Thursday, January 29, 2015

Empanada Cook-Off Party

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Friday, January 9, 2015

2014 - A Year In Review

2014 was a huge year for CCKS! We had so many firsts, so many exciting events, and so much to look forward to! 

We started out 2014 with the first CCKS Cook-off, ramen!! To say this was an amazing party is an understatement! There was ramen as far as the eyes could see, and not a one went home with an empty belly! I know we are still dreaming a bowl of it, especially considering how frigid it has been here lately! Oh, and of course we crowned our first cook-off winner, Susanne Podheizer! 

Next, we celebrated our 1-year anniversary! A lot of planning went into this event, it had to be one for the books, we wouldn't have it any other way! We roasted a whole lamb, made homemade pita, and partied with ouzo and red wine into the late hours of a beautiful spring evening! We are already setting the wheels in motion for our 2-year anniversary party! 

Moving into summer, it was time to celebrate our second cook-off! This time: burgers! We had 4 Weber charcoal grills set up, with two competitors at each! We had everything from a caribbean burger (complete with music, flowers, and cocktails) to an amazing turkey burger! Shelburne Vineyard was in attendance serving a variety of their fabulous wines! 

The fall brought the launch of out CCKS Culinary tours, the first of which will in March to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico! 
For the first time at the store, we also had a nationally (if not globally) know chef come to the store for a book signing and cooking demo! Renee Erickson, of Seattle, launched her book in the fall of 2014 and was able to make a stop along her book tour at the store. She prepared a number of dishes from her book and restaurants and then took the time to sign books and chat with guests! We can't wait to host more chefs and cookbook authors at the store (hopefully this time we wont have to spend hours tracking down the shipment of books that was set to arrive for the event, but for some reason failed to show up!) 

Then it was time for our final cook-off of the year and what better theme than apple cake! As you can imagine, it was very gluttonous! All the cakes were so delicious, and it was amazing that all of them seemed to have a very special story to go along with each contestant's recipe! 

Once Thanksgiving was over, it seemed like the holidays whizzed by and by the time we were able to come up for air it was 2015 and time to start planning another amazing year at CCKS! 

We cannot thank all of our wonderful friends and customers for an amazing year, and we cannot wait to share with you some of the amazing things that are going to come in 2015! Cheers!! 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Tips For A Stress-Free Thanksgiving

The Burlington Free Press caught up with Chef Contos regarding Thanksgiving dinner...check it out

Sress-free Thanksgiving Dinner Tips

Advanced Kitchen Prep:

1. Make pie dough, form into two discs, wrap tight in plastic wrap, and freeze (up to 6 months) or keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.
2. Make cranberry sauce and freeze (I use ball jars with one and half inches of room). Defrost it by putting it in the refrigerator two nights before Thanksgiving or make it up to 4 days in advance.
3. Bake your bread for stuffing two days before your feast (after it is baked and cooled, cube it and leave it uncovered to dry out). At the same time, make your dinner roll dough (mine is the same as my bread stuffing for convince). This way on the big day all you have to do is form your rolls, let them rise once, then bake while the turkey is resting or earlier in the day if your more comfortable with having them baked and on the table. 
4. Make lists and do all of your nonperishable grocery shopping now. That's all your baking ingredients, stock (if you are not making it yourself), potatoes, root vegetables, butter, nuts, and wine.
5. Make a day of cooking schedule and hang it in the kitchen. Remember to include turkey resting time into your timeline. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Office

The Office Desk

By Liz Bernier aka "Liz-tastic'

At the store we have a tiny office, actually tiny may even be putting it nicely. If there is more than one person in it, no one can move. During the weekend, when we have classes, the desk in the office becomes a catch all. Things that might be in the kitchen if there isn't a class, get tossed onto the desk, along with items that will be used in class. 

These items can be anything from silverware and napkin sets for class, to our favorite Chanel lipsticks and the shelves we bought three months ago but just haven't found their home on a wall yet. Sometimes there is the odd box of newly arrived merchandise that we haven't unpacked yet, those always make

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Food News & Trends: Fall Cookbook Lineup; Freshman Foods; Apple Everything

Monday morning (9/8/14) at 8:10am I will be live on WVMT-620am. Stream live or tune in as we talk 2014 trends and the latest food news. Below are some fun topics we may touch on.

An Exciting Line-Up Of Fall Cookbooks AND more

Forget Emojis You Can Now Text A Taco

15 Foods A Freshman Should Try

The Weirdest Eating Patterns Of Each State

Stay Hip To The Current Culinary Trends

Mexican Ratatouille 

Stamps & Chefs

We Fell Hard For This New Sexy Magazine

It's Apple Season! Vermont Makes This Tasty Ice Wine Or Head To Frankfort (watch)

Thirsty For More Apples? Drink This!

Fall Party & Apple Cake Cook-Off At CCKS

Up Coming Cooking Classes:
KIDS: Ravioli & Sauce 9/24
Date Night: Rustic Tuscan 10/3
Fall Party & Apple Cook-Off 10/4
Girls Night: Chinese Take-Out 10/10
Cook The Book: Smashing Plates 10/16
Thanksgiving Intensive 10/25

recipe from Smashing Plates

Monday, August 25, 2014

CCKS After Hours: The Missing Piece

The Missing Piece

By Liz Bernier aka "Liz-tastic'

When the customer who let us borrow his lamb roaster dropped it off, he explained all the pieces to us. There was one piece that he said we could not lose, because if we did the who thing would not be able to run. It was what connected the spit to the motor. Of course this piece was the smallest one of them all, about the size of a quarter. I immediately took the piece and put it in a safe place where it could not be lost, and I told everyone not to move it. 

We cooked the lamb, and we did it without losing the piece. We took apart the roaster and I took the piece and put it back in the safe place from before. We had gotten through it all without losing it. Or so I thought. At some point between the day after the party and the day before it was to be picked up, the piece was lost. Courtney had taken it out to show someone and then put it in an envelope. We looked everywhere for this piece, in the garbage, filing cabinets, our cars, purses, I even took apart the printer and looked under the cash register for it with no luck. We searched for about 2 days with no luck, finally Connie looked in her purse again and found it!  It had fallen off the office desk and into her purse. We were so relieved, I think at one point we were even looking online to see if we could order the piece. LOL

Just another moment behind the scenes at a Vermont cooking school.