Thursday, January 6, 2011

COOKING CLASS

The cooking class we went to last night was AMAZING!!  I didn't know what to expect.  I was a bit worried.   Sometimes when you do something without a referral, you just don't know what you are going to get. Well, let me tell you, we were very pleasantly surprised.  My Mom and I have both taken quite a few classes.  Some in our own area, local restaurants, private homes, we have taken them on some of the trips we have taken, and once at a casino restaurant.  At any rate, I think we both agreed, that this was the best!  Before I continue, I have to tell you, we were greeted by the chef/owner of the shop, and he regretfully informed the class that the store will be closing.  WHAT?  I just found you!!!!  It would appear that this awful economy has taken it's toll on yet another small business!  I was so disappointed to hear this.  But we quickly forgot once we became absorbed in his awesome class!  And, even though they are closing, the cooking school will remain open through April to do all scheduled classes.  And I intend to be taking a bunch!
 So, we began cooking right away.  Well, he cooked, we watched.  And the watching was quite easy to do with the 4 large overhead tv screens to show the stove tops and what was going on with the chef.
We checked in as we arrived, and they gave us our recipe packets and silverware.  We took a seat, and they had iced tea and ice water along with fresh baked bread with herb butter for you to help yourself to.  Which I did.  And soon someone came around with red and white wine for everyone.  I'm thinking...okay, this is starting off pretty well.
Chef Robert was very relaxed, and made cooking look effortless.  He moved about the kitchen with such ease, and comfortably talked to the audience, both about what he was doing, and also interjecting some personal banter in there.  He was just really pleasant to listen to.  And obviously very knowledgeable about his craft.  The first fabulous dish he prepared was Penne Carbonara with Prosciutto and Peas.  My Mom's FAVORITE!!  Now let me tell you....this was no short cut carbonara.  It was the real deal.  made with 3 cups of heavy cream, 6 egg yolks, and and 2 cups of good sauvignon blanc.  Not a diet dish.  NOT an imposter.  This was AMAZING!!!!   He had that kitchen smelling like an Italian Cucina in no time at all. 
After each dish was prepared, his sous chefs were busy plating for the class and within seconds of each finished course, we were eating it, mmmm,,,,,wow.....oh my...heavenly!!!!   Unfortunately......my Mom and I went out for sushi before going to class.  We have NEVER been to a class where you actually ATE the whole meal!!!  Usually, in classes, you get a bite, a sample, a taste.  NOT THIS CLASS!!!  Oh no...we got a full bowl of pasta after each wonderful creation was completed!!  I don't care if we just had sushi...we ATE!!!
Next dish was Shellfish Linguine with White Wine  I have to mention one of the things about this dish that made it so different, and visually appealing, was the zucchini balls that were in it.  They took a small melon baller and scooped out the meat of the zucchini.  I have never seen this done.  If you have been following along on my blog for a bit, you know that I garden in the summer, and I had more zucchini that I knew what to do with, and was looking to cook it every which way.  I will be melon balling my zucchini next summer for this quick and pretty way to serve it.  He also informed us he had a special surprise for us to try in this dish.  So along with mussels, clams, shrimp, scallops and calamari...we had this too.
Yep, we ate octopus!  It was different.  Not much flavor really.  Tough, and chewy like rubber.  Not something I would use again in a fish dish.  But it was fun to try it.  This is what the fish linguine looked like.
Next he demonstrated how he made the pasta for the Four Cheese Tortellini in Buerre Monte.  He also provided the simple recipe for the homemade dough, and made the pasta making look quite easy.
He then cut the pasta into circles and showed how to fill and form the tortellini.  He used a pastry bag and filled the pasta, and then showed us how to seal the dough, and curl the shape into the little tortellini pillows.  This dish was finished off with a Buerre Monte sauce that knocked our socks off.  We had neither one of us, ever heard of, or made this fabulous sauce.   But you can bet your booty we will be.  Again, I must say, this is NOT figure friendly food.  But for a special occasion, this sauce would be divine!  What you do is trick butter into cream again.  You whisk it, LOTS of it, into boiling water, taking care not to over heat, and whip it fast and furious, into a thick creamy sauce that does not separate.  This cream sauce is used in fine steak houses, to baste the meat with just before serving.  It was heavenly.  He served this over just a few cheese tortellini, as an appetizer portion.  The garnish on top, was beautiful fresh basil, that they did a chiffonade on, and fried it to a perfect crispiness.  This was sprinkled onto the Cheese Tortellini with the Buerre Monte sauce.  And can I just tell you right now......UNBELIEVABLY good.  Really.  You must try this.
After every dish that was served, I would take a bite, and then lean over to my Mom and say...."THIS is my favorite!"  But I think this next dish was indeed my personal favorite, if I had to pick one.  Oh my gosh, who could say, it was all fabulous.  Just fabulous!!   Papardelle alla Bolognese was next.  A meat sauce, using ground beef, pork and veal.  The pasta he used was the left over scraps from making the tortellini.  WHAT?  Yes, he did.  He simply took a pastry wheel, and randomly slashed the last few wide ribbons of pasta into various bits and pieces, and then dusted this with a little flour and cornmeal.  The cornmeal is used to keep the pasta from sticking in the pot, and it simply falls to the bottom of the boiling water, with no taste or texture to the pasta.  This was simple, and the flavors in this were just wonderful!
Next was Spaghetti Pomodoro.  By this time, I was in such a food induced coma, that I completely forgot to snap a photo of this dish.  But trust me, this was no ordinary spaghetti.  He used a tube pasta, but you can use what you like.  I liked the tube pasta!!  I had this pasta for the first time in Italy.  It is thick, and chewy, and hearty!  Sort of reminded me of a very fresh pasta capellini sauce.  Fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and herbs, and then served right over the al dente pasta.  Perfecto!!  My Mom and I spent almost three weeks in Italy a few  years back, and we NEVER ate like this!!!  Last, but certainly not least, was a divine dessert he made using fresh pears and puff pastry.  This was baked and then finished off  with a balsamic reduction that was a sweet, syrupy sauce poured over the pastry and real vanilla ice cream that left you wanting to lick your plate.  EVEN after sushi, and FIVE different heavenly pasta dishes!!! Really!  THAT good!
This was by far and away the best cooking class I have ever attended.  And while I am sad to know that he is closing doors, I intend to take at least one class a month before he does, and I will be staying in touch with this chef, in hopes that he will return to classes.  He will be doing private parties and such.  There was a brief break about 3/4 way through the class, and we all browsed the shop.  Everything in there is 20% off, and as the closing date nears, it will be further reduced.  While browsing along, I noticed this sign on a wonderful rustic farm house type table.
Can you read it?  It says 100 dollars, or best offer.  I casually walked around the table, heart thumping, hoping no one else noticed the sign, visioning in my mind where I would put it.  Knowing all along, that Mr. G. would roll his eyes, and say "NO WAY" we have NO PLACE to put that.  I went to the classroom, and got my Mom to show her.  Her eyes got big, and she shared my excitement for the possibilities that were swirling in my mind!  I bought it!  Not for 100 dollars.  For 80! SOLD!  We have to go pick this beauty up and I am toying with putting it in my sewing room after elevating the legs to cutting table height.

