Win a Free Cooking Class!

March 27, 2015

Subscribe & WinThat’s right. We’re offering a seat in a cooking class to one lucky randomly-chosen subscriber of our Kitchen Talk Blog.  If you’re a subscriber, you’re already entered to win! If not, just subscribe to the blog at the top of the right-side column.  >>>

Subscribers to our blog receive an email when new stories are posted to our blog. We’re not crazy rabid post-ers (promise!), so expect just a few well thought out posts each week.  These posts include menus, information and recipes from our Tuesday Lunch, specials we’re offering, and sometimes just funny stuff that we like to share from behind-the-scenes at The Culinary Center.

At noon on Wednesday, April 1, we’ll choose the winner (no foolin’), so sign up today.

What do you say we spice up this deal?! If we hit 500 subscribers by the April 1 noon cutoff, we’ll pick a second winner and give them our ‘Best Recipes’ Culinary Center of Kansas City Cookbook!


 * Fine print:  Our ‘Subscribe & Win’ winner can choose a spot in a cooking class, April – August 2015. Pro Series and multi-day classes excluded. We’ll contact the winner via the email used to subscribe to the blog.


‘Anything Goes’ for our Main Dish

March 27, 2015

Laura Laiben - The Main DishOur Culinary Center’s ‘Main Dish’, owner Laura Laiben, will be a guest on the ‘Anything Goes’ radio show on KKFI 90.1 FM on Friday, March 27.  Tune her in at noon as host Charles Ferruzza discusses Kansas City-area cooking schools..

It’s a call-in show, folks, so get those culinary school questions ready!


Enjoy the Flavors of Morocco

March 24, 2015

We used about every spice in the pantry on this recipe, and boy, do those flavors sing!  We served it with fruited couscous, cucumber and mint tzatziki sauce, warm pita bread and cardamom rice pudding for Tuesday Lunch.

Chicken TagineChicken Tagine with Lemon and Olives

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 15 chicken thighs
  • 2 small green bell pepper, washed, stem, seeds, and ribs removed, sliced
  • 2 small red bell pepper, washed, stem, seeds, and ribs removed, sliced
  • 2 medium onion, peeled, sliced
  • 1 (2-inch piece) ginger root, fresh, peeled, grated
  • 8 large cloves garlic, fresh, peeled, chopped
  • 2 red hot chile pepper, fresh, washed, stem and seeds removed, minced (or jalapeno)
  • 10 large tomatoes, fresh, ripe, washed, chopped
  • 2 teaspoon ground tumeric (or saffron)
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 preserved lemon, pulp removed, sliced
  • 2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
  • ½ cup cilantro, fresh, washed, chopped plus more, for garnish (optional)

In a skillet heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and cook until browned, turning to brown all sides. Remove from skillet and set aside in a warm place. Carefully pour off fat from skillet, reserving 1 tablespoon.  In same skillet add green and red bell peppers, and onion.  Sauté until vegetables are soft, stirring constantly to prevent burning.  Add ginger, garlic, and chilies and continue to cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add tomatoes.  Stir to combine and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add turmeric, cumin, salt, black pepper, and stock and stir to combine.  Reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 10 minutes.  Add chicken pieces back to the pan, covering well.  Add lemon, olives, and ½ cup cilantro.  Stir to combine.  Cover with a lid and gently simmer for 30 minutes or until chicken is very tender. Remove from heat and sprinkle with additional cilantro, for garnish.  Serve warm with hot couscous (or basmati rice).

Makes 15 servings



“Rock The Casbah” at Tuesday Lunch

March 23, 2015

Imagine the warm breeze flapping through the market tents in a small Moroccan village.  Breathe in the scents of warm Mediterranean spices and feel the tension go away.  Open your eyes, look up and you’ll likely see a Casbah (or “Kazbah”), a walled fortress-like structure, on the hill.  Join us as we serve Casbah cuisine in the form of a Chicken Tagine at Tuesday Lunch on March 24.  See you Tuesday between 11:30 and 1:00 at The Culinary Center of Kansas City!

Chicken Tagine with Fruited Couscous
Cucumber and Mint Tzatziki Sauce
Warm Pita Bread
Cardamom Rice Pudding

Learning about Lunch:

Taginetagine (or tajine) is a North African dish similar to a stew, as well as literally the dish in which it is made. The Moroccan earthenware piece consists of two pieces. The bottom piece can double as a serving plate for the stew. The traditional tagine would be placed above coals, but can also be cooked in the oven or on a stovetop. The conical top piece helps bring condensation back to the bottom of the dish.  A similar dish to the North African tagine is tavvas, found in the cuisine of Cyprus.


