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Eat Your Veggies: TomCookery’s Top 8 Vegetarian Comfort Food Classics

Corn and Avocado Salad Pic Final

Vegetarian Awareness Month is coming to a close but that doesn’t mean leave our meat-free friends by the wayside. At TomCookery, we make sure to be as inclusive as possible (when our clients let us) and we have a number of great comfort classics for guests who want to hold the meat. Check out our 8 favorites that are so yum, meat will be an afterthought.

8. Cornbread Stuffed Mushrooms

This appetizer is perfect for fall and winter because its like a little bite of Thanksgiving/Christmas in your mouth. The cornbread is actually a traditional sagey, yummy stuffing which we pile in to a cremini mushroom and pop in the oven so it has a great crust.

7. Corn & Avocado Salad with Queso Fresco & Chili Oil (Pictured Above)

We created this dish as a summer salad course but don’t be surprised if it pops up again when you least suspect it. The avocado is tossed with roasted corn, minced white onions and lime, then topped with a sprinkling of queso fresco and cilantro. Finally, we hit it with some schezuan chili oil for an unexpected kick.

6. Macaroni Pie Bites

These are a definite crowd pleaser and make their way on to MOST cocktail party menus without fail. Its basically all of the goodness of our full sized mac and cheese reduced into one little caramelized bite. They hold their own next to any meat hors d’oeuvres.

5. Fried Eggplant Lasagna with Creamy Béchamel

A cross between eggplant parmesan and lasagna, this dish was the brainchild of our chef, Tom Burke, who would literally put béchamel on everything if she could. The thinly sliced fried eggplant is layered with ricotta and marinara and the whole thing is topped with a creamy, nutmegy béchamel. Don’t sleep on this decadent take on an Italian-american comfort dish.

4. Fried Okra with Buttermilk Dipping Sauce

For the country folk among us (Chef Tom has roots in Mobile, Alabama and New Orleans, Louisiana), okra is a staple in many dishes. For those of you who shy away from this slippery little vegetable, fried okra may be a solution. Okra fried in our cornmeal batter is the perfect little popper. Healthier than french fries, yet similarly addictive, this appetizer is a go-to at any southern themed party.

3. Corn Pudding (Pictured Below)

The question we get most about corn pudding is, “Is this a dessert or a side?” Well folks, its a savory side. Its sautéed corn cut straight from the cob. We mix it up with cheese and other fun stuff to create an amazing pudding. It’s hard to describe but its easy to fall in love with.

2. Black Eyed Peas Salad (Pictured Below)

This dish is so flexible. We make black eyed peas salad shooters for appetizers, we serve it as a side for barbecues and its a staple on NYE menus since black eyed peas are supposed to give us luck in the new year. There is very little wrong with this salad, as it will satisfy vegetarians, vegans and meat eaters alike.

1. Sautéed Wild Mushrooms Over Cheesy Grits

What do we serve when we are asked to create a vegetarian version of shrimp and grits for our guests? Sautéed wild mushrooms over cheesy grits of course.  These are no ordinary mushrooms. We sauté them with garlic and herbs and hit them with just a little bit of sherry wine. Then we shave fresh parmesan and fresh herbs over the whole shebang for a entrée that even the most staunch carnivore envies.

Those are our fave comfort food vegetarian picks. Make sure to check back in with TomCookery on Facebook or Instagram for realtime updates on what we’re cooking. And if you live in NYC, keep us in mind for your next event!

Black Eyed Peas Salad Veg Blog Post

Corn PUdding BLog Post Version 3

 

 

Chef Tom Hosts Local Fundraiser

Last month, our very own Chef and Owner, Tom Burke, hosted the Elmhurst Hospital Center Auxiliary’s A Healthy Taste of Queens.  Besides raising funds for the Cardiology Department at the hospital, the organizers honored individuals making a difference in the world through food.  The event also featured a FEAST of over 20 Queens-based food vendors, once again confirming the fact that Queens has the best ethnic food in the city.  As if there was any question.

Hosting is a nice change of pace from working out of sight in the kitchen…mainly because you get to meet everyone! We chatted it up in the green room with some truly inspiring honorees including Gina Keatley, host of WNYC-TV’s cooking show Healthy Soul with Gina Keatley and Robyn Hillman-Harrigan, founder and Executive Director of the Rockaway Rescue Alliance Shore Soup Project. At TomCookery we clearly love food. Food is fun, food is celebration and food is art, but our eyes were opened to the philanthropic potential of food. Through talking to Robin and Gina, we saw how healthy food options can eradicate food deserts and save devastated communities like the Rockaways.

All in all, we loved being a part of such an inspiring event, and getting out of the kitchen wasn’t too bad either. Of course, I have to give a special shout out to my favorite vendor, DF Mavens for exposing me to the best dairy free ice cream I have ever tasted.  They even have a “no sugar added” option that a comfort food loyalist like myself can appreciate.  Moral of the story, food can save the world and be healthy too (and still taste delicious). Check out some awesome photos from the event below.

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Nom on, champions.

–Alana

 

4th of July “Cook-In”

Nothing says Fourth of July like some TomCookery ribs and potato salad, but this weekend we will be checking out some Bon Appétit recipes from the July 2014-Grilling issue.  Its not often that we brazenly lift recipes from magazines but the food in this issue just jumped off the pages and asked to be in our mouths.  We’ll be entertaining in Queens for a “TomCookery Cook-In.”  That’s right, folks.  The grand ole cookout tradition in the comforts of an apartment, because when are we not redefining comfort food at TomCookery?

Did we mention that everything looks amazing in this grilling issue?  Because it does.  But we had to pick a few so here’s a run down of our menu for the Cook-In.  First, we’ll be attempting to cooking the cover, the Mint and Cumin-Spiced Lamb Chops.

Photo Credit: Bon Appetit

Photo Credit: Bon Appetit

The recipe is as follows:

INGREDIENTS

2 medium onions, peeled, quartered

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems

1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves with tender stems

1 cup fresh mint leaves

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoons allspice

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon ras-el-hanout or garam masala

Kosher salt

24 untrimmed lamb rib chops (about 5 lb.)

Vegetable oil (for grilling)

Pulse onions, cilantro, parsley, mint, cumin, paprika, allspice, red pepper flakes, and ras-el-hanout in a food processor until very finely chopped; season with salt. Place lamb in a large dish and rub with spice mixture. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.

Prepare grill for medium-high heat and oil grate. Grill lamb to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest at least 5 minutes before serving.

If these savory lamb chops could talk, they would love to be served alongside the Bon Appétit recipe for Grilled Bread Salad with Sweet Peppers and Onions.  Looking for an awesome summer side dish?  Then, look no further… the TomCookery staff is sold on this one. Bon Appétit’s panzanella seems like it will have an aromatic acidity, which should compliment the richness of the Mint and Cumin-Spiced Lamb Chops.  We can’t resist this smoky twist on the classic.

Photo Credit: Bon Appetit

Photo Credit: Bon Appetit

The recipe is as follows:

INGREDIENTS

¼ small loaf country-style bread (about 6 oz.), crust removed, bread torn into large pieces

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 large red bell peppers, halved, ribs and seeds removed

2 small red onions, peeled, quartered, with some root attached

3 tablespoons Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon paprika, preferably smoked

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh chives, plus more for serving

Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Toss bread with 2 Tbsp. oil in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. Toss bell peppers and onions with 2 Tbsp. oil; season with salt and pepper.

Grill bread, turning occasionally, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Grill vegetables, turning often, until very tender and charred in spots, 8–10 minutes for peppers and 10–12 minutes for onions; transfer to a cutting board.

Trim root end from onions and separate layers. Transfer to a large bowl, add vinegar and paprika, and toss to coat. Remove as much skin as possible from peppers; discard. Cut into 1½” strips.

Add peppers, grilled bread, 2 Tbsp. chives, and remaining 2 Tbsp. oil to bowl with onions and toss to combine; season with salt, pepper, and more vinegar, if desired. Serve topped with more chives.

Don’t you dare skip out on dessert!  After a long day of grilling, we want a quick and easy dessert to satisfy our sweet tooth without slaving over a hot oven.  For those of us who are no-dessert-intolerant, a buttery puff pastry will do just the trick.  Puff pastry can take the place of cake any day if you ask me.  Just make sure you get a good one.  We’re partial to Dufour.

To finish the day we’ll making a variation of Bon Appétit’s Plum Tarts with honey and black pepper pictured below.  Stay tuned for pictures of the TomCookery one.  We’re thinking pistachios.  We’re thinking baklava.

Photo Credit: Bon Appetit

Photo Credit: Bon Appetit

The recipe is as follows:

INGREDIENTS

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (one 14-oz. package or half of 17.3-oz. package), thawed according to package directions

1 pound red plums, apricots, or peaches, pitted, cut into ½” wedges

¼ cup sugar

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon honey

Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)

Preheat oven to 425°. Cut pastry into six 4” squares, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and prick all over with a fork. Top with plums, leaving a ½” border. Sprinkle with sugar; season with a few grinds of pepper.

Bake tarts, rotating pan halfway through, until edges of pastry are puffed and golden brown, 25–30 minutes. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with salt just before serving.

Ya’ll come back soon to see how the Cook-In turned out.

Oh yes,  and Happy Independence Day, America!

–Alana

 

Upcoming TomCookery Cooking Classes

Hi Friends of TomCookery,

We have two awesome classes coming up that we hope you all can join!

1)  Rise and Dine – The Ultimate Brunch Cooking Class

Who says you have to leave the house for an epic brunch?  If you ever wondered how to make to make to-die-for classics like eggs benedict and fluffy brioche french toast or comfort food faves like fried chicken biscuits or Jamaican ackee and salfish this is the class for you.  Come join Tom and friends for a fun, leisurely instructional class followed by a sit-down boozy brunch.

Register Today on Eventbrite:

https://tomcookeryriseanddine.eventbrite.com

2)  COOK – EAT – LOVE Tomcookery’s Couples Cooking Class

So nice we had to do it twice!  Our last Valentines Weekend Cooking Class  was definitely an affair to remember.  It may not be Valentine’s Day but there is always a reason to have a date night with your boo.  Come join our COOK – EAT – LOVE couples cooking class series and pick up some five star recipes, learn practical kitchen skills and end the night with a romantic candlelight dinner.

Register Today on Eventbrite:

https://tomcookerycookeatlove.eventbrite.com

 

TomCookery Brunch Class Flyer 3:22 JPEG

TomCookery COOK EAT LOVE Class Flyer 3:28 JPEG