Resolutions Can Be Rewarding

Resolutions Can Be Rewarding

  • posted on: February 4, 2014
  • posted by: 21 Acres
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21 Acres -- Chef Paola 21 Acres -- Classmates mincing andchopping

My New Year’s resolution this year was to eat healthier and to learn new skills. I took a cooking class at 21 Acres last week, The Italian Table II, which integrated both of my resolutions with a delicious outcome.

The instructor Paola recently moved from Italy to the United States, bringing with her a wealth of recipes and Italian traditions. The class was small and hands-on. All of the ingredients were local (except for the chocolate) and grown without chemicals (no pesticides or herbicides).  We sat at the counter, while Paola gave us instructions in mincing, chopping, whipping and folding, the musicality of her accent taking us away to the region of Emilia-Romagna, the gastronomical heart of Italy, where the recipes we were preparing (as well as our instructor) originated.

The first item we prepared was a vegetable dish of kabocha squash, kale and gorgonzola seasoned with sage, red onion and garlic. She instructed us to leave the skin on the squash because it softens when cooked.  This resulted in a beautiful colorful mixture when all the ingredients were combined, and was healthier because the skin contains fiber and nutrients.

While our squash “casseruola” was baking in the oven, we created a chocolate cake that was created in the 18th century to celebrate the coronation of an Italian queen, an Italian Tenerina Torte.

One of our classmates had a special dietary request, she was gluten intolerant. Could one of the cakes be made with gluten-free flour? Paola was happy to accommodate the student’s request, especially since the torte only required 3 tablespoons of flour.

We passed the time while our creations were baking, munching on fresh salad greens and bread. Soon the cake and casserole were deposited on the dining table in front of us. We feasted on the “fruits of our labor” surprised that we had created something so delicious in the course of a few hours.

If you’re interested in taking a cooking class from the Simply Seasonal Series, the one titled, French Country Fare in March, with Chef Barbara Sowastsky sounds great.

–Rose Marie