Spice of Life with May Fridel

A HomeTowne Television Production.

HomeTowne Television recently introduced a new show, "Spice of Life;" at a Passion for Spices event, showcasing sustainable lifestyle practices. The highlights included the Edible Garden and cooking together with friends.

Ed Albright from Yard2Kitchen.com, a collaborator with Passion for Spices, was here to explain the features of the garden and how you can incorporate a home edible garden in your own home.

I invited my friends, Amy & Lisa, to try several recipes from my recent book, Indian Cuisine & Diabetes Cookbookand see how fun and easy it was to cook together and enjoy the prepared meal. 

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On the menu was a refreshing papaya lassi, a savory avocado and cucumber soup, flavorful Chicken Kebabs, and a yummy grilled fruit with ice cream dessert.

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This is an example of how anyone whose not familiar with spices or cooking techniques, can make these recipes from the book without compromising health or flavor. There are more than 140 recipes like this, suitable for special occasions or everyday cooking with your family.  The book is available and a perfect idea for holiday cooking. You can purchase your own copy of the book from our shop.

Passion for Spices 8th Annual Summer Cooking Camp: Farm to Table - Our Third Week

Highlights of Our Third Week: Farm to table

This third week of our summer cooking camp was all about using farm fresh and seasonal vegetables. The Passion for Spices team focused on teaching campers the importance of knowing where your food comes from, identifying in season fruits and vegetables, and creating fresh and summery foods.

Refreshing Cold Soups: From the Garden

To begin the week, our first day was all about soups; cold soups and summery soups specifically. Author May Fridel taught the campers several different techniques for crafting soups using fresh vegetables including:  avocado cucumber soup with fresh picked herbs from May's cookbook Indian Cuisine and Diabetes Cookbook,  a Russian style vegetable soup, and what became their favorite soup, gazpacho, all served with crusty country bread!

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Summer Veggie Combos

The second day was no less exciting as the campers learned how to turn ordinary farm fresh vegetables into culinary masterpieces from scratch! First they were asking, "If there is any meat in the chili," but as they tasted the soups, with all the flavors and different textures they relished it. The campers finished the day making Moroccan Tajine, Spanish Escalivada, and vegetarian chili; all the while snacking freshly cooked chickpeas as they prepared the dishes.

Visit To Murph Farm in Chatham

A highlight of our week was the trip to Murph Farm in Chatham. Eliza Murphy, owner of the farm, gave a tour of the farm, where the campers got to feed the chickens, pick vegetables, and learn how their favorite fruits and vegetables are grown. The campers had fun picking vegetables like cucumbers , many varieties of tomatoes, eggplants, and zucchini, as well as fresh herbs.. They kids experienced a real farm to table concept, where we made fresh pizzas to foccacias, and used the vegetables straight from the farm. We also made  fresh fruit baskets, and honey lemonade.

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Veggies & Farm-Fresh Eggs

On the fourth day, the campers learned how to incorporate farm fresh eggs with seasonal vegetables, making dishes such as quiche, summer frittatas, and Korean pancakes!

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Handmade Free Form Pies

Friday featured guest Chef Bob Conway, owner and baker at Brownie Points Bakery in Summit, NJ. Chef Conway taught the campers how to craft free form handmade pies, including apple crisp, peach cobbler, and a delicious plum crostata! All the fruits were picked from Race Farm in Blairstown, NJ.

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Family Cooking Series Next Week

We are looking forward to next week, where parents cook and eat together with their kids. 

We have a few more seats left. We have many fun themes including "Oodles Noodles Class" where we learn to make soba noodles from scratch. 

This is going to be an exciting last week. So calling all families to come cook with us with your kids/teens.

Click here for the Camp Brochure to learn more about our last week!

Or Please Click Below to Register:

Passion for Spices 8th Annual Summer Cooking Camp: A Peek at the First Two Weeks

In the last two weeks, July 31 - August 11, young kids and teens had a fabulous experience preparing authentic food from around the world. The enthusiasm of the kids was so contagious, and you could see the kids learning ingredients and techniques, and were comfortable following instructions.  The first week’s theme, Around the World, gave a glimpse into the culture and cuisine of different countries. The kids learned many classic recipes and techniques taught by professional chefs. The second week's theme, The Art & Science of Cooking, was focused on teaching the art and science behind various food ingredients. 

Although each day of camp has it's own theme, all ingredients are fresh and organic, and the team at Passion for Spices emphasizes on our mission of learning to cook in a non-processed way, while learning about food from various cultures of the world.  Our food literacy program is not just a cooking camp, but focuses on educating the students the details of food ingredients, where it comes from, it's origin, and connecting food to the heritage and culture.

