Archive of ‘Wine and Spirits’ category

We Didn’t Start the Fire- Cook Eat Love VDay Weekend Cooking Class Recap


When Valentine’s Day falls on a long weekend, a Sunday night cooking class for lovers and friends is the obvious next step.  Right?

So that’s exactly what we did.  This VDay, TomCookery hosted “Cook Eat Love-Valentine’s Weekend Cooking Class.”  I can’t speak for everyone else, but my Assistant Instructor Sara and I had a blast with this group of foodies.  I was definitely a proud mama watching this dream team drink, dance and bang out a four course meal in about an hour and a half.


Roasted Shrimp, Corn and Avocado Salad with a Lemon Shallot Vinaigrette

Squid Ink Linguine with Jerk Salmon in Vodka Sauce

Grilled Lamb Chops with Caramelized Onions and Herb Butter

Coconut Basmati Rice & Peas

Chocolate Soufflé with Whipped Cream and Berries


-The fire at Rob’s lamb lollipop grilling station and my uncharacteristic lack of concern.  “It will take care of itself.”- said nobody about any fire, ever.  Except me.

-Mustard-herb butter.  And the group vote that it be elevated to a main course.

-My resident Jamaicans making the jerk salmon.  No pressure, TomCookery.

-That salad that stole the show.  Tails-on shrimp…a must!

-So. Much. Souffle.  Hats off to the couple who kept track of all 24, yes, 24 egg whites.  And the stand mixer that whipped them into shape.

-Kenny asking for, and being awarded an internship at TomCookery LLC.

-The pasta and vodka sauce group not so secretly declaring themselves to have the best dish.  Pass the parmesan please!

-My old-lady recipe interpretations (pinch of this, dash of that) for rice and peas and the ever patient student.

Thanks to Marisa, event planner extrodinaire at House of Flores for her clutch tablescaping and flower arranging.

If you are interested in a cooking class or cooking party, contact us at

Until next time,



An apron, a side towel and a recipe booklet are the keys to success in this class.

An apron, a side towel and a recipe booklet are the keys to success in this class.

I love this couple AND these aprons!

I love this couple AND these aprons!

Poster child for cooking class wholesomeness.

Poster child for cooking class wholesomeness.


Great to have some old friends in the kitchen.

Great to have some old friends in the kitchen.

I know.  I'm also sad we're on the last course :(

I know. I’m also sad we’re on the last course :(

Salad? Don't mind if I do!

Salad? Don’t mind if I do!

Painstakingly prepared this salad with more elements than you can shake a stick at!

Painstakingly prepared this salad with more elements than you can shake a stick at!

If you can't stand the heat...just stay in the kitchen and keep cooking. -Tom

If you can’t stand the heat…just stay in the kitchen and keep cooking. -Tom

There are few things that make me happier than seeing people happily eating ;)

There are few things that make me happier than seeing people happily eating ;)

Hey girl, hey!  The inspiration for the class sitting right here.

Hey girl, hey! The inspiration for the class sitting right here.

Snapshot of what all we made.

Snapshot of what all we made.


Super Bowl (Party) Blunders

Much to my chagrin, I don’t go to Super Bowl Parties to watch football.  While everyone else is, what I call, ”watching the game,” I am usually eating and drinking and trying to find someone else who isn’t really “watching the game” to be my friend for the night.  This has provided me with years of data to form the following observation:

Super Bowl Sunday can really be renamed Entertaining for Those Who Don’t Entertain Sunday

If you find yourself throwing a Super Bowl party and you fall in the non-entertaining camp, below are the are areas where you don’t get a pass.  Hopefully this advice will prevent you from fumbling your host duties.  Puns stop here, I promise.

Hot Food 

If its supposed to be hot, try to serve it hot.  Cold meatballs in cold sauce are not appetizing.  Honestly, you don’t have to get #fancy for this.  Pick up a cheap warmer set at any dollar store for about $15 bucks or you can order it on Amazon and it will come straight to your door.

 Enough Food

This is one department where you don’t get an “A” for effort.  Sure you had an impressive spread, but it was only enough for 15/30 of your guests.  Nobody said you had to feed an army but invite less people OR ask for some kind of financial contribution.  If the amount of people you need to cook for seems daunting, see my earlier post on When to Hire a Caterer.

Appropriate Food

Now is not the time to serve duck confit.  Unless its in a taco.  I see in your eyes that you want to break out of the same ole boring wings and nachos Super Bowl party fare.  But refrain.  Reinvent the classics but remember, finger foods are popular because you aren’t really sitting down at a table.  Not to mention the food replicates the feeling of being at a game.  When was the last time you sat down with a fork and a knife at a sporting event?

Enough Seats

I’m just putting this out there.  You should probably have enough seats for your guests.  People milling about is a recipe for disaster.  Guests will be all up in your kitchen, your bedroom and dark corners of your apartment.  Chaos ensues.

Something to Drink (That isn’t Coors Light)

This last point is really for the hosts AND the attendees.  I’ve noticed that people tend to prioritize quantity over quality when they bring drinks to a Super Bowl Party.  Maybe thats okay with you but the rest of us graduated from college years ago.  Hosts, if you are going to do this party, do it right and provide a variety of drinks.  Guests, if someone is gracious enough to host a party, say thank you by bringing good quality beer or cider.  This way you don’t have to feel guilty when you conveniently exit before folks start cleaning up.

Feel free to keep running menu planning and entertaining questions by me at  I’ll be sure to post the amusing ones.

Happy planning,


Holiday Party BYOB Questions Solved

The holiday party invites are streaming in and if you are young and frugal like the rest of us, many of the hosts encourage BYOB.  Sure, you can go with your regular go to bottle but we encourage you to push the envelope here at TomCookery.  Below are our top pics for brown baggers at this season’s holiday parties.  Good luck in actually letting go of these gems!

Hangar 1 Vodka- Unbelievably smooth vodka which is apparently made from viognier grapes.  Go figure!  You may never try another vodka again.

Hendricks (Gin)-I lean towards gin in the summer.  This summer was a scorcher in NYC and I pretty much gave up all other alcohol for the cucumber and rose cooling effect of Hendricks.  I do think that gin makes a fine winter drink as well.  A French 75 screams holiday party cocktail to me.

Don Julio Reposado (Tequila)- Many a boozy night at the tequila bar has started (and ended) with Don Julio Reposado.  I definitely prefer this to some of the more popular (ahem) varieties that frequent hip hop stations.

Knob Creek (Bourbon)- Sometimes, I like my liquor to drink like a meal.  On nights like that, I opt for bourbon.  I’ve tried a few but Knobb Creek always rises to the top.

Bruichladdich 10 Year Old -The Laddie Ten (Scotch)- We had a party this summer where this scotch was on the menu.  One of our bartenders made me a drink at the end of the night and I was shocked that it was scotch.  Even more shocked that I liked it.  I’d always associated scotch with old men but the Laddie made me a believer.

Domaine de Canton- This french ginger liqueur has the potential to elevate some of the most mundane cocktails.  If you are a ginger lover like me you will have a ball with this. Peruse the website for drink ideas or rely on your imagination.  The possibilities are endless.