Food Heaven Publix Cooking Class

Publix Aprons Cooking School classes are always enjoyable. You can choose from demonstration or hands-on models. I prefer the chef demos because then we can sit at white-clothed tables, sip wine, and watch the chefs do all the work. We get to taste the food, which equates to a gourmet meal, sample different wines, and take the recipes home. Plus, these classes are reasonably priced for what you’d find elsewhere. Here we are with our machatonim, Es and Rick Cohen. (See Machatonim – The Jewish Chronicle (thejc.com) for a definition)

June 18, 2021 – Food Heaven: Indulgent Ingredients and Wines

We were greeted with a Luc Belaire Rare Rose, a pleasant sparkling rose wine. This set the jovial mood for the good food to come.

Crab and Fennel Bisque with Lemony Crème Fraiche – I really liked this tasty soup that was accompanied by a Jean Bouchard Chablis. The wine was fair in my opinion, a bit too light on body and flavor.

Lobster Rolls with Heirloom Tomatoes, Bacon and Tarragon Aioli – This dish was interesting to taste but a salad would have been a better course here. I could see substituting baby shrimp to make this at home. I’d also serve it for lunch rather than dinner. This came with a B&G Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc wine that had a slightly fruity aroma.

Dijon and Herb Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Shallow Jus and Smashed Potatoes – Very tender and deliciously prepared piece of beef worth the price of admission alone. I liked the Michael David Lust Zinfandel that accompanied this dish. It was dry with a moderate body and legs, in wine terms.

Bittersweet Chocolate Tart with Pretzel Crust and Mandarin Orange Whipped Cream – This chocolate dessert melted in one’s mouth. It was divine. I also enjoyed the Lola Pinot Noir although by then I’d had enough food and drink that I might have liked anything. This tart was the perfect dish to finish a delightful evening.

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Comfort Food

Home cooking can get tiresome under forced isolation, but not with easy-to-make comfort foods. I’ve been rummaging in the kitchen of our new house trying to find where I’ve put things while preparing meals. Maybe you can find inspiration in some of these dishes that have been on our dinner table in the past week.

We had the kids over for brunch last weekend. I made this Zucchini Biscuit Bake with the recipe from my cookbook, although I added fresh mushrooms this time. I’d also served a Costco quiche, plus thin bagels with cream cheese. Dessert was peach cobbler.

Zucchini Biscuit Bake  Peach Cobbler

Because we’d cut up too many zucchini and onions, I put some aside and made this stir-fry dish for dinner. Sliced hot dogs became the go-to protein addition.

Zucchini Stir Fry

Once those leftovers were gone, the next order was to use the multitude of strawberries we picked before they spoiled. So I made my first strawberry bread using a recipe I found on Pinterest.

Strawberry Bread

Next dinner I made these Swedish meatballs with white rice for dinner, accompanied by a premade salad. If there’s any gravy left, I freeze it to use in Shepherd’s Pie. I’ll share this recipe with you.

Swedish Meatballs

 

Swedish Meatballs

Ingredients

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 egg, beaten
tsp. garlic powder
1 cup finely chopped onions, divided
cup dry bread crumbs
12 oz. bottle chili sauce
18 oz. jar grape jelly
15 oz. can tomato sauce
1/4 cup sweet Marsala wine

Directions

Make meatballs: Mix ground beef with beaten egg, garlic powder, ½ cup chopped onions, and bread crumbs. Form into small balls. Set aside. (Or use frozen turkey meatballs instead of making them from scratch).

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, blend together chili sauce, grape jelly, and tomato sauce until jelly is melted. Toss in remaining onions and add wine. When mixture is bubbly, add meatballs to pot. Stir gently to coat with sauce.

Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Periodically lift lid, being careful of steam, and stir. Cook for 1 hour on low heat (or ½ hour if using frozen meatballs). Serve over cooked rice as an entrée or by itself as a party appetizer.

These recipes and more can be found in A Bad Hair Day Cookbook – Order Your Copy Now

What have you made in the kitchen lately? And no, “a mess” isn’t the right answer.

