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.


Get LIT!

Get Lit UP with Grilling

Spring is here (well on the calendar anyways)!  That means warmer weather and the beginning of grilling season.  Quite honestly most Michigan grillers are die-hard and will shovel snow out to the grill for a winter meal of ribs.  One of the joys of life is enjoying a late spring afternoon hanging out in the yard, grilling up delicious food for your family and friends. 

But wait, you don’t know how to grill, you don’t even have a grill, or have you tried before but failed?  Well, keep on reading for some basic tips and advice that will give you the basic knowledge and confidence to get out grilling this spring.

First Thing First, the Grill.

So, what is the perfect grill to start off with?  The answer depends on your needs and your level of comfort.  The first question is gas or charcoal?  While charcoal gives extra flavor and makes all the neighbors mouths start to water, they do need more time and attention.  You need to fire up the coals, get the grill to the right height for what you are cooking, and even adjust this as you cook.  Flare-ups are also more of a problem with charcoal. You’ll need a water bottle close by to keep those flames down while cooking fatty meats.  A much better option for a beginner is gas.  You still get great flavor and setting, adjusting, and maintaining the temperature is a breeze.  If you clean the grill properly, flare-ups are rare on a gas grill.  Over the years, we have bounced between gas (for it’s ease) and charcoal (flavor!)

The next question is how many people do you plan on grilling for?  Yes, the big fancy bar-b-que island looks awesome, but it is just overkill if you are only grilling occasionally on weekends for one or two people.  Start by figuring out how many square inches you will need.  This is how they measure the cooking surface.  You want about 70-80 inches per person that you are grilling for.  Most small gas grills start out at 430 square inches.  That is perfect for a family of four or even newlyweds that are just getting started grilling.  If you have a bigger family or plan on hosting big get-togethers often, you’ll want something bigger.  Just keep in mind that the correct size grill will be for the majority of your use.  You can cook for as many people as you want on any size grill, it will just take more time to get everyone fed, which means you get to chill outside by your grill longer. 

We have settled on a Weber Performer and adore it.  (That wasn’t a paid ad.  Just letting you know what we’ve come to love.)

Got the Grill. Now, What to Cook?

Let’s start with the meat.  Hamburgers and hotdogs are a great and affordable way to learn to grill.  You’ll find your hot and cool spots and how to move your meat around to get consistent doneness.  Don’t forget to toast the buns on that top rack if you have one!  Once you practice a few times, step it up to steaks that have good marbling.  Just ask the butcher what he has that is good to grill if you’re not sure.  Turn up the heat or use the searing station on the grill for a quick sear, about two minutes per side.  Then turn it down and grill each side for another five minutes per side, or until the desired doneness is reached.  One great tip for steak is to set it out before grilling and let it come to room temperature.  

A great alternative protein to beef that works well for beginners is salmon.  Buying a fish grilling basket makes life much easier.  However, you can grill right on the bars, or even use a cast iron pan set on the grill.  Salmon goes with all types of seasonings, so choose your favorite or just add salt and pepper.  Put it on the grill (or CI skillet) skin side down over medium-high heat until you see the white fat start to bubble up on top and the color of the meat turns light pink and flip it over for a couple of minutes to char the top a little.  The skin will pull away from the meat easily so you can plate it up with or without skin.  

Now for sides.  A great side dish for salmon is grilled asparagus.  Put one bunch in a plastic bag with oil, soy sauce, and garlic powder.  Let it marinate for an hour or just shake it up for a few minutes.  Grill on low until tender.  Another great side dish for the grill is sweet peppers.  Once again, a veggie grill basket makes cooking these much easier.  Potatoes and corn on the cob reach an entirely new level when you finish them on the grill.  Cook them in the kitchen like you normally do but put them on the grill with some olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Turn them often until they crisp up evenly.  They are always a hit.  Once you get comfortable cooking on your grill, experiment.  There is no limit to flavor when you start using different herbs, spices, and marinades. 

One more thing….think outside of normal.  Make a pizza on that grill!

Need More Help?

The best way to learn tips and tricks to grilling is to ask friends and family.  If you know someone who loves to grill, it’s a safe bet that they also love to talk about grilling.  The internet is full of information on everything grilling. 

Just remember to keep it simple in the beginning, online grilling sites can be a little overwhelming. 

Upcoming Classes

We are pretty booked for a little bit.  But here are the next classes that have availability:

HOW TO SERIES:  Mother Sauces – Tomato Sauce 4/14 @1 pm, $24

HOW TO SERIES:  Mother Sauces – Espagnole 4/19 @5:15 pm, $24

Lasagna (complete with making your own noodles) 4/21 @11/15 am, $38

Pickle Party (learning to can pickles) 4/28 @5:30 pm, $29

You can book online using the clickable titles above, or send me an email ICan@artcookery.com

Food Menu

Order ahead, please.  If I have extra, I will post on facebook.


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!


Create a Charcuterie Board

How To Series – Show Me How To….

Create a Beautiful Charcuterie Board

Have you ever been impressed by a beautifully presented charcuterie board? 

Learn some tips and tricks to making one for your next gathering.  The term charcuterie typically indicates using cooked/smoked meats and pate along with cheeses and other options but learn how you can make vegetarian and other types of boards that are spectacular.  

Participants in this session will create a small board to take home and and then dine on its deliciousness.  Learn variations to make it in their own style.

Onsite:  $24

Online:  $19 (Available upon request)