Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summer Harvest Cooking Class

Despite feeling sick yesterday, I got out of the house (which felt great) and went to a cooking class at the Milwaukee Public Market. It was non-refundable and I didn't want to waste my $20, so I figured I better try and go. I am glad I did because I felt ok and had a great time.

This is the second class I have gone to with the same teacher. Last month, Karis and I went to the first in the series of three Summer Harvest classes.

Milwaukee Public Market cooking class Summer Harvest

I was in the front of the class, but did look up at the TV view occasionally.

cooking class on tv screen

I was bummed because Karis couldn't make it this time. I spoke to the strangers at my table though and they were quite nice.

The teacher made zucchini with olive oil, rosemary, and garlic and blanched green beans.

green beans and zucchini

I loved both! It was funny to taste the crispy green beans vs. the more cooked ones that my husband made two nights ago. I like the crispy ones better, much to the dismay of my husband, who loves them cooked a bit longer. Like the lady at my table said, "these are like nature's french fries!"

I had been reading about blanching green beans this week and most recipes suggest putting the green beans on an ice bath. A class participant asked if the teacher was going to do that and she said no, it wasn't necessary.

Next we tried a Cold Potato and Leek Soup topped with cream and herbs (parsley and chives). I liked the flavor, but it could have used a bit more salt.

Cold Potato & Leek Soup

Tiramisu with Ricotta Cheese and Cherry wine was our dessert and it was glorious. I love tiramisu and probably hadn't had it since I lived in Switzerland and my Italian friend's father made the best tiramisu I have ever had in my life. This one came pretty close last night.

Our teacher told us how she searched and searched for the origins of the dessert. The one story she kept finding was this one:

Several sources (from Vin Veneto, dated 1981, to the Italian Academy of Giuseppe Maffioli and several cuisine websites) claim that tiramisu was invented in Treviso at Le Beccherie restaurant by the god-daughter and apprentice of confectioner Roberto Linguanotto, Francesca Valori, whose maiden name was Tiramisu. It is believed that Linguanotto named the dish in honour of Francesca's culinary skill.

Since I am a history geek, I tend to love learning about the origins of recipes. I found the story she told fascinating, mostly because it is disputed to this day whether the one above is true or others may be.

The teacher tends to be pretty funny at times and she made me laugh out loud when she said something like this "all of you Virgos in the crowd would probably want to dip the ladyfingers into the espresso evenly" instead of haphazardly. She's right, that would be me (lots of Virgo references on the blog posts today).

tiramisu with ricotta cheese and cherry wine

I hadn't had tiramisu with ricotta before and I really couldn't tell the difference. Italians use mascarpone cheese instead in their traditional recipe.

While we ate, the others I sat with and I were discussing how we actually enjoy going to a class to watch the teacher cook rather than participate in one and pay more money for it. I guess I tend to agree. Some of the hands-on classes at the market are $75 and like the lady next to me said, "I'm not going to pay to do all of that work."

I definitely want to use this class as inspiration to make all of these dishes sometime. I enjoyed my time there, as always, and can't wait to try more cooking classes at the Milwaukee Public Market.


  1. This looks a lot like the dispatch kitchen in the North Market, in Columbus. My husband and I enjoy going to those classes, they're fun, good food and good company.

  2. Oh how fun! I've never attended a cooking class before.