February 16, 2011
I’m not sure where I find so many talented, passionate chefs, cooks, writers, cocktail whisperers and photographers… But they certainly find me. One of these enthusiastic people who makes me smile is June Jacobs. She is a talented and educated chef who always has a kind word.
June agreed to submit some of her brilliant food journalism to Wild Table. It’s an honor to publish her passion.
Thank you June, I appreciate your energy and verve, you’re perfect for the pages of Wild River Review/Wild Table.
We Don’t Like Coconut
One recent Sunday afternoon, I was enjoying a dim sum brunch with friends. We chose a dessert to share called “Young Coconut.” It was simply a peeled young coconut with a core hollowed out in the center, and a pointed lid atop, its shape reminiscent of a dreidel. It’s eaten by scraping one’s spoon around the sides of this core-cavity. What came up in the spoon was soft, white and sweet, of a texture that resembled the rennet custard I’d loved as a child. As the first voluptuous bite hit my tongue, I could hear my mother’s voice in my ear saying, “We don’t like coconut.”
I have always liked coconut.
Throughout my childhood, and even beyond, she repeated this remark each time I suggested she prepare a dish featuring the tropical fruit. She’d even make the remark if I chose a coconut-centered candy, or mentioned eating a dish that contained coconut.
I understood that Daddy didn’t like coconut because it got underneath his dentures and irritated his mouth. Mom never gave me a reason for her dislike. Perhaps it was a texture thing. Perhaps it was simply growing up in Central Illinois in the early years of the 20th century, as I’m sure my mom had no opportunity to experience fresh coconut in any way other than books like “Robinson Crusoe.”
Dad was raised in Chicago during the same time frame. Although surely more exotic foods were available in the “Big City”, it’s unclear how many fresh coconuts got that far inland before WWII, and even then, how fresh was “fresh?” (What is sure is that my Grandma Jacobs would not have purchased one, in any case. She was a big fan of canned vegetables, and cooked them until they were brown mush.)
I’ll admit that growing up in post-WWII Chicago, there wasn’t much opportunity for me to get fresh coconut either, and the bagged, sweetened stuff still leaves something to be desired. Yet I always looked forward to church suppers in the country near my relatives’ farms, where a bowl of Ambrosia was almost always on the dessert table.
Mom’s remarks echo the typical American experience: coconut seems to be something folks either love or hate. Since I’ve always liked it, I have a hard time understanding the intense dislike I’ve seen displayed. Dislike of many foods is often related to texture even more than flavor. Coconut becomes very dry if not fresh or stored properly and when it’s been processed with sugars and anti-caking agents, it can be sickeningly sweet. With these polar opposites being the average American experience of coconut, its no wonder this nut elicits such strong feelings. Maybe a taste of the young, creamy coconut is in order.
Copyright: 2011 Feastivals
Lemon Coconut Squares
My friend Phyllis Hunt Wayco has shared many yummy dessert recipes with me over the years, but this one absolutely takes the cake! One special friend used to actually lick his fingers after he’d finished eating as many of these as he dared, saying he didn’t want to “miss anything!”
Makes about 36 bars
2 cups organic unbleached flour
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
4 large eggs
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 3 large lemons)
grated zest of 2 lemons
5 tablespoons organic unbleached flour
1 teaspoon Rumfords baking powder
1 cup warmed honey
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup warmed honey
4 tablespoons ice cold water
4 tablespoons hot water
1 teaspoon pure Vanilla extract (I use Nielsen-Massey)
pinch of fine sea salt
shredded unsweetened coconut for topping
For the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix , sugar and butter together as for pie crust. Pat into a greased jelly roll pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
For the filling: Beat the eggs until very frothy. Add all the remaining filling ingredients and blend well. Pour over the baked crust. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool and frost.
For the frosting:
1. Beat the butter and honey together with an electric mixer for 8 minutes. Add the ice cold water and then add the hot water, beating well after each is added. Add the vanilla and salt and continue beating until blended.
2. Frost the cooled bars and sprinkle with more shredded coconut. You can cut them is small squares and serve them as cookies, or in larger squares and serve them as a dessert. Either way, they definitely promote finger licking.
Copyright: 2011 Feastivals
Coconut Pound Cake
Makes 1 10-inch tube (or bundt) cake or 2 9×5-inch loaf cakes
1 pound unsalted butter
2 cups pure cane sugar
2 cups flour (divided in half)
6 extra large eggs
7 ounces shredded, unsweetened coconut (get it at the health-food store)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Make sure the rack is in the center of the oven. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan. (I use a bundt pan.)
2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (Carmen says “as a shampooed cat”).
3. Add one cup flour and beat some more.
4. Meanwhile, add the vanilla to the eggs (in a separate bowl). Then add eggs one at a time to batter, beating well after each addition.
5. Now mix coconut with the remaining one cup flour and add to batter, using a wooden spoon to incorporate. Pour into desired pan(s).
