Friday, February 20, 2009

Vanilla Bean Orders only .75¢ each

I am currently taking orders for vanilla beans. I have a found a purveyor that sells top quality bourbon vanilla beans. I have placed an order already but will be placing another one. The first shipment arrived yesterday and I will be getting those to everyone this weekend. They are nice and plump top restaurant quality beans and smell great.

These beans, because I have to buy in large bulk, come to only .75¢ each. I am selling them at cost in bundles of 10. So that is only $7.50 for 10 beans. In the grocery stores, they are $4.99 - $5.99 for just 1 bean. However, you get a nice glass jar to keep it in. Save your money, get your own glass jar and add 10 beans to it. I explained during the last cooking class how to make Vanilla Sugar and when and how to use it. I will post 2 recipes next week. Let me know if you are interested in ordering these fantastic vanilla beans.

Recipes from February's Cooking Class

Below are the 3 recipes from February cooking class, Panna Cotta, Lasagna Al Pesto and the Herbed Garlic Bread. I also posted the Pesto Bread recipe since it was requested for the Pesto itself. The pesto from the bread recipe is a traditional pesto recipe and works well for many other Italian recipes using pesto. However, do not use it for the lasagna, stick with the recipe as it is written. For those that missed the class, our next class will be March 12th at 7:00 at Mellissa Hafer's house. I hope to see you there.

Panna Cotta

Here's my popular Panna Cotta recipe that serves 8. It is the same recipe we learned to make during the last class. See the Raspberry sauce below for the great topping. You'll love it!!!
Plus, it is the easiest thing in the world to make!!! Enjoy - Gregg

Panna Cotta
Gregg Fry


  • 1 Pkg. Gelatin or 4 Sheets Gelatin
  • 4 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 Cup Sugar, plus 2 Tablespoons
  • 1 Vanilla Bean
  • 8 (6-ounce) Serving Cups or Brule/Custard Cups


1. In a very small saucepan sprinkle gelatin over 1/8 cup of cool cream and let stand about 1 minute or so to soften. (It will get lumpy or look like cottage cheese, that is OK.
2. Or if using Gelatin sheets - In a small bowl, submerse the gelatin sheets in cool water to soften
3. In a medium saucepan combine the cream and sugar.
4. Slit the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds.
5. Add the seeds and the hull of the vanilla bean to the saucepan.
6. Whisk to combine.
7. Bring the mixture to a boil and turn off immediately.
8. Remove the softened gelatin sheets from the cool water and whisk into the hot cream mixture OR, Temper the gelatin by slowing adding and stirring a 1/4 cup of the heated cream mixture
9. Stir to combine.
10 Add the gelatin back into the cream mixture
11. Pour immediately into serving dishes and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours or overnight.
12. Serve plain or with toppings of your choice.

Raspberry and Cointreau Sauce

Raspberry and Cointreau Sauce:
Gregg Fry

1. 1 half-pint fresh raspberries
2. 1/2 cup sugar
3. 1 cup seedless raspberry jam
4. 2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur (I recommended: Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
5. Place raspberries, sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan.
6. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes.
7. Pour, while hot, the cooked raspberries, the jam, and orange liqueur into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until smooth.
8. Chill.

Makes 2 cups and will last for months. Serve with many custards or Panna Cotta desserts.


Gregg Fry


· Kosher salt
· 1/2 pound fresh green beans, ends removed
· 1/2 pound new potatoes, scrubbed
· Fresh lasagna noodles, recipe follows, or 1/2 pound dried lasagna sheets
· Fresh Pesto sauce, recipe follows
· Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Cook the potatoes then the beans in the water, cooking each until just tender.
3. Drain the potatoes and slip off the skins.
4. Drain the beans and refresh them in ice water.
5. Refill the pot with salted water.
6. Cook the pasta sheets 1 at a time, just until tender.
7. Drain each sheet and lay on clean towels.
8. Cover with additional towels to keep warm.
9. Coat the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch serving dish with a thin layer of pesto.
10. Cover the pesto with a 1/3 of the warm lasagna noodles.
11. Spread pesto over the pasta.
12. Break the potatoes up into bite-size pieces and put half of them and half the beans on top.
13. Arrange another layer of pasta over the beans and potatoes, cover with pesto, another layer of beans and potatoes then a final layer of pasta.
14. Cover the lasagna with Parmigiano-Reggiano, cut and serve.

