Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Latest Videos « CBS Los Angeles

Latest Videos « CBS Los Angeles

Reporter, Evelyn Taft came to COOK LA before the holidays to make a "Guilt free" Chocolate truffles to take to friends and family over the holidays. These little treasures are a great treat as well as a healthy dessert option for those checking calories and counting our intake of sweets. This recipe uses Organic Agave Nectar from C&H Sugar, dates, walnuts, raw cocoa powder and a few other ingredients to make them tasty. Check out the recipe online or "like" our facebook page and see the recipe under "NOTES".
Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Perfect Parties are planned!

Perfect Parties are always planned.

You're throwing a party — you've picked the date, the time and the place. That's the easy part. Now come the tough questions: what to serve, how much to buy and how to make your guests feel comfortable.
Step 1: Select a theme
The easiest way to throw a party is to pick a theme and thread it through the entire event — invitations, food, drinks, decorations. Take inspiration from the holidays (for Christmas, throw a Feast of the Seven Fishes party), from your travels (recreate that Greek vacation), even from pop culture (retro Mad Men party, anyone?).Help your guests by wording your invite clearly. Serving just nibbles? Promise "light hors d'oeuvres." Including a roast? That's a "buffet dinner" or "cocktails and supper." And when it's a full-blown meal, you're throwing a dinner party!
Step 2: Decide on the menu
If you're serving passed hors d'oeuvres, figure three kinds (two of each per guest) for a two-hour party. Add a buffet with crudités (3/4 cup per person) and dip or salsa, at least three different types of cheese (three pounds per 20 people), crackers and fresh or dried fruit. Make it more substantial with a roast beef or ham for carving, four or five ounces per person — and consider reducing the hors d'oeuvres to one of each per guest.
Step 3: Set up the bar
It's always wise to buy more than you think you'll need — you'll use it eventually, and often you can return unopened bottles. Guidelines for a two-hour party:
  • Wine
    Buy one bottle per two people, a mix of red and white. For a festive touch, add an inexpensive sparkling wine like Spanish Cava.
  • Beer
    One case per 20 guests — increase if you know your crowd likes beer.
  • Spirits
    One liter of vodka, plus one liter of any other liquor per 20 people. Or offer just one memorable cocktail and pre-make pitchers. It's easier and much more fun. For winter, Nilsson suggests a Broken Leg: warm apple cider spiked with Captain Morgan spiced rum, a cinnamon stick and a splash of applejack or Calvados.
  • Mixers
    Three bottles for each liter of alcohol — club soda, tonic water and cranberry juice are classics.
  • Garnishes
    Four lemons and limes (pre-cut one of each into slices, and another into wedges), plus olives.
  • Soft drinks
    Offer cola, diet cola and ginger ale.
  • Ice
    You'll need at least one pound per person. 
Step 4: Gather your equipment
Pick up serving pieces at thrift shops or look throughout your home for items that can be repurposed: Thoroughly clean galvanized-tin garden trays, mirrors, baskets, bamboo steamers or even spare ceramic tiles, then line with parchment, napkins or food-safe foliage. Keep food hot in chafing dishes (you'll find disposable aluminum ones at party supply stores), slow cookers or warming trays — or hide a heating pad, set to low, beneath the tablecloth; place ceramic or metal trays on top. Refrigerate cold food until just before serving, then nestle platters on a bed of ice.

For dining, I recommend using the real thing, not plastic. It's both more elegant and more environmentally friendly. Buy stacks of dishes, cutlery and glasses at estate sales or thrift shops; they'll be inexpensive, you'll use them again and again, and a mix of patterns can be fun. Assume two glasses per person — the simplest is a combination of wine and highball glasses — and at least one plate per guest. If you're tight on space (or dread the post-party cleanup), buy disposables made of biodegradable or recycled materials. And don't forget the napkins! 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Phyllo Onion Rolls recipe

Happy Holidays and Happy Cooking from COOK LA!

Phyllo Onion Rolls This appetizer recipe also freeze beautifully before baking. Just bake them, while they are still frozen, for about another 10 minutes until golden brown.

  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere or Provolone cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 18 (9" x 14") sheets frozen filo dough, thawed
  • More melted butter


In medium bowl, mix cream cheese and Gruyere. Set aside.
In heavy skillet, sauté onions in 1/4 cup butter until very soft and beginning to brown, 10-15 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook another 1 minute. Cool 20 minutes. Mix together onion mixture and cheese mixture and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Place one sheet filo dough on work surface. Brush with melted butter. Lay another sheet on top, brush with butter, and put one more sheet on top.
Take the onion mixture, divide it into six parts, and form a roll about 1 inch in diameter down one long edge of the stacked filo. Roll up carefully and place on cookie sheet. Brush thoroughly with more butter. Repeat with remaining filo and filling, making six rolls total. I place three rolls on each cookie sheet. Cover well with plastic wrap and chill overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F and remove the rolls from the refrigerator. Bake for 10-17 minutes or until rolls begin to brown and cheese filling melts. Let stand 5 minutes, then, using a very sharp knife, cut rolls into 1" pieces. Let cool for 5-10 minutes, then serve. Serves 8-10 - or 4-6, at my parties!
You can also freeze these rolls. Wrap well in freezer wrap, label, and freeze up to 3 months. To bake frozen rolls, place rolls on cookie sheets and bake at 375 degrees F for 15-23 minutes or until the rolls are beginning to brown and crisp and cheese melts. Proceed as directed above.

