Blogs > Cooking from Scratch

Chef Stacy believes that cooking from scratch and using the best ingredients are the secrets to preparing delicious and memorable meals. She has created dozens of classes for the home chef and teaches students how to master culinary techniques and recipes in just one session. Read on to see what she's dishing up for The Oakland Press today....

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Recipe for Publishing Success

Many of you know that a cookbook is the next project on my agenda; something I cannot wait to delve into! Last week, I attended a cookbook writing workshop at The Chopping Block in Chicago. The Chopping Block is similar in some ways to Mirepoix. Think of it as Mirepoix merges with Williams Sonoma. Only, I like the Chopping Block better because it is local and exclusive to Chicagoans and has a more personal touch. No disrespect to my former employer, Williams Sonoma – it just has a different feel.

My trip to Chicago was literally a whirlwind. I flew in on Saturday and then flew right back to Detroit on Sunday afternoon following the class. My expectations when I enrolled in the class were that I would learn about the lengthy and laborious process of book writing; how to construct the book, how many recipes to include, etc. What surprised and thrilled me was that the focus of the workshop was about the publishing process, something that seemed so daunting to me, I had no idea where to start. Writing comes naturally, but the work of getting the book published was a true mystery.

The workshop was hosted by Lisa Ekus-Staffer and Virginia Willis. Lisa is a successful literary agent out of Massachusetts and Virginia is the author of “Bon Appetit, Y’all” (now in its fourth printing), and one of Lisa’s many clients. Both women were incredibly informative and approachable. I was expecting to be met with an aura of chef/author snobbery, but found that they were both eager to shed light on the very important and complicated business of culinary publishing, and they were both incredibly generous with their information.

As I read both of their bio’s and listened to their story, I was impressed at what Lisa has accomplished in the last 28 years. She has an excellent reputation within the industry as an outstanding, hard-working and professional agent. I was impressed by her open and friendly personality and even more impressed by her honesty.

Once I considered how she must have faced many challenges in the last 28 years as a woman working in the publishing and PR industries, I knew she probably had to be made out of terrycloth-covered steel (approachable, reassuring, and comfortable on the outside, but really, really savvy underneath). It was clear that Lisa is a very loyal advocate for her clients and they are in excellent care when in partnership with her.

Virginia shared her experiences as a food professional who longed to write a cookbook, and, I found in her sort of a kindred culinary soul. As she spoke about her personal food philosophy and her expectations about how her book should be published, I found myself nodding my head and smiling as she spoke.

Virginia Willis does not compromise – it’s clear she has high expectations for herself and wants only the best. Her book is a reflection of those qualities I immediately admired. It is a gorgeous full-color, hardcover book with wonderfully warming stories about her love affair with food and how her family introduced her to fresh, comforting, and traditional southern recipes, as well as her professional culinary background.

Lisa went on to describe the process of how publishers sell your book to booksellers and how the chefs go about promoting it. Months of travel (I think Virginia said she was home only a couple weeks out of 2009 from what I can recall – regardless, she traveled A LOT), numerous cooking classes and demos, special speaking engagements, etc. are all the types of work that the chef author commits to in order to bring attention to their book.

When commenting on the promotional work, Virginia said, “I feel like I’ve hand-sold every book”, and, I have to say, it is absolutely true! There was no way that I was going to walk out of The Chopping Block without “Bon Appetit, Y’all”, who couldn’t want this woman to succeed?! Since I was leaving early, I quietly let myself out the back door and made my way out to the sales floor to pick up a copy of the book. When I realized there were none on the floor, I let myself back into the classroom, picked up a copy and walked back out. To my surprise and delight, Virginia abandoned the discussion, ran out into the store just to sign a copy of my book!

I left the seminar about 30 minutes early to make my flight. I made sure to keep the book in my carry-on bag (even though it is HEAVY). I found that my short flight seemed even shorter as I flipped through the pages and reading about growing up in the south and her sweet family, a glimpse into her professional training in France, as well as working for notable culinary giants such as Bobby Flay and Martha Stewart. Also, the photography is exquisite (she styled all of the food herself – a brilliant business move if you have the know-how and experience).

