it's me...


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Food and Foodie at The San Diego County Fair

This foodie recently spent the day at the San Diego County Fair (I was lucky enough to get a "Best Pass Ever"..a kind of season pass for the fair as a present) and I plan on spending many more.
As a foodie I was not that interested in the ride or the nick-nack vendors. What I wanted was the food!! And food I got.

My day started with a Cinnamon Roll with Frosting and Nuts, from Old West Cinnamon Rolls. This one was a super easy was the first booth I hit when I got in the gate. This was good, super sweet and I think I may have developed diabetes after the third bite.

Followed that up with a pulled pork sandwich…looked better than it tasted.

Grilled Artichokes...that is at least what they said it was. But it had no "grill" flavor. As for the sides; there was this stuff they called butter and mayonnaise. The mayonnaise was a good place for me to start; I found the toppings table and add parmesan cheese, garlic salt seasoning and hot sauce. Would not have been able to eat it without making my changes.

Hands down the best new addition to the fair is PINK'S HOT DOG

May I suggest you order the Martha Stewart Dog ...relish, onions, bacon, chopped tomatoes, sauerkraut & sour cream
This was the best thing I ate all day!!!!

We all know that the fair is all about fried food. My adventure started with Fried Fogs Legs, they where ok. The fries where aweful!

For the finally, Fried Girl Scout Cookie (thin mints to be exact). Interesting. I love thinn mints and I think I would still love them any way they where served. Even in crumy batter and fried in dirty oil.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pictures of Cooking Class with Chef Jenn

With amazing summer classes about to start I want to share with you some pictures from recent cooking class; to give you a good visual idea of what these classes are all about .... and give you some cooking class inspiration.
Classes start with a demonstration. Where I review the recipes, teaching you all the detailed tips and tricks you will need to create an incredible meal.
Classes are hands-on!

Students are broken into teams and as a team they create the menu for the evening.

As you cook I am just a step away to answer with any questions you might have.

Students learn how to stylishly plate their creations.

As well as eat their creations!!

If you are wondering when you can take a cooking class; this summer’s classes are starting soon!
Mediterranean Cuisine (2 weeks)
July 11 - 18
Summer Backyard Favorites (4 weeks)
July 6-27
 Mexican Favorites Made Healthy (2 weeks)
July 7 - 14

For more information or to sign up online click here
Or call (760) 753-7073 ext. 5103
For any other questions about these classes or for information about private classes, please contact Chef Jenn at (858) 212- 9054 or

Vegetarian “Like Water for Chocolate” Chiles with Walnut Sauce, stuffed with Lentils

For those of you who have taken a vegetarian (or vegan) cooking class from me this recipe will be very familiar. And for those of you who have not been lucky enough to take one of my cooking classes; I thought I would be kind enough to share this recipe with you.

Like Water for Chocolate is an amazing book, and a good movie, about a young Mexican girl (Tia) and her long and heart wrenching story of love and food. How these two mold her life, in both virtuous and ruthless ways.

This dish, Chiles in Walnut Sauce, are served at a wedding feast (and if I told you the whole story you would never read the book or see the movie, and you really need to read the book and see the movie);  putting several very special ingredients into the sauce and shares something very special with the wedding party.

“Like Water for Chocolate” Chiles with Walnut Sauce, stuffed with Lentils
Serves 8

1 ¼ cups     Red lentils
2                 Cinnamon sticks
2 ½ cups     Water

For filling
¼ cup          Cider vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp   Sugar
15               Dried apricots, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup       Golden raisins
1 cup           Water

½ tsp          Ground allspice
½ tsp          Freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup       Raw almonds, coarsely chopped
1cup           Yellow squash, small dice
1 tsp           Orange zest
4 oz            Oaxacan cheese, cut into small cubes

8 large         Poblano chiles (approximately 2 lb total), roasted, peeled and seeded

For sauce
½ cup                   Walnuts, roughly chopped
2 tbsp to ¼ cup    Raw almonds, roughly chopped
1 to 1 ½ cup         Half and half
1 tbsp                   Sugar
¼ tsp                    Salt

4 oz             Queso fresco, crumbled

½ cup          Fresh pomegranate seeds**

In a small saucepot simmer lentils and cinnamon sticks in water until just tender but not falling apart, 20 to 30 minutes, and drain.

Combine cider vinegar, sugar, dried apricots, golden raisins and water in a saucepot. Cook over medium low heat, simmering till fruit is plump and rehydrated, or until liquid is evaporated (about 8 minutes).

