Thursday, July 20, 2006

mony read my knife lust post and wanted to know what the cooking class was all about. I've got to pack for florida, so entertain yourselves with this poorly written note I sent to ruth earlier. It was loads of fun. We're thinking of doing the iron chef oyster menu class in august. Roberto Donna has been on IC twice. He says to only watch the second go-round!

anyway, apologies for not making much sense. I'm on a 7am plane to sarasota tomorrow. My sister and I are finally going through our (late) parents home, and getting it ready to sell. I'm sure I'll be back with much to share.

below was sent in response to an email from ruth, asking how the cooking class went. I raced home from upstate ny to make it time....

"oh, it was wonderful. There was a special kitchen/dining room for us. Some days it's used for a special chef's table, but monday night it was for about 16 "students." our teacher was chef roberto donna, fantastic guy. He also had two sous with him, and a couple of clean up guys.

I met erin at the bar, and they sent over some cheese and olives, because "it was a long time until dinner." We toddled into the classroom at 630, where we were faced with more snacks, and a glass of champagne. And water. Much water, as it was aobut 98 outside, and the ac in the building was shut down because some office was moving out. They brought in portable ac units and a big fan, and it wasn't so bad, though chef was a mess because he was right up against the stove.

we were then given our gallileo aprons, and joined chef donna at the work area. We each had a cutting board, and two knives, and a spoon. And immediately started chopping onions.

I won't give you more of a blow by blow, but we learned how to make 6 dishes, a combo pizza-bruschetta topped with cheese, and a saute of olives, anchovy and tomato. There were four among the 16 of us. Chef (notice how we slip into the familiar here) took my chopped stuff to add to his...and (as i told erin) i felt stupidly thrilled that i couldn't tell his from mine. Hooray for me. The woman next to me didn't do a great job of cutting, and i would not have wanted MY beautiful work mingling with hers. (my, we are competitive ....)

We also made a rabbit stewish thing....browned by us before going into a huge la crueset pan on the stove. I learned one important thing: if you're browning rabbit (not likely), or chicken, put it in the pan, and leave it alone until it slides around by itself. Then you can turn it over, and it will be perfectly browned. BUT...take the pan off the heat, otherwise it will flare up when you turn it over, or add anything. I had a nice flame going, but handled it without screaming, or dropping the pan, or setting it on fire. And i did remember to move it from the heat before I tossed in the onions. It turned out fine, but I'm not sure what i think about rabbit. I seem to eat it once a decade. This would work with chicken, too.

Then what? An anise and orange salad. We learned how to peel an orange with a knife, leaving no white stuff (is that pith?), but still perfectly round. The dressing had marsala in it, but i found the whole thing pretty tasteless.

A very nice seafood cous cous. This i'll probably make again. We used a big sardinian cous cous called , hmmm, i've forgotten. So it's big grains, almost pearl sized. This had a tomato based sauce with some hot stuff. Very nice. shrimp, mussels, and a white fish.

Very yummy rice balls with cheese. Basically risotto, golf ball shaped, and browned. Very nice, and very rich. Interestingly, he cooked his risotto without the constant stirring most recipes insist upon. Just had the rice in the pan, poured in stock, let it simmer, stirred a bit, poured in more, etc. I might do this again.

and finally, cannoli with a not too sweet cocoa filling. some dried chopped cheries and something else in there. I didn't like that added texture, but the filling was nice. We made the shells, but I would never bother doing that.

then, at about 930, we sat down to eat. Huge portions. I was smart, and only ate about half til we got to the cous cous. That's the only way I got through it all.

I was a lot of fun. I think we're going to do another in the fall. three our four folks in the class had taken one prior.

I also learned that you really don't need a houseful of knives. We used a wonderful stainless chefs knife for everything. Designed by porsche. I did copy down all the info, but I can only imagine the price!

all in all, a good time. Though i was beat by the end, and it was sooooo hot that I didn't enjoy the 15 minute walk to the subway. But i needed it, after chowing down!"


Blogger nm said...

Man, you didn't give me that much information, then again, I think you left me a VM on the way to the subway.

I just found my AS companion voucher, so tell me when these things are and maybe I can convince TH that we need to go to class and stay at the new Park Hyatt.


12:05 AM  
Blogger nm said...

Oh, have a safe flight. I am considering gettin on the 7 am flight out of here.

Maybe then my upgrade will clear.


12:06 AM  
Blogger jk said...

ok. I think the oyster one is the last monday in august. I am going to be sans computer for the weekend, unless we go to a cafe, but will let you know next week.

yes, it's really 5am east coast time. off to the airport.

5:10 AM  
Blogger Mony said...

Chef really got a lot done in three hours!
Have a very productive trip.

6:31 AM  
Blogger Z said...

Have a safe trip. The cooking class sounds GREAT...well, maybe if it was cooler it would be great but it still sounded yummy oh Great Onion Chopper!

8:05 AM  
Blogger jk said...

we had a blast! Chef is delightful===a big big italian who rides a motorcycle. Or at least did for a recent charity thing.

9:47 AM  

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