Welcome Baby Soren!

It was a little quiet last month at Cooking With Rachael and May will be more of the same. Here is a peek at what has kept me preoccupied...introducing Soren Irving Rydbeck, born April 23rd. He is a little sweetie and excelling in what newborns do best: eating, sleeping and filling diapers.


I'm just now hopping back into my own kitchen and plan to post a bit more on the blog this month. 


I will start filling my class calendar again in June...unless I get really antsy. For my Bellevue/Seattle readers, what classes would you like to see on the summer schedule?

Lemon Donuts

In November we made tasty baked donuts from scratch. Not exactly a health food option, but choosing to bake over deep frying made them a smidgen better for you and a much safer option for our littles at Romp.


The donuts were tasty and incredibly easy to make especially if you have a piping bag and a donut pan. Here is my recipe:

Lemon Donuts

  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (120 grams) all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup (30 grams) whole wheat pastry flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) superfine sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter or vegetable shortening

  • 1/4 cup whole milk, scalded

  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt

  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract

  • 1 egg, beaten

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a doughnut pan.

2. Mix the flours and baking powder together in a large bowl. Whisk in the sugar, nutmeg, and salt.

3. Add the butter and use your fingers to rub it into the dry ingredients.

4. Add the milk, yogurt, lemon extract, and egg and stir until just combined. Do not overmix or your doughnuts may be rubbery.

5. Use a piping bag or a spoon, fill each doughnut cup about half full, making sure the center post is clear. Bake until doughnuts are a light golden brown and spring back when touched, 6 to 10 minutes. Let cool slightly before removing from pan.

When cool top with glaze and sprinkles (optional, but very pretty!)

Lemon Glaze

1/8 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 cups confectioners' sugar

1. Combine milk and lemon extract in a medium saucepan and heat over low heat until warm (or heat in microwave).

2. Sift confectioners' sugar into milk mixture.

3. Whisk slowly, until well combined.

4. Remove the glaze from the heat and set over a bowl of warm water.

5. Dip doughnuts into the glaze, 1 at a time, and set on a draining rack placed in a half sheet pan for 5 minutes before serving.

Sushi Madness

I taught a mini sushi class to very young kids in September. There are no action pictures as it was barely managed chaos the entire time. The kids had a blast and ate every roll they made.


There have been several requests to teach this as a full blown class, so keep an eye out for a hands-on winter sushi class.

When working with sushi mats, I typically wrap them in saran wrap to keep the rice from sticking to the mat. For this class we tried out non-stick sushi mats as well. They have a different feel, but made clean-up a snap. I have added them to my Amazon store along with my other favorite kitchen gadgets.

A Busy Season!

Things have been a little quiet on the blog front, though we have had a full schedule of classes over the last few months. I'll knock out a few blog posts here with some recipes to catch us up.

We had three great classes in August:

Hands-on Asian Cooking

 Aside from making tasty food, I had the chance to work in the kitchen with some of my favorite ladies. I absolutely loved the Yuzu Lemon Tart and am including it at the end of the post. If you don't have yuzu, you can replace with lemon juice.

hands on asian cooking.jpg

Hands-On Italian

This was a hands-on Italian class for kids, though in the picture there is little evidence of this. The kids really loved making the pasta dough and cranking it through the pasta maker. I've taught kids how to make pasta dozens of times and each time it is a joy to see little faces light up when sheets of pasta turn into noodles!

Creative Lunches

Lastly in August I started the first of a series in creative meals for kids. This class focused on creative lunchbox ideas and we played with fun cutters, molds and different styles of lunchboxes. I think my favorite part about this class was the lively discussion we had around meal ideas. 

The class was mainly for parents, but the kids bounced from table to toys and back as we needed help plating food and sampling dishes.

Yuzu and Meyer Lemon Tart with Wild Huckleberry Preserves



·         ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

·         2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest

·         1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

·         1 ¼ cups granulated sugar

·         2 pinches of salt

·         6 large eggs

·         1 cup fresh lemon juice

·         ½ cup heavy (whipping) cream

·         Confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)

·         Berries or huckleberry preserves (optional)



1.      Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Have ready an 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Place on rimmed cookie sheet.

