We’re smack in the middle of March Madness. Typically, this time of year is chilly, rainy (or more likely snowy), and drab. March also brings a ton of college basketball. Well, not this year. At least as far as the chilly/rainy/snowy/drab stuff. Across the country, temperatures are way above normal. Windows are open, we’re sporting flip flops, and I even got a bit a of a sunburn while running this week! In MARCH!
|Tortellini and Shrimp with Fresh Herbs|
OK, so I’m a little behind on my posts. I’ve got a thing or two going on! But, just to show you that I haven’t been starving myself, I did make a kick-butt potato gratin recently. I made this back when the weather was a bit more frightful and a nice heavy casserole full of potatoes warms you right up. For some reason, Chicago hasn’t quite figured out that the weather shouldn’t be frightful anymore. It should be SPRING! It SNOWED last night. Yuck. So maybe this dish is still weather-appropriate around these parts.
Michael gave me a mandolin for Christmas, and in order to prove to him that my kitchen just was not complete without one, I had to put it to use. Potato gratin to the rescue. The caramelized onion part of this recipe involves a shortcut….or what some culinary folk might call cheating. But whatever, it still tasted good and caramelized to me!
The second portion of the class is in the kitchen. During week one, we put together small plates and one-bite appetizers. I made a very cute (and very easy!) salmon lollipop with a balsamic-ginger dipping sauce. Next time I make it, I’ll snap a photo and provide you the recipe.
During week two of the kitchen portion, the class created a dinner buffet. My assignment? A fruit platter and a vegetable platter. Not my idea of learning something new from (very expen$ive) culinary school. But I went along with it, and created some mack daddy dipping sauces! I figured I might as well make the most of the task by learning how to better slice and present the fruit, plus spice it up with sauce. Bleu cheese sauce for the veggies, and an orange cream cheese dipping sauce for the fruit. The sauces were a big hit!
This last week, week #3 in the kitchen, caused me the most trouble. I questioned my cooking capabilities several times over. Our assignment? A seated dinner for 20. We worked in teams (girls vs boys), and my main tasks were herbed polenta and fig relish. Doesn’t sound too terrible, right? Especially considering the fact that I’ve made polenta (and grits) thousands of times, plus I have a kick-butt recipe from a friend for a rosemary fig jam that is pretty much like a fig relish. Easy breezy. Or so I thought!
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I’ve written about Greek food before. Check out Parts One, Two and Three of our trip to Greece in 2009. This time, we brought the food to Chicago…supper club style. We are fortunate enough to have a real, live Greek person within the club. George’s tips and menu ideas helped us along. Some of the menu items (ahem….dessert in particular) may have strayed from “traditional,” but we like to think we stuck to the classic Greek flavors at the very least. Read More »
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