Classes and Workshops

Cyber Monday Special - Shop, Cook, Eat - Better

  Today until Midnight, enjoy a free Shop Smarter guided session with the purchase of two or more modules.



Purchase via PayPal here:

  • If you would like to explore a customized plan or a would like a single session for yourself or as a gift, please Email Me by clicking here.

Curried Kuri Bisque - Comfort in a Bowl

Delicious and oh-so-healthy, this is my new favorite fall soup. I developed this for a private cooking client who wants to eat healthier, practice knife skills and learn techniques to develop flavors without meat. It can be a meal in itself or a nice starter (Thanksgiving perhaps?) served in small bowls or coffee cups. Kuri squash, dal

Curried Kuri Bisque

While “bisque” is traditionally seafood stock and cream-based, this warming, comforting soup is vegetarian (no meat) and vegan (replacing milk with soy, no animal products). But let's not talk about what it doesn't have - let's talk about what it DOES have. Taking advantage of early fall vegetables, this bisque is loaded with vitamins and minerals (Vitamin E, Alpha Tocopherol, Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus).

  • With the addition of sweet potato, carrot and dal, it’s also a great source of dietary fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.
  • By adding masoor dal, a salmon colored lentil that breaks down in cooking, you increase fiber and iron as well as boosting the protein of the soup, while adding no saturated fat.
  • With the deep roasted flavors and the spices, it also has lots of flavor.


  • 1 small kuri squash/pumpkin (can substitute butternut squash)
  • 3/4 C canned pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1/2 C masoor dal
  • 1 TBSP minced fresh young ginger
  • 1/2 c minced onion
  • oil (neutral such as canola)
  • Chinese Five Spice powder (optional)
  • soy butter (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp tomato paste
  • Veggie stock or water
  • 1/2 apple, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 C soy milk


Preheat oven to 375.

  1. Cut kuri squash in half, scoop out seeds (reserve for roasting)
  2. Scrub carrots, chop in 1/2 chunks
  3. Peel sweet potato, cube
  4. Drizzle scant oil on carrots, sweet potato. Rub a tiny bit of Earth Balance soy butter (or oil) in squash. Sprinkle with Chinese Five Spice.
  5. Roast veggies in 375 oven. Roasting helps develop an additional flavor in this vegan soup. Veggies could also be steamed or microwaved, but roasting helps deepen flavors.
  6. Sweat onion in a drizzle of neutral oil till just starting to brown, add ginger, pinch of salt, then add 1/2 tsp tomato paste, pumpkin puree.
  7. Deglaze with 3 C veggie stock (veg stock and water) add dal, diced apple.
  8. When roasted veg are mostly done, (piercing the larger chunks of carrot w/ knife meets little resistance) add to soup.
  9. Blend spices and soy milk with a fork then add to soup.
  10. Simmer on low heat, stirring frequently to ensure it doesn't burn. Add water as necessary to reach desired consistency. When vegetables and dal are all tender, use stick blender to purée soup.


Spices that love pumpkin:

If curry and cumin are not your cup of tea, you could omit them, adding only cardamom, coriander and cinnamon. I might add more onion and ginger to give the soup some kick in that case.

  • 3/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp curry
  • 1/4 tsp cumin- coriander blend
  • 1/4 tsp cumin - optional, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 C soy milk

Option garnish: while the oven is still hot, toss the seeds of the squash with salt and Five Spice, toast them till just golden and crisp. If you can resist nibbling them, you should have enough to garnish a few bowls.

Curried Kuri Bisque


If you love soups like I do, you'll enjoy my Taking Stock series which covers all sorts of soups and stews, like Taking Stock: Vegan Minestrone with Umami to Spare.

Oyster Century Club© Kicking the Week into High Gear

Oyster Century Club  

Monday -  November 5th 

Island Creek Oysters and the Grey Lady "Fall Kickoff" at Rialto.

That's a new Cisco Brew, that grey reference case you were wondering.

Starting at 5:30pm, the boys from Island Creek will be shucking over 1,000 oysters. ($1 oysters until they run out!)

Who's the Grey Lady, then? That's Cisco Brewery's new release. Earthy, malty, spicy. Hm...could be a match made in heaven.

Meet me in Rialto's lounge!

♥ OCC Club love: Members joining me will be eligible for a raffle. Come and bring a friend or three. The more people we bring, the better the prize.

Been meaning to join? Click on the sidebar PayPal link now!


Tuesday - November 6th

Join me at Les Zygomates for this special dinner. As a part of their ongoing Tuesday Pairings dinner series, Oyster Fest, will showcase Sommelier Nick's favorite pairings.

$35 (incl. tax and tip) and a chef demo "Cook your Oysters???"

Call the restaurant for details and reservations. 617.542.5108

Les Zygomates

129 South Street, Boston, MA 02111

Tastings include four 3oz tastes of wine & four tapas sized hors d’oeuvres. Please notify us of any food allergies or dietary restrictions, optional cheese or raw fruit and vegetable pairing available.

