Hi Friends and Family!
I hope you all had a good week. Aren’t Fridays the best? Leaving San Francisco this afternoon under the bright blue sky and the Blue Angels taking test flights overhead, I was feeling pretty alright with the world. Although I’m exhausted from the week, we’ve got a fun surprise for one of our kids this weekend, so it’s bound to be a great weekend!
This week in cooking school had several highlights for me. It’s days like this that make standing for 6 hours (minus the 15-20 lunch!) each day totally worth it. To begin the week we each made a version of Quiche Lorraine. You may remember from a post a few weeks ago that brunch is my FAV meal of the day, so this exercise was definitely something that I enjoyed making and eating. The version that I made was very similar to one that a very dear friend made for one of my baby showers years ago. It had a flaky buttery crust with caramelized onions and leeks, crisp bacon, gruyere and finished with goat cheese dotting the top of the quiche. It was baked in a rectangular tart pan and was pretty darn good, if I do say so myself! This rectangular tart pan is getting added to my growing list of Christmas/Bday ideas. I have a fairly respectable stocked kitchen, but I’m really hoping some of these kitchen toys end up in my drawers come the holidays!
The next three days consisted of lamb, lamb, and more lamb. To be completely honest, I was not really looking forward to this part of the curriculum. I have only had lamb a few times in my life and have never liked it much. And really, the list of foods that I dislike is very very short- I like pretty much anything! But, lamb, gamey birds, veal- all go in the category of foods I “don’t do.” Meaning, I don’t order them in a restaurant or buy and cook at home. I am always willing to try things and change my opinion, and that, I have.
I really enjoyed this week. We had an entire lamb brought in by Dave the Butcher, from SF’s Marina Meats. Dave is awesome. He drove the lamb- the whole lamb- in the front seat of his convertible Mazda Miata to the cooking school. In the rain. I’m not kidding. Over the next several hours he told us all about the lamb. He talked about the local farm it was raised at and cared for from a farming family of many generations. What it ate. How it had a good life and one really bad day. I didn’t think I could stomach this day of butchering the entire carcass of an animal, but it wasn’t really so bad. And, as I mentioned, Dave is awesome. After 3 hours of butchering the whole lamb, we spent the next 2 ½ days cooking lamb- 12 different ways. I thought about half of the dishes were very good, and the other half were excellent. What a surprise to me! This is the kind of stuff I’m at cooking school for. To learn as much as I can, especially about foods that I’m not as familiar with and likely never would have taken the time to learn.
In addition to the lamb dishes, there was homemade Rosemary Focaccia, a Gnocchi Gratin and a beautiful Autumn Salad with Persimmons. The week was capped off by some delicious Asian food as well as Cardamom Pound Cake with Spice Ice Cream and Poached Quince.
What a week. I am really looking forward to making many of these dishes at home for friends and family for years to come! Have a great weekend.