Cooking “Class”

September 16, 2009 at 11:30 pm 3 comments

Hollander’s is a local store in Ann Arbor that specializes in “decorative papers, bookbinding supplies, and workshops”. They have a printing shop in the basement, and a papery on the first floor – it’s all quite impressive. But the part of Hollander’s that I’m most interested in is on the second floor – that’s where the kitchen and cooking supplies are! And for the first year, Hollander’s is offering cooking classes. At only $13 a class, I couldn’t resist! I signed up for the first one, entitled “Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatoes”. I’m actually not such a huge fan of tomatoes (raw, at least – I really like all that tomatoes can do, though), so I hoped that the class would help me to appreciate them a little more.

It wasn’t quite what I expected. When I think “class”, I think “hands-on”. I think in this situation, the word “demonstration” would be more appropriate. Other than that, it was fun to be in the room for what was essentially a Food Network show – it’s much more interesting when you can smell (and taste!) everything.

And we did get to taste. My favorite was the first thing we were served – Savory Tomato Shortcakes.

I feel weird about sharing the recipe – if I ever make it myself (and I think I will!) I might be more inclined, but do know that the cheese-like substance on top is actually heavy whipping cream whipped and seasoned with herbs – it was so surprisingly light, and went fantastically with the tomatoes. The tomatoes were simply dressed – only garlic, shallots, olive oil, and S+P, but even so, they were fantastic (and that’s coming from this tomato skeptic).

It’s funny – I guess there’s just so much cooking knowledge that I consider to be common knowledge, but the instructor explained, for instance, that “cloves” are the smaller lobes of a garlic “bulb”, and that shallots are smaller, less intense onions. But I did learn some new things myself, such as that roma tomatoes are more meaty (and therefore less watery) than most types of tomato. That should actually be helpful knowledge for me – I hate watery tomatoes. I also learned that Kosher salt is better than table salt to use because it dissolves more quickly, which makes it easier to salt to taste. I use Kosher salt when I cook, but I didn’t know that was the reason why!

The next dish was a Goat Cheese and Tomato Tart.

Anything made with puff pastry is delicious in my book, and this did not disappoint. I liked that honey was added to the goat cheese mixture, with the intent of dulling some of the sharpness of the goat cheese. I’m actually not a huge fan of goat cheese either (I know, what kind of a foodie am I?), and I liked this tip.

The final dish was good, but nothing special.

Called Drunkard’s Macaroni (or Maccheroni all’Ubriaca), it was made with cognac as the “secret drunkard’s” ingredient. I feel like I could come up with something much more interesting than this was, but still, it would be a good recipe to make for my brother :)

I wish I had made anything as interesting as was made in the class today; alas, I just had a lot of repeats, so I’ll spare you. I did, however, make it to the Farmers’ Market, where I picked up a few goodies:

And I saw something amazing there, too – apple cider! I love apple cider; it’s definitely one of my favorite parts of Fall. I didn’t get any today (I’m trying to wait until October – we’ll see if I last that long!), but you will definitely see some in the future!

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As if I need another addiction… The big 1-0, finally!

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Luna  |  September 17, 2009 at 11:01 am

    *yum* I love tomatoes :)
    I read your “about me” page and previous posts, I see you like running!! I started running a month ago and I rellay love it!My brother-in-law was living in Ann Arbor, and since I am going to visit him in a couple of weeks I thought “yes!!then she can tell me where to go running!!We could even meet!!”… then I realized that he moved to troy and that troy isn’t in Michigan but ohio :( oups…
    Anyhow… :D

    Reply
    • 2. followingfoodie  |  September 17, 2009 at 11:20 am

      Well, if you do find yourself in Ann Arbor, I love to meet up with people to run with :) And enjoy your running – I haven’t been doing it that long either (I still consider myself a beginner!), but I’ve quickly become addicted…

      Reply
      • 3. Luna  |  September 17, 2009 at 6:08 pm

        I will surely let you know :) i had a bad case of ohmygoshgeography this afternoon, i am still trying to figure out where (the heck) he lives !! (because it seems that troy is in michigan too after all!!!!! I have the excuse that i’m italian though :D ) in the meantime, i couldn’t run today due to a lot of pain in my foot :S this is annoying :(

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