Brushing Up for Success
Last month I did a lesson for a retired couple in Iowa City. They had received a gift lesson from a family member and were interested to learn some simple, gourmet dishes that would feed a small crowd and travel well. I created a lesson that covered 3 dishes; a salad, an entrée, and a dessert with a focus on how to prepare each dish for transport and maintain quality. Each dish demonstrated a different method for traveling with food. The salad was the most straightforward. It can be assembled beforehand and dressed with the vinaigrette on arrival. The entrée was a "quick braised" chicken dish that I combined the technique of pan roasting and braising to prepare a one-dish meal that would arrive at it's final destination hot, and ready to eat. Finally, the dessert could either be assembled beforehand or, if your host approves, the separate elements of the dessert could be stored in their fridge and assembled after the meal. Here is the full menu of the lesson:
Mixed greens dressed with a sherry vinaigrette; tomatoes, cucumbers, goat cheese, and sunflower seeds
"Quick Braised" Chicken Breast; red potatoes, broccoli, chicken jus, and sautéed mushrooms
Gluten Free trifle; strawberries, lime custard, coconut whipped cream, and coconut macaroons
The lesson conveniently ended with the clients enjoying a three course meal while I cleaned up the kitchen and gathered my equipment. The lesson is always about cooking food, and the client eats at the end, but the "Why" and the "How" are always different. What interests me about each lesson is planning out what the client wants to eat, figuring out what techniques are unfamiliar, and demonstrating how to execute the menu in their own kitchen.