Monday, November 14, 2011

What's in Season? & RECIPE

Julia Child once said, "It's hard to imagine civilization without onions." She was right.

What's in Season - NOVEMBER
I hope this season gives us a chance to take a minute and think about what we are grateful for in life.  We have all heard the saying that life is too short but let's say thanks to all that we are given from the food on our tables to the people that surround us.  
Enjoy your time and have a pleasant thanksgiving.
Apples, grapes, oranges, Asian pears, persimmons, pomegranates.

Artichokes, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, chard, garlic, kale, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, gourdspotatoes, pumpkins, spinach, winter squash.

Tip Fresh produce like winter squash, gourds, pumpkins, and  pomegranates make beautiful arrangements on your front porch and centerpieces for your Thanksgiving table.

Easy French Onion Soup

serves 4


3 tablespoons butter
4 cups onions (sliced thin)
4 cans beef broth (condensed)
4 slices French bread (sliced)
4 tablespoons Gruyere or Swiss cheese (shredded)
4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (grated)


In a large skillet over medium low heat, melt butter. Saute onion until golden in color, about 8 minutes. In a medium saucepan, combine beef broth and sautéed onion; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, toast French bread on both sides under broiler; sprinkle each slice evenly with cheeses; broil just until cheese is bubbly. Pour French onion soup into 4 individual soup bowls; float a slice of toasted French bread, cheese side up, on each bowl of French onion soup.

Monday, October 31, 2011

What's in Season for November ?  
Pomegranates are one of the great treats of fall eating. Find yummy ways to use these red, juicy fruits before they're gone for another year!  

Pomegranates are only in season for about 2 months every fall. Lucky for those of us who love them, they store well and are often available into December. Find how to chose, store, and use pomegranates with easy recipes and simple guides to seeding and juicing pomegranates.
Pomegranates or “granadas” in Spanish are an ancient fruit, used before the Roman times. In fact, the city of "Granada" is named after the pomegranate! In the streets of Granada, there are pomegranate symbols everywhere you go. Around the Mediterranean, which includes the Middle East, pomegranates are a popular fruit to be eaten fresh or cooked in jellies, jams, desserts and sauces. This recipe is colorful and has a very festive look, so we like to serve it at Thanksgiving. (info from

Servings 6


  • 2 pomegranates
  • 3 persian cucumbers
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cans (15 oz each) of garbanzo beans
  • 2 Large cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • red wine vinegar for dressing
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil for dressing


Peel the cucumbers and cut lengthwise then cut again into half moons. Remove the seeds from the pomegranate. Pomegranates are very easy to de-seed in water and it only takes only 5-10 minutes.
Place chopped cucumber and pomegranate seeds in a medium size serving bowl.
Drain the garbanzo beans and add to the bowl. Peel and finely chop the two cloves of garlic and place in bowl with vegetables. Remove stems from basil leaves and chop basil. Add to the bowl of vegetables and mix.
Sprinkle red wine vinegar over the chopped vegetables. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil. Mix thoroughly. Generally, use 1 part vinegar to 2 parts oil. Taste and adjust vinegar and oil.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What's in Season at Farmers' Markets?

What's in Season (LA area)

Fruit: Apples, Grapes, Figs, Pears, Persimmons, Pomegranates.

Vegetables: Artichokes, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage,  Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Garlic, Kale, Leeks, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Onions, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Spinach, Winter Squash.

Other Products: Dried Fruits, Honey, Jams and Jellies, Nuts, Pomegranate and Apple Juice, Baked Goods, Gourmet Foods, Kettle Corn, Cut Flowers, Potted Plants.

October is one of my most favorite months in Los Angeles.  It's a time to start changing things up with the new season upon us.  For one thing, eating within the season is best to keep in mind when preparing meals.  There is an abundance of root vegetables coming to fruition and all can be made into a hearty soup or as a side dish.  At COOK LA, we have a few classes that might interest you.  Check out our Harvest Soup Bowl class, Simply Healthy fall Cooking, or Thanksgiving Super sides in November.

