What is Parchment Paper?


Parchment paper or baking paper is a moisture-resistant, grease-resistant paper used in cooking and/or baking recipes; also used to line baking pans.  En Papillote is a cooking method in which foods and seasonings are cooked together inside an envelope made with parchment.  This cooking method produces a delicious, healthy, moist, and tender dish.  Parchment paper can be found in the baking section of the supermarket.  Visit the Recipes section of this website for some recipes using parchment paper.

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Adrianna R.


When planning my daughter’s recent baking themed birthday I had the good fortune to have found the Dazzle Me A Dish website. I knew I was in good hands as soon as I saw Chef Cynthia’s charming and inviting home. For our party she added personalized decorations and props to the already beautiful landscape. She wanted my input and anticipated problematic issues that would’ve never occurred to me. This helped things run very smoothly.

She held the children’s attention for the lesson, provided time for them to dance and have structured play. The lesson, lunch, pictures, and playtime were all perfectly timed. Of course the birthday cake made with fresh ingredients was perfectly delicious.

Each of the guests took home the on-theme keepsakes of an apron and recipe binder. I couldn’t have asked for a better celebration for my daughter’s very important double digit birthday. Cynthia’s professionalism, poise, top notch coordination, and experience made our party perfect. I would highly recommend her to cater, decorate, or host your important event. With Chef Cynthia you are in good hands!

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Dust off your Slow Cookers! Let's make a Dazzling Pot Roast.


potroastWinter means comfort food and I love a good pot roast.  Pot roast is a cheap, tough cut of meat that can be transformed into a delicious dinner.  Most tough cuts are best when cooked slowly.  That’s when a slow cooker becomes your best friend.  This appliance works slowly breaking down the tough meat fibers, while at the same time keeping the meat moist with flavorful liquid.  The best way to bump up the beefy flavor in a pot roast is to sear the meat first.  Searing gives the meat a delicious  browned crust that is formed when sugars and proteins in the meat react to the heat.  It not only looks and smells good, it gives the sauce a complex flavor and rich color.  Once the meat is seared, transfer it to the slow cooker along with the pan drippings.  Please visit the Recipes Section of this website for instructions on how to make Pot Roast in the Slow Cooker.  Yum!




7 Anti-Aging Foods, Eat for Life!


If you are over the age of 40, you should incorporate these 7 anti-aging foods into your diet.  Eat for Life!

1.  Olive Oil – Not only do the monounsaturated fats contained in olive oil support healthy arteries and a healthy heart, but olive oil also contains polyphenols, a potent anti-oxidant that may help prevent a number of age-related diseases.  I recommend organic extra virgin olive oil for the most anti-aging bang for your buck.

2.  Red Wine – That’s right, a glass of wine daily may indeed have a positive effect on your health due to its resveratrol content, a unique anti-oxidant that can help fight against diabetes, heart disease, and age-related memory loss.

3.  Beans – The unique proteins in beans thicken and strengthen your hair cells, so you can enjoy a full head of hair as you lengthen your years. 🙂

4.  Brazil Nuts – Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, a mineral which aids in the production of the anti-oxidant glutathione to help slow down the skin aging process.  Just 2 nuts a day will provide you with enough selenium to reap its anti-aging benefits.

5.  Tomatoes – Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which has been shown to support heart health and healthy cholesterol levels as you age.  Lycopene also acts as a natural sun block to keep skin youthful and protected from harmful UV rays.

6.  Raspberries & Blueberries – These two berries contain important anti-oxidants to help offset inflammation and oxidative stress that contribute to skin aging and wrinkles.  Just one serving of either or these berries contains more anti-oxidants than 10 servings of most other fruits and vegetables!

7.  Organic Eggs – Despite the bad rap eggs get because of their cholesterol content,  eggs are rich in biotin and iron which help to promote healthy, youthful skin and hair.




Top 10 SuperFoods, Dazzle Your Dishes With Them!


blueberries
BLUEBERRIES deep blue color is a by-product of flavonoids (plant-based compounds with powerful antioxidant properties). This superfood has been shown to preserve memory function. It has a high water content which is hydrating to your skin and other cells of the body.

SARDINES contain Omega-3 fat, high protein, and calcium.  Ounce for ounce sardines contain just as much heart-healthy omega-3 fat as salmon.

SPINACH is filled with antioxidants, including vitamin C and beta-carotene as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, (sunscreen for your eyes). One cup of fresh spinach leaves also provides almost double the daily requirement for vitamin K.

