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COOKing with Tea

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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Cheers to five years! An Audi FEASTIVAL Video Recap

Fridays. A day often observed with early closings and happy hours. Sprinkle in some movie openings and voila–weekend. While we ourselves are not closing early, we ARE looking forward to tonight’s “happy hour”–a wine class with local wine writer and consultant Brian Freedman. Unfortunately (except for 16 lucky people) tonight’s class is sold out but we CAN share a movie with you.

The folks at Branded Productions have put together yet another fantastic video recap of this year’s Audi FEASTIVAL. This year was a benchmark year, celebrating five years of FEASTIVAL-ing. Back in the days of branding the event in 2010, I had no idea what it would grow to be.

So, sit back, push play and enjoy. See you next FEASTIVAL!

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Meatless Monday: Wedge Salad with Chickpea Bites

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Welcome to Monday. Or, if you’re so inclined, Meatless Monday. There’s still space for tonight’s Meatless Monday with Beth Kaufman of A Mindful Me–enroll online and join us! In the meantime, here’s one of the many recipes that will be shared during tonight’s class. Bon appétit!

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Awesome Class Alert: An Autumn Omakase with Todd Lean of Pod

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Do you LOVE Japanese cuisine? Well, you’re in luck because seats are still available for our October 15th event with Todd Lean, Executive Chef of Stephen Starr’s futuristic University City hotspot, Pod. Join Chef Todd at COOK when he will prepare an other-worldly omakase for 16 lucky guests. Omakase is a Japanese phrase used in restaurants that means “I’ll leave it to you”.  In this case, the “you” is the chef and the “it” is the menu. So instead of guests ordering à la carte, the chef presents a series of plates intended to be innovative and surprising, almost like an artistic performance by the chef. Chef Todd’s COOK menu will feature:

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Photo Recap: An Evening of Indian COOKing with Brian Ricci of Kennett

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Team COOK loves us some Brian Ricci. Especially when he cooks Indian. This past Friday was no exception. With back-to-back snowstorms, we had been looking forward to his spicy return to COOK. Guests always wonder how this Kennett chef learned to cook a curry. In addition to working in the kitchen at Django, Supper and Pub & Kitchen, Brian spent many years at Danny Meyer’s famed NYC restaurant, Tabla. Rival Bros. Coffee Co-Owner and former Pub & Kitchen chef Jonathan Adams (aka Jonny Mac) told us that Brian’s Indian cooking was some of the best he’d ever had and that we should invite him for an Indian-themed class. So we did…twice. We’re already looking forward to a third time around.

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COOK Masters Program Guest Blogger: Nancy Lowell

Mother-Sauces

The COOK Masters Program is a free, instructional cooking series taught by some of the city’s and country’s biggest culinary names, for students who are truly passionate about pursuing a professional career in the restaurant industry.

The third semester of the COOK Masters Program began earlier this month. COOK has once again secured an impressive roster of professional chefs as instructors. Upcoming and past instructors include Michael Solomonov (Zahav, Percy Street Barbecue, Federal Donuts), Jean-Marie Lacroix (Lacroix, Brûlée Catering), Pierre Calmels (Bibou), Nick Elmi (Laurel), Jon Cichon (Lacroix), Georges Perrier, Peter Woolsey (Bistrot La Minette), James Barrett (Metropolitan Bakery), Brian Freedman (Drink Me Magazine), Aimee Olexy (Talula’s Table, Talula’s Garden, Talula’s Daily), Katie Cavuto (Healthy Bites), David Katz (Creekstone Farms) and many more.

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Seats Still Available for February Classes

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First things first…Our March classes will go on sale Wednesday, February 5 at 2pm, so mark your calendars and be on the lookout for a preview of the schedule on Foobooz.

In the meantime, we have some open seats for select February classes. Below are the details and direct links to purchase seats.

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Philly’s Puentes de Salud Featured In The New York Times

 Puentes

The team at COOK was incredibly excited to see this excellent feature about Philadelphia’s Puentes de Salud in the January 20 edition of The New York TimesSupported by the Philly chef community, Dr. Steve Larson‘s non-profit organization provides high-quality medical care to our city’s undocumented and uninsured Latino immigrants, many of whom work within the restaurant industry.

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Fare for the Philippines: A Recap

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Since Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines on November 8, 2013, Team COOK has collaborated with our sister restaurants Twenty Manning Grill and Audrey Claire on several fundraising efforts. With the final scheduled event now behind us, we wanted to look back and determine just how many dollars had been raised. But before we give you the figures, we want to thank all of those who donated for their generosity. All funds raised have been given to Gawad Kalinga, a Philippine-based poverty alleviation and nation-building movement. If you would like to donate online, click here.

Below is a list of efforts and events that occurred at COOK and Twenty Manning Grill, along with a total of funds raised.

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Photo Recap: A Champagne Dinner with Olivier Desaintmartin of Caribou Café and Zinc

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While this post is primarily a photo recap of our recent Champagne Dinner with Olivier Desaintmartin of Caribou Café and Zinc, we would be remiss to not mention three things we ourselves learned from Monsieur Desaintmartin. One of those is most certainly not that Team COOK loves Champagne–it’s no secret that I, along with Michelle and Lily, love  bubbles, so no surprise there…But among the many lessons learned last Friday are the following:

1. Champagne is not a grape, but rather a blend of three grapes–Pinot Noir (which gives body), Chardonnay (which gives strength), and Pinot Meunier (which gives fruitiness).

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