Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Night Class Schedule through the end of the year! Awesome!

Private Events and Classes
I teach private classes in people's homes as well as teaching low charge church/non-profit group classes. Teaching is how I support my family, so I can't usually do classes totally free of charge to your group, but I am very reasonable in price. I am happy to help in any way that I can for your upcoming group classes for community involvement.  I'm willing to travel in the future. Questions? Comments? Requests? Get in touch. Contact Now

Arizona Class Locations are stores that are willing to have me come teach in their show-rooms. With my current work schedule I am pretty much exclusively teaching at Shar's in Gilbert.

Shar's Kitchen Center
1130 N. Gilbert Rd. Suite 1
Gilbert AZ, 85234
*All classes at Shar's must pre-register and pre-pay and cost $15 a person, OR Buy two spots get one free.  If you don't pre-register, we cannot promise that the class will still stay on the schedule. PLEASE make sure you call ahead.  

Shar's classes and samples are very generous! Shar's is also the location where I have my bakery orders for pick-up on Saturdays. 

Back to Culinary School Braided Bread
Fri, September 5, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Beautiful braided breads embellished with floral and decorative designs can look complex, but Chef Tess will walk you through some simple techniques to help you feel like this is a skill you can master.

Back to Culinary School: Knife Skills/ Fruit and Vegetable Carving $15
Fri, September 12, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Chef Tess spent years as a banquet chef designing large fruit and vegetable displays and she’ll be sharing some of her best ideas for edible arrangements, fun fruit carving, and basic knife skills you’ll use every day.
Back to Culinary School: Cake Decorating with Fondant for Beginners 
Fri, September 19, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Learn from a professional Pastry Chef how to apply decorative fondant to cakes and make Marzipan flowers.
$15 Each buy 2 get 1 free Must Pre-Register and Pre-Pay

Back to Culinary School: French Macarons! 
Fri, September 26, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Delicate meringue based almond flour Macaron cookies are a little tricky to master, but chef Tess is here to walk you through the basics and give you all the tools you need to become an expert! Generous samples and delicious ideas ahead!
$15 Each buy 2 get 1 free Must Pre-Register and Pre-Pay
Fall Apple and Pumpkin Wreath Breads 
Fri, October 3, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Beautiful centerpiece wreath breads can be the show-stopper you’re looking for on your Halloween table or at any of your upcoming events. Come and learn how to make some remarkable pull-apart breads that will have everyone cheering at your baking skills!
Fall Hand-pies and Tiny Tarts
Fri, October 10, 7:00pm – 8:30pm  
Fruit tarts and bite-sized hand-pies are always in season, but during the Fall, you’ll have a big demand for these at your parties and events. They freeze beautifully and are great to make-ahead. Chef Tess is here with simple tips and ideas for making these sweet and savory bites for appetizers and desserts!

Homemade Danish Pastries 
Fri, October 17, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
If you've ever wondered how to make beautiful butter roll-in dough and all the fun shapes that Danish pastries come in, then this class is for you. We'll be making the dough, fillings and glazes like the professionals do!
Home Canning Gourmet Salsa, Sauces, and Jams 
Fri, October 24, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
This is a great class on some gourmet twists to classic salsas, sauces, condiments and jams that will be perfect for the holidays and for your family! $15 includes one half-pint jar of gourmet apple-pie jam to take home. *Pre-register by Oct17th required for jam to take home.
Fall Oven-raise Freezer Rolls, Breads and Pizzas 
Fri, November 7, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
It’s the busy time of year when you will be really glad you made these ahead of time! Freezer-to-oven dough that is wholesome, homemade and fabulous can save a lot of money and time! It bakes fast and requires no raising! These are rolls, breads, and pizza recipes perfected by a chef and mom who knows what it means to make fast delicious holiday meals! $15 includes half-dozen rolls to take home. *must pre-register by Oct 31st to get the rolls.
Gifts of Good Taste Part 1:
Cookie Mixes and Gourmet Homemade Gift Mixes 
Fri, November 14, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Chef Tess wrote the book on homemade gift making on a budget and this class you’ll get to taste some homemade gourmet mixes that will blow you away! Cookies, bars, and more! $15 includes one bag of cookie mix to take with you!
Thanksgiving Pumpkin Cake Rolls and Jelly Cake Rolls 
Fri, November 21, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Ever wondered how to make a really perfect jelly roll cake? What about that spiced pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting and toasted pecans? We’ve got the tips and secrets to make them awesome!

