Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summer Cocktail Sunday: True Blood S6E03 and a Mint Julep to die for

It's a sunny Sunday here, Trubies and Spoon lovers. Everyone's feeling the heat and it might be because of last week's episode, but I'm ready for a refreshing classic southern drink! 


But let's get to the recap. I loved last week's episode. It really brings back the flavor of previous seasons, when Bon Temp was a little more manageable and Sookie was just a waitress at a bar with vampires.

Oooh, bright, shiny spoilers!

The episode begins with Warlow ripping through time and space (am I the only one who heard a TARDIS sound?) and arriving on the very bridge where he allegedly killed Sookie and Jason's parents. Meanwhile, Jason meets his fairy grandfather, who stops the careening car with his light and tells Jason to shape up. There's a fight coming and he's not ready (mostly because the fairy gene skipped Jason). 
Eric and Nora arrive at Fangtasia to help Pam with a wounded Tara. Okay, a silver bullet that emits UV light? Humans 1, Vamps 0. Well, this means war. Realizing that humans are getting smarter, Eric is not going to wait around to be staked. Later, we see a nice conversation between Pam and Nora that starts to put Pam's worries about the relationship with her maker at ease. Also, Nora's read this bible like a million times and she's just now realizing a typo? How convenient.
Bill goes into catatonia after feeling the pain of all vampires around the world, and Jess utters one of my favorite lines of the episode (BILL WTF?) Meanwhile, in Billith Land, we finally get a little bit of exposition from Lillith, and Jess is trying to snap  Bill out of it. She orders some takeout from Human Edibles (We're tasty!) and this whole scene takes me back to the classic horror of S1. Bill uses his telekinesis to drag the snack back and create a blood fountain. What. The. YES. 
Did y'all know that Merlotte's still serves food? Did y'all know that we're still working on this efreet story? Did y'all know that Arlene is pretty awesome? You should. 
Sookie. Girlfriend. Stop meeting dudes in bushes. Ben is a halfling (that's half fairy and half...) and Sookie BRINGS HIM TO HER HOUSE. Really, Sook? How many people have tried to kill you over the years and you decide to bring the fairy (who aren't exactly the nicest folks) you met on the side of the road into your house? FACEPALM. 
Supernatural Rights Activists roll up into Merlotte's and Nicole tries to guilt Sam into coming out. Then the college kids are chilling in the bushes with a camera as Alcide, Danielle, and Martha beat up Sam and Lafayette to take Emma back to the pack. This is probably going to be important. Right now, it just annoys me that none of the supes sensed that they were there. Le sigh. 
Jason. Boyfriend. Stop bringing strangers into Sookie's bathroom. Yes, he's Grandpa, but you've only known him 5 minutes. Now he's jumping through portals and coming back all wet? I just dunno. 
Two words: Whooping Crane. Eric goes under cover to meet Gov. Burell. It doesn't go well. I'm not sure how I feel about glamour-proof contacts, but I am kind of loving the Governer. He's such a little dweezle, and that makes it so surprising that he one-ups Eric! He bounces around the screen like a little clown with all these tricks up his sleeve. The surprise on Eric's face is wonderful and Burrell proves that he's not to be trifled with. Not to be duped, Eric takes his revenge on Burrell by glamouring his daughter. 
Sookie comes home to a family reunion. Apparently, Jason forgot that he's mad at Sookie, because he's excited for her to meet Niall and eat spaghetti. King Niall explains the secret weapon against Warlow, and teaches Sookie how to use her fritzy light. The all-over-convenient ball of sun is good for one time use. She will be fae no longer. No exchanges or refunds. Cannot be combined with any other offers. 
And then we come back to Jess, awesomely tying everything together. Faith in family, faith in your maker, faith in friends, faith in God, and finally, faith in yourself. Deborah Ann Woll nailed it. Bill comes back to the world of the un-living with one piece of advice: Trust what you see. Well apparently he can see the future and the future looks bright... bright like the sun. Sun+Vampire=Bad things.

