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After months of letting our crazy grad school schedules get in the way Bestie/Fellow Wifey J. and I finally coordinated a date and signed up for a cooking class at a local Italian restaurant – it was my birthday gift to J. in July. The cooking classes are very popular, often sold out, which contributed to us taking so long to attend a class. Each month they focus on different European regions, along with the standard Italian cooking classes – pasta making, sauces, etc. We selected a class focusing on the Piedmonte region in Italy in which we would prepare an entrée and an appetizer.

Now before I put on my foodie hat, let me say that it was a fun evening! J. and I had a great girls night out. J. has been married for a few years and her marriage has always been an inspiration to me, so it’s nice to chat about wifey things and moan about our respective PhD woes.

Okay foodie hat on – not I was not expecting anything too technically challenging but I was expecting to pick up a few tips. That obviously did not happen. I will not bemoan the class too much, I will just say that we were not provided with a menu, just a random mash of food (for evidence see the photo below) and the chef made a significant amount of the food without properly explaining to the class what she was doing.  In terms of a food experience it was a bit disappointing. I’m sure my general love of all things Italian did not help my level of disappointment. Truthfully the classes are expensive and as a grad student with limit funds I do expect a certain level of quality. I did speak with the manager and he kindly offered to bring J. and I back for another class at a discounted rate, so we will be giving cooking lessons another try. I will keep you posted.

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Above was our entrée which was Chicken Boscaiola and Piedmontese Fonduta – which should have been a fondue but the chef served it over gnocchi.

I will share my favorite recipe of the night, an appetizer – Bagna Cauda:

  1. Blend 3/4 olive oil, 6 tbsp butter, 12 anchovy fillets, and 6 garlic cloves in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Transfer to skillet over low heat for 15 minutes – the sauce will separate that’s ok.
  3. In the meantime blanch carrots, zucchini (or whatever veg you like)
  4. To serve you can spoon the sauce over the veg or transfer to a bowl for dipping and serve with crusty bread.

This appetizer is simple and delicious, everything Italian food should be!!

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