Posts

New Recipe: Apple Sharlotka cake

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This is my friend Marina's personal apple cake recipe and she will be making this dessert at as part of our upcoming "Dinner + A Movie: Ukraine" pop-up dinner experience. Marina is a Ukrainian native and this fund-raising event features a four-course traditional home-cooked Ukrainian dinner complete with wine pairings. Our original February 19 date sold out within 48 hours, so we scheduled another one for March 19, 2023 at 6pm. The cost for joining this event is $65 per person and all net profits will be donated to the Ukrainian war effort ( see details ). More recipes and information about my cooking classes can always be found on my website . For the latest news, feel free to subscribe to my monthly email newsletter. 

New Recipe: Ukrainian Borscht

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On Sunday, February 19, 2023, my friend Marina and I will be hosting a Ukrainian pop-up dinner at her house in Champaign. Marina is a Ukrainian native and she will be making her version of Ukrainian Borscht as part of our "Dinner + A Movie: Ukraine" dinner experience. This two-hour private pop-up event starts at 6pm and will include a four-course traditional home-cooked Ukrainian dinner complete with wine pairings featuring imported Georgian wines. The cost for joining this event is $65 per person and all net profits will be donated to the Ukrainian war effort ( see details ).  More recipes and information about my cooking classes can always be found on my website . For the latest news, feel free to subscribe to my monthly email newsletter. 

New: Ukrainian Dinner Pop-up Experience

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We're proud to partner with Eatwith.com  to present the first pop-up dinner experience in the Champaign-Urbana area on their platform. The theme is “Dinner + A Movie: Ukraine” and the event has been scheduled for Sunday, February 19, 2023. This two-hour private dinner experience starts at 6pm and will include a four-course traditional home-cooked Ukrainian dinner complete with wine pairings featuring imported Georgian wines. This premiere event will be hosted by Marina K and Paul Young and will take place at Marina’s home in Champaign. The cost for joining this event is $65 per person and all net profits will be donated to the Ukrainian war effort. More info: cooking-with-paul.com/popups-ukraine.html Recipes, events, and information about my cooking classes can always be found on my  website . For the latest news, feel free to  subscribe  to my monthly email newsletter. 

New Recipe: Gyoza

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Just about every culinary tradition in the world includes some kind of dumpling dish. This very popular Japanese version of "pot stickers" is called gyoza ( see recipe ), and it is another example of Japanese simplicity and elegance. We will be making this traditional appetizer dish from scratch at my upcoming  Japanese Noodle Cuisine  class on February 7, 2023 at Common Ground Food Co-op. This is a sold out class, but the March 7 Yakitori class still has a few seats open.  More recipes and information about my classes can always be found on my website . For the latest news, feel free to subscribe to my monthly email newsletter. 

New recipe: Zaru Soba

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Soba noodle making in Japan is an art. In high-end specialty soba restaurants, the noodles are made by hand in humidity-controlled rooms with 100% buckwheat flour. Typically served chilled in the summer with a simple dipping sauce, this homemade version can be assembled in about 15 minutes.  My simplified recipe tries to adhere to the Japanese aesthetic of striving for simplicity and balance. We'll be making this dish in my upcoming  Japanese Noodle Cuisine  class on February 7, 2023 at Common Ground Food Co-op. This is a sold out class, but the March 7 Yakitori class still has a few seats open.  More recipes and information about my classes can always be found on my website . For the latest news, feel free to subscribe to my monthly email newsletter. 

New Recipe: Seafood Udon Noodle Soup

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My first spring cooking class is coming up at the Common Ground Food Co-op. So it's recipe test time again! Udon noodle soup is a great winter treat and  this version  is seafood-based, but also chocked full of veggies. I think this subtle soup with delicate flavors and healthy ingredients is clean and soul-satisfying at the same time. It's now on the Japanese Noodle Cuisine class on February 7, 2023. This is a sold out class, but the March 7 Yakitori class still has a few seats open.  More recipes and information about my classes can always be found on my website . For the latest news, feel free to subscribe to my monthly email newsletter. 

