Author Archive

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From Junior Chef to Pastry Chef

July 17, 2017

During this summer season of graduations, we had the opportunity to catch up with one of our former Junior Chefs Academy™ (JCA) students, Kinsey.  The first class she attended at The Culinary Center of Kansas City (CCKC) for our age 9-14 JCA students was cake decorating, and she loved it!  Later she tried an Asian cooking class, but quickly realized her passion was pastry.

When asked what else fueled her desire to bake, Kinsey credited her grandmother, who is well known for creating THE best Banana Nut Bread.  Like many of us, Kinsey started out as a “helper” in the kitchen, learning best practices like making everything from scratch (of course). 

Kinsey’s classes at CCKC and time in her grandmother’s kitchen both sweetened her enthusiasm to pursue an education in the culinary arts, so she accelerated her course work in high school at Shawnee Mission West and graduated early at the age of 16.  After a trip to explore the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area, she knew without a doubt that The Culinary Institute of Virginia was where she wanted to be.  Kinsey packed up the essentials with determination and drove 20 hours away from home.

With her degree in Baking & Pastry and a zest for cakes, Kinsey is now working at a local HyVee Bakery, gaining experience and dreaming of opening her own cake shop one day soon.  Kinsey enjoys both collaborating on team efforts and finding her ‘Zen place’ while immersed in a solo project, such as decorating a cake.  She thrives on the creative aspect of designing cakes, and is excited to start designing wedding cakes. 

Kinsey offers this advice to culinary arts students, “No matter how tough it may seem, stick with it.  It is so worth it!”

Thanks for checking in, Kinsey, and congratulations on your success!
In the words of Dr. Seuss, “Oh, the places you will go!”

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Meet Chef Molly Flynn…

July 6, 2017

Molly FlynnLet me introduce you to another of our new culinary instructors at The Culinary Center of Kansas City…  Chef Molly Flynn.

Molly attended culinary school at Seattle Central Culinary Academy. She’s worked for several restaurants and catering companies in Seattle while running her own business as a personal chef.

She has been a chef instructor for 5 years for both adults and children, and she currently works as the Banquet Chef at the Reserve event space in Kansas City’s Rockhill Grille. 

Molly is one of our newest instructors here at The Culinary Center of Kansas City, and we are happy to have her in our seasoned line-up. 

Take a look at Molly’s two CCKC cooking classes this summer:

French Classics Made Easy
Sun, July 30,  6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Limited Hands-On | Dinner

Junior Chefs Academy:
Kids Cook French Classics

(for ages 9-14)
Sun, August 6,  10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Hands-On  | Tasting

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Weed or Ingredient?

July 5, 2017

One person’s weed is another person’s treasured ingredient…purslaneMerriam-webster.com defines a ‘weed’ as a “plant that is not valued where it is growing and is usually of vigorous growth”. By that definition, the purslane that Farmer Steven brought to a customer on Market Day was indeed a weed.

His customer was of Indian descent and her mother uses purslane in many of their native dishes. But she was finding it difficult to find in stores. When Steven asked around among his neighbors, he found a farmer who was more than happy to get rid of some of the purslane that he pulled from his garden rows. It was growing independently and taking over his crop area. So Steven brought a box of it to his new friend.

Purslane is a succulent annual plant that grows even in poor soil, The crisp leaves, which have a slightly sour, salty taste and are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and a variety of vitamins, can be cooked and served as a side with fish and poultry, stir-fried with other greens, or chopped and served on salads, soups and other dishes. Its yellow flower buds can be a colorful addition to a salad too.  In Indian cuisine, it’s often used in soup or curry or rice or ragi mudde cakes.

Porulaca oleracea, its official botanical name, is also known as little hogweed, pigweed, red root and pursley. It looks a bit like a plant called ‘hairy-stemmed spurge’ with its pinkish stem and small rounded leaves like a jade plant, but hair-stemmed spurge is poisonous, so make sure you’ve got fresh, organic purslane before you try it!

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Happy Birthday, America!

July 1, 2017

It’s a long holiday weekend for Independence Day 2017, and hopefully you’ll be heading to some celebrations – whether you host dinner at your house, take a picnic to a park or enjoy snacks at a lake or pool. There will be food involved. It’s what we Americans do when we celebrate, am I right?!

Well, here’s an idea to wake up your holiday celebration with a bang! These appetizers are an explosion of flavor with turkey and crisp cabbage and carrots, ignited by the zest of chili paste. We borrow flavors of the Orient in this tasty recipe. Enjoy!

fireworksChinese Firecrackers

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey breast
  • 1 cup chopped cabbage
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chile paste
  • 1 tablespoon white wine
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 14 sheets phyllo dough
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup sweet and sour sauce

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook turkey, cabbage, carrot and onions in oil about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until turkey is no longer pink and vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in chili paste. Mix wine and cornstarch; stir into turkey mixture. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cut stack of phyllo sheets crosswise in half. Cover with waxed paper, then with damp towel to prevent them from drying out. Place 1 half-sheet of phyllo on flat surface. Brush with small amount of oil. Top with second half-sheet of phyllo.

Place about 2 tablespoons turkey mixture on short end of phyllo; shape mixture into about 4-inch log. Roll up phyllo and turkey mixture. Twist phyllo 1 inch from each end to make firecracker shape. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining phyllo and turkey mixture.   