For the Pesto Sauce:

· 4 bunches fresh basil, leaves picked
· 4 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
· 1 cup pine nuts
· 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
· 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
· 1 tablespoon yogurt
· 4 tablespoons extra-virgin oil

1. Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2. Place the basil leaves, garlic, and pine nuts in a mortar or food processor.
3. Grind or pulse until the leaves are finely chopped.
4. Gradually incorporate the Parmigiano Reggiano, ricotta and yogurt.
5. Then, work in the oil, adding it in a steady stream.
6. Season the pesto to taste with salt and pepper.

For the Fresh Lasagna: (Store bought lasagna sheets or ok also)

· 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
· Pinch salt
· 2 eggs
· 2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Mix the flour with the salt and mound them on a clean work surface.
2. Create a well in the center of the flour mound.
3. Add the eggs and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the well.
4. Lightly beat the eggs with the oil.
5. Using the fingers of one hand, begin incorporating the dry ingredients into the wet, drawing flour into the well in a circular motion.
6. Use the other hand to protect the outer wall.
7. Work the flour mixture into the egg mixture until the dough forms a ball (if the dough doesn't come together add a drop or two of water).
8. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
9. Brush the surface with the remaining olive oil , wrap the dough in plastic wrap; and set aside to rest for about 30 minutes.
10. Cut the ball of dough in half.
11. Wrap and reserve the piece you are not immediately using to prevent it from drying out.
12. Dust the counter and dough with a little flour.
13. Form the dough into a rectangle and roll it though a pasta machine, 2 or 3 times, at the widest setting.
14. Pull and stretch the sheet of dough with the palm of your hand as it emerges from the rollers.
15. Reduce the setting and crank the dough through again, 2 or 3 times.
16. Continue tightening until the machine is at the narrowest setting: the dough should be paper-thin, about 1/8-inch thick.
17. Make 4 pieces, about 20-inches long and 6-inches wide.
18. Lay the lasagna sheets out on a clean dry surface and allow them to dry slightly (about 10 minutes) before using.

Herbed Garlic Bread

Herbed Garlic Bread
Gregg Fry


• 1 stick butter (1/2 cup) (room temperature )
• 2 garlic cloves, mashed to a paste with a pinch of salt and extra-virgin olive oil (Work with a chef’s knife by cutting and dragging the side of the knive through the garlic to mash.)
• Work until it is a gooey paste.
• 2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
• Pinch Kosher salt
• Pinch freshly ground black pepper
• 1 loaf un-sliced French bread or baguette
• Extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For the bread:

1. Stir together the butter, mashed garlic mixture, and herbs in a small bowl
2. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Slice open the loaf of bread lengthwise
4. Spread the herb-garlic mixture over both halves and sprinkle with a little olive oil.

Bake for 15 minutes


By request, here is the PESTO BREAD recipe we learned to make at the very first cooking class. This pesto is great and I use it for more than just this recipe. Use it for any recipe that calls for pesto. It tastes great and I know you make it often.

Gregg Fry


2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano
1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1 unsliced loaf of French bread or baguette

Preheat oven to 350


1. For the pesto, combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Puree until the mixture forms a smooth, thick paste.
2. Slice the French bread loaf or baguette lengthwise horizontally.
3. Spread the pesto over the cut sides of the baguette and toast in the oven until crispy and golden.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Next Month's Cooking Class

Next month's cooking class will be held at Mellissa Hafer's house on March 12th at 7:00 PM. See you there.