Gifts of Good Taste Part 2: Savory Bread Mixes and Seasoning Mixes Fri, December 5, 2014, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Savory bread mixes with just a few ingredients, seasoning mixes for popcorn and nuts…these are the personal gifts that tell your friends how much you love them. Never mind that they cost just pennies to make at home! This is wonderful class for the holidays full of awesome recipes and perfect packaging ideas as well! $15 includes a bread mix to take home.

Easy Holiday Party Appetizers 
Fri, December 12, 2014, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Consider this the Chef Tess Christmas Party.  I am! Hot baked brie, shrimp sweet corn soufflé, simple cheese balls and platters. These appetizer recipes will quickly become your go-to party pleasers! Come ready to party.
Holiday Chef Breakfast Casseroles and Freezer Cinnamon Rolls 
Fri, December 19, 2014, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
The last thing mom wants to do on Christmas morning is make breakfast! This class is full of make-ahead magic you can still look like the hero, and get some sleep on Christmas eve! $15 includes a loaf pan size of 2 large cinnamon rolls. *must pre-register by Dec 17th to get the rolls.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Crispy Bacon Jalapeño Popper Stuffed French Toast with Blackberry Syrup

Big news everyone! After many months of soul searching, praying, working 3 jobs and almost going crazy... I've accepted a position to head-up a breakfast and lunch cafe called "Chives" here in Mesa, Arizona at the  beautiful wedding venue, Stonebridge Manor.  It  is scheduled to launch the first week of October, but I will keep everyone posted on the Grand Opening!
Isn't it beautiful?!!!

I will still be doing my Friday night classes at Shar's and selling bakery items until things get too crazy. I'm scheduled for Friday nights until the end of the year.  Yes, with a real schedule I will also be able to teach private classes in the evenings, but they will probably be fewer and farther between.  

That being said, I'm going to be sharing a lot more breakfast and lunch ideas, along with everything else you've come to love and expect here on the blog.  I'll be working a lot less hours than I have been the last few months and I will finally be able to post a lot more awesomeness!  

That brings us to today's recipe.  Initially when I developed this recipe, it was for a contest to win a years supply of eggs from our local Hickman's Farm eggs.  I have teenage boys, so I thought it would be a good fit. I actually got really  busy with work and didn't ever send in the recipe but I decided that with the changes in my life and things happening so quickly around here to launch a cafe, that this would be a good recipe to add to the menu.  What do you think?  Mind you, I really won't give the full recipe for the menu here on the blog. I have to have some secrets. However...I think that sharing this will make a few of you hopefully think about coming down to see us!

This is a savory stuffed French Toast sandwich. If you can, use bread made from our simple recipe for  No Knead 4 Ingredient Overnight Bread Anyone Can Make.  Between two slices of thin French bread there is a remarkably savory filling made with cream cheese, bacon and jalapeno with a hint of garlic and sharp cheddar cheese. The sandwich is dipped in a savory egg coating and then covered with a crispy cornflake-Parmesan layer. When the sandwich is pan-fried it is remarkable. Warm and crispy from the pan and oozing with the jalapeno-bacon and cheese mixture,  it is drizzled with a savory-sweet blackberry black-pepper syrup. I think it is probably the best breakfast sandwich on earth. 
Crispy Bacon Jalapeño Popper Stuffed French Toast with Blackberry Syrup
2- 8 ounce packages cream cheese, room temp
1 cup mayonnaise
2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup seeded, minced, fresh jalapeno
1 cup bacon crumbles
1T fresh minced garlic

Savory Egg batter:
4 Hickman's jumbo eggs, cracked and whisked
½ cup buttermilk
½ tsp fresh cracked black pepper
½ tsp fine minced garlic
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp ground cumin

1 cup corn-flake crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Tangy-sweet Blackberry Syrup:
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup seedless blackberry jam
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

You will also need 12 slices thin sliced sourdough French Bread (depending on how large the slices, usually about 4 inches by 4 inches). 

