Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Let's Get Cooking
J grew up in a more adventurous home and loves trying new things. Luckily, he's got me to try new things too and I'm no longer a finicky eater, but I'm still not so adventurous in the kitchen. To help me get over my fear, my sister, friend and I decided to take cooking classes awhile back.
At first, the class wasn't what I expected. I was thinking we'd be in a big classroom, watch a demonstration, then start to cook ourselves. Instead we followed a recipe and the instructor came around to make sure we were following along and would give us tips as we went.
The food we made was incredible, but I was a little disappointed in the format of the class- at first. It's been a few months since the class and I've noticed I'm definitely more adventurous cooking at home. I've realized all I need to do is follow the recipes. Once I get comfortable with the basics, I get more adventurous. Which is pretty much how things were when I started baking.
Taking that class definitely boosted my cooking confidence in a short time. I'm no longer afraid to tackle any dishes and I'm really starting to enjoy cooking- almost as much as baking!
My new favorite dish actually came from the class. We took a Comfort Foods Class in our area (at the BCAE). Every thing we made in class was amazing and I have since made multiple times at home. I was expecting mac and cheese, but our instructor definitely stepped it up. My favorite dish was the french onion soup. I've always been afraid to make french onion because it seems kind of fancy and complicated. After taking the class, I've realized that while it is time consuming, it is probably the easiest thing to make. It tastes so good, so it's worth the time.
If you want to try it out, here is the recipe.
Easy French Onion Soup
4 tbs. (1/2 stick) butter - I use salted
1 tbs. olive oil
2 lb. yellow onions, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tbs. all-purpose flour
2 quarts beef stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp. Williams Sonoma Beef Demi-Glace
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
6-8 french bread slices
1/2 cup gruyere cheese, grated
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Carmelize the onions. In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter with 1 tbs. olive oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring occassionally, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occassionally, for 15 minutes. Uncover, add the sugar and saltand cook, stirrign occassionally, until the onions are carmelized, about 25 minutes. Add the flour and stir for 2-3 minutes.
Simmer the soup. Add the stock, wine and demi glace. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the black pepper. Reduce the heat to medium, cover partially and simmer until the onions begin to break down and melt into the broth, about 45 minutes.
My only recommendation is to make double, it's that good! It's also a great make ahead soup. I like to make it in advance when we have guests coming over. It's super impressive and easy to heat up. The flavors intensify over time, so it tastes just as good or better.
Where did you learn to cook? Do you consider yourself an amateur or a bit more adventurous?