Before we do a couple of year end posts and head back to England on the Marmelade Gypsy, I wanted to write about one other great thing I did to wrap up 2018. It was to attend a holiday cooking class with Chef Geoff Russell.
Geoff is an area chef who had rich culinary experience . He has started offering small cooking demos and tastings in a home setting here in Lansing, Michigan. I loved how it worked -- we didn't do the hands-on. Instead, we sat at the counter while Geoff cooked and explained his recipes and techniques as we peppered him with questions. The class included the recipes for all the dishes prepared, which I covered with notes!
We were greeted first with a Wassail cocktail, perfect for the season. Then we joined Geoff in the kitchen as he prepared Rillettes, a savory appetizer of braised dark meat and cornichons on crostini.
He then went on to prepare a delicious mincemeat Bakewell tart, a riff on the original tart recipe with homemade mincemeat. (True confession -- I had never tried mincemeat before; I thought it sounded terrible. I cannot wait to make this one myself! All that great fruit was delicious!)
It was fun watching him make the frangipani and assemble the tart. And oh, so good when done!
He showed us how to do turkey breast sous vide, a rolled breast cooked at a constant internal temperature for rather awhile in a special machine. I don't know that I'll do this with the machine but learning the rolled technique was good. And when it was done, it sliced like a dream.
He also showed us how to cut a chicken without destroying it.
(I asked how many chickens were mutilated in his learning attempts and he said "many." I can see why!)
The new potato dish was fascinating. They are boiled with an enormous amount of salt in the pan and water barely covering. When done, the pan looked like this... (it cleans easily, it's just salt.)
...and the potatoes like this.
And after he added some oil and spices and served with the rest of our meal later, they were delicious and surprisingly, not too salty. (Potatoes always require more salt than you think!)
But my favorite dish was the massaged kale salad. I have never been a fan of kale. That changed big time!
This salad requires way more kale than you think it does! After it's washed and dried, it's finely minced (rather like the parsley in tabouli) and then you get in with both hands and massage the heck out of it with olive oil and salt to tenderize it. (Maybe that's the problem. I never had tender kale.)
Then he added wonderful ingredients -- blue cheese, toasted walnuts and baked grapes which were succulent and sweet. The it was tossed with a mustard/shallot vinaigrette.
It was the best thing ever (and I've made it twice since.) And then, the big reveal!
Isn't that a gorgeous platter? And I can tell you, that glorious feast tasted as good as it looked!
The table was beautifully set and the food was just delicious. The carrots sweet, the turkey tender and the potatoes perfectly seasoned.
The dessert was a sweet wrap up.
And our little group of happy learners were delighted!
I learned a lot at this class, including many cooking tips and loads of info on food science, preparation and just how things "work" together. I hope to take more of Geoff's winter series, which includes five sessions on the tastes -- sweet, sour, bitter, tart and unami. If you are in the area, check them out here. The classes were about three hours altogether with dining. The winter ones include tastings as well, detailed in the website descriptions. You can check it out HERE.
Sharing this week with: Dishing It and Digging It / Pink Saturday / Let's Keep In Touch
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