Category Archives: Culinary definition

We Have Your Tagine Pot! A What?

Our Culinary Center of Kansas City ‘Main Dish’ Laura Laiben found some uber cool Tagine pots and brought the best of them back to sell in our CCKC Kitchen Shop.

Wait… what?

Never heard of a tagine pot? Well, let us tell you about it. It’s more than just a beautiful pot to decorate your kitchen  (although it will look pretty spectacular on your shelf).

The Tagine is an earthenware cooking and serving pot common in North Africa. The heating is more even than what you would get in a regular skillet, and the liquid that gets released from the food while it cooks the food keeps it moist. A tagine used on a stovetop gives you that wonderful slow, even cooking that you would normally get from an oven-braise. The conical top returns moisture to the food below, and when the dish is done, you can serve it right from the pot! Use the tagine for cooking fish, meat, fruit and vegetables.

Take a look at the lovely pots we have in stock, then scroll down further for a tagine recipe!

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Pork Tagine with Dried Figs and Almonds

  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup almonds, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound boned pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground dried chili peppers (such as ancho or chili powder)
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ cup dried figs, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 4 fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put the sesame seeds on a small sheet pan or pie plate and toast in the oven for 6 minutes. Add the almonds (do not mix with the sesame seeds) and toast another 8 to 9 minutes until golden brown. Set aside.

In a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or tagine pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Brown the pork on all sides in 2 batches, about 5 minutes total. Add the garlic, onions, cumin, cardamom, turmeric, and ground chili peppers to the lamb. Stir well and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 5 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the meat is tender. It should be slightly springy, but easy to pull apart with your fingers.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Strain the liquid from the stew into a small saucepan or bowl and skim the fat. Check for salt and pepper and keep warm. Mix the meat and figs and spread in a single layer in an ovenproof serving dish. Pour the sauce over the meat and figs and sprinkle with the toasted almonds. Bake for 5 minutes or until crisp and golden.

Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds and chopped cilantro. Top with the cilantro sprigs, for garnish. Serve from the hot dish.  Makes 2-3 servings.



What To Do With Ripened Bananas

Ripened BananasBananas were on my grocery list this week. There are three already sitting on my counter at home, but they’re over-ripe and the family just isn’t interested in eating them anymore. What a waste!

Truth be told, I really love when this happens… because it means it’s time to make some banana bread! (or banana muffins or banana cake or banana cookies or a host of other delightful banana baked goods)

I only used two of the bananas in the bread and didn’t have the energy to whip up some muffins too, so I faced the age-old dilemma of what to do with the remaining over-ripened banana. I refuse to hand it over to the compost pile.

Fortunately, you can freeze bananas for future use.  But should you save them in the peel? Peel before storing?  The simple answer is – any way you want. But consider the following:

  • Always keep them in a well-sealed freezer storage container. You don’t want them picking up flavors from other food in the freezer.
  • Don’t worry when the bananas turn black. The oxidation process is nothing that will affect baking with them. Nor is the sheen of frost that might develop on them.
  • Saving them with their peel protects the fruit inside a bit from odors in the freezer, but then — so does the freezer storage container.
  • Peeling them before freezing saves you the trouble of taking off the slimy peel after thawing the bananas.
  • You might want to cut the banana into 3 or 4 pieces before freezing. That will make it easy to use in smoothies too.
  • You can mash them before freezing, but it doesn’t save you any time later. You’ll need to re-pureé them before use.
  • Try to use your ripened treasures within six months. Everything has its limits.

Bottomline, if you like baked goods with bananas, you should be freezing those ripened ones.  Get past the look of the mushy fruit that you’ll get once they thaw and save a few bucks that might have just gone to waste if you’d thrown those over-ripened bananas away. You’ll be glad you did!

Banana Bread

Induction Cooking 101

Do you know what induction cooking is?

In a nutshell, induction cooking technology uses magnetic energy to move around molecules in your pan and heat your food instead of heating the pan itself in order to cook your food. So the induction cooktop doesn’t get hot, and it provides an even heating for your pans.

Induction cooktops have been used Europe and Asia for years, and are finally becoming more popular in the United States. In recent years, the technology has improved, as have the prices. Now, it’s common to see induction cooktops being used here by both professional chefs and home cooks.