END SPOILERS

All this talk about sun is making me parched. Let's make what Katie Loeb calls "a grown-up snow cone of bourbon and minty goodness." This is such an easy and refreshing cocktail. I also had way too much mint in my back yard than I knew what to do with. 

Mint Julep

First, I made the Mint Simple Syrup. You can make this overnight to let the flavor settle in. It's uses are limitless in the summertime and can be used this in iced tea, lemonade, and mojitos.

Mint Simple Syrup:
2 c sugar
2 c water

1 c mint

video

Simmer sugar and water. Add mint and stir around for a minute or two. Remove from heat, let cool. Puree in a blender. Let sit couple hours or overnight. Strain out the mint. This will keep for about a week in the fridge, but I don't think it will last that long.





Now, on to the the cocktail from Shake, Stir, Pour

1 ounce (30 ml) Mint Simple Syrup
2 1/2 ounces (75 ml) bourbon
Crushed ice
Garnish: Mint sprig

1. Stir Mint Syrup and bourbon together in shaker.



2. Pack crushed ice in a silver julep cup or rocks glass until mounded slightly over the top.



3. Pour mint and bourbon mixture over the top of crushed ice.



4. Garnish with large sprig of mint that has been "spanked" or clapped between your palms to release the fragrant oils.


I didn't want to mess with perfection so I gave it to you straight. This yields one drink and I recommend that you have a back-up ready to go for this episode. It have a feeling, it's going to require some inebriation.


Shake, Stir, Pour-Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Make Syrups, Mixers, Infused Spirits, and Bitters with Farm-Fresh Ingredients-50 Original Recipes


Create Your Own Fresh, Homegrown Cocktails!
Pure, intense, and flavorful—homemade cocktails are best straight from the source. Start in your garden or local market and create an in-season, made-from-scratch cocktail to lift your spirits and impress your guests. But be warned: Once you’ve tasted the fresh version of your favorite drink, you’ll never want to go back.
Start by making your own syrups:
—Simple syrup: an absolute staple and the base for unlimited concoctions
—Herbal syrups including Thai Basil Syrup, Mint Syrup, and Lavender Syrup
—Spice syrups, featuring Cinnamon Syrup, Ginger Syrup, and Orange Cardamom Syrup
—Fruit/vegetable syrups such as Rhubarb Syrup, Pear Syrup, and Celery Syrup
Make your own bar basics:
—Fresh Citrus Cordials like the Ruby Red Grapefruit-Lemongrass Cordial
—Classic garnishes, including real Cocktail Cherries and Cocktail Onions
—Classic mixers like Grenadine, Ginger Beer Concentrate, and Bloody Mary Mix
Make your own infusions:
—Base spirits including Cucumber, Lemon & Dill Gin and Jalapeño-Cilantro Vodka
—Limoncello: a homemade version of the Italian classic
—Bitters: a cocktail classic with new, unique flavor combinations
And explore the more than 50 drink recipes that feature your fresh, homemade creations!

Pick up this book at AmazonBarnes and Noble, Indiego, iBookstore and where books and ebooks are sold.


True Blood is owned by HBO.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Farm Share Friday: Rutabaga? How about Vegan and Gluten-Free Mini "Potato" Skins!

Hi guys! Becky again. I'm not taking over, I swear!


This post is part of a little series that Katie's calling Farm Share Friday. Katie and I both belong to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) at a fabulous little place called Cider Hill Farm, located about a mile from where I grew up. (Hint: To find a farm near you that has a CSA program, check out LocalHarvest.org - they're great!)



Cider Hill has been doing CSA's for a few years now, but this is the first year that I joined. My vegan sister and I are splitting a half-share our first time around. So far, it has been wonderful! In our weekly bags, we've received loads of fruits and vegetables, all made or harvested right at the farm! Lettuce for salads, cider, eggs, strawberries, donuts, and more!

