Strawberries and rhubarb are now in season, which means that the summer canning season has begun. Preserving the bounty of fresh fruit is so satisfying, especially when you open a jar in the dead of winter and smell the freshness of summer. Kitchen Conservatory sells all of the necessary canning jars and equipment.
Our Recipe file have lots of recipes that are wonderful to can:
Fruit butters don’t contain any butter, but the fruit is cooked down to a thick paste that can be spread like butter. Since a lot of fruit makes a little amount of fruit butter, make fruit butter when you are overrun with way too much fruit.
Peel and seed the fruit and chop. Place the fruit in a stock pot. Add the apple juice and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the fruit is very soft, stirring occasionally. Pass the jam through a food mill. Return to the stock pot and bring to a boil. Stir in the sugar and lemon. Cook until very thick, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. As the mixture cooks down, be careful not to let the fruit scorch on the bottom of the pan. Ladle into sterilized jars and seal.
Please join us for our three upcoming canning classes, so you can master fabulous recipes for canning, plus learn how to safely can and preserve food:
Plump the Raisins. Dried fruits are dry, which means they need to be plumped up with hot liquid. Sure you could soak the raisins in hot water, but I prefer using liquids with flavor, such as brandy or rum. In a saucepan, heat a half-cup of liquid, add the raisins, remove from heat, and let sit until cool and the alcohol is absorbed. And, yes, I plump up the raisins in other dishes, such as oatmeal-raisin cookies.
Toast the Nuts. The full flavor of nuts comes out when the nuts are toasted (at 350 degrees for 5 minutes) right before using. Pre-toasted nuts don’t have the same taste as freshly-toasted nuts. Toasting in a dry skillet does not work, since the only part of the nut that cooks is the edge that touches the pan. Nuts must be toasted in the oven.
Butter and Oil. Cakes taste better when made with butter, but butter can produce a dry cake. Use half butter and half vegetable oil in the batter and the cake will be moist and delicious. The vegetable oil that I use is olive oil, because fruity olive oil has more flavor than deodorized vegetable oils.
Cream the Icing. “To cream” is an often misunderstood direction in the kitchen. Creaming is about creating a luscious texture. To cream, the cream cheese and butter must be at room temperature (allow 2 hours), must be mixed in an electric mixer, and achieving the silky texture takes about 10-15 minutes of mixing in the stand mixer, so that the sugar is completely blended and dissolved in the butter.
Don’t miss the delicious carrot cakes in these upcoming cooking classes:
Do chefs have secrets to their cooking? Yes! Can you learn these secrets? Yes! Secrets of the chefs are revealed every night at Kitchen Conservatory. You can learn how to make delicious restaurant-style food at home.
This schedule of cooking classes offers a lot of cooking techniques. Don’t miss learning these essential kitchen secrets:
Grilling medium-rare strip steak on June 16 in “Que’s Your Daddy”
Cooking tender filet of beef topped with fresh béarnaise sauce on September 7 in “Sense and Saucibility”
The best burgers (freshly grinding the meat!) on July 14 in “Burger Throw Down” or August 24 in “Until We Meat Again”
Low-and-slow smoking of beef brisket on July 28 in “Meat Me at the Smoker”
Cooking whole lobster on August 27 in “Citrus and Seafood”
Grilling a whole fish on June 2 in “Thrill of the Grill” or September 10 in “School of Whole Fish”
Homemade ravioli on June 18 in “Cutting Edge of Ravioli”
Chopped salads and dressings on July 31 in “It’s a Wonderful Knife” (the right kind of knife is the secret!)
Making, keeping, and using natural bread starters on July 17 in “Sourdough Bread”
Flaky pie crusts on June 17 in “Pie Maintenance”
Creamy cheesecakes on July 22 in “Let Them Eat Cheesecake”
Some cooking techniques can’t be described in a recipe or cookbook; you have to see it live to learn the secret! I hope to see you in the kitchen this summer.
