February 2006 Cuisine International Newsletter
Feb 11, 2006 09:46 PST
FEBRUARY 2006 CUISINE INTERNATIONAL NEWSLETTER
What a fabulous time Dick and I had in Spain. We spend a great deal of
our holiday eating in all of our son’s favorite restaurants and
exploring food markets. I have always loved procuitto but now my new
favorite is the absolutely delicious Iberian Ham! It is absolutely to
die for. It is coming to the States soon but will be exorbitantly
expensive when it arrives. We went searching for the very best Tapas
every evening and found such delicious items. More on that in a later
Valter Roman at the Tuscan Chef has found two new venues for his
talented teaching. And he will be offering classes in his home in a B&B
format. Keep watch on our website for upcoming details. He is one of
the most charming chefs in the business and his wife, Julia, makes sure
your experience is the best. Be sure to check our website:
www.cuisineinternational.com this summer to get all the details.
We will return once again to the Luna Convento in Amalfi with a new
program. As you know, Chef Enrico Franzese has retired. So we are now
going to be using several chefs to teach the incredible coastal cuisine.
We will meet in Rome for a class with Diane Seed. Then travel to
Amalfi to have classes with Mamma Agata, the chef at the Luna Convento
and Pierino of Il Mulino will be teaching a fun pizza class at the home
of Rosemary Anastasio. This will be offered in the fall of 2006 as the
spring weeks have already been filled.
For those of you who are interested in Formula One racing, Marcello and
Raffaella Tori host a spectacular week of racing, cooking and touring
just outside of Bologna, Italy. We have had many clients in the past
attend this special week and they come back raving about the experience.
Make your reservations soon or you will miss out. This is a fantastic
way for a husband and wife to combine their interests. And ladies, you
can take advantage of a trip to a spa! Visit
www.cuisineinternational.com to get all the details.
Diane Kochilas is so excited about her new sailing program – it is going
to be spectacular. There are a couple of spaces left for this beautiful
culinary cruise. Be sure to sign up quickly so you won’t miss out on a
fabulous trip. There are still a few spaces left in her July 16-22
week. All the details of both trips are on our website:
September will find us in St. Tropez for a wedding. Then we will go to
Les Mas des Olivers the week of September 16-23 to bask in the beauty of
the French Riviera and enjoy a week of cooking with Chef Frederique
Reviere. We would love to have you join us. There are only 3 rooms
left so you will have to sign up early. This is truly an experience you
will treasure forever. It has been several years since we have been
able to enjoy the pampering of the staff and dined on the delicious
cuisine. We can hardly wait. Look for the details on our website:
www.cuisineinternational.com and send in your deposit and reservation
form as soon as possible.
While dining in Madrid we went to two restaurants who prepared regional,
historical and typical food of the regions.
Posada de la Villa
For a fabulous family dining experience, we took our children and
grandchildren to this wonderful restaurant in the old part of Madrid.
Posada de la Vila has been an inn beneath the Aral city walls since
1642. In 1982 it was renovated and reopened. Within these walls is a
huge Arabian oven fired with oak where the most delicious roast meats
are prepared and a Madrid stew pot simmers with traditional seasonings
of mint and saffron. On our table as we were seated was a loaf of
crusty bread in a basket, trays of olives and the tasty Morcilla de
Burgos, a blood sausage appetizer. My entrée was the roast lamb and
Dick had a gigantic veal chop. Along side were roasted red peppers and
Pisto, a roasted vegetable dish similar to ratatouille, topped with a
poached egg. In this short space it is impossible to tell you how
delicious the entire meal was. I hope you will have a chance to enjoy
this experience yourself. And on the way home we of course had to have
churros and chocolate – a daily must have!
Posada de la Villa
Cava Baja, 9
This restaurant. a Madrileno legend, was established in 1839 and served
as a gathering place for the city’s literati and political leaders and
is still going strong. With its superb second Empire façade, Lhardy has
preserved both the courtly, aristocratic atmosphere of 19th and 20th
century Madrid and the best recipes of European cuisine.
At street level is what is considered the most elegant snack bar in
Spain. At the back of this tiny and very crowded bar, steaming consommé
is served from huge silver samovars into delicate porcelain cups to
which can be added a variety of Sherries. To make your way back to the
consommé, you elbow your way through a throng of people choosing the
most delicious array of croquettes, tapas and sandwiches. Then, on an
honor system, you pay at the front what you have eaten. What a trip!
Don’t miss this fabulous experience.
This is where we chose to have the typical and traditional Madrileno
dish of Coccid. You will find the recipe below. While waiting for our
son to arrive at the restaurant, Dick, and I, along with our
daughter-in-law, enjoyed a bottle of Cava [Spanish champagne], trays of
delicious olives and the best croquettes we had found. Nearly everyone
in the restaurant was enjoying this specialty. Our first course was the
incredible broth with pasta. Then we were served a plate with the
meats, chickpeas and cabbage. A very large production was made in the
plating of the dish. In most cases the meats are served separately from
the chickpeas and cabbage, but I enjoyed the blending of the flavors of
the way it was served. Everyone should try this dish during their trip
to Madrid and I would highly recommend Lahardys. I can hardly wait to
return and try the other delicious sounding dishes on their menu.
