February 1, 2024
February 2024: Goodies
February 2024: Goodies
Losar Tashi Delek (Good Luck and Happiness)

Whether one calls the Lunar New Year Losar (Tibetan) Tet (Vietnamese), or Seollal (Korean), for many communities, it is a time of celebration and marks the arrival of spring.  This year is the year of the Wood Dragon which is considered to be one of the most popular zodiac signs.  Joyous family and community celebrations abound as long noodles, dumplings, sticky rice and whole fish are enjoyed for their auspicious meanings as well as their deliciousness.  In addition, according to Jonathon  H.X. Lee, a professor of Chinese folklore and religion at San Francisco State University, “This year, people can expect a lot of good fortune — but only if they’re harnessing the animal’s most important quality: compassion.” We wish you a year of good fortune, health, tasty gatherings with family and friends and abundant kindness.

Shirt Stuff

Throughout the years, we’ve designed a diverse collection of t-shirts, each capturing significant and sentimental moments and achievements within our company. Whether it’s race shirts, event shirts, or Classic U shirts received after completing Classic University courses, these shirts go beyond being uniforms – they showcase collaboration and camaraderie among our team members.
Our wearable scrapbook has become a tradition, allowing us to look back at the variety of shirts and reminisce about the experiences they represent. Some shirts were designed to commemorate specific events; some created by team members brainstorming words and concepts that reflect the essence of ‘Classic’; some meant to showcase milestones like an “At One” shirt acknowledging a team member’s first full year with Classic. The sentiment incorporated into these shirts turns them into tangible expressions of our shared values and identity.

One of the shirts known to spark a conversation is the ‘Omotenashi’ shirt, a representation of who we are as a team. The term ‘Omotenashi’ embodies the Japanese philosophy of wholehearted hospitality, and our team collaborated to bring this concept to life on a shirt. This particular piece has become a favorite among our team members, as it not only reflects our commitment to exceptional service but also symbolizes the collective creativity and unity that define The Classic Catering People. So, when you see someone donning the ‘Omotenashi’ shirt, you’re witnessing not just a piece of clothing but a testament to our team’s shared values and dedication. More than just a shirt; it’s a living history that adds fun and nostalgia to our workplace.

Food Finds 2024

Lindera Farms Elderflower Vinegar
Going onto the Lindera Farms website it’s challenging to not just order it all.  First of all there is their compelling story and it’s local.  They choose their sustainably sourced products with ultimate care and take the slow route to develop a richly aromatic flavorful assortment of vinegars.  The bottles are striking and the variety is enticing. Paw-paw, wild rose, magnolia and black locust are a few examples.  They also craft hot sauces like strawberry & togarashi and ramp & green chile.
For the kitchen, Lindera Farms suggests the elderflower vinegar pairs well with peaches and chess pie and at the bar with gin and vodka.

The Japanese Pantry
This year in my New Year’s Fukubukuro or lucky bag, a deeply discounted mystery bag of goodies (Japan’s version of Black Friday), that I received from The Japanese Pantry was a pouch of Organic Black Sesame Paste. Although black sesame seed paste can be easily made by lightly toasting the seeds and grinding them in a suribachi, a Japanese mortar or even a mini food processor, this handy pouch is a tasty time saver.  The paste is used as an ingredient in salad dressing, goma-ae,  which is especially good on spinach or green beans, for sandwiches instead of peanut butter, on noodles or mixed with sugar for sweet preparations.
Piment d’Ville
From my first taste of the espelette pepper in Basque country I was hooked. It has a heat that pairs well in many food preparations.  While my spice shelf frequently has an imported jar, I was pleased to add Boonville Barn Collectives Piment d’Ville pepper, a California-grown version.  It is one of my most frequently used spices. I love adding it to my traditional vinaigrette instead of, or along with black pepper; or into soups and stews or as a rub.  A traditional use might be piperade, slow cooked onions and bell peppers with a healthy quantity of espelette added. Shake freely. 
From Our Library, Harriet’s Book Pick: Noma in Kyoto

