Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Seasonable Feast..

Feast your eyes upon these pictures from my recently gifted cooking class. There are four more to follow, all blog worthy. Today was the first class, A Seasonable Feast. I am not kidding, it was more fun than a Barefoot Contessa Saturday marathon. THAT is saying something. My name was at my place setting when I arrived and all the prep work was done. The mirrored ceiling was tilted so I could see into the pots on the stove. And Clara, a reformed pastry chef, took the reins. In 90 minutes we made White Bean Soup with Roasted Red Pepper Crostini, Argentine Stuffed Flank Steak, Polenta with Gorgonzola and a Warm Winter Compote.

I'm visual. You show me how to do it and I'm no longer intimidated. I'm fairly certain that's how my Ina-love developed. Turkey roulade, sure! I can do it.

There were only four in the class. The flank steak - it's a must. Probably Sunday dinner. Come by.

The Warm Winter Compote . . . all dried fruit stewed and luscious, especially the figs. The recipe calls for 1 whole star anise. Best part of the day was recognizing what that spice brought to the compote and realizing I have some just brought back to me straight from India.

Warm Winter Compote (Serve with almond biscotti and freshly whipped cream)

10 dried pear halves, cut in half lengthwise
16 dried figs, cut in half lengthwise
25 dried cherries
1 cup sweet white wine (I shall use half orange juice, half water)
1 T. sugar
1 whole star anise

In a saucepan combine the pears, figs, cherries, juice/water mixture, sugar and star anise with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the fruits are plump, 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for at least 30 minutes before serving. The compote can be made up to 2 days in advance, covered, and refrigerated. Warm over low heat before serving. Remove the star anise or keep to use as a garnish. Serve warm in individual bowls.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Entertaining with the Seasons: A Year of Recipes, (Weldon Owen, 2010)

After I licked the compote spoon the chef said, "Your husband was here before class and left his credit card information - he wants you to pick out two knives." You guys. That is like diamonds to me. Or a heart shaped box of See's candy. Or all the perfume in the world. Or tire rims to Caitlin.

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