Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Making up for 20 years? Thai cooking and other classes
Four cooking classes in the span of eight days. Having always denied myself the pleasure of taking those kinds of classes, it seems I'm trying to make up for lost time all at once. But it really wasn't intentional. One of the classes was more demonstration and book-signing reception, for Tom Douglas' new book on crab cakes. He made five different ones, and they were all interesting. But the crab foo yung was my favorite. I'd signed up to go to this a couple of months ago, and it got postponed. So it landed on the 14th. While I was at the cookware shop where it was hosted, I looked at their schedule of classes and noticed there was a five-hour class on Thai cooking the next day. (One of those advantages of being a consultant, you get to do some interesting things in the middle of the day.) The cool thing about the Thai class was that first we went shopping. So I got introduced to a great hole-in-the-wall market in the International District that even has free parking. And incredible prices on great produce as well as an amazing selection of Asian ingredients. Lots less expensive than Uwajimaya, which is everyone's go-to place for such things. I can't wait to take Dave there to shop with me. The class was fun -- practical stuff I'll use again, and learned more about how to deal with fresh rice noodles, which I love. My second week of the Culinary Communion preservation series was mostly about preserves (duh!). As a class we made a lot of recipes; I took responsibility for making a poblano ketchup, which was great. Though the batch of poblanos was pretty spicy -- you know how they can vary so much -- so the end result had quite a kick. Would be great with a chunk of halibut or deep-fried zucchini. We also did some followup work on the cured things we did the week before. So I removed the skin from the cured pork belly and rolled it very tight to continue the process of making pancetta. That was hard work! We cooked (smoked) some of the bacon we made last week and had it with our lunch, it was quite yummy. Oh, and lunch was pork vindaloo, rice, and fava bean puree. I'm feeling a little more comfortable with the group but still a little disoriented. It's fine though. Next Saturday we're making cheese -- mozzarella, Camembert, cheddar, goat's milk cottage cheese, chevre, and maybe some paneer. Mmmmmm.