Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cooking for Foodies, Class 1

Well, since I have my second cooking class tonight, I figured I might as well blog about the first one before it's too late!

My coworker Carrie is a fellow foodie and spread the news a while ago about an upcoming cooking class taught by a local chef and culinary instructor and run by a local high school district's adult education program.  The class is called "Cooking for Foodies" and of course I didn't hesitate to sign up (thanks Mom and Dad for the birthday present!).

Chef Jenn is our instructor and creates each week's menus based on what is local and in season.  I love that she buys all of the fruits and veggies at the local farmers' markets.  There are so many wonderful farmers' markets in the San Diego area and I appreciate supporting local businesses for all their hard work.  Chef Jenn demonstrates a few 'moves' from each recipe and offers cooking tips along the way before our class splits up into groups and starts cooking.  Each person takes one recipe and makes it, then we put it all together for our group.  At the end of the night we have a delicious dinner to enjoy and boy, was last week's meal tasty!

We started off with Farmers' Market Panzanella: crusty bread, heirloom tomatoes, Persian cucumber, fresh cilantro, green onions, haricots verts, radishes, spring peas, and a delicious dressing of olive oil, Dijon mustard, sherry vinegar, fresh minced garlic, and salt + pepper.  This was my dish and I was quite pleased with the results, if I do say so myself :)  Delicious!

For our main course, we enjoyed Roasted Tri-Tip with Sautéed Mushrooms on top of Cauliflower Puree and sauteed Rainbow Chard.  It. Was. So. Good!  The cauliflower puree was light, but still had that 'meat and potatoes' vibe going on.  I am NOT a cauliflower fan but I loved this (I think the added shallots, milk, butter and Mexican crema definitely helped ;) ).  The mushrooms were sautéed in butter, chicken stock, and cognac - hello, yummy!  I don't recall trying Swiss chard before, but we used both the leaves and the stalks finely chopped and it was fantastic.  The secret ingredient: honey!  Chef Jenn explained that adding a tablespoon of honey really cuts the bitterness of the chard and makes it more palatable.

This is Chef Jenn's fancy plated version :)

Our plates, almost ready to serve!  I loved that I was surrounded by fellow foodies taking pictures of everything - it was nice not to feel weird about photographing my food for once :)

Don't you think I'd leave you without dessert!  We made Phyllo Cups with Orange Blossom Strawberries and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.  This was truly fabulous.  The phyllo layers were brushed with melted butter, sugar, and ground blanched almonds, then baked in muffin tins to make the fancy cups.  On top of that went vanilla bean ice cream, and strawberries marinated in orange juice, orange zest, and orange blossom syrup.  Simple but oh-so-tasty!  I finished mine and wanted more :)

Stay tuned for this week's recipes!


  1. Ha! When I met up with Caitlin & Co. for breakfast the other day, I got home and had the following conversation with Bruce.

    Bruce: Did you all take pictures of your food?
    Me: Yes.
    Bruce: Did you take pictures of each other taking pictures of your food?
    Me: No that would have been overkill.

    Except for the fact that I've totally done that before.

  2. Wow, everything looks so delicious! I want to live at your house. Such a good birthday present. Props to mom's and pop's!

  3. It looks you had a great time.

  4. Looks absolutely delicious!!!!!!! I wanna make it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! pls send me the receipes for everything!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. What a fun thing to do each week! I'm jealous (but I'm glad that I can live vicariously through your posts and photographs!) Everything looked delicious, and I love all the local foods! Thank you for sharing, my friend!

  6. What a great birthday present! Everything looks so good. And I would totally take photos of other people taking foodie photos!

  7. What a fun looking class and meal! Great gift idea from your parents for you to take these classes :)


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