Free Event! Farmers’ Market: Shopping & Cooking Secrets for Spring Produce

blog post photo

Have you been trying to eat more vegetables?

Have you been intrigued by all the bounty at the farmers’ market, yet shy away from it because you don’t know how to cook and enjoy it?
Well, this photo is from Kyoto, Japan, but when I saw these vegetables at the market, I felt the same way.  I wished someone would help me how to use these unusual vegetables — something I’ve eaten and liked at the restaurants, and want to try at home too.

So… I’m hosting a free class next weekend to help you with these spring bounty at our local Farmers’ Market!

What: “Farmers’ Market:  Shopping & Cooking Secrets for Spring Produce”

When: Saturday, April 24th 2010  1-3 pm

Where: Oakland Lakeview Branch Library
550 El Embarcadero, Oakland, CA  510-238-7344

We’ll meet at the I-580 side entrance of the Oakland Lakeview Library at 1pm, stroll through different booths at the Grand Lake Farmers’ Market, and discuss different produce and cooking options until about 1:45pm. (You can eat lunch during that time. Lots of great options!)

Then back at the library at 2pm, you will learn my secrets — how to optimize what you bought for your everyday cooking so that you can create one week’s worth of many different dishes with half the time and effort while having a lot of fun!

Of course, there will be demos and sampling! The class will end around 3pm.

Depending on your schedule, you can only join the farmer’s market part or the class part.

The space is limited (esp. the library portion). My last free class at this location filled in a few hours — so please RSVP by clicking here now while there are only few — about 25% of the spots left.

If you have any questions, please leave me a comment.

Hope you can join us!



How to Revive Leftover Pasta…

Leftover pasta after the liquid treatment

Before.... Leftover pasta

Do you ever eat leftover pasta?  What do you do to revive it?

I love batching something, and use it little by little to create many different dishes later in the week and I even blog and teach people how to do that, but pasta is one of very few things I don’t over-make.  Because, noodles are best when it’s cooked, right off the pot.  The older they get, the stickier they become.
As many of you read on my previous post, I hosted a cooking class party last Sunday at our kitchen, and as a host, I wanted to make sure to be prepared, and have more than enough food.

I got carried away, and served and showed how to make all these dishes:

  • Appetizers
    • 2 kinds of Mushroom bites (one with goat cheese, one without)
    • Mushroom, spinach and feta cheese gozleme (Turkish version of Quesadilla)
    • Crudite with pesto mayonnaise
  • Served during the Class
    • Made Sauteed button mushrooms and Asian mushroom mix (use these as a base)
    • Okara Quiche with chicken, leeks, asparagus, mushrooms, and gruyere cheese
  • Dinner
    • Magic Mushroom Soup
    • Tuna and Mushroom Pasta, Japanese Style
    • Kinoko Mizore Ae (Japanese Mushrooms and Grated Daikon Salad with Ponzu Sauce)
    • Cranberry and Fruit Relish with Whipped Cream

A lot of mushrooms, I know.  But this class was called “Flexipes: Mushrooms and Beyond”, and designed to teach people how to make a large batch of something (in this case, sauteed mushrooms), then turn it into many different dishes throughout the week (or later if they choose to freeze it).   Naturally, a lot of mushrooms had to show up on the menu.   The good news is, when you make them different flavors and treatments, people often don’t feel they are eating only mushrooms — and no one complained.  Phew!

Pretty much all the food was gone, except the pasta.  I forgot the fact that they ate quite a bit of appetizer and okara quiche before dinner, and made extra in case people were hungry.

Well, something I don’t like more than old pasta is throwing away perfectly good food.  Almost all Japanese have “Mottainai” as a motto. “Waste not”, it means.  So, I needed to do something with this pasta leftover.

So I decided to moisten the pasta with a little bit of liquid (I used vegetable broth I had on hand, but you can use other kind of broth, white wine, pasta water, or even water in a pinch), covered and microwaved it.

Of course, it was not quite as good as newly cooked al-dente pasta, but it was far better than leftover pasta without that treatment, or pre-made pasta from store.  And I definitely liked the fact that I was able to eat it just by heating up.  It’s hard to see on the photo, so just try it and see what you think.