Have you seen 'The Bear' on Hulu yet?

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I love movies almost as much as I love cooking. So what could be better than a movie about food and cooking? In the past, I've written about some of my favorite foodie movies like  The Scent of Green Papaya ,  Tampopo ,  Bagdad Cafe ,  Mr. Church , and  Always Be My Maybe . So starting this month, I'm going to recommend at least one food-related streaming gem that I've enjoyed. I love being inspired by new experiences and I have learned so much from all the movies I have seen. Sure, I've also picked up a few cooking tips here and there from these films, but what I've really learned from foodie movies is how inter-connected food is to culture, art, and joy -- the important things in life.  Over the holidays, I watched an eight-episode limited series on Hulu called  The Bear  ( watch the trailer  and  read this review ). It's one of those brilliant explosive uber-dramas, and I thoroughly enjoyed this whirlwind roller coaster ride. Many people have called thi

All spring classes are sold out (except for one)

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I was amazed that the spring Urbana Park District series sold out within 24 hours. Then I found out that two of the three Common Ground Japanese "deep dive" classes have also sold out. The only class that still has a few seats left is the March 7  Yakitori cooking class . If you're interested in learning how the Japanese make amazing barbecue skewers, do register soon. This one's for adventurous eaters! We now have all the details worked out for the next Ethnic Cooking series at Urbana Park District. You can look forward to tasting some great dishes from  Morocco, Hawaii, and Vietnam  this summer. I've also started experimenting with some retro tiki cocktail recipes for the Hawaiian cooking class on June 29, 2023. I know that's a long time away, but do mark your calendars because registration for summer classes starts on April 5, 2023. And they do sell out fast. Thanks for all your support as we embark on our second year of international culinary e

New year, new website, new recipes

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Over the holidays, I had some time on my hands, so I rebuilt  my website  from scratch. There are now more pages, more pictures, more recipes and coming soon -- pop-up events. Details coming soon! As you know, I love to cook, so I do a lot of cooking at home. Since starting my cooking classes, I'm now also doing a lot of experimentation and recipe tests. Some dishes turn out okay, others need more work, but a few turn out great. So starting this month, I will post at least one new recipe every month when the results were worth sharing. This month, I have a new  rack of lamb  recipe to share. This dish will also go great with this easy  broccoli and hollandaise sauce  side dish. These French-inspired dishes aren't on any menus for this spring's classes, but they might appear on a summer menu. If you decide to make any of these recipes at home, please let me know via email. I would love to hear how it turned out as well as your comments and suggestions. You'll f

Who is Ken Ishibashi and why is he still Champaign-Urbana's best kept secret?

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It's been a long time since I've had an omakase sushi experience and I have forgotten how special they are. Since I will be teaching a sushi making class this spring at the Common Ground Food Co-op, I thought it was high time to revisit this big-city experience. But this time, we didn't have to travel very far because Champaign-Urbana now has a sushi bar that specializes in offering a unique and informal prix fixe sushi feast that may be better than what you can get in a big cities like Chicago. The name of this unique local sushi joint is  ISHI  and it is run by Ken and Kaori Ishibashi, a husband-and-wife team of entrepreneurs who saw an opportunity and jumped right in. Japan is well known for small mom-and-pop restaurants who focus on only one thing and strive for perfection in their chosen craft. It is in this tradition that Ken and Kaori opened ISHI and Kaori's Oven about a year ago. While other restaurants offer daily specials, Japanese sushi chefs like to o

