Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cooking Class (Part 2)

Another informative cooking class with a hearty, delicious and versatile Italian menu. Once again, I learned a lot and had to restrain myself at times from licking the plates. I feel as if I spoke up a bit too much and asked too many questions ... and at the break, the instructor and I had some entertaining confusion when I tried to ask him how I could tell if there were recipes I couldn't cut down or "halve" - he thought I was talking about stuff I couldn't eat, given that I had already mentioned a shellfish allergy. Blasted homophones!

More knife tips and tricks: when cutting anything with a skin, make one cut through the skin and then make future cuts flesh first. Discussion of slurries (1:1 cornstarch and water, used for thickening pasta sauces) and emulsifications. The chef recommended measuring dry ingredients by weight whenever possible ... and did something simple but rather nifty, shaving cheese for the pasta using a vegetable peeler. Simple, easy.

The key lime pie recipe was really strong - as pleasantly bitter as sweet. I loved it, but I suspect people looking for a sweet dessert would not feel the same. I showed off my particular obsessions by taking the pasta primavera recipe and writing, "*Pine Nuts*" on it.

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