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....

Friday, February 25, 2011

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras is just around the corner. Filled with fun and delicious flavors, this low-country tradition is just the thing we need after a flurry-filled February. Next Friday, Holiday Catering is hosting their first annual Mardi Gras bash at Mirepoix! Great food, cocktails, entertainment and more are on the menu for this unforgettable evening! Of course, costumes are encouraged! To make your reservation, call Leanne Mangold at 248.543.4390 or simply sign up online.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Snowed In

Like many of you, I found myself snowed in this morning, and even tried to challenge the wall of snow brought to my doorstep, courtesy of the city trucks who plowed my street. Stuck between my driveway and my street, it took two of my neighbors, three shovels, a snow blower AND a tow rope to free my front-wheel drive GMC from the white wall I foolishly thought I could drive through.

I had already made a batch of bean soup earlier, but the free labor I enjoyed requires another pot to share with the wonderful neighbors who finally freed my car. Not interested in venturing out on to the roads (the traffic report indicated roads in my area were still snow-covered, I wanted to create something with what I had in the pantry and the fridge.

This, of course, is one of the most wonderful things about a Soup Supper - using what you have, so as long as it's fresh and you have a good understanding of how to cook without a recipe. Unlike brownies, cookies, or even Rice Krispie treats, a lot of times, you can pull a delicious soup together without a trip to the store or tedious measurements.

Add a batch of cornbread, or even some tasty crackers, you can make a comforting meal for yourself, your family, or, in my case, neighbors without a lot of hassle. Snow days can be harried enough - especially if you've found yourself in a pile of the white stuff and nowhere to go. Make dinner as simple as possible.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Middle Eastern Feast

On Monday night, our students created a delicious feast featuring the flavors of the Middle East. Each dish was flavorful, expertly seasoned and perfectly prepared. One of the favorite recipes was the hummus.

Making hummus can be tricky, and it does require quite a bit of work to get the right consistency. Our batch started with a one-pound bag of chickpeas (dried), which I soaked for 12 hours. The next day, I cooked the chickpeas until they were tender with just a touch of baking soda. Last, I chilled the beans (I actually froze mine - a trick you can use to make hummus in a flash) and then proceeded with the recipe.

I hope you enjoy our recipe for this creamy, garlicky spread.
10 medium-large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped roughly.
1/2 tsp cayenne (optional
5 cups well-cooked garbanzo beans, skins skimmed off the water and discarded.
1 tsp. baking soda

tahini paste, as needed/to taste
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed/to taste
fresh lemon juice, as needed/to taste
9 ice cubes

1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 Tb. paprika

Soak the chickpeas overnight. Drain off the water and place the chickpeas into a large stockpot, cover all of the chickpeas with water. Make sure that there is at least one inch of water above the chickpeas. Add baking soda.

Cover with a tight-fitting lid and boil until the chickpeas are tender. Be sure that chickpeas are fully cooked, otherwise, the hummus will not have the correct consistency. When the chickpeas are fully cooked, drain them and spread them out onto a flat sheet pan and weigh down with another half sheet pan. When they are cool enough to handle, place them in an airtight container and freeze them.

The morning that you plan to make the hummus, remove them from the freezer and allow to come to room temperature (some of them will still be frozen – you want that!)
Remove the chickpeas from the pan and add to the food processor. Start to blend the chickpeas with the garlic and continue to blend with the correct consistency. Add the ice cubes if the texture looks chunky. Scrape the bowl of the processor down. Repeat these steps with tahini, lemon juice and olive oil until you reach the consistency you desire. Adjust the seasonings and chill until you're ready to serve it.