Register now for the Japanese Deep Dive series at Common Ground

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Starting February 7, 2023, Common Ground Food Co-op will host the first of three Japanese "deep dive" cooking classes scheduled for the spring season. The Japanese have elevated noodle cuisine to new heights with a wide range of broths and dipping sauces as well as an infinite variety of soup ingredients and toppings. In this first session, we'll examine three different approaches to eating noodles the Japanese way by cooking up some miso ramen, a seafood udon noodle soup, and a cold soba noodle appetizer dish. We'll also be making some gyoza (potstickers) from scratch. In this hands-on series, students will participate in the cooking of their own dinner under the guidance of the instructor. Later in the season, we'll be focusing on yakitori, kushiyaki, shioyaki, sushi, sashimi, and chirashi. We'll also be tasting a variety of Japanese sake and beers during each class. Detailed descriptions and menus are posted on  my website  and you can register now on

Registration opens on December 7 for Urbana Park District's spring classes 

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Technically, spring doesn't start until March, but we can't wait to get back into the kitchen. So we're going to start the 4th season of "Flavor Principles of Ethnic Cooking" series on February 16, 2023 with a classic French dinner party. On the menu is my easy streamlined coq au vin recipe served with ratatouille and potatoes au gratin. We'll start the evening with a bowl of French onion soup, a selection of imported cheeses, and a tasting of imported French wines. After dinner, we'll enjoy a few digestifs. This series sells out fast, so mark your calendars and  register here  as soon as the link becomes available on December 7 (or check  my website  for a direct registration link). Later this spring, we will also be eating our way through Thailand and Russia. Each session of this fun dinner-party-style demo series will include a two-course dinner complete with wine, beer, and/or special cocktails. All classes in this series will take place at Urban

Registration now open for the Japanese Deep Dive series at Common Ground

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In spring 2023, Common Ground Food Co-op will host my second "deep dive" series and we're going to Japan next. In this hands-on series, students will participate in the cooking of their own dinner under the guidance of the instructor. Each session in this three-class series will focus on a different Japanese specialty: noodles, soups, and sushi. By the end of the season, we will have covered ramen, udon, soba, gyoza, yakitori, kushiyaki, shioyaki, edamame, sushi, sashimi, chirashi, chawanmushi, and more. We'll also be tasting a variety of Japanese sake and beers during each class. Detailed descriptions and menus are posted on  my website  and you can register now on the  Common Ground website . 

Season wrap-up: all fall 2022 classes sold out

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  This fall, I taught a total of seven ethnic cooking classes around town (three at Urbana Park District and four at Common Ground Food Co-op). Every class was filled and we had some great dinner parties, ate a lot of good food and drank a lot of wine, beer, sake, soju, and even grappa. We traveled the world and tasted delightful treats from China, Greece, India, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam. We cooked up classic dishes like Sichuan-style Kung Pao Chicken, Korean bibimbap, Indian tandoori chicken as well as more challenging delights like Greek-style grilled octopus, pig ears in hot oil, and braised pork belly (see more pictures on  Instagram  or  Facebook ). But there's more to come: In the spring, we've planned six more classes with all new menu items. I've also committed to teaching 18 classes per year with six brand new classes planned for the summer and six more coming next fall. In each season, my "deep dive" series will continue at the Common Gr

Next spring, travel with Paul to France, Thailand, and Russia

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In spring 2023, my fourth season of "Flavor Principles of Ethnic Cooking" series will continue at Urbana Park District's Phillips Recreation Center. In the tradition of these dinner party "classes," guests will have the opportunity to watch demos and/or participate in the preparation of our feast. You'll learn the secrets of how to make anything taste French, Thai, or Russian by following simple streamlined recipes. By the end of the series you will be able to adjust flavor profiles and customize recipes like a pro. Each class will include a full two-course dinner complete with beer, wine and/or special cocktails.  Here's a preview of what we're planning . Registration for this series opens on December 7. Mark your calendar because these classes sell out fast!

Reminder: Greek cooking class is next Thursday at 6pm

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  On Thursday, September 22, the third season of my "Flavor Principles of Ethnic Cooking" series will premiere at Urbana Park District's Phillips Recreation Center. In our first session, we will travel to Greece and enjoy an authentic Greek dinner complete with Greek wines and grappa tastings. If you've already registered, you're all set: the menu and recipes are all linked from my  website . To save on paper, we will only print out recipes for you upon request (please send me an email at info@cooking-with-paul.com if you need paper copies). Otherwise, come hungry and thirsty. But to get the most out of this class, read  this article  first and watch the recommended movie for homework ;) (Sorry, the entire fall season of this series is sold out, but you can call 217-367-1544 to be added to the wait list).