Over the last week, I’ve been sitting on my couch with Lucy and Mia, more interested in the stories that precede each recipe, I’ve read through it like it was a novel. I’ve so enjoyed the recipes in “Bon Appetit, Y’all”, that I requested to reprint one of them here for you to enjoy at home. Being the gracious woman she is, Virginia sent me three recipes and photos; all perfect for this holiday weekend.

I hope you will make these recipes and I hope you will visit Virginia’s website at Be sure to sign up for her newsletter as well!

If you are a food professional, I urge you to visit Lisa’s website at

Lisa offers media training for culinary professionals as well as many other public relations services for those in the culinary industry. I am confident that investment in your career and professional development with Lisa will bring a pay-off that cannot be matched.

Georgia Pecan Brownies
Makes 24
For the most part, Mama has always made everything from scratch. Homemade cakes, cookies, and pies were the norm, but she would open one box when she made brownies. My father worked for a company that made, among myriad other things, brownie mix. I remember opening the Christmas gifts from corporate friends that contained a potpourri of company products, including the familiar red box—the brownie mix. Perhaps one of the reasons I am so fond of these brownies is that they represent my first solo forays into baking. Other than turning on the oven, I was allowed to prepare the brownies all by myself.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
2 cups sugar
11/2 cups all-purpose flour
11/4 cups cocoa powder
11/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
12 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or pan with butter.

In a saucepan, melt the 1 cup of butter over medium heat; add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Keep warm.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter mixture and stir to combine. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, chocolate, and nuts. Stir until the chocolate is fully melted and the ingredients are combined (the batter should be very thick). Alternatively, you can mix the batter in a heavy-duty mixer. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with an offset spatula.

Bake until set, 25 to 35 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool. Cut into pieces and serve. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Fingerling Potato Salad
Serves 4 to 6
While I lived and worked at La Varenne, we often dined outside on a terrace overlooking miles of Burgundian countryside. One memorable day, I cut off the tip of my left thumb while preparing potato salad for one of our outdoor feasts. I quickly wrapped my hand in a towel and raised it above my head. I grabbed the severed bit from the cutting board in my right hand, walked into Anne Willan’s office, and told her I had cut myself. She asked to see it. I refused. She insisted. Finally, opening my right palm, I said, “Well, here it is.” The grand dame Anne blanched and replied, “Oh dear, I think we need a Cognac.” After a trip to the hospital I did enjoy the feast, but declined a serving of the potato salad.

31/2 pounds fingerling or red bliss potatoes, halved
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
3/4 cup mayonnaise (page 282)
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, preferably Vidalia, chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

To cook the potatoes, place them in a large pot of cold, salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then decrease the heat to medium-low. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain well in a colander. While still warm, transfer the potatoes to a baking sheet and drizzle with the vinegar. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

To make the dressing, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, and mustard in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

To assemble the salad, add the cooled potatoes, onion, celery, and parsley to the dressing and stir to combine and coat. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Coca-Cola–Glazed Baby Back Ribs
Makes about
20 pieces
Coca-Cola is to Atlanta as Guinness is to Dublin. Friends and family liked my Coca-Cola–Glazed Wings (page 24) so much that I decided to try a similar combination on pork. Pork has a natural affinity for sweet, rich caramel flavors. These “nouveau” Southern ribs are by no means traditional, but they are lip-smacking good.

Scotch bonnet peppers are intensely hot, but their fire is tempered by the sweetness of the sugar and Coke. To tone down the heat, substitute jalapeños instead.

