Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Night Out

I had such a fabulous night out last night. A few weeks ago I had an e-mail from Williams-Sonoma, my favorite kitchen store in the mall. It was an advertisement for some upcoming cooking classes. I almost immediately signed up. All the classes are taught by local chefs and bakers. I signed up for two classes, Italian Comfort Foods and a bread class.
I'm so thankful I have such a supportive husband. He came home from work to watch the kids. I headed off to the mall for my 2-hour class. When I got to the store there weren't many seats left. The food was cooking on the stove already so I thought I was late. Not so. The chef had everything already prepared so he could teach us some basic skills. Here are some of the things I learned:
1. Don't us Pyrex for lasagna. It's better to use a big, heavy metal pan. Reason? Glass is not a good conductor of heat and lasagna needs to be cooked clear through, especially if you use an egg in your cheese mixture.
2. Don't rinse any pasta after you cook it. Pasta was invented to have with sauce. If you rinse the starch off the pasta the sauce won't stick to it like it's supposed to. For lasagna noodles, drain off the water and lay the noodles in a single layer on a lightly-sprayed baking sheet. He said to let them dry just a little so the sauce will stick to the noodles better.
3. Don't use a garlic press--something I'm guilty of. He said that when you press a garlic clove the press takes out all the good stuff and leaves just the pulp. he said it's much better to slice the clove lengthwise and then chop it. Go figure.
4. Don't chop your fresh herbs. He said that by chopping the herbs the cut edges of the herb are damaged and will start to turn black. He used a nice, sharp chef's knife and sliced right through them.
We got to "sample" (it was more like a full serving rather than a sample) three different recipes: Lasagna, Bolognese and Meatballs. All were delicious and restaurant quality.
I had so much fun I signed up for another class in April.