I’m finally back from my whirlwind of a trip to New Zealand + Australia and I’m excited to catch up on some blog posts! Soon I will be posting a recap of our adventuress.
A few days before the trip I went to an amazing Tour of Italy: Tuscany cooking class at Sur La Table with my friend, Stephanie. I was contacted by CourseHorse , a company that offers a wide variety of courses and learning opportunities. CourseHorse is essentially a discovery and booking tool for local classes. I was amazed at the wide variety of classes they offer including: fitness, languages, life schools, tech skills, professional skills, and cooking. I was excited about the unique range of cooking classes they plan to offer in Houston and have been wanting to try a class at Sur La Table so it was the perfect opportunity. While my class was compensated, all of my opinions are my own and I have already signed-up for another cooking class since I loved the experience so much.
We attended class at the River Oaks Sur La Table location. I knew we were off to a good start when I saw this magical sunset upon arriving.
The class was small and personalized with only around eight people which really allowed us individual attention with our insightful instructor, Chef Monica Tapia. In addition to making a three course gourmet meal, I learned tips along the way from Chef Monica about proper knife skills, the best way to cut veggies and meat, how to create the perfect base for soup, and many other kitchen prep tricks.
When we arrived, everything was already set-up in portioned out stations with all the ingredients. We each received name tags, aprons, light refreshments, and quickly started working in teams on the first course. I would recommend going with a friend if possible since you do typically work in teams of two, but everyone was also very friendly if you did go on your own.
Did I mention the class was BYOB?! We brought a lovely Pinot Noir that complemented our Italian feast perfectly. The first course was my favorite with the hearty and healthy ribollita Tuscan soup paired with a pecorino and shaved fennel salad. This soup was seriously to die for and could easily be a meal in itself. We learned that this soup used to be considered a peasant soup based on vegetables that were easily grown in the garden and made with day old bread. The robust flavors of tomatoes, white beans, a parmesan rind, garlic, pancetta, and onions all made a rich and complex broth. We stirred in kale at the end to get in some extra greens. I already made this soup again since it was so easy and tasty, perfect for a weeknight meal. I also fell in love with this simple salad of freshly shaved fennel with greens. We made a light and zingy lemon garlic vinaigrette which was made for a refreshing side salad.
Next up we seared Bistecca alla Fiornetina on small grills. These steaks were lightly seasoned with herbs and lemon. We were pretty full from the first course but these steaks were perfectly seasoned and grilled so it was hard to resist! It was fun getting to taste our dishes throughout the class and it definitely turned into a full dinner, make sure you go hungry!
We couldn’t end the class without a sweet treat and these indulgent chocolate hazelnut filled donuts were SO delicious. I had never had Bomboloni before (which is probably a good thing because these are dangerous), but they were so fun to make. These Tuscan-Style mini yeasted donuts are a great dessert to impress friends with or to enjoy for a special meal. I had never made doughnuts from scratch before and will have to find another excuse soon to whip these up.
I am so glad CourseHorse offers such great cooking classes in Houston and am excited to continue trying more classes. Keep in mind that they are currently in beta mode for Houston. More classes will be coming soon and be sure to sign-up with your email address to receive more info once classes are live! Stay tuned for details on my next class at Sur La Table where we will be making homemade pasta 🙂