Remember the movie “If It’s Tuesday This Must Be Belgium”? That was my life for the past few weeks when my book tour brought me to South Florida where I had 13 gigs in 11 days.
The highlight was my cooking demonstration at the KitchenAid Culinary Center at Robb & Stucky Patio, a chichi furniture store in Palm Beach Gardens offering cooking classes in its fully stocked, state-of-the-art professional kitchen.
The event was sponsored by the Jewish Community Center of the Greater Palm Beaches, and here are the four dishes I taught that evening – Layered Hummus and Eggplant Appetizer, Yemenite Haroset Truffles, Malaysian Latkes and a flourless chocolate cake we call Too Good to Call Passover Cake Bete Noire.
But enough about me!
The Center’s Chef Christian Mailloux, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, generously turned his kitchen over to me for the night, but more importantly, his services as sous-chef!
“I’ve been interested in cooking since I was a child, watching my mom and dad,” Mailloux told me as he chopped my onions in preparation for the class.
Mailloux’s grandparents and great-grandmother were from the Azores, and he grew up with the Portuguese cuisine of his mother’s family and the French of his father’s.
“There was always some sort of French-Portuguese dish floating around,” he recalled, “veal braised in tomato sauce, Portuguese sweet bread, cured olives. My brother and I would run around the house with an olive on every finger.”
from ”The Santa Monica Farmers Market Cookbook” (Blenheim Press) by Amelia Saltsman
4 ribs celery, preferable inner whiter ribs with leaves
2 small or 1 large Fuyu persimmon
1/2 cup pecan or walnut pieces, toasted
1/2 pound mixed baby salad greens
About 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or nut oil
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
1. Remove pomegranate kernels: make a cut near blossom end of fruit, submerge in bowl of water, and break fruit into large pieces. Loosen kernels; drain and reserve.
2. With a vegetable peeler, peel celery, then slice paper-thin on diagonal. Place in a salad bowl with the leaves.
3. Core persimmon, cut vertically into quarters, then crosswise into thin slices. Add to bowl with nuts, greens, and as many pomegranate kernels as you like.
4. Grate zest from lemon in long, thin strands into the bowl. Drizzle on the oil, squeeze in some lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Toss well and sprinkle with cheese. Serves 8