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methods & madness… 
recipes & ramblings from the culinary classroom

Thai Style Cabbage Salad with Grilled Shrimp

In the beginning…

As a child growing up on the farm, I remember loving to help my mother in the kitchen. At the wee age of one I was allowed to watch… and learn.  As mom kneaded bread, I played with the dough.  Soon I was baking mud pies in the sun, eventually graduating to edible cakes. My favorite part was food coloring and the creative license that came with it. Purple cake with green frosting, blue cake with magenta frosting…I mean really, why did they print color combinations on the back of the box if I wasn’t supposed to use them?

It has been many years since my cow pie inspired baking days. My inspiration these days come from culinary classrooms. “Hi, my name is Cathy and I am a cooking class junkie.”

Tiring of recreational classes, I recently upped the ante with a 20-week professional chef course at The New School of Cooking.  If you have ever dreamed of taking chef courses, or if you are a closet Food Network fan, I invite you to join my journey.  I will be sharing the adventure with my friend Rona Lewis who has penned two cookbooks.

Class One

I was already stressed after dealing with LA traffic, but quickly relaxed after meeting my fellow chefs in the making. First, we received our white chef coats, along with an explanation of how they worked and why.  I didn’t realize there was so much to this simple garment.  The double-breasted jacket can be buttoned both ways… In case you spill, you can simply cover it up by switching sides… clever! The second order of business, was receiving handouts of rules, regulations and other pertinent, but boring stuff. The real prize was an encyclopedia looking book called The Professional Chef from the Culinary Institute of America. Score!

Parlez vous francais?

I was thrilled to discover a bonus – not only was this a cooking class, but I would be learning French as well since so many cooking terms are taken from the language.  I couldn’t remember them all, let alone spell them.  I am still regretting taking German in college.  Our first term was Mise En Place (meez ahn plahs) “everything in its place”.  It aptly describes the preparation and assembly of all ingredients and equipment prior to cooking.  We learned that a well-organized cook is the basis for a great chef.  Oh dear…I could be in trouble. Continue Reading →

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chicken with charisma…
winning hearts, one dish at a time

Chicken with Strawberry Sauce

PHOTOGRAPHY BY: CATHY NELSON ARKLE

What do you get when you cross a chicken, a goat and a strawberry?

Rona Lewis - Does this Cookbook Make Me Look Fat? Vol. 2Today’s recipe… which is no joke. “Chicken with Goat Cheese and Strawberry Sauce” is the creation of Celebrity Fitness / Lifestyle Coach & Healthy Gourmet Chef Rona Lewis from her latest book “Does this Cookbook Make Me Look Fat – Vol. 2.” I purchased this book after meeting Rona in a cooking class at BLT on Sunset Blvd. I’m having the best time cooking my way through this humorous and healthy cookbook.

If I wanted to win your heart via your stomach, I would make today’s recipe for you.  If I needed to keep your heart healthy, your weight in check, and make sure you had lots of vitamin C, K, B6, manganese, selenium & niacin…I would still make Rona’s recipe.

I have to admit I was a bit apprehensive about making this recipe. I haven’t been a fan of chicken since childhood when my Grandma Nelson raised and “harvested” chickens on our farm.  One hot summer day I returned from a trail ride on my horse, Pidge. The open barn door offered an invitation from the heat, and she bolted through as I hung on for the ride. Unbeknownst to me, Grandma had hung “dinner” across the entrance to the barn.  I was not prepared for this “in your face” welcoming from my recently deceased friends. (My childhood issue with chickens was lost after devouring this recipe)

Chicken craziness:

There are more chickens than people in the world.  You should have no trouble procuring the ingredients for this recipe!

Chickens were first domesticated for cockfighting.  Could it be their impressive genealogy that makes them a natural for combat?  Research has found that chickens are the closest living relative to Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Note to Michael Bay and Tom Cruise: Potential movie idea here? 

Until then, we will have to settle for cockfights “Family Guy” style.

Today’s Featured Recipe:  You will Rule the Roost with this recipe. If you have any leftover strawberry sauce it is great on ice cream.

Chicken with Goat Cheese and Strawberry Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
 
Reprinted from “Does This Cookbook Make Me Look Fat - Vol. 2” with permission
Ingredients
  • 3 C fresh strawberries cut into pieces
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 3 T strawberry spread- no sugar
  • Black Pepper
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 12 thin slices of goat cheese, about ½ oz each
  • 24 basil leaves – slivered
  • Olive oil spray
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • ¼ C fresh basil – slivered for topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large Pyrex bowl, mix the strawberries, vinegar & strawberry spread together. Put aside.
  2. Make a horizontal cut almost through each chicken breast. Open the top half and sprinkle a large pinch of basil on one side. Take two slices of goat cheese and place them on the basil leaves. Sprinkle a touch more basil on top. Replace the top half. Sprinkle with pepper.
  3. In a 4 quart metal or oven-safe skillet, spray with olive oil. Over med-high heat, cook garlic for about 30 seconds. Add chicken breasts and brown for about 4 minutes on each side. Then, place both the skillet and Pyrex bowl of strawberries into the oven. Cook for 10 minutes. Take chicken out and let it rest on the stove. Cook berries another 5 minutes. Take out of oven and stir. Serve chicken with sauce. Sprinkle with basil leaves.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 62518g5g10g6g2g33g81mg
Strawberry & Goat Cheese Bruschetta Recipe by Rona Lewis

PHOTOGRAPHY BY: CATHY NELSON ARKLE

Other strawberry ideas:

If you can’t eat enough strawberries to make you happy this summer, you will love Rona’s other recipe Strawberry & Goat Cheese Bruschetta


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