Mondays are no longer a kick to the gut now that the Trinity Groves 3015 Cooking Basics class has begun. This six-week series aimed at the home cook meets every Monday for three hours and covers everything from stocks to genoise. I have the first class under my belt and I can tell this is going to be a lively ride because Dr. Mike Johnson is teaching and he is funny as hell. Mike has worked in the food industry since he was a teenager and is apparently an overachiever because he’s also a doctor. This will probably come in handy since I am 67% sure I am going to slice off a bit of my finger at some point.
Class started with brown and white stock since it’s the base to so many recipes. Dr. Mike dropped great info on us like not to cover the pot while boiling the stock since it will turn sour. And although fresh, raw bones are best, one can also use the carcass from a cooked, store-bought rotisserie chicken. It won’t be as strong, but as we learned from the butternut squash soup we made, sometimes a strong stock can overpower the rest of the ingredients. We used what we made to prepare risotto and butternut squash soup and talked about kitchen organization, knife skills and the imposing Vitamix along the way (buy one).
Contrary to what a perky “TV Personality” with wild gesticulations says; it’s not great to cook with extra virgin olive oil. It has too low of a smoke point so save your money and buy regular olive oil and blend with canola or butter for cooking. Dr. Mike also said that he isn’t the biggest fan of Prime grade meat since there isn’t too much of a difference between that and Choice. However, don’t be a cheap wad and buy Select because that’s also called “Industrial Grade” and is used in prisons and pubic schools. Ew.
Next week the class will work on a dinner of mixed greens, pork tenderloin with Madeira sauce, chicken cutlet with sauce veloute and asparagus with béarnaise. The following weeks we will learn more techniques and prepare other great dinners that are elegant enough for company, but not so overwhelming that you give up before you start. We work as a team, eat what we make, and take home the recipes. Also: wine.
The series culminates in six weeks with a class dedicated to desserts, but I don’t think I need that one. I’ll attend anyway since it’s so much fun.