Tuesday, June 11, 2013

180 in 180 Days 39-44

Hey Ya'll,
This week Miss Jillian Michaels and I have been having knock down drag out fights...and I think I'm winning. hehe. I've been passing out as soon as soon as my head hits the pillow at night, but I've been getting it done. And I'm feeling proud of myself again. Something I haven't felt in a long time. I'm feeling uplifted again in my life and capable of taking control of my life again. I hope to be able to say that with each passing week I spin just a little more to reach 180 degrees.

As another element in doing what I love to live my life rather than allow it to pass me by, I have decided to take a cooking class as often as possible in order to hone my skills and feed my creative needs. So far I have taken a Cold Beer and Small Plates class as well as a Pasta Workshop. These classes were belated birthday gifts from my dad and I am so grateful for this jump start into my creative advancement. I would like to show you all my creations:
The local grocery store where I took my classes.

The first beer and plate:
"Sculpin" IPA from Ballast Point, San Diego, CA
Seared Scallop on Summer Greens w/ Passion Fruit Vinagrette

 I found that the sweetness of the scallops and dressing brought about a desire for the hoppy, bitter, crispness of the IPA. Typically I am not an IPA fan, but this went well enough together that I was able to appreciate the style of beer.

This is a local beer from right here in Austin, TX (we make great beer) 

The beer is called "El Cedro" a Hoppy Cedar-Aged Ale made by Jester King

The "El Cedro" was paired with a Dill & Citrus rubbed Wild Salmon over steamed Jasmine Rice
The salmon was so perfectly cooked to medium that I felt I had never really had salmon before this class.
The fruity cedar notes in the beer cut through the fattiness of the salmon really creating an effortless balance.

The 3rd pairing:
"La Socarrada" by Cervesa Artesanal de Xativa from Xativa, Spain
 Smoked Pork Loin Chop w/ Mushroom Demi
This pairing happened to be my absolute favorite. The La Socarrada  has a caramelized pear flavor to it.
The tender sweetness of the pork leaned into the golden honey notes of the beer almost like a complementary glaze.
The final plate was paired with 2 different beers:
"Guanabara" Imperial Stout made by Cerzeva Colorado in Brazil
"Victory at Sea" Imperial Porter made by Ballast Point in San Diego, CA

Marinated Sirloin with Bacon and Tomatoes was the simple pairing for such complex, deeply flavored beers.
The Guanabara smelled of prunes or figs to me and even when poured had the appearance of prune juice or molasses.
The beer sort of coats the palate with rich dark fruit flavors and the saltiness of the bacon bounces off these flavors.
The Victory at Sea was a heavier creamy beer with big bitter chocolate flavors and smelled of toasted beans.
The beer was more of an end of meal beer rather than a complimentary beer. An ice cream float with this one would work.

My second class, turned out to be more about sauces than the pasta specifically.

Though we did get to mix our own pasta dough

My smooth as a baby's bum dough

The kitchen/stage where all the magic happened

Lasagna with Bolognese and Bechamel Sauce
This was not my favorite version of this dish, I found it to be a bit bland and lacking the lovely cheesy elements that I love in lasagna. Give me Ricotta and Mozzarella any day. 

Class participants having their turn up at the stove

Butternut Squash with sage Ravioli in a Brown Butter Sauce
These were made by hand from the dough that we made earlier in class.
I think the recipe had potential, but needed better seasoning. Butternut squash is one of those foods that does better in a hearty big flavor component for me. Otherwise it is obscenely bland. 

These were the two dishes that we did not have time to sit and eat. Plus we were too full to try anyway.
Pasta Pomodora and Pasta Primavera.
Simple, healthy, satisfying. All wonderful elements to any meal.
I seem to have lost my Pasta Cabonara picture, but that dish was my favorite of the night. I intend to make it at home as often as my gluten allowances will tolerate. 

This last week and a half brought new perspective, renewed drive, hope, and desire. I know that this challenge is one of the best things I have done for myself in years. What's been the best thing you have done for you lately? Till next time..
Peace & Namaste Ya'll

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