I made my own kimchi...you can too!
I made my own kimchi...you can too!
Teaching people how to cook always amazes me because no two classes are ever the same: different menus, different ingredients, different tastes, different personalities, different skill levels, always interesting.
When people email me about what kind of classes I teach, I always respond that I teach whatever you want to cook and eat. Although I'm trained in classical French cuisine, my years as a recipe tester with both Cook's Illustrated and now with CHOW.com have given me the opportunity to explore all kinds of cuisines and recipes. The only thing people tend to forget is that these lessons have to be in San Francisco Bay Area, sorry Boston! (not unless you'd like to foot the bill for me to travel to where you are!)
Here are some menus from a few recent private cooking classes in people's homes, they were yummy and fun!
Braised Pork Chops and Fennel
sweet onions, vermouth, crème fraîche, lemon, served with baguette
Sautéed Green Beans and Bacon
shallots, parsley vinaigrette
Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart
brandied whipped cream
Asparagus à la Vinaigrette
lemon zest, toasted almonds, garlic
garlic, gruyère cheese
Seared Hanger Steaks
brandy, mustard, tarragon
herbed tomato sauce, parmesan
garlic, balsamic,olive oil
cremini mushrooms, pancetta
homemade ricotta cheese
I forgot how much I like teaching...been teaching a few private classes this past month to a wide range of teens, adults, and non-cooks. It's always fun to see what people learn and their general enthusiasm for food, whether they just like to cook or they want to learn skills to cook for their children.
Tonight was fun, with two adults and three teens doing a Chinese wok class. Forgot to take photos, but here's what we made!
Here's to more classes and more fun! I have some photos from a class earlier this month, hopefully will post along with menu soon.
In the name of wedding "research"...raspberry and caramel pecan. They don't have Ispahan, but I'll live.
These are gorgeous, and I keep hiding them so I won't eat them until after dinner. Yes, that is a Pierre Hermé bag in the background to help me pretend I'm in Paris. Funnily enough, these macarons are also sitting on Pierre Herme's Emotion glasses.
Paulette Macarons San Francisco
437 Hayes Valley
San Francisco, CA 94102
When working from home, lunch is usually small plates eaten throughout the day versus a regular meal. It all depends on how much energy I have, what recipes I may be testing, and just my general mood.
Faced with some gorgeous spring asparagus, I knew that simple would be best. I started by peeling my asparagus, the French training kicking in. To be honest, thick asparagus is usually juicier, and somehow peeled asparagus seems sweeter than thin ones. I like thin asparagus sautéed or stir fried with sauce, but when steaming, the bigger, the better.
Soft-boiled 6-minute eggs with runny yolks, some truffle salt, and tiny drizzles of lemon juice and olive oil completed the simple meal. Oh, and I did I mention the shavings of an amazing Belgian cheese we picked up at Formaggio Kitchen the last time we were in Boston? It's called Boerenkaas Alt, aged 30 months, and we were lucky to be in the shop when it first arrived and was tasted by the staff. When they tell you, "You gotta taste this," you listen. They couldn't sell it to us immediately because it hadn't been entered into their system yet, but we made sure we bought a big chunk to bring home. We still have a small chunk, but I'm tempted to go online to order more! Anyway, it's nutty, complex and a perfect foil to asparagus and creamy egg.
I'm pretty sure this meal clocked in under or close to 300 calories (150 if you had a half portion as a starter). Wouldn't you rather eat this for lunch than some frozen meal or fast food? If only I ate this well everyday...
Spring Asparagus with 6-Minute Eggs
Serves 2 as a starter or 1 as a main course
8 spears of asparagus, the thicker the better
2 large eggs
Parmesan, Gouda, Borenkaas Alt or other hard, nutty cheese
Fleur de sel, truffle salt, or your favorite finishing salt
Fresh lemon juice
Extra-virgin olive oil
I collect cookbooks and worked as a cookbook buyer briefly, enjoying every moment. However, if you are wary about investing in them, have you ever tried your local library? My little library in Alameda has a surprising number of old and new cookbooks, including a few food literature books. My last haul included Ruth Riechl's Garlic & Sapphires, Marco Pierre White's The Devil in the Kitchen, and A16: Food & Wine.
I love the idea of a cookbook having a huge section on wine before you even get to the recipes. I like interesting, flavorful, and light recipes even more. Get this cookbook.
I've had two meals at A16 before, both good. The restaurant itself has a crazy controlled madness to it, not too different from Au Pied de Cochon in Montréal. An octopus recipe caught my eye - where can I find a whole octopus that's uncooked? It's proving surprisingly difficult to find here, maybe because they are quite large and I can see fishmongers not really wanting to carry an unpopular product that takes a lot of space. But I'm determined!
Last night, I made Short Ribs alla Genovese, which were a hit. Not only do you get tender meat and sauce, but plenty of sweet braised onions that will go into a French onion soup tonight. I loved the fact that even though the recipe didn't call for stock, it was flavorful and easy, especially served with creamy polenta and broccoli.
Get this cookbook!
After resisting Myspace and Facebook, I randomly find myself now on Twitter. Let's see where this goes!
Shrimp and Bacon Risotto
Serves 4 as a first course
Remember to season heavily as you add broth, tasting the cooking liquid as you go. Be careful of oversalting if using salted chicken broth.
4 slices of thick-cut bacon, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 onion, diced
1 1/4 cup arborio or carnaroli rice
1/2 cup white wine
5 - 6 cups of homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 pound raw shrimp, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley