Monday, October 31, 2011


Thanks to all who participated in the class on Sunday.   We had some good pies! 

Since in most of the country and very soon here it will be cold.  One of my favorite cold weather dishes is Lasagna.  Most people have their own recipes or favorite ways of doing Lasagna including some very good frozen entrees.  For me I like to make my own sauce and add my own touches.


1 Lb of Italian Sausage - use 1/3 hot 2/3 sweet - removed from the casings
1 Onion - diced
4 cloves of garlic
Sweet Basil, Oregano, Thyme and bay leaf

Put 1 -2 tablespoons of EVO in a large stock pot.  Add the sausage, onion and garlic and brown.  Break up the sausage while it cooks.  Once the meat is browned, add your seasonings and cook for about 1 minute to wake the spices.  I did not give any amounts on the seasoning.  Use your judgement - it is easier to add more than try to adjust,. It will also depend on the sausage.

Then add

1 #10 can of diced tomatoes
1 small can of sauce
3 tablespoons of tomato paste

Stir to blend in the meat mixture and simmer for at least 1 hour - longer is better.  If the mixture is too dry add some wine or water.

After 1 hour  add 1 teaspoon good Balsamic and cook for at least another 30 minutes

Assemble your Lasagna

Put a small amount of sauce on the bottom of you pan.  They layer UNCOOKED lasagna noodles on top. Add more sauce and some Mozzarella cheese.  Repeat until you have filled your pan ending with sauce and lots of cheese on top.  Next cover as follows

Use a large sheet of clear plastic wrap: (Yes PLASTIC)  cover the pan so that it is sealed, then cover the plastic with Aluminum foil.  Make sure that the plastic is completely covered.

Bake in a 325 oven for about 45 minutes.  Test to make sure that the dish is done.   When ready take it out and let it rest for at least 15 minutes.

NOTES" I only use uncooked pasta in my lasagna.  The sauce will cook the pasta in the oven and the pasta will be great.  The method of using foil over plastic ensures that the moisture stays in the dish and helps to eliminate spills in the oven.  I used this method all the time in commercial kitchens. It works - trust me!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

My Oh My Its Time for PIE!

Yes boys and girls it is that time again!  Soon the holidays will be here and baking and cooking will start. This Sunday I will be teaching a class on pies - pie crusts, fillings for Thanksgiving.. Come by sample some of the goodies.

Best tip for a flaky pie crust - keep it cold and do not over work the dough.

See you Sunday at the William Sonoma in The District in Green Valley!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Blog Issues and a recipe

Hum Seems that Blogspot has some issues. My last three post seem to have disappeared into thin air!!  Sorry about that!  Here is a favorite Recipe for a cold fall day.


2 Russet potatoes - about the size of  a large baker
1/2 Yellow Onion
1 Clove Garlic
1 rib of celery
1 -2 Tablespoons of chicken base
2 cups of shredded sharp Cheddar Cheese

Peel the potatoes and cut them into fourths and then slice. Dice the onion, celery and garlic.  Put all of the ingredients into a large stock pot and cover with cold water.  Add half of the chicken base. Bring to a boil and the reduce to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are tender.  Taste the broth to see if you need to add more chicken base or salt.  Use an immersion blender and puree the soup in the pot - be careful as the liquid is very hot!   Add the cheese and continue to puree.  Taste the soup and determine if you want more cheese or to adjust seasoning.

Great on cold day!  This will make enough for 2- 3 servings.  Just adjust for a larger amount.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Class Today

We had a great class today.  The Vitamix is an awesome machine!  Here is a picture from today's class
Thanks to all who attended.  Next PIES!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

Come the Williams Sonoma in Green Valley at Noon and try some of this great soup! Today is the Sous Chef Series cooking class. Recipes will be available there!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


When I saw this I was stunned.  I have not tried it yet but I thought I would pass it on.  Check it out

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fall Foods

In most of the country the air is cool and winter is not far off.  Fall and Winter foods are usually warm comforting foods that help fight the chill.  This Saturday the Sous Chef Class will demo a great comfort food - Butternut Squash Soup.  If you would like the recipe just go to Williams Somoma website and look for the section on Sous Chef.

Maybe I will see you on Saturday and you can taste the soup that I will make as a demonstration.

For those of us in Las Vegas,  we may wait awhile before we have cold weather.  But the soup is good!

Sous Chef Class  Saturday  12 noon 

And Sunday is the class on Vitamix   - more great recipes.  Come by to see both!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Great Class on Sunday

Sorry I have had company in town so I missed a few days. 

The class went very well.  The Faro Salad, and two soups I prepared were a hit.  We had over 20 people attending. I stayed after and answered questions about the class and cooking in general.  That is a great time to ask questions and I can take the time to answer and also demonstrate techniques.  So come by and join the class every Sunday at 12 Noon at Williams Sonoma in The District in Green Valley.

