The Buckeye Creek Farm in Hickory Flat is cooking up classes with the help of Chef Tony Pisconeri, with one class per month planned for June, July and August, said Buckeye Creek Farm owner Liz Porter.
“Chef Tony is a really neat guy who used to be 90 pounds heavier, but decided he wanted to make some lifestyle changes,” Porter said.
Pisconeri now places high importance on educating his audience about healthy food choices and ways to create classic meals using fresh, natural and local ingredients, Porter said. His philosophy is to cooking what is fresh, local and in season.
“I enjoy the farm-to-table concept of cooking and eating fresh, in season, locally sourced foods,” Pisconeri said. “I feel that foods, produce and fruits that are grown locally and picked and sold fresh retain their nutritional integrity, vitamins and minerals, stay fresh longer and are grown with less commercial pesticides and fertilizers. I try to teach each class with a focus on healthy cooking philosophies and techniques for a healthy lifestyle.”
The farm included a commercial grade on-site kitchen which is used by Porter to can jams and jellies. And now, for classes with Chef Tony, she said.
“He wanted to find a farm to work with for a farm-to-table approach, and he came here to our farm for one of our open houses,” Porter said.
“Simple preparations keep the ingredients healthy and preserve their great flavor and nutrition. Keeping a close eye on portion control will help manage your weight and keep the pounds off,” Porter said.
Classes are Summer Salads and Veggies on June 15 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for $45; Paleo/Med Diet Cuisine July 13 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for $55; and Bread/Pizza/Calzone on Aug. 10 for $45.
All classes are limited to 15 students.
“Tony adds a new dimension to the events here at Buckeye Creek Farm,” Porter said.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Pisconeri developed a love for cooking at an early age. After a lifelong career as a commercial artist and creative director, he decided to take on cooking as a secondary profession studying at The International Culinary Institute at the Art Institute of Atlanta.
To honor his Italian heritage, he operates his culinary business under the name Pisconeri, the name of his immigrant grandfather who entered the U.S. in 1904 at Ellis Island. The person transcribing his name mistakenly spelled it Pishnery.
“Needless to say, it would have been difficult to make the correction, so his family has used that name since then,” Porter said. “However Tony honors his family by taking back the name Pisconeri for use in his culinary endeavors.”
He teaches each culinary class/workshop with healthy eating and lifestyle in mind, she said. Preparing fresh, in season, locally sourced foods with healthy cooking techniques are his key focus. Learning how to control sugars, fats, starch and portion control are all key elements in learning how to prepare foods for a healthy lifestyle.
He will also incorporate recipes and techniques for vegan, vegetarian, raw, gluten free, low sodium and low fat diets to name a few.
For information about his next class, visit www.pisconeri.com or call (706) 383-1045.
Buckeye Creek Farm is located at 2115 Jep Wheeler Road in Woodstock.
Chef tony’s Zucchini Pasta with Raw Tomato Sauce
1 ½ cups sun dried tomatoes, soaked for 1-2 hours, drained
1 ½ cups seeded, chopped tomatoes (2 or 3)
2 Garlic cloves
¼ cup Olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves or 2 teaspoons dried
2 tablespoons fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried
1 teaspoons seal salt/kosher salt (can be reduced)
¼ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
Dash fresh ground black pepper
Place all sauce ingredients in blender and process until smooth.
6 medium-size zucchini or yellow summer squash (peeled optional)
Cut zucchini or yellow squash on a vegetable sprializer or mandolin into thin spaghetti strips to create noodles.
Tomato, Feta and Barley Salad
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
½ cup olive oil
4 cups vegetable broth
1 ½ cups barley
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1 7-ounce package feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 ½ cups)
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup chopped green onions
Rinse barley, and place in a small bowl. Cover with water by about two inches, and let soak for about an hour. Drain.
Whisk vinegar, lemon juice, and honey in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.)
Bring broth and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a large heavy saucepan. Stir in barley, reduce heat, cover, and boil until tender but still firm to bite, about 20 minutes. Drain. Transfer to large wide bowl, tossing frequently until cool.
Mix tomatoes, feta, basil, and green onions into barley. Add vinaigrette (I used about half); toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.) Serve at room temperature.