Thursday, February 28, 2008


Greetings from Carmela's Cucina,

Tired of winter? Looking forward to Spring? March is going to be a very busy month. With St. Patrick's Day, the Feast of St. Joseph's Day and Easter all in the same week! Maybe a cooking class is just what you need to get you through these last long days of winter and in the mood for the warmth of spring.

I have just the thing for you a cooking class. And I am offering several during March that should get you jump started with your menu planning for Easter and into the beautiful season of spring.


I will be teaching a Handmade Manicotti course at Cooks' of Crocus Hill at 50th and France on Monday March 10 at 6:00 p.m. (to register click on their link to the right of this posting). Make Manicotti just like the Italian nuns, whose white, muff-like sleeves inspired this pasta's name. You'll get practice making a version using light crespelle (crepes) and then put together an array of fillings.
Menu: Ricotta and Mozzarella Cheese Manicotti, Cheese, Spinach, Mushroom and Onion Manicotti, Herbed Meat and Cheese Manicotti, Tomato Sauce with Basil, Anitpasti Platter, Mixed Green Salad, and a Fruit Compote completes this delicious meal.

Manicotti would make a beautiful first course for your Easter dinner as it does for ours. And the best thing is you can make them ahead and freeze to use later.

Be sure and sign up for this class now as it always sells out.


On March 11, I will be back at Cook's of Crocus Hill at 50th and France offering a class for Parents and Grandparents with their Pre-School Aged Child. This is a fun daytime class that gets your child involved in meal preparation. And if they are involved they are more likely to eat the food that you are preparing. Kids will learn to have fun in the cucina and you will come home with recipes that will delight the whole family. If you enjoyed cooking as a child you will love being in the kitchen with your own pre-schooler. Come and create some wonderful memories while enjoying special time with your child and sampling some great food.

We will make and eat Parmesan Chicken on a Stick, Tortellini on a Stick with a Marinara Dipping Sauce. Fresh Fruit on a Stick with Yogurt. For dessert enjoy a Sugar Cookie Pizza, Apple Rings with Assorted Toppings. And enjoy a fun and easy Snack-Mix mid-way through our class. To register for this fun class, click on the Cook's of Crocus Hill web site link to the right of this posting.


While leading my most recent culinary groups to Tuscany, I had the opportunity to study under the guidance of two great Tuscan Chefs, Chef Gianluca Pardini from Lucca and a wonderful home cook, Maria of Villa La Volpe. This menu is designed to make you feel like you are eating right in the heart of Tuscany.

The menu includes and Antipasto of Tuna Cream stuffed into a Pastry Shell. Pici is the pasta specialty of Tuscany and we will enjoy ours in a thick robust tomato and garlic sauce. Our next course is also famous in Lucca, Braised Chicken in a wine sauce with onions, and pancetta and with it we will enjoy fresh Green Beans sauteed with olive oil garlic and Italian herbs and spices. For dessert we will make and prepare a Nutella Tart. The chocolate and hazelnut spread is baked in a short bread crust, topped with chopped hazelnuts and garnished with whipped cream.

To register for LA CUCINA TOSCANA click on the Cook's of Crocus Hill web site link to the right of this posting.


Sue Erickson executive chef at Byerly's of St. Louis Park has invited me to be a special guest at their cooking school on Friday March 28, 2008. (for registration details click on their web site link to the right of this posting.) I am very excited to be teaching a "mini class" there and then to sign my cookbook CARMELA'S CUCINA. After all Byerly's is where I got my start cooking professionally, so they have a very special spot in my heart.

MINI MEALS are fast, fun and fabulous. You can put this menu together in just minutes and are sure to be a big hit with your family. We will make Antipasti Skewers, of mozzarella, salami, basil and artichoke hearts marinated in a zesty sauce. Broiled Shrimp Skewers and Nutella Ravioli, lightly dusted with powdered sugar.

These lunch time classes cost only $10.00 each and at the end of the class you are given a coupon of $10.00 to use in the store. How's that for a free and tasty lunch?

So get up off the couch and register for one of these fun classes that I am offering around town. You will get some new recipes and entertaining ideas, get to eat a wonderful meal and it is a sure cure for "Cabin Fever."

I hope to see you soon at a cooking class or at a book signing event.

Buon appetito,

Carmela Tursi Hobbins

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