Penne with Baby Zucchini & Basil

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1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil

1 c. (gently packed) fresh basil leaves, cut into 1/4-inch ribbons

1 lb. penne

1 lb. small zucchini, trimmed and cut into very thin rounds

6 T. grated Parmesan

Place the oil in a large bowl along with the basil; stir to make sure the basil is completely coated with the oil.

Bring 6 quarts of water to the boil in a large stock/pasta pot.  Add 2-3 Tablespoons of salt.  Add the penne and cook until almost al dente—it should still be quite firm in the center.  Add the zucchini rounds and stir.  Continue to cook until the penne is al dente and the zucchini is tender—this should take 1 to 2 minutes.  Drain.

Add the pasta and zucchini to the basil oil and toss to combine.  Add the Parmesan and toss again.  Add some of the pasta water if the pasta seems stodgy or dry (for this dish you may need as much as 1/4 c. of the pasta water).  Taste and correct the seasoning.  Serve immediately.  Serves 4 to 6.

The ‘Kitchen Talk’ Blog

The Culinary Center of Kansas City’s ‘Kitchen Talk‘ blog has been silent too long! We’re back, but with a couple of twists.

First twist – the blog now lives on our new website. So, this is the last email you’ll get about blog post updates. You’ll need to follow us on Twitter (@kcculinary) or Facebook to know when there is a new post. Or bookmark our Kitchen Talk blog page, and check in now and then.

Second twist – it’s a post about pretzels! Yum. Read about how we celebrated Downtown Overland Park’s August Local Life event with a pairing of pretzels and beer. And try out the pretzel recipe for yourself. Enjoy!!

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 Easy Fruit Cobbler

From Tim Hall…..a true southern gentleman from New Orleans!

Believe me when I tell you that this is a quick and easy recipe that will delight your guests. I’ll give you two versions of it and expand your fruit cobbler universe by the number of fresh fruits you care to try. This was the first dessert we used in the catering business and it was always popular. It expands easily. If memory serves me, the last time we made it in the catering business we did so for 100 people. Take that cue to mean that it expands easily. When making it at the house I always use a deep ten-inch cast iron skillet, otherwise known as a chicken fryer.

1 stick unsalted butter

1 large can sliced yellow cling peaches or any fruit you wish

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 cup milk

Prep time: 15 min.  Cook time 45 min.  Yield: 10 servings

Preheat the oven to 375º F. Melt the butter in the skillet and swirl it around to coat the sides. You’ll be glad you did when you start to clean up the skillet! Add the peaches with their juice and warm them up while you are mixing the batter. Whisk the flour, sugar and baking powder together and add the milk. Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated.  Pour the batter in the middle of the melted butter and peaches and bake for 45 minutes.  When done the batter will have risen to the top and will be a nice toasty golden brown. It is cake-y in texture. Serve hot with ice cream  and enjoy the accolades.

To use fresh fruit (I’ve used Door County cherries, blackberries, raspberries, apples, plums and peaches to name a few) just make a simple syrup with 1/3 cup sugar and ¾ cup water. Heat the water to dissolve the sugar. Add 3 cups of the fresh fruit and warm the fruit for about ten minutes. (You can even use a frozen berry mix that is available at most grocery stores as well. Treat it the same as you do fresh fruit.) To make the cobbler use this mixture in place of the large can of prepared fruit. Have some fun and experiment with this recipe.

The “Main Dish’s” Irish Brown Bread

1 ¾ c. whole wheat flour
1 ¾ c. all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 -5 T mixed seeds, such as sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, chia, golden flax, etc.
2 T. butter, softened
1 egg
About 1 2/3 c buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Mix the flours, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl and mix in the seeds. Add the butter and rub into the flour mixture with your fingertips until it resembles bread crumbs.  Make a well in the center.  In another bowl, whisk the egg with the buttermilk and pour most of the liquid in to the flour mixtures.  Using one hand bring the flour and liquid together, adding more of the buttermilk, if necessary.  The dough should be quite soft, but not too sticky.

Turn onto a floured surface and gently bring the dough together into a round about 1 ½ inches thick.  Cut a deep cross on top and place on a baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes.  Turn down the heat to 400 degrees F and bake for 30 minutes more.  When done, the loaf will sound slightly hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Remove from the baking sheet and place on a wire rack to cool.

Nutella At Its Best!

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NutelleCremeBruleeNutella Crème Brulée
8 Servings

4 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
Pinch of salt
8 egg yolks
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ cup Nutella brand spread
16 teaspoons sugar, for glazing

Preheat oven to 300-degrees. In a medium saucepan, cook the cream with the vanilla bean and salt over moderate heat until the surface begins to shimmer.  In a large heatproof bowl, blend the egg yolks and granulated sugar with a wooden spoon.  Slowly add the hot cream mixture, stirring gently.  Add the Nutella and stir. Strain the custard into a large measuring cup: skim off any bubbles.

Arrange 8 oven safe ramekins in a roasting pan. Slowly pour the custard into the ramekins, filling them all evenly.  Set the roasting pan in the center of the oven and carefully pour in enough hot water to  reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Cover the pan loosely with foil and bake for about 1 hour, or until the custards are firm at the edges, but still a bit wobbly in the center.

Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack to cool completely.  Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours or up to 7 days.

Preheat the broiler. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the sugar over each custard in a thin,even layer.  Broil the custards as close to the heat as possible until the sugar is evenly caramelized, 30 seconds to 2 minutes.  Let cool slightly and serve at once.


Cajun Quiche

Visit our new website at!Got out of town guests? Need a New Year’s Day brunch show stopper? We’ve got just the thing.

Cajun Quiche

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

pinch salt

3 to 4 tablespoons water

2 tbsp. olive oil

¼ cup caramelized onion

1 cup roasted red pepper strips

1 cup cooked andouille, thinly sliced

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

2/3 cup milk

pinch each cumin and cayenne

6 large eggs

1/3 cup heavy cream, preferably not ultra-pasteurized

8 oz. shredded cheddar or provolone

To make the pastry: In a bowl, using fingertips, mix the flour, softened butter, and the salt, adding just enough of the water to form a ball. Do not overwork the mixture. Cover and chill for several hours.


To make the filling: Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes.  Add peppers and cook over medium heat until juices are evaporated, about 5 minutes.  Remove to a medium bowl and let cool.  Stir in sausage.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a medium bowl, whisk the milk into the eggs.  Add the cream and continue whisking until homogenous.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Roll the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12 inch circle. Pat into a 10-inch tart pan so that the dough extends up over the edge by ¼ inch. Prick the bottom and sides with a fork and gently line with a sheet of foil, pressing against the bottom and sides. Bake for 6 minutes. Remove the foil. Bake for another 5 minutes, pressing down any pockets with a fork. Spoon in the vegetable mixture and pour the egg mixture over.  Top with cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until puffed and golden.   Serves 4 to 6.

We’re 50 Years Old Today!

Visit our new website at!2010 marks the 50th anniversary of Overland Park and the 50th Overland Park Fall Festival! In conjunction with the City of Overland Park, TODAY’s event features a large arts and crafts fair in Santa Fe Commons Park, the annual parade, the farmers market, music, fun for the kids, an outdoor Business Connection Fair (expo), and much more.

Parade 10 a.m.
Farmers Market 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Arts & Crafts 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Business/retail fair 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Music all day

Caramel Apple Dip

Visit our new website at!· 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine

· 1/2 cup mild honey or light corn syrup

· 3/4 cup brown sugar

· 1 can condensed milk

· Apples (and Pears! ) for dipping

Mix together the syrup, honey, butter and sugar in the sauce pan. Turn on medium-high heat while stirring regularly.  Bring the mixture to a boil for two minutes while stirring constantly.

Add the condensed milk and mix well, keeping the stirring and heat constant. Store the caramel dip in airtight jars in the refrigerator. To warm the dip back up, do so in the microwave on a low setting.

Downtown Dinner Club

Visit our new website at!Downtown Dinner Club

A Unique Dining Experience

In The Heart of Downtown Overland Park

Can you say “Dinner, Downtown Strolling and Dinero!” KC’s newest dining concept seats you at community tables where you will be served an inspirational chef-prepared meal AND you will be rewarded for strolling through some of the most unique shops and galleries in Kansas City.

Grab some friends, or fly solo, and drop by anytime between 6:00 and 9:00. Have a pre-dinner cocktail in our “Santa Fe Kitchen Lounge,” enjoy some laid-back music and complimentary “bar bites.”

You’ll be issued a “Downtown Clocktower Card,” that can be stamped at some of these funky galleries and shops  (Yes, we are cool and hip down here in DTOP!]  to receive a $10 gift certificate toward a cooking class of your choice. Now we’re having some old-fashioned FUN! Kind of a throwback to the good ole’ days where things were simpler, the food was honest and folks gathered “in town” on a Friday night.

Dress casual. We’ll be waiting for you.



This Friday, 9/17/10

serving anytime between 6:00-9:00

Cost is $35 per person


(Includes full dinner with dessert and nonalcoholic beverages; serving anytime between 6:00-9:00 p.m. only on Friday 9/17/10; no advance reservations accepted; this is a “walk-in” event only; first-come, first-served … until the food runs out!)



Visit our new website at!Summer Succotash Salad

3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. honey
1/2 small red onion, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3/4 lb green beans, end trimmed and cut in half crosswise
2 ears white or yellow corn, shucked, kernels removed
1/2 lb frozen BABY lima beans
1/2 small red bell pepper, diced
1/2 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp.+ chopped fresh basil

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, honey and red onion.  Add sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. In a medium sauce pan bring 2 ½ quarts of water to boil.  Add 1 teaspoon of salt and green beans and boil for 1 minute. Add lima beans and corn and cook for 5 more minutes or until tender.  Drain in colander, rinse with cold water and drain well.  Transfer to serving bowl and pour dressing over vegetables.  Toss and coat evenly, add basil and toss gently, adding more salt and pepper to taste.  Serve.

This is best made one day ahead of serving.  If made ahead, take out of refrigerator and let set out for a few minutes.  Add basil just before serving.