6. Bake about 45 minutes to one hour. Be sure to test with a cake tester or long toothpick to be sure it comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cake. [If it doesn’t come out clean, leave it in a few minutes longer!]
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon pure extract (almond or vanilla–be inspired)
1. Combine sugar and water and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add extract. Glaze is now ready.
2. When cake comes out of the oven, poke holes through cake with skewers and pour on glaze while cake is warm – while the cake is still in the pan. Don’t remove the cake from the pan until it is completely cool
Teacher’s Tip: This cake is best 24 hours after baking. But it generally can’t make it until then, so bake two and eat one warm and hold the other until the magic 24 hours are up! (quote from Carmen Cook)
Copyright: 2001 Feastivals
Chef June Jacobs, CCP (Certified Culinary Professional) embarked on her culinary career in Chicago, Illinois, where as Sous Chef of The Chicago Caterers she began an apprenticeship with Chef Judith Dunbar Hines (then the Executive Chef) that spanned 2-1/2 years, and established Chef June as both a caterer and a culinary educator of note.
Chef June took her knives and stockpots to the East Coast where Feastivals became a well-known byword for the best in sophisticated entertainment in both Boston and New York. Soon a fixture on the faculty at the Boston Center for Adult Education she taught myriad courses, from Provençal cooking and Jewish Holiday fare to Pizza, Chocolate, Chicken, Creole cuisine and Fondue from 1985 – 95.
Now a familiar face in the New York culinary community, Chef June is a member of the AIWF, New York chapter, and of the Steering Committee of Slow Food, Northern New Jersey. These days the chef concentrates on consulting for food and wine related products and restaurants, teaching custom cooking classes, and leading food-and-wine focused tours to France and the world. Her cookbook, Feastivals Cooks at Home, is available on this site. On October 24, 2008, Chef June received the Diplôme d’Université from the Université de Reims, Champagne-Ardennes — with Special Mention — in “Taste, Gastronomy and the Arts of the Table.” The subject of her thesis was “Les Rouges et des Viandes: A Comparative Study of Three Great French Red Wines and How They Complement Three Classic Dishes.”
JUNE C. JACOBS, CCP
PROFESSIONAL CULINARY EXPERIENCE
1982 – Present
TEACHING: Owner, Chef and Teacher at FEASTIVALS Cooking School, New York, Boston, San Diego & Chicago. Has also taught at: World Kitchen at Gallery 37, Chicago, IL; Sur La Table, Manhasset, NY; Williams/Sonoma, New York & Boston; Princeton Cooking School, Princeton, NJ; Les Gourmettes, Phoenix, AZ; Ovens of Evanston, IL; Cucina D’Ana, Brielle, NJ; Cook & Tell, Colt’s Neck, NJ, King’s CooKingStudio, New Jersey locations; Cooktique, Tenafly, NJ; Boston MA Center for Adult Education; The French Library, and Cuisinarts; Concord MA Adult Education Center. Specialties: French – Provençal, Classic, Regional; Chocolate; Pastry; Desserts; Fish & Seafood; Jewish Holiday; Professional Techniques; Food Processor Techniques, Enjoyment of Wine. Conduct ‘Cooking Class Parties’ and custom cooking classes in clients’ homes. Additional Curriculae: Cajun/Creole; Chicken; Lamb; Beef & Veal; Pork; Breads; Italian; Greek; Hors d’Oeuvre; Party; Christmas; Grilling; Breakfast; Vegetarian; Spa Cuisine; Soups; etc.
TOURING: FEASTIVALS, Fun, Food and Wine Adventures.Leads groups of culinary professionals nd enthusiasts on tours both domestic & foreign. Upcoming tours for 2006 and 2007 include Burgundy, Alsace & Champagne, France, and Sonoma/Napa, California.
CONSULTING: FEASTIVALS, Consultants. Provides culinary and restaurant consulting and recipe development for a variety of manufacturers and restaurants. Presents demonstrations and culinary tours for local stores and television stations.
WRITING: Feastivals Cooks at Home, published by Feastivals, April 2001; FEASTIVALS web site; freelance assignments.
STYLING & PHOTOGRAPHY: Provides food styling and photography on a free-lance basis.
CATERING/CHEF (1982-’92): FEASTIVALS, Caterers. New York (formerly Boston, San Diego, and Chicago). President and Executive Chef. Created memorable dishes, menus, parties for a variety of private, celebrity and corporate clients; implemented all facets of the above – ordered, shopped, consulted with clients, wrote contracts, hired and supervised employees, delivered and served parties. Sold wholesale baked goods to a variety of clients in Boston. Sold desserts and breads to a variety of Chicago caterers. (partial client list at end)
THE GREENERY, Brighton, MA Served as chef for moderate sized rehabilitation facility during the vacation period.
