For the love of food: Sur La Table cooking class

March 5, 2011

Maybe I’ve watched one too many episodes of Top Chef or maybe it’s my Sicilian heritage, but I love being in the kitchen preparing delicious food. My good friend, Cheri, gave me a rocking birthday gift: a cooking class at Sur La Table. And she took the course with me.

We had the best time. {Thank you, Cheri!} I was so excited to be in a professional kitchen learning techniques and recipes from Chef Nikki, I was almost high. I don’t want to be a professional chef, but my appetite’s whetted to go up to the Culinary Institute in Sonoma and take a few courses for food enthusiasts.

That’s Chef Nikki, above. She’s Italian and a third-generation chef. Chef’s energizing attitude was contagious–our kitchen had an electric vibe. It was –-exciting–to be working with a culinary professional, her assistants and other students. It was a rush. {Oh, that I could have many lifetimes to do all the things I have learned I love or want to explore!}

A few scenes from our class. Oh, and we got to devour what we made. Yes, we did.

The prep table was nicely organized and very busy that night.
Always in motion. These glass bowls were lightweight for pouring and perfect for organizing ingredients.
It wasn’t just pretty. It was delectable.
Just out of the oven–the pizzas Cheri and I made. Goat cheese. Thyme. Olives. Orange zest. OMG. So good.
We used this microplane to zest our oranges for the pizza. I bought one. I also went home with a ceramic pizza stone, two kitchen brushes, a flat whisk and a chinois (fine mesh strainer).

Seasoning is everything.
We learned to test the doneness of beef by pressing on it while it’s in the pan. Yes, tiny bursts of boiling oil felt like scattered burning pinpricks when I reached in. I tried to be brave. It wasn’t that hard to reduce a merlot and shallot sauce for our beef. But it was a surprise to see the high temps needed when cooking.
Our pizzas were a hit:
Thanks to Chef Nikki, her crew, Sur la Table and of course, the wonderful Cheri. {She got better photos, I was too busy trying to jot notes, stir, zest and strip thyme leaves. My multi-tasking skills aren’t what they used to be!} Oh, and scroll down for more thoughts on food.

2 comments on “For the love of food: Sur La Table cooking class
  1. Ruth D~ says:

    Must have been an awesome experience! Fun and food!

    Happy Birthday.

  2. Thanks, Ruth! It was a belated course as my day was in July, this was the first chance we had to go together. I highly recommend! So fun and not hugely $$.

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