Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Rockin' the knife away

In November of 2012, a fabulous new store opened in Bloomington- etc for the home. I started hearing great things and "oh you've got to go in there!" It was on my way home. I would look at the store as I passed by and think someday.
A few weeks ago my friend Liz was my weekend guest. We wanted to shop, have coffee, experience the restaurants, all that Bloomington has to offer. I told Liz, "there is a fabulous new store in town and I've been wanting to go in there and we are going." Walking into this store is just, just, wow. I am a wordsmith and I have no words.
The store is huge- a warehouse.
Beautiful furniture and pictures and grills and deck chairs and baby items and kitchen items. The (state-of-the-art-fabulous) kitchen in near the center of the building.
On that Saturday morning when we walked in, we could smell something fabulous.
"Pizza in the kitchen," we were told.
We walked into the kitchen and Chef Dave greeted us with a smile. He welcomed us and then offered us some pizza. And, oh my, what pizza. To.Die.For.
Chef Dave proceeded to tell us bout upcoming cooking classes. I thought "I'm there!"
I went home and started following them on facebook .
Today  was le premier cooking class and I was there.
And, I am happy to say there were only three in the class,
and we received a lot of individual attention. When we walked in, to the kitchen, pots were bubbling on the stove and there was food everywhere.
This is the description of the class:
Cooking Class: Basics One (all hands on)
1) Grilled Corn and Crab Soup
2) Tuscan Pork Tenderloin Salad
3) Grilled Tuna Salade Niçoise

- learn important basic knife handling and cutting skills –
- keeping a kitchen clean and hygienic – properly stock a gourmet kitchen,
 kitchen equipment maintenance  
Stuff to cut and chop

more stuff to cut and chop
We started out by learning how to hold knives, how to hold our fingers, how to hold what we were cutting and chopping. We learned how to Julienne- small sticks-think matchstick, Jardiniere -baton- larger sticks- for dipping, Paysanne - big dice and Brunoise - small dice. (I have not mastered Brunoise, I fear for my fingers.)(I am quite accident prone, easily burn myself on the stove and have cut myself, before.)We learned how to sharpen knives. I did master cutting with a large knife without lifting it - Chef Dave kept saying "rock it, rock that knife."
We started to cut up carrots and celery and onion.
Then we started to grill the corn for the soup.

grilling corn in the fab grill pan for the soup

grilling tenderloin in the fab grill pan for the salad

I learned tenderloin continues to cook after you remove it from the heat.
grilling quartered radicchio in the fab grill pan (look at all the goodies in the store)
I learned a little Marsala added to the soup enriches the flavor.

Blanching green beans, asparagus and white asparagus

more grilling and simmering of the soup
I learned to peel celery and asparagus to remove the chewy, stringy bits.
I learned how to bend and snap whit asparagus - what is considered good to eat and what isn't.

shredding parmigiano cheese

I learned how to grill Portobello mushrooms.
sprinkling pepper over the Grilled Tuna Salade Niçoise

 Grilled Corn and Crab Claw Soup

the fruits of our labor
 I am not a gourmet cook. I have my specialties which are requested often. I just learned to whip whipping cream at Christmas time. I enjoy cooking- when I have time. I took a half-day of vacation to attend this class today and I did indeed feel as if I was on vacation. Hours to cook and not having to worry about the clock or if it is all going to come together at once. Guidance and teaching by a Chef. I learned so much.
Thank you, Chef Dave.

pans hanging from pan rack

Chihuly glass sculpture

Ruth, Judy, me, Chef Dave
Just like going into etc for the home, taking a cooking class was a someday in my life.
I'm glad that day was today.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Blooming in Bloomington

Little Five weekend. Some of you may know about Little Five from the Movie Breaking Away.
A lot of drunken college students downtown.
First stop for us - Starbucks.

Tulips on campus.

IU Gargoyle



Sample Gates



More blooms.

Prom night in B-town

Second story sitters
It was a great day to take our Corgi, Chelsea, on a walk downtown. Everyone loves Chelsea. How cool is it for people to ask if they can pet your dog and then thank you. One guy told us that his day had been brightened by visiting with Chelsea.
The sun was shining, people were out and about and the blooms were blooming in Bloomington.

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