Island Cooking on MDI: Cooking Gets Some Class(es)

Now is crunch time for getting all of the last of the holiday preparations taken care of.

If you’re like me, and hopefully you’re not, you have most of your shopping done. Me on the other hand, I keep shopping but nothing seems to be getting done. I have lots of ideas and then of course when I go to the shops and try to purchase gifts I’ve usually left my list at home or see five of the same but different styles of the one item I was trying to purchase.


But enough of this; it will get done and I probably will have a day or two to spare.

But for those of you who are looking for something new and fun to do this winter – and to keep those dreary days fun – here is a new way to make this winter go by faster. Sharon Joyce has a new venture called Ambrosia Cooking School. Sharon is a trainer/educator/chef and studied advanced French cooking and French pastry at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. In 1981 she opened and operated a catering business and cooking school in Chicago and the Virgin Islands.

She has taught various cooking classes including French, American, Cruzan, international and others in such locations as Chicago, Bar Harbor, California, and Christiansted, St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands. This winter and spring she will introduce a variety of new classes; here is her schedule of classes. It really sounds like fun! Contact her at [email protected] or 288-4523.

Jan. 13, Southern Cooking; Jan. 20, Chinese New Year; Feb. 10, Greek Cooking; Feb. 17, Healthy Winter Cooking-Soups or Main Courses; March 10, Southwest; March 17, Salads made easy and exciting; April 7, Italian Cooking; April 14, Entertaining for Brunch; May 5, Cooking from Spain; May 12, Elegant Picnics with a French Touch.

The recipes this week are form Sharon and she says, “During this hectic time of year we have to try and make our lives easier and less stressful. Some of my most memorable holiday meals have been the simplest so I am sharing a few of many recipes that give minimum stress for maximum appeal. The second dish is vegetarian and both are great for entertaining or pampering yourself.”

But before we get to the cooking, let’s get rid of some stress. This week’s drink needs have some kick to it, and I think this recipe should do the trick. My mother and I had these recently when we went St. Thomas together and this little drink had my mother quite relaxed on the gondola ride down the mountain – it’s too bad they didn’t serve them at the bottom before we went up! Be careful because it tastes just like a milkshake.


  • 4 oz. cream of coconut
  • 2 oz. Kahlua
  • 1 oz. Bacardi black rum
  • 1 oz. dark creme de cacao
  • 4 oz. milk

Combine ingredients with two cups of ice in a blender. Blend until smooth, and serve in two 12-ounce cups.


Veal Marsala (chicken may also be used)

Serves 4

  • 1 1/2 lbs. veal or chicken cut about 3/8-inch thick and pounded down to 1/4 inch thick.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Flour
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 lbs. mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
  • 1/3cup chicken or beef stock

Pound veal by placing the pieces between waxed paper using a mallet or hammer or heavy pot (a good stress reliever!). Salt and pepper the veal or chicken and dip in flour to cover.

Add olive oil and butter in a sauce pan and, over moderate heat, brown veal on both sides. Remove veal from pan and keep warm Add mushrooms to pan, cooking for a few minutes, and then add Marsala and stock. Cook down the stock over higher heat until the sauce is syrupy. Pour sauce over veal on plate or platter. Optional: Decorate with parsley.


Ambrosia Individual Roasted Eggplant Mozzarella with Rosemary

Roast even more vegetables and use leftovers for many meals.

  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup eggplant cut into 1/3-inch slices
  • 4 plum tomatoes (cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices)
  • 2 medium red onions
  • 1lb. medium red potatoes
  • 1/4 cup ricotta
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 1/2 lb. mozzarella (6 slices, 1/4 inch)
  • 6 fresh rosemary sprigs

Cover roasting pan with olive oil and cook the sliced vegetables at 450 until lightly brown (10 to 15 minutes). Remove from pan and let it come to room temperature. Mix ricotta and thyme in a bowl and add salt/pepper. Layer in oiled baking sheet starting with eggplant, then ricotta mixture, two potato slices, an onion slice, mozzarella slice, several tomato slices, onion slice, ricotta mixture and eggplant. Using a skewer, make a hole through to bottom. Insert rosemary sprig (so that you still see about an inch). Heat until heated throughout and cheese is melted.

Send me your recipes at [email protected]!

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