Text Size

Current Size: 100%

What's Cooking at the Library

Section Index: 
Content Body: 

Unfornatuely, due to an unexpected conflict in her schedule, Chef Cathy Pavlos will not be able to demonstrate. The event has been canceled and all preregistered customers will be refunded through Parks & Rec.

**CANCELED**Chef Cathy Pavlos, LUCCA Cafe and Provenance

May 20, 2014

Pam Thomson, Wine and Cheese

Pam Thomson, Cheese enthusiast, was here on April 15 to share several artisan cheeses. James Vorce from Trader Joe's served two kinds of wine: Moscato d'Asti Villa Alena and 1967 Toscana.

Cheese Plate

Honey Goat Chevre

Yosemite Flower - sheep brie

O'Bannon - Bourbon wrapped goat

Quadrello di Bufala - aged bufala

Jarlsberg - swiss style from Norway

Petit Basque - sheeps' milk

Le Grueyere Cave-Aged - aged swiss

Himmel Bla- Danish blue

Chef Deb Schneider

Chef Deborah Schneider from SOL Cocina was here on March 18 to discuss Baja cuisine and demonstrate some delicious recipes: Cucarachas (Garlic Shrimp in the Shell), Hot & Raw Ceviche, Beet and Sweet Potato Chips, Chipotle and Goat Cheese Tostadas with Piloncillo and Roasted Peanuts, and Mexican Chocolate Bread Pudding. All recipes are from "Baja! Cooking on the Edge" by Chef Deborah M. Schneider.


Cucarachas (Garlic Shrimp in the Shell)

Warning: These are messy and addictive! For maximum flavor, and shock value, be sure to leave the heads and shells on, though it is just as tasty without. The whole idea is to eat with your hands and lick the sauce and seasonings from your fingers, so this preparation is not for the fastidious. Nor is the name, which is wry Mexican humor at its best. Serves 6 as an appetizer, 4 as an entree.

1/3 cup canola oil

1 pound shell on, head on white shrimp, best quality, 21-25 count. Leave the heads and shells on!

2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons garlic salt, more to taste

4 tablespoons finely grated or ground romano or parmesan cheese (or other salty cheese)

Hot Sauce

Thinly sliced scallions

1. In a wok, heat the oil over medium high heat. Cook the shrimp in two batches, turning constantly, for about two minutes or until the shrimp are pink, curled up and firm to the touch. As they are cooked, scoop into a large mixing bowl and keep warm under a lid or foil tent. Do not drain or remove the oil clinging to the shrimp; it has a terrific flavor (see Note).

2. When all the shrimp are cooked, toss with the garlic salt and cheese.

3. Turn the shrimp and any juices onto a serving dish and sprinkle with the scallions. Serve with Hot Sauce on the side, and lots of paper napkins.

Note: Take some of the shrimp flavored cooking oil left in the wok and drizzle it over the shrimp before serving. The oil has a wonderful flavor and creates a bit of succulent sauce on the serving plate.

Note: At SOL, we fry a couple of lemon wedges and chile de arbol with the shrimp to add flavor.


Hot & Raw Ceviche

1/2 cup Pico de Gallo (equal parts diced tomato and diced onion, mixed with salt, cilantro, lime juice, and mixed jalapeno)


3 oz diced raw fish (yellowtail or sea bass)

3 half limes squeezed over fish

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon diced pineapple

1 tablespoon diced mango

2 tablespoons diced fresh orange (and juice)

1 tablespoon diced cucumber

1 tablespoon diced onion

1 large pinch chopped cilantro


1 tablespoon diced avocado

1 tablespoon diced mango

1 lemon slice

2 teaspoons minced habanero chile

1 cilantro sprig

Sweet Potato chips & Beet chips (recipe to follow)


Make the sweet potato and beet chips

Make the pico de gallo and place in the bottom of a 20 oz "chabela" goblet

Make the ceviche and spoon on top of the pico de gallo

Top with 1 tablespoon diced mango and 1 tablespoon diced avocado

Top with lemon slice and spoon the habaneros onto the lemon slice

Garnish with the sprig of cilantro


Note: the chips can be fried in oil, or brushed lightly with oil and baked on a silpat baking mat. They MUST be cut on a mandoline or Japanese mandoline. Make the slices thin and even-not paper thin.

Beet Chips

Do not peel beets

Slice beets right before you fry them -- DO NOT PUT IN WATER

Fry beets until they seem half coooked (they will seem like rubber but will harden up when cooled)

Salt lightly

Keep warm

Sweet Potato Chips

Use red garnet yams - no need to peel - slice and hold in lots of cold water, swish around

Drain on paper towels

Fry until crisp

Salt lightly and keep warm


Chipotle and Goat Cheese Tostadas with Piloncillo and Roasted Peanuts

Makes 24 antojitos

1 cup crushed piloncillo sugar or brown sugar

1 cup water

1 can chipotles in adobo

Fresh corn tortillas

1/3 cup vegetable oil or melted lard

Sea salt

6 ounces creamy, strong goat cheese

1/2 cup raw shelled peanuts

Cilantro leaves

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

2. Combine the piloncillo, canned chipotles and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and mash the sugar and the chiles with a potato masher until as smooth as possible. Reduce the syrup over lowest heat until it is slightly thickened. Keep barely warm

3. Meanwhile, brush the tortillas on both sides with oil, stack and cut into 6 wedges. Spread out on cookie sheats in a single layer, and bake until crisp. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. Keep warm in the turned off oven.

