Evolutionary Cooking

March 20, 2015

Rose 4

I recently watched a fascinating TED Talk given by an eloquent, and easily understood, neuroscientist named Suzana Herculano-Houzel.  She has developed an accurate way to count the number of neurons in the brains of animals and humans and found that the average human brain has approximately 86 billion of them; far more than that of any other animal, even those with much larger and heavier brains than ours and far more than any of our primate relatives.  Because our brains are so dense with neurons, they require a lot of energy to function, about 500 calories per day is what she calculates.  Herculano hypothesizes, that our brains were able to evolve and grow from our smaller Homo-erectus ancestral brain to become our current Homo-sapiens brain because of a major change in diet.  That change happened, she posits, because of the invention of cooking.  Cooking made food much easier to eat and delivered higher levels of calories and nutritional value more efficiently, which in turn enabled rapid evolutionary expansion of our cerebral cortex.  Isn't that interesting!!!  This makes me so proud of my profession!  Ancient cooks were not only innovative and creative in developing new ways to use the resources around them but they may have been the essential link to helping us move to the level of cognitive thinking we perform today!  You can listen to her talk (it's only about 15 minutes long) by following this link - click here .  There's lots more interesting information and she's brilliant!!!

So have a look below at all the great new offerings we have to fuel your brain on our new Spring-Summer 2015 Menu, then scroll down further and check out a wonderful recipe that is perfect for this time of transition from winter to the spring-summer season.  I hope you enjoy it all and don't forget to become an LAFW Facebook Fan. Click Here to get fun updates on the happenings in our kitchen.

Happy Spring everyone and I look forward to cooking with you all soon!  


LA Food Works
Spring-Summer 2014 Menu

LA Food Works is proud to present our new Spring-Summer 2015 Menu! Our signature interactive, hands-on cooking parties are ideal for corporate summer outings, summer associate events, team building exercises, client entertaining, birthday parties, showers and the celebration of any special occasion!


An LA Food Works Event Includes:

* Hors d'oeuvre and beverage reception on arrival
* Fun and knowledgeable chef instructors to guide you through your recipes
* Private cooking and dining experience at our charming venues
* Seasonal gourmet menu selections for lunch, brunch or dinner
* Chef aprons to use while you are cooking
* Recipe packets for everyone to take home

Entreé Course Selections

Grilled Lamb Kebabs with Lemon Mint Chutney
(This option can be done with lamb and/or chicken)

Watermelon and Feta Salad
Eggplant, Chopped Vegetables and Kalamata Sauté
Tzatziki Potato Salad

Grilled Flank Steak with Gruyere Herb Crust
(This option can be done with steak and/or chicken or salmon)
Duo of Beet and Cabbage Salads

Braised Kale with Caraway and Coriander Sauce
Savory Tomato Bread Pudding

Provençal Turkey Burgers with Goat Cheese & Cucumber Relish on Brioche
Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Pine Nuts and Lemony Vinaigrette
Tomato, Olive and Preserved Lemons with Lentils
Asparagus with Roasted Peppers and Shallot Chips

Chicken Adobo
Tropical Cucumber Salad
Grilled Baby Bok Choy
Cilantro Spiced Jasmine Rice

Grilled Vanilla Brined Salmon with Avocado-Olive Sauce with Warm Tortillas
(This option can be done with fish and/or chicken or pork)

Jicama and Pineapple Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette
Creamy Lime Coleslaw
Mexican Corn with Fresh Pico de Gallo

Dessert Selections

Rolled Oat Cake with Figs, 
Crème Fraîche and Pistachio Simple Syrup

Palmiers with Baked Peaches and Champagne Sabayon

Root Beer Float Cup Cakes

Brown Butter Blondies with Pecans and Vanilla Ice Cream

Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Mouse with
Fresh Berries and Framboise Chantilly

Grilled Lamb Kebabs with
Lemon Mint Chutney

People often ask me what my culinary specialty is.  I always struggle with the answer because I really love to cook just about everything.  However, if I had to answer, I would say Mediterranean food is my favorite to cook and eat.  I just love the fresh ingredients and the layers of flavor.  There are so many great spices and I often get to use the lemons from my back yard tree for recipes.  These kebabs are a perfect example.  The marinade is a fantastic blend of spices combined with lemon juice which flavors and tenderizes the meat.  Then there's the chutney.  With the two jalapenos in the mix, there's a lot of heat but a little dollop on top of the meat is perfection!  Eat it with our Tzatziki Potato Salad, with its Greek yogurt based dressing, to create the perfect harmony of smooth, spicy and deep flavors on your palette.  (Email me if you want that recipe too).  Featured on our new Spring-Summer 2015 Menu, it's yummy all year long, but especially now with spring around the bend and summer on the horizon! 

For Kebabs:
2 1/2 pounds lamb sirloin, cut into 1" cubes

cup olive oil

cup lemon juice
teaspoons Kosher salt 
1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika
tablespoon ground coriander
tablespoon ground cumin
teaspoon cayenne pepper
cup minced onion
cup fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped

For Chutney
lemon, juiced and zested
2 jalapeno peppers, stems and seeds removed, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 cup fresh mint leaves, packed
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons fresh ginger root
1 tablespoon honey

salt and pepper, to taste

Grilled Lamb Kebabs


Combine olive oil, lemon juice, and dried seasonings in a shallow pan. Add lamb, minced onion, and chopped rosemary leaves. Turn to coat meat well all sides. Cover and chill for at least 4 but no more than 24 hours, turning occasionally. Let lamb sit at room temperature 1 hour before grilling. Gently shake off excess marinade from the meat and thread onto metal or water soaked bamboo skewers.

For the chutney: Combine the ingredients, except salt and pepper, in a blender or food processor and pulse until combined and smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. This mixture will be spicy, but when combined with the meat, it's really just perfect.

Heat grill to high. Clean and season grill with half an onion soaked in a little olive oil. Grill kebabs over a high heat for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side for a total cooking time of just under 8 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted to a middle piece of meat registers 140-150F for medium rare to medium being careful not to overcook them. If using a gas grill, put the lid down between turning skewers to hold in enough heat to cook them fast enough. The secret to grilling the perfect kebab is to get it done quickly. This will hold in moisture and keep the meat tender.

Serves 6.  Per Serving: 515 Calories; 42g Fat (72.6% calories from fat); 26g Protein; 9g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 105mg Cholesterol; 716mg Sodium. 

WANT TO USE THESE TIPS AND RECIPES IN YOUR E-ZINE, BLOG OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you do not alter the information in any way and include a credit that reads "by Rose LeBoeuf, www.lafoodworks.com, Interactive Cooking Classes, Parties, and Corporate Team Building Events for Groups Looking for a Fun and Unique Dinning Experience."

LA Food Works Events

Ideal for Team Building, Summer Outings, Client Entertaining, Birthday Parties, Showers and Private Gatherings.

Let LA Food Works make your party one which your guests will not soon forget!

 No previous cooking experience required!
Just willingness to put on an apron,
get your hands a little messy,
indulge in some great food
and have lots of fun playing in the kitchen!

We also happily design Custom Cooking Parties. If you have a group of 10 or more foodies who love great food and playing together in the kitchen, contact us and we will design a custom menu or theme class for you and your group.

Our interactive cooking parties both unify and entertain...perfect for any occasion that requires great food, interesting activities and lots of fun!



For information or to book your event, contact Rose LeBoeuf at 310-288-0100 for an event planning kit, pricing and availability.