Monday, August 30, 2010

Cooking Lessons – Day One

We all had quite the fun last evening, but made it for a slow going morning! However, when you wake up to this view it makes you want to get out and enjoy it. Breakfast was available from 9:00-10:30 and most of us were down early.

One really has an “at home” feeling when you’re here. We had a typical European breakfast with prosciutto, fresh melon, yogurts (that are in a glass pot), fresh baked bread and fresh squeezed orange juice. I could get used to this. We were all surprised at how cold it was this morning, probably only in the low 60s. I don’t think I packed enough long sleeves! After breakfast we all decided to just sit around and enjoy the beautiful scenery. We could see the clouds in the distance and watched as they rolled in. We could see the rain approaching the mountain and before long it was raining. I did try to get online and we having a great deal of difficulty doing so. I finally realized I had to put in a manual IP address, but now it seems to be up and running. Before long it was time for our lunch. They had to move it inside due to the rainstorm. We had a “light lunch” that consisted of salad, bread, pasta with red sauce and then a flourless chocolate cake. It was still storming out after lunch and some went to nap, but since there was only an hour until class, I tried to get on the internet. I finally managed just as we had to be in the kitchen. Franco and Paola were all ready for us to begin.

We have these incredible cookbooks that we were given and I’ve already decided that I need a digital scale since that is the most precise way to measure. We “geared up” in our special aprons that we get to keep and did a group photo before we had food all over us. Class began we an overview of the day’s class and what we would be preparing. We were divided into groups of 2 or 3 and assigned a course. I was paired with Nicole and we had the first course, which was a zucchini flan with Parmesan fondue sauce. The dessert team had 3 people since they prepared dessert for dinner, dessert for lunch tomorrow and biscotti. The hardest part at this point is learning the way around the kitchen and where everything is located. As a time saver, all of our ingredients were premeasured and placed in front of our stations. The other wonderful part is Paola – she comes behind and cleans up everything.

No sooner were we done with a pot or pan and she would have it taken away and washed. We were chopping, sautéing, picking herbs from the garden and working away for 2 hours when Franco called for a break. Some had coffee, others wine and of course another snack – this prosciutto in puff pastry. All I can say is wow. I really hope I can fit into my clothes at the end of this week! It was then back to the kitchen to finish our course. We had finished ours, so Franco had us prepping veggies for pizza and I weighing 400 g of flour and 200g of water for each of the nine of us.

It was time to make our pizza dough! This is going to be for lunch tomorrow. It was great to see everyone working with their dough, some had more trouble than others, but it all came out well in the end thanks to Franco! We finished about 7:15 and had a break until dinner at 8:15. Since it had cooled off this evening we again ate inside and even had a fire in the fireplace. You really couldn’t ask for a better setting. All of the participants are also wonderful and we seem to get along as though we’ve known each other a long time. Dinner was served by course and Franco presented each one. We started with our flan that looked beautiful and tasted even better. It was great to see that it had turned out so well. Franco had also made a fennel and orange salad for the table. Next was the pasta course where we had this eggplant and tomato pasta. I have to admit that I do not normally like eggplant, but this was probably my favorite course. Our main course was Saltimbocca, which is pork with prosciutto and sage. There was a white wine sauce reduction and “snake beans”. Dessert tonight was tiramisu – of course! It was made from scratch all the way down to the ladyfingers. I feel like I have already learned so much even in just one day. We were all pretty exhausted so we called it an early evening. We start even earlier with cooking tomorrow since we’re making our own pizzas at lunch. Until tomorrow…

1 comment:

Hunter said...

Looks like L is diving into the class and having a big time.