Team building, cooking events, catering, parties, and classes in the San Francisco Bay Area

June in the Kitchen

June 2, 2016

Summer Camps are Almost Sold Out!

The start of camp is around the corner! If you're a last minute planner, or have a sudden opening in your child's schedule that needs filling, consider joining one of these upcoming camps — the rest are sold out: 

Culinary Games, June 13 - 17

Knife Skills & Basic Cooking Techniques, July 5 - 8

Culinary Leadership Training, July 11 - 22 

Post-Vacation Musings

Took a great trip, to the Grand Canyon, spending time with some of our extended family in Flagstaff, where mule deer and elk wandered through the yard of our vacation house in the morning and evening. Impressions and comparisons: First, the luxury of less traffic was profound. You could actually get in the car and go somewhere in a normal amount of travel time. Second, and I know it’s been said before, but you just don’t get the majesty of the Grand Canyon from looking at pictures. You really, really need to see it in person. The third thing I noticed is how much more beautiful, fresh and varied the produce is here in the Bay Area. Yes, we could get a variety of fruits and vegetables, but really it was like a trip to the corner store, compared to the plethora of beautiful produce we have. We are so very, very lucky!

Adult Summer Activities

We are happy to schedule parties and team events for evenings and weekends while camp is in session. We’ve been hosting a lot of great events lately, from family parties to corporate events of all sorts. If your company participates in a diversity program, we are also now officially certified by the WBENC as a ‘woman owned’ business, qualifying us to participate.

In the Market

It’s all there. Early tomatoes, sweet corn, berries of every sort, bunches of basil, green beans, peaches and nectarines, the all-too short apricot season, cherries of many varieties. Summer greens, avocados, asparagus (for a little while longer at least), take your pick — the markets are crowded with savvy buyers, who realize that the best way to eat healthy is to eat fresh, local produce picked at its peak, and brought quickly to market.


I was puzzled by the lack of artichokes, something I’ve never seen this time of year before. Finally found (at the DMV market on Claremont) a farmer with artichokes last Sunday, and asked her why: They take a lot of water, and the drought has strongly reduced the crop. You know when Berkeley Bowl is selling some modest sized artichokes for $4.79 each, that the situation is dire. This farmer said hers were a newer hybrid, that require less water. I bought a monster-sized specimen ($3) and can't wait to try it out. It's gorgeous! If you've never cooked artichokes, there are some clues in the picture. Lemon, to keep it from turning brown. Garlic to enhance flavor. Olive oil, to maybe combine with more lemon and garlic (and egg yolk) to make an aioli to dip it in!

Summer Cooking Classes for Grown-ups

Rosetta Costantino has Homemade Pasta from Calabria on the 17th.  If you want to know how to make egg-free pasta like an expert, join Rosetta and her nimble fingered mom, Maria, for this great class. Of course each type of pasta has a sauce to go with it, so you get quite a feast! Her next classes are A Taste of Calabria on the 15th of July, and A Taste of Sicily on August 5th.

Eric Weiss has his next Knife Sharpening class on August 15th. These Monday evening classes, held quarterly, are  wonderful introductions to keeping your own tools well sharpened — the key to making prep work easy and enjoyable.

Recipe of the Month

We’ve already been notified by PG&E of our second Spare the Air day of the year — how they can expect us to simply shut down to save energy, I’ll never know — and in deference to the heat of summer, I thought I’d share my Caesar Salad recipe with you. I first developed this recipe for catering, as I needed an ‘egg safe’ version since I didn’t know who would be eating the salad. Usually Caesar includes nearly-raw egg, that enriches the dressing. My version avoids the eggs, and always garners great comments from people who try it. I always make a bigger batch of dressing than I need, and keep in the refrigerator for a second salad. It will keep for a long time (at least a month). Pair the Caesar with your favorite protein, and you’ve got a great meal. One more tip: I often simply break up a piece of stale (as in dry-as-a-bone) baguette with a hammer, and make irregular-shaped croutons. They toast up beautifully crunchy of course — a quick turn in the pan with some olive oil, and if you want some garlic, and you have accomplished both croutons and using up what might otherwise be wasted.