Monday, July 13, 2009

I learn a thing or two about cooking and actually enjoy it

Some of you may know that I recently spent 26 Mondays in a row* taking an introductory pro chef's cooking class. It was the kind of thing where we spent a whole class on how to make stock, and another whole class on how to grind our own sausages and put cooked chopped liver in a pot with fat on top. Plus, I am now a whiz at de-boning small game birds and I actually know what a beurre blanc sauce** is. I even got a certificate! I learned a lot, and thoroughly enjoyed the company of the other students***. Our teacher, on the other hand, was a major disappointment. Don't get me wrong, the guy could cook. The guy could plate. The guy could name the parts of a cow. He just didn't seem to want to be doing any of that with us. It was as if he'd been sentenced to be there through some kind of a work release program to atone for prior transgressions****. Let's just say that none of us signed up for the advanced class.

But the lure of learning was not totally quenched, and a fellow veteran and I boldly ventured forth to class this weekend. I am so glad we did, and here's why:

1. We learned more in 45 minutes than Mr. Bland taught us in weeks.
2. All our ingredients were measured and assembled for us ahead of time.
3. Said ingredients were farm fresh, high quality and did not get defrosted and reused from the Sunday night class that came before us.
4. We got to make this tuna:

Grilled Tuna and Avocado Salad with Toasted Corn Vinaigrette
Recipe from the excellent Marinades, Barbecue Sauces and Dry Rub Grilling class at the New School of Cooking

1 1/2 lbs. albacore tuna, cut into 1 1/2 inch steaks

grated zest of 1 orange
2 Tbs. chopped basil leaves
1 Tbs. chopped rosemary leaves
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
kernels from 2 ears of corn
2 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
juice of 1 orange
2 Tbs. chopped basil leaves
1 Tbs. chopped thyme leaves
1 Tbs. chopped cilantro leaves
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

6 c. mixed greens
2 ripe avocados, pitted and sliced
fresh cilantro for garnish

Marinate tuna: Combine marinade ingredients in a large nonreactive bowl and stir to mix well. Add the tuna and cover with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.

Make the vinaigrette: Place a large skillet over medium high heat and when it's hot, add 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the corn and cook until it has browned about 4 minutes. Add the shallots and the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and add the balsamic vinegar, orange juice, the remaining olive oil, basil, thyme, cilantro, salt and pepper, stirring well after each addition. Let cool to room temperature.

Cook the tuna over a hot grill, turning once, until the outside is charred and the inside is still a little rare, about 2-3 minutes per side. Place the greens on a serving plate and top with the avocado. Place the tuna on top and drizzle with the corn dressing. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.

5. There was also skirt steak, grilled shrimp, baby back ribs, Mediterranean chicken get the idea. And it was all delicious!!!

We're going back in August for an Italian class...come on by. And if you can't make it, I'll be sure to post the recipes for you.

* At 4 hours a pop, that's 104 hours of my life and half a year of Mondays invested, in case you were counting
** Lots and lots and lots of melted butter
*** With one exception. She got mad when one of us noticed her score for the day was added wrong, and she hadn't come in first after all. After that she shunned us, especially after a compliment about her handbag resulted in her claiming that "you know nothing about me, or my purse."
**** Given how boring he was, this is probably not the real back story. He just hates teaching.

No comments:

Post a Comment