Mix the filling ingredients.
 Fill slices of bread generously with filling, enough to make approximately 6 sandwiches. 
One for my family to share. The rest for me. 
In a container the size of the sandwiches, combine the cornflakes and the Parmesan. 
In a separate container combine the ingredients for the egg coating. set up a dipping station.  
Dip the sandwich in the egg mixture and coat well. Then coat with the corn flake mixture.  Continue until all the sandwiches are coated. 
 In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook the sandwich in a few Tablespoons of bacon fat or vegetable oil. 
 Prepare the blackberry syrup by combining all the syrup ingredients and stirring until smooth.  Drizzle over the warm toast.

There you go my darlings.
More amazing ideas to come. 

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Friday, August 1, 2014

Sweet and Hot Slow Cooked Spanish Pork

We've made it to another Freezer Friday! Hooray! It's not just any Friday, mind you, but Labor Day weekend Friday! It's going to be a really nice four days to get together with family and friends. I may just relax and snooze. Tonight is "girl's night out"...and I'm going to leave dinner with the kids and a sitter. So, I thought I'd share one of my favorite freezer meals that also doubles as an amazing meal to serve to guests, neighbors, friends...or the babysitter. Good news, it's also gluten free and dairy free (if you don't top it with sour cream).

Sweet and hot is a weird combination. It's like a gorgeous drop-dead-to-look-at mom who can also bake brownies. Hmm. I'm not going to point fingers at anyone in particular. My mom says I totally fit that description. To the rest of you, you know who you are. I'm just saying, it's a hard balance to keep. Apply the sweet and hot combination to a dinner that can also double as a freezer meal for just about any Mexican filled entree...and you will be ready to cry tears of joy. Then and only then will you understand what it feels like to truly achieve dinner zen. Ohhhmmm. You love me already...Ohhmmmm. You can't wait to try this.
I've been goofing around with this recipe for quite a while. I hope when you have it, you will experience all the combined wisdom several different recipes. Call me crazy. What I wanted was a recipe that had fairly few ingredients, without using a jar or packaged item of to "count" as an ingredient. I also wanted the meal to be satisfying. I wanted them to love it! So much love...that I would hear a lot of general moans of adoration for my skills as a chef. I'm selfish that way. I like praise. Doesn't everyone?

Tess' Sweet and Hot Slow Cooked Spanish Pork

3 lb boneless pork carnitias (or a boneless pork loin, cut into cubes)
2 tsp dry ancho chile,
2 tsp dry Mexican oregano
1 tsp whole cumin,
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup lime juice plus zest of one lime
1/2 cup Homemade sundried tomatoes or store purchased sun dried tomato julienne
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
salsa and sour cream (optional)

Directions: In a spice mill, combine the ancho chile,
and cumin seed.

Grind until a fine powder is achieved.

Spread the spice mixture over the carnitas (pork). Drizzle with honey.
Add the lime and sun dried tomato.

I cooked mine in my solar oven (350 degrees) for 4 hours, but you can put it in the crock pot on low 5-8 hours or high 3-4 hours.

Meat will be very tender. Thanks to the tomato and lime juice for the acid that breaks down the meat to make it so divine. You can leave it in chunks or shred it, depending on your preference. It's so tender it easily shreds with a fork.

Serve as a taco filling. I like to add fresh chopped cilantro and green onion and top it with some avocado yogurt cream and some of my Home canned Salsa.

