Tag Archives: Cooking class

Chop Shop

Gift giving can sometimes be super stressful — what do you give someone who really has everything? Every year we wrestle with ideas for Father’s Day and this year we actually came up with something really fun — a cooking class!

We signed up for a private group class at Chop Shop Cooking and got to choose 5 different mini dishes to make.  While we sat at the counter and sipped wine, chef Karen went through each recipe showing us the tips and tricks of the trade.

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Our first recipe was a sesame crusted tuna taco with a pineapple salsa and wasabi cream. I was so surprised how quick it was to make! Its definitely a recipe for one of those nights where you don’t have a ton of time to cook dinner.

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Another quick meal was coriander spiced salmon with fennel, oranges, and radishes. The homemade dressing was amazing and she used different types of oranges to give the dish some nice color.

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We also made Pomegranate Glazed Chicken with Figs and Quinoa, and Jerk Chicken and Peach Skewers with a Roasted Corn and Zucchini Salad!  Everything was so great — I hope that when Doug and I tackle some of these recipes this week they come out as good!

Chop Shop Cooking with Karen
Westport, CT

Dave’s Fresh Pasta: Part II

After we ate our amazing risotto, we learned how to make gnocchi. Most people know that gnocchi can be made with potatoes, but apparently its very hard to make a nice light gnocchi because it can be easily over mixed, but a great alternative is the ricotta gnocchi!

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We only used four ingredients in our gnocchi — ricotta, pecorino, sautéed spinach, and flour. I definitely want to try this again soon, but I will leave out the pecorino.

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Everything got mixed together in the bowl, but we were careful not to over mix it. We don’t have the “starchy” problem that can happen when mixing a potato gnocchi, but Jason told us it wasn’t necessary to over mix this kind either.

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We each took turns making the gnocchi. We would pull off a small ball of dough, roll it out, and then use the knife to cut it up into small bite sized pieces.

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It was important to make sure the gnocchi was all the same size so that they would cook evenly. I also really liked how they looked with the spinach mixed in– I’m thinking that a sun-dried tomato gnocchi might be in my future!

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Since there were so many of us we made all of the gnocchi pretty quickly! It might take a bit longer for just one or two people, but it was pretty easy to roll it out and cut it.

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Jason suggested we use a simple butter and sage sauce for our gnocchi, as a heavier marinara or alfredo sauce might overpower our delicate pasta!

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Our 2nd finished product! Even though I don’t really like pecorino cheese I did try a few pieces, mostly to try out the texture. It was actually pretty good (I didn’t really notice the pecorino), and the texture was definitely light and fluffy, not heavy at all!

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All of us with our chef instructor, Jason, at the end of the night! If you’re in the Boston area and want to learn how to make some incredible pasta I would definitely recommend taking a class at Dave’s Fresh Pasta! In addition to gnocchi and risotto they also do classes for Asian dumplings, pasta sauces, Vietnamese cuisine, and even fresh mozzarella! Bon appetit!

French Macarons with Sur La Table

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Last weekend Doug and I went into Boston for a French Macaron cooking class at Sur la Table.  One of my friends was going and invited us to come along and I jumped at the chance. Making my own macarons? If I could do that I could probably die happy. I took copious notes and listened more intently to our instructor than some of my college professors! In the end we all left with rather decent looking macarons, but the real test will be when we try to make them at home on our own!!

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We had to whip our egg whites and sugar until the mixture created “foamed peaks”. This often required us to stop and test the batter several times throughout the mixing process to determine if it was ready for the next step.

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Doug and I were on the team assigned to make the lemon macarons so we added a gel food coloring and lemon essence to the mix. The other groups were creating Earl Grey and Chocolate macarons.

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We used pastry bags to pipe the macarons onto the baking sheets. They were really smart and gave us templates to help us create cookies that were the same shape and size. You don’t want a lopsided macaron!!

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I thought the Earl Grey macarons were so pretty. When they made them they used actual tea leaves from Earl Grey teabags which gave the batter this really fun speckled look.

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Doug is normally better than me at all things in the kitchen, but I was actually a pro at piping the macaron batter! However, filling the piping bag is not easy! We definitely made a little bit of a mess trying to fill it up!

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Can’t have a macaron without the filling! Doug and I were making butter salted caramel. It wasn’t too hard to make so I might keep the recipe handy for the next time we decide to make crepes! Doug is stirring the pot (so it doesn’t overflow) while I slowly poured in the heavy cream. The recipe wasn’t difficult, but you have to be very precise!

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Some of our cookies right out of the oven! Sometimes the cookies can get stuck, and they recommended to put some wet paper towels underneath them to help steam them off, but since we were a bit pressed for time we just pulled them. Oops!

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We experimented with different mixtures and Doug even used the raspberry butter cream with one chocolate cookie and another lemon cookie. They weren’t the prettiest macarons, but they certainly tasted good! If you have the chance to take a Sur La Table class I’d highly recommend it! Definitely worth the money and a ton of fun!!