Category Archives: Main Dish

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.



Livin’ It Up In Atlanta

Our Culinary Center of Kansas City ‘Main Dish’ Laura Laiben checked in today during her trip to Atlanta and #AmericasMart. She is there debuting the sale of our Kitchen Boa™, which we have licensed to Demdaco to produce and sell worldwide. (To read more about that, click here.)  She was treated to a fabulous dinner, and shared the details and pictures with us via text –

“Demdaco treated me to Parish, a restaurant in an uber-cool district in downtown Atlanta. Crispy cauliflower presents like sesame chicken. Tastes amazing. We tried almost all the small plates on the menu.  Grilled oysters.  Polenta bowl with winter veggies were a couple. Each dish was perfectly executed. Cheddar cheese ice cream for dessert. Say what?  Another called Coke and Peanuts.”

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Headin’ to the Mart…

kitchen boaMany of you may have seen (and purchased!) one of our signature products here at The Culinary Center of Kansas City – the Kitchen Boa™.    This stylish reinvention of the classic kitchen towel innovates a fashionable alternative to the dish towel over the shoulder. 

Well, our product is heading off to the big time.  Our CCKC Main Dish Laura Laiben has licensed the Kitchen Boa™ product to Demdaco, a Kansas City company  that specializes in artist-driven gift and home décor products that lift the spirit and help people connect in meaningful ways. Clearly a perfect combination!

Pre-sales in September were impressive.  The line of 16 Kitchen Boa™ designs officially kicks off at Demdaco’s Showroom at the Atlanta Gift Mart next week, one of the three major gift shows in the U.S., next to Dallas and Las Vegas.

Our ‘Main Dish’  will be set up in the mocked-up kitchen in the Demdaco Showroom at the Americasmart Building at the Atlanta Gift Show for an artist demonstration of the Kitchen Boa™. She’ll also be doing a cooking demo there, as well as signing her cookbooks!  (She’ll be sending pictures and checking up to let us know how it’s going at the Gift Mart, so look for those next week!)  Whew… who would have guessed that our handmade Kitchen Boas™ would make the big time…

We will have a new batch of our original signature line of Kitchen Boa™, as well as an order of the 18 designs produced by Demdaco this week.

Here’s a sneak peek at the new Kitchen Boa™ by Demdaco. We also have adorable strong magnetic hooks that are perfect for hanging the boa in your kitchen.  Interested in purchasing?  Stop by The Kitchen Shop at The Culinary Center in downtown Overland Park, or click here to shop online at our website.

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Happy To Celebrate The New Year As Part of CCKC Food Family

Along with a list of resolutions, I like to make a list of things I’m grateful for at the start of each year. If I begin the year by making a list of great things I’m happy with in my life, I can refer back to this list when the year presents challenges and keep in sight the positive things I have going.

High on my list of positives are the fabulous foodie friends that I have made while working at The Culinary Center of Kansas City.  I’m happy to say that these talented, friendly folks are just the same in real life as they seem when you meet them in our classes, events, Kitchen Shop or 3rd Friday LOCAL LIFE.  Our CCKC ‘Main Dish’ Laura Laiben has pulled together a group of people who are fun to be around and are passionate about creating an exceptional experience for our customers as they celebrate all things culinary. 

We are lucky to get the opportunity to take staff field trips and have occasional gatherings together to enjoy our group outside of our busy schedule.  In November, we enjoyed an evening out to celebrate our little culinary clan. We started at Boulevard Beer Hall for happy hour and went on to dinner at Westside Local.  Both good choices. Tasty beverages, delicious food and terrific company…. who could ask for more?

Cheers, everyone. I hope you have a long list of positives to start your year too!

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Don’t Miss Our First Saturday Morning Flash Demo™!

We debut our brand new cooking education class concept, Saturday Morning Flash Demos™, this Saturday, Jan 7.  They’re perfect for busy foodies & weekend kitchen warriors to learn to cook.

Learn to make pie like your GrannyPIE CRUST FOR DUMMIES
Our own CCKC “Main Dish” Laura Laiben
will dispel the myth that making pie crust is hard.
She’ll teach you in this Demonstration class
how to make it like your Granny.
(Apple pie à la Mode tastings all around!  Yum!) 
Sat. Jan 7, 11 a.m. – Noon
Come early for a Free Irish Coffee & “Foodie Talk”

Register in advance online ($25)
or walk in the morning of class ($30) 

Register NowSaturday Morning FLASH DEMOS™Each 1-hour “flash demo” class will focus on
one recipe, technique or ingredient, will include
tastings and recipes, and will be taught by
experienced cooking instructors
(a/k/a “Flash Demo Food Professors”).


#1  Pie Crust for Dummies
Chef Laura Laiben  |  Sat, Jan 7

#2  Laissez les Beignets Roulez! (Doughnuts!)
Chef Jason Provo  |  Sat, Jan 14

#3  Moroccan Mouthful: Chicken Tagine 
Chef Gary Hild  |  Sat, Jan 21

#4  Bad-Ass Street Tacos
Chef Raven Naramore  |  Sat, Jan 28

#5  French Crepes & Sexy Vanilla
Chef Charlie Hammond  |  Sat, Feb 4

#6  Saltimbocca
Chef Daniela Mancinelli Abel  |  Sat, Feb 11

… plus more dates to be added.
Visit our website for a current listing of Saturday Morning Flash Demos™.
Saturdays from 11 a.m. – Noon.

Handwritten Holiday Treasures

The ‘Main Dish’ (aka Culinary Center of Kansas City owner/founder Laura Laiben) spent the morning making a triple batch of her mom’s famous Christmas Fruit Cookie

recipe-Christmas Fruit Cookies

No, it isn’t written in acceptable recipe format. But she knows how to read it after many years of use.  And Yes, it should be passed down to her own children – albeit with more directions.

How many of you work from handwrittten family recipes for Christmas treats that you cherish? 

We would love to have you share yours! Email a pic of the recipe (and even better, the outcome!) to and we’ll post a few of them.

p.s. Here’s how the Christmas Fruit Cookies come out. And they’re always gone in a hurry!

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Proud To Be Selected…

Wow! Thanks! Sure, it’s an honor to be nominated, but we have to be honest… it feels even better to win.

Laura LaibenWe are proud to announce that The Culinary Center of Kansas City has been named Kansas Woman-Owned Business of the the Year Service Industry Firm by the Kansas Department of Commerce, Office of Minority & Women Business Development.

Laura Laiben, CCKC founder, owner and ‘Main Dish’, will be honored at an awards luncheon in Topeka next week, and we couldn’t be prouder. This little idea that she created 20 years ago has grown and become a culinary fixture in the Kansas City community.

Just had to share…