1 cup Coca-Cola Classic
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
11/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 Scotch bonnet chiles, chopped
2 racks baby back ribs (3 pounds total)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the glaze, in a small saucepan, bring the Coca-Cola, vinegar, brown sugar, and chiles to a boil over high heat; reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until syrupy, about 10 minutes. Decrease the heat to low and keep the sauce warm while the ribs cook.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Liberally season both sides of the ribs with salt and pepper. Place the ribs on a broiler pan and bake for 30 minutes, glazing the ribs occasionally with the Coca-Cola mixture. Turn the ribs over and continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes, glazing occasionally, or until the ribs are tender and the meat is starting to pull away from the bone.

When the ribs are cooked through, set the oven to broil. Liberally spoon half of the remaining glaze over the ribs and broil until glazed a deep mahogany brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn over; repeat with the remaining glaze, an additional 5 to 7 minutes.

Serve immediately with lots of napkins.

*All recipes were reprinted with permission of Virginia Willis

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Grilled Whole Wheat Pizza Margherita

Memorial Day weekend is a great time to try our newest favorite recipe – Grilled Whole Wheat Margherita Pizza. It is important to roll the crust out VERY THIN, otherwise, the whole wheat crust is a little doughy.


Whole Wheat Pizza Margherita

3 ¾ c. white whole wheat flour
1 Tb. instant dry yeast
1 ½ tsp. instant dry yeast
12 oz. water, 120 degrees
1 Tb. honey
1 Tb. olive oil
2 tsp. seasoning mix
1 Tb. dried oregano
1 Tb. dried basil
½ tsp. cayenne

Bloom the water and the yeast for ten minutes and bubbly. Add the oil and the honey.

Add the rest of the ingredients. Mix with a dough hook until smooth (about 10 minutes). Let rise and double in a warm, draft free place (about an hour and a half).

Punch down and divide into three pieces. roll out on a lightly floured surface. Make sure that you roll them THIN.

Brush very lightly with oil and sprinkle with a light sprinkling of seasoning mix. Grill on each side.

Garnish the Pizza with fresh, sliced tomatoes, julienne of basil, and torn fresh mozzarella cheese. Put into the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese. Serve with a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil & a sprinkle of seasoning mix.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Chef Obsessed with Food - "Naturally"

Every chef has a love affair with food. We have the awakening – a knowledge that there is more to life than eating to live, or eating food that’s “just ok”. Then, there’s the exploration phase, eating, tasting and cooking all different types of foods and ingredients. Soon, courtship, the world of professional cooking is exciting and emotional. Once swept into the scene, we’re all but done for, addicted to the adrenaline, the heightened senses, the romance, the dance; now we’re committed.

The honeymoon phase begins, everything is as intoxicating as the scent of fresh vanilla beans and good quality bourbon. As we pass through the honeymoon stage, we settle comfortably into our relationship with our career and then… some of us might get a little restless. There’s nothing “wrong” per se, but there’s the inkling that there’s something “more”. Foods we haven’t tasted, ingredients we’ve never seen up close, meals we haven’t indulged in. Curiosity is piqued and we often start looking at other options, having grown tired of what we’ve relied on to satisfy our palates and senses up until just then.

The thing about food is that it’s all been done before. I’m always appalled to hear chefs refuse to give “their” recipes to other chefs or their well-intentioned groupies. It’s as if these chefs think they’ve really invented that particular dish themselves. Last I checked, none of them were named “Careme” or “Escoffier”, which means, with very few exceptions, no one’s recipe or cooking technique is actually original.

All of that aside, I, myself, find that I tire of certain cooking techniques or only eating a certain range of foods, and have ventured off into what some consider the “fringe” aspects of the culinary realm. After a trip to the now defunct Capital Poultry, I found myself an instant vegetarian. Once meat-free, I gradually went vegan. At about that same time, I ceased eating cane sugar products, and instead used sweeteners like maple and barley malt syrups, agave nectar, etc. (avoiding honey, though, since it is technically not a vegan food). After about 3 years of this, my lifestyle was derailed by a month’s long craving for a corned beef sandwich, and it has taken me 5 years to get back on the veg-friendly track, which I am happily 95% on once again (I eat a limited variety of seafood).

