taking some foods and going to a local brewery with friends to enjoy it.  Food is a very important part of the derby, per the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs.

Early in 2021, my husband and I got stir crazy to escape our home as the pandemic continued.  We didn’t feel safe flying at that point, and, we were traveling with our parrot, Bobbie.  So….road trip.

We decided to do a loop to the east coast of the US and down to Savannah, then west to Atlanta and up through Kentucky and back to Michigan.  One of my favorite stops was Churchill Downs.  It was a bit surreal as was being used as a mass vaccination center with no races, but we did get to visit the museum there.  It was fascinating!

I have always loved watching the triple crown races, especially the Kentucky Derby.

But I digress.  In our Southern loop we enjoyed some foods not too common in our home state of Michigan.  One in particular stood out, Pimento Cheese.

My take on it

When we got home, I researched the cheese.  Apparently, there’s a different version for every restaurant and family unit in the South!  I made several versions and then set out to create a flavor I liked most.  So, at the bottom of this blog post is my favorite.  Enjoy!  Take it and make your own version.

Menu for May 9 – 14

Upcoming Classes

Click to see a calendar of upcoming classes.  In addition to the on-site classes that are on the calendar, I am working on developing a few online versions that can be accesses from anywhere.  Stay tuned for that!

Book Now

Pimento Cheese

Pimento Cheese

A yummy Southern cheese that is great on sammies, as a veggy dip, on crackers, and more. Easy to make and always a hit!
Prep Time10 mins
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: Cheese, Pimento
Servings: 12
Calories: 210kcal
Author: vkhanson

Equipment

  • 1 Stand Mixer

Ingredients

  • 4 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese shredded small
  • 8 oz cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 c mayonnaise ideally Duke's is the brand used
  • 1 clove garlic finely minced
  • 2 T onion finely minced
  • 4 oz jarred pimento drained and chopped
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • 1/2 jalapeno optional, deseeded & finely minced
  • 8 green olives optional, finely chopped
  • 1/4 t cayenne powder optional

Instructions

  • Place everything in stand mixer and beat at medium until blended.
    Makes about two cups.

Notes

I like to make this in two styles.  To do that, I make a full batch with just the first eight ingredients.  Then, remove half.  This is your mild version.  I then add half of the remining ingredients to the remaining cheese in the mixer bowl, blend and you have a version that bites a bit and with the saltier, umami flavor that olives bring, which I prefer.
Remember to use only half:
4 olives, 1/4 jalapeno, 1/8 t cayenne
If you decide to add extra olives than noted, keep in mind that they will bring extra saltiness to the cheese.

I would love it if you let me know if you change it and how.  The variations are truly endless.  Please share your adaptations in the comments.


Herbs or Erbs?

How is it pronounced?

In the USA we skip the “H” and say Erbs.  In the UK it is pronounced herbs with the h-sound.  How is it pronounced where you are?

Herbs are Vital for Cooking

What would dining be like if we didn’t have herbs? Before the first humans decided to throw some rosemary or sage on their venison, I am sure it was mighty bland. The addition of herbs can be a powerful tool in cooking that can really make or break a dish. So, how to use them?

Cooking with Herbs can make all the Difference in a Dish

Some truly delicious meals are made when a combination of herbs are added at different times in the same dish. For instance,

New Mexican Posole

a truly divine posole (a New Mexican stew – Recipe at bottom of the post) may have dried coriander added to the pot at the beginning of it’s simmering time, then finished off with some glorious fresh cilantro after you’ve added a good-sized ladle to your bowl.  (Did you know that cilantro and coriander are the same plant?  In the US we refer to the plant as cilantro and its seeds as coriander.  In Europe it is all called coriander.)  Another option is to let someone else (like Art of Cookery) do all the hard work, then add your own pizzazz at home. Give us a call and we will reserve our yummy meals for you (see this week’s menu below), then you can pick it up and discover that we use a 

lot of herbs to brighten it up a bit. Could there be anything better?

Here’s a great herb guide

Rules of Thumb

A general rule of thumb is that dried herbs are added at the beginning of cooking to help them soften and release their flavors, and fresh herbs should be added at or near the end to bring out their fresh and delicate flavor in the finished dish.

