Here are the recipes for all of the fabulous food from my class with Chef Carla Hall.

Goat Cheese and Leek Tart by Carla Hall


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 sprigs thyme (She always uses fresh herbs. She said that you should take your dried herbs, crush between two fingers and see what sort of fragrance comes out. If it’s nothing, pitch it – it’s old and needs to be thrown out.)
  • 2 cloves smashed garlic
  • 1 cup leeks, cut into half moons (So the deal here is that leeks carry a lot of sand. Instead of washing and then cutting, cut and  put in a bowl of water, and the sand will fall to the bottom. Use only the white part of the leeks. )
  • Salt, to taste
  • 6 ounces of goat cheese
  • 2 ounces of parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche (You can use sour cream if you have to.)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon chives
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (She loves citrus, so you’ll see it in a lot of her dishes.)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • freshly ground white pepper

Pink Peppercorn Crust:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon pink peppercorns, crushed
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces of cold butter, cut into `1/2 ” pieces

1. Prepare crust: Dissolve salt in water. Chill. In a standing mixer “cut” butter into flour, cheese and peppercorns with cold paddle, about 45 seconds. Add water all at once and run mixer at medium speed until dough comes together. Form dough into two discs. Chill. Remove dough from fridge and roll out 1/8 inch thick and cut 4 inch circles or desired shape. Press dough into tart pan, then place parchment paper on top with pie weights or dried beans. Blind bake (Bake with nothing inside it.) crust at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until the crust starts to brown slightly. Remove parchment paper and beans. Allow to cool.

2. Prepare leeks: In a medium sized skillet on medium heat, melt butter with thyme and garlic. Add leeks and season with salt. Cook leeks for 7-10 minutes or until translucent and tender. Remove thyme sprigs, then remove from heat. Set aside to cool.

3. Prepare filling: In a medium bowl, whisk egg, then gradually add goat cheese and parmesan cheese. Whisk in creme fraiche and whole milk until smooth. Stir in chives, parsley, lemon zest and salt and pepper. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

4. Putting it all together: Scatter cooked leeks in bottom of pre-baked tart shells. Carefully pour custard on top.

5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until custard has set, about 20 minutes for a 9″ tart and less time for smaller tarts. (One thing she said about the pastry is that if it looks done in the oven, by the time you take it out, it will be overcooked, as it continues to cook as it cools.)

Wine Pairing: Koonowla Riesling 2008. This was super interesting. The wine was not sweet at all. It was actually pretty acidic, which is exactly what you’d drink with a goat cheese. The wine paired perfectly.

Persian Turkey Sliders on Za’tar Pita with Cumin Aioli by Carla Hall


  • 1 1/4 pounds of ground turkey breasts or thighs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon fresh mint chopped, or 1/2 tsp dried
  • 2 teaspoon fresh cliantro or 1/2 tsp dried
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  1. Combine all the spices and set aside.
  2. Combine the turkey and oil. mix well. Add in spice mix and thoroughly combine.
  3. Shape into 2 inch rounds.
  4. Spray nonstick skillet with cooking spray and sautee until browned on both sides and cooked through.

Cucumber Yogurt Sauce:

  • 1/2 European cucumber, finely diced (not peeled, and with no seeds)
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (i added like 3)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (The best way to do this is to toast the whole spices on the stovetop and then grind in a spice mill.)
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Set aside 1/4 cup of the cucumber for garnish, but combine other ingredients, mixing well.
  2. Combine all ingredients at least an hour before serving

Wine Pairing: Dry Creek Heritage Zinfandel 2007. This wine was really light and great for the turkey. The guy from Schneider’s said that spicier wines work for spiced meats with more complex flavors. As I mentioned in this posting, lighter red wines work great in places where you’d substitute turkey for beef, where you kind of need a heavier sauce or stew. Same is true of spiced meats.