Once again, I’ve found myself in a restless exploration phase. Tired of preparing the same types of foods, I long to learn more about whole grains and to reacquaint myself with natural “cane-free” sweeteners – even better – explore the culinary world without “white foods”. Chefs are one part scientist, one part artist, and two parts obsessive. With all of the natural and sustainable foods on the market now, I am curious to develop recipes that are healthful, delicious, and “whole”. Think whole grain dinner rolls, fruit crisps with seeds and oat flour, and even transforming some of my favorite “refined” treats into something more nutritious and full of nuance.

My culinary philosophy has always been about eating “real food”, nothing “processed”, and this is just a continuance of that ideology. Sure, cane sugar is natural, but anyone can make something delicious with cane sugar or white flour. The real challenge I’m taking on is making irresistible foods with some of the homelier ingredients we find in the grocery store.

After some tinkering around in the Mirepoix Cooking School kitchen (our very own “test kitchen/laboratory” I’ve come up with this Blueberry Crumble recipe we’ve enjoyed this week. This recipe still uses some cane sugar derivatives, but none of them are refined white granulated sugar. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have.

Blueberry Crisp

Blueberry mixture:
2 lb fresh blueberries
4 tablespoons cornstarch
2tablespoon finely grated fresh lime zest
2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup. Sucanat

1/2 c. oat flour or whole wheat flour
1 1/3 c. old fashioned rolled oats
1 c. Muscovado sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 c. chopped pecans, toasted
½ c. pumpkin seeds, toasted
½ c. canola oil

Method for the blueberry mixture –
combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix to just combine. Do NOT use frozen blueberries in this recipe! Set aside and prepare the topping.

Method for the topping -
Combine all dry ingredients together with a fork until uniformly moistened. Add oil and mix.

Place the blueberry mixture in individual ramekins or a 8X8 casserole dish. Top with the crumb mixture. Bake at 350 until bubbly, about 30 minutes.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Second Time's a Charm

The clock struck 1, and my heart was lodged in my throat. I was scooping vanilla bean ice cream onto four geometrically shaped plates at an important certification test yesterday afternoon. After my plates were swept away to the judge’s table, I looked at my sous chef and said, “I think I’m going to throw up”. She shrieked, “Water! You need water!”

It wasn’t water I needed. What I really needed was a yoga class, a massage and a quiet place to come down off of the adrenaline. I had been cooking for 4 straight hours, (no breakfast, no lunch, no water, no time to use the restroom). This was my second attempt at a certification I failed three months ago. This was the moment of truth - would I fail again? “Oh, god. I can’t fail again……….”

Little did I know that it would be two and a half hours until I learned whether or not I passed. During that time, I cleaned up my station, washed dishes, and waited. While I waited, I had a lot of time to think about the test I just took, the test I failed in February, and whether or not I was going to have to test for a third time.

With that kind of time on your hands, alone and waiting to hear whether or not you’re as good as you hope you are, there are a lot of things to contemplate, and your mind will do very interesting things. Everything from my ability as a cook, my level of personal and professional discipline, my capacity for learning, to the degree to which I fall into the category of “rule follower” was dissected in the recesses of my mind.

At a certain point, I had convinced myself that I didn’t pass. What to do? I started to feel out the next course of action. After about 8 minutes of deliberation, I concluded that if I couldn’t pass the test twice, I would not pass it. I would not be a “real chef”. I would stop trying to be something I apparently wasn’t.

After all, I reasoned, I don’t cook everyday like most of my colleagues do. It has been over 5 years since I cooked every day in a professional kitchen. In the last 5 years, I’ve been building a different kind of career in the culinary industry. Now I am more of an educator, a writer, a marketer and a teacher. It's my vocabulary, not my chef’s knife that has been getting sharpened each day when I come to work.