Sous Chef Series Class is Saturday - more about that and the Sunday class on Vitamix later.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Great Grains

On Sunday come and learn about Great Grains.  Fall is in the air and beans and other grains work well for hearty food and cold temperatures outside.  Sunday @ 12 noon at Williams Sonoma in the District - see you there!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Halloween Party

Here are some ideas for some Halloween Food.   Use purple potatoes to make potato salad - they have a great taste as well as the color.

Use Purple Sticky rice to make rice pudding. I use a small bowl to chill it and then when I unmold it on a plate I add details to make it look like brains. Kids love it.

Make home made Root beer.  Make sure an adult handles the Dry Ice so that as it being carbonated, it creates a fog.  Really great for effects.

So get creative and let me know your ideas.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Readers Questions

I received several readers questions this week so I want to use this post to address some of them.

1. Cider - I was asked if I have a recipe for spiced cider.  Hot Spiced Cider is a great way to celebrate colder weather.  I have used many different ways to do this.  The most successful was to use a spice ball and put the mulling spices in that and then place it in the cider as it is heating. You can do the same with wine too. For the spices I use the William Sonoma Mulling spices blend because it has all the spices I like.  However you can use whole cloves, cinnamon sticks ( do not use the ground spice it will cloud the cider) as your base and then add the spices you like such as anise, orange or lemon peel etc.   Take the spices out before serving. 

2. Pie Crust - if you must make your own crust remember two things.   1- cold shortening and cold water and 2 - don't over work the dough.  I use puff pastry dough and/or frozen shells.  Buy the best quality not the store brands and you will do fine.

Thanks for the questions!  More later in the week

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


It is not too early to plan ahead for the upcoming holiday season. We all know how hectic the last two months can be.  So the question is how can get ahead now? Here are some tips that may work for you.

1. Shopping for food. If you see an item that you know you will need that is on sale get an extra amount.  For example things like celery or onions can be chopped in your food processor and then frozen in freezer bags for up to two months.  Often just before the holiday frozen foods go on sale. That is the time to buy puff pastry or pie shells to be used later.  Just look around and you will find some things you need later that will be more expensive then.

2. If you want to make some gifts to give, check your recipe now.  What do you have on hand?  What will you need?  Do you have the pans or other items needed? Disposable aluminum pans often go in short supply around the holidays.

3. MAKE A PLAN - PLAN A MENU NOW. If you have family and friends coming over plan your menu now and make sure that no one has any allergies or that you have alternatives. If you wait until latter the choices are limited.  Making a plan now gives you more time with family and takes a lot of stress out of the holiday season.

4. Relax and take a deep breath. It will be fine and you will have everything under control.If not so what? You did all you could and the rest is up to the Universe!! The important thing is to enjoy your holidays.  Preparing ahead will help you minimize the stress and enjoy more of the season.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Julian CA

If you have the opportunity to visit Julina CA do it. We went there on a recent trip to San Diego. It is a charming town and has some great food.  I recommend the Julian Pie Company.  Mom's Pies is also a good choice, but I think they are a bit over rated.  I also was able to pick up Apple Butter, and other jellies and jams at the Cider Mill.  They also carry a large assortment of sugar fee products.  Go to go I think my slice of apple pie is heated and ready for the ice cream!  YUM!

Friday, October 7, 2011


On a recent trip my friends and I dinned at The Fish Market on Harbor Blvd.  It was incredible! For those who have never had Ciopino this is the place to try it. The Rib Eye Steak was well marbled  and well aged. It was a masterpiece. The setting at the Top of The Market was a blend of warm woods and ocean views.  The Service was impeccable. Overall on a scale of 1 - 10 ten being excellent this was an 11.  Do yourself a favor and  eat here.  The downstairs Fish Market is great during the day.  But the Top of The Market should not be missed.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fred"s Mexican in SD

I always try to eat at Fred's in San Diego. This time my friends and I went to Old Town and had some appetizers in the afternoon.  We had Nachos, Chicken Quesadilla, and some tacos.  It was all great!  I recommend the Fred's on 6th street and in Old Town. Next time you are in San Diego drop in and try them.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Recent Trip

i took a few days off and went to San Diego.  I will post some restaurant reviews and travel tips from my trip.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Quick Home Fries

Here is a quick way to have some home fries or cottage potatoes.  If you have some red potatoes, wash them and then cut them into the size you want.  Microwave  in microwave safe bowl for about 1 - 2 minutes depending on how many you have. You only want to precook them.  Then put them in a heated pan with some olive oil. it only takes about 2 - 5 minutes to have crispy brown potatoes  I add my seasoning for the last 30 seconds.  It is easy and quick. Try it!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Another GREAT Class!

Wow we really had the place rocking today!  Thanks to all those who came to learn about Pressure cookers. I cooked Italian Bean and Pasta Soup; Lemon Basil Chicken, Garlic Smashed Potatoes all in pressure cookers.  Those who attend do get a class discount for anything that I discuss in class.  Drop by and ask me how you can sign up.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Come by on Sunday and find out the great improvements in Pressure Cookers. I will be teaching a class on pressure cooking.  You will be amazed to see how technology has changed up this old stand by to a state of the art appliance.

Class starts at 12 noon.  Mention that you read about the class on this blog and I will give you a special gift.