Like Water For Chocolate

Today was my monthly book/movie get together with girlfriends. We read a chosen book in advance and come together to watch the movie version over food inspired by the story. This month we read & watched, Like Water For Chocolate. It’s a wonderfully written book about unrequited love and how emotions are expressed through food. My girlfriends and I decided the book was much better than the movie… but is still worth watching just to view the differences.

For this girls day in, we all brought in Mexican inspired fare in honor of the setting in which the story takes place. Here are pics from the event:

Joelen’s Chicken& Cilantro Quesadillas
w/mild salsa, sour cream & chile con queso
Joelen’s Beef Tamales
Jill’s Jalepeno Cornbread
Chips & Salsa
Christine’s Bimbo Marble Pound Cake
Chris’s Chocolate Chile Brownies
Victoria’s Margaritas
Carrie & Christine’s Jarritos Drinks
Carrie’s Milk Chocolate Covered Frozen Bananas
(unpictured)

Like Water For Chocolate

Today was my monthly book/movie get together with girlfriends. We read a chosen book in advance and come together to watch the movie version over food inspired by the story. This month we read & watched, Like Water For Chocolate. It’s a wonderfully written book about unrequited love and how emotions are expressed through food. My girlfriends and I decided the book was much better than the movie… but is still worth watching just to view the differences.

For this girls day in, we all brought in Mexican inspired fare in honor of the setting in which the story takes place. Here are pics from the event:

Joelen’s Chicken& Cilantro Quesadillas
w/mild salsa, sour cream & chile con queso
Joelen’s Beef Tamales
Jill’s Jalepeno Cornbread
Chips & Salsa
Christine’s Bimbo Marble Pound Cake
Chris’s Chocolate Chile Brownies
Victoria’s Margaritas
Carrie & Christine’s Jarritos Drinks
Carrie’s Milk Chocolate Covered Frozen Bananas
(unpictured)

Olive Oil Galore…

All olives are not the same… and neither are their oils! I hosted 2 olive oil tasting sessions (afternoon & evening) where we focused on olive oils from various parts of the world. Attendees tasted 6 different olive oils from France, Spain, Greece, Italy, South Africa and Australia. I had attendees taste the olive oils alone and with bread so that they could learn to taste them taking note of the oil’s appearance, aroma, flavor, finish, texture, etc.

For the tasting, I used this site for some great resources for handouts, score cards, etc.

While I supplied the olive oils for the tasting, I left the attendees to bring accompaniments and/or dishes made with olive oil. Everyone brought some wonderful things to the table. Here are pictures of the afternoon session…

Linda’s Goat Cheese w/Fresh Herbs & Olive Oil
Elynne’s Malaysian Bread
with corn & onionsBob’s Homemade Hummus & Pita Bread
Susan’s favorite Garlic Olives & Jalepeno Olives
Margaret’s Bruschetta
Art & Caroline’s Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dip
with Tortilla Chips

Here are pictures from the evening session:
Mark’s Italian Bread & Cheese/Sausage Platter
Tom’s Fresh Fruit Platter
Mark’s Cheese Platter
Mia & Kelby’s Cheese Platter w/Maureen’s Proscuitto
Kurt’s Homemade Hummus
Maureen’s Homemade Olive Tapenade
Nadia & Dan’s Homemade Pesto & Bread Platter
Ginny’s Caprese Salad

Olive Oil Galore…

All olives are not the same… and neither are their oils! I hosted 2 olive oil tasting sessions (afternoon & evening) where we focused on olive oils from various parts of the world. Attendees tasted 6 different olive oils from France, Spain, Greece, Italy, South Africa and Australia. I had attendees taste the olive oils alone and with bread so that they could learn to taste them taking note of the oil’s appearance, aroma, flavor, finish, texture, etc.

For the tasting, I used this site for some great resources for handouts, score cards, etc.

