Get Educated at The Curious Fork

get educated at the curious forkAs new life begins to grow, birds chirp, and flowers grow, THE CURIOUS FORK is here to remind us that everything sprouts in spring with a new round of exciting and healthy educational cooking classes. The health-minded cafe and hybrid culinary space located in Solana Beach is welcoming “curious” cooks into their state-of-the-art kitchen to share their expert knowledge on the freshest and most delectable picks that the local spring harvest has to offer.

Not only are these interactive classes a fun way to spend an evening with friends, they are sure to inspire you to get out in the sunshine and check out the city’s abundant Farmer’s Markets. The popular Farmer’s Market Basket class is offered weekly and guides you through the fresh local fare or the Vegan/Vegetarian Corner course teaches you the most creative ways to incorporate plant-based ingredients into your homemade meals. A few of the highlights include a delightfully sweet Raw Chocolate Class (just in time for Easter!), a warm-bellied Crock Pot & Pressure Cooking Class, an exotic and healthy introduction to Vietnamese Cuisine, as well as a special 4-session course on Medicinal Foods where Chef Minh guides you through the healing powers of what we eat. Other recurring skills classes offer valuable kitchen knowledge for people looking to hone in on their Knife Skills or learn easy entertaining tips with the Tuscan Appetizers class.

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Candied Lemon and Ginger Slices

Candied Lemon And Ginger Slices
photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

I have an organic lemon tree in my backyard that yields more lemons than I know what to do with. This recipe adds a hint of ginger for a subtle, yet spicy kick. There is enough sugar in this recipe to keep the lemons tasting tart, but not too sweet. If you like it sweeter, feel free to add more sugar. I also like to dry the lemons out a bit in the oven for a slightly chewy texture.

Candied Lemon and Ginger Slices


  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup granulated sugar (more if desired)
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger root
  • 3-4 lemons, cut into thin slices
  • Powdered sugar, for garnish


Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Place water, sugar and ginger in a medium skillet; bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until all sugar is dissolved. Lower heat to medium-low and add lemon slices in 1 layer.

Steep the lemon slices for about 15 minutes, or until the rind is translucent. Carefully remove lemons with tongs and arrange slices in one layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake lemon slices until dried, approximately 30 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe by Maria Desiderata Montana

Homemade Ravioli Recipe

Beef and Spinach Ravioli (Photo and recipe By Maria Desiderata Montana)

Beef and Spinach Ravioli Recipe

Makes 8-10 servings

For the ravioli dough
9 large eggs (reserve two eggs for egg wash)
4 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
All-purpose flour, for dusting

In a mixer, beat the eggs and olive oil until foamy. Change to a dough hook, add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix until it forms a ball. On a lightly floured work surface, knead the dough until smooth. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for about 30 minutes.

2 pounds raw, lean ground beef
9 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 cups Italian bread crumbs
5 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 10-ounce package chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained of excess water.

Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and incorporate thoroughly.

To make the ravioli: Divide dough in half. On a floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a 24-by-24-inch sheet about ¼-inch thick. In a small bowl, prepare egg wash by beating the remaining 2 eggs until foamy. Brush egg wash evenly over one entire sheet, then carefully spread the meat filling evenly over the top. Place the other sheet on top of the sheet with the meat mixture and press down on the edges with your fingers to create a seal. Generously dust flour over the top of the sheet (this helps the dough from sticking to the ravioli roller).

With a wooden ravioli roller, carefully roll over the dough from edge to edge, applying gentle pressure to ensure the two dough sheets connect to make the squares. Cut each square with a ravioli cutter and place on a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap and dusted with flour (this keeps the ravioli from sticking). Repeat with plastic wrap and flour as needed. Cover ravioli and place in freezer. Once frozen, remove ravioli squares from baking sheet and place in resealable freezer-safe plastic bags. No need to thaw frozen ravioli before cooking. Gently place ravioli in a large pot of salted boiling water and cook on medium to medium-high heat for approximately 35-40 minutes (see note) or until meat inside is thoroughly cooked. Ravioli will expand and float to the top, so be sure to use a pot with plenty of room. Remove ravioli with a strainer or slotted spoon and serve with your favorite jar of marinara sauce or my marinara (see recipe). Top with grated Pecorino Romano Cheese.

Note: Fresh ravioli take a little less time to cook, approximately 25 to 30 minutes or until meat inside is thoroughly cooked.

Maria’s Marinara Sauce

Makes 8-10 servings

12 medium-size ripe tomatoes, roasted (directions follow)
2 6-ounce cans tomato paste
Red wine (optional)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
Chicken seasoning, to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
6 bay leaves
3 tablespoons dried basil
3 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1 tablespoon fennel seeds (optional)
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Arrange the tomatoes on the sheet pan and roast for 30 to 35 minutes. When tomatoes have cooled, remove peel, core and purée in small batches in a blender. Transfer tomato purée to a large saucepan. Bring to a slow boil and add tomato paste. Using a whisk, add water until you reach desired consistency. (I like to substitute a bit of red wine for some of the water). Add remaining ingredients. Simmer over low heat covered for about 25 to 30 minutes.

New SusieCakes in Carlsbad

SusieCakes in CarlsbadCalifornia’s Favorite Bakery Specializing in Classic, Made-From-Scratch DessertsAnnounces Opening of 14th Location

SusieCakes, an all-American, home-style bakery, announced the upcoming opening of its newest location in Carlsbad. Founded by Susan Sarich in 2006, the company specializes in an array of sentimental dessert favorites made from scratch with simple ingredients by on-site bakers. “Carlsbad is an ideal location forSusieCakes because of its close-knit, family-friendly community,” said Sarich. “We hope we can make any occasion in the neighborhood, large or small, a little sweeter.”

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URBN Restaurants Expands


URBN RestaurantsSan Diego’s leading restaurateur, Jon Mangini of URBN Restaurants (BASIC Bar/Pizza, URBN Coal Fired Pizza, URBN Brewing Co.) expands his popular collective into North County with a fourth URBN Coal Fired Pizza location. Having rooted his success in a simple, no-nonsense business model, Mangini has earned a reputation for taking risks on unexpected locations with his New Haven-style pizzeria concepts (see: BASIC in East Village circa 2006, URBN Vista and his latest El Cajon expansion and brewery). The approach has paid off as collectively, his multi-million dollar restaurant group has steadily increased revenue to further propel his staying power within in San Diego County. Having opened doors this week to URBN Encinitas, the latest addition to Mangini’s growing stable of restaurants offers the same industrial feel and authentic New Haven-style pies at 764 S Coast Hwy 101. 

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New Masters Kitchen and Cocktail

Masters Kitchen And Cocktail
courtesy photo

Located just blocks from the beach in the heart of Oceanside, CA, Masters Kitchen and Cocktail offers fresh, local and artisan food served in a warm and inviting atmosphere. Situated in an industrial space that was once a well ­remembered drag car shop, Masters Kitchen and Cocktail keeps its authentic character, offering a separate bar with communal seating for guests to sip on traditional craft cocktails. -MDM

Masters Kitchen And Cocktail
courtesy photo

About Executive Chef Chef Christopher Gallo

Chef Gallo has spent the last 10 years working on his own style of cooking and has brought that passion and joy to Master’s Kitchen and Cocktail in Oceanside, cooking up California casual comfort food with an artisan’s twist. Gallo has always had a love of food that started with his upbringing in a very New York Italian family that always gathered in the kitchen at the end of its day to spend time with one another. Moving to West Coast at the age of 11 brought Gallo to experience all that is California agriculture in its abundance of amazing food from the land and sea. “It is a true joy to be part of such a wonderful food community and to be surrounded by so many passionate people on a daily basis.”

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