Friday, February 11, 2011

Epicurian Adventures

Last night I attended my very first culinary class.  It was a community education class - not the start of a new career.  Eighteen people had gathered at one of the local high schools very nice home ec. departments to learn to pan sear meat and make pan sauces.

The chef was from the Cities and has a little restaurant up there.  He brought six recipes and all the food required to make them.  We listened carefully to him as he demonstrated a few things we'd need to know to make our dishes.  He also broke us into six teams of three and each team was assigned a dish to make.  I was on the team making pan seared turkey tenderloin with spinach and bacon. 

He also gave us a general recipe for pan searing consisting of seven steps, that use four categories of foodstuffs and covers a wide range of meals.  It is really quite simple.

Make a list of meats, a list of liquids, a list of chunky stuff, and a list of herbs, spices, butters and such.  Liquids are such things as chicken or beef broth, cooking wines or sherrys, cream, fruit juices, vinegars... that sort of thing.  Chunky stuff is fruits and veggies, dried or otherwise.

Then you just choose a meat, a couple of chunky things, some liquids and some herbs and such and follow the seven steps to searing and saucing!

We used Conventional frying pans, the NON non-stick kind, and he was big into silicone spatulas, though we used a wooden spoon and our sauce turned out yummy.

I did learn a few interesting things that I didn't know.  Patting meat dry to remove the wet protein coating helps it not stick as much to the conventional pan.  Better ways to peel ginger and how to butcher an artichoke. 

One of the three team members on our turkey team decided he would rather do the steak recipe, and so right off the bat it was just me and one other person.  We had our hands full, but managed to make a pretty tasty bird dish!  When all was said and done, we got to cook and sample the following dishes...

Boneless Pork Chops with Dried Cranberries and Mustard
Chicken Breast with Roasted Tomatoes, Black Olive and Goat Cheese
Chicken with Braised Artichoke
Rosemary Mushroom Steak
Salmon with Curried Leeks
and of course, the Turkey Tenderloin.

It was gastronomically delightful!  I even liked the artichoke, which I have not had that much of.

Now I am prepared to sear and sauce for my family, who will reap the rewards of my adventures in cooking class!

More Later

1 comment:

Sharon said...

WOW John... you are a real chef! All of the list sounds yummy... maybe with the exception of the salmon and leeks :( What a fun class for you. If you want to practice... come on down! (I have never, ever peeled ginger!)