Yields 6 3/4 cup servings. Recipe is okay to double or triple as needed for freezer meal purposes. To freeze, place 3 cups of the meat and juice mixture in a quart size bag along with fresh chopped cilantro and green onion. Label clearly with date and reheat instructions:

"To serve, defrost overnight in the fridge or remove bag and defrost in the freezer. Shred the pork. Heat 5-7 minutes in the microwave or 8-10 minutes on the stove top. Be sure to keep the juice with the meat. Salt and pepper as needed. Serve hot as a taco filling, taco salad base, enchilada or burrito filling."

Lay bag flat in fridge. When cool, transfer to the freezer. Freeze solid and place in your freezer file.

Last note.
My sweet friend Andee Andee Farnsworth Bergeron sent me this wonderful recipe that would also work wonderfully!
Costa Vida Sweet PorkPork Roast (4-5 lbs), thawed if frozen
3 c. Dr. Pepper
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. (packed) brown sugar
1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. powdered garlic
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 large carrots, peeled and grated
1 (smallish) Serrano pepper, seeded and diced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
Cut away any obvious fat portions from the roast. Place all ingredients in a crock pot and cook on high for 6-7 hours.
Remove pork to cutting board.
Add an additional 1/2 c. granulated sugar and 1 cup Coke to the liquid in the crock pot. Stir.
Shred the pork, removing excess fat and bones, and add back to the crock pot. Stir.
Reduce to low and cook an additional 3 hours.
There you go!

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Updated July and August Classes in AZ!

Private Events and Classes
I teach private classes in people's homes as well as teaching low charge church/non-profit group classes. Teaching is how I support my family, so I can't usually do classes totally free of charge to your group, but I am very reasonable in price. I am happy to help in any way that I can for your upcoming group classes for community involvement.  I'm willing to travel in the future. Questions? Comments? Requests? Get in touch. Contact Now

Arizona Class Locations are stores that are willing to have me come teach in their show-rooms. Please contact me if your store is interested in hosting classes! I'd love to be part of your adventures!
July and August Classes
 Shar's Kitchen Center

1130 N. Gilbert Rd. Suite 1
Gilbert AZ, 85234

*All classes at Shar's must pre-register and pre-pay. Shar's classes and samples are very generous! Shar's is also the location where I have my bakery orders for pick-up on Saturdays. Thanks Shar's!

In-home Ice cream parlor
Friday, July 25th 7 pm $15
Chef Tess will be teaching the basic chemistry for great ice cream and sharing some remarkably delicious and healthy versions of some of her favorites. Plus, creative homemade ice cream cones!

Classic Summer Cream Cakes
Friday, Aug 1st 7pm  $15
Chef Tess will be teaching fluffy mousse and fresh fruit filled cakes including strawberry white chocolate and a banana split cake that will blow your mind! She'll also be covering some basic cake decorating skills.

Ice cream sandwiches of Glory!
Friday, Aug 8th 7 pm  $15
Summer desserts couldn't get any easier or more delicious! Chef will be teaching how to make soft-baked beautiful cookies and perfect ice cream to go inside of them! Plus some great ideas for making them kid-friendly during the last dog-days of summer break!

Downtown Abby Pastry Party
Friday Aug 15th 7pm $15
It's time to play with the ladies and get some great face-time with grown-ups! With the kids back in school, how about some classic foods from the popular Downtown Abby series with a chef who will make it fun?! Costumes are optional, but laughing is required!

Crepes Shoot!
Friday Aug. 22nd 7pm $15
Delicate crepes are just a thin French pancake but chef is teaching you how to fill them many different ways and the simplest possible way to make them! You'll love the flavors and the easy way to keep these lovely delicious beauties!

Oh Yeah Do-ssant!
Friday, Aug 29th 7 pm $15
Back by popular demand! The delicate doughnut made with croissant dough! Chef will be drizzling them with different chocolates, topping them and filling them with gourmet flair! You won't want to miss this!

July and August at

 Honeyville Farms 

33 South 56th Street
Chandler, AZ 85226


Homemade Ice Cream
Thurs. July 24th 11 AM
Summertime is killer...but Ice cream will save you! Chef Tess is here with the basic recipes for ice cream and the science behind this frozen confection! You'll love this class! $5 a person. 