This week, among other things, I was surprised to find scallions and a rutabaga. What the heck do I do with a rutabaga? Well apparently its a cross between a turnip and a cabbage! A little more research told me that it had the same consistency as a potato. I said to myself, "Self, I like potatoes! I can make lots of potato things!"

So, to the books I went.

In Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats from Around the World, I found Mini Potato Skins that looked absolutely mouth watering! Since my sister is vegan, I totally had access to her delicious Daiya cheese and vegan sour cream.


Totally stolen.
She is a strict vegan and doesn't partake in artificial flavors/colors, so bacon bits were hard to scrounge up, but I managed to find some. (Sister says she likes to make her own bacon bits from tofu... maybe a post for another time.)

MINI POTATO SKINS

Excerpted and modified from Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats from Around the World by Allyson Kramer

This classic American sports-bar finger food gets down-sized by using fingerlings in place of the common larger potato. What results is a tender, yet crispy, and incredibly irresistible appetizer. I recommend using a vegan cheese that doesn’t get too runny, such as Daiya, when melted to retain the desired balance of crispy skins to chewy cheese.


BECKY: Because this recipe was for fingerling potatoes, I felt all right about using one medium rutabaga, cut to a similar size. Since that only yielded six or so "skins," I had to halve the rest of the recipe. I baked the rutabaga for about 30 min as instructed below, allowed it to cool and sliced into wedges. Then carved the extra off the top to form a “skin” and a space for toppings.

Ingredients
 
10 fingerling potatoes (or 2 medium rutabagas)
 
For the Rub:
2 tablespoons (28 ml) olive oil
1 tablespoon (6 g) nutritional yeast
1 clove garlic, grated
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Fresh cracked black pepper
 
For the Toppings:
1 cup (112 g) Cheddar-style shredded vegan cheese
14 cup (17 g) shredded kale**
12 cup (115 g) vegan sour cream
1 scallion, sliced very thin
14 cup (20 g) vegan bacon bits

**BECKY’S NOTES: Instead of kale, I decided not to waste the yummy greens atop my rutabaga. I simply chopped them into small bits and used them as I would the kale. Shazaam. No waste!


Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C, gas mark 6). Poke a few holes in the fingerlings using a fork and then bake for 30 minutes until softened and skin is crackly. Remove from the oven to cool and increase the oven temperature to 450°F (230°C, gas mark 8).
 


Once the fingerlings are cool enough to handle, carefully cut them in half lengthwise and scrape out a good portion of the filling, but leave about 14 inch’s (6 mm) worth of potato still clinging to the skins.


Nutritional yeast is a great way for vegans to get vitamins.
It tastes wonderfully like cheese!

Combine all the ingredients for the “rub,” rub onto both sides of the potato skins, and place on a baking sheet. 


This rub was super easy and would be delicious on grilled tofu.
Bake for 5 minutes, flip over (using tongs), and bake an additional 5 minutes.



Remove from the oven, fill with the cheese, and sprinkle with kale and then bake 5 more minutes and top it off with a 2-minute broil. 


Someone came by to check out what was going on. 

Remove from the oven, plate up, and top with sour cream, scallion, and bacon bits.



Extras: You can totally use your extra scallions (I got a lot in my CSA) and the extra sour cream to make a dip! Or, make some mashed rutabaga with the innards and the sour cream mixture. 





So delicious.



Original recipe yields about 20 mini potato skins.

 --


Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats from Around the World is a cookbook for the home chef who likes to explore a world of cuisines, regardless of allergies or dietary restrictions. Step inside and travel the globe while still adhering to your plant-based, gluten-free diet with ethnic entrees you may have thought were off-limits, but are actually even better re-imagined! From European classics like Fig Pastries with Clotted Cream and English Cottage Pie to Caribbean specialties like Jamaican Jerk Tofu and Plantain and Potato Soup, you’ll dine on delicious dishes from all around the globe, while still pleasing every palate at your table.
 
