Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Merry Christmas to me!

Last night I finally used one of my Christmas presents from Cale. He got me cooking classes from a local gourmet market and I took my first class. The class was Cooking with fresh herbs and it was wonderful! The chef who taught the class was very personable and liked to interact with the group a lot. I was kind of nervous going it that there might be some food snobs in our midst (including the person teaching!), but my fears were put to rest early on when the instructor made light of the idea. She loves simple, fresh food that is allowed to do what it's supposed to do.

We got to eat everything that was prepared. It wasn't a participation class (although they do offer those), it was a demonstration class. We learned how to prepare and enjoyed eating the following: Lemon and Thyme Roast Chicken, Sugar Snap Peas in Brown Butter with Sage, Fresh Herb and Garlic Pasta, Summer Vegetable Ratatouille with Oregano and Mixed Berries with Vanilla Bean and Mint Simple Syrup. Everything was absolutely delicious and I was shocked to learn that I love sugar snap peas! I am not a pea fan in general, but decided to be a good sport and try them. Delicious! The greatest thing about the class is that it wasn't just about the recipes, but about methods. The techniques weren't new to be, but I had never thought about putting together some of the ideas that were presented. One of the biggest reasons why I was interested in taking the class is because I love using fresh herbs in my cooking but find that I use the 1/4 cup needed for one recipe and then waste the rest because I don't know what to do with it. No longer! I've got a ton of ideas and can't wait to try them out. So be warned- if you get invited to my house this summer for dinner there will be a bounty of fresh from my garden herbs in whatever I serve!

The only downer in the whole evening was the 25 minutes we spent locked in the store's bakery. Now at face value I realize the idea of being locked in a bakery doesn't sound all that bad (can you say Killer Brownies?!!!), but the reason we were in there is because there was a tornado warning. It had been pouring down rain the whole time we were in class, but didn't know how bad it was until a manager from the store came in and told us to evacuate. Very exciting! So we all huddled in the bakery together, listening to the radio. I got stressed because they were saying the storm was heading in the general direction of our house. Knowing Cale, he wouldn't even be aware because he is not really a tv watcher. My guess, which was right, is that he was working on something on the computer and wouldn't know what was going on. After trying unsuccessfully for 15 minutes to get a signal, I stepped back out into an area that a few people had had success getting calls through in. I had to literally lay up against a door, but was able to tell Cale what was going on so he could check the news. Then I relaxed!

We were given the all clear a few minutes later and then had to decide to stay or go. It was still raining VERY hard, but we had two more courses to serve. They were quick ones and I didn't want to miss a thing so I decided to stick it out. I'm glad I did because the dessert was delicious and such a great, simple idea for the summer. The drive home was treacherous because of the pouring rain and the lightening. I have never seen lightening like that in my life and it was so bright and frequent it was hard to see. My gas tank was also on empty and I had to go to the bathroom so it was a looooong drive home. My little white house never looked so welcoming!

I had a fantastic time at this class and can't wait to put to use what I learned. And I'm even more excited about my second class next month! Cale, you're a genius!

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