4. While the tostadas are baking, roast the peanuts alongside in a small pan. When golden brown, then chop roughly.

5. Mash the goat cheese until soft. Place a small spoonful on top of each chip, add a healthy drizzle of chipotle syrup and top with a pinch of chopped peanuts and a single cilantro leaf.


Mexican Chocolate Bread Pudding

When this is warm, it tastes like Mexican hot chocolate-yum! At SOL, we add bananas (sauteed in butter and brown sugar) to the mix. Double yum! If you don't wish to make this as an individual dessert, it works perfectly well in a baking dish, but it will take a bit longer to cook. Serves 8-10 (leftovers are good!)

1 cup sugar

3 cups milk

10 ounces (1 1/2 cups) good quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or use Guittard or Hershey chocolate chips)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

4 eggs, well beaten

8 cups firm bread (see Note, below) cut into one inch cubes

To serve: creme fraiche, whipped cream, or vaniall ice cream

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a 2 quart heavy bottomed saucepan, gently heat the milk and sugar over low heat until barely warm, stirring with a whisk, until the sugar dissolves. Add the chopped chocolate, remove from heat and stir until the chocolate melts.

3. Stir in the salt, vanilla and cinnamon, and allow to cool to tepid. Stir in the beaten eggs thoroughy.

4. Place the bread crumbs in a mixing bowl and pour the custard over the bread, stirring to combine. Let stand ten minutes while the bread absorbs the custard.

5. Spoon the mixture into the dish(es), set onto a cookie sheet and bake until puffed up, but not dried out (15 minutes for small ones and 30-40 minutes for the larger one)

6. Serve warm or cold, with a dollop of creme fraiche, lightly sweetened whipped cream or a scoop of wicked vanilla ice cream.

Note: Use a firm, homemade style bread, a day or two old. You will also get wonderful results with day old challah or egg bread, brioche or even croissants.


  • Scatter fresh raspberries over each serving
  • Add grated orange zest and a touch of Grand Marnier to the custard
  • Use 1/4 cups good quality white chocolate instead of semisweet chocolate
  • Saute apples and layer in the bottom of the baking dish before adding the mix, this is good with either dark or light chocolate
  • Top with ice cream and sprinkle with finely ground espresso and a drizzle of bourbon

Chef Andrew Gruel, Slapfish

Chef Andrew Gruel of Slapfish was here on February 18th to discuss sustainable fish and demonstrate some delicious recipes: Lobster Grilled Cheese with "Everything" Sauce and Classic Clam Chowder.

Lobster Grilled Cheese with "Everything" Sauce            Everything Sauce

2 oz. lobster                                                                          1/2 cup mayonaisse

1/2 cup sliced cucumber                                                          1 tablespoon chopped pickle

2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese                                           1 teaspoon sriracha

1 carmelized onion                                                                 1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 ripe tomato, sliced                                                               1 tablespoon pickle juice

2 tablespoons butter                                                               1 teaspoon ketchup

1 lemon sliced in half                                                              1 tablespoon tomato juice

2 tablespoons shredded aged white cheddar                              1 tablespoon minced chipotle

4 slices high quality sandwich bread                                          1 lemon zested and juiced

Fresh dill for garnish                                                               1 teaspoon honey



1. Start by building the sandwich: Spread the marscarpone cheese evenly over the inside of each piece of bread. Layer the bread bottoms in the following order: cheese, tomato, carmelized onion (it's okay if it's still warm), tomato, cucumber, lobster, and a touch more cheese. Top with the remaining bread.

2. To cook the sandwich: Place 1/2 the butter in the pan and heat until melted. Add the sandwich and toast over medium heat (it may take a few minutes on lower heat, but it is well worth the melted crunch). Before you flip the sandwich, add the remaining butter, then flip. Place the entire pan in the oven for 5 minutes.

3. For the Everything Sauce: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl with a whisk and set aside.

4. To serve: Slice the sandwich in half and serve alongside the everything sauce for dipping. Squeeze the lemon juice over the sandwich at the last minute to add a touch of acid. For a messier, sloppier, finger-licking good time, drizzle the sauce right over the sandwich. Garnish with fresh dill sprigs.


Slapfish Classic Clam Chowder

Serves 8 people

1 yellow onion diced

1/2 green bell pepper diced

2 ribs celery diced

3 cloves garlic minced

1/2 cup white wine

10 red potatoes large dice

1 large can clam juice

1 quart heavy cream

2 tablespoons fresh thyme chopped

2 cups fresh chopped clams (or any other fish)

dash of your favorite hot sauce

Cornstarch and water mix (slurry)


1. Add the oil to the pot and heat over medium high heat until shimmering, about 3 minutes.

2. Add the onions, peppers, and celery, saute over medium low heat until soft and translucent. DO NOT BROWN, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the garlic and saute for another 45 seconds until the garlic is the color of hay and slighty redolent.

4. Deglaze with white wine and reduce by 75% or almost dry.

5. Add the clam juice, water, and potatoes and cook for 10 minutes.

6. Add the heavy cream and clams, reduce for 10 minutes or until potatoes are soft.

7. Make a cornstarch slurry and thicken chowder until the proper consistency is met.

8. Season with salt, pepper, hot sauce, and fresh thyme.


Website by YourLibrarySite


1000 Avocado Ave. Newport Beach, CA 92660 • (949) 717-3800