Carrera de san Jeronimo 8
Recipe of the Month
12-1/2 pounds stewing beef
2 chicken thighs
¼ pound each unsmoked bacon and ham
½ pound chorizo sausage or other garlicky sausage
1 link blood sausage
2 ham or beef bones
salt and black pepper to taste
1 pound chickpeas, soaked in cold water overnight
2 medium onions, halved
2 large carrots, halved
4 medium potatoes, peeled
4 cloves garlic
½ cup shredded cabbage, sautéed in oil and seasoned with salt and
Very fine cooked noodles for serving
In a very large soup kettle combine the beef, chicken, bacon, ham,
chorizo and bones and cover with cold water. Add salt and pepper, bring
to the boil, skim off the foam and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, skimming
occasionally. Let cool, cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove any fat
that solidifies on the surface.
Drain the chickpeas and tie them in cheesecloth. Add these to the meat
mixture along with the onion, carrots, potatoes and garlic. Correct the
seasoning with salt and pepper, cover and simmer for about 2 1/2 hours
or until chickpeas are tender.
To serve, strain the stock, leaving just enough liquid to cover the
meats. Combine the stock with the noodles and serve first, as a soup.
Arrange the meats and vegetables on a large serving platter, cutting the
sausage into thick slices, the other ingredients into serving portions
and the meatballs. Serve the cabbage on a separate platter.
Diane Kochilas offers the most fantastic Greek Culinary Holiday and is
such a dynamic cook and teacher. Here are some of the answers she gave
when I interviewed her. I think this will give you a good idea of what
you would be in for when you travel there.
How old were you when you began cooking? How old professionally?
I was about 17 or 18. Professionally is a different story. I began as a
journalist, then got into writing cookbooks. The first book, The Food &
Wine of Greece was published in 1990.
What is your favorite holiday? What favorite foods do you prepare for
My favorite holiday—they’re all great! I love Thanksgiving, and I always
do Thanksgiving dinner in Greece. Sometimes I cook it in a restaurant as
a guest chef, but usually we celebrate at home. I do spicy pumpkin soup
and a sinful pumpkin cheesecake. At Christmas, we have an open house.
Traditionally I cook a large roast pork (it’s Julia Child’s recipe!),
and those luscious Greek potatoes with oregano and olive oil and lemon
juice. I also bake for days. Christmas is a chocolate bonanza in our
Who mentored you?
I am mostly self taught, and I learn a lot from eating out all the time
and also from traveling around Greece. My dad was the family cook, and
it’s the memories of him in the kitchen that have probably influenced me
more than anything else.
Where do you like to eat on a night out?
Lots of different places. I enjoy all sorts of food, from great pizza
(Lombardy’s in NYC) to good sushi to haute French. I have one
preference—I hate noisy restaurants.
What is your favorite dish your mother or father cooked for you?
My father won me over with pineapple upside down cake. My mother has
been 95 pounds since the day she got married. She’s not a food person,
but her two lovely dishes are for the turkey stuffing with chestnuts and
raisins and for everyday lasagna.
What is your “comfort” food?
Great bread, great olive oil, and sea salt.
What 3 items are essential in your kitchen?
Olive oil, my chef’s knife, and my cast iron skillet
What three products would always be in your refrigerator?
Some sort of hot sauce, usually a fiery Asian one filled with hot pepper
Cheeses—I always have cheese
Seasonal fruit. I eat tons of fruit.
What advice would you give to a beginning cooking class student?
Take your time, think things through, mind your fingers, and TASTE
What would your last meal be?
Really good sourdough bread, really good Greek olive oil, Normandy sea
salt, Bertillon gianduja ice cream, oozing French cheeses at the right
temperature, and lots of great wine.
What other chef of chefs or teachers do you admire?
I admire a chef I am very close to here, Greece’s Michelin star chef,
Lefteris Lazarou. He is a great interpreter of local food customs and
always ahead of the pack. I learn things from all sorts of cooks, not
just the famous ones.
What type of dish or food do you most enjoy preparing?
I enjoy preparing homemade savory pies because they are such an unknown
outside of Greece. I also love to make fruit pies and other desserts. I
like to make all sorts of spicy food.
What advice would you give to a budding chef—either professional or
To have an open mind and an open palate.
How important is presentation of food?
I don’t like architectural food so much. I am more down to earth and I
enjoy food that looks sensual.
Do you enjoy music when cooking or dining? If so, what kind?
Yes. I love to cook to Bob Marley!
Do you have a garden? If so, what do you grow?
I have a garden on Ikaria. We grow tomatoes, squash, peppers, beans,
eggplants, arugula, herbs, olive trees, plum and peach trees, almond
What was the most appreciated meal you have ever prepared and who was it
My husband says he decided to marry me after he tasted my spinach pie. I
love to throw dinner parties, and do, often.
How important are appetizers to a meal?
They are the first flirt. They have to be a seductive introduction to
all that will follow.
What are your favorite herbs and spices?
Basil, cilantro, wild fennel, hot peppers, garlic,
Do you experiment with other cuisines, either preparing or eating?
I like to eat everything, and I have tried to cook from the traditions
of many different cuisines.
How important is the health issue in what you teach, such as fat grams,
etc? Americans are very interested in this.
I believe in the dictum “Nothing in excess.” My food is innately
healthful, based on olive oil and seasonality.
Until next time, bon appetite and happy travels,