My friends Andrea & Lisa came over for cooking classes a couple of weeks ago (and are doing it again tonight!!), but I'd like to have one full time! Wouldn't that be nice? My poor husband does almost all of the cooking, so I have really looked forward to our cooking lessons with chef Brian Merel.
I'd like to have a few dishes in my back pocket that I can whip up, aside from macaroni & cheese (homemade!). We accomplished that with our first menu of Garlic Rubbed Bruschetta, Cipriani Pasta with Fresh Vegetables and Molten Chocolate Cake.
Brian is awesome, let me just get that out of the way. We had so much fun with him and learned a ton, particularly when it came to knife skills and the proper way to cut certain things.
I am always amazed when there is more than one pot going on at the same time. I tend to get stressed out when I have multiple pots and pans and elements that all need to be prepared at the same time. But we learned to always get pasta and sauces out of the way first, so we started with those.
We dumped almost 1/4th cup of salt into our boiling water. That, and tossing it with quality olive oil, made the plain pasta good enough to eat on its own! Any one of us could be seen grabbing noodles here and there throughout the lesson. Yum!
Now, check out the garlic & shallots sizzling in the olive oil. Swoon!
Our other sauce was a triple berry number that eventually ended up accompanying the chocolate cakes. This stuff was like crack.
Andrea and I have made this dish again since then (we cooked for the guys last weekend - lucky men!) and were too afraid to try OPA!-ing the brandy, so we just left that element out.
Now that our sauces were happily simmering away on the stove, we got down to business with the bruschetta. Here is a tip that I didn't know before our lesson: Use Roma tomatoes for bruschetta as they are less juicy than other varieties!
We mixed a simple combination of roma tomatoes, garlic, shallots and fresh basil (from our urban flower box garden!), splashed with red wine vinegar and olive oil. So easy and SO delicious!
Paired with a light pinot, chosen for the bottle more than anything else. So cute!
Then it was time to finish off the Cipriani sauce - we tossed in freshly sauteed zucchini and squash and mixed in cream.
Then tossed it all together with the pasta and warmed back up.
Now to my favorite dessert - what we called Warm Runny Chocolate Cake in my Muirfield days - Molten Chocolate Cake! Baking is a pretty exact science, so this was the only time we actually measured things out. I am always so impressed when people can cook without paying attention to the recipe!
We should have made 6. They were perfect!
Brian even finished up and served us our dessert as we chowed down on the rest of our meal. Of course, Derby had to get in on the action! Not-so-patiently waiting for someone to drop something, anything!
And the best part?! Andrea and I get to do it all over again tonight with our new friend T! We met her through my girl Snappy, so you might know her as Wrigley-T on her blog :) Can't wait to share the results of it with you!
Thanks again, Brian!