Category: zucchini blossoms


I like football. This is surprising because I generally hate watching sports on teevee. I don’t know if its the tight-ends or the hairless arms, but football is a-okay in my books. Every Sunday, we dress baby Otis in his football onesie and have football family time. My friends love a good ol’ fashioned food competition, so I thought, why not host a soup competition for superbowl. Get it, Soup-erbowl. Turns out I’m not that genius and grantland hosted the king of all head-to-head souperbowl competitions online days after I had sent out my invite.

Superbowl custom dictates chili eating, so I decided to forgo the opportunity for soup supremacy and take myself out of the running by making a venison chili with skillet cornbread. I used up some of my black beans (thus continuing to fulfill my new years resolution) and used some fantastic Deer Valley venison from the Brickworks market. I wanted to be on theme, so I made Brooklyn based Baked’s tomato soup cupcakes with mascarpone icing. The batter was a horrifying shade of orange from two whole cans of tomato soup,  the finished cupcakes were…Mmmm wow…unexpected…moist, spicy, tomatoey – genius!

Our friends are so impressive – almost everyone brought soup, with garnishes! Fancypantses. There was a creamy cold “tailgate” vichyssoise with croutons and a perfectly soft boiled egg from Ferran Adria’s new home-cooking book, a parsnip soup with toasted mustard seeds and parsnip chips, and a 101 cookbooks cheddar broccoli soup with crispy croutons.  We each tried the soups and had a secret ballot drawing at half-time – the winner by a landslide was the “tailgate” vichyssoise, oh and that creepy slackline dancer.

Skillet Cornbread (makes one skillet)

1 cup All-Purpose flour
1 cup old cheddar
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1) Preheat oven to 400F. Grease seasoned cast-iron with shortening.
2) Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, cheddar and salt in a bowl.
3)Combine wet ingredients and add to dry ingredients until just combined.
4) Place empty cast-iron pan in heated oven for 5 minutes.
5) Remove and pour batter into pan.
6) Bake for 25 minutes, let stand 15 minutes before serving.

*I like to top cornbread when it comes out of the oven with a maple syrup butter  sometimes. You know, to gild the lily.

a little help from the little guy

5 exams, 4 days.

I am leaving for Italy in 4 days. School finished a few days ago with a whirlwind exhausting week of 5 exams. I was in a beautiful wedding yesterday and have just now had a chance to reflect on this past week.

I was extremely nervous about my practical exams in cooking and pastry. I designed the menu for my cooking exam the weekend we moved into our new house and hadn’t tested them at all, so I wasn’t sure how it would all turn out. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do really well on this exam because at the end of my basic culinary program, I had the same Chef and really screwed up on my exam, so I felt I really needed to make up for last semesters debacle.

I had also never worked with fresh fava beans (my husband is not much of a bean-eater) or zucchini blossoms and was fearing the worst. So, I got the ingredients the night before the exam and tried them out. Other than a few tweaks here and there, I felt confident with the results and my ability to perform them in the limited time we had been given in class. Exam day I was psyched and ready to go – I haven’t had a smoother exam in culinary school. I got an A+. Yippee!

Fiori di Zucca Fritti con insalata di pomodori e finocchi
Fried Zucchini Blossom with Tomato and Fennel Salad

Tagliatelle con fagiolo di fava e parmigiano
Tagliatelle with Fava Beans and Parmesan

Filetto di branzino al burro di acciughe con asparagi e pomodori
Fillet of Sea Bass in anchovy butter with asparagus and tomato