Sautéed Zucchini and Yellow Squash in a Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce

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2 zucchini
2 yellow squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ onion, thinly sliced
½ cup basil pesto (see below for basil pesto ingredients)
Salt and pepper to taste

Basil Pesto: Yield 4 cups
½ cup pine nuts
2 large bunches fresh basil leaves, washed and stemmed
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 cups olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper
½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese


Preheat the oven for 400 degrees. Roast the pine nuts on a baking sheet in the oven until golden, about 5 minutes. Place the basil in the work bowl of a food processor and begin processing. Add the garlic, then pine nuts, and continue processing. When the mixture has a grainy, paste like consistency, begin adding the oil a little at a time, continuing to process. Wait until the oil is absorbed before adding the next small amount. Add salt and pepper. When the oil is added and absorbed, add the cheese. As soon as the cheese is mixed in, stop processing; if you over process, the cheese will melt.

Wipe zucchini and squash with a damp towel. Cut the zucchini and yellow squash in half lengthwise, then cut them into 1/4″ thick slices. Heat the olive oil in the saucepan and saute the onions over medium heat until translucent. Add the sliced zucchini and squash and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the pesto and salt and pepper to taste, toss, and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool, and enjoy this wonderful vegetarian dish!

Tips: Place pesto in containers, seal, and label. You can use your pesto immediately after making it or store it up to 6 months in the freezer. Pesto stored in the refrigerator will last up to 1 month.

Spring Fruit Salad in a Sweet & Spicy Yogurt Sauce

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(4 servings)

1 orange, peeled
1 pint strawberries
½ cup dark raisins
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 apple, washed, peeled, cored, and diced
1 tablespoon honey
Juice of ½ lemon
1 teaspoon hot sauce
½ cup pineapple juice
1 cup plain yogurt
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon white pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

With a paring knife, remove the white skin from the peeled orange and remove sections of orange from the surrounding membrane, making perfect bright-orange wedges.

Rinse the strawberries by dipping them in cold water. Remove the stems and cut berries in half.

Rehydrate the raisins by placing them in just enough hot water to cover, for 5 minutes. Then squeeze the rehydrated raisins to remove any excess water.

Place the walnuts on a sheet pan and roast in the oven until fragrant, about 5 minutes, .

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the fruit and nuts. In a large mixing bowl, combine the honey, lemon juice, hot sauce, pineapple juice, and yogurt. Whisk until well blended. Add the fruit/nut mixture, salt, and pepper, and gently mix. Place in a decorative or glass bowl and serve cold.


Angel’s Red Velvet Cupcakes

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Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes

2 ½ cups flour
1 ½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 ½ cup oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pound cream cheese
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or use baking cups to line two 12-cup muffin pans.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, food coloring and 1 tsp. vanilla. Stir in the baking soda and vinegar. Combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt; stir into the batter just until blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly. Bake for 20 minutes. In another large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and 1 tsp. vanilla together until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy. Once cupcakes are completely cool, top with cream cheese frosting. Enjoy!

Happy Retirement, James!

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Fifteen years ago, James was in a dark place. He had lost everything because of drugs and alcohol: his family, his home, and his job. The path before him was unclear–all he knew was the he couldn’t live like this anymore.

Then, James walked through The Doe Fund’s doors and his future started to take shape. “Everything changed for me. I was able to regain the self-respect that I had lost and learned new skills I never knew I had in me.”

The biggest skill he uncovered? Cooking. After completing The Doe Fund’s Culinary Arts training, he was hired to teach other men in the program, himself.

Since then, James has taught more than 1,000 Culinary Arts trainees. But he’s done much more than that. “Many guys come to me, not sure of themselves or what they want to do. Some are on the verge of giving up. I talk to them like a father or a big brother and even pray for them. Then they train and go out and get hired by major companies. It not only helps them…it helps me be a better person.”

Now James is busy cooking up something different: plans for his retirement. “I’ll be focusing more on my health, working more as a deacon in my church, and spending more time with my family–especially the grandchildren.”

James knows his life would have been very different if he hadn’t found The Doe Fund all those years ago.

“The Doe Fund changed my life and helped to make me a better person.” And The Doe Fund is a better place because of him.

Thank you and good luck, James!

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Food For Thought Friday- The Art of Pastry


The art of pastry is an intricate balance of science and culinary methodology, requiring strong attention to detail to perfect. While baking pastries may seem like a daunting task to the novice chef, this week’s Food For Thought Friday offers a foundation from which to begin. The terms below inform the work of The Doe Fund’s own pastry connoisseur, the one and only Chef Pete. He is a living testament to the mastery that is possible through focus, practice, and dedication.


Fondant Icing– Often referred to simply as fondant, it is an edible icing used to decorate or sculpt cakes and pastries. (See photo above)


Marzipan– A sweet confection primarily made up of sugar or honey and almond meal. It is sometimes augmented with almond oil or extract. It is often colored and used to make candies or as an icing or decoration for cakes.  (See photo above)


Ganache- A glaze, icing, sauce or filling for pastries made with chocolate and cream. It is normally made by heating cream, than pouring it over chopped chocolate or any kind. The mixture is stirred or blended until smooth with liqueurs or extracts if desired. Butter is traditionally added to give the ganache a shiny appearance and smooth texture. (See photo above)



 Coulis– A form of a thick sauce made from pureed and strained vegetables or fruits. A vegetable coulis is commonly used on meat and vegetable dishes and it can also be used as a base for soups or other sauces. Fruit coulis are most often used on desserts. (See photo above)



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Food for Thought Friday- Baking Methods

This week’s edition of Food for Thought Friday explores a few essential elements of the science of baking.

Creaming – A mixing method used to blend ingredients together. This technique is often used when making buttercream, cake batter, and cookie dough.bread1

Proofing– The final rising of shaped dough prior to its being baked


Beating – The process of rigorously mixing ingredients to thoroughly combine them and aerate the mixture.


Curdling – The process of separating a food mixture into its component parts.

Curdled mixture with eggs

Food for Thought Friday- Sauces



Mastering the art of cooking is a journey that transcends simply reading recipe books or learning basic culinary techniques. Our culinary arts apprentices understand the tireless effort necessary to meet this challenge. Their focus and dedication in the kitchen, the classroom, and at our many catering events enables their evolution from trainees to food service professionals.

This week’s Food for Thought Friday further explores one key component of this learning curve; the art of making sauces. For anyone looking to take their gastronomic training to the next level, the saucier techniques described below should prove invaluable.

Reduction – The process of simmering a sauce to evaporate water and increase viscosity.

Béchamel – A sauce base containing butter, flour, and milk.

Velouté – A sauce containing a base of bone or vegetable stock thickened with butter and flour.

Allemande – A veal velouté sauce thickened with egg yolks and heavy cream, and seasoned with lemon juice.

Emulsification – The temporary or permanent combining of two liquids typically unable to be mixed.

Coulis – A viscous sauce composed of puréed and stained fruits or vegetables