Another thing to keep in mind is that dried herbs typically have a more intense flavor than fresh herbs. So keep this in mind when making substitutions, or when you feel like winging it and not following a recipe.  A good ratio to use is 3:1 fresh to dried (1 TBSP fresh is 1 tsp dried). Say you’re using a recipe for a marinara that calls for a teaspoon dried basil, but you happen to have found a gorgeous bunch of fresh basil on your trip to the store. No problem! Just omit the basil when the directions say to add it at the beginning, then stir in 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh basil into the pasta right before serving. 

Save a little of it to sprinkle over your plated pasta for a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.

Here at Art of Cookery we love to create artful and delicious food, and to show you how to do so as well, so be sure to scroll through more of our blog for lots of ideas and recipes that you can make your own. Also check out our classes and register for some to really up your food game.  See you soon!

Menu for this Week

Please order ahead if you can, it helps so much with planning.  I do try to make more than what is ordered and keep it in ‘fridge at the front of Art of Cookery for quick grabs (pay via Venmo or Cash).  My venmo address is on the front of the refrigerator.

Upcoming Classes

Old Fashioned Donuts – 3/22 @5:15 pm, $24

Sourdough Bread – 3/29 @12 noon, $40

New Mexican Posole

This is a perfect taste of New Mexico
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 10 mins
Using Pressure cooker30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mex-Tex
Keyword: Posole, Soup, Stew
Servings: 4 quarts
Cost: $20

Equipment

  • 1 Dutch Oven Or, an electric pressure cooker
  • 1 wooden spoon to stir
  • 1 mesh strainer
  • 1 blender
  • 1 rubber spatula to press the chilies through the strainer

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp oil divided
  • 5 guajillo chilis stems removed and cut into three large pieces
  • 2 roma tomatoes quartered
  • 2.5 c boiling water
  • 2 lb boneless pork roast cut into 1" chunks
  • 3 tsp coriander seed
  • 1 1/2 lg onion chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves minced
  • 4 tbsp corn starch optional, only if you want it thick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Mexican oregano
  • 4 15 oz cans white hominy or garbanzo beans drained and rinsed, a blend of half and half is nice.
  • 5 c chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt Or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 4 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp sugar optional
  • 1/2 c chopped cilantro plus extra for garnish
  • Garnish Suggestions: radish, avocado, red onion, lime wedges, tortilla chips, cherry tomatoes, basil

Instructions

  • In a Dutch oven, sauté chilies in 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat until heated through, don't brown. Transfer chilies to a bowl; add boiling water. Soak them while you do the next step.
  • In the Dutch oven, brown pork in remaining oil in batches, sauteing coriander seed, onion, and garlic with the last batch of pork. Return all pork to pan and add broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until meat is tender, 30 minutes.
  • Transfer chilies and their liquid and Roma tomatoes to a blender; cover and process until smooth. Press through a mesh strainer, reserving pulp and discarding skins/seeds. Add pulp to pork mixture. Stir in the hominy (or garbanzo), bay leaves, oregano and salt. Cover and simmer, 30 minutes.
  • Stir in lime juice and cilantro.
  • To serve, ladle into bowls. Optional: to garnish, spread a row of radishes around the curve of the bowl. Sprinkle red onions and cilantro on top. Place lime or lemon wedges and tortilla on plate next to the bowl.

Using an Electric Pressure Cooker

  • Place oil in cooker and press saute. Add the peppers and sauté 2 minutes.
  • Pour 2.5 c hot water over peppers and bring to a simmer. Press Cancel. Put on cover.
  • Pressure cook at high for 2 minutes. Quick Release. (At this point you can skip the release and turn it off and just let it sit overnight and you can proceed the next day.) Pour contents into a blender, add tomatoes and puree. Pour into a mesh strainer set over a container. Push with rubber spatula until only skin/seeds remain in strainer.
  • Meanwhile, in cooker, add more oil and cook pork in batches over a high temp sauté. When the last batch is no longer pink, add the coriander, onions and garlic. Cook 2 minutes.
  • Add cornstarch and stir to coat everything. Add all other ingredients, EXCEPT the lime juice and cilantro. Stir, cover, and pressure cook at high for 5 minutes. Natural release for 15 minutes.
  • Open and stir in lime juice and cilantro. Garnish and serve.

Notes

NOTE: If the stew is too thick, add additional broth or water. If too thin, break out an additional can of hominy or white beans, puree in blender and add to the posole. Bring back to a simmer.
A good alternative to hominy are garbanzo beans.

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 mins
Cook Time10 mins
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.

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!


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.

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.

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