Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Food Energy Whole Foods 9/9/09

Yes...I did go to a second Whole Foods class this week...back to back. But I saw a new class that I was interested in and it was reasonably priced. I figured this was going to be more of a cooking class but I am always interested in eating healthier.

I really thought this class was going to be about eating foods that provide more energy, and therefore were healthier, such as not eating processed foods and why vegetables are so much better for you.

This was completely different.

This class had to do with macrobiotics. I'm still not sure what that is because I haven't gotten the chance to read the information about it. But this class had more to do with spiritual energy and finding balance in the food that we eat. Some foods feel heavy while others feel light. We were encouraged to mix and match those foods and pretty much stay away from all processed foods, which are really considered dead.

Tonight's theme was going back to the ate a lot of vegetables and REAL grains.

We started out with a butternut squash soup that had just a hint of onion taste to it. Other than that, it was very simply made. My favorite part was the texture of the soup.

Later on, we had a lentil soup that was filled with other vegetables. You could really taste the difference in how the squash was very light compared with the lentils. Not that one was bad for you...but it was more about how at different times of the year, you may prefer a heavier food for winter. Or perahps you're feeling might want a lighter, calming, more flowing food.

We also got to compare plain brown rice....much different than white...with couscous, which is extremely light and fluffy (and one of my favorite foods). Shoot. I just love SAYING couscous.

I had seconds and thirds with everything. I certainly wish I could eat more nonprocessed foods but as someone who hates to cook, I know it won't happen. But it certainly makes me appreciate these foods a lot more.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Seafood Class 9/8

These seafood classes seem to be coming up quickly and there is already another one scheduled for October 6th! I'm not sure I can keep up!

This class again is a seafood lover's wet dream because each course was better than the next, even though there wasn't anything flashy on tonight's menu.

We started off with Creole Crawfish other words crawfish tails were used instead of the typical crab and Seafood Chef Matt said that it took him four tries to get it right...basically, he needed to stop chopping the fish so fine so that the cake would stay together. And these were giant, meaty cakes with quite a bit of cayenne pepper to give it quite a kick.

Chef Matt was inspired by a seafood and pasta dish that he had at a wedding over the weekend but decided it would be better as a Smoked Rainbow Trout Penne Pasta. I thought the trout was a little fishy and not my first pick but the light oil dressing with parmesan cheese was really tasty without weighing you down. I was just about full after we each got two servings of pasta.

Keeping with the New Orleans theme, next up was a catfish Po'boy and for sure I thought the catfish would have a fishy taste but with the cajun seasoning on top of french bread, tomatoes, and pickles, it was just the right amount of fish flavor. It's probably the first time I've enjoyed catfish. This course required extra napkins!!!

The last course was my favorite...although not to take away from any of the other courses, but we finished off with a fried walleye. I've never had this before...again...expecting something totally fishy tasting but it was incredibly light! It might as well have been tilapia! I couldn't believe it. This fish was breaded and served with a sweet, light sauce and I definitely overdid it on this course.

I am hoping to recover in time for next month!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Provisions Wine and Food pairing #2 9/1/2009

Being the loyal friend and customer that I am, I immediately signed up for my second Provisions class which was just a couple of weeks after the last one. I did NOT want to miss out!

Word had definitely spread about Angie's classes as this class filled up a lot quicker and was much more crowded. This time the tables were in a U-shape and that helped a LITTLE bit with the acoustics, but it was still difficult to hear with Provisions' high ceilings. If nothing else, it definitely forces you to talk to those around you. I ended up making friends with the same couple I sat next to the week before.

Anyway, on to the important information...the courses! This evening's theme was "The American Melting Pot" pulling meals from specific cities, although most of the foods and wines were borrowed from their original European styles, although made into their own Americanized version.

Appetizer starter was Baltimore - Crab Cake paired with an Oregon Pinot Gris. Normally I tell folks that Oregon is known for their Pinot Noir but really, it's any Pinot grape. I really liked it this white wine because it had a sharp finish to it.

I was really looking forward to the next course, from New Orleans, having just been there, but the Shrimp Etouffee was a little disappointing because I only got one little baby shrimp on my plate. I mostly had brown goo. And the Chenin-Blanc paired with it was too dry (although Angie kept saying overly sweet).

Next from San Francisco was Cioppino which came from the early 1900s when the fishermen would come in and chop up all the leftover fish and put it into a tomato rother soup. Typically it comes with lots of shrimp and shellfish so everyone got two clams. Not too bad. The wine was actually a little bit better here...a Monte Volpe Primo Rosso....real smooth finish. That's the only way I can handle red wines....low on tannins.

From Miami, we had Cubano Beans and Rice but when I think Cuban, I think spicy chicken and rice...but noooo...Angie insisted that Cubans liked pork. So I tried the piggy and it was full of flavor but finished with a greasy aftertaste. Luckily it was paried with a Grenache but the wine was too strong, so you could wash down the grease but it totally overpowered the pork.

Last was cheesecake from New York and it was only a tiny bite. Chef Scott from Provisions is EXCELLENT in his desserts. THis was fantastic even though I could only roll so much chocolate onto the cheesecake instead of smothering it like normal. This was paired with the super sweet wine, a Moscato...which is one I could actually drink...well a little it...almost too sweet for me! hehehe

The best part of the class is all the things I learned. Dessert wines should be stronger than the actual dessert.

More a half bottle of wine...they look like baby wine bottles...and save the bottle when you finish. THEN you have a better sized container to keep your excess wine from any full bottles you don't finish. This is better because there is less air in the bottle since oxygen is what is the enemy when trying to keep wines.

OH...and the most fun thing I learned is "seasoning my glass". We were enouraged to heavily swirl our wines to get the sides of the glass coated in the wine to improve taste.

Unfortunately, I'm going to miss the next Provisions class (when there won't be any piggy) for a "fall food theme". I'm a little bummed I'm going to miss but it's because it's the same night as cheese class and you better believe I won't be missing cheese class!!!