Sawatdee (Hello in Thai)

Wow, it’s been a busy week for Food Jules! We had our weekly classes at Stepney, a catering job for a business forum, a birthday cooking party and a girl scout brownie troop cooking class. It’s been awesome!

Last week, our Arts & Imagination students and I traveled to Asia and visited both India and Thailand. What an adventure in our kitchen with so many wonderful smells and tastes. I absolutely LOVE both Indian and Thai food. It is delish and really makes an impact on those taste buds.

To start, we baked some Indian Samosas (pastries filled with potatoes, peas and carrots) and Thai Spring Rolls (vegetarian style). Yes, we baked them. I have this obsession with taking a typical “fried” item and learning how to bake it so it comes out just as crispy and delicious without all that added fat from deep frying. Well, we got it right with these delicious Samosas and Spring Rolls. No need to fry these, at all!

Then, for our main course we made some Indian Malai Kofta (vegetarian style “meatballs” filled with potatoes, peas and carrots and cooked in a tomato and cream sauce with fresh ginger and lots of other Indian spices) along with the popular, Chicken Pad Thai (stir fried noodles with chicken, red onions, carrots, eggs and green onions). For a little crunch, we topped off the Pad Thai with sesame seeds instead of peanuts.

Oh and for the finale, we ate some creamy, Kheer (Indian Rice Pudding). Everything was amazing! So much so, that I am getting so hungry right now as I write this post.

The students are doing such an incredible job, creating all these delicious, cultural dishes. They are going to be cooking extravagant meals for their families really soon. It’s great and I am so very proud of their accomplishments this semester.

Well, this week is our final week for the Winter Session. I think you all can guess where we’ll be heading on Tuesday! Here’s a hint, “Pasteis de Nata, here I come!”

Namaste (Goodbye in Hindi)

Celebrating America

Last week, we decided to stay in our home country, the United States of America, in honor of President’s Day. There is so much to explore here with 50 different states, many with their own regional cuisine.

America has so much more to offer other then hamburgers, chicken nuggets and french fries. We have New England Clam Chowder, Texan Chili, Southern Corn Bread, Chicken Pot Pie, Boston Baked Beans, New York Cheesecake, Apple Pie, Blueberry Pie and of course, Pancakes! Plus, much, much more.

So, we went on an adventurous train ride and visited some of our beautiful states. We made Buttermilk Pancakes for breakfast, New England Clam Chowder for lunch, Texan Chili and Cornbread Muffins for dinner and a beautiful, sweet, warm, delicious Apple Crisp for Dessert! It was fan-tastic.

Apple Crisp made by Team Food Jules!

This week, we’re boarding up the private airplane again and flying to Asia. Stay tuned!

Life Changing

“They” say that losing someone to death is life changing, that it isn’t something that happens to you but rather something that shapes the person that you are or will become. BUT, what about if you loved the person you were before the death, then what? What if you don’t want to change, what if you were happy then and loved yourself then and now every day all you feel is anger towards everyone and everything, including yourself. What then?

Even a bigger question. If God is good then why would he allow such things to happen and destroy a person, a family, a beautiful, happy life? Why would he want to see unhappiness and hatred instead of love, hope and faith?

I will never understand why this has happened or what it all means nor do I have the energy to figure it all out. It takes so much just to live each day, to survive the constant disappointment, sadness, confusion, anger, frustration. I go to bed each night hoping that the next day will be better but as soon as I open my eyes, I realize it isn’t going to get any better, it’s just another day and I just have to do my best to survive the day.

 

Double Chocolate Heaven!

Sometimes, you just need a little chocolate to make you smile, even for just a few minutes…. Well, yesterday I needed a whole lot of chocolate so I made these delicious, sweet, moist DOUBLE CHOCOLATE MUFFINS!

If you need a little bit of chocolate heaven, go out and get all of these ingredients and make these yummy muffins. Trust me, you will thank me as you devour them right out of the oven!

Double Chocolate Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1½ cups brewed hot decaf organic coffee
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1½ cups organic sugar
  • 1½ cups cocoa powder (Ghiradelli Double Chocolate)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 large organic eggs
  • 1½ cups organic buttermilk
  • ¾ cup safflower oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. In small bowl, mix 3oz. chocolate chips with hot coffee until melted.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and remaining chocolate chips.
  4. In separate bowl, whisk eggs until creamy. Add buttermilk, safflower oil, vanilla extract and melted chocolate/coffee mixture.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into flour mixture and stir just until combined. DO NOT OVER MIX! Spoon batter into muffin cups.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Yields 18 standard muffins.

GRADE: A+++

Delicious, Moist, Sweet Muffins! I’m going to go eat another one right now!

Happy Valentine’s Day

Even though today is an “official” day to show our love for our family and friends, every day should be that day. We all have such busy lives but it’s important to always take a moment to say “I Love You” or “I am thinking about you” to all our loved ones. You can do this simply with a phone call, a text, an email or just by doing something special. Remember, it’s the little things that matter the most. We all want to feel special and loved.

Today, and every day, I am thinking about and loving my littlest valentine, my sweet baby Julian. I hope he knows how much we love him and miss him. I wish I could hold you right now, Julian (and every other minute of every day) and give you a million hugs and kisses and see you smiling up at me and your brother, sister and daddy. We love you. Happy Valentine’s Day, Julian.

To all my loved ones, family and friends, Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you… wishing you lots of sincere love and happiness today and every day. XOXO

Teaching in Trumbull Schools

We have the pleasure of announcing that Food Jules will be teaching cooking classes at Daniels Farm School in Trumbull as part of their after school enrichment program. Our theme for the semester at Daniels Farm will be Nutritious and Delicious! Classes start at the end of this month and run for 6 weeks. Our class is already filled up, how exciting!

Stay tuned for more cooking classes to come!

It’s Tea Time!

This week, we returned to Europe and visited one of my favorite spots… ENGLAND!

Did you know that the English drink the most tea in the entire world? They sure do enjoy their “Afternoon Tea” parties and so did we! While sipping some English Breakfast Tea (decaf, of course), we ate some warm baked Currant Scones and nibbled on some little tea sandwiches such as the famous cucumber sandwich and an egg salad sandwich.

We talked about famous locations, people and food in England. The students learned that the sandwich was invented in England by John Montagu in 1762 and that Europe’s tallest ferris wheel, called the London Eye, is located right in London. We also saw the beautiful Windsor Castle, which is the oldest and largest castle in the world! And of course, everyone recognized Prince William and Kate Middleton.

London Eye

After our tea party, we ate two of Britain’s favorite dishes, the Cornish Pasty and the Cottage Pie. The most common foods in England are the sandwich, fish and chips, savory pies and roast dinners. We created our own savory pie, originally made for miners in Cornwall, the Cornish Pasty. The traditional recipe calls for Steak, Potatoes, Onions and Ruttabaga (or Turnips) but we made a Chicken, Potato, Onion and Bacon version. It was one of the kids favorite dishes!

Are you familiar with the Shepherd’s Pie? Well, this type of pie is made with Ground Lamb, but we made a version with Ground Turkey instead, which we called the Cottage Pie. It was delicious, topped with mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese! I could have eaten the entire dish all by myself.

Next week, the kids want to visit Asia, either China or Japan…. but I was thinking it would be fun to visit the Arabian coast or Thailand and definitely India. Plus, we can’t forget about visiting my family in PORTUGAL! Maybe, we’ll make that our final destination on our trip around the world with some homemade, warm, sweet, pasteis de nata. YUM!