PISTACHIO NUTS are loaded with protein, fiber, and heart-healthy unsaturated fat. Pistachio nuts have been shown to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. Thirty pistachios will cost you only 100 calories.

DARK CHOCOLATE is rich in flavonoids and antioxidants and has been shown to lower blood pressure and improve blood flow. Choose chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa to optimize antioxidant power. It also boosts your mood. Portion control please….one ounce of dark chocolate has about 150 calories.

RED BELL PEPPERS – One pepper has twice as much vitamin C as an orange. It prevents arthritis, delivers beta-carotene, lycopene, and has a high water content. Red bell peppers have been shown to decrease eye diseases.

BEANS are a wonderful source of protein and fiber and help you stay full and satisfied. Beans are a good source of magnesium and potassium and have been shown to lower blood pressure and keep vessels healthy….and are inexpensive!!

EGG WHITES are a low-calorie, fat-free, high-protein food. There are 4 grams of protein per egg white.  Egg whites can help you maintain strong bones, muscles, nails, and hair.

PUMPKIN is rich in beta-carotene which is an antioxidant that helps rejuvenate skin, protect your vision, and may reduce the risk of arthritis. It also contains the mineral potassium which is involved in lowering blood pressure and maintains healthy bones.

OATS are a great source of fiber and has been shown to lower cholesterol and help control blood sugar levels.




Bang for Your Buck Wines


 I am always in search of really good wines that are inexpensive.  Spending alot of money on wines every now and then is great but if you like to drink wine with dinner often or bring a bottle to a friends house for a visit, you don’t necessarily need to go broke doing so.  Here are some of my great finds and you really can’t tell that they are under $15!  Cheers!

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Vega Sindoa, Chardonnay, Cabernet, and Merlot – $6.99-$9.99.  The Chardonnay is my favorite and I compare it to Rombauer, which is a $40 bottle.

Red Truck, California Red – $7.99

Bogle, Reds & White – $7.99-$9.99.  The Bogle Phantom is outstanding, a bit more in cost at $16.99 but well worth it.  It’s hard to find.

J. Lohr, Reds & White – $11.99-$12.99

ApothicRed, 2012.  $12.00.  Ivory overtones, maple undertones, hints of cranberry, brandy-like finish.

 




Tip of the Month 7/1/2015


 

salt

SALT to Taste:  Don’t think for a moment that salt is salt.  If you are into cooking then you know that salt is an important commodity!  Salts have become very trendy, however – red salt from Hawaii, Jurassic salt from Utah, and a multitude of sea salts from Europe.  At $30 a pound, you need to use good judgement when selecting salts for your kitchen and recipes.  For regular cooking, nothing beats 70 cents per pound kosher salt.  It blends well, is clean-tasting, easy to cook with, and additive free.  I haven’t used table salt in years.  It always seems to taste really salty and harsh.  The reality is that it isn’t any saltier than other salts, it’s just that the crystals are small and don’t dissolve well.  Because of this, the crystals tend to linger on the surface of the tongue.   All of the qualities of expensive salts get lost during cooking.  Their value is geared towards finished food, for example sprinkling on top of food just before serving.  My favorite finishing salt is Fleur de sel and Maldon sea salts.




Couple's Cooking Class - Fillet of Sole en Papillote


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Tip of the Month 6/1/2015


 

herbs

Fresh herbs versus Dried:  Because dried herbs lack the moisture of fresh herbs, their flavor is much more concentrated.  The general rule is to use one-third the amount of dried herbs as you would use fresh.  If a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme, use 1 teaspoon dried instead.  In addition, when cooking with fresh herbs, it’s best to add them at the end of the recipe, so the heat doesn’t destroy their bright color and flavor.  If using dried herbs, add them in the beginning.  This way their flavor has time to better infuse the dish.




Tip of the Month 5/1/2015


Does Garlic ever go bad? How should I store it?

sproutinggarlic

Yes. When garlic cloves start to shrivel and soften, and dark spots appear, they’ve seen better days. Eating garlic at this stage won’t make you sick, but it can taste hotter, which isn’t always what you want. Garlic is in it’s peak in June and July when new crops are harvested but it is certainly available all year round. Look for bulbs with fat cloves, store in an open container in a cool place. Please not the fridge! This encourages sprouting. This pesky green shoot can be bitter so it should be removed. At this point the garlic takes on a milder flavor, which some may like.