In a fit of mental and emotional fatigue, gave myself the talk, “You aren’t the same person you were 5 or 10 years ago. You aren’t 20 anymore. Stop trying to be something you aren’t; embrace the person you are now. Your days of cooking in restaurants are over. You’ll never be as young as you were then, you’ll never be as thin as you were then, you’ll never be that person again. It’s ok to be who you are now. If you don’t pass, let it go and move on.” Inspiring, huh?

At long last, it was time for the critique. Gladly, the chef broke the news right away, “You passed.” I breathed a giant sigh of relief. He went on to tell me what was good about what I did and where I can improve. Overall, the judging was incredibly fair and constructive.

The test was held at Oakland Community College’s culinary arts department and was conducted in a very thorough and professional fashion. Each chef evaluator was genuinely invested in the success of each candidate and sincerely wanted to see each of us leave that day with our heads held high, even if it wasn’t “our day”.

I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to Chefs Kevin Brennan, Doug Gahns, Kevin Enright, and John McCormack. Each chef was supportive, helpful, encouraging and unobtrusive. I would also like to thank my very competent and ambitious sous chef, Melissa Mirek. Melissa is currently a first-term student at OCC and anticipated all of my needs. Based on her performance yesterday, I am confident that she will have a bright future in the culinary industry. Her level of professionalism, anticipation, speed and efficiency are the early “tells” of a great chef-in-the-making.

I would also like to thank my ever-supportive culinary staff at Mirepoix. They are unmatched in their loyalty, professionalism, enthusiasm and kindness. I am truly thankful for Jose Chicas, Margaret “Maggie” Fleming, Julie Fromm,Marcia Konopka, Rob Kroll, and Dale Vigliarolo.

I often speak at length about my boss, Tom Violante, Jr., who encouraged me each step of the way. Tom is the person I most dreaded telling I had failed in February, to which he said, “Title-schmitle. You don’t need a piece of paper to tell you who you are.” Thank you, Tom for the opportunity of a lifetime at Mirepoix, and for your continuous support in all of my other endeavors.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day Recipe - French Toast Casserole

Looking for the perfect breakfast recipe to prepare for mom tomorrow? Look no further than our French Toast Casserole.

Happy Mother’s Day from the Mirepoix Cooking School!

French Toast Casserole
1 loaf challah bread, 20 slices (13 to 16 oz)
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash salt
Praline Topping, recipe follows
Maple syrup

Slice bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices.
preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.

Praline Topping:
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Use this to top the casserole.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Just Say "No" to Cooking with "EVOO"

You might know it as that really yummy stuff called, “EVOO”. Chefs still call it “extra virgin olive oil”. Regardless of how you refer to it, extra virgin olive oil has been around for centuries, even though it seems like Rachel Ray just invented it.

Olive oil has a rich culinary and even medicinal history dating back to ancient times. There are countless different types of olive oil, and even more brands! When shopping for olive oil, you might find oils infused with figs, lemons, oranges, herbs and numerous other flavoring agents. Each brand might come from a different country – Spain, Italy, Greece, even the United States (California). Labels might read “cold press”, “first cold press”, “pure”, “light”, “blended” and more! So many choices - What’s a 30 minute meal warrior to do?

The simple (and wrong) answer is to just use “EVOO”.

Without overcomplicating matters, there are a few things you want to keep in mind when you’re selecting olive oil: Ask yourself what are you using it for and also taste.

1). ‘What are you using it for?” –
When thinking of cooking with olive oil, it makes sense to consider the “smoke point”. All oils have a smoke point. Simply put, the smoke point is the temperature at which the oil will start to smoke. This is the stage at which the heated fats begin to emit smoke and odors, which will impart an unpleasant taste to whatever you are preparing.

Butter has a smoke point of 350 degrees, while lard is higher at 361. Vegetable oil, peanut and safflower oils are much higher (441). Olive oil is 375. For this reason, it is sometimes better to use different types of oils for different applications. For example, if you are going to make a batch of hand-cut french fries, peanut oil is an excellent choice.

