Thursday, January 18, 2007

Beef Roast in Sur La Table style

We tried the same lamb recipe with a roast last night. It turned out great!!

Since we didn't get to trim, pound, tie the roasts at the cooking class, that was an endeavor last night. TJ wanted to try doing that. Watching a left handed person using knives is really quite humorous! Not a jab at his wielding skills, just not something I have seen before.

If you want a rich tomato sauce, seriously, roast a can of chopped tomatoes on TOP of a beef roast, then blend up all the juices in the blender. In the future, I am going to make meatballs, brown them, top them with tomato and then bake them in the oven. Then blend up the tomato and whatnot and put the meatballs back in the sauce. It is just so much better than stove top simmered sauce!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Potato Gnocchi in Roasted Garlic and Mushroom Sauce

In the pasta aisle, you will find potato gnocchi in vacuum sealed packages. They say "3 Servings"; I say NO. But they work for 2 people for sure. I think homemade gnocchis are better. These were a bit mushy, but they serve a great purpose, taking only 3 minutes in boiling water. They made a great dinner for TJ and I last night.

This was an attempt to recreate a Whole Foods menu item. I tweaked it a wee.
Roasted Bulb of garlic (40 minutes at 350 in foil)
Toasted Pine Nuts
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chicken broth1/4 cup white wine
Cook the gnocchi and set aside, keeping them warm.
Toast pine nuts, and add to gnocchi. Sweat the mushrooms in a nonstick pan (I cover mine). Add chicken broth to mushrooms to deglaze the pan. Add the roasted garlic and wine; saute to blend flavors. Toss with gnocchi and nuts. Add parmesan cheese.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Our first Cooking Class

I have zippo witty things to say about my cooking lesson at Sur La Table. It is kind of a downer, having nothing witty, not the lesson. I guess I'll have to give it to you straight.

The chef leading our little cooking class was previously a soux chef at The Refectory (duh duh dun). He had all of these nice little anecdotes about Chef Rouchard, the french chef in charge. We have never been to The Refectory, and I want to go now, just to check it out.

The lay out of the class was a little sitting and listening, hand washing, and then splitting up to work on different tasks. I was hoping to get to make each thing, but the group just split to do a little of everything. I peeled vegetables, whisked some eggs, and just stood back a little to watch everything. TJ really wanted to SEAR the meat, so he hung out with the other men by the meat. I know there is a joke there somewhere!

While peeling the vegetables, we used a serrated peeler. Pretty effective little buggers, and the peel of skin from my knuckle proves why I will not be investing in one of those. Ohhh, they peel tomatoes! Ohhh they are so sharp! Ohh they really are dangerous people. Now, I am positive I did not A. Get skin in the vegetables. B. Bleed on anything (it didn't bleed immediately, and when it did ooze a little, I was done touching things). Strangely enough, the vegetables did not roast fast enough for anyone to eat them, except maybe the "help" in the store manning the cash registers, and they are just little moochers anyway.

On the menu:
Italian Feast
Fontina Cheese dip
-lovely! After it had simmered for awhile, it got to a nice thicker consistency. Initially, however, it was runny and felt like I was dipping bread into the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese juices (just a better flavor).
Roasted Winter Vegetables
-uh, didn't get none. It was only a plethora of roots that I usually do not eat, and it would've been nice to try! But there was NOTHING shmancy about the prep (just olive oil, salt, pepper), and it may be for the better, what with the skin, and the long curly hair I removed from one piece of sweet potato. The danger of this class: strangers! With HAIR!
Roasted Leg of Lamb
This was great. This was worth the money. Just seeing the prep, tying up, sauce making, etc. He pounded the lamb, rolled it with thyme and rosemary, and roasted. On top of the lamb, while roasting, was a can of tomatoes and carmelized onions. After the roasting, the onion pan was used to transfer all of the lamb juice, tomato,etc., and a nice sauce was created. He used an immersion blender, and NOW I want one. Sauce rocked. And it could be good on beef roast too, which I have in my freezer already. Which I will be trying!!

Flourless Chocolate Tart
Another winner! I saw the making of Creme Anglaise, which I love. This was just easy, and I will make at home. The tart is simple, just need the right chocolate.

Another bonus of the Sur La Table class, is a 15% discount in the store the NIGHT of the class, and 10% all week. I found a recipe binder.

Most important part, this was a Christmas gift for TJ. And he had a great time! And he wants to go again. I just love that.