 

 

Publix Cooking Class – Noble Vines Winery

This past weekend, we attended a cooking class at Publix Aprons Cooking School. The guest speaker was from Noble Vines Winery, describing the wines that accompanied our meal. These are from the Delicato Family Wines in California. We started out with a welcome aperitif. I liked the Noble Vines 242 Sauvignon Blanc. It wasn’t too fruity and would make a pleasant drink just to sip or perhaps to accompany fish or poultry. Meanwhile, the chefs were busy creating our dishes and demonstrating how to make them.

publix cooking class

Noble Vines 446 Chardonnay was paired with the first course, clams with linguini. While our friends indulged in this dish, I had written ahead to request mushrooms instead of clams. I am not a big shellfish eater except for shrimp. The linguini with mushrooms was delicious and would make a satisfying meal in itself.  We liked the Chardonnay as well. In fact, all the wines tonight were really good.

Next up was pan-roasted duck breast served with mushroom farro and cherry vinaigrette. I’d never had farro before, and I liked this grain that reminded me of barley. The duck was tender. It was paired with Noble Vines 667 Pinot Noir. I could have eaten this dish for a meal alone.

duck breast

The main dish was grilled Korean beef short ribs with coconut rice and wok-friend bok choy. Noble Vines 337 Cabernet Sauvignon was the accompanying wine. The short ribs were done just right, but I’ve had better. Actually, the ones I tasted recently in my blog post about the Epcot Festival of the Arts were much more tender. I prefer short ribs slowly braised or done in a slow cooker so that the meat practically falls off the bone. The rice was okay but the bok choy had more taste.

beef short ribs

We left enough room for the dark chocolate raspberry tart and the Noble Vines 515 Rose wine. What’s not to like about chocolate?

By now, we were more than stuffed and woozy from all the wine. It had been an enjoyable evening with entertainment and an appealing meal experience. The best part is that we got to take the recipes home.

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March 2020

 

Turkey Meatballs in Fig Wine Sauce

Turkey Meatballs in Fig Wine Sauce

As often happens, I altered this recipe from the original that I found in a cooking magazine. Chicken meatballs became turkey meatballs. Port wine became Marsala wine, my favorite secret ingredient. Quick-cooking tapioca became flour. And I added some Key lime marmalade for extra zest. Use orange marmalade if you prefer or whatever else you have in stock. My husband suggested adding onions, so you could buy a container of sliced onions at the grocery store and toss them in. Also, I increased the wine and water from the original ¾ cup each because it didn’t seem like enough.

Ingredients

3 16-oz. packages frozen bite-size turkey meatballs
1 cup sweet Marsala wine
1 cup water
2 Tbsp. flour
½ cup stemmed and chopped dried figs
1-1/2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
¼ cup citrus marmalade

Directions

Place meatballs in a large size slow cooker. In a separate bowl, combine Marsala wine, water and flour. Whisk to blend. Add dried figs and rosemary. Pour sauce over meatballs. Heat marmalade in glass measuring cup for 30 seconds in microwave then pour over mixture in slow cooker. Cover and set timer on low for 4 hours. Increase temperature to high for the last half hour. Serve warm with your favorite side dishes. As an alternative, this would make a good appetizer for a party.

Turkey Meatballs

Cooking Class – Steakhouses

I enjoy attending Aprons Cooking School classes at Publix not only for what I might learn, but also for the pageantry, the recipes, the food tastings and the wine pairings. Tonight’s class, Steakhouses Around the World, began with a welcome drink. I liked the Lunetta Prosecco enough to put it on my buy list.

cooking class

Our first course was a Mushroom and Gruyere Tart paired with a Barone Fini Pinot Grigio. This wine was good but not exceptional enough to replace another favorite of ours. The tart, while very tasty, was cheesier than I’d expected. Again, I liked it, but I like my own vegetable quiches and zucchini pies better.

Mushroom Gruyere tart

Next came a Wilted Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette and Candied Walnuts. This salad was delicious but probably too labor-intensive for me to make at home. The wine pairing, 19 Crimes Chardonnay, is one of my favorites. Each cork in this series denotes a different crime. They’re fun to collect. It’s also fun to use the Living Wine Labels app and see the faces on the bottle labels come alive and talk to you.

Spinach Salad

The meats were served on a plate together as our entrée. I’m not a big steak person, so I wouldn’t make the New York Strip Steak with Smoky Bacon Port Sauce at home. I preferred the tender Slow Roasted Prime Rib with Horseradish Chantilly Cream. These were served with a glass of Stag’s Leap The Investor. I like this Napa Valley Red Wine and would get it again. As for the meats, I’ll stick with making brisket at home and eating prime ribs or beef filet when I go out.