Welcome Spring with Free Wine & Craft Beer

March 19, 2015

Celebrate the 1st Day of Spring
Eat, Drink & Shop LOCAL

In Downtown Overland Park


 Friday March 20, 2015
5:00-8:30 p.m.

Stroll our streets and visit many merchants who will be hosting special events in their unique shops!  Browse artisan products and listen to local musicians. Enjoy delicious samples and special offers.
Commune with other happy folks.
All in connection with our
3rd Friday LOCAL LIFE  events.

Visit us for FREE Tastings!
Craft Beers from Summit Brewing Co.,
Argentinian Wines
& Handmade Salted Pretzels!
(who doesn’t love warm pretzels on a Spring evening
… and did I mention the wine & beer?)

Local Life - Third Fridays in Downtown Overland Park

See all event descriptions below:



Servin’ Up Irish Fare For St. Paddy’s

March 16, 2015

Lookin’ for a little bit of Ireland tomorrow?  Join us for some great Irish fare at our Tuesday Lunch.  We’re serving anytime from 11:30-1:00 and you’ll delight in one of our favorite dishes — Reuben Casserole.  Green beer is available if you like too! (Just give us a minute to grab the green food coloring out of our cake decorating supplies!)

Your Lucky Lunch Menu

Little Leprechaun’s “Reuben Casserole”
Mixed Greens with a Balsamic Dressing
Handmade Irish Soda Bread and Creamery Butter
and, for dessert,
Strawberry Trifle with Irish Whiskey Sauce
(and believe me, you can taste the Irish in that sauce!)

Here’s the recipe for the Irish Soda Bread. Try it at home!


  • 4 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 3/4 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425°. In a large mixing bowl add 4 cups flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Gently mix to combine. Using a pastry cutter (or two knives or your fingers), work butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in raisins.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add beaten egg and buttermilk to well and mix in with a wooden spoon until dough is too stiff to stir. Dust hands with a little flour, then gently knead dough in the bowl just long enough to form a rough ball. If the dough is too sticky to work with, add in a little more flour. Do not over-knead! Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a round loaf. Note that the dough will be a little sticky, and quite shaggy (a little like a shortcake biscuit dough). You want to work it just enough so that it comes together. If you over-knead, the bread will end up tough.

Transfer dough to a large, lightly greased cast-iron skillet or a baking sheet (it will flatten out a bit in the pan or on the baking sheet). Using a serrated knife, score top of dough about an inch and a half deep in an “X” shape. The purpose of the scoring is to help heat get into the center of the dough while it cooks. Transfer to oven and bake until bread is golden and bottom sounds hollow when tapped, about 35-45 minutes. (If you use a cast iron pan, it may take a little longer as it takes longer for the pan to heat up than a baking sheet.) Check for doneness also by inserting a long, thin skewer into the center. If it comes out clean, it’s done.


Shipwreck, Sun Dog & Skinny Legs

March 4, 2015

The Main DishI am going to go out on a (mangrove) limb here and proclaim that the best food can be found in the bars and pubs of any community.

Yes I know, I am a foodie and I am supposed to appreciate the finer, more complex dishes created by hard-working and creative chefs … which I do.  But time and time again, it is the simpler fare of watering holes and gathering places that produce the best food memories.

It rings true here in the Virgin Islands, as well. Each grilled mahi mahi sandwich I savor sitting on a worn wooden barstool with my feet half covered in sand, represents the most delicious culinary experiences for me.  The citrus-marinated, nut crusted, blackened or plain ole grilled fish nestled in a buttered and grilled egg bun leaves me with the same satisfaction as the same piece of fish put forth on a 14-inch white ceramic plate as part of a culinary tower of food art.  Both have their place.

Shipwreck LandingThere is just something about the spots where the regular folks eat — the locals stepping away for lunch, hungry tourists just in from a day of boating, or workmen sitting around a table exhausted after a long day of grueling work.  I experienced this same thing in Ireland, Italy and Mexico.

Maybe it’s just me.  Maybe it’s my interest in the psychology of how people gather in communities.  Or maybe it’s just the rum punch talking … but these are the culinary treasures that I am drawn to studying.  The Chester’s Hideaways, the Vies Snack Shacks, the Driftwood Daves, the Shipwreck Bars, the Sun Dog Cafes and the Skinny Legs Bars are where it happens for me.

Caribbean - Local Cuisine


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