2.      Mix melted butter and lemon zest, and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk together the flour, only ¼ cup of the granulated sugar, and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter mixture in a fine stream, stirring with a fork, until the dough begins to come together. Transfer the mixture to the tart pan and press it with your fingertips evenly up the side and into the bottom. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the crust is light golden brown.

3.      Whisk together the remaining sugar, juices, eggs and another pinch of salt in a medium bowl until smooth.

4.      Beat the cream in a medium bowl until it forms soft peaks. Whisk the cream into the egg mixture just until blended.

5.      Pour the filling into the still warm crust. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the filling is just set in the center. Let the pie cool on a wire rack.

6.      Just before serving top with berries or preserves and generously sift confectioners’ sugar over the tart. Cut into the wedges and serve.

Popsicles in July!

Yesterday we celebrated a beautiful summer day in Seattle by making popsicles at Romp.

First we chopped up watermelon, pluots and apricots.

Then we juiced the fruit. (Blending would have been fine as well, but the juicer seemed like more fun!) The kids got the hang of plunging the fruit and in no time we had a big bowl of juice.

I made a few batches of popsicles ahead of time so no one had to wait. 

The batch I made ahead had:

  • watermelon
  • raspberries
  • canteloupe
  • a sliver of lemon
  • mint leaves

I always forget to ask someone to snap a photo of me in these classes. So it made my day when one of my little popsicle prodigies gave me this picture.  I'm on the left and my juicer is on the right. Much better than anything I could have captured. :)

At home we use the mini zoku pop molds. I can't find the plastic handles separately so if you want to make a bunch ahead of time you can place regular wooden popsicle sticks in the form as the juice starts to freeze (about an 1 1/2 into the process).


A favorite combo for us is kale, banana and yogurt. What are your favorite popsicles to make?

Potstickers with Princesses

This week I had the privilege of making potstickers with two of my favorite three-year-olds, who didn't let fancy ballgown dresses slow them down at all. These lovely ladies are old hands at making these delicious dumplings and jumped right in as we cut the dough into pieces...

and then rolled and flattened them with my tortilla press.

The girls delicately wet the outside of the dough, filled and then folded the potstickers in half.

The filling was a mix of things I had in my fridge (tofu, kale, mushrooms and ginger) simmered in soy sauce and sesame oil. 

We steamed and them gulped them down. 

Our dumpling recipe was by Andrea Nguyen and can be found here. Our recipe was loosely based off her Steamed Vegetable Dumpling in my favorite dumpling cookbook: Asian Dumplings.

Pan Bagnat (aka Squished Nicoise Sandwich)

One thing you should know about me, I LOVE Saturday morning radio. Not just any radio...national public radio. I clean my house and listen to my favorite shows...Car Talk, Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, This American Life, Radio Lab...and The Splendid Table.

A few months (years?) ago, a guest described a sandwich her mom used to make in Italy. The sandwich was called Pan Bagnat and involved layering nicoise salad type ingredients in a french baguette. The guest remembered she and her sister would take turns sitting on it in the car on the way to the beach.

The story and the way she described this magical meal stuck somewhere in the back of my brain. So when one of my friends called and asked if I could put together a 16th anniversary picnic as a surprise dinner for a romantic beach getaway, it popped back into my head.

I borrowed from these sources, but really just had fun with it: 

Zoey was more than happy to provide some weight to the whole experience and found sitting on a sandwich very amusing.

The basket was complete with crackers, local cheese, truffled marcona almonds, figs dipped in chocolate, homemade blueberry cobbler in a jar, olives and wine. As we were present for the wedding of these special friends, it was an honor to be included in their celebratory day!

Pan Bagnat


1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon sherry vinegar (or other red vinegar)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil



1 baguette

1/2 regular cucumber, seeds removed, sliced thinly

1 medium-size, ripe tomato, sliced thinly

1/2 small red onion, sliced an blanched

1 jar (5 to 6 ounces) tuna packed in olive oil, drained

8 large basil leaves

2 tablespoons sliced pitted olives

1 hard-cooked egg, thinly sliced

Baby lettuce leaves, optional



In a small bowl, whisk together the anchovies, the garlic, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in oil, whisking constantly. Add sliced cucumbers to vinaigrette and mix.


1.       Cut baguette in half horizontally.

2.       Spread half the cucumbers on bottom of bread. Top with tomato and onion slices, then with tuna, basil, olives and egg slices. Top egg with remaining cucumbers and vinaigrette. Cover with second bread half and firmly press sandwich together.

3.       Wrap sandwich tightly in foil, waxed paper or plastic wrap, then place in a plastic bag. Put sandwich under a weight such as a cast-iron frying pan topped with a filled kettle, or have a child about 7 years old sit on it. Weight sandwich for 7 to 10 minutes, then flip and weight it for another 7 to 10 minutes (or as long as you can get the child to sit still). Unwrap, slice and serve immediately, or keep it wrapped for up to 8 hours before serving.

Recipe inspired by A Good Appetite: Lunch Recipe: Take One 7-Year-Old in The New York Times by Melissa Clark.

Kid's Pasta Class @ Romp

Last week I had the privilege of working with a lively group of 12-years in Romp's kitchen. 

Caprese Bites

Caprese Bites

The Italian menu included puff-pastry cheese twists, caprese bites, cheese filled ravioli and butterscotch pudding. 

The kids had a lot of fun rolling out dough and making ravioli. One group decided they would rather go off script and make a linguine in butter sauce, which turned out beautifully.

Pasta from Scratch

Pasta from Scratch

Completely stolen from Marcus Samuelson, this butterscotch pudding recipe has been a favorite in our house for the last year:

1/2 cup (4 oz) packed dark brown sugar
2 tbsp + 2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp (1 oz) unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 tsp vanilla

1. Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt, milk and cream. Bring to boil over medium heat.
2. Boil, whisking for one minute.
3. Remove from heat.
4. Whisk in butter and vanilla.
5. Pour into bowl and press saran wrap against pudding. Chill in fridge (or freezer if you are in a hurry). 

I like to serve this with whipped cream and crushed ginger cookies.

Saäm for me...and saäm for you

I have a great collection of cookbooks, but unless I am baking, I generally only use them as inspiration. There are a few exceptions to this, and one is the reason for this post. When trying a completely new type of cuisine, especially one I have never tasted, I find a great source and follow the recipes with only minor deviations.



This week I decided to try my hand at a recipe called Bo Saäm from Momofuku, one of my favorite cookbooks. (Without intending to, I think I have made almost every recipe in this book. Though be warned, the language in the book is not for the faint of heart.)



Saäm (meaning wrapped) is the Korean relative of the Chinese lettuce cup. Our version was bibb lettuce wrapped around sweet and salty pulled pork, raw oysters, sushi rice, homemade kimchee and a few sauces. A fun and extremely messy meal...I loved marrying the briny oysters with the sweet pork and zesty kimchee. I'm already itching to try a few different variations!

Siete de Mayo

Today we celebrated Cinco de Mayo at Romp with the making of quesadillas.

I've made corn tortillas a few different ways, but you can't go wrong by following the instructions on the back of a Bob's Red Mill Masa Harina bag. Basically you want to add enough water to the corn flour so the dough feels like playdough - not too dry, not too sticky. I love using a food processor for this, but you can mix by hand as well.

I few months ago I bought a tortilla press and it has seen quite a bit of action. To keep the dough from sticking to the press, I cut the side seams of a gallon ziploc bag. The bag lines the press perfectly.

Here are two of my favorite Rompers demonstrating the technique. Not having any fun at all...


We toasted the tortillas in a hot pan, filled them with cheddar cheese and dove in. Very tasty!