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, pureĆ© 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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