Created and Written by: Alyson Moschcovich | The Connecticut Bride
Photographed by: Nicole Bourgeois-Believe | Picture This Photography, Danbury
Chef + Host: Leticia Moreinos Schwartz, Greenwich
You’re about to make the ultimate commitment, joining yourself with another in the bonds of matrimony. But if you really want to foster a lasting connection, there’s no better place to do it than in the kitchen.
Stick with us here.
Whether you have a date night planned at home or have invited a group of guests for a dinner party, newlyweds who can cook well together will not only make a great-tasting meal, but also explore new depths of their relationship and strengthen it in the process.
But you’re not on your own — cooking classes are a great way for couples to hone their skills and work on their chemistry.
We teamed up with chef, author, journalist and TV host Leticia Moreinos Schwartz, who offers a few recipes and shows you just how easy it can be for couples, both experienced pros and complete beginners, to turn up the heat in the kitchen for years to come.
Couples’ cooking classes? Can’t newlyweds just get in the kitchen and figure it out on their own?
Of course they can, and my goal is for everyone to feel comfortable in their own kitchen. But a little help goes a long way. Cooking is an attitude and I like to take couples a little closer to the true meaning of cooking. I help them to identify paths in the kitchen, anticipate some twists and turns and motivate them to cook any ingredient, using any cooking method with or without a recipe.
What is modern-day cooking?
Cooking classes are way more than just learning how to prepare two or three recipes. Cook now and do good! The kitchen is one of the best places to do a little giving back. Grab your family and friends, and show them how good it feels, and how much fun it can be to prepare dinner together, or to make a batch of food gifts — and make the world a healthier and happier place!
Do you teach healthy cooking?
A sense of health and wellness lies at the heart of every cooking class, which is why I love to teach cooking! What to expect in a cooking class? Recipes with all the health quintessential Latin charm and romance. There are recipes to cook, drink, celebrate, enjoy and learn. And because we all should be eating healthy foods, I’ve expanded my recipe collection into my latest cookbook Latin Superfoods. You can explore the book online and, on my website, chefleticia.com. There is a recipe for every weeknight dinner.
Where should couples start if they are both beginners?
Easy, delicious and healthy recipes are always the goal, but in the kitchen, things aren’t always what they seem. A recipe you see on a TV show or a magazine that says it takes only 30 minutes to prepare, might take many hours in real life. I help people cook as they mean it. For example, onions and garlic in olive oil — sofrito is a recipe’s foundation for seasoning. Layer it on, bold and bright, subtle and soothing, and feel the taste building up. Have it ready and then you can assemble a recipe in 20 minutes and cooking becomes easy as 1, 2, 3.
What can couples expect when they take a cooking class? Can it be done virtually?
Cooking classes are not just about cooking. It’s about empowering you to feel responsible for your own well-being. So you can feel good about crushing your work, then cooking an amazing healthy recipe and doing good for you and the planet. Yes, cooking classes can be done virtually, and I find that there is something special about being in the comfort of your own kitchen. Ever since the pandemic, most cooking classes have been virtual and it’s a fun and engaging way to learn the craft of cooking. Surprisingly, it works really well in a virtual format.
What are a few fun, simple dishes that couples can prepare together?
Couples love to prepare recipes together, where they can gather around the stove and stir, season, taste and savor the food being prepared. Salads and main courses are always a hit. Some of my popular recipes are salmon with lemon risotto, Fish Vera Cruz, and chicken tortilla soup. Desserts are also popular in cooking classes as it’s always good to have a killer dessert in the repertoire for some special occasions.
Any tips for making cooking more fun?
In cooking itself there is a lot of high adrenaline involved. A little white wine is always welcomed. I sometimes listen to some music while cooking, but the part where I need the most help is cleaning up. No matter how delicious the food is, cleaning up is never a fun task. Dividing the chores between family members helps a lot, especially when a good conversation sparks, but if I’m by myself, Spotify is my best friend.
Any fun stories from your couples’ cooking classes?
Nowadays in the era of virtual events, despite being in separate spaces, there is a certain intimacy that comes with remote learning and seeing what happens in people’s homes while we’re on Zoom. Cooking classes aren’t any different. I get to meet their pets and kids all via Zoom. In a recent cooking class, one couple had a custard dessert ready, and their cat jumped on the island and started leaking the entire ramekin. They pointed to the camera and I watched the cat devour the most delicious crème brûlée. Thank goodness the recipe yielded four! We were all laughing!
Makes 1 cocktail
- 2 limes
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2–3 tablespoons cachaça (adjust amount to taste)
- Ice cubes
Cut off the ends of the limes and cut limes into medium-chunk wedges.
Using a muddler, mash the lime with sugar, making sure to squeeze all the juices and dissolve the sugar in the juice.
Transfer the lime mixture to a shaker. Add the cachaça and ice cubes. Shake well (about 8–10 times) and pour into a large (but not tall) sturdy glass.
GREEN GODDESS DIP
Makes 1 cup
Time: 10 minutes
- ¼ cup basil
- ½ cup parsley
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Place the basil, parsley, mayonnaise, yogurt and lemon in a blender. Add the olive oil in a steady stream. Season with salt and pepper.
PAO DE GUEYO (Cheese Bread)
Makes 35 rolls
Time: 15 minutes (no rise time)
3½ cups polvilho azedo (sour manioc starch, such as Yoki brand)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup whole milk
- ¾ cup canola oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 whole eggs
- 2 cups Parmesan, finely grated
- Freshly ground nutmeg to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Few twists of freshly ground pepper
Place the manioc starch in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Set aside.
Place the water, milk, oil and salt in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Immediately pour the hot liquid mixture in one stroke into the starch and turn the machine on at low speed. Mix until the dough is smooth and starch is all incorporated, about 2 minutes. Pause the machine and add the eggs. Continue to paddle at low speed until the dough develops structure and turns pale yellow, about 5 minutes. The dough will feel sticky.
Add the cheese and mix until well incorporated.
Season to taste with nutmeg, cayenne and freshly ground pepper.
Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Wet your hands with olive oil (alternatively, you can flour your hands with manioc starch) and use an ice cream scooper to make 1-inch balls, rolling them with your hands. Place them on the baking sheet, leaving about 1½ to 2 inches between each (you can freeze them at this point by storing them in a zip bag for up to 3 months).
Bake the cheese rolls in the oven until they puff up and look lightly golden brown, about 12–14 minutes. To ensure even baking, rotate the pan once during baking time.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place the rolls in a basket lined with a nice cloth. Serve immediately while they are still at their warmest and chewiest.
Chef/Host Leticia Moreinos Schwartz, Greenwich
Photographer Nicole Bourgeois-Believe, Picture This Photography, Danbury
Models Michael + Evelyn Hann
Hair Missy Gruner, Dawn’s Pizzazz, Litchfield
Makeup Pilar BLLaC Beauty Studio, Washington Depot
Florist Flavia Barker, Green of Greenwich
Table stylist Cory Lloyd & Co., New York City
Nails YOJI Nails & Spa, Glastonbury
Wooden serveware Troy Brook Studios, Litchfield
Wine Taub Family Selections (Los Vascos, Chardonnay 2020, Rosé 2020, Cromas Carménère Grand Reserva 2019, Cromas Cabernet Sauvignon Gran Reserva 2018, Cromas Collection)