Cooking With Stephanie Izard!


Ever make fresh ricotta cheese? How about with Stephanie Izard? Last night I had the pleasure of attending a Whole Foods cooking class taught by the Top Chef Season 4 Winner and learned how to make fresh ricotta from scratch and how to incorporate this great cheese  into both sweet and savory dishes.  A Chicago chef, we cheered her on during her season of Top Chef and have been following every bit of info about her upcoming Chicago restaurant (breaking news about it later in this post).

But most importantly, I got to come home with three great new recipes I wouldn’t have otherwise tried at home and some great new tips from the Top Chef herself.

The Recipes

Stephanie Izard’s Fresh Ricotta Cheese

The first thing she did was teach us how to make ricotta cheese from scratch. I always though cheesemaking was a complex process but this fresh ricotta is simple and easy. If needed, you can substitute lower fat milks for whole but Stephanie insists whole milk makes the curdling process much easier.


Stephanie Izard’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms with Fresh Ricotta, Cranberries and Almonds

Since Stephanie Izard is a huge pork lover, I was nervous the cooking class would involve something I don’t eat but to my surprise, she made a great savory vegetarian Thanksgiving-inspired side dish. The flavors were rich and delicate at the same time. This dish incorporates a lot of great textures and tastes in one great side!


Stephanie Izard’s Bread Pudding with Fresh Ricotta, Apples and Salted Caramel

The sweet selection of the course was her delectable apple bread pudding. For one thing, I’ve always been taught to use stale bread in pudding and French toast, etc. but her use of fresh ciabatta bread really made all the difference. I gobbled this sweet stuff right up!


More Tips from Stephanie Izard

  • Chiffonade is just a fancy word for cutting into thin strips (Remember our foodie vocab quiz?).
  • Never cook with wine you wouldn’t drink.
  • Always use unsalted butter so you can control the amount of salt in your cooking.
  • Mushrooms absorb a lot of fats when cooking.
  • Always incorporate a lot of different tastes and textures into your food to make it more interesting.
  • Toast your nuts to bring out their natural flavors

All in all, she was incredibly down to Earth, helpful and friendly. She was willing to share all sorts of information about Top Chef, her life, her upcoming restaurant or anything we asked her. For instance:

She has a favorite knife which she carries with her wherever she goes and has to check on airplanes. She often frequents Avec restaurant in the city as its one of her favorites. Her last name Izard means goat in French which is why she calls herself “The Wandering Goat”. She revealed that the “Stew Room” on Top Chef is actually a set and not a real storage room.

Her restaurant to open in March will be located on Randolph St.  She was planning on naming it “The Drunken Goat” but the name has already been trademarked by a cheese company so she will be coming up with a new name in the coming weeks.

Thank you for the wonderful cooking class Stephanie!

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  • chef

    Great articles here, thanks!

  • lockerz invite

    Is Stephanie a real because her recipes are Awesome! Keep up the good work.

  • Disk filters

    The delicious in your first two pictures look like chinese food.

  • Catherine

    Nice blog you posted.

  • ravenouscouple

    wow, how awesome is that to meet and cook w/ her!

  • Alloy

    It depends how seiuros your what how extreme you want to make your diet. When I’m on a real diet, I eat sashimi, not sushi. Sashimi has shredded daikon, not rice rice has carbs. If I eat sushi, no avocado, no crunchy stuff, no spider rolls, no tempura, etc and don’t order stuff with all that extra sauce. If you get spicy tuna or spicy salmon, most of the times the mix that with some crunch which is pretty much crumbs of tempura so it is going to have more calories. For lunch try lettuce wraps. Just make a sandwich without bread and wrap it. There are so many types of wraps you can make, but the simplest way is just to make your usual sandwich without bread and wrap it with lettuce. If you have an Asian market, you can even use rice paper to wrap it, like a summer role. If the wrap is plain/dry and you don’t want to use mayo, add tomato or even some basil. Maybe use a pinch of italian dressing or a teaspoon of oil and/or vinegar. Try something like shrimp cocktail for lunch, if you are able to. Remember just steam or boil seafood and use some lemons .it’s healthy. Most seafood places fry their stuff and it defeats the purpose of healthy seafood. Just remember not to deprive yourself of too much fat/carbs/calories your body needs it and if you deprive yourself, you will eventually give up your diet and binge. You can only hold out for so long, so just remember to moderate and balance. Remember if you are craving certain types of food really bad, it’s most likely a sign that you body NEEDS it for nutrition. Also staying away from TV may help .they have sooo many food adds that will make you think you are hungry .keep yourself well hydrated too.

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