Chef Tess Herb and Spice Alchemy 
Sat. July 26th at 2 PM
Learn how herbs and spices work together in flavor profiles as well as culinary medical uses. Chef Tess will turn three identical salads into 3 totally different flavor profiles. Come hungry! $5 a person.

Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls
Sat. Aug 2nd  2pm
Probably one of the most difficult skills to master in gluten-free baking is the technique for cinnamon rolls. Chef Tess has mastered not only how to make them perfectly, but how to make them taste like the cinnamon rolls you gave up to be gluten-free! Cost is $5 a person.

Meals in a Jar: Family Classics
Sat. Aug. 9th 11 am
School is back in session and Chef Tess has some great solutions for family dinners and single-serving lunches that will rock! Come and taste some of the classics as well as some new family favorites! Plus some desserts from the book!
 Cost is $5 a person. 

Indian Fry-Bread Tacos
Tuesday Aug. 12 11 am
Taco Tuesday! Fry bread is a classic here in Arizona. Come and taste some amazing tacos and get all the great tips and techniques for making this native dish. Cost is $5 a person. 

Egg-streme makeover
Sat. Aug. 16th 11 am
Ever wondered the difference between dehydrated eggs, egg crystals and freeze-dried eggs? Chef Tess will share some amazing dishes and give you the chance to taste the differences. $5 a person. 
Chef's Knife Skills 101
Thurs. Aug. 21st 11 am
Chef Tess will start with the basics of chopping and end with Edible arrangements & embellishing party trays! This is a great class for anyone who has ever wanted to see how chef's make all those fancy cuts! Cost is $5 a person. 

Home Canning 101
Sat. Aug 23 at 11 am
What is water bath canning? When do you pressure can? How do you know what is safe? Chef Tess will be here going through the basics of home canning and all the safety you need to feel confident in your home preserving. Cost is $5 a person.

 Grain Surgery
Sat. Aug 30 11 am
What is amaranth? How do you cook quinoa? Is there gluten in rye? Chef Tess will not only answer all your question on grain but also give you a chance to taste some fabulous dishes made from amazing Honeyville grains! $5 a person

Preparing Wisely

144 s. Mesa Drive Suite G
Mesa Az 85210

Preparing Wisely carries my books and spices and I teach ONE class monthly at their store location. This is the only store where I teach classes that are FREE to the Public. 

Meals in a Jar: Family Classics and Personal Sized Meals
Tuesday Aug. 26th at 6 PM
Come taste some family classics for back to school and learn how to pack the meals in personal sized containers for travel, school, or work. This is a great introduction to shelf-stable homemade freeze-dried meals. 

For details visit their website.  If you're looking for a great location to get your food storage needs filled, these guys are amazing!  Details about the store can be found at! Xoxo!

I teach private classes in people's homes as well as teaching low charge church/non-profit group classes. I am happy to help in any way that I can for your upcoming group classes for community involvement. I'm willing to travel in the future. Please let me know your location and we'll see what we can do! Please contact me directly ( for specific questions. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

2 NEW Chef Tess Meals in a Jar: Instant Chicken Stuffers and Toppers

Instant Chicken Salad was such a popular post for fast and easy sandwich filling that I thought I would take it a step further and introduce all of you to this great way to make instant BBQ chicken bun stuffer and instant oriental chicken wrap or  salad greens topper. These are great convenience meals for family picnics, camping trips, travel and whenever you're on the go. They are perfect for scout camp and are really delicious.  

 If you are new to this 52-method Meals in a Jar  you'll probably need to read the posts on how to pack the jars with a food saver (if you don't want to use an oxygen absorber) as well as how to make the meals in mylar bags if you decide not to make them in the jars.  Those posts are here: 
For camping and backpacking I generally will use the method of packing in the mylar bags. Keep in mind that mylar is shelf-stable for a very long time but is not rodent-proof and can puncture, so take precautions when packing them in your bags. This is one I packed for my son for scout camp. {Best. Bartering meal. Ever. }

Now. On to the recipes! 