Highlights of Our First Week - Around the World

Our first day of 2017 Summer Cooking Camp was kicked off by our guest Chef Nicolas DiGiorgio (NicolasPastaFresca.com).  Chef Nicholas taught authentic Tuscan food and showcased the "pici" pasta from the region and talked about his experience in Italy when he went to school there. The kids made handmade pici pasta and polenta. They made pesto sauce by picking the farm fresh basil and we excluded the pine nuts in this recipe to accommodate the nut free diet concerns for kids.

During the week, Author May Fridel led us to the amazing world of Indian Roti Workshop! The campers made varieties of roti or Indian flatbread from her recently published cookbook Indian Cuisine Diabetes Cookbook. Kids starting from 2 1/2 years old, loved handling the dough and kneading it and rolling it. It was such a fun experience and they were excited to make their own roties.


Russian Chef Sam Kadko, our chief culinary instructor from Passion for Spices, who is of Russian descent,  introduced regional Russian cuisines, food, and ingredients. It was interesting to see the similarities between the shashlik and the Indian kebabs, and the influence of the spice route had in this region.


A Few Highlights of Our Second Week - The Art & Science of Cooking

The cheese making day was very exciting, kids got to make fresh mozzarella from scratch, so we got the cheese curd from Antonio's Cheese Factory in Springfield, and use that to create fresh mozzarella. The kids learned to make rolitini's by rolling the fresh mozzarrella,  and panzanella salad.



Executive Pastry Chef John Sauchelli from MaritimeParc and owner of Jersey Barn Fire Hot Sauce taught us how to bake Soapapilla Cheesecake Pie with kashmiri garam masala and pop tart pastries filled with our own homemade jam.


We are looking forward to the next two weeks and welcoming our new campers for the Farm to Table & Family Cooking Series.

The highlights include a visit to Murph Farm, where the kids get a farm to table experience picking vegetables from the farm, checking out the chickens, and making recipes.

We are happy to accommodate anyone who is interested in our next sessions coming up  

Check our  Camp Brochure or Click Below to Register:

Memories of our 2016 Farm to Table Experience

Written by Passion for Spices Camp Counselor Antonia Sylva.

If you haven’t discovered the uniqueness of Passion for Spices’ summer cooking camp, the third week of fun will prove it to you. From August 15-18th, kids of all ages learned about more than just cooking. The week’s theme, Farm to Table, was a constant presence. The guest chefs brought in each day—along with May Fridel, the camp’s coordinator—placed a great emphasis on sustainable living and eating. Campers were taught mostly about different kinds of fruits, vegetables, and herbs, all of which can be grown in a garden. Furthermore, all of the ingredients used during the week (and during all three weeks of the camp) were organic, fresh, and healthy. Each day had a totally different theme, but all helped to show kids that their food can be delicious, healthy, and sustainably grown!

Cooking Camp

On Monday, we focused on herbs: Mrs. Fridel brought a display of many different herb varieties. Each child was able to pick out a few of their favorites and arrange them into a piece of artwork, which we pressed down in between two pieces of wax paper with an iron. The campers then placed their designs within picture frames they painted themselves. Of course, we also spent the day learning to make Chicken Paillard from our esteemed guest chef. The chicken was a huge hit, and the kids ended the day enjoying a delicious lunch!

The next day was eggplant day. We started the morning with a study of the different types of eggplants (Asian, Italian, etc.). After gaining a little eggplant knowledge, we moved onto the bulk of the day, which was, of course, the cooking! We made Eggplant Napoleon and Baba Ganoush, two very different— but equally tasty— varieties of eggplant-centric dishes. The kids loved them (even the ones who didn’t think they liked eggplant to begin with)! And that’s what this camp is really about: kids discovering new foods, and ways of preparing them, that can give them a greater appreciation for cooking and for their own health!

On day three—seasonal veggie day—the kids had an amazing time making pizzas with their fresh vegetable toppings. In fact, they loved the end result so much that our guest chef had to make about seven pies! The campers were surprised at how much they ended up loving the vegetables on their pizza, and everyone had seconds!

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Day four was spent learning the history of many different types of melons, as well as making pickled watermelon rinds, bread butter pickle, and Sicilian watermelon pudding. These were all extremely unique recipes that the kids had never been exposed to before!

Day five, tomato day, was a great one: the campers were taught how to make ketchup, Turkey meatloaf, and Focaccia with tomatoes. Tomatoes are already a pretty popular food among younger kids, so learning even more ways to prepare them was a really great experiences (of course, they got to eat all the delicious food)!

Overall, Farm to Table week was a great experience for everyone involved. I, as a counselor, learned a ton about sustainable living and eating fresh healthy food. The campers were educated too, and they also learned a bunch of cooking techniques. The best part of the week, hands down, was the eating! From eating chicken to pizza to Watermelon pudding, each day sent the campers’ taste buds on an explosive journey, one that opened them up to new flavors, new foods, and new experiences.