This was my 6th year at the International Culinary Center in Soho, New York. This two day cooking extravaganza is a yearly experience that inspires me to get into the kitchen and try new dishes! I took a pastry class with Joe Murphy from Jean-Georges, savory cooking classes with Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer from Toro in Boston (and New York), Jimmy Bradley from The Red Cat in New York, and Paris chef, Bruno Verjus. Here are some of the highlights of my weekend:
Your effort is rewarded when you pipe meringue batter from a pastry bag. As Joe Murphy demonstrated, you can be creative in your shapes. The cone shaped meringue in the photo above, is filled with passion fruit sorbet, a bit of a surprise to the diner who breaks into it.
A variety of thinly sliced vegetables topped with olive oil and a few drops of vinegar, make the most delicious and beautiful salad. I was inspired by the fact that Bruno Verjus took fresh, simple ingredients and created this easy, crisp salad. For very thin slices, you can use a mandolin slicer or vegetable peeler. Use an ice bath (bowl of ice and water) to keep the cut vegetables crisp while you’re working on slicing them. The pretty purple radish slices in the photo above, are dipped in red cabbage juice.
Asparagus is in season and can be simply prepared by bringing a large sauté pan filled with 3-4 inches of water, and a pinch of salt, to a boil. Add one tablespoon of butter and two tablespoon of olive oil. Cook the asparagus in this broth for 5 minutes, until fork tender. Place them on a plate and season with a splash of olive oil and rice vinegar. I traditionally roast asparagus in the oven, and this is another flavorful and quick cooking method.
A classic Spanish tapas egg dish, Tortilla Española, a Toro favorite, has a secret ingredient of potato chips for added crunch. This is an outstanding dish for any time of day, not just for breakfast. It’s inspiring just to be with these James Beard award winning chefs!
Some final cooking tips:
- use a sharp knife,
- let your meat/poultry come to room temperature before cooking
- salt from high above your dish to cover the most surface area
- use the freshest seasonal ingredients you can find
- and most of all…enjoy yourself!!