I Bet I Can Make You Wish you Were me!

18 Sep

So we all have our ideas about what a fun class entails, for some it’s an art class enabling creativity, for others it’s an interesting scientific class filled with all sorts of relative information, for other it’s a class based on a debatable subject filled with heated class discussions (which sometimes turn into arguments), but for me it’s a cooking class. While studying abroad here in Italy I am taking two cooking courses: The Mediterranean Diet and Italy through Feasts and Festivities.

I am a business major and although the curriculum is very practical it’s not exactly filled with “fun classes” unless of course you find crunching numbers and studying balance sheets and income statements in accounting and finance class to be a good old time, (we’ll just have to agree to disagree about that). However I was determined to enjoy my time while in Italy, I didn’t want to have a packed schedule filled with boring classes and tedious homework ( I can save that for school back at home) so I decided to utilize my free electives and take some cooking classes and boy am I sure happy I did. Each class is two and thirty minutes long, during that time we spend a few minutes learning about the origin of the recipe, we then prepare and cook the meal, and then we spend about 20 minutes enjoying our creations…not to bad of a deal huh? All the ingredients we use are fresh and organic and we create everything ourselves (nothing comes from a box or can)!

My First class the Mediterranean diet begins at 12:00-2:30, so essentially I get fed an amazing lunch each week. In this class we discuss the importance of consuming a healthy Mediterranean diet, filled with plenty of grains, vegetables and fruits, fresh fish and poultry, red meat occasionally,  and sugar and sweets in moderation. We look for similarities in the types of foods or ingredients used by the Mediterranean countries and prepare meals accordingly. This week on our agenda was Paella Valenciana from Spain.

This was my first experience cooking with some of these ingredients (squid, clams and mussels) and my first time making a fish stock and cleaning (including the deveining) of shrimp. At times I got a bit squeamish, I even lost my appetite at one point (i’ll spare you the details but it happened after I witnessed  the removing of the intestines of the squid), luckily though I was able to remove the image from my mind long enough to enjoy this delicious, and flavorful dish! This dish has many ingredients and requires that the cook doing the preparing be alert and well organized to prepare this meal.

In my second culinary class, Wild Boar and Polenta was on the menu for today. I learned that this dish comes from the Maremma area which is populated with wild animals, Maremma is located in South part of Tuscany. Every September there is a festivle in Capalbio, ” sagra del cinghiale), Boar Festival.

This was a relatively simply recipe to follow, the only down side is that it takes several hours to prepare, but I can assure you that the potent aroma and the wonderful end result with be well worth the wait! This is probably one of the most wonderful dishes I have had since being in Italy.

The Polenta is creamy and makes a delicious base, while the meat and the sauce is bold and packed with rich flavor.

Life at school here isn’t too bad especially when you have a delicious meal to look forward to, now if only my other classes could be as much fun, but instead I haven’t been quite lucky enough to get away with taking a semester of free electives, so instead when I am not in cooking class concocting the most amazing recipes I am in businesses classes willing myself not to fall asleep. Don’t the professors know that if they simply fed us, that would be incentive enough to pay attention during class, maybe I should suggest this, although I am not quite sure I’d be getting on the professors good side by doing this! Oh well guess I’ll just have to suck it up!

RECIPES BELOW

Paella

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

400 g of bomba rice

1 L of fish stock

100 g of diced chorizo

2 tbsp of cured ham

1 medium chicken cut into pieces

3-4 squid cleaned

12 raw king prawns (or lobster)

500 g of raw shrimp peeled

500 g of mussels

500 g of clams

fresh ground black pepper

1 large onion chopped

1 large green pepper chopped

3 cloves of garlic chopped

1 tbsp of chopped parsley

1 tsp of paprika

crushed saffron

1 bay leaf

branch of thyme

100 ml of olive oil

200 g of peas

salt

2 lemons cut into wedges

Method

1) season chicken with oil and saute until gold brown, sprinkle with paprika, add in chorizo and ham and cook for an additional five minutes, remove meat with slotted spoon and set aside.

2) Add in prawns in the shells and cook over a high heat for three minutes or until shells turn punk than remove and set aside, add in squid and saute.

3) In the same pan cook onions, peppers, parsley and garlic, stir in saffron and salt, next add rice and mix well with the onion mixture, add the bay lead thyme pour in the stock an bring to a boil, lower heat and return the chicken mixture to the pan., cook uncovered for 20 minutes,

4) mean while put the clams in mussels in a hot pan of water, wait until shells begin to open up,  then remove from heat, discard shells and set aside.

5) add in peas to the paella , finally add the remaining shell fish, continue to cook until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is soft.
Wild Boar and Polenta

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

1 kg of wild boar haunch

300 g of tomato puree

1 litre of meat stock

1 gladd of dry albana di romagna

3 gloves of garlic

extra virgin olive oil

rosemary

sage

carrot diced

onion chopped

celery chopped

300 g of maize flour

1 litre of water

Method

1) cut the wild boar into small parts, add the garlic chopped rosemary and sage and season with salt and pepper. Pour over a glass of white albana di romagna wine and leave to marinate for 48 hours. In a skillet add in celery, carrots, and onion saute vegetables, remove vegetables from pan with a slotter spoon, dry and then brown the meat in the same pan that the vegetables were in for 30 minutes, add in vegetables the tomato puree and meat stock cook slowly for 5 hours

2) For the polenta  bring a litre of water to a boil, and slowly add n the maize, with with a wooden spoon. Cook for about 40 minutes, mix constantly, once cooked pour meat mixture on top of the creamy polenta

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3 Responses to “I Bet I Can Make You Wish you Were me!”

  1. worldlyfeast September 18, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    Love wild boar!

  2. sue September 18, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

    I bet you never thought in a million years you would be eating wild boar!!!

  3. Gabriel Souliere October 8, 2012 at 8:17 am #

    I simply want to say I am just all new to blogging and definitely savored you’re blog. Almost certainly I’m planning to bookmark your blog . You amazingly come with superb writings. Thanks for sharing with us your blog site.

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