Culinary Adventures: Going back to school
Did we just walk on the set of a Food Network show? Chef O stood at the front of the classroom with two big screen tv's above her head giving this appearance of a cooking show on Food Network. She makes a joke about two introverts, referring to chef Emily, leading a class. I felt a kinship with her already. I too suffer the introverted teaching anxiety, but Women on Adventures is all about tackling those fears so here we were facing our cooking adventure.
Nine of us filled the kitchen at the Fry's Culinary School classroom. We were about to take a culinary trip to Spain. Exploring the country's food as we cooked up Paella and other delightful treats. It's understandable if you didn't know Fry's at Tatum and Shea had a cooking school. It's tucked away behind the floral arrangements.
We all had different cooking levels. Some of us knew our way around a kitchen and others would rather memorize the Chinese takeout number than figure out how to operate a gas oven, but we were there for a culinary adventure and we were not disappointed.
Our Spanish journey started with knife lessons. I guess they wanted to reduce the risk of lost fingers by teaching us how to properly hold and use a knife. Smart on their part.
We then moved to dessert. Always a good call. A Quesada Pasiega dish which had us all excited to taste. The spacious kitchen filled with the scent of cinnamon and sugar as they simmered milk on the stove. Each of us got the chance to help with a dish. This particular one was not super complicated, but had a lot of carefully crafted steps to ensure you don't do things like cook your eggs when pouring in hot ingredients, or that you don't lump your flour when adding that to your mixture.
Fun Fact: You know why they release the salt up high? It's not the aspirational Salt Bae look, it's actually to disperse the salt around the dish!
Our next dish to get going was Paella. There is an art to this dish, and many steps so it was a good thing we had Chef Emily to help guide us through it all. Cooking up onions and garlic which we learned the way you chop garlic will determine how much potency it has. Microplane the clove and it will be milder, chop it and it will be stronger, eat it whole and your immune system gets a little kickstart! They shared with us this garlic rocker that had half (okay, two of us) the students grabbing phones to order on amazon. Prime!
After garlic and onion we remove that from the pan and sear the chicken, then remove that from the pan and add the chicken stock then we start putting ingredients back in. Pouring in the rice, nestling the chicken around that, adding shrimp, chorizo, and all the other ingredients then not touching the pan for 20 minutes. This gives you the good crusty bits of rice around the edges.
While that simmered we moved on to potatoes for Patata Bravas, and learned that once you boil the potatoes in water with a little baking soda, you should drain them and put them back in the pan over heat, stirring them, to get this, dry them! The baking soda will make them crispier when you bake them and the drying them will help them not be too mushy. These went in the oven to continue cooking as we waited for the paella.
We also made a salsa for toasted bread which was divine! After working away in the kitchen with our Chefs we all sat down to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Everything was perfect and we all walked away with new culinary tricks to share with our friends and family.
Thanks to Chef O and Chef Emily, and Fry's Cooking School, for taking us on this wonderful adventure to Spain.
Check out your local cooking schools to take a class for your next culinary advneture.