Friday, June 19, 2009
My family from Italy will be in town for a couple of weeks and I really want to focus on them for a while!
I therefore will not have any classes while they are here, nor will I probably update the blog during this time, but please feel free to contact me for any information about CUCINAMORE at firstname.lastname@example.org
See you all on here soon!
Thursday, June 18, 2009
When his mom one day asked me if I was willing to have a special class with her 7-year-old son and that this was going to be her birthday gift to him, I must confess that I was not so confident it was going to be a good idea.
On one side, I was thrilled: I always loved working with children and I have had Nicholas in my way when I cook since he learnt how to climb on a chair to reach the counter, so I guess that gives me some experience on the matter.
On the other hand though, I was telling myself “What if the poor child would rather have a new Transformer for his birthday instead and he is going to be bored and disappointed?". Then I decided to trust his mom when she told me that he really loves being in the kitchen and his dream (for now) is to be a chef one day, so I accepted the challenge and simply did my best to make it as enjoyable as possible for us both.
It turned out to be one of the best experiences I have had. I loved it! I hope he had fun too.
This is what I did with Daniel: I picked a very simple menu that we cooked together for his family and he brought the food home to proudly feed his parents and siblings.
DANIEL’S SPECIAL DINNER
Cheese and Spinach Dip in Fillo Shells
Baked Daniel’s Polpette (Italian meatballs)
Pasta Primavera with Ham, Peas and Cream
Rainbow Chocolate Pralines
We discussed about flavors, ingredients, safety and all the golden rules in the kitchen, like how to not leave a mess for mommy to clean up after you are done (and yes, his mom paid me a little extra for this one ;-) ).
We talked about how to be open to try new foods and how sometimes things that you do not like by themselves turn out to taste better when combined with something else. In short, we worked a lot and cooked a lot! And at the end I can proudly say it was a success, at least based on the hug I received when class was over! From what I heard his family enjoyed the dinner a lot and made him feel like he was a real chef for a day. Mission accomplished!
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Following my friend Shylah's advice I finally went to a local farmer's market yesterday morning.
Needless to say I could have bought half of what I saw and even more needless to say I could not afford doing that. So I settled for a jar of strawberry preserve that was probably the best I have ever tasted in my life and a piece or lamb that cost me an arm and a leg.
Lamb is pretty expensive over here and not that common either, from what I see. That was the reason why, when I saw this vendor selling frozen goat and lamb meat I told myself I had to have some. So I bought this lamb rack that turned out to not even be the cut of meat I expected it to be or at least it hadn't been prepared so to have the bones sticking out like a crown as I am used to see. But I did not dare touching it, so I cooked it the way it was.
Let me tell you that lamb is not exactly in my area of expertise, I probably only cooked it a couple times back when I was in Italy and so I was a little nervous. I did not want to waste that money making something that might not come out right.
I went to work that afternoon with that piece of lamb in mind. As soon as I came home I started working on it. I followed a recipe by Michele, a chef friend of mind that I probably mentioned before as he is the person who taught me a lot of what I know about food and cooking.
I was pretty pleased with the result. If nothing else, Nicholas, my 3-year-old son, ate without fussing. That equals to "pretty darn good dinner" on my scale!