Monday, September 12, 2016

Cooking Class Part 3

I went to the last cooking class in the three-part series where we learned advanced techniques. The first class in this series review basic techniques. The second class in this series focused on building on the basics.

In the advanced technique cooking class, we made three dishes. The first dish was vanilla bean panna cotta. The second dish was marinated steak with green olive tapenade. The third dish was spaghetti carbonara. And, the final dish was tomato and goat cheese grilled flat breads. This is the order we prepared the dishes, so they would be ready to eat. Spoiler alert; everything was yummy. Let's start at the beginning.

The first dish we made was vanilla bean panna cotta. We measured everything and prepared our mis en place. 

Then, we made combined everything to make vanilla bean panna cotta. Panna cotta is Italian for cooked cream. It is thickened with gelatin, and it's super creamy. If you can stir, you can make panna cotta. Don't let the name scare you off.  I think of it as a delicious grown up gelatin pudding. Ours was topped with fresh, seasonal fruit. 

The second dish was marinated steak with green olive tapenade. We marinated the steak in garlic, red pepper, rosemary, time, and lemon juice and zest. All the flavors came through in a flavorful steak. The lemon and olive tapenade brightened the steak and kept it from being heavy.

The olive tapenade was a simple to make. You roast garlic, which turns garlic cloves into softened, flavor powerhouses. The tapenade was simple to make. You toss pitted green olives, capers, anchovies, lemon zest, vinegar, lemon, basil, roasted garlic, and olive oil into a food processor. Pulse until you form a paste. It's such a rich, bright, acid topping to balance the rich steak. 

The third dish was spaghetti carbonara.  We prepped everything, so we were ready to cook.

You start by crisping bacon and rendering the fat. Drain the cooked bacon on paper towels.  Drain all but 1-2 Tablespoons fat. Sautéed garlic and in rendered bacon fat. 

Boil pasta in salted water. We prepared the sauce by combining eggs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, and garlic. Drain the pasta. Combine pasta and sauce tossing constantly to cook the eggs without scrambling.

The final dish was tomato and goat cheese grilled flat breads. This was my favorite; I've made it a couple times at home. 

Start by making your dough. Boom your best in warm water and sugar. Add flour, salt, and oil. Mix until combined. Knead on a floured surface until the the dough springs back. Let dough rest in a greased bowl covered with cling wrap. Simple, right?

Next, prepare the topping. Chiffonade the basil, Slice the tomatoes. And, mix together room temperature goat cheese with fresh herbs. In class, we used parsley. I also like to use chives for a mild, onion bite. 

How gorgeous are these heirloom tomatoes?

Next, grill your flat bread on a greased grill pan or on the grill.

Flip after a few minutes when the bread has golden brown grill marks.Top with goat cheese, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and basil. Enjoy!

Looks delicious right? I thought this flatbread certainly couldn't be more tasty. 

Then, you add aged balsamic vinegar. It was a sweet, slightly acidic syrup that was the perfect addition to this flatbread. I will warn you that it's expensive: $30/bottle. You don't have to use a lot to make a difference, so the bottle will last you a while. If you like balsamic vinegar, try aged balsamic. So good!

I made a balsamic reduction at home. To make my reduced balsamic, combine 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar with 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar. Reduce over medium heat until the balsamic becomes a thick, syrupy consistency. So good!

I encourage you to try something new. Invite a friend. Learn something new. Don't be afraid to try a new recipe, and taste something new! That's it for cooking with class part two.

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