Brush firecrackers with remaining oil. Bake about 20 minutes or until phyllo is crisp and golden brown. Serve with sweet-and-sour sauce.  (recipe below)

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • ½ c. sugar
  • ¼ c. white vinegar
  • ¼ c. pineapple juice
  • 2 t. soy sauce
  • ¼ c. water

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer gently 5 minutes, then remove from heat.  Store in refrigerator and serve cold.

 

 

 

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Pattypan, Pattypan, Bake Your Squash…

June 29, 2017

Farmer Steven’s CSA boxes from Just Natural Farms include Pattypan Squash this week. These distinctive summer squash are known for their round and shallow shape with scalloped edges. Also known as Sunburst Squash, it doesn’t have a strong flavor and tends to take on the flavor of the food with which it is prepared. They come in yellow, green and white varieties.

Pattypan Squash

So, how should you cook your pattypan?  Here’s a recipe we like…

Stuffed Pattypan Squash with Bacon

  • 6 pattypan squash, stems removed
  • 6 slices bacon
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • 1½ cups bread crumbs, soft
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put 1-inch of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add squash, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Drain. Slice off top stem from squash. Scoop out the centers of the squash and set aside. Reserve squash shells for later use.

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Remove and drain on paper towels. Crumble and set aside. Using the same skillet, sauté the onions in bacon drippings. Chop the reserved squash pieces and sauté with onions for 1 minute. Remove skillet from heat and stir in the bread crumbs; then stir in crumbled bacon and cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Stuff each pattypan squash shell to heaping with the squash mixture and place in glass baking dish. Cover with a sheet of aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes or until heated through. Makes 6 stuffed squash.
 

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Recipes from the Pop-Up Lunch

June 28, 2017

Pop-Up Lunch @ The Culinary Center of Kansas CityWell, if you missed Friday’s Pop-Up Lunch at The Culinary Center of Kansas City, you missed a delicious meal. Chef Sergio wow-ed the crowd with a grilled salmon salad with pickled red onions, strawberries and spiced pecans over fresh greens dressed in a white balsamic vinaigrette), Homemade Herb Crackers and Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing. Yum!  The lunch was a success, and we’re looking at the calendar to work out a date for another Pop-Up Lunch. Watch for that… coming soon.

Pop-Up Lunch - Salmon Salad

We had requests for recipes from the lunch, so here are a couple to try out at home. Enjoy!

CCKC’s Homemade Crackers

  • Oil, for baking sheet
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for rolling
  • ½ teaspoon salt plus more for sprinkling
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • Seasonings to taste (your choice, see below)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, chilled, unsalted, cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • Olive oil, as needed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly oil a baking sheet and set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl add the flour, ½ teaspoon salt and baking powder along with any dry seasonings.  Rub the butter into the dry ingredients.  Whisk together the egg and the milk.  Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring with a fork until a soft dough is formed.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly.

Divide the dough into 4 to 6 pieces and roll out each piece until quite thin (1/16-inch or so) A pasta machine works well for this.  Transfer the rolled out pieces of dough to an oiled baking sheet.  Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Place in the oven to bake until golden and crisp.  Let the crackers cool and break into pieces.

Seasoning ideas:

  • Minced garlic, parsley and lemon zest
  • Minced fresh herbs such as sage, basil, rosemary, etc.
  • Ground fennel seed and saffron (dissolve the saffron in a tablespoon of hot water and add with the liquid—reduce milk by 1 tablespoon)
  • Various spices such as curry powder, cumin, garam masala, etc.
  • Dill and lemon zest

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Carrot Cake Muffins with Cream Cheese Icing

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups raw ground carrots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cupcake pan or add liners.

Mix sugar, vegetable oil and eggs in large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients. Fold dry ingredients into wet in the large mixing bowl. Blend well. Add carrots.

Pour batter about 2/3 full into cupcake baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until done.  Makes one dozen.

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the frosting, in an electric mixer bowl, add the butter and cream cheese. Cream together until smooth. Stir in the powdered sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla to combine.  Spread frosting over top of cooled cakes.

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Cooking with Lauren

June 21, 2017

Lauren LaneWe are pleased to introduce you to Lauren Lane, one of our newest culinary instructors at The Culinary Center of Kansas City.

Lauren left behind a corporate career to pursue her passion of teaching cooking and entertaining.  She enjoys traveling and tasting all the local foods a region has to sample. She not only teaches people how to recreate her delicious recipes but also provides tips and tricks on how to entertain effortlessly in your home, and have FUN while doing it!

Italian food is Lauren’s passion but she also dedicates a lot of love to simple and delicious seasonal dishes.

She believes nothing brings friends and families together like great food – and she inspires her classes with fun, make-ahead entertaining ideas. She encourages us to slow down, enjoy life and gather around the table.

Check out two upcoming classes Lauren will be teaching at The Culinary Center soon –

Low-Country Shrimp Boil: The Perfect Party
Sat, July 15,  6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Dinner  |  Limited Hands-On

Cooking with Lauren: My Favorite Italian Dinner Party
Sat, August 19, 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Dinner  |  Limited Hands-On

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