Farm to Table Cooking Class with Amy Pennington

One of my favorite things to do at the Ranch is attend cooking classes at our cooking school, La Cocina Que Canta.  Why, you ask?  Well, let me count the ways.  It’s incredibly beautiful inside the kitchen as well as out on the farm.  The first time I stepped foot into the Cocina during the Organic Breakfast Hike I was impressed by not only how gorgeous it was, but also warm and inviting.  And how it sort of feels like home.  I didn’t want to leave.  Then there’s the six acre organic farm, Rancho Tres Estrellas, which right now is blooming head to toe with flowers.  So, that being said, you can start to see why I love coming to the Cocina.  And I haven’t even gotten to the food yet.

If you can while you’re here, attend one of the cooking classes.  In some ways it’s a life changing experience even though it’s only about three hours.  There’s a lot that goes on!  First you learn from not only our amazing chef, Denise Roa, but also our guests chefs who come to share their stories and their approach to cooking.  Then comes the tour of the gardens where you’ll be able to pick vegetables for the recipes you’ll be cooking and then of course, is the actual cooking.  However, what makes each class so special is truly working together as a group to make a spectacular meal and sharing it together.  It’s really hard to describe how unique that is until you’ve actually done it.  By the time you leave class, you’ll all feel like old friends.

This class was no exception.  The ride back to the Ranch afterwards was filled with laughter and stories from people who had first met just a couple of hours earlier.  A lively group I must say!  And of course there was the food.  Amy, whose background specializes in urban farming (she has an amazing website by the way) came up with a menu that honestly, I would eat every day.  Completely up my ally.  Veggie heavy recipes that taste delicious and are super healthy.  My favorites were the Lettuce Bowls with Shrimp, the Sweet Potato Salad, the Sautéed Escarole, well actually, pretty much everything on the menu!

Menu

Lettuce Bowls with Clove Pickled Beets and Grilled Shrimp

Herbal Minestrone- Stock, Bean, Zucchini and a Handful of Herbs

Panzanella with Crushed Tomato and Pickled Red Onion

Barley + Sweet Potato Salad

Grated Cumin Carrots and Raisins

Sautéed Escarole with Smashed Garlic

Orange Slices with Orange Flower Water and Pistachios

Stay tuned for recipes we’ll be posting soon from the class!

Don’t forget about our Culinary Week, La Fiesta De La Cocina Que Canta with Deborah Madison, John Ash, Marie Simmons and Nani Steele!  September 28-October 5th!  Book by August 1, 2013, limited space available.

Learning to Cook Moroccan Cuisine at La Cocina Que Canta Part 2

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It’s not just about the food, it’s about the experience.  That was the most important lesson I took away from the wonderful cooking class taught by Denise and Meadow Linn at our organic farm and cooking school, La Cocina Que Canta. In Part 1, I posted some photos of our cooking class and collecting our ingredients in the garden. In this post, you see the final product! And let me tell you, it was delicious! Below is the Moroccan menu we prepared, made even more wonderful by all the beautiful flowers decorating the table, fresh from the garden. This is farm-to-table at its best.

The Menu for the Hands On Cooking Class with Visiting Chefs Denise and Meadow Linn

Entree:

Vegetarian Kefta (Moroccan Spiced Meatball with Firm High Protein Tofu)

Soup:

Curried Carrot and Apple Soup

Salad:

Arabian Chopped Salad

Whole Grain:

Whole Grain Tabbouleh

Vegetables:

Casablanca Carrots

Raita

Tunisian Garbanzo Beans with Harissa

Dessert:

Tahini Balls + Fresh Oranges

Coconut Lace Cookies

Everything was delicious! My favorites were the soup, the garbanzo bean salad and of course the desserts. A huge thanks to Denise and Meadow Linn for making this class so special.

Learning to Cook Moroccan Cuisine at La Cocina Que Canta Part 1

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The cooking classes at the Ranch are my favorite way to spend the afternoon. Recently, I was lucky enough to attend a class at our organic farm, La Cocina Que Canta, for a cooking class taught by Denise and Meadow Linn. Denise is a world-renowned author of feng shui and space clearing books. Together with her daughter, Meadow Linn, they co-authored The Mystic Cookbook, which not only has delicious recipes, but also celebrates the joy and spiritual side of cooking.

Before the cooking began, we went out to the gardens to pick our veggies for the class. All of our cooking classes incorporate some sort of farm-to-table aspect, since our Cocina is located on a six-acre organic farm. It’s always so fun to see what’s in season, and at this time of year, there are so many flowers in bloom – it’s gorgeous!  When we got to cooking, Denise put on some Moroccan music for our Moroccan inspired menu, which really put us in the spirit! Meadow shared with us wonderful stories about why each recipe is so special. The photos above of part one of the cooking class; our guest chefs Denise and Meadow with our chef Denise Roa, being out in gardens, Meadow demonstrating and the plethora of organic veggies that would soon be cooked.

Stay tuned for Part Two to see what we made…