Delicious, Interactive & Fun Team Cooking
Turn cooking into an experience where the culinary destination is not nearly as important as the journey.
If you’re looking for a fun, interactive and delicious night with friends, Cook the Part can help you navigate through a night of hosting an amazing night of great food and good company.
Your kitchen, your friends, your memories.
Chapter Previews of Cook the Part
Transform a typical dinner party into an interactive, social activity.
Tonight you and your guests will create a Tuscan farmhouse experience. Imagine the golden sun setting on rolling hills of grape vines and olive trees, ready for harvest. In the Tuscan spirit, this menu includes simple foods made with fresh, traditional ingredients. The tablescape can be very simple, with a white tablecloth, a bouquet of flowers from the garden or a small bouquet of sunflowers.
If you have brightly colored dishes, tonight is the night to use them. Accent with warm candlelight. The Grilled Bruschetta with Three Savory Toppings will give your guests a variety of Italian flavors to enjoy while they are cooking. The Insalata Caprese offers fragrant basil, vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. If tomatoes are not in season, opt for the simple Bibb and Red Leaf Salad. Cooking Chicken Under a Brick is a technique that creates a crisp, crackling skin and moist, juicy meat.
The breasts are pounded to a uniform thickness, marinated with spices and Italian herbs, then grilled while weighted with foil-covered bricks. The chicken is accompanied by white beans spiked with roasted red peppers and ribbons of fresh spinach, and by zucchini that has been treated with a spicy rub before a turn on the grill. The Fallen Chocolate Cakes are served warm to let you enjoy their fudgy interior.
Grilled Bruschetta with Three Savory Toppings
Tomato and Basil
Prosciutto and Melon
Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper
Insalata Caprese or
Bibb and Red Leaf Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette
Chicken Under a Brick
Tuscan White Beans
Fallen Chocolate Cakes for Eight
This menu evokes thoughts of a brisk autumn breeze off the chilly gray Northwestern Pacific seas. And surprisingly, the meal comes together easily, especially with everyone helping out. Your guests will want to take the easy maple-ginger salmon recipe home with them to make again in their own kitchens.
The fresh salmon entree is glazed with a sweet-heat mixture of maple syrup, fresh ginger, garlic, chipotle powder and red pepper flakes. It is accompanied by garlic-sauteed asparagus and buttery mashed sweet potatoes, a nice spin on a comfort food classic. A simple green salad gets a boost in flavor and texture from cherries, walnuts and feta. Whether you choose to use plums or apples for the streusel cake, it will be a sure hit with its crisp, crumbly topping and tart, tender fruit filling. The honey cornbread mini muffins will be baked just before guests arrive.
Your guests will love catching the aroma of freshly baked cornbread as they walk through the door. A second appetizer, Crab and Red Bell Pepper Crostini, showcases the Pacific Northwest’s delicious crab. These will give the guests something to enjoy with their beverage before they “Cook the Part!”
Honey Cornbread Mini Muffins
Crab and Red Bell Pepper Crostini
Green Salad with Dried Cherries, Walnuts and Feta Cheese
Broiled Maple Ginger Salmon
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Plum or Apple Streusel Cake
Comfort foods are simple classics that provide emotional satisfaction. They have a timeless quality that draws us back to them every few years, so they never really go out of style. The host will greet guests with appetizers prepared ahead of time: a shrimp cocktail with homemade spicy cocktail sauce and a platter of purchased pâté,cornichons and crusty breads or crackers.
A green salad gets a flavor boost with white peaches, goat cheese and candied almonds. The beef short ribs are braised to tender perfection, and the resulting sumptuous red wine reduction sauce makes a heavenly accompaniment to the roasted garlic mashed potatoes. Steamed baby carrots complete the entree, which stands up to a good Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Apple Tarte Tatin dessert is a special addition to this menu, and must be prepared in an iron skillet to be authentic. Sliced apples are artfully arranged in layers in the pan and caramelized on the stovetop. The pan is topped with flaky pastry dough, baked until golden brown, and then flipped upside down onto a serving dish. Vanilla ice cream sets it off nicely. You may consider serving a small cognac at the end of this meal to add a bit of the “supper club” feel to the experience.
Classic Shrimp Cocktail Spicy Cocktail Sauce
Pâté, Cornichons, Artisanal Crackers and Crusty Bread
Mixed Greens with White Peaches, Goat Cheese and Candied Almonds
Braised Beef Short Ribs with Veal Demi-Glace and Wine Reduction Sauce
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Steamed Baby Carrots
Apple Tarte Tatin
Vanilla Ice Cream
The bold, beach-style flavors of the Baja Peninsula will have your guests thinking sun, surf and sandals. Set the mood with Margaritas in colorful glasses or with Mexican beer. Guests make the guacamole and salsas for the appetizers, but they come together quickly because the host will chop all the ingredients ahead of time. These are not your ordinary chip dips. The Citrus Guacamole gets its bright flavor notes from orange and lime juices.
The Tomatillo Salsa packs some heat from serrano chiles. Vine-ripened tomatoes play the starring role in the Pico de Gallo. Baja fish tacos are fresh and festive, with a casual feel. The spice-rubbed grilled halibut offers a lighter, more flavorful version than heavy batter-fried fish. Instead of serving them with the usual white cabbage, we chose red cabbage for added color.
Accompaniments include Mexican Rice and Black Beans with Queso An?ejo, a firm, aged Mexican cheese. The guacamole and salsas make a repeat performance as taco toppings. Serve everything buffet-style, so guests can customize their tacos to suit their tastes. For dessert, cool creamy vanilla ice cream offsets the spicy kick in the Chocolate Chipotle Brownie Cake.