♥ OCC Club love: Members enjoy six oysters on the house with the purchase of any bottle of wine at Les Zygomates. Bring your tasting sheet and you are golden.


And speaking of cooked oysters...

Sriracha Lime Garlic broiled

That's oysters with lime, garlic, and Sriracha. Under the broiler, just until edges begin to curl.

Other ideas:

Barton Seaver in For Cod & Country has a recipe (p. 61) for Peach and Paprika broiled oysters.

Becky Selengut offers Jet's Oyster Succotash as well as Oyster, Chorizo & Apple stuffing. Mmm.


What's your favorite grilled, broiled, baked or otherwise cooked oyster?




Aww! Shucks - First Oyster Class Wrap Up and Giveaway

I know several of you missed the class at Whole Foods Market CRP. Here's a taste of what you missed. The first official word of it came to me from Doc, doing his early morning errands, when he texted me that he saw them putting this sign out:

Oyster Class sign


Then, I saw the Event Brite Graphic:

event brite Aww Shucks


And I kept checking the Event Brite registration. My goal was to sell out. But there seemed to be seats unfilled...I kept Tweeting, FB'g, reminding, cajoling. (Little did I know my view of the Event Brite page only showed me Facebook friends who registered!)

Guess what? We sold out!

My other goals included:  getting folks interested in oysters as a sustainable seafood, introducing them to some new varieties, and in between shucking demos, tastings, to ensure we learned about oysters in a fun, relaxed hour.

I guided the first volunteers through a tasting technique with Salt Aires from Canada, then the entire class tasted through eleven additional oysters.

  1. See/Smell - notice the size of the meat, depth of the cup, amount of the liquor. Close your eyes and smell - is it a warm soft Gulf breeze or bracing snap of salty New England air?
  2. Chew/Notice - while some folks slurp the whole thing down, you actually miss many nuances of flavor and texture if you don't give it a chew. In fact, the enzymes in your mouth will interact with the amino acids in the oyster to bring out a whole variety of flavors you'll miss without a chew!
  3. Finish/Repeat - what is the finish of the oyster? how does it linger? is it vegetal, briny, earthy, sweet, metallic?

We went over time-wise, but people seemed happy. It was wonderful to see familiar faces in the class, Oyster Century Club members (Brian, Ruth, Nehal) and friends (Joseph, Kelley, Cruz, Marcela) and as well to meet new oyster lovers.

Oyster Class photos

The Whole Foods Market (Charles River Plaza) crew did a fantastic job. That's Oscar shucking, he runs the the seafood department and was the first guy I talked to about doing this. His enthusiasm for the seafood and oysters is terrific. I hope you'll go back and say hello. Buy some oysters to shuck at home, the best season for them is starting now! James (the tall one) is now at River Street, but he came back to help out. These two guys shucked over 200 oysters for us!

I handed out flash drives with oyster-centric posts, we had a couple sheets Rowan Jacobsen, A Geography of Oysters, author and oyster guru extraordinaire allowed us to use, and I listed Five Reasons to Love Oysters, shared Oyster Facts and Trivia, and this Oyster Lover's Reading List.

Participants went home with goodie bags including: their own oyster knife, WFM seafood rub, a lemon, other seafood collateral and the Holiday magazine.

Each of the place settings included a laminated placemat to take home, too. Check out these profiles on your own, great fun; are you a Brine Hound or a Grail Seeker?


Rowan Jacobsen's Oyster Lover Profiles


Aww! Shucks Coupon


Last but not least...


  • New classes are in the works. Be sure to follow the #oyster100 hashtag for updates on Twitter or Facebook or email  me.
  • COUPONS: If you missed this class, Whole Foods Market graciously offered ten coupons. They're good for $5 off $15 worth of oysters! Get on it. Drop me a line and I'll pop one in the mail or hand it to you at the next Tweetup.
  • Stay tuned for a terrific giveaway sponsored by Whole Foods Market CRP -- coming soon!


What's a Hungarian Pig doing on Beacon Hill?

Having never met my Hungarian grandmother, I'm always curious about that part of my own heritage, especially if it has to do with food. The Mangalitsa shares two traits with my paternal grandmother: both are/were Hungarian imports, and both have/had thick, curly hair. Thankfully, the similarities in our bloodlines end there. tan Photo of Tan - click photo to go to Pete & Jen's

The more I learn about Mangalitsa (Hungarians call it Mangalica), the more I discover that its story shares some common threads with other heritage breed pigs. The breed nearly disappeared due to the geopolitical hardships in Eastern Europe. It was resurrected by two entrepreneurs who understood its promise and appreciated its unique features. The breed was brought to the US by a hi tech guy turned entrepreneur/farmer, Heath Putnam. By throwing down a princely sum, Putnam imported a herd of the once-royal swine to the US just prior to the ban currently in place. Carefully controlling the breeding, Putnman has created a Mangalitsa Monopoly that some chefs grumble about but which does ensure the endurance of the breed. Given the problems other heritage breeds have had when registries disappear or farmers retire or die, it's easy to make an argument for more, rather than less, control. Whatever your feelings are about the "preciousness" of this pork marketing scheme, you'd be hard-pressed to find a person who's tried it and hasn't loved it.