Steaks

Almond Tuile Cups with Key Lime Sorbet was our dessert offered along with a fruity Mohua Sauvignon Blanc, which is not my favorite variety. The sorbet was refreshing but I liked the edible tuile cups better. I’m more of an ice cream fan than a follower of sorbet, sherbet, or gelato.

Key Lime Sorbet

Overall, it was a fun evening whether or not I make any of the recipes. The classes are still a good buy. You get entertainment in the form of a cooking demonstration, a meal with several courses, accompanying wines, and recipes to take home. You also may meet some nice people to chat with between chef demos.

Aprons Cooking School

Disclaimer: Any errors are due to my misinterpretation.

GIVEAWAYS 

Kitchen Gift Box Giveaway Nov. 18 – Dec. 4 

Enter Now to win a Kitchen Gift Basket including a signed copy of A BAD HAIR DAY COOKBOOK, novelty kitchen utensils, pumpkin pie recipe dishtowel, Hawaiian apron, sparkly sponge, fall harvest pasta. https://nancyjcohen.com/contest/

$400 Amazon Black Friday Shopping Spree, Nov. 4 – 23 

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New Book Release – A Bad Hair Day Cookbook

I am proud to announce the release of A Bad Hair Day Cookbook featuring over 160 quick and easy recipes from my home kitchen to yours!

A Bad Hair Day Cookbook

This cookbook was a labor of love. I’ve enjoyed posting on my social media sites about my cooking classes, food tastings, kitchen experiments, and other adventures in dining. My list of recipes grew until the idea came to me to compile them into a cookbook. I hope you enjoy making the recipes for your friends and family as much as I enjoyed sharing them.

BOOK LAUNCH PARTY tonight from 7:00 – 8:30 EST. Fun & Games! Join us online at https://www.facebook.com/NewReleaseParty/

Book Launch Party

Book Description

Are you having a bad hair day? Whip out your whisk, snatch up your spoon, and prepare your palate. Inside the pages of this cookbook are recipes that will bring you good cheer.

Enjoy 160+ tasty recipes from Nancy J. Cohen’s popular Bad Hair Day cozy mystery series. Included in this cookbook are excerpts, cooking tips, and anecdotes written by hairstylist and savvy sleuth Marla Vail. From appetizers to desserts, Marla offers cooking tips and tricks along with commentary about the dishes she prepares for her family. Whether you’re a skilled cook or an eager novice, this cookbook will unravel the mystery of cooking. Put on your apron and plan to make some killer recipes! Bonuses Include:

• Meet the Sleuth
• Introduction by Marla Vail
• Cooking Tips
• Excerpts from Series Titles
• Themed Menu Suggestions
• “A Sabbath Dinner” by Nancy’s Mother

For Home Cooks, Mystery Fans, and Cookbook Collectors

Digital ISBN: 978-0-9997932-4-4, Orange Grove Press, $4.99
Print ISBN: 978-0-9997932-5-1, Orange Grove Press, $15.99

“Reading through this cookbook has revived my interest in getting back in the kitchen.” Rhonda Gilliland, Author and Editor of the Cooked to Death Series

“Mysteries and cookbooks belong side by side on readers’ shelves. A Bad Hair Day Cookbook serves up both food and justice.” Christine A. Jackson, Ph.D., Author of Myth and Ritual in Women’s Detective Fiction

“A BAD HAIR DAY COOKBOOK brings to readers the amazingly delicious recipes from the series of the same name. Easy, fancy, and favorite standbys, they’re all covered, making this book packed with something for everyone!” Lisa K’s Book Reviews

“Designed for busy cooks who may not be out solving crimes, but whose time is equally challenged.” Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review

“This book is not only a treasure to add to any cookbook collection, but a pleasure to read.” Emily-Jane Hills Orford, Readers’ Favorite

ORDER NOW

Amazon Kindle: https://amzn.to/2mgwoTZ
Amazon Print: https://amzn.to/2mlIR8W (Coming Soon!)
Apple Books: https://apple.co/2kS12mf
BN Nook: https://bit.ly/2kvrySl
BN Print: https://bit.ly/2QpGu1W
Kobo: https://bit.ly/2kixIVN
Books2Read:  https://books2read.com/ABadHairDayCookbook
BookBub: https://bit.ly/2lSUAvw
Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2mezSpQ

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VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR

Please follow my blog tour Nov. 20 – 30 with guest posts, interviews, excerpts and giveaways.

Great Escapes Book Tour

GIVEAWAYS

Enter Here Nov. 18 – Dec. 4 to win a Kitchen Gift Box including a signed copy of A Bad Hair Day Cookbook.