In any case, it’s best to mix the pasta with the sauce as soon as you cook it.  Plain pasta without anything starts to stick right away, and will be harder to revive, especially spaghetti.  Even worse are capellini and flat pasta like linguini.

So the best pasta practice is, in my opinion:

1. Make the exact amount of pasta, and eat it right away.

2. If there’s any leftover, make it into pasta salad as soon as possible.

3. Mix the pasta with sauce or dressing right away or, if undressed,

4. As a last resort, sprinkle with a little bit of liquid on top, cover and microwave, and enjoy the time -saving!

So what do you do with your leftover pasta?

Aebleskiver Giveaway Town Call was a success!

powdered aebleskiver


It was so much fun with Aebleskiver Starter Kit Giveaway Town Call last night with so many new and old skiver enthusiasts from coast to coast.

If you joined us, hope you had a lot of fun! What fascinate me the most is all the possibilities we have with this pan and the mix! Seriously the sky is the limit.

And if you are on gluten-free diet, there’s a great news – Aunt Else’s will be releasing wheat-free aebleskiver mix in a few weeks! YAY!

Did you miss it?

I’m planning to do more of these fun interviews, Q&As and giveaways, so be sure to subscribe to my mailing list.

Then you’d be the first one to know. Please sign up from

If you have any preference on date and time for these calls, please leave me a comment. I’ll do my best based on what most people want.

Please tell me what kind of food related interviews you may be interested as well.

The winner of the Starter kit was Michaela Vega from Minneapolis, who posted many comments, tweets, wrote to ‘Skiver Santa, became fans of both Kitchen Wizard and Aunt Else site..

She even wrote a post about the giveaway call on her blog with a video of how to make aebleskivers.

She certainly got the most skiver points!

She’ll be getting a personal delivery of Aunt Else’s starter kit (mix, 9 hole cast iron pan, chop stick for turning, and handle hot pad) from our Skiver Santa, Chad, the president of Aunt Else’s Aebleskivers, since she happens to lives in the same area!
Wonder if she finds her present under a tree, late at night… on a snowy night.  There are lot of them in Minnesota I believe.

Aunt Else's Aebleskiver Starter Kit

Our generous Santa even offered extra presents for everyone on the call.

If they buy the kit or the pan by tonight 11:59pm PT, they get a mix free. Plus 10% off.
If they purchase something before 11:59pm this Sunday, they still get 10% off. Pretty sweet!

What about those of you who couldn’t make the call, because the time didn’t work out?

Since I believe in fairness, I BEGGED him if he could extend the same offer to other people who couldn’t make it.

And he said “YES”!

So here’s his offer – exactly the same with the one from last night. (Those of you who were on the call, please verify it’s the same. ; )

* Buy a starter kit or pan, and get the mix free (Until 11:59pm PT, Tonight Friday 2/19/2010)
* Plus 10% off by using “kitchen wizard” as promo code.

* (starter kit, pan, basket, etc. etc.) – The discount will not show on the shopping cart, so 10% will be refunded on your credit card bill.
* (basket, starter kit & mix only) – Automatic discount with “kitchenwizard” as promo code.

* All purchase 10% off (Use the links above) till 11:59pm PT on Sunday (2/21/2010) on both sites by becoming an Aunt Else Fan.
* * USE “kitchen wizard” as promo code.


* Questions? Please send all Aebleskiver purchase related questions to

So there you have it.

Take advantage of this generous offer right now if you are thinking about getting the starter kit or the pan. Because after the deadline, it’ll be gone.

Now I need to prepare for my “Flexipes: Mushroom and Beyond” Cooking Class & Party at my kitchen this Sunday. It’ll be a lot of fun to go through the entire process of “Kitchen Wizarding” and enjoy the fruit of our experiments together. Everyone will be amazed how easy and fun it is to create a week worth of new dishes from something they already made.

It’s full, so those of you who are on the wait list or can’t make it on Sunday, I’ll promise to do more soon.

Be sure to sign up for my mailing list Check “Class” so that you will be the first one to know and get special offer before it goes out to the public.

So, what kind of interviews, giveaways would you be interested? Please leave your answers as a comment.

Have a great weekend!