When I began the Pig Tales book project, I was originally focused on heritage breeds, American heritage breeds. Then I learned about the Mangalitsa. I tasted it and immediately understood why chefs swoon over it. I get Putnam's faith, his vision, his dreams for this breed. He was certain the pork he tasted in Austria, the pork that won him over immediately, would also win the hearts, palates (and wallets) of chefs and gourmands in the US. And it has.

A Wooly Pig comes to Beacon Hill

Thanks to Chef Jason Bond at Beacon Hill Hotel and Bistro, the Hungarian Mangalitsa has made it all the way to Boston. As of this writing, the dinner featuring this special hog still has a handful of seats left. Call BHHB to reserve your seat now.

Prior to Chef Bond's efforts, the only place a curious diner could try this unique pork would have been in a restaurant or two in NYC (April Bloomfield's The Spotted Pig) or at the Herb Farm restaurant outside Seattle, or Thomas Keller's French Laundry. Bond brought two Mangalitsas to New England, raised them at Pete & Jen's farm in Concord. Named Black and Tan, I have enjoyed the gift of some leaf lard from Tan and a taste of the rich meat. Leaf lard is the special fat that grows around the pig's kidneys and rendered it yields fat that is coveted by cooks and especially, bakers. See: For the Love of Lard: Mangalitsa Leaf Lard for Perfect Pies.

It's an odd thing to see a pig with a long, curly coat. In fact, the Mangalitsa was almost unheard of not too long ago, but now the "wooly pigs" are enjoying their moment in the sun. Well, enjoy, may be too strong a way to put it. No doubt that these unique pigs are in the center of a couple of culinary trends. One is the growing interest in heritage foods and the "eat it to save it" ethos. Another is the farm-to-table movement, and our renewed interest in tracing our food to its source, knowing how it's raised, and meeting our farmers and producers. A return to old food ways, to traditional farming methods both have come to be seen as more sustainable and certainly healthier for the environment, the animals and those consume them.

Meet Your Meal

I stopped by to see Chef Bond as he was prepping the newly arrived Black. He explained that this pig was much smaller than his brother (fed the same, raised the same and sharing the same parents). Black, it seems, just wasn't as assertive at meal time. Poor Black got edged out by Tan one too many times. As a result, Bond has much less fat work with but will surely rise to the challenge.

loin Loin (R), kidneys (L)







This photo (above) shows the loin and the fat which, if you can believe it, was thicker on Tan. Notice this pork is not white. The commercial pork that comes from industrial factory operations ("other white meat") was bred for speedy fattening, docile handling and lean meat. CAFO/commercial pork is trouble to cook because of the absence of intramuscular fat. It bears little resemblance to the meat of its predecessors. Most commercial pork comes from pigs whose lives have nothing in common with the fresh pasture, foraging life, and gentle hands-on care that Black and Tan enjoyed.

rib_stripping_tool Rib stripping tool

I'd never seen this cool little gadget. I suppose Jason learned of it at the Mosefund Pigstock three day butchering seminar. Mosefund Mangalitsa brings the leading Mangalitsa producers together with chefs and food professionals to learn from the team trained by master butchers. They are expert at preparations of all sorts, as well as the full utilzation of the animal, aided by European seam-butchering techniques.








the_smaller_black "Smaller" Black

Yes, Tan had more fat than this. For those of you recoiling at the sight of this fat or worried about the quantity, you should know that lard from pigs like this, raised on healthy organic diets including foraged foods is much closer in profile to healthy fats like olive oil. We tend to associate "lard" with the age-old tub o' Crisco. The two could not be more DIS-similar.






Heavenly Fat, Leaf lard from around the kidneys. Really, rendered down (see step by step photos in the Loving Lard post, link above), it is an unexpected delight.









armpit Trapezoidal "Meat Pocket" often slit open and stuffed

Butchering Techniques

chef bondChef Jason Bond

At the ALBC conference in Raleigh, I learned about European butchering techniques that run along the seam of a muscle (hence the name "seam butchery") rather than cutting across it as we do in North America. This is one of the unique cuts that result from the seam butchering technique. Two others mentioned in the lecture I saw were called Pluma and Presa - I believe it was a Spanish chart. These are said to be two of the tastiest cuts and two which Americans typically cut through and trim off.

To have a chef that cares so deeply about how food is sourced, raised, produced and who is able to do this type of skilled butchering, it's not as common as one might think. When that chef thinks, studies, and cares about all these issues from farm-to-table and also prepares such understated yet elegant food with these rare ingredients, we are fortunate indeed.

The topics of slaughter and butchering are both going to be explored more in Pig Tales:a Love Story and perhaps here. Please drop a comment if you have any recommendations on these below.



More about Mangalitsas