Roasted Lemon Thyme Chicken with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes by Carla Hall

For brine:

  • 1/2 gallon cold water
  • 1/3 cup salt
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 pounds chicken

For Seasoning:

  • 3 ounces butter, softened
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and grated on the microplane
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 lemon, sliced into rounds
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh thyme sprigs and lemon slices, for garnish
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tbsp butter, cold
  1. To brine the chicken, combine the kosher salt and sugar with half gallon of cold water. Place the roasting chicken in a bowl large enough to hold it, and the half-gallon of water. (If the chicken came in a cryovac package, rinse it first and then put in bowl.) and cover it with the brine. Place the submerged chicken in the refrigerator at least three hours and up to nine hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  3. Remove the chicken from the brine and rinse it well, inside and out. (when you think you are done, do it one last time!) and then pat it dry — be thorough in the drying process.
  4. Finely chop the thyme, lemon zest and garlic and mix them into the softented butter.
  5. Gently loosen the skin covering the breast. work the seasoned butter under the skin so that the mixture covers the breast meat. Squeeze half the lemon over the chicken and squeeze the other half inside the cavity.
  6. Place in roasting pan on a rack. Put pan into the oven and roast until the juice runs clear when the skin is pierced with a knife, about 40 minutes.
  7. Remove the chicken from the rack and from the roasting pan. Degrease and deglae the pan with white wine. Swirl in two pats of butter. Season and pour the sauce over the chicken.

Roasted Fingerlings:

  • 1 pound fingerling potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss potatoes in olive oil and place on sheet pan.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes or until softened.
  4. Mix salt with fresh thyme.
  5. Toss potatoes with salt, pepper and thyme.
  6. Return to oven for 5 minutes

Wine Pairing: Cabirau Serge and Tony Grenache 2007. Okay this one I thought was a miss. I thought the lemony chicken was a perfect candidate for pairing with a light, citrusy white wine. And the Grenache was a little weird for me. It was slightly sweet as well, so it threw off my palette. I just thought it was wrong.

Chocolate Mousse Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream and Salted Caramel Sauce

For cake:

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra large eggs, at room temp
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray half sheet pan with nonstick spray. Line with parchment paper and then spray again.
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.
  3. In another bowl combine the buttermilk, eggs, oil and vanilla. With the mixer on low, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.
  4. With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir to just combine. Scrape the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, until tester comes out clean.
  6. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Then turn on cooling rack and cool.
  7. Punch out cake with desired cake mold. Place a layer of cake on bottom of mold, pour half of mousse, top with cake layer. Pour other half of mousse, then top with third cake layer. Freeze or chill in fridge.
  8. Pour ganache over cake. Chill for at least 2 hours. Enjoy with salted caramel and vanilla ice cream.
For the mousse:
  • 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 7 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 7 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  1. Place chocolate in metal bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until mostly melted. Then remove from heat and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. In a second bowl, whip heavy cream to medium stiff peaks, but not over-whipped. Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whip egg whites with salt until stiff peaks form. Sprinkle in sugar, and continue whipping until medium stiff peaks form. Fold in egg yolks.
  4. Fold the melted chocolate into the egg yolk mixture until completely incorporated, then fold in the whipped cream until evenly blended.
  5. Layer chocolate mousse between layers of chocolate cake. Cover with chocolate ganache. Allow cake to set in fridge.
For the Chocolate Ganache Glaze:
  • 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
  • 12 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  1. Bring cream to a boil in small saucepan.
  2. Remove from heat and add chocolate and corn syrup.
  3. Let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and let cool, stirring often. Use immediately.

For the Salted Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Stir sugar and 1 tablespoon water together in a small saucepan.
  2. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
  3. Let boil until amber in color, about 3 minutes.
  4. Immediately add butter to stop the caramel from cooking, and stir to incorporate.
  5. Remove from heat, add cream and salt.
  6. Serve immediately or let cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate.

Wine Pairing: Icardi Brachetto 2009 (see my take on it here.) It was great. Fruity and sparkling, but not too sweet, like a lot of dessert wines. The bubbles cut the richness in the cake. Amazing.

~ Dana