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.

Quiche

Although quiche is now a classic dish of French cuisine, quiche actually originated in Germany, in the medieval kingdom of Lothringen, under German rule, and which the French later renamed Lorraine. The word ‘quiche’ is from the German ‘Kuchen’, meaning cake. – Wikipedia

Learn tips and techniques for this quintessential brunch/breakfast dish.

Chef Valerie has developed what she believes is the BEST quiche.  Join this class and learn what it takes to deliver a perfect quiche to the table.  Discover ways to adjust but still keep the quality and texture at its peak.  See how to tell when it is done.  Learn how to treat the crust so it doesn’t become soggy.

Discover the differences between quiche varieties like lorraine, au fromage,  aux champignons, florentine ,and provençale.

Adult On-Site: $25 pp making 1 quiche

$20 pp for a couple making 1 quiche together

Adult Online $20

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Pate a Choux Cream Puffs

How To Series – Show Me How To….

Make Pate a Choux

Pate a Choux is a unique dough that is the base for cream puffs, eclairs, beignets, churros, and many other pastries. 

Once the technique for making the dough is mastered, the pastries are a breeze and impressive to serve. 

In this session, learn to make this unique cooked dough; and, finish by experiencing how easy cream puffs are to make with it!

Onsite:  $20

Online:  $18


Hollandaise

Hollandaise is the most tricky of all five French Mother Sauces. Many things can go wrong when making this sauce; whether your emulsification breaks, the eggs start to curdle, etc. Don’t allow this sauce to frighten and intimidate you.  Let Chef Valerie help you understand the basic principles of hollandaise, and discover it really isn’t that scary.  Learn this sauce two ways, traditional and short-cut.

Be sure to attend all five of the mother sauce series with Chef Valerie!  They are Béchamel, Espagnole, Tomato, Veloute, and Hollandaise.

Adult On-Site $24

Adult Online $19

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Veloute

It is one of the five Mother sauces, but, what is sauce veloute?  It begins with a roux and stock.  Once created, you put your own spin on it and create many other dishes like Sauce Vin Blanc, Sauce Allemande and Sauce Supreme, to name a few.

Be sure to attend all five of the mother sauce series with Chef Valerie!  They are Béchamel, Espagnole, Tomato, Veloute, and Hollandaise.

Adult On-Site $24

Adult Online $19

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Tomato

Great over chicken and also in pastas, and dating to the 1790’s, this mother tomato sauce can be French or Italian.  French style typically uses little garlic and no oregano or basil.  While the Italian style does.  

Mother tomato sauce usually isn’t vegetarian, but it is easy to make it so! 

Come  to this session with Chef Valerie and discover this versatile foundation sauce used in so many dishes.  It will become one of your favorites!

Be sure to attend all five of the mother sauce series with Chef Valerie!  They are BéchamelEspagnoleTomato, Veloute, and Hollandaise.

Adult On-Site $24

Adult Online $19

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Espagnole

Espagnole (pronounced as the Spanish: español) is a brown sauce and one of the five mother sauces of classical cuisine. It can become a flavorful sauce called demi-glace, which is traditionally served with red meats, among other delicious dishes.

Espagnole is made with brown stock and includes additional ingredients such as tomato and diced veggies.  These create a LOT of flavor and aroma in the sauce.

Join Chef Valerie and explore this mother sauce and see just what culinary wonders it can go on to become.

Be sure to attend all five of the mother sauce series with Chef Valerie!  They are BéchamelEspagnoleTomato, Veloute, and Hollandaise.

Adult On-Site $24

Adult Online $19

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Béchamel

Some legends attribute béchamel to Louis de Béchamel, a financier who was chief steward to King Louis XIV of France.  Others claim that arrived in France from Italy in 1533. The first named béchamel sauce appears in The Modern Cook written in 1733.

Any way you look at it, béchamel is truly a mother of sauces.  Once you master it, the door to great dishes opens.  From it, make cream soups, macaroni and cheese, alfredo, sausage gravy…the list is nearly endless.

Join Chef Valerie in mastering this mother sauce and how it can easily become so much more.

Be sure to attend all five of the mother sauce series with Chef Valerie!  They are BéchamelEspagnoleTomato, Veloute, and Hollandaise.

Adult On-Site $24

Adult Online $19

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Global Cuisine

Savory

Sweets and Treats

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Savory

Sweets and Treats

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Savory

Sweets and Treats

Select by Category

Savory

Sweets and Treats

Select by Category

Savory

Sweets and Treats

Select by Category

Savory

Sweets and Treats

Select by Category
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Flambé with Flair

Flambé with Flair

Want to impress someone with a fun and thrilling skill?  This class is for you!  (Ages 21 and over only)

Flambé is the French word for “flamed” or “flaming.  Spend some quality time with as a couple or with a friend learning to finish a dish with flair.  This class starts with a demonstration of how to safely and properly conduct this technique and then participants will prepare a dish in teams of two.  Finish by enjoying the dish you make together.  Feel free to make it a date night by bringing your favorite wine or other beverage.

The dish prepared will vary so you can keep coming just for the time together and the great food.  One time it will be Bananas Foster, another Steak Diane, or Greek Cheese Saganaki (OPA!), perhaps you’ll learn to prepare Cherries Jubilee or a Fish Flambe.  Since the ingredients are different, as are the necessary liquors, the pricing will be determined by the dish.  If you are the first to book the class, it is ok to request a specific dish from those named above.  This a booking that is for 2-person teams.  One booking and ticket price is for two people.

Adult On-Site $50 for one team of two

Not available as an online class

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