My friend Lenore in Chicago gave me a cooking class for my birthday. Not because we don't know how to cook but because we both like to cook and we both have enough earrings*. Lenore and I have taken cooking classes together before. Or is it just class? I can't remember.
We took Susan and Herman Jenny's class in France in 2002 and had a great time. We were the only two students in the class. We would go to markets or little cheesemakers or olive shops in the morning with Susan. In the afternoon, we would cook. In the evening, we were supposed to eat in the dining room with the B&B guests, but we didn't know them, and preferred to be in the kitchen with Susan and Herman, who, it turned out, had lived in Memphis for years when Herman was working as a big chef for Hilton. Lenore still makes the madelines she learned from Susan and Herman and makes them better than the bakery by her house.
Anyhow. Lenore found this class near her house. We were to make a Tuscan menu of roasted chicken with lemon and wine sauce, tomato soup garnished with pecorino cheese crisps, porcini mushroom risotto with prosciutto (sigh -- serrano ham**), and baked pears with zabaglione. Also a green salad and a white bean and roasted garlic dip. It would take a normal person all day to prepare this meal, but whatever.
The other woman on the team with Lenore and me was very nice and interesting -- a cookbook editor -- but just a touch didactic. She informed us that when one squeezes a lemon, one squeezes cut side down. Which we already knew. As we have both squeezed lemons before. And even if we hadn't, we could have figured out. As neither of us is a complete moron***. Bless her heart.
The teacher demonstrated the magic chicken marinater. Marinates in half the time! he told us. Please do not tell my husband about this gadget! I implored Lenore. I do not need another piece of junk in my kitchen. The teacher assured me that a ziplock bag works just as well for someone who plans. Oh great, I said.
Something new I learned is that when the chicken is ready to be turned, it will release easily from the pan.
The pears partway through the baking process, before the butter is added and the sauce reduced.
The completed chicken. No photos of the risotto because it is hard to take a photo of risotto that looks good. At least, it's hard for me. And because I forgot.
The finished pear in the sauce.
* That reminds me, LPC, that my SH's old wedding ring diamonds converted into drop earrings of different lengths are here and I need to take a photo for you.
** The serrano ham story. Some of you know how SH and I lost $100 of serrano ham at Customs when we returned from our first trip to Spain. Oh, the heartbreak.
*** Have I told you the "Because we do not hire eedeeots?" story? I should. It has to do with equipment guarding, or the lack thereof, and the French technicians installing the machinery.