Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Pumpkin & Pear Risotto

Preparation: 10 mn

Cooking time: 2 hours
Serves 6:
6cl/3 tbs        sunflower oil
100g/3 oz       yellow onion
400g/14 oz     rice Arborrio or Carnaroli
25cl/1 cup      white wine
½ Lbs             pumpkin
1 tsp              cinnamon powder
2                    pears
1ltr/2,1 pint   vegetable stock
70g/2,5 oz      butter
115g/4 oz       freshly grated Parmesan cheese
To taste          sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

1.  Peel and cut the pumpkin into chunks and sautee in a pan with 1 Tbsp of oil, salt & pepper and cinnamon until tender than reserve. Peel and cut one pear into into small dices and save in water. Heat the stock. In a separate pan heat the sunflower oil, add the onions, and fry very slowly for about 3 minutes without coloring. When the onions have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat. 

2.  The rice will now begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the white wine and keep stirring — it will smell fantastic. Any harsh alcohol flavours will evaporate and leave the rice with a tasty essence.

3.  Once the white wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock. Turn down the heat to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladles of stock, stirring and almost massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladle to be absorbed before adding the next. Add the pumpkin.This will take around 15 minutes. Add a good pinch of salt .Taste the rice — is it cooked? Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Don’t forget to check the seasoning carefully. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water. Add the pear 5 mn before the end.

4. Remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes. This is the most important part of making the perfect risotto, as this is when it becomes outrageously creamy and oozy like it should be. Eat it as soon as possible, while the risotto retains its beautiful texture.

5.  Serve in a hot plate and put 3 slices of pear for decoration.

(You can use comte instead of parmesan)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cook’n With Class partners with Valrhona Chocolate....Mmmm

It looks promising when the week of the Salon du Chocolat in Paris coincides with Cook’n With Class’ partnership with Valrhona, one of leading Chocolate producers in the world.

Founded by Alberic Guironnet in 1922 in the town of Tain l’Hermitage, South Eastern France, Valrhona has grown to be the reference for Chef’s worldwide when it comes to luxury chocolate.

We use their chocolate for all our cooking classes because of its outstanding quality. There is no comparison when you taste their dark & milk chocolate made from the purest cocoa beans. All of the great Pastry Chefs use this brand from Christophe Michalak to Jean Paul Hévin and even the pastry Chef to the President of France. What’s good for the President is good for Cook’n With Class Clients!

We are supplied with 70% guanaja cocoa beans and 35% ivory cocoa beans, cocoa powder, praline and a sumptuous gianduja. In the Desserts & Market Classes this high grade chocolate is used to make the mousse, the soufflés, the tarts even the crème brulee.

And for all you serious Chocolate lovers we are pleased to announce the Creation of our new 100% Chocolate Class.

Learn how make your own exquisite chocolates, truffles, chocolate feuillantine, & éclairs with our Chef in 4 hours. These Michelin star recipes we will be teaching you are guaranteed to take you to another level and impress those whom you wish to share with (or not;)…More details coming soon~!

Bon Degustation as they say!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Raspberry and Lemon Curd Gratin


460 g (1 lb.) trimmed fresh raspberries 
Lemon curd: The zest and juice from 2 lemons 
200 g /7 oz caster sugar
120 g /4 oz butter at room temp 
2 whole eggs 
3 egg yolks 


Beat 2 whole eggs, 3 yolks and 7 oz. sugar with silicone whisk in non-stick fry pan. 
Whisk constantly over low heat till light, creamy and thickened, but without any solid bits, about 5-7 minutes. Pour in the juice and zest of 2 lemons, cook, whisking till re-thickened, then whisk in warm butter in 8 cubes, off heat. 
(Leave out 30g/1 oz. butter for lighter version. Cool to room temperature while occasionally whisking.)
Place raspberries in individual gratin dishes, cover with lemon curd, and brown lightly under broiler on high heat, 1-3 minutes before serving warm, not too hot. 

Serve with dollop of crème fraîche and optional tuile cookie: 
Mix 2 oz./60 g. soft butter with 2 oz./60 g. sugar and a pinch of salt. Beat in 1 egg white, then fold in 2 oz./60 g. flour. Spoon onto non-stick buttered cookie sheet, 1 T. per cookie, swirling with back of spoon till thin and even. 

Optionally, sprinkle with shaved almonds and bake at 400F for 3-5minutes,or until cookieis half brown,half white. Remove from pan while warm with thin spatula and cool on flat surface or on rolling pin for basket effect.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Only Kitchen Knives You'll Ever Need...

Photo: François Roy, La Presse

You cook a little, a lot, passionately? Make sure you look for quality before quantity. Before investing, know that your needs are probably easier met than you might think: you can cook everything with five knives. Take a look here:


1-The Chef's Knife
The name says it all, it's the Chef’s best friend. This one comes out when we have a recipe that involves cutting vegetables into julienne strips, dicing, slicing, and chopping herbs. This is the one where you will lose more time if the blade is not sharp and will probably invest the most. "It’s the purchase of a lifetime!” Always try before you buy: Make sure the handle is comfortable and appropriate for the size of your hand, its weight is well balanced and the tip height is sufficient enough to avoid your fingers touching the board at each movement. If your budget allows, take a forged knife that continues into the handle. This knife will be stronger and better balanced (from 100 euros). 

2-The Bread Knife
This knife goes up against the worst offenders: fat (pastries) and hardness (frozen bread). You can afford to save - a bit - but to save your fingers, we would choose a blade firm enough not to deviate from its path when cutting a crusty loaf, or worse, out of the freezer.
Large rounded teeth are also a measure of quality. Small teeth do not sharpen enough. Count about 40 euros.

3-The Fillet Knife
It's a must for all fish lovers. Its blade is long enough (about 20cm), narrow and very flexible to gently lift the filets without losing an ounce of flesh. But carnivores will appreciate it too. Its flexibility allows you to go along the bones and make very precise cuts, such as rack of lamb. If you plan to use it for meat, opt for a model with a shorter blade and less flexible. In any case, if you have wet hands using it, make sure the handle is polycarbonate.

4-The Boning Knife
Jonathan Garnier, of the Culinary Guild, recommends the traditional Boning Knife, with a rather short blade (15 cm maximum) slightly flexible and easy to handle. "We can save money by buying a piece of meat and preparing the parts yourself." We must therefore have a certain know-how ."Unless you are a hunter or like to work with whole game, we can do without,". You can also opt for a slicer, a reduced size copy of the Chef's Knife.

5-The Paring Knife 
The Chef’s "second" best friend ? With its small sharp blade of about 10 cm, fairly thin and rigid, the paring knife helps all manipulations too precise for the Chef's Knife: peel an apple, remove core, cut into quarters. Prefer a water resistant, plastic handle. "And not too long a blade, advises Jonathan Garnier, the Culinary Guild, which allows you to handle the knife from the center for the more accurate work." From 10 euros.
The Tradition
Customs dictates that one does not offer a knife so as not to "cut" the bonds of friendship or love with the person who receives it. But one can easily ward off bad fate by offering some money to buy the knife. One cent is enough! 

Sharp Advice!
To keep those blades sharpened:

- Never use a knife to push food on the cutting board.

- Never place knives in the dishwasher.

- Never cut bone or frozen products.
Instead, keep an "old" knife of poor quality for such tasks.

- Never wait to clean the blade - especially if it was used to cut acidic foods - with a little hot water and soap (as needed).

- Never use a glass cutting boards and granite that are too hard. Prefer wood, not too firm or too soft, and very resistant.

- Never use to cut cardboard, plastic or Styrofoam.