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Monday, June 14, 2010

Taste Buds: Homemade Cheese and Dairy Workshop at Sur La Table

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SUR LA TABLE - THE GROOVE, HOLLYWOOD CA

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I entered Sur La Table as I had never taken a cooking class before. They had a group of eight chairs set up with clip boards full of recipes and aprons. I was immediately greeted by the Chef, Martin Gilligan, who with his charisma and charming jokes put us all immediately at ease.

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CHEF MARTIN GILLIGAN ON HIS IMAGINARY PHONE

Class started with an informal background of cheese, its history and where it came from. Non scripted, incredibly knowledgeable and extremely passionate about his work the Chef was an engaging speaker and kept us all in rapt attention. He spoke fluidly during his demo of mozzarella cheese peppering the recipe through with little tricks he had learned and throwing in the occasional odd-ball joke.

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BOCCONCINI BALLS

He stared with an Easy Homemade Mozzarella and taught us how to squeeze out the Bocconcini balls.

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RULADA

From there using the same basic mozzarella recipe he taught us how to make Rulada, a flattened mozzarella is topped with prosciutto, basil and sun dried tomato then rolled, chilled and sliced. He served it drizzled with reduced balsamic vinaigrette and a pesto olive oil. Ahh all the sampling was my favorite part. And this particular recipe, it was just DIVINE!!!!!!!!!

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BURRATTA

And then he showed us a THIRD way to prepare the mozzarella. A way that is generally hard to find and very expensive because you can only make it by hand (there is not a machine that can mass produce it). Burrata is a fresh outer shell of solid mozzarella with a mozzarella and cream filled center. He topped it with an olive oil, three different types of chopped olives, basil and sun dried tomato sauce that was AMAZING!!!!

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MRS. BROOKLYN GETS READY TO START

After the demonstration we split off to make our own mozzarella dishes from the prepared curd (which you have to make the night before so it was provided to us). Pulling on our gloves and digging our hands in we were able to apply our new knowledge literally right after the Chef had finished demonstrating and ask questions if we were unsure.

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THE SUR LA TABLE KITCHEN

One of the MANY things I loved about this class was that there was such a small class size, only eight students, and that there was the Chef and his three helpers. That coupled with the fancy kitchen with lots of workspace allowed a really great learning environment.

After making our mozzarella we were given a short break to wander around the store with a 10% off coupon for taking the class; a very dangerous thing for someone who loves to buy kitchen appliances and utensils. I was actually doing ok the first five minutes. I had picked up a large spatula, a bigger wooden spoon, and some truffle salt which I just could not resist… then just when I thought I had escaped somewhat unscathed I saw the Kitchen Aid Mixer in cherry red, something I have been wanting for a while. Although I was not able to get the mixer (boo) because they were out, the manager assured me that once it came in they would call me and they would also honor the 10% off coupon past the week of its expiration. Now that is SERVICE done right, nothing pleases me more in a store than a manager who knows how to treat their customers.

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CHEF ADDING MORE SALT BECAUSE HE REALLY LIKES SALT

After the break we were broken up into small stations learning about various other cheeses and dairy making recipes. All were surprisingly easier than I thought, who knew making cheese was so FUN!

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The workers were everywhere making sure to point out things to look out for, like this chef showing when the ricotta cheese these students were making had just begun to change.

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After class there was wine, more sampling and dinner; a pesto pasta with the ricotta cheese we had made in class. YUM!

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As we ate Chef Martin Gilligan wrapped up the class with a thank you and an encouragement to offer any suggestions we may want or need for further class ideas going on to explain that his kitchen should be our kitchen and the classes offered should reflect what we want to learn, see the class list here.

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MRS. BROOKLYN AND I

Mrs. Brooklyn and I had such a great time, I am so excited that she introduced me to such an amazing place and I will be taking more classes in the future, maybe a sushi class next… hummmm so many choices!

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I want to say a HUGE thank you to the whole Sur La Table Kitchen team. As a quazi experienced cook I felt like the class exceeded all of my expectations and I had such a great time I floated home. Hope to see you again very soon!

P.S. For those who would like to see the rest of the photos from class click here.

3 comments:

lilmansworld said...

One word: JEALOUS! I'm going to our local sur la table and signing up tomorrow.

Debbie said...

The pics are awesome thanks for taking them!
Hope to see you at another fun class!(purple hair)
Debbie

paul peggy zeus said...

What a wonderful experience! The rolled motz looked as divine as you described it!!

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