Author Allyson Kramer, founder of the popular g-free vegan blog Manifest Vegan (http://www.manifestvegan.com), will walk you through each and every recipe—most of which include a photo—showing you exactly how to create gourmet meals that are impressive enough for even the most seasoned foodie. From tempting appetizers, to hearty mains, to luscious desserts, you’ll find more than 100 globally-inspired recipes that prove eating vegan and gluten-free doesn’t have to be a sacrifice, but rather an international delight!

Snag this book where books and ebooks are sold.

Strawberry Hibiscus Champagne Jam

Okay, I'll admit it. I've become a little jam obsessed. Strawberry season hit and I was getting all these delicious berries from our CSA (thank you Cider Hill Farms!). Eventually, I thought... why not make strawberry jam? And because we definitely can't do anything the standard way, we thought... why not add hibiscus and champagne?

It's worth mentioning that this recipe came out PERFECTLY. The champagne and hibiscus added the perfect amount of flavor to complement the strawberries.

Strawberry Hibiscus Champagne Jam
Excerpted and modified from
Preserving with Pomona's Pectin by Allison Carroll Duffy


Classics are often classics for a reason, and this strawberry jam is a great example—when you’re working with perfectly ripe, in-season fruit, you don’t have to add much to make a spectacular jam. Use locally grown berries if you can, as their flavor and color will be richer and more vibrant than the grocery store variety. This is an excellent recipe to start with if you’re new to jam making. For something different, try it warmed on top of pancakes—delicious!

KF: Becky and I modified this recipe from Preserving with Pomona's Pectin to incorporate hibiscus and champagne. Feel free to change it up to make it yours.


Before You Begin:

Prepare calcium water. To do this, combine 1/2 teaspoon calcium powder (in the small packet in your box of Pomona's pectin) with 1/2 cup water in a small, clear jar with a lid. Shake well. Extra calcium water may be stored in the refrigerator for future use.

2 1/4 pounds (1 kg) strawberries
1/2 cup (75 g) dried hibiscus flowers
1/2 cup (120 ml) champagne
2 teaspoons calcium water
1 cup (200 g) sugar
2 teaspoons Pomona’s pectin powder
1. Wash your jars, lids, and bands. Place jars in canner, fill canner 2/3 full with water, bring canner to a rolling boil, and boil jars for 10 minutes to sterilize them. (Add 1 extra minute of sterilizing time for every 1,000 feet above sea level.) Reduce heat and allow jars to remain in hot canner water until ready to use. Place lids in water in a small sauce pan, heat to a low simmer, and hold until ready to use.

2. Soak hibiscus flowers in champagne for an hour. Drain out the flowers and keep the liquid to add to the mashed strawberries.



3. Rinse strawberries, remove stems, and mash in a large bowl.






4. Measure 4 cups (946 ml) of mashed strawberries (saving any extra for another use), and combine the measured quantity in a saucepan with calcium water and Champagne-soaked hibiscus. Mix well.




5. In a separate bowl, combine sugar and pectin powder. Mix thoroughly and set aside.

6. Bring strawberry/hibiscus/Champagne mixture to a full boil over high heat. Slowly add pectin-sugar mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve pectin while the jam comes back up to a boil. Once the jam returns to a full boil, remove it from the heat.


7. Can your Jam: Remove jars from canner and ladle jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch (6 mm) of headspace. Remove trapped air bubbles, wipe rims with a damp cloth, put on lids and screw bands, and tighten to fingertip tight. Lower filled jars into canner, ensuring jars are not touching each other and are covered with at least 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) of water. Place lid on canner, return to a rolling boil, and process for 10 minutes (adjusting for altitude if necessary). Turn off heat and allow canner to sit untouched for 5 minutes, then remove jars and allow to cool undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. Confirm that jars have sealed, then store properly.



