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A Taste of Tel Aviv with Ari Miller of Food Underground

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Once you get Ari Miller started on stories about his time in Israel, there’s no end to the craziness he can recount. Last Saturday, as he and his partner, Gary Burner, prepared  six modern and delicious takes on classic Israeli food, he passed the time with stories while we enjoyed our fill of creations from Food Underground.

Our evening began with Marc de Galilee, a three-year oak barrel aged brandy that won a silver medal in the 2015 Berlin International Spirits Competition. According to Ari, consider it the Israeli version of grappa. A quick cheers, and we were ready to dig in.

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Restaurant Neuf Preview with Joncarl Lachman of Noord

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Chef Joncarl Lachman’s got a lot going on. With installations currently happening in his newest spot, Restaurant Neuf, it’s only about a month before opening for dinner service. Yet, he’s also cooking nonstop at Noord. Lucky for us and our guests, he joined us at COOK to preview Neuf’s North African fare.

We started with a roasted fennel and frisée salad, tossed with grapefruit, toasted cashews, and fennel pureed with olive oil as well as roasted in the salad.

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Next, Joncarl cooked prawns “en papillote” with fennel, heirloom tomatoes, and batonnet of mirepoix (carrots, onions, and celery). These were seasoned with Ras el Hanout, which Joncarl explained was a North African spice mix that is different depending on who blends the spices (it translates to “head of the shop” and is traditionally simply the blend of the best spices a store had to offer at the time). Subtle, slightly sweet, and warming, it was the perfect flavor profile for these prawns.

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After the prawns (which barely lasted long enough to photograph before everyone had all but licked their plates) we were served Stuffed Pepper Quail over Harira with house-made bread fresh from Noord. We know your next question– what’s harira? A traditional North African soup, often spiced with cardamom, cinnamon, ginger or turmeric. Joncarl’s version had prunes, lemon, chickpeas, and caraway as well.

IMG_4983 IMG_4982 IMG_4984 IMG_4987Stuffed, we just barely managed to find room Joncarl’s perfect after-dinner dish: Moroccan spiced dark chocolate bark with caraway as well as other spices, and dried fruits. On the side went fresh figs and honey, all of which we shared with final sips of wine and hearty thanks to Joncarl.

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As usual, another beautiful meal with new flavors and combinations that leave us ready to try even more. All our best to Joncarl– make sure to save us a table at Neuf!

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Sneak Peek of September at COOK

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Above: Ben Puchowitz of Cheu Noodle Bar and Bing Bing.

This time, we’re trying something a little different… Rather than our traditional 2pm launch, our September classes go on sale TODAY at 6pm (that’s right 6pm). With that in mind, take a look at the schedule preview below, share with friends and family and then go here promptly at 6pm to purchase your seats!

In the meantime, you may purchase your seats NOW for the party of the year: Audi FEASTIVAL. On Thursday, September 17, 2015, Philadelphia’s top chefs come together to benefit FringeArts. Now in its sixth year, this annual event will sell out, so purchase your tickets today. An added incentive to purchase early: through August 17, you can save 25% on tickets with promo code EARLYBIRD. Visit the FEASTIVAL website for full details and online ticketing.

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Low Country COOKing with Valerie Erwin of Geechee Girl Rice Cafe

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While Philly often feels like it has never-ending food options, Low Country cooking (traditionally the foodways of Georgia and South Carolina) may still be foreign to many of us Northerners. Valerie Erwin, formerly of Geechee Girl Rice Cafe, set out to give us a taste last Friday.

Though she too was born and raised in Philly, and never visited the South, she grew up with Low Country-inspired cooking, and, as she tells it, with two great cooks for parents (she remembers her father’s bouillabaisse fondly). Yet her food is approachable and delicious; Low-Country comfort with modern elegance.

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August Classes at COOK…What’s Left?

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Pictured above: Olga Sorzano of Baba’s Brew.

Team COOK is busy planning our September class schedule–stay tuned for a release date. In the meantime, there is still space available in a handful of August classes. Check out full descriptions below and enroll online today!

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Lamb Butchery with Brett Romberg of Mainland Inn

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Alright people, prepare yourselves for this one (and non-meat-eaters, be wary)! We watched a whole lamb butchery this past Sunday, and we’re excited to share it with you. We learned a lot this past weekend, and enjoyed an entire meal of lamb dishes to boot.

Our guest chef for the evening was Brett Romberg, the Chef de Cuisine at Mainland Inn in Harleysville. Mainland Inn is run by farmer Sloane Six, whose farm, Quarry Hill, supplies the produce and meat. To complement the farm-to-table food they serve, all the ingredients used in the restaurant are entirely organic and sustainably sourced. Yes- we said all, even the spirits!

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Real Maine Food With Ben Conniff of Luke’s Lobster

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Food, more often than not, has a story. And, while a meal has a history alone just in how it was cooked, that story can expand to include anything from where you ate it or who you shared it with, to whatever it is that very last bite will always remind you of.

With Real Maine Food (available for purchase at COOK!) Ben Conniff and Luke Holden of Luke’s Lobster compiled the stories and recipes they found in Maine, alongside many of their own, to showcase the story of Maine food. With the book out and the summer just ahead, they took the time to stop and share some of the stories and bites with us.

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A Saturday Brunch in Partnership with The Food Trust and Jason Cichonski

Brunch drinks aplenty at COOK this past weekend.

 

It started a little something like this: June 6th, sixteen participants met up with Jason Cichonski (Ela and The Gaslight) on a sleepy Saturday morning at the Fitler Square Farmer’s Market. COOK worked in partnership with The Food Trust, so we were lucky to meet up with Kalie Wertz and have her walk us through the market. Meeting farmers and learning about their methods and products, we were lucky to learn about the healthy, sustainable methods of food production that are made so accessible to Philadelphians through The Food Trust.

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Sneak Peek of April 2015 at COOK

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Above: Eli Collins of Pub & Kitchen.

This April, signs of spring are all around at COOK. Below is a preview of our April class schedule. Share with friends and family, and be ready to make your purchase TOMORROW AT 2PM!

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Recipe: A Colorful Salad for a Grey Winter’s Day

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During this stretch of single-digit temperatures and salt-streaked sidewalks, we could use a break from the grey. This past weekend, Betsey Gerstein Sterenfeld of Essen returned to COOK and began the meal with a colorful respite from winter. Thank you to Betsey for braving the snow and for sharing the recipe for her delicious winter salad.

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