"Around the World with La Diva Cucina" Cooking Series a Success!

Darlings!  For the month of June, La Diva was honored to work with Epicure Gourmet Market doing a series of cooking classes to highlight the store, its services, products and catering department but also to promote La Diva Cucina's culinary entertainment services for Epicure's catering clientele.

Epicure Gourmet Market is a Miami institution that carries a wide range of hard-to-find and upscale gourmet products, produce, meats, cheeses, wines and prepared food that any gourmand would relish (or anyone that loves good food, as proven by their loyal following.)  As I strolled around their new Sunny Isles store,  I was inspired by the variety of ethnic products on the shelves and decided a trip around the world with La Diva was in order. 

The first class was the Mediterranean Mezze Party with a focus on small plates including my very-more-ish-perfect-for-pre-dinner-with-a-sassy-little-drinky-poo fried and feta-stuffed olives, white bean puree and tomato crostini both paired with a tart and tangy pomegranate mint martini.  I've been told my pomegranate martinis are deadly...they go down easily but come with a kick!  POW!

For the second class, we took a trip to an Asian noodle market and La Diva enjoyed showing the class a different way to serve Asian noodles:  fried in a cake!  I served stir-fried chicken and Asian veggies in a peanut sauce over the crunchy cake and it was divinely different.  Also demonstrated was the classic Chinese dish sang choi bao or ground pork and veggies in refreshing iceberg lettuce cups.   La Diva showed the class how fresh and spicy Asian flavors can easily be replicated by the home cook and made with a lot less salt than the corner take-away!   The class ended with attendees enjoying an icy and refreshing lychee vanilla vodka slushie!  (posted last summer HERE.)

The Epicure's cafe in South Beach provided the venue for the Buonasera Supper and Summer in Morocco classes.

June 17th took us on a trip to Italy for an elegant but easy dinner starting with polenta cakes infused with white truffle cream, pan-fried and then served with gourmet mushrooms smothered in a light cream sauce.  (check back on Meatless Monday for the recipe!)   The main course was a unique and satisfying dish of sauteed potato gnocchi dumplings paired with fresh spring peas, zucchini and crispy diced pancetta all melded together with a delicate and mild ricotta cheese.   What?  You never thought about sauteing your gnocchi?  Well, why not?  Other dumplings are fried, sauteed and steamed, so La Diva thought I'd give the gnocchi a shot too.  Decadent and delightful, the sauteed gnocchi was transported from its usual soft texture to something you could bite into with a slight crunch, the crisped pancetta adding yet another textural element to the dish.

Finally, my "Summer in Morocco" class took on a tasty twist by using North African flavorings for a summer barbecue!   And for this class, the foodie community's curiosity was piqued with an attendance of 48 people!   La Diva started off the class demonstrating  how to make a spicy harissa-rubbed chicken breast grilled and then served over a fresh salad of greens, tomatoes, cucumbers and cousscous with a cooling lemon tahini yogurt dressing!  The main course was a succulent grilled lamb skewer that had been marinated in preserved lemons and garlic and slathered with a luscious pistachio mint pesto!  On the side was a savory butternut squash salad of pearl couscous, golden raisins, preserved lemon, toasted pine nuts and bright Italian parsley, perfect picnic fare.  Light, spicy,  and cool, my recipes provided a unique diversion from the usual barbecue food and heavy African stews and tajines.

All in all, the classes were a success and La Diva is thrilled to partner with the esteemed Epicure Market.  The market has been serving the Miami community for 67 years in South Beach and then opened up their fabulous new store in Sunny Isles Beach two years ago.  The store was refurbished from the old Wolfie Cohen's Rascal House Restaurant and still boasts a cafe AND has kept the liquor license and bar!  Where else can you shop, have a nosh and drink a civilized glass of wine?  Epicure also does their monthly Doggy Brunch where you bring your pooch to eat for free and YOU can eat for half price!  Click HERE for more Epicure info.

Finally, La Diva's "Summer in Morocco" class was filmed by Julie Rosa of PBS's Southern Florida station WPBT2!  Julie and her brother, the cameraman, did a fine job of filming and editing the clip, click on the link below to check it out!  Muchas gracias, Julia and Channel 2!

For more class photos, recipes and information on La Diva Cucina services, click HERE.
cooking class, cocktails, parties, cocktail party, Miami, coral gables, events, bartending class, cocktail class, Laura Lafata, Miami Beach, miami cooking classes, bachelorette parties, bachelorette party, personal chef, corporate events, catering, personal chef, party entertainment, www.ladivacucina.com, top chef, next food network star


Melissa said...

Yay! How fun! So jealous of all the folks that got to be THERE! Thanks for the summary and the recipes!

intuitive eggplant said...

As you know, I’ve been following tidbits and recipes of these intriguing classes of yours, although, alas, I couldn’t make it to Miami (sniff). Thanks for pulling together this great wrap-up – plus video link! La Diva speaks! And with a north Midwestern accent :) Have a great trip to the Motor City. Can’t wait to hear about what you ate there!

Thombeau said...

You are looking FABULOUS and I'm so glad everything went well!

pomegranate martini said...

That looks like really fun. I wish we have something like this, too, in our area. :(
I really love cooking, and pairing it with wine! But of course my favorite drink will always be pomegranate martini. I really love mixing my own using fresh pomegranate. Although I also have one of those concentrated extracts in case of emergencies, lo!

MJ said...

Vodka slushies?

I'm in!

Boxer said...

**shoves MJ over**

You can save the slushie part and just hand me the vodka.

I LOVE seeing you in your classes. You need to take your show on the road and visit Seattle!

buffalodick said...

Looked like a success all the way!

Jill said...

You diva are DARLING and the chicken looks fantastic! I'm sure you could teach me a thing or two!

Velva said...

You know I grew up on Miami Beach. We frequented the Epicure Market-so cool to see you demonstrating your Moroccan cooking class. I really enjoyed it.

We will definitely have to get together one day in Miami to shake-up libations and enjoy a few tapas.

Heff said...


and AGAIN - Damn, you're HOT, lol !