Another reason to avoid cooking with extra virgin olive oil is that olive oil has chlorophyll, and, when exposed to high temperatures, the chlorophyll will turn bitter. Because true extra virgin olive oil is so expensive, it is unwise to use extra virgin olive oil for sautéing because the flavor turns bitter when it reaches the right temperature for a sauté.

This isn’t to say that cooking with olive oil is wrong. Think of it like this- you wouldn’t use your best bottle of Dom Perignon to make a zabaglione; anything that made that champagne so special and unique is cooked out of the recipe before you can even taste it. The same would be true of using one of your best bottles of wine to deglaze a pan- it just doesn’t make sense. If you’re going to use olive oil as a cooking oil, consider using pure or a blended olive oil and consider the smoke point to determine which cooking techniques are appropriate.

Extra virgin olive oils are best used for drizzling, dipping, or enjoying in a dressing. Since these applications are not exposed to heat, the delicate and interesting flavors of the oil can really be appreciated.

2). Taste –
At Mirepoix, we use Acedemia Barrilla olive oils and balsamic vinegars. I like AB because of its clean, fresh flavor. Last week, someone brought in a different kind and when one of our students used it to make a vinaigrette, it was almost inedible! It took a lot of doctoring up to take away the bitter, “green” awful taste!

There are many very good tasting and high-quality olive oils on the market, but be selective, and don’t skimp! Good food starts with good ingredients. A $4 bottle of balsamic vinegar will TASTE like a $4 bottle of balsamic vinegar! The same principle applies to olive oil, and a million other ingredients. If your ingredients do not taste good on their own, a combination of inferior ingredients will not taste good either.

This summer, we will be featuring a series of free classes and tastings at Mirepoix. Our first tasting will be olive oils. For more information about Mirepoix, visit our website at If you’d like to be notified when the free tastings begin, sign up for our email newsletter on our homepage or become a fan of Mirepoix Cooking School on Facebook.

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Culinary Herbs

Soon our local farmer’s markets will be springing up in communities all over Michigan with fruits, vegetables, farm-fresh eggs, chickens, and many other things that spark a curious cook’s imagination. Culinary herbs can also be found amongst the roses, ferns and other foliage available. Cooking with herbs is a terrific way to add flavor and nuance to your food without adding extra calories and fat.

Basil, parsley, thyme & rosemary are perhaps the most common herbs that people grow in their pots and window boxes, but there are many other herbs that will flourish in your culinary garden. Consider adding oregano or lemon thyme verbena as well.

As a general rule, I tell people to use fresh herbs whenever possible – even when it isn’t growing season. I can’t think of an instance when I ever use dried herbs. The flavor of fresh herbs is far superior to anything that is dried.

If your thumb isn’t green, you can always buy herbs in bunches at the grocery store. Most of the time, the herbs are sold in very large bundles that many people end up throwing away. To add life to your store bought herbs, simply fill a vase or a tall container with cold water and store your herbs, stem-end down in the refrigerator. Doing this will keep your herbs crisp and fresh.

To learn more about using herbs & spices, check out our class schedule at Our upcoming class, “Marinades & Rubs” will feature recipes that will use a multiplicity of herbs to enhance your recipes. To get you started, here is our favorite Basic Pesto recipe. Remember – a recipe is only a guideline! Feel free to make changes to suit your tastes!

Basic Pesto –
4 cups loosely packed basil leaves
*do not use stems

3 cloves garlic, smashed
¾ cup pine nuts, toasted
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
*DO NOT use any other type of Parmesan cheese!

2 teaspoons Academia Barilla balsamic vinegar (or to taste)
salt, to taste
white pepper, to taste
1 cup Academia Barilla olive oil

Place basil, garlic, and pine nuts into the bowl of a food processor; puree until smooth. While the machine is running, drizzle in oil, using enough to make a paste. Add cheese and just pulse briefly to combine. Season with salt, pepper, and vinegar to taste. Store up to a week in an air-tight container or freeze up to three months.

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