Pico de Gallo
Yellow and Blue Corn Chips
Fish Tacos with Shredded Red Cabbage
and White Sauce
Corn Tortillas Mexican Rice
Black Beans with Queso Añejo
Chocolate Chipotle Brownie Cake
Vanilla Ice Cream Espresso (optional)
This menu transports you and your guests to the sun-kissed land of Greece for the evening. The warm Mediterranean climate produces the best olive and lemon trees, and this authentic menu capitalizes on them. Oregano, a mainstay of Greek cooking, gives a pungent aroma and flavor to the feta appetizer, the chicken souvlaki, grilled lamb chops, and the lemony roasted potatoes.
Your guests will learn the magic of making tiropita cheese pastries by folding layers of buttered phyllo dough over a feta-ricotta filling. Lamb is the traditional meat served for special Greek celebrations. Here, it is treated to a flavorful spice rub before grilling. Chicken kabobs, or souvlaki, are marinated in lemon and yogurt for juicy tenderness and then grilled on skewers along with peppers and onions.
Cool, creamy tzatziki, served with the homemade pita bread as an appetizer, also becomes an accompaniment to the souvlaki. For the finale, Glyka or “spoon sweets,” combine the tang of Greek yogurt with the richness of dates and caramelized walnuts, drizzled with honey.
Feta and Olives, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Oregano
Homemade Pita Bread with Tzatziki
Grilled Asparagus Tiropita
Chicken Souvlaki with Peppers and Onions, served with Tzatziki
Grilled Lamb Chops
Roasted Greek Potatoes with Oregano and Lemon
Glyka (Spoon Sweets) Greek Yogurt with Caramelized Walnuts, Dates and Honey
This menu captures the Spaniards’ love of food and the diversity of their ingredients, such as olives, figs, Manchego cheese, fresh vegetables and seafood. The meal begins with tapas of piquant Spanish olives, crostini topped with sweet fig jam and shaved Manchego cheese, potato omelet, and crispy deep-fried calamari.
Traditionally, these “small plates” help carry over the Spanish until their typical dinner hour at 10 or 11 in the evening. In this menu, the small plates play the role of appetizers to stimulate the palette before the meal. Vodka-laced gazpacho is followed by the Spanish signature dish–Paella a la Valenciana. The huge pan of rice, brimming with shellfish, sausage, chicken and colorful peppers, steals the show.
It is difficult to finish off this meal with only one dessert. The velvety flan is prepared ahead of time by the host. The rich hazelnut torta, prepared by the guests, is served with whipped cream and a tart raspberry coulis. You can use the suggested wines, or seek out alternatives at your favorite wine store. Use bold, red napkins to capture the essence of the Spanish table!
Mixed Marinated Spanish Olives
Crostini with Fig Jam and Shaved Manchego Cheese
Calamari Fritti with Spanish Tomato Sauce
Paella a la Valenciana with Crusty Bread
Hazelnut Chocolate Torta with Whipped Cream
This cooking event captures the spirit of the Italian kitchen as your guests fall in love with the traditional art of hand-making pasta. You and your guests will make the dough from scratch the way the Italian grandmothers have done it for centuries. Then you will roll the dough into thin sheets with a pasta machine. Using a ravioli mold, you will make two types of ravioli: savory three-cheese and spicy Italian sausage and veal.
This is a fun, but messy, experience so be sure your guests wear their aprons! Remember that fresh pasta only requires three minutes of cooking to reach the perfect al dente consistency. Serve the ravioli with a robust Marinara Fresca sauce and fragrant Basil Pesto. Start the night off with freshly baked focaccia, an antipasto platter, and Gorgonzola bread–a perfect sweet-and-savory combination of Gorgonzola, pear slices and walnuts.
Everyone can enjoy the appetizers while making the pasta. A good Italian Chianti pairs well with the appetizers and with the pasta course. The meal will be topped off with a light homemade lemon gelato garnished with berries, to which you can add a biscotti or sugar cookie. Your guests will want to repeat this experience at home with their families!
Focaccia with Dipping Oil
Caesar Salad with Roasted Garlic Anchovy Dressing
Italian Sausage and Veal Ravioli Three-Cheese Ravioli
Green Beans with Basil
Lemon Gelato with Berries
Biscotti or Sugar Cookie (optional)
Indonesian cuisine is as diverse as the 6,000 inhabited islands that constitute this Southeast Asian country. This menu showcases the warm, pungent flavors of coriander, turmeric, cumin and ginger in several authentic dishes. To stream- line preparation, the host prepares a spice-paste blend ahead of time.
The paste is then used in the Lumpiah (spring rolls) filled with thin shards of carrots, cabbage and bean sprouts. Spice paste flavors the Soto Ayam (chicken soup) that is fragrant with lemon grass, and is also used to give a golden hue to the Nasi Goreng (fried rice). Satés or Satays– skewered spicy beef, chicken or shrimp–are very popular in Indonesia. The accompanying creamy peanut sauce has a bit of punch with a jalapeño kick.
A colorful stir-fry of carrots and snow peas rounds out the meal. And a simple tropical dessert of pineapple and kiwi makes a refreshing finale. Be sure to use bright colors on your table, and consider using banana leaves to line your serving dishes for an additional touch of authenticity.
Bowls of Assorted Nuts, Dried Fruit and Coconut
Lumpiah (Indonesian Spring Rolls) with Kecap Manis for Dipping
Soto Ayam (Chicken Soup)
Satés of Beef, Chicken, and Shrimp with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Fried Rice)
Carrot and Snow Pea Stir Fry
Pineapple and Kiwi Boat