Wednesday, March 10, 2010

California Cooking

When I was in CA recently I was fortunate enough to take two cooking classes. The first class, Big, Bold, Beautiful Cabernet at Sur l'Table in San Francisco featured five recipes containing cabernet. Since Napa Valley is famous for its' "cabs" it was the perfect class for me before we spent a couple of days in Napa.

Cabernet is know for its body and depth and pairs well with steaks and fatty fish such as salmon. We prepared Steak au Poivre with drunken cab-infused mushrooms, Steak burgers with a cabernet reduction( like an onion jam) and Salmon with a balsamic/cabernet glaze. The steaks were seared in a skillet at high heat and finished in a 400 degrees F. oven. This is a great way to prepare steak for guests as you don't have to be cooking the steaks at the last minute and can finish up as the steaks rest.

My second class was a demo class at the Culinary Institute on American in St. Helena. Once again we had Steak au Poivre, Classic Bistro fare. The CIA has a beautiful demo classroom with stadium seating and a camera that focuses on the action. The chef did an excellent job of teaching as she prepared the foods and had no trouble filling the time. She emphasized that the recipes were guidelines with lots of flexibility.

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