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cooking class

In spot on August 9, 2014 at 9:23 pm

we recently took a cajun cooking class at the cambridge school of culinary arts (thanks, grandma!) and it was a blast!

i would absolutely recommend it to anyone. there wasn’t a ton of “instruction,” per se, but the chef leading the course was very knowledgable and helpful and got people of all skill levels engaged in cooking.

besides eating all the great food we prepared, i think our favorite part was getting to spend an evening playing in a fully stocked industrial kitchen, with every tool and ingredient you’d want available.

i was assigned the muffuletta sandwich.

muffaletta

of course, cured meats aren’t usually in my diet, but the takeaway really was the filling you make with olives, anchovies, capers, celery, red pepper, lots of herbs and olive oil. definitely making that again and serving it over anything (especially fish!).

muffalettafilling

for those wondering about dietary restrictions, this particular class had no vegetarian dishes, but the majority were made with shrimp or crab (which don’t have faces!). the school does offer specifically vegetarian classes.

deep dish peach pie with crumble topping

In dessert on August 3, 2014 at 11:38 pm

so i made this. he was away for the weekend and i wanted to make sure he was good and glad to be home!

and it certainly lived up to expectations.

peachslabpieserved1

my only gripe – if it even reaches the level of “gripe” – is why isn’t this just a deep dish pie? the times calls it a slab pie. in my mind, a slab pie is shallow (this is quite deep, as you can see) and has a top crust.

in any case, you don’t care much what it’s called when you have sweet, spicy, fruity deliciousness in front of you.

peachslabpieserved

the recipe is very simple. if you’re afraid of pies or pie crusts, you can absolutely do this recipe.

your food processor takes care of the crust part, and the rest is easy as pie. (sorry)

you don’t even need a pie dish! i made half a recipe – because even for someone who loves peach pie, 11-by-15 inches of pie is a lot of pie – and i used my 8-by-8 square glass baking dish. and even so it made a honkin’ lot of pie.

here are the steps, in pictures:

peachslabpiepeaches

look at those beauties

peachslabpieboiling

i decided to skin them because they weren’t organic. easiest way is to plop them in boiling water for a minute or so (i used the fork to rotate them instead boiling a huge pot of water) and then use a knife or vegetable peeler.

peachslabpieskinned

the crust comes together easily and then chills for an hour

peachslabpiemakingcrust

when you roll it out and pat it into the pan, it doesn’t even matter if you need to move some around and patch holes.

peachslabpiecrust

the filling is made yummier with lemon juice and nutmeg.

peachslabpiefilling

(look at that gorgeous new white bowl! it was a wedding present.)

the crumble topping has some dried ginger in it. and we’re ready for the oven.

peachslabpiereadyforoven

there will definitely be some left for breakfast.

peachslabpiebaked

fried polenta

In technique on July 16, 2014 at 1:31 am

polenta is great side dish or foundation to serve with a variety of sauces/glops. one of my favorite go-tos, of course, is white beans and tomatoes.

sometimes i make a pot of polenta and serve my glop on a puddle of it, or sometimes i fry up little cakes. sometimes i just slice the polenta tube that comes from the grocery store and go from there.

this time, i started from scratch. i cooked one cup of dry, coarse corn meal in 4 cups of boiling water, some salt and a glug of olive oil.

make sure you whisk it well at the beginning so you don’t get clumps.

when it was cooked, i took it off the heat and added a tablespoon of butter, about a 1/4 cup of grated parm and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

spread it into a (very well greased!) jelly roll pan (that’s a cookie sheet with an edge) and let it cool.

polentachilled

when cool, cover with plastic wrap and chill.

when you’re ready to use it, cut squares or rectangles (or circles or hearts!) and fry up in a cast iron with a little oil.

instead of topping with glop, this time i put the polenta on top, because he always complains that the glop makes the crispy fried polenta soggy.

polentaserved

note: he also discovered that if you don’t want to go to the mess/trouble of frying it, you can drizzle with a little oil and put under the broiler in the toaster oven for a similar result.

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