Reminder: Cantonese cooking class is next Tuesday at 6pm

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  On Tuesday, September 20, Common Ground Food Co-op will host my first "Taste of China" cooking class. In this class, we will focus on Cantonese cuisine, also known as the most popular style of Chinese cooking outside of China. This is the first session of my "deep dive" series, where we will focus on a different region of China for each class. The Cantonese session is sold out, but there are still seats available for the upcoming Sichuan and Shanghai classes. We will also be tasting a selection of Southeast Asian beers during the entire series.  More info is available here .

New classes at Common Ground Food Co-op are filling fast

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  There is only one seat left for the August 3 session of "Taste of Asia," a unique class with no cooking, just assembly. This class will cover four summertime appetizers from China, Vietnam, Thailand, and Japan. Extensive sake and beer tasting is also included.  More info is available here . There are only 3 seats left for the Cantonese session of the "Taste of China" deep-dive series. In this hands-on series, we will learn how to break down the flavor principles of three different Chinese culinary traditions, deconstruct recipes and customize the recipes to your liking. The tuition also includes beer and wine tastings all evening long. The first class in the series starts on September 20 and registration is now open.  More info is available here . (Sorry, the entire fall season of the Urbana Park District "Flavor Principles of Ethnic Cooking" series is sold out).

Common Ground Food Co-op will be hosting my first "Deep Dive" cooking series

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  "A Taste of China" will survey the vast flavors of Cantonese, Sichuan, and Shanghai cuisines. In this hands-on series, we will learn how to break down the flavor principles of each culinary tradition, deconstruct recipes and customize the ingredients to your liking. Do come hungry and thirsty because we’ll be cooking and tasting at the same time. The tuition also includes beer and wine tastings all evening long. The first class in the series starts on September 20 and registration is now open.  More info is available here .

New class at Common Ground Food Co-op

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  On Tuesday, August 30, I will be teaching a new class at the Common Ground Food Co-op called "A Taste of Asia." This class will cover four summertime appetizers from China, Vietnam, Thailand, and Japan. What's unique about this class is that there will be no cooking, just assembly. Come hungry as we will have plenty of tasty treats as well as beer and sake tastings all evening long.  More info is available here .  

Urbana Park District's fall classes are now open for registration

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  Season 3 of the "Flavor Principles of Ethnic Cooking" series will start on September 22, but seats are selling fast. Register now to claim your space as we continue our exploration of great eats from around the world. This fall, we will be making stops in Greece, India, and Korea. This fun dinner-party-style demo class includes a two-curse dinner complete with wine and beer tastings.  More info is available here .

Welcome to A Taste of Japan!

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  Reminder:  Registration for Urbana Park District's fall classes start on on August 3. For the fall, I'm planning classes featuring Greek classics, Indian delights, and a taste of Korea. Draft menu outlines can be viewed  here . This week's ethnic cooking class is scheduled for Thursday, July 21 at 6:30pm. If you booked a seat, you're all set (sorry, this session is currently sold out). Handouts will be provided as usual, but you may preview the menu and recipes  here . Come hungry as we will have plenty of good eats as well as some Japanese beer and sake to taste.

Welcome to Cooking with Paul Young

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  I love to cook, but I love to eat more. And what I love to eat most are tasty ethnic dishes with interesting ingredients and potent flavors. My favorite pastime is trying new dishes in restaurants and then attempting to recreate them at home. I'm a curious foodie and an adventurous international culinary explorer who has traveled to 25 different countries (so far). There's no dish that I won't try at least once. You can read more about me here .  Stay tuned for news about upcoming classes and events around Champaign-Urbana!