Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cooking Class: Monet's Table

I recently discovered that the Alliance Française de Chicago offers French cooking classes. The first class I signed up for, "Being A Chef: Monet's Table", featured recipes from the cooking journals of Claude Monet which are published in Monet's Table. It wasn't clear if Monet created these recipes himself or if he just wrote down his friends recipes, but they were all in his journal.

During the class we discussed foods that commonly found in Giverny in the late 1800s and common preparation techniques. There were no immersion blenders for food processor back then!

Herb Soup
This recipe is really unique because you basically took a salad and wilted it in butter and then pureed it all together. The main herb used in sorrel which I was unfamiliar with, but after tasting this amazing soup I am on the lookout for a sorrel plant so I can grow my own.

Baked Wild Mushrooms
The simplicity of French cooking was demonstrated with this recipe. Calling for morels, cepe and crimini mushrooms, we were had to improvise on this one. We used dried morels and omitted the cepe entirely. But just baking the mushrooms with a little oil, garlic and parsley was more flavorful than you can imagine. Served with some crusty bread and it was a little meal all by itself.

Braised Sole in White Wine Sauce
The "main course" for which we substituted turbot for the sole. While it came out well, this was the most confusing recipe of all. We braised the fish I learned that you can cut parchment paper the exact size of the pan and use that instead of a lid. This way the "cover" is right on top of the food and all the flavors meld together much better.

Chocolate Gateau
An ALMOST flourless chocolate cake. It rises like a souffle and a little bit of batter made from only 5 ingredients makes an wonderful rich dessert.


Erin said...

Your class looks so lovely! I can't even begin to tell you how much I don't like the Thai cooking class I signed up for. The building smells like urine, the kitchen is a total mess and the students don't even know how to chop things. I almost poked my own eye out the other day watching someone cut 3 scallions with a paring knife for 20 minutes (I kid you not).

Needless to say I wont be taking any more classes at that establishment. Chris and I are taking a couples cooking class at another place in September. I'm hoping that will be a little more challenging / classy.

rachel said...

Erin - Oh no! What a disaster. This class is at the French Alliance and they offer all sorts of "French" classes - mostly French the language. But they have a kitchen and the staff is super nice. I'm taking another one here on Saturday.

The Thai class I am taking is at Kendall College which is a professional cooking school. I have higher expectations there and they have lived up to them so far. Next class is at the end of July.

Anonymous said...

A good story

GK Chesterton: “The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”

Voila: This book is a poetic view of 30 of the best loved French cheeses with an additional two odes to cheese. Recipes, wine pairing, three short stories and an educational section complete the book.

From a hectic life in New York City to the peace and glories of the French countryside lead me to be the co-founder of Ten years later with the words of Pierre Androuet hammering on my brain:

“Cheese is the soul of the soil. It is the purest and most romantic link between humans and the earth.”

I took pen and paper; many reams later with the midnight oil burning Tasting to Eternity was born and self published.

I believe cheese and wine lovers should be told about this publication.