Holiday gift ideas from the COOK pantry


You already know us here at COOK for our nightly demonstration classes (January tickets on sale now!) and huge cookbook selection. But did you know we also have a small-but-smart retail section in the corner of our kitchen? It’s a carefully curated collection, packed with our own house line of spices, mixes and candies, plus handy tools/utensils and locally produced goods. After the jump, we’re highlighting just three of our favorite pantry items that’d make excellent holiday gifts. Come visit us [retail hours] to check out the rest!

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Say ‘Guten Tag’ To These German Holiday Cookies


To borrow from the 1989 Shelley Long cinematic masterpiece that is “Troop Beverly Hills“, “It’s cookie time! It’s cookie time! It’s cookie ti-ime!

And though that catchy, little number was about Girl Scout Cookies, at this time of year, we at COOK are all about Christmas cookies. Tomorrow, Philly’s favorite pastry frau, Jess Nolen of Brauhaus Schmitz, gets back behind the counter at COOK to teach 4 traditional German cookie recipes to 16 lucky guests. Two of these recipes (the ones with the best names) are below for your baking pleasure. Pfeffernüsse are tiny spice cookies. Elisen Gingerbread (pictured above) is a baked treat with a twist. Both recipes are courtesy of Jess Nolen.

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COOK’s January Schedule Preview


(Pictured above: Chef Townsend “Tod” Wentz of Townsend)

In two days, COOK will release its January 2015 schedule and there’s something for everyone, including pasta and baby food making, Valentine’s desserts, cocktails, ceviche and more! Here’s a sneak peek of what’s in store for the New Year. So check out the schedule below and get ready to be online this Wednesday at 2PM when classes go on sale. (Hint hint: COOK classes and gift certificates make great holiday gifts!)

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Thirsty? Where To Take The Edge Off This Weekend.

Welcome to the first weekend of December, the official kick-off to this holiday shopping season.  Does running around, buying gifts and wrapping presents like a crazy person stress you out? Then take the edge off by treating yourself at one of Philly’s exciting new restaurants. Check after the jump to see which spots are here to help.
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Grosser Than Gross: Freaky Deaky Halloween Foods to DIE for


Happy Halloween, COOKies!

Is this one of my favorite holidays? Yes. Is it one of yours? Probably not. But here’s one thing we obviously have in common: food. And here’s another: the internet. Whether you’re throwing/going to a party or just staying in, there are a ton of creepy crawly Halloween-inspired recipes out there that would be fun to take a stab at (see what I did there?). So if you’ve been procrastinating or just realized that it’s also FRIDAY NIGHT, then here are a few ideas that will hopefully inspire a frightfully good time for all.

First off, if you are hosting an adult soirée, Bon Appétit’s Editor-In-Chief, Adam Rapoport, has a few DOs and DONTs to abide by.

Over at Martha Stewart‘s website, the Gwyneth-bashing domestic goddess has outlined tons of recipes for frightening fare to make this evening (or whenever the mood strikes, really). Martha’s got everything from Bedeviled Eggs (complete with red chile pepper devil horns and skinny chive mustache) and Monster Mucus (made from oysters) to Swamp Sangria and Cauldron Curry. Even if you don’t like the whole dressing up part, these items look spooktacularly fun to make and are probably pretty delicious!

If Martha isn’t your cup of tea, the Food Network has a bunch of ideas from classics like Chocolate and Caramel Candy Apples to adorable, easy-to-make, little Spider Bites (made from pretzels and by Sandra Lee, sorry!) and the pièce de résistance, THIS PUMPKIN CHEESE BALL.

The good folks over at Southern Living also put together a list of dips, drinks and snacks but if you really want inspiration, I recommend losing yourself for hours in this Halloween Food Ideas Pinterest board. Somebody made Halloween Baked Potato Skin Pizzas, you guys! I die. I die.

Have fun tonight!


