The best was saved for last, with desserts being our final lesson of Pro Chef School. We overindulged with chocolate cake, lemon tart, chocolate pudding, tiramisu, crème brulee and caramel ice cream… I think everyone gained ten pounds! The subject of desserts is so vast, and our allotted time so short, that we were only able to cover basic sauces and a few foundations for other desserts.Continue reading →
After working with yeast last week, we sped up our baking lesson this week with quick breads. I love that you don’t need to be a great baker to achieve success in the kitchen.
What I didn’t anticipate was how dangerous moving too quickly in the kitchen can be (not to mention using a chef’s knife to cut butter – dumb, dumb, dumb!) And that is how I almost got benched this week, were it not for an unusual product called “finger cots” (which tickles my inner adolescent-boy funny bone). These digit prophylactics are used in professional kitchens to cover boo-boos, and prevent Band-Aids and associated “things” from becoming part of the recipe.
I am 14 weeks into professional French cooking classes. If there is one thing we know about French cuisine, it’s how much the French love butter, meats and sauces. So when my friend Sophia asked me to take a detox cooking class, I purchased it immediately. I need to balance out all those fatty foods with something healthy.
I think we all know how good eating anything green is, and the “Dapper Detox” class from Meal and a Spiel, made the process of eating greens and grains less daunting.
Fun Fact: Did you know the color green occupies more space in the spectrum visible to the human eye? There has to be a reason for that… maybe as a reminder to eat more green!
Our energetic teacher, Elana Horwich began the evening by making her Dragonfly Green Tea. This complex, yet alluring warm brew is a healthy alternative to your morning cup of joe. Matcha Green Tea Powder, one of the key ingredients, is rich in nutrients, antioxidants, fiber and chlorophyll.
What a huge learning curve I had this week with shellfish. If you read last week’s blog, you know that I am a Midwest farm girl who had no experience with fins, scales, and particularly things that carry a house on their back! After this week’s class however, I am shocked at how easy most shellfish are to cook.
Shellfish are categorized according their skeletal structure:
Univalves – Single-shelled mollusks
e.g. abalone, sea urchins, conch, escargot
Bivalves – Mollusks with two shells joined by a hinge
e.g. clams, mussels, oysters, scallops
Crustaceans – Jointed exterior skeletons or shells
e.g. lobster, crawfish, shrimp, crab
Cephalopods – Mollusks with tentacles attached directly to the head
e.g. octopus, squid/calamari, cuttlefish
When buying live crab or lobsters, look for movement. If you buy them frozen or pre-packaged and they are still moving—run.
This recipe comes from week 7 class of Pro Chef classes at New School of Cooking in Culver City, CA. We made several fall dishes that week, and this recipe is such a fabulous appetizer that I wanted to share it with you. Wild mushrooms usually can be found at your local farmer’s market or higher end grocery stores.
1 tablespoon cognac (substitute pear, peach, or apricot juice)
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper
¼ cup creme fraiche
1 lb. fresh wild mushrooms
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped thyme leaves
2 teaspoons chopped marjoram ( I used fresh oregano from my garden)
3 cloves garlic, sliced
sliced baguettes, brushed with olive oil and lightly toasted in oven
Sauté the shallots in the butter until browned. Add the cognac. Flame. Remove from heat. When flame subsides, add the vinegar, lemon juice, and creme fraiche. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Remove any hard or dry stems from the mushrooms. Use a pastry brush to remove any sand or dirt. Cut into ¼″ slices. Toss the mushroms with the olive oil, herbs, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Put them into an earthenware baking dish large enough to hold them in one layer.
Roast mushrooms until tender and juicy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add to the shallot mixture. Return to the oven and cook another 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning.
Serve on top of toasted baguette slices.
Cook time: 30 mins
This recipe was wildly popular with my holiday guests.