My friends had a wonderful idea the other day.
“Let’s go to a cooking class!”
“Great! What’s on the menu?”
“Oh, some Italian dishes, but a bit spicier than usual. And you get to eat what you cook.”
“Say no more! I love spice. I love cooking. I love eating. Let’s do it.”
We made our booking at Chez Vous in Black Creek (Vancouver Island), and last Saturday night, we three girls went out to join the fun in the kitchen.
The ten guests who signed up for this class were divided into small groups to make various dishes:
Fresh pasta – tagliatelle and a sauce to make Spaghetti Putanesca
An eggplant and peppers appetizer – Melanzane
Lamb and Potatoes – Herb Roasted Rack of Lamb and Lemon Roasted Potatoes
Dessert – Tira misu
All photos in this post were taken by Deidre Macdonald, the pretty smiling lady in the photo below. She kindly sent them to me for this blog post. You see how happy she is. That’s how ecstatic we all felt by the time we left for home, after a fantastic evening of fun and cooking and learning.
Here, Chef Alain is checking the pasta he has just shown us how to make. We used attachments on his very old but still functional Kitchen Aid mixer to press the pasta dough and to slice it into long spaghetti strips. It was easy and fun.
Another group prepared the lamb, cutting the membrane on the inside of the ribs so the meat would not curl up in the pan, and then putting salt, pepper, and thyme on it. The chef called the group together for a lesson on the cooking of the meat. A combination of oil and butter sizzled in the pan over medium hot gas flames as he placed two racks in each of two pans.
As the butter started to look like it might burn he tipped the pan so the juices of the lamb combined with the butter and oil. This added enough liquid to prevent burning as the pan roasting continued.
Do you see how the rib bones are intertwined now that the racks have been turned over in the pan? This will help to cook the thickest part of the rack.
After a few more minutes of pan roasting, the lamb racks are sprinkled with chopped parsley and, in the same pan, are put into a 400 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
Dinner was served in four courses with wine pairings for those who elected to have this added pleasure.
The lemon herbed roasted potatoes and some of the other dishes we made are an art all to themselves. Perhaps another blog post needs to be dedicated to them.
If you are on the island and would like to see what’s happening at the chef’s business, check out his webpage here: chezvousfoods.com