Saturday, March 26, 2011


Today, I went to another fantastic class at Rogers Gardens.

This time it was a cooking class. Zov Karamardian showed us some wonderful recipes from her newest cookbook called Simply Zov.

This cookbook has some super recipes. Zov explained to us that while some of the recipes seem to have a long list of ingredients we should not let that put us off. If you look through the list of items needed, several are items you have in your kitchen already and several items are just items like salt and pepper.

One of the best things about this class was, not only did we get to meet Zov and have her show us how to cook some yummy dishes, but, we also got to sample each dish she prepared.

I can personally tell you that each and everyone of these recipes are wonderful! So full of flavor and all appeared to be pretty easy to make too.

Zov is a great chef. She proved to us that you don't need all the fancy equipment to cook her recipes either.

In fact, she cooked everything she made today on this little portable, butane burner.

She explained that all the chopping for her dishes can be done ahead of time and how using only the best fresh ingredients will ensure you the best tasting meals.

The first item she cooked for us was Zucchini Fritters.

If you would like the recipe for this or any of the other dishes she cooked for us, please let me know and I will email them to you. Or you could always purchase the cookbook.
After grating the zucchini it is very important to squeeze all the extra liquid out of them. Otherwise, they will not brown in the hot oil. The liquid will mix with the oil and just make a foam. The zucchini will soak up a lot of the oil and they will not taste good.

You just add eggs, parsley, green onions, mint, chives, dill and garlic to the bowl and mix well.

To that, add the lemon zest. One of Zov's favorite kitchen items is her zester. She is showing the one she uses all the time in this photo.

Add some salt and pepper and stir until all the ingredients are combined.

Add one cup of panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) and mix well. Let stand for one minute and if the mixture is too wet, add more panko, 1 Tablespoon at a time.

Add about 1/4 cup of mixture for each pattie to the hot oil. Make sure you leave space between the fritters so they cook right. Cook until golden brown but be careful you don't burn them.

To serve them, place them on a plate and top with some salmon.

Then place a dollop of yogurt or sour cream and sprinkle with dill sprigs.

Serve warm. Enjoy!

Our next dish was soooo good! It was Barley Salad with Summer Vegetables and Fete Cheese.

This makes a great side dish when served with grilled chicken or steak or you can can serve this as a vegetarian main course.

Basically you just toss all the ingredients into a dish. Make sure you cut up all the items about the same size. You don't want one or two items to over power the other items.
After you mix all the items together you top it with the dressing. Zov doesn't even mix up the dressing in a different bowl. She just adds the ingredients all to the salad and mixes at once.

How easy is that? Plus, it's less dishes to wash up.

Top with cheese and walnuts and you get this great salad. I will for sure be making this dish several times this summer. I loved it.

Our last dish she cooked us was my favorite. It was Tortilla Soup.

Her hint here was to puree the onions with the tomatoes so it is nice and blended together. You don't want big bites of tomato in your soup.

Again, this is an easy recipe. You just cut up all the items ahead of time, then add them to either chicken broth or vegetable broth and simmer.

Stir and let the items cook well, until the tomatoes are tender.

I never knew that tortilla soup had actual tortillas in it. I thought it was just soup with crunchy tortillas garnishing the soup when it's served.

That is not true. This soup has actual corn tortillas broken up and put in the soup as it simmers. They break down and thicken up the soup.

You can add chicken to this soup about 10 mins before it is ready to serve. However, I like it how she serves it, no chicken in it.

She just garnished it with some diced avocados, cilantro, sour cream and fried tortilla strips.

This is such a great tasting soup and very healthy for you too.

I am so happy I decided to get up early this morning and go to this class. I learned some great new dishes and had a lot of fun.

If you ever get a chance to go to one of Zov's restaurants, I would highly recommend you go. If you are not close to one, then by all means, get her cook book. You will be happy you did!
By the way, Zov has her own blog that you must check out. You can find it by clicking here.



whitem90 said...

Chef Zov has the best restaurant in Tustin, Ca. The food looks so good in this blog. Thanks for sharing.

NeereAnDear said...

Hello... I visit your blog often ... and truly love your posts .... I think this is one of my favorites as I am always looking for healthy and exciting new recipes ....

These look amazing ... I sent you an email requesting the recipes ...

Thank you for sharing


Cathryn Hatfield said...

Many Thanks for this post on Zov's class at Rogers. I had meant to go, but the rain, the dog, the zzzzs....
Its a great post, and very timely since I have both zuchini and Salmon in the frig.
I will be keeping an eye on your blog, I'm happy to have found you!
Thanks again

Anonymous said...

I have been going to Zov's for 24 years!! One of my favorite places in the whole world!! Have the book too!! Thanks for sharing.

Kathy McClintock Diewald said...

I really like the type of cooking she is demonstrating. If you can send me the recipes, that would be so great! My email address is:

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I love quick and easy cooking like this --especially in summer! Your explanations are wonderful Joanne.

PS: If you really wish to read the saga behind the grey house in my blog click on the highlighted words "the whole sordid affair" in the first paragraph! :)

PSPS: The "secret" ingredient of sanguinaccio is pig's blood. I know ...ewwww!! It acts as the thickener, however, it doesn't taste like blood in any way.

Jane said...

I found your blog through Zov's facebook fan page. LUCKY ME! I moved from So. California 5 years ago, but attended many Rogers Garden's classes. Thank you for taking me back and sharing Zov's cooking class. Zov's restaurant also one of my favorite destinations in So. California. A new favorite - your blog! - I'll be back!

Kathleen said...

That looks like fun! I have never heard of her. I will check her out!