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Holiday Chopping: A Pictorial Preview


‘Tis the season? Not quite, but here at COOK we’re already planning ahead for the upcoming holiday season. We’ve cleared space in our retail pantry and on our bookshelves for new (and returning) items.

In the coming weeks, we will be Insta-tweet-book-ing photos from a recent photo shoot to highlight the unique, epicurean gifts available for purchase at COOK. Until then, here’s a sneak peek! All items are currently available, and, as a reminder, we’re open Tuesday through Sunday noon until 5pm (unless our doors are closed for a class–check our schedule here).

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What are you waiting for? Awesome November classes still available!


Pictured above: Scott Schroeder of American Sardine Bar and South Philly Tap Room returns to COOK on 11/15

This November, COOK has a bunch of seriously awesome stuff going on – and some of this awesome still has seats available. I’m talking about veteran COOK instructor and holistic health coach, Beth Kaufman, partnering with Koresh Dance Company dancer, Asya Zlatina, for a lesson in professional dancer-worthy fare. Then there is local tea maven, Alexis Siemons, who will be demo’ing some of her inventive and delicious tea-infused recipes. Then we have one of the most unsung chefs in town, Scott Schroeder, back at COOK with a menu showcasing his delicious fare laced with local Tahini brand, Soom Foods. Finally, for you boozebags, we have what will undoubtedly be one of the most useful and fun events of the month: cocktails with Sbraga barkeep, Jesse Cornell. Not convinced? Check out some of November’s not-to-be-missed classes and their descriptions below: 

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Recipe Roundup: Squash It To Me!


Yes mom, we know we need to eat more vegetables — but we’re going to have a little dessert at the same time! How is this possible? Thank the awesome Beth Kaufman of A Mindful Me, who’s shared this killer recipe for delicata squash cake topped with chocolate hazelnut ganache and coffee cinnamon sauce. A huge hit at Beth’s recent class, it’s a wholesome meal ender that’s a little sweet and a lot delicious. If this is up your alley, join us on Nov. 18 for Beth’s next class, A Vegetarian Thanksgiving!

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Welcome to the Neigh-BEER-hood, 2nd Story Brewing Company!

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(2nd Story Brewing Company (from left):  General Manager Ken Merriman,
Owner Debbie Grady, Executive Chef Rebecca Krebs and Head Brewer John Wible)

Today Eater posted a story about Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster Garrett Oliver’s response to ramen messiah David Chang’s recent GQ story detailing Chang’s preference for shitty beer (Bud Light?!? Come on, dude!). And despite my love for Miller High Life (sorry but it’s true!) I thought I’d give our city’s growing and beautiful craft beer scene a shout out.

On Tuesday, October 21Brewer John Wible will debut a new collection of classically inspired and approachable ales and lagers at 2nd Story Brewing Co. (117 Chestnut Street), a craft brewery and restaurant serving farm-to-table pub cuisine in a casually rustic environment.  Owner Debbie Grady, along with General Manager Ken Merriman and Executive Chef Rebecca Krebs, will work closely with local producers and purveyors to bring in regional, seasonal ingredients.  Together, the 2nd Story team will operate a new craft-centric brewpub where residents and visitors alike can relax, grab a delicious bite and sip a fresh-hopped beer in the city’s historic Old City neighborhood.

The 2nd Story team is comprised of an eclectic mix of personalities with varying backgrounds, all sharing a tremendous enthusiasm for great craft beer and locally-sourced food:  Grady, a working farmer who grew up in Pasadena, California and owns Tilted Barn Farm in Pottstown, PA, will lead the project;  Merriman, a skilled manager and restaurateur who owns District Riverton Bistro in Riverton, NJ – and previously served as general manager and partner at Center City’s enduring Irish bar Tir na Nog — will oversee the overall operations of the restaurant and brewery, while adding his worldly insight having grown up in Dublin, Ireland;  Krebs, former Executive Chef at Salt Air in Rehoboth Beach, DE, will bring 10 years of culinary experience, specifically focusing on local ingredients and seasonal flavors;  and Wible, a former IT professional turned award-winning home brewer, will turn 2nd Story into his personal beer laboratory, exploring both classic and contemporary styles with a strong focus on simple, fresh beers that are interesting yet easy to drink.