Although the extra-cool Spring has been frustrating to gardeners (we lost our tomato plants last night due to an unexpected frost), the time is right to plant herbs. No plant is as satisfying to grow as herbs, since they generally grow like weeds. Every cook appreciates a bunch of fresh herbs readily available by the kitchen door.
If you are a member of the Missouri Botanical Garden, please sign up for a talk on “Herbs in the Year of Food” with Anne Cori on Thursday, April 25 from 11 am to noon in the Schoenberg Theater. The speech will focus on how to utilize fresh herbs in cooking.
Ready to start using fresh herbs in cooking? Join us for one of these herb-inspired cooking classes:
And to get you salivating for the pleasures of fresh herbs, here are three herbal condiments.
Classic Italian Pesto
In a food processor, puree the basil, spinach, parmesan, garlic, and pine nuts. Drizzle in the oil to make a smooth paste. Toss with cooked pasta or spoon into vegetable soup.
Chimichurri Sauce (Argentine Pesto)
Puree all of the ingredients in a food processor. Use as a garnish on top of cooked meats or seafood.
Chop all of the ingredients together. Use as a garnish on top of cooked meats.
Feast Magazine this month features an article on how to throw a Dinner Party. Many people are intimidated by the thought of hosting a party; there are so many details to consider! Please use the tips in the “Entertaining with Ease” article so that you can relax and enjoy your own party. Go ahead, set a date, invite friends, and put on a stylish feast!
All of the recipes for our fantasy dinner party are also included on the Feast website. Here is the menu:
This Spring has seen an infestation of chickweed, which was choking out our tender garlic shoots (planted last October). Our garlic crop — 2,500 heads — look much better with the weeds removed. If all goes well, the the fresh garlic will be harvested between June 15-30 and available at Kitchen Conservatory. Mark your calendar so you don’t miss out on the wonderful taste of fresh, homegrown, hardneck garlic.
Here are our cleaned beds:
And here is the huge pile of weeds we pulled out (note the chicken in the coop looking at the pile):
For many diners, Indian cuisine is a mystery. So many spices! Plus, India is a huge country with different regional specialties. Many of the Indian restaurants in St. Louis are northern India. Aruna Menon, a culinary instructor at Kitchen Conservatory, hails from southern India where the cuisine is hotter and includes lots of fish and coconut.
Read the lovely profile of Aruna Menon in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Let’s Eat, which includes several recipes designed with the home cook in mind.
Aruna has two available cooking classes at Kitchen Conservatory:
Cumin and Taste the Spices of India on Saturday, July 13 at 10:30 am:
Join Aruna Menon in the kitchen and discover the five basic spices of India – cardamom, coriander, cumin, garam masala (a blend of Indian spices), and white pepper. This hands-on class will create creamy chicken curry with cashews, prawn curry with coconut milk, pan-fried cauliflower and potatoes, crunchy cucumber and peanut salad, whole wheat chapatis, plus Indian ginger chai.
Date Night for Couples: The Summer Heat of India on Saturday, August 10 at 6 pm:
Couples will discover a bit of spice in the kitchen as this hands-on class creates a memorable dinner with Aruna Menon, born in Bangalore, India. Learn to prepare tandoori chicken with cilantro chutney, tangy pork curry, Punjabi chick peas, cucumber raita, parathas – Indian pan-fried flat breads, and Indian ginger chai.
Sign up today for one of our brand-new exciting and delicious cooking classes!
BAKING UP A STORM on Thursday, April 4 at 6 pm
If April showers bring May flowers, then being in the kitchen working side-by-side with Christie Maggi will bring plenty of delicious desserts. This hands-on class will create five tasty dishes, including German chocolate cake, apple-almond custard pie, cashew-caramel tart, chocolate ice cream, and raspberry soufflé with crème anglaise.
