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....

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Marvelous Mushrooms

They’re the food of ancient royalty, the luxurious noshes of the Pharaohs. Mushrooms were held in such high esteem in ancient Egypt, that commoners were forbidden to eat them. In other civilizations throughout the world, many people believed that mushrooms possessed the energy to give super-human powers to those who ate them.

Today, they could be considered “super foods” because of their nutritional value. Mushrooms are one of the highest antioxidant vegetables in the world. The antioxidant L-Ergothioneine is abundant in mushrooms, and enhanced by the presence of vitamin C and selenium. Also, one Portobello mushroom has more potassium than a banana.

There are over 2,500 mushroom varieties that are grown worldwide. Porcini, Portobello, Shiitake, Crimini, Oyster, Button, the celebrated Morel, and of course, the sumptuous truffle, are just a few favorites.

Cooking with mushrooms is incredibly simple, although many people are mystified by cleaning them. The best way to clean mushrooms is to use a soft brush and gently sweep away the dirt. Since mushrooms are very much like a sponge, due to their high water content, it is not a good idea to drench them in water. Then, remove the stem and slice.

Stems can be cleaned and saved for soups, as well the “gills” from Portobello’s.
Mushrooms enhance pasta dishes, risotto, kebabs, burgers, roasts, soups, stuffing, rustic pizzas, appetizers, lending their distinct, warm and woodsy flavors to your recipes.

Can’t get your favorite wild mushroom? Dried mushrooms are the perfect alternative in a pinch. Simply reconstitute the dried mushrooms with boiling water or broth for 5 to 10 minutes until the mushrooms are tender. Strain off the liquid, but don’t throw it away- it’s full of flavor, and can be used in sauces, soups, dressings, and braising broths.

Mushrooms can be used in almost any preparation, and any time of the year, especially once dried mushrooms are a pantry staple. Using mushrooms will add new flavor profiles to your favorite dishes and add nutritional value as well.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Grilled Asparagus with Manchego

If you've never grilled asparagus before, it's time to give it a try! This week is going to be gorgeous, according to the forecast, so if you rolled the grill into the garage, push it back to the patio and get ready to grill up this very simple recipe!

Grilled Asparagus with Manchego

2 lbs. fresh asparagus, trimmed

2 Tb. pure olive oil

As needed, Matt's Mix or salt & pepper

2 oz. Aged Manchego, grated or shaved


Heat grill to medium-high. In a large bowl, toss the asparagus with oil and season with Matt’s Mix. Grill, turning occasionally, until just tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with the manchego and serve.

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Friday, March 2, 2012

Noodles with Chicken & Spicy Peanut Sauce

Noodles with Chicken & Peanut Sauce

1 package rice noodles
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup julienned carrots
1 English Cucumber, diced
Roasted or Rotisserie chicken, meat pulled from bones, shredded and skin removed

Peanut Sauce, as needed (recipe below)

Bring lightly salted water to a boil in a medium pot; cook noodles 3 minutes. Place cabbage in a colander and drain noodles over cabbage; immediately rinse with cold water. Drain again. Toss cabbage and noodles in a bowl.

Peanut Sauce

1 cup Peanut butter
1/2 cup Soy sauce
1/2 cup Lime juice 1/4 cup Sesame seed oil
4 Tb. Garlic, minced
2 Tb. Tobasco sauce/Sambal
2 Tb. Brown sugar
1/2 can of Coconut milk (or more as needed)

combine all in the bowl of a food processor.

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