This isn't just BBQ chicken. It is Kansas City BBQ Chicken. If you know anything about BBQ then you know that the Kansas City version of BBQ are usually  tomato based with the addition of molasses or brown sugar. Using tomato powder give you the ability to control the thickness of the sauce without having to simmer it for hours.  If you like your bbq chicken saucy, then this recipe is for you! 
 I used just a few simple ingredients for this stuffer. Once you've used  freeze-dried chicken, you'll wonder why you have waited so long to try it! I have been so impressed with the lean, clean, awesomeness of this stuff for a long time. Mainly because it doesn't have any added junk to it. No soy, or msg or extra flavor. It is just chicken. Ahhh. It is a great way to make a shelf-stable meal without added chemicals. The Honeyville store in Chandler, AZ was nice enough to give me some chicken to play with to develop these recipes. 
 One thing I am pretty particular about is the seasoning. If you haven't tried my Chef Tess Spices Chef Tess All purpose seasoning,  is one that I developed as a chef for restaurant and banquet use. It goes with everything and hands-down is one of the best seasoning blends on the planet. You won't be disappointed.  Today, for BBQ, this is a must. It has bold flavor that will really enhance the sauce and give it a remarkable well rounded taste.

Kansas City  BBQ  Chicken Stuffer 
1/2 cup Tomato Powder
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
2T Freeze Dried Onion
2 tsp Chef Tess All Purpose Seasoning

1/2 tsp hickory smoke flavor powder or 2tsp smoked paprika
2 cups Freeze Dried White Chicken

Directions: Combine all ingredients in pint sized jar and top with an oxygen absorber. You may also use a mylar bag instead of the jar.  You can cut the recipe in half for smaller portions or double for larger families. Simple stuff. 

Safety Note: For the love of Pete, please use an oxygen absorber. They are the magic ingredient that makes these meals safe for long-term storage. Bacteria and junk can't grow without oxygen and moisture so this is a biggie! By the way, oxygen absorbers  are a one time use. They are a must! After you have filled all your jars or mylar bags with the recipe ingredients, place a 300cc oxygen absorber in each jar (or bag). Seal withing 20-60 minutes for the oxygen absorber to be viable. 

To prepare: Combine chicken stuffer mix with 2 cups boiling water.  Allow  hydrate, about 10 minutes. Add more water to-taste of sauce thickness.

Fill your favorite buns with the mixture.I make hamburger buns using the No Knead 4 Ingredient Overnight Bread Anyone Can Make and they're  to go for a low cost meal!

Lettuce wrap filling  or salad green topper:

This recipe is versatile for either a salad wrap, topper or even a tortilla wrap. You'll love the heat! If of course you're not a spicy person, you can omit the pepper flakes all together. I serve my salad with a sqeeze of hot chile sauce and some fresh shredded carrots on salad greens. It is a simple grab when I'm traveling or just want a light lunch. 

Oriental Spicy Chicken Salad 

2 cup  Freeze Dried Chicken (3 oz) 
1/3 cup Soy Sauce Powder (1.5 oz)
2T  Lemonade Powder
1T dehydrated garlic slices (store purchased or make your own)
2 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less depending on how hot you like your meals)
1/3 cup Dehydrated Onion
1T Chef Tess Amazing Wok Star seasoning blend Chef Tess Spices 
1T Ultra Gel 

Directions: Combine all ingredients in pint sized jar and top with an oxygen absorber. You may also use a mylar bag instead of the jar.  You can cut the recipe in half for smaller portions or double for larger families. 

To prepare: Combine chicken stuffer mix with 2 cups boiling water.  Allow to hydrate, about 10 minutes. Add more water to-taste of sauce thickness. Serve on top of greens.

Or wrap in lettuce leaves for salad wraps.

There you go! Enjoy some wonderful new summer meals in a jar! 

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess