Deconstructing Rabbit, a cooking class

The Other “Other White Meat”

And, no, it doesn’t really taste like chicken — it’s a lot more interesting. Although a mainstay of European cuisine, chefs here who dare to have rabbit on the menu often get flack from appalled diners. Nevertheless, it’s a meat source that has advantages: it’s a lean protein that’s low in cholesterol. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, rabbits are easy to raise, and they breed like, you know, rabbits. Yet many Americans suffer from “Easter Bunny syndrome” relating to rabbits as cartoon characters, imaginary friends, bedtime story heroes, annual purveyors of sugary treats and, yes, pets. Given their formidable cute factor—we have trouble thinking of them as a table offering. So we have a deplorable lack of awareness and knowledge about how to cook them.

This class not only deconstructs the myths about rabbit, but also shows you how to physically deconstruct a rabbit, understand the different parts and cook them in different ways. We’re using rabbits raised at nearby Black Willow Pond Farm (Cobleskill) – and that is also where the chicken livers come from.

We’re featuring Black Cat specialties, our Drunken Blonde Fruitcake is made into a not-so-sweet stuffing. And our Fig-Balsamic Drizzle highlights the liver & bacon flavors (as well as the salad.) We’re also using a Lebanese favorite to sweeten the Rabbit Confit a tiny bit, and that is Pomegranate Molasses.


Salad of baby greens with Black Cat’s fig-balsamic drizzle
Gigandes Beans in a savory herb marinade
Black Willow Pond Farm Chicken Livers wrapped in Applewood smoked bacon
Toasted Ciabatta Rolls

Rabbit Leg Confit with Black Cat’s Fruitcake Stuffing
Rabbit (or Chicken Breast) Provencal with Tomato and Olive sauce

Ciao Bella Mango, Lemon or Key Lime Sorbet
Coffee or Tea


Healthy Foods for Healthy Schools For School Cafeteria Managers and Cooks

March 10, 2011

Dear Cafeteria Manager and Cooks!

For the past ten years, the Rural Health Education Network of Delaware, Otsego, Montgomery and Schoharie counties (RHENDOMS) has been bringing educational programs into your schools to help establish a community environment that promotes living and creating a healthy lifestyle.  Many of you have School Wellness Committees that have benefited from our resources and assistance, and many schools have incorporated our programs for kids such as Nutrition Detectives, Yoga Kids, Girls on the Run, Dental Health Education, Up Close Cardiac Surgery, and Nutrition Workshops for elementary, middle and high school students, faculty and staff.

With this letter, we are inviting you to participate in an exciting new educational opportunity, at no charge to you or your school, which will help you to meet the challenges that your food service faces with the enactment of the Child Nutrition Act of 2010.  In cooperation with the Black Cat Café in Sharon Springs, NY, you will experience how real, nutrient-dense foods can be purchased, prepared and served in your schools in ways that are healthier, tasty and even less costly than you have been use to in the past.

Tony Daou of the Black Cat Cafe offers the venue, where Cooking Classes and Dinner Club events (over 100 in the past 6 years) are regularly offered.  Tony & his wife Vanessa, an RN, originally started the Black Cat Café together to share their experience with and love for delicious food, simply prepared with the finest, healthiest ingredients.  Tony is a big fan of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, promoting food cooked from scratch with fresh, natural ingredients that meet school meal nutrition standards AND the local budget. Tony will show us how to improve incrementally, step-by-step, and will serve us a delicious meal prepared in front of us. Learn more at their blog: where he’ll keep us updated.

In order to make this evening most relevant to your school cafeteria, we ask that you provide us with a copy of your school cafeteria menu and a recipe or two that you would like to see made into a healthier option.  Tony will work with these before we gather to ensure that the evening provides you with the most helpful and useful resources possible. After this event, we want you to feel prepared to create healthier food options in your own schools.   Please join us for this stimulating opportunity and take away great ideas on how to add new healthy food choices to your school menu.

Linda H. Keller, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Rural Health Education Network of Delaware, Otsego, Montgomery & Schoharie Counties

Healthy Foods for Healthy Schools


School Cafeteria Managers and Cooks

Date:                    Thursday, April 28, 2011

Time:                     2:303:00 PM registration/networking

3:005:00 PM cooking demonstration/tasting

Place:  Black Cat Café, 195 Main Street, Sharon Springs, NY

Seating is limited to 25 people!

First come, first served.

RSVP by April 8th

Call Doris Hill at (607) 547-7696 to make your reservation and for more information.

Facebook Event page here.

Sponsored by RHENDOMS and by

The Black Cat Café in Sharon Springs, NY

RHENDOMS is administered through the Bassett Healthcare Network, Research Institute and funded through the New York State Office of Rural Health, Rural Health Network Development Program.

Jamie’s Food Revolution — in schools upstate

Tony’s been asked by Bassett’s Rural Health Education Network (Delaware, Otsego, Montgomery & Schoharie)  to speak to our schools’ cafeteria professionals.

Of course, as a long-time fan of Jamie Oliver, Tony will draw on the exciting resources Jamie provides, check it out here.

Black Cat has always been known for using the best, freshest ingredients in the simplest,most delicious combinations.

austin jetton, the singing chocolatier

austin jetton

Austin Jetton in his own words …

For over 30 years worked in New York City and abroad on the theater stage. Theater is a big part of my life. I got an early start while in College majoring in Voice Performance with a minor in theater.  This experience brought me to New York City where my career in the professional world of acting started. I did shows such as “Cats” playing the part of Old Deuteronomy, touring all over the US and Canada, “Showboat” with stars like Cloris Leachman and Ned Beatty, Dean Jones and more. This show took me to London where I had the privilege to work on The West End. In Germany I did Andrew Lloyd Weber show on roller skates “Starlight Express” and I played the role of Papa!  Soon I will be shooting a movie in mountain of West Virginia.
All of my life, I have loved chocolates and after buying a home here in Sharon Springs I have wanted to run a gourmet chocolate shop. I went back to school to get my certificate to become a chocolatier and loving every minute of it. Chocolates have so many good qualities and 1 oz of dark chocolate a day is good for the heart. My chocolates are fresh and will melt in your mouth with incredible flavor. This is me in a nut shell, but believe me, there is so much more to know. Come and let me entertain you!

Judith Choate’s Bio


Judith Choate is a writer, chef and pioneer in the promotion of American food.  Known for her flair with food preparation and presentation, Judie owned and operated a retail bakery, food shop and catering business, MOM’S MEALS, INC. (doing business as MOM and MOM, TOO) in New York City until 1985.  She has also worked in the field of menu and restaurant development as a consultant to companies ranging from Heinz and national restaurant chains to small airlines and health food shops.  Additionally, Judie has worked as a project and recipe developer and food stylist for companies as diverse as Perdue Foods, Inc. and McCann’s Irish Oatmeal.

Judie has authored or co-authored over 100 books, among them The Gift Giver’s Cookbook, first published by Simon & Schuster in 1970, Hot! (Crown 1992), Great American Pie Book (Simon & Schuster 1992, named one of the best cookbooks of the year by People Magazine) and The Ubiquitous Shrimp (Little Brown 1994).  She was Dean Fearing’s collaborator on the two Mansion on Turtle Creek cookbooks as well as writer/editor for Arlene Feltman Sailhac’s DeGustibus at Macy’s cookbook series.

Among her many other efforts are Rebecca Woods’ The Splendid Grain (William Morrow 1997) which won both the IACP and James Beard awards for best cookbook of the year; Charlie Palmer’s Great American Food (Random House 1998, reissued, Ten Speed Press 2003), Charlie Palmer’s Casual Cooking (William Morrow 2001) and The Art of Aureole (Ten Speed Press 2003); The French Culinary Institute’s Healthy French Cooking (Rodale 1998); Raji Cuisine (Harper Collins 2000); The Tribeca Grill Cookbook (Villard Books 2000); Mastering Simplicity with Chef Christian Delouvrier (John Wiley 2004); Cooking With Spirit with Don Pintabona (Random House, 2005).

The most recent book under her own name, HOMEMADE (Clarkson Potter), was published in 2004.  Recently published books include New American Kitchen Classics featuring Second Day Dishes with Chef David Burke (Random House), Cooking at Molyvos with Chef Jim Botsacos (Broadway), Twenty Five Years at DeGustibus at Macy’s with Arlene Feltman Sailhac (Stewart, Tabori & Chang), and The Kellogg’s Cookbook (Bulfinch).  2007-08 brought Fundamentals of Classic French Cooking for The French Culinary Institute (Stewart, Tabori & Chang), winner of the 2008 James BeardFoundation award for best professional cookbookWelcome to Michael’s with Michael McCarty (Bulfinch), and A Year in Chocolate with Chef Jacques Torres (Stewart, Tabori & Chang), and Dining at Delmonico’s (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) for Delmonico’s restaurant.  In 2009, Fundamentals of Classic French Pastry for The French Culinary Institute (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) and Cooking For a Vegan Life with Chef Michael Wafelbakker.  2010 will bring Fundamentals of Bread Baking for The French Culinary Institute, The Reader’s Cookbook for Red Rock Press, Milk and Cookies for Chef Tina Casaceli (Chronicle Books) and a book for Shinsei Restaurant.  She is also at work on projects of her own with her husband, photographer Steve Pool.

In addition, through her company, Custom Cuisine, Judie works as a consultant in product development, most specifically creating lines (both recipes and actual production) of restaurant quality specialty food products and entrées for commercial distribution as well as in marketing, restaurant development, and culinary presentations.  In this capacity, she has been consultant to such internationally-known chefs as Charlie Trotter, David Burke, and Charlie Palmer as well as to companies such as Heinz, Starbucks and Costco.