THE CHICAGO CATERERS, Chicago, IL. Sous Chef. Prepared a variety of dishes under supervision of Executive Chef, supervised kitchens on site at parties.
Apprenticed with:Judith Dunbar Hines, Chicago, IL
Studied at/with:Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago; Ritz-Escoffier École de Gastronomie Française, Paris; Le Cordon Bleu, Paris; Marsha Nelson, Bridget Gallery, Anna Teresa Callen; Nick Malgieri, Odette Bery, Marc Thivet.
Master Classes with: Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, Pierre Franey, Lydia Shire, Giuliano Bugialli, Wayne Nish, David Ruggerio, Charlie Palmer, Delphin Gomes, Anne Rosenzweig, Jean-Louis Gerin, Rick Bayless, Shirley Corriher, Albert Kumin, David Walzog, André Soltner, Rick Moonen, Julie Sahni, Craig Shelton, Joyce Goldstein, Todd English, Ariane Daguin, Waldy Malouf, Walter Leffler, Jacques Torres, Lidia Bastianich, Jean-Michel Lorain, Marcus Samuelsson, Michael Lomonico, Susan Feniger & Mary Sue Milliken, George Germon, Neath Pal, Cesare Casella, Patricia Quintana, Marc Thivet, Charlie Trotter.
Awards and affiliations
Certified Culinary Professional designation (CCP) attained, 1996; IACP Foundation Scholarship: New England Fisheries ‘Fish School,’ 1993; Martini & Rossi State of Dessert, 1993– Massachusetts Regional Winner; Boston Center for Adult Education ‘Teacher of the Term,’ 1993
Chef2chef.net: Culinary Ambassador, 2004 – present; Forum Chef of the Month, July, 2005
Alpha Xi Delta Fraternity, Woman of Distinction, 2005.
Member: International Association of Culinary Professionals: Certified Culinary Professional, Membership and Benefits Chair, 1998-2000, Adviser to Regional Meetings Task Force, 2000-2001.
Slow Food Northern New Jersey Convivium, Steering Committee, 2004 – Present; Co-Leader, 2004-05.
New York Association of Culinary Professionals, Board of Directors, 2000 – 2006.
American Institute of Wine and Food, New York chapter, 2002 – present
Share Our Strength (S.O.S.) Steering Committee: Boston (1989-91) and New York (1996-99)
Fabulous Food from Female Chefs, Participant and Featured Demonstrator, 1990 – 1993, Boston MA.
Partial List of Former Catering Clients: NEW YORK: Crowd Pleasers, Purveyors of the Special Event; The Cosby Show; Orlane, Inc.; Phelps-Stokes Foundation; Perry Ellis; BOSTON: Fashion Editor and Managing Editor of the Boston Globe; Victorian Boston Properties; South End News; Marketing VP, Digital Corporation; Cambridge NeuroScience.
Haut Études du Gout, Le Cordon Bleu, Paris/ Université de Reims, Champagne-Ardenne
Université Diplome in Gastronomy, Taste and the Arts of the Table
Governors State University, University Park, IL.
Master of Arts in Socio-Cultural Processes/Psychology
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.
Bachelor of Music Education
Warren Bobrow is a mixologist, chef, and writer known as the Cocktail Whisperer. In 2010, Bobrow founded “Wild Table” for Wild River Review and serves as the master mixologist for several brands of liquor, including the Busted Barrel rum produced by New Jersey’s first licensed distillery since Prohibition.
Bobrow has published three books on mixology and written articles for Saveur magazine, Voda magazine, Whole Foods-Dark Rye, Distiller, Beverage Media, DrinkupNY and other periodicals. He writes the “On Whiskey” column for Okra Magazine at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum and has written restaurant reviews for New Jersey Monthly.
His first book Apothecary Cocktails, was published in September 2013; and immediately went into a second printing. In 2014, he published Whiskey Cocktails. He was born and raised in Morristown, NJ, on a Biodynamic farm.
Warren Bobrow in this Edition
COCKTAIL WHISPERER, Editor
Apothecary Cocktails: Mexican Sleep Cure
Billy Reid: Bourbon, Branch and a Splash of Southern Lore
Blue Hill/Stone Barns: Time Exists in Harmony with Nature
The Cocktail Whisperer asks Anthony Bourdain Four Questions about Scotch
The Five Questions: Andrew Bell, American Sommelier
The Five Questions Catherine Reynolds
The Five Questions: Lincoln Henderson (Master Distiller)
The Five Questions: Natalie West (Foppiano Wines)
The Five Questions: Randall Grahm
The Five Questions: Sustainable Sushi
A Glass of Bourbon, Branch, and History
Midnight in the Bronx: Visit to Hunt’s Point Wholesale Fish Exchange
A Modern Day Absinthe Alchemist
A Summer Cocktail Party for Artie Shaw
Tales of the Cocktail: New Orleans, Louisiana