November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

I had a brilliant idea this sneak off & spend the next 5 days alone in a swanky hotel, drinking champagne, ordering room service, and catching up on sleep. That way, I could avoid this entire holiday weekend...and get some much needed rest, relaxation, and quiet time.

While I love Thanksgiving dinner, I'm just not looking forward to cleaning the house for our overnight guests, doing all the grocery shopping tonight & cooking the entire meal by myself on Thursday (as my husband will be busy working and/or duck hunting the next few days). I'm sure it will all work out in the long run, but I am feeling anxious and overwhelmed by how much I have to do in the next couple of days.

Still, I'm not one to selfishly abandon my family on a holiday. So, I'll suck it up and make the best of it. This Thanksgiving, I'll remember to appreciate the family & friends who are joining us for dinner (and not focus on the heart-breaking dysfunction of those who are not), to celebrate the one-year anniversary of our engagement (and 8 wonderful months of marriage), & to recognize all that I have to be truly thankful for.

November 21, 2010

Chili Cookoff: Carolina Pulled Pork Chili

In my former life, some friends of mine had a big chili cookoff at their house every year in which they pitted their friends' culinary skills against one another. So, this year I decided to steal their idea...and see just how talented my foodie friends are.

I invited people to bring their best chili recipe in a crock pot. I set all the pots on the dining room table (connected with extension cords & power strips). Each pot was numbered & given a stack of corresponding numbered tasting cups. After everyone tasted the chilies, they were given 3 beans with which to vote for their favorite dish(es) by putting beans in numbered cups set up along the fireplace mantle.

There was one rule for the night: No white chili. This wasn't a best chicken-and-bean soup cookoff.
The Set-Up
My friends came through and produced some really good food. All 13 of the chilies earned votes. There was many different variations, of course. Some used beef; others used pork. I think Ashby tried to sway my vote by adding bacon to his. One featured corn; another featured hominy. A few were very spicy (Simon!). Overall, they were all good!

November 3, 2010

Winter 2010-2011 Cooking Classes

Kitchen Conservatory's winter schedule is now posted online. Here are my upcoming classes:

DATE NIGHT FOR COUPLES: THE HARD EDGE TO THE BIG EASY - Sunday, Nov. 7 @ 5:00-7:30 (hands-on)
  • This hands-on class for couples is all about the Cajun cuisine of New Orleans and hard ciders! Jerad has selected two incredible ciders to pair with fried pickles and bacon-wrapped grilled jalapeños stuffed with chorizo. Learn to create andouille-pork burgers, sweet potato fries, red beans and rice, plus white chocolate bread pudding with bourbon sauce.

GIRLS' NIGHT OUT: WINE BAR TAPAS - Saturday, Nov. 13 @ 6:30-9:00 (demonstration)
  • Raise a toast as I bring the wine bar to a different level with delicious tapas. Start with roasted olives spiced with orange and chile, a glass of white wine paired with walnut-stilton shortbread topped with pears and mascarpone, grilled bruschetta with tuna and capers, a glass of red wine paired with fried goat cheese with tomato chutney, and polenta bites with roasted mushrooms and caramelized onions. Finish with rosemary-chocolate truffles.

DATE NIGHT FOR COUPLES: GROWN-UPS' MAC-AND-CHEESE - Sunday, Nov. 21 @ 5:00-7:30 (hands-on)
  • Mac-and-cheese has never tasted so sophisticated! Couples will love the adult version of three luscious interpretations of this classic dish, as this hands-on class creates orzo with mascarpone and butter-poached lobster, souffléed mac-and-cheese with gouda and smoked paprika, and the ultimate baked mac-and-cheese with peas and bacon. Sip on a rum-ginger beer cocktail, and make fennel-apple salad with apple cider vinaigrette, plus key lime sorbet.

DATE NIGHT FOR COUPLES: FROM BEER TO SUSHI ETERNITY - Friday, Nov. 26 @ 6:00-8:30 OR Friday, March 11 @ 6:30-9:00 (hands-on)
  • Be prepared for a fun evening of sushi designed just for couples. Enjoy salt-and-pepper edamame, then learn to prepare sticky sushi rice and make a variety of hand-formed nigiri, and rolled maki, including spicy tuna rolls, California rolls and Philadelphia rolls -- all served with cold beer that Jerad has chosen to pair perfectly with sushi. Finally, we'll make lemongrass sorbet for a refreshing dessert.