Leaving you with a couple photos of the beautiful class kitchen.  All Viking appliances.  Granite counters, and cabinets filled with what every good cook dreams of....spices...vinegars...oils, wonderful cookware, and spirits.

If you like to cook, or even just like to eat, and live in the Corona/Riverside area, do check out cooking classes at The Cooking Store at 321 E. Alessandro Blvd. Suite 2D.  Ph. #  (951) 776-1772
I feel reasonably certain you will not be disappointed!
This was such a FUN outing with my Mom!!!!
Bon Appetit!!!!

22 comments:

~Niki~ said...

ok, now i'm just so hungry! LOL.
What a fabulous time~I've never thought to take a class like this, but should. I suck at cooking LOL. Your blog always is so inspiring~so great to see all the yummy foods you make.

Bethany said...

I probably shouldn't have read this right before lunch. That looks delish!!!
(I'd have ripped off the sign so no one else noticed ;)

Lauri said...

What a fun evening. I'll bet you were stuffed by the time you left. It all looks delicious.

And I'm so jealous of the table. What a steal! And putting it in your sewing room is a fabulous idea.

⚜ ↁℯℬℬᴵℰ⚜ said...

Oh what fun that looks! I would have loved to be a part of that. Especially because I am dieting, and I could have had a cheat day:)

Debbie said...

