On an warm Thursday night at the Kitchen Table Cooking School, an intimate evening with Melissa D’Arabian took place benefiting MOPS International, a local non-profit that helps connect new moms with love and support from other moms. Serving delicious hors d’oeurves, a three course meal accompanied with wine, and a live cooking demonstration from Melissa, it was a special treat for all MOPS International attendees.
Melissa’s live demonstrations were creative as well as perfect for those who are on-the-go or have little ones without sacrificing quality for speedy creations. With each tip or trick she shared, she would also provide an alternative for those who may not have all the cooking ware a culinary artist might. Her enthusiastic nature kept everyone entertained and her love for her family shone through her culinary masterpieces.
Miss A Denver had the pleasure of speaking with Melissa before the event officially began.
Q: What are your must-have spices?
A: I love cumin. It goes with so many flavor profiles. You can go Mexican, Latin, fresh California. I also love smoked paprika. A lot of people don’t have that in their cupboard but it’s not expensive and it adds such a great flavor to so many dishes, especially vegetarians where people might use bacon and you can swap out and use smoked paprika so you can get get smokey taste.
Q: What is something new you discovered in the culinary world this year?
A: I started exploring making jams. I don’t make a lot of jams but I got into it with my daughter. I always made a quick blueberry jam; I don’t use the pectin but use high-heat to let the blueberry pectin do the work, but this year I got a jam-making machine that stirs the jams so this summer we’re going to get into some jam making.
Q: How did it start?
A: I always like to try something new and keep on top of what’s going on in the world. My husband bought me a pressure cooker so I’d like to explore the black bean world and that would be in the agenda as well.
Q: What is a versatile kitchen tool/utensil you always rely on?
A: A zester. You can do anything with it – you can extract flavors from citrus, nutmeg, grate garlic, onions, cheese. You can do a lot with it. It’s kind of like a microplane.
Q: Do you travel with certain equipment?
A: I don’t really travel with equipment but sometimes I do travel with my sushi molds because they’re not available everywhere. They’re about $6 and it’s good to have around especially if I’m doing a demo and making fruit sushi or anything fun like that.
Q: What other interests do you have besides cooking?
A: Oh gosh, I have a lot! I love theater and the reason why I’m thinking of that right now is because Jane Lynch is on Broadway in Annie and she’s only going to be performing in the show for six weeks, so I’m deciding if I should make a trip to see it. It’s my kids’ favorite show – my kids can probably recite every word of the play – and my first Broadway show. Whenever I’m in New York, I always go see a Broadway show and we just saw Wicked last week.
I also love movies. I love doing craft-night with my family. We’re very family oriented in the weekends – we do movie night, we go bike riding at Coronado, we go to the beach and swim with the kids. I just love spending time with my family. We’re at a phase where we’re doing magic tricks with cards since my kids love it, so I kind of got sucked into it but it’s fun.
I love reading non-fiction as well. I’m reading “Cooked” by Michael Pollen and I’m very excited to finish the book. My next one would be “Yes Chef!” by Marcus Samuelsson, so I’m looking forward to that as well!