June Cooking SIG: “Smoke it, Grill it & BBQ it”

by Gayle Massey

The art of the grill at June 2014 Cooking SIG

The art of the grill at June 2014 Cooking SIG

I attended my first Cooking SIG on June 12th. I walked into Carl Drosky’s home to a lively and already buzzing group enjoying an array of delectable appetizers. My Cowboy Caviar paled next to the fabulous stuffed olives, Pimento dip and fresh guacamole. Note to self; raise the bar.

The theme of this particular meeting was “Smoke it, Grill it & BBQ it” and that is exactly what we experienced. Carl’s day had started well before we arrived. After hearing about what everyone prepared and some good socializing time, we headed out to the backyard where Carl had a large BBQ with a chicken beautifully roasting on a rotisserie, a smaller BBQ awaiting the veggies still to be cut and a large smoker that was holding a large rack of ribs. He shared how he had prepared the chicken and ribs that wil l have me heading out to purchase a rotisserie attachment to my own bbq and added a smoker to my wish list.

To add to the delicious roasted and smoked meat, we all headed back into the house to make three sauces: BBQ, Classic Chimichurri and a Soprano Sauce (with anchovies, capers, garlic and olive oil). With Carl doing the heavy lifting of preparing our main courses, we enjoyed a fun prep time and very interactive class.

To add to the delicious roasted and smoked meat, we all headed back into the house to make three sauces: BBQ, Classic Chimichurri and a Soprano Sauce (with anchovies, capers, garlic and olive oil). With Carl doing the heavy lifting of preparing our main courses, we enjoyed a fun prep time and very interactive class.

And then, the best part ~ feasting on the main courses of rotisserie chicken, smoked ribs, grilled veggies along with the trio of sauces. And to further compliment the meal, the most creative salads and side dishes; Potato Lemon Salad and Watermelon Salad and Sauerkraut to name a few. And the cornbread ~ fabulous!

My plate overflowed and most of us needed a second trip to taste everything. The extra special ingredient that made everything even better; catching up with a wonderful group of people.

We ended with dessert, a Raspberry and Almond Frangipane Tart enjoyed around Carl’s fire pit in the backyard; a wonderful way to end the perfect evening.

June 2014 Cooking SIG led by Carl Drosky

Program report: Pizza on the Terrazza

By Rene Matthew

On July 22, the Cooking Teacher SIG gathered at the beautiful home of Terry and Ray Paetzold in Lafayette for a pizza extravaganza. The invitation for this special summer celebration extended to members’ spouses as well. As we mingled, sipping wine and enjoying the wonderful weather and views from the Paetzold terrazza, light wafts of smoke from the forno gave us a clear indication of the pleasures we were about to experience.

In January 2012, Terry visited her friend and culinary colleague, Judy Witts Francini, in Tuscany. During her stay with Judy, the two went off to Rome for a two-day pizza cooking class led by Gabriele Bonci, the celebrated “pizza boy” of the region, who is wowing everyone with his delicious pies and “hands-off” organic pizza-making techniques. Terry shared what she learned with the group, and gave all a hands-on demonstration using the techniques she learned in Rome.

Taking from bowls of dough that had been submitted to a 24 hour refrigerated rise, Terry demonstrated Bonci techniques and applications of mostly vegetarian toppings, which included a fabulous pizza “sandwich” of fresh spinach, ricotta, and mortadella. After a couple of demos and pizzas a la Terry our group broke up into pairs and created some luscious combinations on our own with the remaining dough and topping ingredients. Our feast was complete with a beautiful selection of summer potluck dishes brought by the attendees.

A terrific time was had by all!

For more photos click HERE.

Ole! The Cooking Teachers SIG celebrated “Cinco de mayo” a bit early, on April 17 – and it was awesome!

Tamales (Photo by Rodger Helwig)

A group of about 10 members participated hands-on in the art of making tamales. Our guide, Lili Rollins, led us through the process and also provided wonderful filling ingredients: seasoned, shredded beef for our savory tamales and chocolate with cinnamon and raisins for the dessert ones.

A little homemade Sangria helped set the mood, and delicious side dishes provided by the participants helped make our Mexican gastronomy visit complete.

Thank you again to Lili for her hospitality and instruction, and thanks to all who attended. We look forward to seeing everyone at the next SIG in July.

The date, theme and location for the next meeting will be announced later this month. Look for further information via email and Facebook.

Carl Drosky
Rene Matthew
SIG co-chairs

Cooking Teachers SIG report…

A Journey to South Africa
By Carl Drosky & Rene Matthew, co-chairs

Photo by Rodger Helwig

The February Cooking Teachers SIG on February 21, at the home of Rene Matthew, took the group on a journey to South Africa. The group was introduced to many traditional recipes from Rene’s homeland. It was feast for both the eyes and the stomach. African-inspired appetizers included chili crackers, curry crackers (baked by Dorothy Nichols), and stuffed peppadew peppers (sweet). Rene then guided us through hands-on preparation of the main course, Bobotie–a traditional main dish of ground beef and lamb casserole with curry and other spices, studded with almonds and dried apricots.

The evening was capped off with a cake-like dessert called Cape Brandy “pudding,” which included dates and walnuts. Thanks to Rodger Helwig, we also enjoyed both a traditional white and red wines of South Africa. A wonderful time was had by all and as usual we left full of amazing foods and knowledge.

The next Cooking Teachers SIG will be Tuesday, April 17 at 7:00 pm. The location and theme will be announced via Facebook in the coming week.

Notes from Cooking Teacher SIG Meeting

Although it was a windy and rainy night, the enthusiasm at the February 16 meeting to discuss this year’s Cooking Teacher SIG programs was palpable. The meeting was high spirited and productive.
This was my opportunity to listen and absorb all the wonderful ideas that will help shape future meetings. It was unanimously agreed that cooking must continue to be an integral part of our meetings. This provides the forum all of us to continue learning and growing, which helps further our abilities and, in some cases, our businesses.

One of the ideas discussed is to conduct cooking demos (either individual or teams) at a few of the SIG meetings. Themes are unlimited and could include vegetarian, gluten-free, working with kids, and cooking for health, among others. Additionally, there was enthusiasm for the idea of presentations in which SIG members can gain knowledge from other teachers, such as asking Weezie Mott to demonstrate her method of conducting in-home cooking classes. For those of you with a large collection of recipes and notes who are interested in information on how to publish your material, the topic will be addressed at a future meeting featuring SIG members who have “been there, done that.”

Other recurring requests are for help with marketing our skills and businesses, learning the art of blogging, and becoming more proficient on Facebook. It looks like we’ll have a lot on our plates in 2011! I look forward to fun and instructional meetings.

We agreed to start themed potluck meetings. The first will be a Mexican theme at our meeting on April 26 in Novato (address to come). The meeting will feature two guest speakers. Ann Humphrey will dedicate an hour to the subject “Marketing Your Business.” Ann worked in channel marketing and international marketing at Autodesk and for the last 7 years has done marketing projects, marketing plans, and coaching for small and medium businesses in a variety of industries. Her favorite projects involve working directly with entrepreneurs on tactical projects to generate sales leads and orders. Ann will share practical, measurable marketing strategies to grow a small business. She will also cover some common marketing money-wasters to avoid.

We will also welcome SFPFS member Gayle Massey, who will spend a few minutes helping us to connect to the SFPFS Facebook Site and showing us how to utilize the site in our business life and SFPFS communications.

Thanks to all who attended our last Cooking Teachers SIG, and a special thank you to Marie Simmons for opening her home to us for the February meeting.

By Carl Drosky