Kitchen Gift Box Giveaway

 

Enter Here Nov. 4 – 23 to win a $400 Amazon Shopping Spree from The Kindle Book Review.

Blog Tour for A Bad Hair Day Cookbook

Please join me on a virtual book tour to celebrate the release of A Bad Hair Day Cookbook! Enter the contests as you visit each site and leave a comment to support my hosts. Looking forward to seeing you there! Scroll down for more giveaways.

Sept. 18 – Readers’ Favorite – REVIEW

Oct. 2 – Dying for Chocolate – “Chocolate Indulgence” GUEST POST

Oct. 15 – James D.A. Terry Author – “A Conversation with Award-Winning Author Nancy J. Cohen”

Nov. 7 – Lisa K’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

Nov. 17 – Dru’s Book Musings – “Marla’s Kitchen Capers” GUEST POST

Nov. 19 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

Nov. 19 – Thoughts in Progress – REVIEW

Nov. 19 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

Nov. 20 – Christa Reads and Writes – SPOTLIGHT

Nov. 22 – Open Book Society – REVIEW

Nov. 23 – King’s River Life MagazineARTICLE & RECIPES
“Anyone Can Cook!” Cozy Cookbooks to Love by Kathleen Costa

Nov. 25 – Buried Under Books – REVIEW

Nov. 20 – 30 – Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour

Great Escapes Book Tour

November 20 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews
“Cooking Can Be Dangerous Guest Post, Recipe & Giveaway

November 20 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

November 21 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT

November 21 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT

November 22 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

November 22 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

November 22 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT

November 23 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

November 23 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 23 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – SPOTLIGHT

November 24 – I Read What You Write 
“Mysteries and Cookbooks” GUEST POST

November 24 – Nadaness In Motion – SPOTLIGHT

November 25 – Laura’s Interests – SPOTLIGHT

November 25 – This Is My Truth Now – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

November 26 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW

November 26 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

November 26 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

November 27 – Literary Gold – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 27 – eBook Addicts – REVIEW

November 27 – Diary of a Book Fiend – REVIEW

November 29 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW & RECIPE

November 29 – Celticlady’s Reviews – REVIEW

November 30 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

November 30 – Fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

December 2 – The Big Thrill – “Get Cooking with Mystery Author Nancy J. Cohen” by Dawn Ius

December 10 – Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers, “Fun and Fumbles in the Kitchen” Guest Post & Giveaway
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Booklover’s Bench Giveaway Nov. 1 – 18

Enter Here to win a free book from Booklover’s Bench.

Kitchen Gift Box GIVEAWAY Nov. 18 – Dec. 4

Enter Here to win a kitchen gift box including a signed copy of A Bad Hair Day Cookbook.

Kitchen Gift Box Giveaway

$400 Amazon Black Friday Shopping Spree Nov. 4 – 23

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Spirited Cake

The original recipe I used called for Crème de Menthe, but you really could use any type of liqueur you have sitting in your liquor cabinet. This cake is great for a party. You can make it ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Ingredients

15.25 oz. box white cake mix
3 eggs
½ cup canola oil
1 cup water
3 Tbsp. flavored liqueur
16 oz. can Ghirardelli chocolate syrup
8 oz. frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 Tbsp. flavored liqueur

Directions

Prepare cake mix according to package directions, but substitute 3 Tbsp. liqueur for the same amount of water. Pour batter into a greased and floured 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Bake according to package directions. When cake is done, remove from oven and place pan on wire rack. While cake is still hot, pierce in several places with a fork. Pour chocolate syrup over cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Fold 2 Tbsp. liqueur gently into whipped topping to blend. Spread whipped topping over cake, slice and serve. Serves 12.

Zucchini Dill Soup

If you can’t find pre-sliced zucchini or yellow squash in the grocery store, slice it yourself. Feel free to be creative and toss in your own ingredients to suit your tastes. This soup can be reheated the next day. 

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1-1/2 to 2 lbs. sliced zucchini and yellow squash
1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp. chopped garlic
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
5 cups low sodium chicken broth
½ cup heavy cream (optional)

Directions

Melt butter in large pot over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, onion, garlic, dill and parsley. Sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth and bring soup to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. When done, remove pot from heat. Let cool slightly and then blend with immersion blender. If you like a creamy soup, gently stir in the heavy cream at this stage. Ladle into individual bowls and serve. Serves 6 to 8.

 

Zucchini Soup