In a large bowl stir together ground allspice, nutmeg, almonds, yellow squash, orange zest and cheese. Add to cooked fruit; along with lentils, gently stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Divide filling among chiles, then close, overlapping sides of openings slightly. Transfer, seam sides up, to a foil lined shallow baking dish, then cover with foil Bake until heated through and squash is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

While the chiles cook, purée walnuts, almonds, 1 cup half and half, salt and sugar in a food processor or blender; until smooth and silky, about 2 minutes.
(Sauce should coat back of a large spoon. If sauce is too thin, add more almonds and puree. If too thick, add more half and half.)

Transfer chiles to plates; pour walnut sauce over each chile, leaving some of chile visible, then sprinkle chiles with pomegranate seeds and Queso fresco. 

* To roast the peppers; place the poblano pepper on a low flame on the gas burner or bbq and burn the outside skin. Don't be alarmed if you hear popping from the pepper. Place in a brown paper bag till cool enough to touch. Rub the burnt skin off of the pepper. Cut an opening on the side of the pepper and scrape out the seeds and membranes, leaving the stem intake (if possible).

**If pomegranates are not in season you can substitute finely diced dries cherries, cranberries or pomegranate flavored cranberries.

Friday, June 3, 2011

URBAN FARM PARTY! Coral Tree Farms, an urban farm in the heart of Encinitas

URBAN FARM PARTY! Coral Tree Farms, an urban farm off of Requeza Ave in the heart of Encinitas. If you have not heard of it you are not alone, but trust me when I tell you there is an amazing farm with a even more amazing farmer right under your nose.
 This Saturday they are having an open house and you are invited!
The party and tasting event, with tastings from Stone Brewing Company, Haggo's Organic Taco, and Vignette Cupcakes. As well as cooking demonstrations from yours truely.
This event is a fundraiser to help pay for an unexpected requirement from the water district.!/event.php?eid=217918278233343

I am planning on making a couple of fun recipes to showcase some of the wonderful produce from the farm. 

Swiss Chard with Leeks and Golden Raisins
Serves 4

2 tbsp          Olive oil
2 tbsp          Leeks, green removes and whites sliced thin

6 cups         Swiss Chard, soaked, tough separated- (stems chopped into small pieces and leaves coarsely chopped)
¼ cup          Water
1 tbsp           Honey
1 tbsp          Golden Raisins
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat and add leeks; cook till translucent. Add water and chard stems. Cover and reduce heat to low, cook for 5 minutes. Remove cover and add chard leaves and season with salt and pepper ;cook for 5 to 7 minutes over medium heat or until chard just starts to become tender. Add honey and raisin; stir and cover.
Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until chard is tender and raisins plump.
Taste for seasoning and serve.

Pickled Beets and Spring Garlic
Makes 3 Pint Jars

12 small to medium             Beets, tops and tips removed
2 tbsp                                    White wine vinegar
2 tbsp                                    Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup                         Spring garlic*, sliced thin
3 cups                          White wine vinegar
1/3 cup                         Sugar
1 tsp                              Kosher salt
1 tbsp                            Pickling spice, divided

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place beets, vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper onto a large sheet of aluminum foil. Fold into a foil pouch and place onto a cookie sheet; roast in the oven for 40 minutes. Cool completely, rub off skins from the roasted beets and slice thinly.
Sterilize preserving jars and lids.
Arrange, in 1-quart jars, alternating layers of beets and spring garlic. And add ½ teaspoon pickling spice in each jar.
In a small sauce pot combine kosher salt, white wine vinegar, sugar, and remaining pickling spice; bring to a boil and cook till sugar and salt are dissolved. Stirring occasionally.
Divide vinegar mixture into jars and filling to within ½ inch of rim.
Top with covers and twist to seal.
In a large pot cover jars with water and allowing 1 to 2 inches of water to cover jars (you may need to add extra water for this). Bring liquid to a boil and gently boil for 10 to 15 minutes.
After processing, remove jars and set them upright on a towel to cool 12 to 24 hours. Do not retighten bands. Once jars are cool, test each one for a seal by pressing the center of the lid. The lid should not flex up and down (if it does, immediately refrigerate or reprocess with a new lid for the full length of time).
Label, and store jars in a cool (50° - 70° F/10° - 20°C), dry, dark place for up to one year. After opening, refrigerate, and use within 1 month.

For additional information on canning go to
*If you do not have spring garlic substitute with spring onions or leeks sliced and 3 whole cloves garlic