Yield: 4 to 5 half-pint (8-ounce, or 236 ml) jars

--


Preserving Pomona's Pectin


If you've ever made jam or jelly at home, you know most recipes require more sugar than fruit—oftentimes 4 to 7 cups!—causing many people to look for other ways to preserve more naturally and with less sugar. Pomona’s Pectin is the answer to this canning conundrum. Unlike other popular pectins, which are activated by sugar, Pomona’s is a sugar- and preservative-free citrus pectin that does not require sugar to jell. As a result, jams and jellies can be made with less, little, or no sugar at all and also require much less cooking time than traditional recipes, allowing you to create jams that are not only healthier and quicker to make, but filled with more fresh flavor! If you haven’t tried Pomona’s already (prepare to be smitten!), you can easily find the pectin at your local natural foods store, Williams-Sonoma, or online.

In this first official Pomona’s Pectin cookbook, you’ll learn how to use this revolutionary product and method to create marmalades, preserves, conserves, jams, jellies, and more. You’ll find endless combinations sure to delight all year round!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

NUTELLA truffles and Giveaway!


Now that we've shown you how to make your own chocolate hazelnut spread, you can use it to make these Nutella truffles (or use the original, because that's awesome too!)

Warning: Once you buy the NUTELLA cookbook, you may end up making every recipe for every meal. It could happen.

Bite into one of these truffles and what a surprise­—a caramelised hazelnut in the centre!

NUTELLA truffles Excerpted from NUTELLA by Ferrero

Makes 15 truffles – preparation time: 20 min – 5 min – chilling time: 30 min

30 g (2 tbsp) caster/superfine sugar
15 whole hazelnuts
50 g (2 oz) plain chocolate
150 g (1/2 cup) NUTELLA
2 tbsp single/light cream
30 g (1oz) hazelnuts, toasted and chopped


1. In a saucepan, dissolve the caster/superfine sugar with 2 tbsp water to make a caramel. When it is ready, add the hazelnuts and mix thoroughly. When the hazelnuts are well coated with caramel, place them on a sheet of baking parchment and leave to dry.

2. In a saucepan, melt the plain chocolate cut into pieces with the cream and NUTELLA. Mix thoroughly until well combined then remove from the heat and leave to cool.

3. Use a teaspoon to scoop up a nut-sized piece of your chocolate mixture. Add a caramel-coated hazelnut and roll in the palm of your hand to form a small ball. Repeat until all the mixture has been used, then roll the balls in the toasted, chopped hazelnut. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

And now what you have all been waiting for:


a Rafflecopter giveaway


--



From irresistible macaroons to tasty cheesecakes, discover new ways of using, cooking and enjoying Nutella with 30 mouthwatering recipes. 30 delicious recipes in a Nutella-shaped book for all the fans of the famous spread:

- little individual sweets: from a revisited version of bread with
Nutella to Nutella and banana tartlettes
- generous
Nutella cakes to share: cake roll, Twelfth Night cake or even a Nutella charlotte.
- creamy, ‘must have’ recipes: mousse and little cream
- surprising recipes to impress both young and old: macaroons, caramelized hazelnut stuffed truffles, little mango egg rolls
 
NUTELLA is available at fine bookstores, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indigo Canada, and at an independent bookstore near you.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How to Make Chocolate Hazelnut Butter

This past weekend, Becky and I decided to have a breakfast day and try out a few new recipes, including this one for Chocolate Hazelnut Butter. I'm a giant fan of NUTELLA, so I thought attempting to make my own would be super fun. I was right, it really was.

Erin Coopey's recipe is easy to follow, doesn't cost much to make, and ends up perfect. If you want to know more about what makes Erin so fabulous read my interview with Erin Coopey here.

Chocolate Hazelnut Butter
Excerpted from The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook by Erin Coopey

Make your own chocolate hazelnut butter

This creamy chocolate blend can double as an ice cream topping if you don’t have any toast!

