Monday, April 16, 2012

Cooking School

Last June, I put cooking classes at the Viking Cooking School on my wish list.  Not soon after that, I received a gift card to the School, along with recipe cards, and a sweet note from Kelsey congratulating me on my graduation from law school and encouraging me not to neglect the things that bring me joy.  Once I got over how incredibly kind, thoughtful, and beautiful that gift was, I went right to the website and started considering all the possibilities.  They have so many amazing classes.

Last Friday, we finally used that gift card!  It was really, really hard to choose, but we finally settled on the Italian Seafood Dinner class.  I'd like to incorporate more seafood into our diets and wanted to learn some new ways to prepare it, as well as how to select the good stuff at the market. 

When we got there, we donned our aprons and had a pair of fantastic chefs teach us to make a seafood salad, linguine with clam sauce, crab & spinach stuffed flounder with a white wine saffron butter sauce, and balsamic vinaigrette for a simple salad.  Then we got to gather with the class around a table and eat our creations with plenty of wine.  We had the best time and picked up quite a few tips we'll be able to incorporate into our at home meals. 

Among the tips we learned:
  • When preparing soups or sauteeing vegetables, red and yellow spices can be added directly to oil heating over the flame.  All others should be added after the vegetables or liquid are in the pot.  For herbs, herbs with woody stems (thyme, rosemary, etc.) can be added to oil.  All others should be added later.
  • The best way to toast nuts is to spread them out on a sheet pan and put them in the oven on 350 for about 8 minutes.
  • Bay scallops are small, but they are sweeter than other kinds and are the best value for the money.
  • The chefs highly recommended California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil.  Did you know about all the drama and concern surrounding most varieties of extra virgin olive oil?  I didn't until recently.
  • When buying fish, ask to smell it.  It should never smell fishy.  Neither should the fish market or fish section of the store - if the store smells fishy, it means their fish is not fresh.  If the store or fish section smells strongly of bleach or other odors beware - they are covering something up.  You can also ask them to bring out a piece of fish with a sheet of plastic wrap over it.  When you lightly touch it, there should be no indent.  If an indent remains, the fish is not fresh. 
Thank you Kelsey!


Kelsey said...

Oh my gosh, you're welcome! So glad to hear you guys enjoyed the class so much!!! That's awesome. Sheridan and I just had a conversation about what amazing cooks both you and Joe are, so now that I know that, I'm hoping to try some of your creations the next time we visit, if that's ok! Especially Joe's pizza, according to Sheridan it's delicious!

Christina said...

Thank you! We definitely did! Pizza with whatever you want on it ready when you are. Give my girl a hug for me.