OH..MY..GOODNESS... This just sounds wonderful! And while I can't say I particularily like to cook, I certainly LOVE to eat. And such delicious possibilities. What an incredibly fun thing to do! The store looks wonderful, and that table? What a steal. Wonderful idea for it too. Alas, I have started Jenny Craig this VERY morning, or I'd checking further into this for sure. sigh...the food is GOOD, but there is soo very little of it. = ( haha Guess I have eaten more than my fair share for a while now though or I wouldn't be in this boat. I'll be watching for more of these posts. I enjoyed just hearing about it...Have a good day Kris!

Erika Grover said...

what a fun expierience!! The dishes look delicious & the desert looks ah-mazing!

Does Dad know bout this table yet? If not, can I please be there when you tell him?

Mimi Baby Yow said...

What a great time! I love Penne Carbonara with Peas....yummy! The table is certainly a find. BTW are you are the only one I know (besides me of course) that has read the Diana Gabaldon Series. I mean I have read and re-read 3 times now in the last 10+ years. Jaime never gets old LOL

Queen of...Whatever said...

Forget the pasta(which looked delish) I love that table !!!!!!
Good snag!!

Maryrose said...

That looks amazing...if you want company I would love to join you in any class you want to take. It looked like GREAT fun.

Kristi said...

That looks unbelievable! I want to eat all those dishes and learn how he made them! What a great cooking class! I've never taken any and would love to do this!

Great table!

Mrs. Radovich said...

I should not have read this first them when I woke up this morning, all I could think about was eating everything in sight! I've always wanted to take a cooking class, I might have to look into going to one soon!

And I love the table! What a score!!!

Pammy Sue said...

The class looks like fun-fun-fun (and yummy). Love that table. What a bargain!

Genn said...

HOw funnN!! I didn't know you guys were doing that. WIsh I had known. I'd love to go to one some time with you!!! Please tell me when the next one is.

Nice deal on that table too!!! HOly cow. That's cheaper than my coffee table!

PS- got your message. Yes hair on sat is good. 1:30!

Grammee Linda - Behind My Red Door said...

OH my goodness! I am so jealous! What a great class and what a steal on the table - way to go!!

Katie said...

Wow, what a class, were you guys able to sample all the dishes? They all looked scrumptious!
Anddddddddd, what a steal on that farm table. I LOVE it!!!!!

The Garden Bell said...

What to begin.....

WE... is the most important thing I caught out of the blocks. Great job getting the MR. to go.

I'm totally hungery now. What a fun class and the food looks DE-LISH..

Now, about that table. I'm sooooooooooo glad it is coming home for you. I have one that use to be our kitchen table till we remodeled. Then, no room. So, out it went to be my gardening/potting table. Love it and it's made it through about 8 winters now. But, in your sewing room even better. Now, why didn't I think of that.

Grab those Viking appliances, they are my favorites. We are all about gas cooking here to. I don't remember the last time I cooked on electric. Oh,yeah, in FL.

Another wonderful posting,
Kate

Cozart Family said...

Hi Kris, Its been awhile since I have read your blog. The cooking class looks amazing I might have to check that out. Always wanted to go to a class but never have. Thanks for the info. Oh my gosh what a great deal on a great looking table. How exciting. By the way the bloomies are adorable. How can I buy some and how much? I would love to put one on a headband for my girls.
Traci

annielizabeth said...

What a lovely well written post Kris, describing your fun time and yummy food! So glad you were able to go with your mom. You should be their marketing director and then they wouldn't be going out of business. Enjoy that table in your sewing room. One can never have enough flat surfaces when one feels like creating stuff. Ciao!

Holly said...

I'm so glad that you and your mom had a great time and everything looked so good! Great pics! I am so jealous about that table. It's gorgeous! If you don't have room for it, send it on to me, you have my address.

Maryrose said...

Hey...went to bunco last night and got a schedule for cooking classes. They look great...call me this weekend and lets plan something.
Off to Pasadena today to Cordon Bleu for lunch....have you ever done that?

Suz said...

Hi Kris...that looks like fabulous fun...and tasty too! lol
Hugs x

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

WOw wow wow! How did I miss this post! What a wonderful cooking class! What a shame they have to close. It is so sad as obviously someone invested a lot of money in this school. Every recipe looked scumptious!