To make Chocolate Pecan Butter, substitute 1 1/3 cups (145 g) toasted pecan halves for the hazelnuts.

Yield: About 2 cups (520 g)


Ingredients
1 cup (175 g) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
1/2 cup (60 g) powdered milk
1 rounded tablespoon (20 g) honey
Pinch of sea salt or kosher salt
1/3 cup (48 g) blanched almonds
2/3 cup (90 g) toasted hazelnuts, skins removed (see Note)

Directions
Place the chocolate chips in a small mixing bowl and set aside.


In a small saucepan, combine the milk, powdered milk, honey, and salt. Heat over medium heat until the milk just reaches a boil. Remove from the heat and immediately pour over the chocolate chips. Do not stir. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the milk and chocolate rest for 5 minutes.


Meanwhile, place the nuts in a food processor and grind until they are a fine paste. This may take 5 minutes or more of continuous grinding. Stop grinding from time to time to scrape down the sides of the food processor to ensure the nuts are grinding evenly.

Remove the plastic wrap from the mixing bowl and whisk the milk mixture until the chocolate is thoroughly blended. Now, begin to stream in the chocolate milk mixture. Continue to process until all the milk has been added. Blend until everything is well combined and takes on a glossy finish. 

If you’d prefer a smoother texture, pour the mixture into a food mill with a medium disk or through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any unground bits of toasted nuts. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate. Use within 1 week.


Note: Toasted hazelnuts are often sold with the skins intact. If the hazelnuts you purchase have the skins on them, simply wrap them in a clean kitchen towel and rub vigorously. They don’t need to be perfectly clean; just try to slough off as much of the skin as possible.





If you purchase raw hazelnuts, place the nuts on a sheet pan and roast in a 350ºF (180ºC, or gas mark 4) oven for 15 minutes. Let cool and rub.


--




Learn how to make your own pantry staples with this essential handbook, including the condiments, nut butters, salad dressings, stocks, relishes, and dips you like to keep in stock. Homemade foods from scratch always taste better; just try a spoonful of creamy, eggy, from-scratch mayonnaise, and you'll swear off the salty bland commercial stuff for good! The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook shows you how to make your own foods to have on hand for your favorite meals. Avoid the high fructose corn syrup, the extra salt, the trans fats, the modified food starch, and the unpronounceable preservatives, and tailor the recipes to avoid the ingredients your family is allergic to. Each recipe features easy substitutions whenever possible, as well as the best way to store the finished product.

Erin Coopey is a chef, writer, and food photographer in Seattle, WA. After receiving her culinary degree in Scottsdale, Erin trained at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. Erin's recipes have appeared in numerous publications, and she has appeared on several television programs to demonstrate recipes and products. She teaches at South Seattle Community College, PCC Natural Markets, Chefshop.com, Parties That Cook, and privately through Glorified HomeChef.

Buy this book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, through the Indiebound network, Indigo Canada, or at a retailer near you.

Monday, June 24, 2013

An Interview with Condiment Queen Erin Coopey

What’s your favorite recipe in The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook?
I love the remoulade recipe! I based the idea on a remoulade sauce that was served in a restaurant that my husband and I frequented when we were dating. I think I really nailed it! We loved it with steamed or grilled artichokes but it's delicious for salads too, or with chilled shrimp.

What is your favorite cookbook?
My favorite cookbook is The New Basics by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. I've gone through 3 copies in 20 years! Another favorite is the 1963 edition of The Good Housekeeping Cookbook. My mom received a copy of it for a wedding gift in 1964 and I grew up with it. I loved the book so much that I couldn't wait to inherit my mother's, so I tracked down my own copy in an antique store about 10 years ago.

What is (who is) your biggest food inspiration?
I am pretty much consumed by thoughts of food. So, truly, everything inspires me. I can get inspired by what is in season at the grocery store or by some new ingredient I discover. I also have several hundred cookbooks. (It's a compulsion). I love to sit down and just read recipes.

How did you start in the world of food and condiments?
About ten years ago, I discovered that I was gluten sensitive. At first I thought I could just do things like pick the croutons off my salad and be fine but as time went on, I discovered that it wasn't that easy. Gluten is everywhere and it's not always labeled. It can be hidden in things like modified food starches or simply turn up due to cross contamination. Most of the time the only reason it's included in a product is to make it cheaper to producenot that it's necessary. So, I started making my own versions of things that I knew were better quality and better for me.

What advice would you give to someone passionate about food and thinking about getting into the industry?
I'd say follow your heart. I spent 30 year obsessed with food and cooking before I finally jumped. I only wish I had done it sooner.

How do you create your recipes?
Sometimes I just read labels of products I am interested in recreating. Food labels list ingredients in order of amount usedmost to least. So, let's say I am creating a ketchup. I start with a tomatoes and work my way down by instincta couple pounds of tomatoes, some vinegar, some sugar, some salt and spices. Then, I start experimenting with amounts until everything settles into place.

What is one condiment you cannot live without?
I think I'd be sad if I didn't have mustard in my life. I usually have at least 6 flavors in my refrigerator. I use them in everything from salad dressings and sauces, to coat roasts, to smear on hot dogs or bratwurst, to make picnic salads like coleslaw and potato salad or deviled eggs... The list just goes on.

When did you know you wanted to be a chef?
I think I first started thinking about becoming a chef after I graduated from college, but people were always talking me out of it. After working for almost 20 years in the event business, I finally decided I had to follow my passion and go to culinary school. When I finished, I opened a catering company and haven't looked back. I call myself "The Glorified HomeChef" because, really, I am just like so many people who love to cook. Even though I have a culinary degree and restaurant and catering experience, at heart I just love cooking!

Do you find any recipe substitutions to be a challenge?
Thickeners can be a challenge. I try to use grain-free thickeners like arrowroot or tapioca as opposed to cornstarch because there are some many grain allergies too. 

What is the most important thing you tell your students?
The most important thing I tell my students is to relax and have fun! Cooking is loose. Think of recipes as an outline and then write your own story.

Walk me through an average day in the life of Erin Coopey.
As a small business owner, my life can be pretty hectic. I usually start my day checking email. Then I might have to work on my website or write a blog post and/or a recipe or come up with a new class idea/proposal. I also try to pop onto Facebook or LinkedIn to update my social media. If I am teaching a cooking class that evening, the rest of my day will be taken up by shopping, prepping ingredients, reviewing recipes and outlines, setting up for the class, and teaching. On teaching days, I usually put in 12 to 13 hours. It's a lot of time but I get so energized by spending time with my students that I always come home happy!

--


 
Learn how to make your own pantry staples with this essential handbook, including the condiments, nut butters, salad dressings, stocks, relishes, and dips you like to keep in stock. Homemade foods from scratch always taste better; just try a spoonful of creamy, eggy, from-scratch mayonnaise, and you'll swear off the salty bland commercial stuff for good! The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook shows you how to make your own foods to have on hand for your favorite meals. Avoid the high fructose corn syrup, the extra salt, the trans fats, the modified food starch, and the unpronounceable preservatives, and tailor the recipes to avoid the ingredients your family is allergic to. Each recipe features easy substitutions whenever possible, as well as the best way to store the finished product.

Erin Coopey is a chef, writer, and food photographer in Seattle, WA. After receiving her culinary degree in Scottsdale, Erin trained at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. Erin's recipes have appeared in numerous publications, and she has appeared on several television programs to demonstrate recipes and products. She teaches at South Seattle Community College, PCC Natural Markets,
Chefshop.com, Parties That Cook, and privately through Glorified HomeChef.