While I supplied the olive oils for the tasting, I left the attendees to bring accompaniments and/or dishes made with olive oil. Everyone brought some wonderful things to the table. Here are pictures of the afternoon session…

Linda’s Goat Cheese w/Fresh Herbs & Olive Oil
Elynne’s Malaysian Bread
with corn & onionsBob’s Homemade Hummus & Pita Bread
Susan’s favorite Garlic Olives & Jalepeno Olives
Margaret’s Bruschetta
Art & Caroline’s Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dip
with Tortilla Chips

Here are pictures from the evening session:
Mark’s Italian Bread & Cheese/Sausage Platter
Tom’s Fresh Fruit Platter
Mark’s Cheese Platter
Mia & Kelby’s Cheese Platter w/Maureen’s Proscuitto
Kurt’s Homemade Hummus
Maureen’s Homemade Olive Tapenade
Nadia & Dan’s Homemade Pesto & Bread Platter
Ginny’s Caprese Salad

Goat Cheese Spread w Herbs and Olive Oil

This recipe was shared at my Olive Oil tasting event and brought in by my friend Linda. You can view details HERE.


Goat Cheese Spread w Herbs and Olive Oil

(from whatscookingamerica.net)

8 ounces goat cheese (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, more if needed
2 tablespoons extra-vergin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 tablespoons dry white wine
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (choose at least two from the following: parsley, chives, tarragon, dill)
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
good crackers or slices of walnut bread
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 celery heart, cut into sticks

Put goat cheese, whipping cream, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and wine in a food processor (or mix in a bowl with a wooden spoon). Pulse just to blend. Mixture should be spreadable; if it’s too thick, add 1 or 2 tablespoons more cream and pulse again. Season with salt and pepper, pulse again, and taste, adjusting seasoning as necessary.

Reserve 1 teaspoon herbs for sprinkling, and add rest to processor. Add 2 teaspoons lemon zest. Pulse once more to blend. Line a small (about 1 1/2-cup) round bowl or cup with a sheet of plastic wrap and fill with cheese mixture. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.

To serve, invert bowl onto a serving platter and peel off plastic. With back of a spoon, level off top of cheese and make a small depression. Drizzle olive oil over top. Sprinkle with reserved herbs and lemon zest. Arrange crackers or bread slices, tomatoes and celery around cheese and let guests serve themselves.

Makes about 1 1/4 cups or 6 servings.

Goat Cheese Spread w Herbs and Olive Oil

This recipe was shared at my Olive Oil tasting event and brought in by my friend Linda. You can view details HERE.


Goat Cheese Spread w Herbs and Olive Oil

(from whatscookingamerica.net)

8 ounces goat cheese (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, more if needed
2 tablespoons extra-vergin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 tablespoons dry white wine
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (choose at least two from the following: parsley, chives, tarragon, dill)
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
good crackers or slices of walnut bread
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 celery heart, cut into sticks

Put goat cheese, whipping cream, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and wine in a food processor (or mix in a bowl with a wooden spoon). Pulse just to blend. Mixture should be spreadable; if it’s too thick, add 1 or 2 tablespoons more cream and pulse again. Season with salt and pepper, pulse again, and taste, adjusting seasoning as necessary.

Reserve 1 teaspoon herbs for sprinkling, and add rest to processor. Add 2 teaspoons lemon zest. Pulse once more to blend. Line a small (about 1 1/2-cup) round bowl or cup with a sheet of plastic wrap and fill with cheese mixture. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.

To serve, invert bowl onto a serving platter and peel off plastic. With back of a spoon, level off top of cheese and make a small depression. Drizzle olive oil over top. Sprinkle with reserved herbs and lemon zest. Arrange crackers or bread slices, tomatoes and celery around cheese and let guests serve themselves.

Makes about 1 1/4 cups or 6 servings.

Springtime Cakes!

It’s officially spring so what better time to decorate a cake with pretty colors?! Today I taught two cake decorating classes for members of my group, What’s Cookin Chicago.

In this class, everyone was provided with their own 6 inch 2-layer cake to decorate as they wished with a decorator bottle set, perfect for those new to cake decorating. I talked about the 3 different frosting consistencies, how to crumb coat a cake and shared a few basic piping techniques. It was a great day full of creativity and as a result of the success of the classes, I will be teaching future classes specific to piping techniques! Here are some pictures of the event and my students working on their beautiful spring cakes:

Here are pictures of the finished cakes from the first class:





Here are pics from the second class:
Here are the finished cakes from the second class: