In anticipation of the Hills Market starting up the 2010 season of Cooking Classes, I’ve decided to finally get around to posting about the events I attended there in 2009. Better late than never! Stay tuned at the end of the post for information on upcoming classes and events.
I’ve been a regular shopper at the Hills Market (on Rte 315 in Worthington Hills, just north of 270) for a while now, but I had never attended an event there. It wasn’t even until earlier this year that I was aware that they had events there. So, when fellow food blogger Lisa the Waitress (of Restaurant Widow fame) was scheduled to teach a cooking class there last spring, I decided to attend as a show of support and solidarity.
I think Lisa has a natural knack for teaching, and a lot of knowledge to share. Years of working in the restaurant industry has taught her lots of tips and tricks that she encompasses in her everyday cooking. The menu she came up with rivals any good meal I’ve had in a restaurant.
Recipes given throughout this post are provided courtesy of Lisa. Please visit her blog to see some of her other great recipes.
Her husband Chris (who also has an impressive restaurant resume of his own as manager or sommelier at places such as The Refectory, Burgundy Room, Rosendales, Sage American Bistro, etc) acted as her sous chef, and took on much of the task of doing the grunt work of finishing dishes as Lisa talked. They work together wonderfully, though – I would love to see these two with a restaurant of their own one day.
The classes are held in the back of the store in the kitchen area behind the bakery case, which accommodates a fair number of people. The actual meal is served in the wine department, at a long communal table that is very conducive in letting you get to know a bunch of different people from all walks of life. We were greeted with a sparkling pink wine and an amuse bouch of Risotto Fritters, which everybody absolutely loved. What a great way to use leftover risotto!
2 c. leftover risotto
8 small balls mozzarella, cut in half
panko bread crumbs
peanut oil, for frying
Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop a ball of risotto into your hand and gently roll it into a ball. Press the mozzarella piece inside and cover with risotto.
Whisk the egg and place it in a shallow bowl. Place the flour and panko in shallow bowls as well. Roll each ball in the flour, and then the egg wash, and lastly in the panko bread crumbs and fry until golden.
If you don’t have a deep fryer, you can fry these in a frying pan on the stove top. If you do the stovetop method, it will be easier to form them into a slight patty shape.
She also showed as an extremely easy to prepare sausage bean soup – which allows a little sausage to go a long way – good news for those of us trying to eat healthier. The great texture and flavor makes it seem more complex than it really is.
White Bean & Andouille Sausage Soup
2 fresh andouille sausage links
3 (14 oz) cans white beans
4 c. chicken stock
salt and pepper
Remove the casing from the sausages and crumble into a large soup pot over medium heat. Break up the sausages with a wooden spoon and brown the sausage until it’s fully cooked. Drain off any excess fat.
Add 2 of the cans of white beans – along with their liquid, being sure to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the soup pot, then add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat off and puree with an immersion blender.
Add the remaining can of white beans and turn the heat to medium and bring back to a simmer. Taste to correct seasonings and add salt and pepper as needed. At this point, you could serve the soup or you can turn the heat to low and let the soup simmer 1/2 hour to let the flavors mingle. I like to top the soup with croutons and serve it with a little Tabasco on the side. Serves 4.
I’m not usually a big fan of citrus in salad, but this one may make me change my mind – I’d probably use blood orange instead of grapefruit, though – just because I don’t like grapefuit. She gave us a great tip of sprinkling salt on citrus making it sweeter. Interesting.
Refreshing Winter Salad
8 very thin slices of prosciutto
4 handfuls arugula, watercress, mache or a mix thereof
1 large celery root, grated or cut into julienned strips and then sprinkle with lemon juice to keep it from browning
2 large pink or red grapefruits, sections removed with sharp knife
good olive oil
Lay 2 slices of prosciutto on each plate. Place the greens in a bowl and drizzle very lightly with olive oil, the juice of one lemon, and sprinkle with just a touch of salt. Place a pile of greens on each plate.
Place the celery root strips into your bowl and drizzle very lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place a small pile on each plate.
Cut each section of grapefruit into thirds and add a small handful to each salad. Serves 4.
As someone who loves to make risotto, it was interesting to see how her method of risotto preparation differed from mine. Hers is a much more classic preparation, though – and a great base recipe.
1/2 red onion, chopped into small dice
1 rib celery, chopped into small dice
1 c. Arborio rice
1 c. white wine
4-6 c. chicken or Parmesan stock
1/4 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
2 egg yolks
salt and pepper
To properly make risotto, you will need 2 pots. A soup pot for the stock, and a wide pan or Dutch oven to make the risotto. Put the stock on to simmer on the burner behind your risotto pot.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onions and celery, stirring as they soften – about 5 minutes. Add the rice to the pan and stir for about 2 minutes, or until the rice has begun to “pearlize”, or turn translucent around the edges with a white spot in the middle. Add a large pinch of salt.
Turn the heat to medium-high and add the wine. Stir and keep stirring until the wine has mostly reduced, then begin to add the stock. Add about 6 ounces at a time (use a ladle), stirring in each ladleful until it has cooked down. Continue this process about 25 minutes, or until the rice is to your preference of softness.
In a small bowl, combine the cream, Parmesan and egg yolks and grate some black pepper over; stir together and add to the risotto, stirring for about 1 minute. You may also add butter at this point if you would like to. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Serve with more Parmesan. Serves 4.
This flourless chocolate date was to die for. And again, a much simpler recipe than I expected. Good enough to make any home cook seem like a pastry chef.
Flourless Chocolate Cake
8 oz. hazelnuts
1/4 c. sugar
8 oz. chocolate (dark but not too dark – about 60%)
8 oz. butter
1/4 c. Frangelico
Heat your oven to 350 and line a 10-inch springform pan with parchment.
Place the hazelnuts in a baking sheet and place in a 350 degree oven. Roast for about 10 minutes or until they are shiny and aromatic. Keep an eye on them, because they will burn and catch on fire before you know it! Allow the hazelnuts to cool completely.
Place the hazelnuts and the sugar into a food processor and blitz until they resemble a fine meal. Set aside.
Place a large metal bowl over a pot of simmering water and add the chocolate and butter. Stir together until they are melted, then remove from heat. Add the hazelnut and sugar mixture to the chocolate and stir in. Add the Frangelico and stir. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring in completely before adding the next egg.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and place in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the cake is firm. Cool completely before removing the springform ring. Serve with whipped cream and fresh berries. Makes 10-12 slices.
The store’s wine genius, Constance Begue, paired wines with each course. Even though I’m not much of a wine drinker myself, here they are for your edification:
Arrival/Fritter: Taltarni Brut Tache NV, Victoria
Soup: Hermanos del Villar Ipsum 2007, Rueda
Salad: Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rose 2007
Risotto: Prunotto Dolcetto d’Alba 2007
I absolutely loved this class at the Hills Market, and at $35 (including wine) it was well worth every penny. They regularly offer cooking classes during the winter, with the couple that are scheduled in the near future listed below. If you’ve never attended an event there, this is a great introduction.
UPCOMING EVENTS (click through for more details and menu):
January 19th, Anthony Shulz from the Inn at Cedar Falls, 6:30PM, $35
January 26th, Anthony Shulz from the Inn at Cedar Falls, 6:30PM, $35
February 2nd, Erin Chittum from M at Miranova, 6:30PM, $45
March 11th, Chef Kent Rigsby of Rigsby’s Kitchen, 6:30PM, $35
You can reserve your spot for these classes by calling 614.846.3220 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The Hills Market is located at 7860 Olentangy River Road (Rte 315 just north of 270) in Worthington Hills.