Your pots and pans must be ‘induction-friendly’ to use the induction cooktops. You can test if your cookware is induction-friendly with a magnet. If a magnet clings to the bottom of your pans, you’re good to go with an induction cooktop! In general, your cooking vessel must contain a ferromagnetic metal, such as cast iron and some stainless steels. (There are ferromagnetic disks available to use as hotplates that enable you to use other pots.)

Our  own line of professional grade ProSeries Cookware is induction-friendly and makes a perfect gift for the foodie on your list!  We startled a few guests in our Kitchen Shop when our Vitacraft representative, Karie Keeney, left a sheet of paper on the burner while she taught us about induction cooking.  Induction Cooking 101 lesson.  Check!

To learn of the many other benefits of our ProSeries Cookware, and why we think it’s pretty dang nifty, click here!

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N’awlins Is Callin’ Your Name.. For Staff Lunch!

When Louisiana chefs make Jambalaya, they traditionally “sweep up the kitchen” and toss just about everything into the pot. It’s a rice dish with any combination of beef, pork, fowl, smoked sausage, ham, or seafood, as well as celery, green peppers and often tomatoes.

JambalayaCulinary Definition:

Jambalaya  (jum-bə-ly)
A creole cuisine hallmark, jambalaya is a versatile dish that combines cooked rice with a variety of ingredients including tomato, onions, green pepper and almost any kind of meat, poultry or shellfish…   It’s thought that the name derives from the French jambon, meaning ‘ham’, the main ingredient in many of the first jambalayas.

Information from:
Food Lover’s Companion (available in The Kitchen Shop @ CCKC)


Join us for a Bead Throwin’ Staff Lunch Menu on Tuesday, February 3 at The Culinary Center of Kansas City.
You’ll enjoy:


Southern Jambalaya with Shrimp, Sausage, Vegetables & Rice

Baby Greens with Citrus Vinaigrette

Café DuMonde Beignets (made to order!)



crostata is an Italian baked dessert tart, and a form of pie. It is traditionally prepared by folding the edges of the dough over the top of the jam/marmalade filling, creating a more “rough” look, rather than a uniform, circular shape. The jams that are traditionally used as a filling are cherries, peaches, apricots, berries. The crostata can also be filled with pieces of fresh fruit and pastry cream (crema pasticcera), but then it is called torta di frutta. A typical central Italian variety replaces jam with ricotta mixed with sugar, cocoa or pieces of chocolate and anisetta; this is called crostata di ricotta.

These are easy rustic forms of pies filled with YOUR favorite fillings. They can be made ahead of time, wrapped securely and frozen for use at a later time.

Cobb Salad

The Cobb salad is a garden salad invented by Robert H. Cobb, first cousin of Ty Cobb. (hey, it’s baseball season, we had to include his picture). It was a signature menu item of the Hollywood Brown Derby.

“. . . its origin was quite by accident. One evening the original owner, Robert H. Cobb, went to the icebox and found an avocado, which he chopped with lettuce, celery, tomatoes, and strips of bacon. Later he embellished it with breast of chicken, chives, hard-boiled egg, watercress, and a wedge of Roquefort cheese for dressing, and the salad was on its way to earning an international reputation.”

This is a little history from The Culinary Center of Kansas City™.

Barbecue, BBQ, Barbeque

Our world at The Culinary Center of Kansas City™ is full of BBQ, however you want to spell it or whichever  part of speech you wish to use….noun, verb, adjective…we love ’em all.  There are two generally accepted definitions for this word. First of all Barbecue is a food dish consisting of a whole (or good part) of an animal (usually pig) slow cooked over a smoldering fire for a long period of time. Barbecue is also an event of gathering in which people come together to celebrate and eat Barbecue (first definition).

These are basically the definitions you’ll find in most any dictionary. However, today barbecue is a process of preparing food that requires smoke, low temperatures and long periods of time. The meats typically chosen for barbecue include, but are not limited to pork shoulder, brisket, ribs, mutton roasts, whole hogs and other beef and pork roasts. Barbecue is also the event or meal in which this food is served.

Also people refer to barbecue grills when they mean gas grills; and  people say they’ll be serving hamburgers and hot dogs at their barbecue.  Barbecue is a gathering, a meal, a sharing of time, food and companionship. Barbecue brings people together and makes them happy. Barbecue is about good times, friends and sometimes, it’s about the food.