My first cooking class/pop up supper club was a lot of fun and a big hit. The students loved the cooking class. Everyone enjoyed the food, wine pairing and the goodwill generated during the event. The best compliment I got was that the food, wine and service were like a five star restaurant, but the camaraderie was the best thing of all.
I am thankful to my guests for their goodwill and donations to the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry. We were able to raise $600 to help our community. Not bad for a first trial run event.
OUR NEXT EVENT WILL BE ON SEPTEMBER 28th. This time the menu will be Indian Cuisine. I will post the menu by the first week of September. The event will be open to 20 people and will be held in my cooking school house on my ranch.
Here is the Italian profile menu that was prepared and served for this event. It was all delicious, gluten free and Keto friendly. I was also able to provide vegan and vegetarian options.
AUTUMN DAL–I served a sample of the soup that I made for the 2019 Bastrop County Empty Bowl Project.
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER–topped with shaved Italian cheeses, pine nuts and a drizzle of homemade pesto. I have not yet posted this recipe on my blog, but I will soon.
The cooking class students enjoyed making and eating this dish. It was a class favorite.
The pesto that topped the cauliflower was easy to make, fragrant and oh so yum!!!
My friend, Melinda thought it smelled divine.
By the way, Melinda has been very supportive of my cooking endeavors. She made me promise that when I do my first cooking class, I have to call her so that the event can be scheduled at a time when she will be able to attend. True to my promise, she was the first one to be invited.
A NO WASTE TIP–when we prepped the cauliflower, we saved all the stalks and leaves. We used them as part of the base for the stuffing in our main course. I wanted to show that no part of the vegetable has to go to waste. I always use it all one way or the other. In this case I used it in the soffritto that makes up the stuffing for the Dover Sole. The cauliflower stalks taste like a cross between celery and fennel, so they make an aromatic addition to the soffritto.
MIXED GREENS–with house made balsamic vinaigrette. I bought some organic greens at grocery store, but the ones you see me washing were grown by my hubby.
The main reason that I wanted to make a salad was to show my students how easy it is to make salad dressing. It is basically 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar, an emulsifying agent, salt, pepper, herbs and spices. Here I used Tuscan Extra Virgin olive oil, White Balsamic vinegar from Modena, soy sauce as the emulsifying agent, thyme and my Italian Spice Mix.
I will write a detailed post on the basics of making salad dressings in the future. I never buy commercial salad dressings because most of them have ingredients that are not good for you. Also the home made dressings are easy to make and taste so much better.
THE MAIN COURSE
STUFFED DOVER SOLE–with artichoke hearts and onion, served on a bed of BUCKWHEAT PILAF surrounded by BLISTERED TOMATOES. On the right you see the vegan option, where roasted cauliflower was substituted for the fish.
I picked this dish for my first cooking class because it was the first dish I posted when I started my blog. I was so lucky to find wild fresh caught Dover Sole at the store. For the full recipe please click on the links above.
Here are a few more photos from the cooking class.
BERRIES AND FENNEL SCENTED ZABAGLIONE
Zabaglione is an Italian custard made with egg yolks, sugar and sweet Marsala wine. The eggs came form our own chickens, making this custard extra special. I played around with the traditional zabaglione recipe to find a way to cut down the amount of sugar used. The classic recipe calls for a table spoon of sugar for 2 egg yolks along with a table spoon of sweet Marsala. I was able to cut the sugar down to 1 tea spoon by adding a pinch of fennel powder. In the future, I will write a post showing the recipe step by step.
THE TIP HERE IS THAT FENNEL POWDER ADDS THE ILLUSION OF SWEETNESS SO IT ALLOWS YOU TO DECREASE THE AMOUNT OF SUGAR. The fennel powder also adds great flavor. I use this same trick in my marinara sauce. An Indian cooking trick carried over to Italian Cuisine. I really like that.
I was a bit nervous because this was my first cooking class. However, everything went smoothly. All the food was timed correctly. We started the class at 1:30 with 5 students. The class ended right on time at 5:30. The dinner guests arrived at 6 pm and my husband served everyone a cocktail.
Above you see him making his Pear Martini. It is a very popular drink. The pears come from our tree. If you want to see the recipe please click on the link.
Each course was perfectly matched with a Texas wine from Messina Hof.
Thanks to everyone who helped to make it a great event!