Ornately decorated pie with leaves and roses

Joyful Cooking

Heating water in the microwave for my morning cup of tea, my gaze falls on the kettle sitting on the stove. Hmm, when was the last time I boiled my tea water in it and its two-tone harmonica whistle sang? It was so long ago I couldn’t recall.

It got me thinking about microwaves, ready-made assembly line pies, frozen pie crust, meals out of a box from the freezer and instant anything requiring boiled water counted as a main ingredient. Sure, it’s easier but, is it yummier?

Cooking is joyful! It’s fun and creative with smells and tastes that burn into our memories. Most of us will define the 2020 holiday season in new ways and we may not be sharing the love and kitchen camaraderie cooking together brings.

When you cook along with us, you’re building a 2020 version of kitchen memories. The six classes in the next 10 days promise to be fun, showcase amazing creativity from the chefs, and the most deliciousness ever.

Iron Chef Wendy Gauthier’s stuffing waffles in tonight’s Thanksgiving Encore class could start a whole new trend. Saturday’s butternut squash chiles rellenos en nogada from Chef Devon Sanner showcase fall flavors in a very Tucson way, including apples from Willcox, and the food kit that’s our gift to you means all you need to supply is vegetable oil, salt and pepper. 

Start next week with gluten free Fall treats from the Gourmet Girls Susan Fulton and Mary Steiger with the bonus you don’t have to be gluten free to enjoy yummy cookies and melt-in-your-mouth spiced pumpkin seed dark chocolate bark. We’re gifting a food kit of cookie dough, some prebaked cookies and hard to find ingredients, too.

On Tuesday, a meal you could have eaten with Father Eusebio Francisco Kino in 1692 when he established San Xavier Del Bac Mission is on the menu – native corn sopes with Father Kino black-eyed peas, pork belly and nopalito salsa – when Gallery of Food Chefs Kristine Jensen and Christopher Baldwin help us understand why these heritage foods are still vibrant today. Two food kits are available for purchase with the hard work done for you and all ingredients locally sourced.

Since there’s no such thing as too much pie, on Wednesday you’ll bake along with Hacienda Del Sol’s Executive Pastry Chef Shelli Soto creating ornately decorated pies – pecan sweet potato, lemon meringue and sweet spinach apple bacon breakfast. They’ll be stunningly beautiful and indescribably tasty. That’s Chef Shelli’s photo capturing what your pie will look like, too.

Next Saturday, the Greek Kouzina ladies, Nancy Jimmerson and Genie Gekas Patterson, are back. After more than 20 years running the Tucson Greek Festival’s food offerings, they’re sharing the secrets to one of the festival’s best sellers – ouzo cake. The recipe has a special Tucson spin to make it unforgettable – a honey spice-infused syrup poured over the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven.

Wishing you joy in the kitchen!

Butter in the food processor
It doesn’t get more old school than making butter. No churning required!
Yield: 8 oz.

1 pint heavy cream, don’t use whipping cream, which has added carrageenan
Salt and other spices, optional
Food processor with mixing blade
Plastic wrap or parchment paper

1. Process cream in a food processor until the butter solids have separated from the buttermilk and you see lots of little clumps of butter clinging together distinctly separated from thin milky liquid, 4–7 minutes (unpasteurized cream will separate more quickly). Carefully drain buttermilk and reserve for another use.
2. The cream will go through stages indicated by changes in the sound coming from the food processor bowl. First it turns very creamy and looks like ice cream. Next the churning noise will become rougher and the cream will abruptly turn solid when the butter separates from the buttermilk.
3. Stop the food processor and taste it. If it tastes like butter, you’re done.
4. If it still tastes like sweet cream, run it another 1-2 minutes.
5. If making compound butter, add ingredients for chosen flavor and process until fully incorporated.
6. Transfer butter to a medium bowl lined with a double layer of cheesecloth. Gather cheesecloth up around butter and twist to squeeze until no more liquid runs out of butter. Transfer butter to a sheet of parchment or waxed paper and roll up into a log. Chill until firm, about 1 hour.
7. Butter can be made 5 days ahead. Keep chilled.


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