Persimmon Cookies (Brentwood Farmers'Mkt)


1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (softened)
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup walnuts (chopped)
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1 cup persimmon (pulp only, pureed)
1 teaspoon baking soda (aluminum free)


Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease a large cookie pan.
In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter together. Beat in egg. In another bowl sift flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves together.  Stir in nuts and raisins.  In a food processor or blender, pureé persimmon pulp until smooth and stir in baking soda.  Add persimmon mixture and dry ingredients alternately to creamed butter and sugar mixture, mixing well after each addition.

Drop batter by heaping teaspoons about 2 inches apart onto prepared cookie pan. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes. Let cookies cool for 5 minutes in pan, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.


Makes 2 dozen coolies

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

KTLA - Chefs Move to the Classroom - COOK LA

My first day on the job for USDA through Los Angeles Unified School District - "Chefs Move to the Classroom" and guess who came to shoot the students in their chefs' hats...Stan Chambers and KTLA.  My boss forgot to tell me that there would be a camera crew setting up for my class where I was to teach students the benefits of healthy eating and exercise as well as a cooking class all in 90 minutes.  It is short but sweet and oh what a long way I've come from this clip.  I hope you enjoy it and share it with friends as the importance of our children's health should be a priority. 
After a few years later, I decided to share my cooking knowledge with adults as well.  Kids love to cook and the benefits of teaching them how to do so at an early age goes far beyond what we can imagine.  They can and hopefully will make right choices when choosing what to put into their bodies.  And the benefits that parents get out of teaching kids to cook is that they can have a night off while their little chefs create a meal. 
I'm a huge fan of teaching kids how to cook and eat well not only for their bodies to be healthy but also  for their growth and processing invaluable information on grains, fruits and vegetables. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Press article

Cook LA: A new cooking school with a modern edge

by Karen  
Studio City’s newly opened cooking school, Cook L.A., is welcoming, convenient, educational, and fun. The space at Cook L.A. looks like a cross between a home kitchen and a modern commercial kitchen.
Liz Alexanian makes good food that is good for you. Photos Courtesy Cook LA
All classes are hands-on and taught by professional chef and owner Liz Alexanian, who trained at the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in New York City, interned as a recipe tester at Good Housekeeping magazine and worked with the Nutrition Network to help support healthy eating in LAUSD.   Bottom line — she knows how to make food taste good and be good for you too.
Cook L.A. offers themed classes that are small enough to give each student a chance to prepare the recipes and learn the skills that can be used at home. “It’s a good place for socializing too,” says Alexanian.
Freshly made pizza
For $75 a class, students spend two to two-and-a-half hours cooking and then enjoying the meal they prepared.   All menus have an alcoholic drink that complements the menu.  Recent classes include “Middle Eastern Delights” with recipes for humus and seasoned pita chips, Quinoa tabouleh, Israeli tomato cucumber salad, spiced Shrimp and Chicken kebabs, Baklava from scratch and sour cherry or pomegranate spritzers; and “Simply Healthy Cooking” with recipes for crostini with gorgonzola, caramelized onions and fig jam, Moroccan carrot salad with feta, green summer risotto, sunflower seed-crusted wild Cod and glazed chocolate-avocado cupcakes.
Upcoming classes include: Living Gluten Free, Ole Tapas. Gourmet Pizza, Girls Night Out, Middle Eastern, Brunch, Simply Healthy, and Spooky Cookies.
Cooking in the classroom.
Student Linda Taylor was asked how she liked her Cook L.A. class, she said “It was great and very informative. Loved the cranberry cocktail and the music was great.” After the Simply Healthy class, student Melissa Reskof said  the class taught her to use “more complex flavorings and less fat” in her cooking.
There are also classes on Knife Skills and evenings available for private events. Kids’ classes are taught throughout the month. Cook L.A. also hosts kids’ birthday parties where gourmet pizza making and cupcake decorating are always crowd pleasers.
Cook L.A. 10938 Ventura Blvd. Studio City, CA 91604 818.760.5157 Open: by appointment or class schedule. Metered parking on street
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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Let's COOK, Eat and LIVE better

So it's my first time blogging and I'm a little freaked out that I'll be waddling through this like it's my first day at culinary school.  The school gives you a bunch of fancy knives and other gadgets to put in a bag which you must carry to class everyday.  You start by identifying and seeking out what goodies come in your chef kit.  I guess it similar to setting this blog site up too. 
I have no choice now but to move forward and share some moments with all to enjoy. So onward with recipes, pictures and maybe even a video or two on YOU TUBE.  I'll try to be as interesting as possible for others to join in on the fun.  I'd love to hear from those who have either taken my classes or just want to say hello. 
Bottom line is I really love my job as a chef teaching adults and kids how to cook, possibly hold a chef knife properly and let everyone in on the passion and joys of cooking a meal.  You only make it as hard as you think it could's really not.  You just have to taste your way through the dishes.  And who wouldn't want to do that.  I know I have a lot of friends who are in line to taste test some dishes. 
So here's to a great start.  As I have said before..."Let's Cook, Eat and Live better."