Noma in Kyoto is an insightful guide to appreciating the beauty and depth of Japanese culture, craft and nature and more specifically the fabled city of Kyoto. Ostensibly, the journal is a recounting of what it took to create a 12 week pop-up, Noma in Kyoto, crafting a menu and restaurant space that reflected both Japanese and Nordic foodways and aesthetic sensibilities. But to give birth to this experience, a team of Noma specialists traveled throughout Japan investigating the singular elements that would combine into a sublime experience for the 5213 guests that entered into Noma in Kyoto.  Their collection of words (essays, stories, letters, advice and interviews), photos and drawings were brought together in an informed and stunning magazine that overflows with appreciation for a city that aligned with their passions.
Reading Noma in Kyoto reminds me of viewfinders, a toy from the 90’s in which the observer could glimpse what appeared to be three dimensional scenes which changed by a click of the thumb.  Likewise as I turn the pages of Noma in Kyoto, I am transported from peaceful Buddhist temples to the bustling flea market; from gently swaying norens (woven fabric dividers separating street from restaurant still being created by Samiro Yuniko, a 101 year old master craftsman) to the remote Japanese countryside where artisans produce a  unique style of pottery; from the precious ground water associated with the success of the famous Nishiki Market to entering the red tori gates which lead a hiker on a spiritual walk which included a stop at the grave of haiku master Basho.  Of course, food and beverage are not forgotten.  Tea, coffee, sake, fermented foods as well as the delight of eating and drinking at an izakaya, a neighborhood gathering place are aptly described.
A progression of twenty dishes served at the pop-up are detailed in words and photos as well as the alternative courses offered in case of allergies or product unavailability.  I found it intriguing that the culmination of years of research garnered no more space than any other topic in the book.  Aptly confirming their small chapter in the century’s old commitment to craft, beauty and omotenashi, enlightened hospitality.

From our Kitchen: Pan Seared Rock Fish with Puerto Rican Rice, Pigeon Peas, Casave Coulis and Escaveche Sauce

Chef Javier Nazario

My grandfather was a fisherman and my grandmother loved to cook. So every time my grandfather went fishing, my grandmother prepared a more rustic version of this meal which was made with red snapper, yuca al ajillo or garlic yuca root and the pigeon pea rice. Then, we would have rice pudding that my grandmother prepared frequently since it was her favorite. Thanks to my experience as a chef, I was able to elevate this just enough without straying too far from the original version to create the following dishes. I would be honored to serve this to my family especially my grandparents if they were still here with me. I am sure they would be proud of what I’ve accomplished. I feel privileged in having this opportunity to share the food I grew up enjoying and still enjoy.  

Casave Coulis
3 yuca root (peeled and diced) 
2 potatoes (peeled and diced) 
1 vidalia onion (diced) 
5 cloves garlic (minced) 
1 tbl saltpepper to taste
1 cup water 

Directions: Sweat onion and garlic until translucent in olive oil, add yuca & potato and water bring to boil on medium heat cover and cook until starch is soft. Strain then puree in blender add salt & pepper to taste. 

Sofrito is a flavoring base (1 green pepper, 1 yellow onion, 1 bunch fresh cilantro or culantro, 6 cloves of garlic).  Puree and cook on slow simmer for 25 minutes and chill before use or use Goya brand. Puerto Rican Rice & Pigeon Peas


2 cups basmati rice
1 tbl sazon (paprika, achiote, salt, pepper equal parts 1tsp.each)
3 tbl sofrito
3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 red pepper diced
1 can pigeon peas
1 tbl E.V.O.O.

In a medium pot combine stock, sofrito, sazon, E.V.O.O. bring it to boil, then add rice, pigeon peas, red peppers lightly stir and let cook on medium heat until water reduces for about 5 minutes. Lower heat cover for 15 minutes or until rice is al dente. 

Escaveche Sauce

1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup E.V.O.O.
3 bay leaves
1 tbl crushed black pepper
1 tsp adobo spice
1 yellow onion, julienne
5 cloves garlic sliced not minced
1/2 cup Spanish olives (manzanilla), sliced
1/2 cup olive brine
3 tbl minced parsley 


Combine all ingredients and let sit for and hour before serving. This can also be a marinade if adding ¼ cup white vinegar. 

Rockfish Directions:

6 oz. portions of Rockfish
2 tbl Canola oil

Preheat stainless steel pan at medium heat, add canola oil and wait until pan is milkdly smoking. Once pan is heated, put rockfish skin side down keeping gentle pressure on the fish to ensure even searing on skin. Once skin is golden brown finish cooking in oven at 350 degrees for 7-9 minutes depending on fish thickness. Cook rockfish last to prevent fish from drying up.

Click here to print the recipe.