Last week I had the chance to attend my first cooking recreational course at ICE, and I wasn’t about to pass up the friendly warm-up prior to Monday’s headfirst dive into the culinary career program. The class featured recipes from Olives & Oranges, the new cookbook by Chef Sara Jenkins of Porchetta restaurant in New York City’s East Village.
Chef Jenkins, who grew up in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, greeted us with a warm smile and a hefty packet detailing the eight recipes we would make as a class. Featured recipes included Roasted Carrots with Honey, Lime and Cilantro, Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Capers and Olives, and Braised Lamb Shoulder with Green Tomatoes and Concord Grapes. We broke into teams of two and made our way through each of the recipes in preparation for a big family meal at the end of the night.
A friend and I tackled the starter salad, which consisted of grated cabbage, celery, apples, radishes and carrots tossed in sherry wine and topped with crumbled English farmhouse cheddar. No cooking required, we passed with flying colors! We then moved on to baking Chef Jenkins’ recipe for Olive Oil Cake, a traditional dessert – and at times breakfast pastry – acquired from her time spent in the Mediterranean. With a bit of guidance from Chef Jenkins and ICE’s recipe editor Chef Daniel Stone, we pulled it off, finishing our elaborate feast with a warm slice of cake and a final sip of wine.
Chef Sara Jenkins is the chef-owner of Porchetta, and co-owner of the newly opened Veloce Pizzeria. She previously cooked at 50 Carmine, Il Bucco, I Copi and Patio. Her love for the Mediterranean region inspired her to write her first cookbook, Olives & Oranges: Recipes and Flavor Secrets from Italy, Spain, Cyprus, and Beyond (Houghton Mifflin, 2008).