Sitting in the space once occupied by Triumph Brewing Company, the restaurant and brewery has been re-imagined by the 2nd Story team, peeling back the building’s original, historic roots with beautiful exposed brick walls, wood floors and steel beams.  The space will feature two floors of seating, each with a bar area and five different dining areas with ample room for more than 200 guests.  The brewpub will offer a tempting menu of ingredient-driven American fare, a full bar with cocktails, wine and bottled beers as well as the selection of fine beers produced on site.  Both the kitchen and the brewery will use only the freshest ingredients, sourcing custom-grown hops from Grady’s Tilted Barn Farm.

The heartbeat of 2nd Story will pulse loudly on the second floor, where guests can rest comfortably at the copper-topped bar while watching Wible brew a fresh batch of lager from the brewery’s 15-bbl brewing system.  His extensive draft list will feature four distinctive house beers and five rotating taps, with one cask engine, and seasonal favorites such as Great Harvest Pumpkin Ale andColonial Porter on draught, as well as a thoughtful cocktail menu and dedicated list of favorite domestic bottles and even ciders for the non-craft beer lovers.  In addition, there will be an upstairs fireplace and beer garden, accented with salvaged oak and nostalgic photos of iconic Philadelphia breweries.

“Our region is so rich in history and resources, and we can’t wait to put them to use at 2nd Story,” says Grady.  Adds Wible, “This will be the kind of place guests can visit again and again, for a quick pint and engaging conversation among friends.”

For more information, please visit their website at 2nd Story Brewing, follow the brewery on Twitter (@2ndStoryBrewing) and Brewer John Wible (@BrewerWible), Instagram (2ndstorybrewing) and “like” them on Facebook.

Cheers, 2nd Story! Welcome to the neigh-BEER-hood!




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COOKing with Tea


Today’s guest blogger is Alexis Siemons, a tea consultant and writer living in Philadelphia. She is certified in the Foundations of Tea (Level 1 & 2) by the Specialty Tea Institute, a division of the Tea Association of the USA. As a tea enthusiast, she writes about her steeped adventures on her website and blog, teaspoons & petals, teaches a series of culinary tea classes, and develops tea-infused recipes for restaurants. She also consults with tea companies, developing tea programs and creative marketing strategies. Her recipes and stories have been published in Anthology Magazine, Grid Magazine, Philadelphia Magazine, Kinfolk Magazine, Remedy Quarterly and Design*Sponge.

The deeply smoky campfire is crackling with embers headed up into the fall sky. You’re wrapped in your well-worn sweater and tucked under a flannel blanket with a mug of steaming apple cider cupped between both hands. Take me there. That is the ultimate fall moment. But when I can’t escape city streets, I recreate that autumn adventure in a tea infused cup of apple cider. Lapsang souchong tea when steeped in sweet apple cider, lends its rich, piney, smoky notes that warm you to the core. The cinnamon sticks and cloves mingle for spiced complexity. And I’ve been told that dark rum adds an extra log to the fire of warmth in the sip.

Consider the recipe for this tea infused cider (see below) a sneak peek of what you will experience in my class on cooking with tea on November 9th at 1pm (enroll online here). I hope you will join me to explore some of my favorite warming teas, as I share tea 101 tips/lessons that I’ve learned over the past 7 years while working in the tea industry and through my steeped certifications. Beyond the classic cup of tea, we’ll focus on techniques of layering tea in your recipes that give comfort foods a steeped twist. We’ll let it play in heavy cream, infuse it into oils, grind it into a fine powder for baking, steep it into stocks, etc. Set your tea free from the cup, and let it play in the pot settled on the stove or baking dish nestled in your oven. Treat the tea leaf like an herb or spice, and you’ll be surprised by the depth of flavors or balance it can bring to any dish.

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