June 29, 2008

Teaching My First Cooking Class

I taught my first cooking class at Kitchen Conservatory last Sunday. Anne had called me on the Thursday before to ask if I'd teach her novel cuisine class so that she could attend a funeral. I wanted to scream "yes" instantly, but I was nervous because not only had I not read the book...I also had never made or eaten or even seen the main dishes she chose: Goan Style Shrimp (recipe below) and Nasi Goreng.

The novel cuisine classes are book club/demonstration cooking classes. This month's reading was Michael Krondl's The Taste of Conquest: The Rise and Fall of the Three Great Cities of Spice. According to Amazon.com, Krondl is "a noted chef turned writer and food historian" who "tells the story of three legendary cities--Venice, Lisbon, and Amsterdam--and how their single-minded pursuit of spice helped to make (and remake) the Western diet and set in motion the first great wave of globalization. "

Anne's menu featured three recipes inspired by those three cities. The Goan Style Shrimp is similar to a curry (at least, I thought it was) and my favorite dish. I liked it so much that I made it at home for dinner last night. Nasi Goreng, a spicy Indonesian rice dish that "recalls the Golden Age of the Dutch East India Company," is a tradition in Dutch households. Referred to as Indonesian Rice Table, it's served with several bowls of garnishes like roasted peanuts or cashews, toasted coconut, golden raisins, bananas, and mango chutney. Our meal concluded with Triple Ginger Bread & freshly whipped cream (by hand, because that's how I roll).

Even though I was nervous at the start of class, I quickly eased into the cooking. And, the participants (mostly regulars who come to this class each month) were very patient and kind and complimentary. They kept the book discussion going and weren't upset when the cake stuck to the pan a bit. And, they nicely ignored what a messy cook I am.

I am looking forward to teaching a few more classes in the fall. I'm scheduled to teach a series called "Cookin' the Books." Each class will feature recipes from a particular cookbook:

Sept. 14 (12:30-3:00) - The Bacon Cookbook
* Hot bacon-blue cheese dip
* Corn & bacon souffle
* Chicken, avocado, & orange salad with bacon dressing
* German bacon cookies with maple glaze

Oct. 12 (1:00-3:30) - The Kitchen Diaries
* Goat cheese "puddings"
* Red lentil & pumpkin soup
* Rosemary & pancetta chicken patties stuffed with gorgonzola
* "Very good chocolate brownies"

Nov. 2 (1:00-3:30) - Tyler's Ultimate
* Caramelized onion toast
* Curry-lime chicken wings
* Macaroni & cheese with peas & bacon
* Pear cobbler with cranberry streusel

If you're interested in taking a class, you can call Kitchen Conservatory at 314-862-2665 or register online. The fall schedule should be available in August.

And now...
Goan Style Shrimp

2 pounds shrimp, peeled & deveined
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, roughly chopped
8 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 (or more) fresh hot green chili peppers, seeded & minced
1 teaspoon Thai chili paste (sambal oelek), or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut milk, well-stirred
freshly chopped cilantro or parsley, for garnish (optional)
  • Combine the ginger & garlic with the water in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
  • Heat the oil in a saute pan and cook the onions until translucent, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the ginger-garlic paste, chili, chili paste, turmeric, & cumin and cook for a minute. Taste for seasoning. Add more chili paste if you want it hotter.
  • Add the coconut milk and salt. Bring to a boil.
  • Toss in shrimp and cook a minute or two, just until the shrimp are pink.
  • Serve over rice. Sprinkle with fresh herbs (and a squirt of fresh lime juice), if desired.


Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

Congrats on teaching your first class! And with short notice, too.

Margaret Howard said...

No you DI-UNT! What a thing to pull of at the last minute! I am so proud of you! (I would be rproud of me too, if.) You are totally rockin, honey-girl. You have just FALLEN into your calling. It's fun venue over there. I really liked the class I took. Everyone is nice and really competent. And there you are now!



Anonymous said...

I will have to look into taking a class. That sounds like fun!