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CSA Cooking: Curly Cress, Jerusalem Artichokes and Strawberries

This is my second year being a member of the Cobble Hill CSA here in Brooklyn. I am so lucky to be able to be able to join with my community and buy straight from the Green Thumb Farm and Wiklow Orchards and get incredible seasonal produce at great prices.  Last week was our first share and in it was:

strawberries
lettuce
leeks
jerusalem artichoke
french tarragon
curly cress

Curly Cress is a really spicy green, sort of mustardy in flavor and slightly dense in texture. I picked the leaves off and mixed it with the lettuces then tossed it in a delicious vinaigrette made with sherry vinegar and herbs d’ provence and cayenne olive oil I bought the last time I was in France. It was spicy but delicious!

Jerusalem Artichokes most people know are actually a species of sunflower and the “choke” is actually its root or tuber. Its flavor and texture is similar to the choke of the artichoke and when pureed or fried has glorious results. I decided to make a soup with mine using the leeks and a few other handy ingredients. I paired it with some pan fried scallops and it was simply marvelous. The recipe can be found here. Word to the wise, jerusalem artichokes store the carbohydrate inulin which some people have difficulty digesting although I don’t seem to have any trouble with them.

Finally I decided to get busy with all my strawberries and do a variation on strawberry shortcake by macerating the strawberries with a bit of maple syrup and a tiny bit of crushed lavender. For the shortcake I made a lemon ricotta “biscake” (part biscuit part cake) and topped it all off with some fresh whipped cream. The whole story is here.

More as the weeks progress. I still have to handle all that tarragon, and fresh oregano comes tomorrow!!

Simple Social Kitchen's First Wedding

I got married when I turned 25 and until now could barely imagine anything more stressy. But catering a wedding is right up there! So many details, so many things you want to be perfect for the client. I’m counting down one week until the first wedding catered by Simple Social Kitchen and boy… wish me luck!

Well, scratch that… I’m already lucky.  First of all the clients are a dream.  Both tastings have gone well and all adjustments have made sense for all of us.  Secondly, I love the menu and feel very comfortable with the dishes, mostly crossing fingers on the scaling everything for 110 people. Third, I’ve found a tremendous crew to help me cook and serve, all of whom are either friends or fellow grads of the Natural Gourmet Institute (or both!).

The main issue of anxiety happens to be New York City centric.  Living here is a blessing in so many ways because we have access to incredible products of all kinds, but damn… coordinating them and getting around NYC for drop offs and pick ups can be a hassle.  This is the area where I’ll need your luck wishes!

Here’s the menu were doing. Hopefully we’ll do many more in the future!

Bar:
  • Sparkling Red Sangria
  • Classic Margarita
  • Gruner Vetliner (Austrian White Wine)
  • Malbec-Tempranillo (Argentinian Red)
  • Beer
  • Limeade
  • Sparkling Water
Passed Appetizers
  • Totopos (Blue Corn Chips) With Chorizo, Avo-Tomatillo Salsa, Queso Fresco
  • Aguacate Fritter (vegan)
  • Mamela (small thick corn tortilla) With Pasilla Black Bean Paste And Pickled Jalapeno
  • Totopos (yellow corn) With Calamares Ceviche
  • Queso Asadero (vegetarian)
  • Beet/Radish/Jalapeno slaw served in an endive leaf (vegan/vegetarian)
Buffet:
Hot Table (Tacos)

  • Serrano-Lime Marinated Grilled Grass Fed Flank Steak
  • Chipotle Marinated Naturally Raised Grilled Chicken Breast
  • Garlic Shrimp
  • Potato Rajas (vegetarian)
  • Herbed Tamales with Tomato Chickpea Filling (vegan)
  • Rice and Beans (vegan)
Cold Table
  • Mixed Green Salad with Pepitas, Radish, Scallions, Cucumber and Pomegranate Vinaigrette
  • Mixed Cabbage Slaw
  • Crema Fresca
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Fire Roasted Tomato Salsa
  • Salsa Verde
  • Limes
  • Cotija Cheese
  • Pickled Onion
  • Cilantro

Photos from Tapas Class April 3, 2010

Thanks to Cathy and Sue Bauer for spending their special time on Sue’s holiday in New York at the Simple Social Kitchen!  Here are some photos.

Photos from the Tia Foundation Benefit

A few pics of the dishes from our dinner. We raised over $1500 for the Tia Foundation. Excited and proud!

Saturday Class Series

Simple Social Kitchen is beginning a Saturday class series in March and April in Brooklyn, NY. All classes are three hours, $40, and all tools and ingredients will be supplied. At the end of each class a light meal of the prepared dishes will be shared by all students and the recipes covered will be handed out. To sign up, contact us here soon, as space is limited. Location details will be sent upon confirmation.

  • SSK Kitchen Basics: Knife Skills, Grains, Beans and Greens (hands on)

The techniques you’ll learn from this class will help you prepare your recipes with more skill and efficiency. You’ll feel more confident with your recipes and execution. Suitable for vegetarians, vegans and those on a gluten-free diet.

Date and Time: March 27 1-4 PM
Price: $40
Objectives: Basic knife skills, techniques for cooking grains, beans and greens perfectly every time.

  • Tapas: A Taste Of Spain Everyday (demonstration, partial participation)

In this class you’ll learn classic Spanish tapas, the small plates that give you a variety of tastes packed with flavor. These recipes are delicious and perfect for a cocktail party when you want to up your game! Suitable for vegetarians.

Date and Time: April 3 1-4 PM
Price $40
Recipes:
Tortilla de Patata, Espinacas Con Garbanzos, Asparagos Con Romesco, Pa Amb Tomaquet, Gambas Al Ajillo.

  • Mexican Any Day: Salsas, Salads, Tamales and Moles (demonstration, partial participation)

Mexican cuisine is one of the most loved in our country. Although the dishes can appear simple, they are actually complex, but with proper planning, anyone can tackle them! In this class we’ll tackle sauces and tamales, with a fresh salad to keep things light.

Date and Time: April 24 1-4 PM
Price $40
Recipes:
Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa, Jicama-Cucumber-Radish Slaw, Herbed Tamales, Green Mole

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