COLORFUL MACARONS on Thursday, April 11 at 6 pm
Feel transported to a Parisian pâtisserie, as this hands-on class discovers magnificent macarons. Join Christie Maggi in the kitchen creating a myriad of macaron variations, including sesame macarons with ginger buttercream, chocolate macarons with whipped peanut butter, orange macarons with white chocolate, cinnamon macarons with whiskey buttercream, plus almond coconut American macaroons.
DELICIOUS DISHES on Thursday, April 18 at 6:30 pm
Christie Maggi shares five comfort food dishes that will have you coming back for more. This hands-on class will create barbecue shrimp with jalapeño-cheddar grits, ancho chile chicken stew with a cornbread topping, dried fruit-glazed brisket with blue cheese scalloped potatoes, pappardelle with Bolognese sauce, plus white chocolate bread pudding with brandy hard sauce.
RECIPE REDUX: FAVORITE PASTAS, PAST AND PRESENT on Thursday, April 25 at 6 pm
re•dux From Latin, to bring back
Christie Maggi shares four exquisite pasta dishes from St. Louis restaurants, past and present. Enjoy clam-mussel fettuccine from Cafe Napoli, porcini fettuccine from Portabella’s, goat cheese gnocchi with shrimp from Trattoria Marcella, and tortellini con panna from Bar Italia.
By popular demand, Kitchen Conservatory has added four new cooking classes:
Ciao Down on Pizza on Saturday, March 30 at 11 am
Improve your Italian with Anne Cori, who shares the secrets to incredible homemade pizza dough. This hands-on class will create caramelized onion-fig jam-bacon-gorgonzola pizza, roasted garlic-spinach-parmesan pizza with a balsamic syrup drizzle, homemade meatball-mushroom-mozzarella pizza, plus rosemary focaccia, and lemon curd pie.
Take Entertaining to a New Level on Saturday, April 6 at 11 am
Discover the tricks and tips of entertaining with a woman who loves to throw the perfect party. This hands-on class with Christie Maggi will discover how to plan for a party, cocktails and wine – how much is needed, setting an appetizer buffet with different levels, and how to calculate how many hors d’oeuvres are needed for a cocktail party. This class will create a spring appetizer party and prepare a bruschetta bar with antipasti, including truffled pea-goat cheese spread, basil tomato compote, sliced smoked tenderloin, caramelized onions, and toasted focaccia. Learn to make apple-leek-blue cheese tartlets, a beautiful crudités display with bacon-roquefort dip and chipotle ranch dressing, crab-stuffed mushrooms, lemon-shrimp puffs, butterscotch shortbread, raspberry chocolate fondue, plus a martini bar.
Fish and Bistro Sauces on Saturday, April 13 at 10:30 am
Join chef Jon Lowe, of Oceano Bistro, at the stove learning to prepare perfectly cooked fish and paired with a delicious sauce that will create a memorable meal. This hands-on class will create roasted sea bass with smoked tomato butter sauce, pan-seared halibut with wild mushroom butter sauce, grilled ahi tuna with tomato-pepper harissa sauce, and his celebrated grilled salmon with mustard-apple cider jus.
Barefoot on Saturday Morning on Saturday, April 20 at 10 am
Spend a relaxing morning in the kitchen creating some of Barb Nack’s favorite recipes from the cookbooks of Ina Garten, aka The Barefoot Contessa. This hands-on class will prepare zucchini vichyssoise, braised chicken with wild mushrooms, crispy roasted kale, truffled potato mash, plus salted caramel brownies.
Naam Pruitt, who has authored a wonderful cookbook on Thai food called “Lemongrass and Limes,” is profiled in today’s Let’s Eat in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The article includes several of her exciting recipes, including pad Thai, spring rolls, and Thai beef salad.
Naam teaches marvelous cooking classes at Kitchen Conservatory featuring delicious recipes and her very engaging style. Naam always has a smile on her face and she makes cooking fun. She is also notorious among our chef-instructors because Naam has never lost any of our Iron Chef competitions! Her fantastic food has beaten out some of the best chefs in St. Louis.
(Yes, we love Thai food classes because the titles are so much fun to write!)