Posts Tagged ‘cooking class’



Recently I did a hands-on cooking class at DeGustibus Cooking School by Miele at Macy’s Herald Square in New York City. Hands-on means that the paying guests, working with the chef and assistants, prepare the evening’s meal which they will then sit down and enjoy along with accompanying wines. Although I never refer to myself as a chef, for this class I was so designated (I guess it sounds better than chief cook and bottle washer) and Amaral, the long-time general manager of the school, was in charge of his group making an asparagus salad. Amaral and I have worked together for many years and we always have more fun that we probably should. He is a great cook in his own right, but his sense of humor and support of the starred chefs make him a very special person. In this photo, you see Amaral guarding the asparagus that is going to be used to make the following salad.

Grilled Asparagus Salad with Warm Guanciale Vinaigrette and Pecorino

Serves 6


30 asparagus stalks of the same size

3 tablespoons olive oil

Zest of 1 orange

Salt and pepper

Guanciale Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

2 hard-boiled egg yolks, sieved

Shaved Pecorino Romano for garnish


Break off the tough ends of the asparagus and, using a vegetable peeler, trim about 1-inch of the outer skin off of the bottom of each stalk. As peeled, place the asparagus on a baking sheet with sides. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle on the orange zest. Season with salt and pepper and, using your hands, gently roll the stalks around to season evenly.

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus, a few stalks at a time, and grill, turning occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until just barely cooked through and nicely marked. Remove from the pan set aside while you continue grilling the remaining stalks.

Place 5 stalks on each of six luncheon plates. Spoon an equal portion of the vinaigrette over the asparagus, sprinkle with sieved egg yolks, and garnish with a couple of shavings of Pecorino.


Guanciale Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ pound guanciale, finely diced

1 shallot, peeled and minced

1 teaspoon minced garlic

½ cup moscato or white balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper


Place 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the guanciale and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until nicely browned and slightly crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked meat to a double layer of paper towel to drain.

Keeping the frying pan on low heat, add the shallot and garlic and fry, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Whisk in the vinegar and mustard.

Remove the pan from the heat and slowly whisk in the extra virgin olive oil, whisking in just enough to make a slightly thick dressing. You may not need all of it, depending upon how much fat was released by the guanciale.

Stir the reserved guanciale into the dressing, season with salt and pepper, and use as a dressing for grilled vegetables, wilted greens (such as kale, spinach, or butter lettuce) or other salads.


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On Thursday, April 23. 2015 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. I will be doing a Hands-On cooking class entitled “Creating a Seamless Meal” at DeGustibus Cooking School at Macy’s Herald Square in New York City.  It is $150.00 per person and will include dinner, wine, a surprise gift, and lots of laughs.

The class is described as follows:

Join multiple James Beard Award-winning author JUDITH CHOATE as she brings her unparalled cooking to the DeGustibus kitchen.   You’ll have the time of your life as Judie embraces you in the true spirit of what cooking should be – sharing, caring, passion, and tradition – as she educates us on how to create an impeccable dinner party.  Learn the cooking techniques and equipment necessary to easily make the perfect meal and how to design a tempting plate and set a beautiful table.


I know it’s a wee bit expensive but I can guarantee some good eats and great wines.  In addition, I will be joined in the kitchen by Chef Ben Lee (recently of A Voce), one of the top young chefs in America today as well as representatives from Scanpan cookware and Global knives.  Together we hope to give you all the skill you need to be a star in your own kitchen.  If you can’t join us, I would appreciate it if you send this along to anyone that you think might like to cook along with us in the beautiful new DeGustibus kitchen located on the 8th floor of Macy’s Herald Square.  You can reserve a seat by calling 212-239-1652 or by visiting the DeGustibus at Macy’s website, http://www.degustibusnyc.com.  Hope to see you there!


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